A/N: A sequel-of-sorts to "Maybe Something Needs to be Let Out"… or, that is to say, it's the next story in that arc. Minako/Kunzite, one-shot. Rather less introspective than the other one.
Disclaimer: The shitennou are owned by their respective senshi, and vice versa. And Naoko Takeuchi owns them all. I am neither shitennou, senshi or Naoko, capisce?
Ami, tight-lipped little thing, still had not said a word about just who and what she'd been out to see last week. Despite Mako and Rei's threats, the combined (and nearly identical) pouty-lipped, wide-eyed looks of sorrow from both Usagi and a three-year-old Chibi-Usa, and quite a few polite questions from the outer senshi about the strange excursion, the senshi of ice had nothing to share but a little smile and reassurances that she had not been harmed in any way.
Minako did recognize the expression, though.
All right, so it wasn't quite as sappy as the one that Usagi (Neo-Queen Serenity to everyone else) directed at Mamoru. And Ami was far too dignified to squeal or doodle hearts on her notebook during meetings. But aside from those minor details, it was the same. The slight flush of rose in her cheeks, the way her eyes shone brighter, the way she smiled when there was no one else around.
But, that would mean that Ami had found...
A frown arose in between perfectly arched golden brows. But how could that be? Surely she would have known... if they were back! Surely she, as the leader of the inner senshi, would have been informed of such a security risk!
Unless it wasn't one. And Ami had returned unharmed.
With a suggestion that they leave the palace grounds, to boot.
Well, Minako reflected, it would do no harm. She was certainly able to take care of herself. And it would be a break from the life of castle and court.
It HAD been a long time since she'd last visited the arcade. Or the mall.
Mind made up, Minako's expression relaxed into one of youthful exuberance, and after slipping into one of the seemingly-countless pretty yellow sundresses that made up a good portion of her wardrobe, she left a brief note for the others, and left the dawn-gold halls behind, humming a little tune to herself.
Ten minutes later, she was enthusiastically muttering moves and attacks, one slender hand clutching a joystick and the other pushing buttons at dizzying speed, big blue eyes focused upon the screen of the latest version of the Sailor V video game. She cheered as the video version of her former self obliterated a particularly ugly youma, and after the game was over, happily typed her name into the slot for breaking a new record.
Three hours after that, Mina was quite supremely happy with the world, wearing a new pair of tawny movie-star sunglasses with bright gold rims, a cute new sundress for the collection tucked in the bag under her arm. In the west, the sunlight glinted off the crystal towers. In another half an hour, it would be sunset.
She was just about to head towards a movie theatre to check out the latest romantic comedy when a burly arm draped itself across her shoulders.
"Hey, sugar." The voice was male, slurred, and drawling, with an undertone of lechery. "What's a pretty thing like you doing out here all alone?"
Somehow, the smile she'd kept fixed to her face remained in place even as she shrugged off the offending appendage. "That's not really your business, now is it?"
"And what if I want it to be my business?" The arm was back, and now his fingers tightened just a bit on her upper arm. "What's your number, cutie?"
If it had not been for his formidable size and complete, poker-faced silence, Kunzite would have fitted in perfectly with the people milling about the city. It was technically not his day for patrols, but Nephrite, who had been up half the night before following the progression of a meteor shower on the roof, had gone home early for a much-needed nap, and he, Kunzite, certainly did not have much else to do from then until sunset.
It had been uneventful afternoon. Aside from breaking up a pair of teenaged siblings having a spat in a parking lot, nothing had really happened. The identification showing his position was in his pocket, and he sat now on a bench in the park, silver sunglasses concealing silver eyes, gazing towards the bustling cityscape across the street from him.
And then, he stopped, his eyes focusing upon a couple halfway thrown in shadow by the scaffolding over a movie theatre. The man Kunzite had seen before- a belligerent fellow who fancied himself a thug... but the girl was a stranger. Her back was to him, covered by a fall of long, golden hair, and she shrugged the fellow's arm off her shoulder, only for the man to wrap it around her again.
Kunzite started to rise, taking in the girl's slender build, swathed in a girlish dress of innocent buttercup yellow. The man who'd accosted her dwarfed her by a head and a good sixty pounds of weight. With several purposeful steps, he had crossed the street. A few more feet forward, and he could hear the harasser's words.
"I don't think you heard me, girlie. Phone number?"
"And I don't think you know who you're messing with," the girl's voice was sweet and bell-like, something about it shockingly familiar, and even as Kunzite continued forward, trying to place it, there was a brilliant flash of light from the girl's fingers, and a moment later, the thug was on the ground, knocked out cold.
"Excuse me..." Kunzite pushed his way through the crowd, now wary of the deceptively gentle-looking girl, who still had her back to him. Laying a large hand on her shoulder, he watched as she whipped around, and his eyes went wide in shock. Recognition hit him like a bolt, but an attack slammed him on his back before he could even remark upon it.
Minako's eyes were blazing behind her sunglasses when she turned around. Just what was it about sleazy guys and not taking a hint! The righteously angry expression faded, however, within a matter of seconds when she noticed that the second time she'd struck, she hit a different man, a tall fellow with shoulder-length platinum hair, in gray trousers and a formerly pale blue, now badly singed and ripped Oxford. Minako's blue eyes widened as she gingerly lifted a pair of mirrored silver sunglasses of the man's face, revealing closed eyes that would be smoky silver when they opened. Of all the ways to run into him!
"Kunzite," she whispered frantically, not sure if he could feel or hear as she cupped his face in her hands, "Wake up! I'm so sorry!"
His head felt as though it had recently been hit repeatedly with a fist-sized rock. There was a throbbing at his temples, and the light of the setting sun hurt his eyes. And there was the feeling of something soft on his face, and grass on his back...
Snapping himself into focus, Kunzite realized in the space of five seconds that he was lying in the middle of the park, having somehow been transported back across the street after she of all people had knocked him unconscious with a close-range attack, that he was now sans his shirt, which lay at his side, neatly folded but marred by frayed threads and burn marks, and kneeling at his other side, her beautiful face pale with worry and regret, full bottom lip caught between pearly teeth, was the girl in the yellow sundress.
He didn't realize that he'd spoken her name aloud until all of the sudden, silky blonde hair was flowing over his bare chest and soft, trembling lips were fluttering over his face. She hastily sat back upright, wiping a stray tear from her eyes. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know it was you."
"Would you have attacked me if you did know?" he asked, blunt and to the point, a jaded, stoical part of him needing to know the answer. If she still believed him a traitor to his liege... well. It would be less painful if it weren't drawn out.
But suspicion was the last thing on Minako's mind, and her lips curved into a small, radiant smile. Not the mega-watt grin that she flashed upon the world, but a sweet, meditative little quirk of the lips that she never directed at anyone else. For a moment, she merely gazed at him, blue eyes meeting gray, his usually-hidden psyche open to her exploration.
And then she bent her head, the golden hair that was barely restrained by the sunglasses she'd lifted to the top of her head pooling around them as it brushed against his cheeks, and touched her lips to his. A moment later, a large hand reached up and cupped the back of her neck, fingers tangled in cornsilk hair.
When he loosened his grip enough for her to pull back, both of them were breathless. She raised pale, slender fingers to kiss-swollen lips, touching them for a moment before returning them to his face, brushing over his now-mussed hair. "I'm sorry for hurting you," she said earnestly.
"So am I."
Silence, for a few seconds, and he watched her face as her eyes first betrayed surprise, and then comprehension, and then the soft, wistful shine of forgiveness. "Well, it's all right now," she finally said in reply, before dimpling deliciously. "Think you can stand?"
Of course he could, but he took her hand anyway, bringing it to his lips for a brief kiss. He tucked the ruined shirt under one arm and collected his sunglasses. The smile on his face was faint and almost imperceptible- Kunzite was never one to grin- but it was there, nonetheless.
"Want to get something to eat and catch up?" Minako's voice was back to its normal level of energetic exuberance. "I don't have too much to do today. I was going to catch a movie, but..."
"Very well," he agreed with his usual taciturnity. But the brief reply was enough. Knowing that Zoisite would be out by now to relieve him of patrols, now that the sun had set, he followed Minako's lead, off to anywhere.
It was two hours after moonrise when Kunzite, still sans shirt, returned home. Jadeite's gleeful voice rang out before the younger man even rounded the corner from the sitting room into the foyer. "So... something on the news about YOU of all people, Kunz, getting your ass whipped by a GIRL in public! What in the name of the Prince was THAT all ab-"
But Jadeite trailed off, his dark blue eyes widening at the sight of his leader, quite shirtless, his face liberally covered with pale rose lipstick marks, his silvery-white hair certainly nowhere near its usual impeccable neatness.
"Ohh... in THAT way," Jadeite mumbled aloud. "I SEE. Bad mental images. Kill me now."
Kunzite raised a haughty eyebrow. "That can be arranged."
Three seconds later came a thump and a wail. "KUUUUUNZIIIIIITE! I was only JOOOOOOKIIIIIING! SOMEBODY HEEEEEEEEEELLLLLP MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"