Smiling to herself, Tenou Haruka walked up and opened the door to her sleek black and gold racing car and hoped in, carefully placing her helmet over her dark blonde hair. She secured the straps to the helmet under her chin, strapped her seat belt carefully in place, and turned on the ignition. Just as many times before, she enjoyed the feeling of power as the engine started up and gently shook the car. Overhead, the late day sun was just about to set, ending another day in the busy suburb of Tokyo. At the race track, many of the crowds and racers already left for the day, having enjoyed a thrilling race in which Haruka was part of. As before, many of them cheered for her, knowing she was one of the top racers Japan had to offer...male or female. She smiled once more at that.
Not to far from the setting sun, the faint and small crescent moon began to appear, signifying it would be another clear, starfilled night in early Fall. After the race, Haruka had decided she would drive around the track a few more times before heading home. After all, the world famous racer....the only one that was able to beat HER record...was supposed to be on his way to Japan to defend his title in a big time racing event Japan holds once a year, and there was no way she was going to let him take away her title, or her chance at glory that easily. She had never really met or seen any pictures of this world reknowned racer, even though people talked about him non-stop. It's not like she even wanted to meet him. She frowned slightly as she tried to remember his name. Kaze...something. She shrugged. Well, it was just another racer she would easily beat.
She pressed her foot against the pedal, throttled her gear shift, and with the tire wheels screeching against the hard ground, she raced off to the track, already picking up speed. This was the time and moment Haruka lived for. The speed, the racing, the fact that her lightening quick reflexes were what would keep her alive in the splitting second between crashing and swirving away from danger safely. The engine roared, and Haruka pressed the pedal even harder. Usually, if Michiru wasn't too busy, she would come down with her and cheer her on, supporting her in every way. Haruka couldn't help but smile when she thought about her. She was her confidant, her hero, her complement...everything. The bond they shared was unlike anyone else's...it went beyond friendship AND caring.....a feeling that was born on a spiritual...and admittedly physical, level. She knew that she that she could trust Michiru with her life and count on her for anything. But at this might, the teal haired muscian was practicing on her voilin her for upcoming performance, but Haruka knew she was there with her in spirit.
The first lap whizzed by her window, and Haruka smiled. That was her best time yet. She'll be ready for this Kaze jerk in no time. She kept on driving, and just as she was about to drive past the second lap, another racing car sped up behind her, it's over head lights blaring into her review mirror. "What the...!!" Haruka cursed to herself and swirved to the right, to get the glare out of her mirror and to let whoever that was to move on. But the race car didn't pass her. Instead, with the lights still blaring, it came up to level with her on her left side. Turning her head, Haruka got a good look at the car. It was painted in an elaborate swirl of gold, white, and blue, her own favorite colors.
The driver of the car, clearly male, also turned his head to look at her, and his helmet was a similar to the design on his car, as Haruka's helmet was. To her annoyance, the driver grinned widely, winked, and sped on, leaving her behind. Haruka growled deep in her throat and gripped her steering wheel hard. "Oh yeah! I'll show you!" She stepped on her gas pedal and tried as hard as she could to keep up, sweat pouring down her face. They quickly passed the third lap, and at this point, Haruka started to get nervous. He was still in front of her! Who was this guy? She gunned the gas pedal as hard as she could then, using all the skills she had learned over the years. *Like I said once before to another racer wannabe, you must be nuts if you think you can keep up with me!* Haruka thought to herself.
The fourth lap was coming up fast, and Haruka was just about to reach the racer when his car suddenly accelerated, and she was nearly rendered blind by the amount of smoke that poured out of the exhaust pipe. Wheels screeched loudly as she tried to swirve out of the way of the smoke, but seconds later, when it did clear, she saw the driver speed through the fourth lap, the drive over to the pit stop. The car stopped and waited for Haruka to drive up next to it and stop her own car. Haruka pulled up to the same level as the other car and stopped with the slamming of her breaks. Enraged, Haruka turned off her engine, and flung the door to her car open. She quickly pulled off her helmet, flung it back in her car, and waited until the other driver came out, calm and cool as if nothing ever happened.
Haruka never even waited until he took off his own helmet before she rushed up to him and began yelling. "Who the HELL do you think you are, buddy? This racetrack is supposed to closed off to everyone else, and you almost made me get in an accident! I should just kick your....!"
"Whoa, whoa!" chuckled the driver, holding his hands up. "If you don't know who I am then, I should just introduce myself. Afterall, it's not polite to beat up someone without at least knowing his name!"
Haruka's eyes widened in surprise, totally not expecting his remark. She watched as he took his helmet off, but anger still seethed inside of her. Then, when his helmet was off, her eyes widened just a bit once more. The man was tall...much taller than her in fact, with a muscular build under his racing suit and had the bluest eyes, she had ever seen. His hair was a blazing red and was short and slightly spikey. With a lop-sided smile, the man smoothed his hair back, showing off a handsome, well formed face, and looked deep into Haruka's eyes. Suddenly, much to the surprise to the blonde hair racer, Haruka's heart skipped a beat. *His eyes!* she thought to herself. *His eyes is like the endless sky! And it look like he's hiding something in them...like he's running from something, like I was!* But just a quickly as the thought came to her, she shook her head out of her momentary shock and the strange connection she felt to him, and glared at the man standing before her, narrowing her eyes.
"Look, I don't care who you are! You can't just come in here like some wannabe racer and wreck my practice like that. This is for professional racers only, and you should just leave before..."
"Ahh, but that's were you are mistaken!" the man said as he smirked gently. "I am very much a racer, and I have every right to be here and practice as you do." He extended his hand. "The name's Kaze Yumemeno...but you can call me Yu-chan... and I am very pleased to meet the aquaintance of such a talented...and beautiful..racer." His eyes twinkled at her.
For a moment, Haruka just stood staring at him, her mouth dropping open, completely dumbfounded. No way! This had never happened to her before! She was the one that usually flirted....especially with young girls who mistook her for a man....just for fun. No one had ever put her on this spot before...not to mention a man, and Haruka was completely in the dark as to how to deal with this. How could he tell she was a woman?! People often had to look twice at her to figure out what she really was. A million emotions raced through her body then, a million questions and thoughts. Here he was, the world class racer...the jerk she was practicing to beat tomorrow, and he was flirting with her! The situation was almost too much to bare.
While seeing Haruka standing and silent in complete shock, Yumemeno took this time to take her hand in his own and try to bring it to his lips to kiss. As soon as he had come onto the race track to get in a few minutes of late day practice, he knew who it was that was racing. He had always known about the infamous Tenou Haruka and her racing record. He had seen many pictures of her and read her interviews, and knew that somehow, he HAD to get to know her. Coming to Japan was his big chance, and he was hoping that someway, some how, he would meet her. Admittedly, he did go a bit far with beating her as badly as he did with their informal race just now, but what mattered was that she was alright...and he got to meet her. As soon as he looked into her eyes, he knew the quick second connection they shared. He knew that out there, someone shared the same passion for the wind and speed as she did....as if they were ingrained and born into him in some way....part of his destiny...and looking at Haruka's career, he had thought he had found someone who had the same passion he did. And now....tonight...he knew he did.
He was just about to bring her hand to his lips when Haruka suddenly snapped out her stupor, and snatched her hand away from him. "HEY! What do you think you're doing?" she growled. She balled her fist and was about to punch him in the stomach, but restrained herself for some reason. "Do you have any idea who I am? You got some nerve!"
"Oh, I know exactly who you are...Tenou Haruka," Yumemeno smiled. "I've learned all I could about you, and I know you have a pretty impressive record. I was hoping to meet you some day, and now, it's come true. Besides," He smirked and crossed his arms over his chest, and leaned against his car. "You can't blame me for wanting to meet the only other person with a racing career almost as good as mine, ne?" He smiled in a playful, arrogant way.
Haruka narrowed her eyes at him. She could really dislike this guy, despite what she thought she felt. "Look, you may be a big shot racer, but you got one loser attitude! You can race around if you want. I'm leaving. See you tomorrow, and prepare to feel humiliated....when I BEAT you!" With that, she turned prepared to head off towards her car, but she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder, stopping her.
"Hey! Wait, don't go off yet," the taller man said, his voice softer. Haruka turned around and folded her arms, giving him an impatient look and she tapped her feet. "Sorry, I guess I didn't give a good first impression." he chuckled.
When he saw Haruka wasn't smiling with him, he cleared his throat. "Listen, I'm sorry, okay? I haven't been to Japan in a very long time, and I just got here this morning and don't know much people. Perhaps you can show me around sometime....when you're not too busy?" He gave her a hopeful look.
Try as hard as she could, Haruka couldn't stop a slight blush to her cheek at the way he looked at her. "If you're trying to ask me out, forget it. I...I..err...that is..I have someone. Yeah, that's it....I.." She flustered, trying to think of Michiru to get him off her back.
"Oh really?" Yumemeno raised his eyebrow. "If that's so, then why did you hesitate when saying that, and why did she have such a strong connection not too long ago. Or maybe you're just too chicken to admit to feeling something?" He smiled in that arrogant, lopsided grin again, and Haruka grimaced and balled her fist again. What a jerk! Oh how she wanted to punch the lights out of him! Yet somehow, she couldn't stop her heart skipping almost unnoticably once again.
But unknown to them, not too far away, a glowing appeared on the race track, and a shadowy figure slowly began to emerge from it.
"Alright buddy, unless you want a big, fat lip, you'd better just get the heck out of her, Whoever you are!" She stepped forward to him, to make sure her message was getting through, and was just about to say more when there was a sudden roar in the air.
To their horror, a vicious looking demon jumped down from the darkening night air right in front of them. It landed with a heavy thud that shook the ground, and glaring at them, opened it's mouth once more and roared loudly. The two racers sank to their knees and placed their hands over their ears, trying to drown out the deafening noise. The creature had a sickly green tone to it's skin, with two thick, black horns sticking out of it's head and razor sharp teeth and nails.
"N...Nanda!" Yumemeno gaped, his eyes wide and disbelieving.
*Dammit! I thought we took care of all those demons!* Haruka thought angrily to herself as she narrowed her eyes. She was about to take her henshin stick out of her pocket, when she suddenly remembered the man next to her. "Yumemeno, get the hell out of here, now!" she screamed out.
"But what about you? What IS that thing?!" Unnoticed to both of them, the taller man had moved closer to Haruka, almost in a protective way, and they both stood almost back to back.
The creature roared once again, and raised it's massive arm to deliver a killing blow. "I said MOVE!" Haruka growled loudly as she pushed Yumemeno out the way. The both fell to the ground and rolled out of the way just as the arm swiped overhead. The claws tore into the side of Yumemeno's car, leaving some nasty looking gashes.
Haruka stood up quickly and went into a fighting stance. *Shimatta! I can't transform while he's here!* she thought to herself. *Then I'll just have to make it chase me somewhere else so I can fight it!* She turned to the man struggling to stand next to her. "Yume, I'm going to try and distract this...thing. When it chase me, get the heck out of here!"
"What? You can't! That thing will...!" But he never got the chance to finish as the blonde racer dashed off, hoping to distract the monster enough to allow him to run to safety. But it didn't work out as she hoped.
She had barely started running when the creature jumped up high, and almost as if it could fly in the air, reached over Haruka and landed in front of her. She stopped head in her tracks, and before she could do anything, the demon raised his clawed hand and slashed down, leaving a medium sized gash on her side. Haruka fell to the ground with a painful scream.
"HARUKA!!" Yumemeno screamed out. He rushed over to try and help as fast as she could, and with with a grunt, jumped up and tackled the monster as hard as his body would allow him to the ground, just as the creature was about to give the killing blow. The demon roared in annoyance and surprise, and when it got back up, it turned to the tall man and rushed at him.
The creature fell on top of him and raised it's arm to try and slash it's claws into him, but Yume caught it just in time with both hands, and struggled to keep the sharp nails away from him. *Man, this is one night I certainly didn't expect!* he thought to himself, he turned his head to see Haruka struggling to sit up, *But I have to try...to protect...her!* With that thought, he struggled even harder to get up and push the creature away from him. There was no way he could explain it, but he knew he HAD to protect Haruka in any way he could.
Suddenly from deep down inside of him, a new power was awakening. A power unlike anything Yume had ever felt before. It came like a spark....then grew more and more into a flaming fire inside of him, and filled him with strength and a vitality he never knew he had. Slowly, his body started to glow a silvery color, mixed with sky blue.
Slowly, Haruka turned her head to watch Yumemeno struggle to get the creature off him. Ignoring her pain, she tried to force herself to get up, but her eyes suddenly widened as she saw his body begin to glow. Then, to her complete surprise, the symbol of the planet of Uranus, bright and clear as her own, began to shine on his forehead. After that, it was if everything had gone into slow motion. New strength began to emanate from the red haired racer's body then, and with barely a grunt, he slowly began to get up from the ground, still gripping the demon's had. Baring his teeth, Yumemeno then grasp the monster by the side with his free hand, picked it up over his shoulders, and threw it away from him many feet.
As he stood breathing hard, the man's body began to glow even brighter, so that Haruka had to look away for a moment. There was a flash, and when it died down, Haruka looked back toward Yume....and gaped.
Instead of his normal racing suit, Yumemeno was now dressed in a regal princely armoured suit, not too unlike Prince Endymion's, but had it's own unique style. Silvery metal armoured plates covered his arms, elbows, and knees, and half of his muscular chest area. Underneath that, a bright sky blue suit covered his tall body snuggly, outlining his very masculine form. The suit was outlined in silver. Across his shoulders was a flowing dark blue cape, and it's lining was pure gold. In his right hand was a long and elegant trident, which shined brightly in the moon's light.
The now transformed Yumemeno then turned and glared at the creature as it got up and prepared to attack. Memories filled his mind then, of a time long ago, on a splendid kingdom on the Earth's moon and a secret longing for the often misunderstood and judged princess of the mighty planet of Uranus. But now was not the time to dwell on these feelings.
"Y..Yume?" Haruka breathed out, barely believing what seeing. But she never had the chance to say anymore, as the creature once more roared with vengence and rushed foreward towards Yume.
The tall man narrowed his eyes, gripping his trident tighter. Then, just as the demon was about to reach him, he raised his weapon high and spoke with a loud and clear voice. "Foul creature! Be gone! Ushered in by the past age of Aquarius, I am Knight Uranus, and your presence here is no longer permitted! The planet of the winds is my deity!" The trident began to blow brightly, and he brought it down to point it at the advancing creature. Narrowing his eyes, he yelled out "URANUS...WINDS OF RAGE!"
Immediately, the outline of Uranus appeared behind him in silvery sparkles, and the trident let loose a powerful blast of white energy, shaped into a smaller version of a tornado. The tornado shape elongated to reach all the way to the deomon, and when it struck him, the tornado like power lifted it high into the air for a few moments while it screamed in rage. Then, with a powerful blast of light, the tornado covered the creature and exploded in a loud blast, destroying it so completely, there was literally nothing left.
For long moments, Knight Uranus looked to where the creature once stood, then as if suddenly remembering Haruka, hurried to where she was sitting up. He gently took her hand in his and helped her stand. At first, Haruka could only stare at him, completely at a loss for words. Yes, she had known about how the former Dark Kingdom Generals were from each of the Inner planets, and they each had the job of protecting the Senshi from those Inner planets, to the point they even had a small love affair with them, but she could barely remember anything about the Outer planets and their Senshi having Knights or protectors.
The suddenly, from a small memory all but forgotten for a thousand years, Haruka did remember one particular Knight. One how had always seemed to annoy her with constantly making sure she was safe or following her around up to days before the fateful attack of Queen Beryl and the Dark Kingdom, which ended the reign of the Silver Millenium. But although she put of a front to everyone else that she hated having him around, secretly, she enjoyed having someone care about her so much. So, if there was a Knight Uranus...could there be more Knights? From the Outer Planets?
Her thoughts were interrupted when Knight Uranus put a hand on her shoulder, and looked deep into her eyes with concern. "Are you alright now? he asked.
"Oh...err....yes, I'm fine. I just....I was just thinking...." Despite her still painful wound, the racer couldn't hide the very slight blush. This was wrong. There's no way she could feel like this...especially for a man!
A new voice cut into the air, and Sailor Neptune, her eyes filled with worry, She dashed acrossed the tracks, jumped up high, and landed near the two.
"What's going on here? Are you alright?" She looked at Knight Uranus curiously....and warily.
"Yes, yes, I'm fine, Neptune," Haruka breathed out, gently taking her hand in her own as Sailor Neptune came up to her. Then, taking a deep breath, She nodded her head towards the man standing near her. "But we do have alot of things to discuss, if it's okay with you."
Neptune once more looked to the Knight Uranus with narrowed, suspicious eyes, and when she didn't see or feel any evil or ill intent in him....although she did feel something else..for Haruka..she nodded slowly, and together, the three of them headed off as police sirens blasted in the background.
A few days later......
With a frustrated grunt, Haruka threw down the wrench she was holding and turned away from her race car she was working on in the race track garage. The hood was opened high, and small smudges of grease stains covered her face. The last couple of days were so confusing to her! First, she had to withdraw from the big race Yumemeno was in due to the injury she sustained from the demon...but the public only knew as an "accident" due to her tinkering with her car, then dealing with the struggling emotions she had when learning that Yumemeno was indeed Knight Uranus and her unfamiliar feelings towards him. Not to mention Michiru's strange raction to him. She had acted politely enough to Yumemeno, listening as he retold as much of his memories of the Silver Millenium as he could...but she was almost...cold towards him. *Boy, this will be some tale for Usagi, Tanya, and the other Senshi!* she thought as she wipped her hands in her cloth. Sighing, Haruka turned back to look at the engine of her car. Not surprisingly, Yumemeno had won the race, raising his popular status even more. But no matter. If fate allows, Haruka would make sure she beat him next year, Knight or no Knight. She smiled secretly to herself at that thought.
Since the demon attack, she had tried as hard as she could to avoid the red haired racer, but the more she avoided...the more she spent time with Michiru and Hotaru to forget about him, the more she thought about him, much to her annoyance. Well, she would just have to keep avoiding him then. That was all she could do. Besides, she heard he was supposed to be leaving. But did it make her feel better?
Suddenly, a shadow walked to to her car, cast by the high afternoon sun, and with blinking eyes, Haruka looked up from underneath the car hood to see Yume walking up to her, his own eyes lowered and somewhat trouble.
"Hey," he said softly as he came up next to her, running a hand through his red hair.
"Hey yourself," Haruka nodded slightly, and trying hard to ignore her feelings, went back to work on her engine.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a few moments, and Yume was the first to break it. "Listen...umm...I have to leave for Kyoto soon, and I just wanted to say...that is...I wanted....
"I know you're leaving," Haruka said from under the car hood, trying hard to cover her quiver. "You don't have to say anything. Good bye, and good luck with your racing." She'll get used to it. So many people left her through out her life. Especially men...especially her father, who left her mother nearly penniless when she was two. Haruka didn't know what she and her mother would have done if it wasn't for the small fortune her grandfather had secretly saved up and left to them when he suddenly died.
Yume blinked his eyes, feeling a bit disappointed. "Well, I just thought...that maybe...I. Aww, forget it!" He sighed and lowered his head."Good-bye Haruka, and...be happy," With that, Yume turned to go.
Haruka suddenly raised her head, a sinking feeling in her stomach. Somehow, she knew that if he left without her anything, then she would never have a chance again. *GO!* a voice in her mind screamed at her. *Go after him, don't let him go! Michiru will understand!* She took a dep breath, and just as he was about to go pass the garage door and out of her life forever, she did something she didn't even remember doing. She called out his name. "Yumemeno!"
He turned back to look at her, and with the sun shining down on him, he almost seemed to glow and making him more handsome than ever. Haruka closed her eyes for a second to catch her breath, still not believing what she did. She opened them again, and walked up to him.
"Yu-chan, I just can't let you leave without...I..mean..I don't want you to think I..that...It's not like I'll be lonely..with Michiru..and the others..." Once more, words failed her, and she felt almost foolish standing there blubbering. How was she supposed to tell him that he couldn't just leave like that? Tell him that he was part of the Sailor Senshi team, to be together to fight whatever evil Fate throws at them? She sighed softly. Seeing that, Yume gave that lop-sided grin again.
For a second Haruka was angry at him smiling at her like that, but it quickly vanished when she felt her heart skip a beat again. "Don't smile at me like that! I just wanted to tell you that...that...you should.....Oh, what the hell!" With that, she threw her rag behind her, reached up on her tip-toes, threw her arms around him, and pressed her lips against his to give him a firm, yet still gentle kiss. She wasn't surprised at what she did anymore.
At first, Yume's eyes widened in surprised, but as he felt the passion in her kiss, he gave back as much as she gave.
For long moments, the two stood there and just held each other. Never in her life did Haruka imagine this would happen to her. She had sworn off men after what her father did, vowed never to love them. She had Michiru too, for the comfort of love, caring, and companionship, didn't she?..and now...this!
But as much as she didn't want it to happen, it did, and she embraced it with all the emotions she had. All was right in her world now, and she couldn't be more happier....or suprised. Deep in her soul, she knew that Michiru would always hold a special place in her heart....a place that no one else could fill and replace. But Haruka also knew that her heart can have room to love someone else, someone who had something in common with her, someone who now knew that he didn't have to run from his destiny anymore, like she did. Despite the tough, amle attitude she always put out, Haruka was still a woman. A woman with needs that she knew Yumemeno could somehow fill, and for now, that was simply enough for her, a woman who finally allowed herself to love, and be loved in return.