A/N: The third in this story-arc. ONE-SHOT. Yes, for those who don't read summaries, that means that there will not be any more "chapters". These are all one-shots, in this story arc. This means that they can stand alone, are finished when they are finished, and will not have any additional parts. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters. Gemstone's Fire is a random name for a club, and if there is such a club really in existence, I don't know of it. As for the alcoholic drinks, while I do carry lots of booze in my house, I don't technically OWN any drink types either. Whatever.
Rei hadn't originally planned on the evening's outing, really, but the combination of Minako's rave reviews about the club, a day off from work and Haruka and Michiru's company, she found herself one of the many people packed in Gemstone's Fire that Friday night.
She had chosen her outfit with care that night, determinedly fending off an anxious Minako and the latter's suggestions regarding something skimpy, glittery and sequined. After all, as she had loudly explained to the Venusian senshi, she was looking for an evening of harmless fun, and not an evening of emasculating drooling members of the opposite gender.
"There are enough hormonal, overly grabby beasts out there at ANY time, Minako!" Rei had scoffed earlier, rather rudely shoving away what almost looked like a sparkly gold-sequin handkerchief with ribbons back into her friend's hands. "I'd prefer not to deal with a heavy dose of them tonight."
Minako had looked about to protest, but Rei's next statement cut her off. "Save the outfit for Kunzite, why don't you?"
At the blonde's startled expression, Rei gave a pointed look to the scarlet flames in the grate, reminding the other of her clairvoyant skills, and Minako grinned sheepishly, before taking on a mischievous expression. "Kunzite wouldn't look as cute in this as you would."
"I'm sure," Rei had replied with a wry grin. "But Kunzite might look cutely flabbergasted seeing YOU in it."
That dissolved the blonde into giggles for a few moments. Rei laughed lightly along with her friend, and chose something less revealing and but quite brightly red. She was busy zipping up a knee-length black leather skirt to complete the ensemble when Minako spoke up again.
"Well... may I at least do your makeup?"
Perhaps it was Haruka's friendly arm around both her and Michiru that warned the "over-grabby beasts" to steer clear. Or perhaps it was the unsmiling, fiery dark eyes on the girl's face, filled with an expression meant to intimidate and demand respect. Quite a few cast longing glances at the striking young woman's svelte figure as she danced two sets with her friends, raven hair shimmering with the softness of black pearl under the harsh strobe lights. However, when Rei approached the bar and curtly asked for a glass of passion fruit juice and gin, no one came up to her with lewd pick-up lines or things of the like.
Rei was gratified and sipped her drink in peace, the alcohol bringing a flush to her pale cheeks and an unusual laid-back quality to her behaviour. She did not notice the looks of the other club-goers- a young man with short chocolate-brown hair about to approach her when a taller blond stepped into his path with a glare. The blond, had Rei but noticed, had barely looked anywhere else all evening, but it was small wonder.
The brown-haired one got the impression that if anyone were capable of making an empty tequila shot-glass, salty rim and lime wedge and all, a deadly weapon, it would be the unknown rival who blocked his view of the hot girl's backside. Muttering under his breath, he veered off towards other, easier targets.
It was then that Rei decided to look for her companions. Michiru she'd seen a few minutes ago, heading towards the restroom. As for Haruka... Rei glanced about the packed dance floor, and saw a tall figure off towards the side, back turned to her, a head of short and distinctively golden hair glinting in the shifting lights. The fire senshi chuckled as a buxom redhead in a tube top sauntered up towards the tall blonde, a blatant look of admiration on her face.
With the grace and stealth of a cat, Rei quickly left the bar and snuck up behind her friend, reaching Haruka just as steam arose from hidden vents, enshrouding the club with hazy smoke as the song changed. Slender fingers rose up and covered the blonde's eyes. "Won't a very special girl be jealous?" Rei whispered.
For a second, the tall blonde seemed to freeze, standing stock-still in a roomful of writhing bodies. And then, warm, slightly callused hands lifted up and gently grasped Rei's wrists. Slowly, Rei's hands were lowered, and the blonde turned around to speak to the interloper.
The voice was masculine, deeper than Haruka's, and the face- roguishly handsome, with flashing blue eyes the colour of the heart of a flame, a face cherished and remembered and loved and hated- was familiar. Shocked violet eyes met his blue ones for only a moment, before Rei yanked her hands back.
"I was hoping for a more cordial reception," Jadeite mused aloud in a tone of mock-mournfulness. "But... I suppose this is better than being fried alive in public."
"The frying alive bit would injure too many civilians."
"Indeed," Jadeite agreed. There was a hint of wary suspicion in those narrowed eyes, but then, she smiled. Her cheeks were still flushed, and her eyes had a liquid quality that must have come from the alcohol. 'She WAS always more laid-back when drunk.' He cleared his throat and grinned rakishly back at her. "So, what's a pretty thing like you doing here by yourself? Can I buy you a drink?"
"I'm not a 'pretty thing', and I'm not by myself," she returned with a thin smile, participating in his merry charade.
He pouted. "Can I buy you a drink, in the very least?"
"Maybe..." Rei decided against a definite answer, and glanced over him casually. No uniform now, Earth general, Dark Kingdom, or otherwise. He wore jeans and a black silk button-down, the ensemble simple but appropriate for a club, similar to what Haruka had been wearing that evening. He set an empty tequila glass down on the bar, and reached into a pocket.
"Gin and passion fruit juice, over crushed ice, with a shot of grenadine... Forbidden Smoke, right?"
His voice was quieter now, and she had to lean over to hear it over the music. "You remember."
"You're rather hard to forget, sweetheart."
"But you did. And don't call me sweetheart."
Silence, and the young man squirmed slightly, looking all of ten years old in his mannerisms, but the regret in his eyes transcended the guilt that came from tracking mud over a floor or stealing cookies from a jar. "I'm sorry."
He knew it wasn't an adequate statement to cover everything, but really, what was?
But her hard glare softened after a moment, and a tiny quirk of her lips made a small dimple appear in her cheek. She sipped the drink that he bought her, and said something so softly that he couldn't hear, and daringly, he leaned forward.
Her breath was warm and sweet with alcohol as she whispered against his face. "I know you are."
The look he shot at her was so ridiculously shocked that she found herself laughing. "You have my permission to lift your jaw off the floor now."
"This IS a bit awkward," he muttered, managing to find a more dignified expression. "It was so easy to tease Kunz and Zoi about it, but now I barely know what to say..."
"Shocking. Back in the day, you couldn't shut up."
Unconsciously, perhaps because of the sort of seduction-tinged atmosphere of half-illusion, half-reality that characterizes a club, they moved closer to each other, the banter coming easier now. A few feet away, another blonde, who could have passed for Jadeite's fraternal twin, stared in open-mouthed surprise as the gentle, aquamarine-haired beauty at her side smiled in dreamy benevolence.
"Well, I'll be damned," Haruka murmured to Michiru. "You saw this coming, didn't you?"
"Setsuna did make a few vague statements about it, and the mirror..."
"And you didn't think to tell me?"
"Oh, darling, you were too busy tinkering with that new motorcycle of yours to pay attention. Serves you right. Now, let's leave them alone."
Haruka looked a bit uncertain, but Michiru grasped the taller woman's wrist with a surprisingly strong grip. "Rei will call for backup if she needs to. And knowing her, by the time backup arrives, he'd a pile of cinders already, if it came to that."
The Uranian senshi laughed and relented. Rei and Jadeite were oblivious as a new song with a throbbing beat came on and she almost automatically set down her finished drink and twirled into his arms.
One dance became two, and two became three. If Rei was aware of the envious eyes fixed upon her and Jadeite, she gave no indication, her cheeks still rosy and her eyes bright. The hands on her waist held her just close enough, but not too tight. There was something familiar about their warmth, the wide palms and curving fingers, and through the thin material of her top, she could almost feel the roughness of calluses caressing her skin.
"So, what brought you out here tonight?" His voice broke through her thoughts.
"I came with Haruka and Michiru... Minako had raved about this place," she answered. "I thought you were Haruka when that redhead came up to you."
"And then you asked me if a very special girl would be jealous," Jadeite grinned.
"Well," Rei cocked an eyebrow. "Michiru WOULD have been jealous, if it had been Haruka."
"Sadly though, Michiru's jealousy doesn't really have any bearing upon me."
"Don't let her hear that," Rei joked.
"There's only one girl, and she's most assuredly not Michiru."
The statement came bluntly, more bluntly than she would have expected from the adroit, silver-tongued Jadeite, and she paused in her steps, almost stumbling before catching herself.
"Well," she finally said, a ghost of a smile (but a genuine one) gracing her lovely face. "Aren't I lucky?"
Twenty minutes later found them outside the club, tangled in a most unexpected embrace. Any other male would have gotten a stiletto heel in the groin if he'd come even half as close to Rei, but his fingers tangled in long, dark locks just like two thousand and some odd years ago, and the feel of his lips, tasting faintly of gold tequila, was familiar to her.
"If you weren't drunk," Jadeite joked in between fiery lip-locks, "You might be roasting me instead of this... I'm glad we met HERE..."
Rei, heavy-lidded and smirking, pulled away slightly, and lifted her eyes to his face. Her expression was more mellow than usual, but...
"I'm not drunk."
"Oh." He gazed down into her face, noting that indeed, sobriety was returning to her features. It had not been apparent in the haze and shine of the club.
Rei leaned towards him, a smile playing at the corners of her lips. "How about this," she whispered against his chin. "You don't make any attempts on my life, and I won't make any on yours?"
"If that means I get to kiss you again... all the time, then by all means." The relief in his eyes was evident behind the smirk he shot at her.
"Is that ALL you think about?" Rei's indignant shout was cut off by a pair of warm lips, and the tirade she might have launched was forgotten. It was no longer a club, and things were different now, without the other people and the distractions of music and smoke and intoxication.
Or were they? Rei decided not to think about it too much when his lips brushed her jaw, and gravitated closer to him. It was just like two millennia ago, and so it would remain for an eternity more.