Having Jadeite around did have its advantages though, Rei
thought. He was relegated to doing the chores Rei normally performed before
her sprain. She was able to rest her ankle more often and it was healing
quite nicely. She kept a constant eye on her unwanted visitor though, observing
for any suspicious moves. It had been a week since he arrived and so far
he's been clean. Every now and then Rei would call the other senshi and
update them on Jadeite's activites, or rather, the lack of them.
Jadeite paused from raking the leaves to wipe the sweat
off his brow. He couldn't believe it's been a week since he's come to Hikawa
Jinja. He was too busy enjoying himself to notice. In the time that he
had learned to meditate, clean up the surroundings, do the laundry, entertain
visitors to the shrine, housekeep, even to cook! Ofcourse at the start
he'd burned more tempura than he could count and got the ingredients mixed
up with one dish to another but he had vastly improved. He was more than
content with what he had learned. He doesn't remember a thing about his
life before he came to Hikawa Jinja but he was quite sure he's never done
anything like this. He felt that the happiness he had here was something
he'd never experienced before.
And it was all because of her.
Jadeite's gaze wandered over to the feminine figure sitting
at the steps of the temple, watching her pet ravens playing. A smile crossed
his lips. After that initial bout of hostility, Rei wasn't mean to him
anymore. Although she wasn't overly friendly either. She spoke to him only
when necessary and the best she had given him was a half-smile. That was
when he had attempted to give her pet ravens a washover a few days back.
She had laughed mirthlessly then but that was after he had turned his back.
He didn't mind though. The mere sight of her was enough
to make his day. He noted she wasn't wearing her priestess robes today.
In its place was a sleeveless red sundress decorated with tiny white flowers
and a wide-brimmed hat to match. The dress stopped a few inches above her
knees allowing him a generous view of her shapely legs. The autumn wind
blew, sending her hat into the air. Luckily, the hat flew at his direction
and he had caught it in his free hand.
"Thank you." Rei said nonchalantly. She had chased the
hat and had paused when she saw that he'd caught it. She proceeded to take
it from him when he suddenly spoke.
"May I..." he swallowed, "May I put it on you?"
Rei was surprised at his request. She almost thought it
was a trap of sorts...but something in his eyes, and the innocence of his
request told her it was nothing but that. "Okay," she agreed. He smiled
warmly at her, sweeping aside her hair and gently replacing the wide-brimed
hat. She nearly didn't feel his touch for all its lightness. All the time
he was doing so, his eyes never left her face.
"You have the softest, silkiest hair." he murmured, proceeding
to brush aside an aberrant strand that the wind blew on her face.
It was her turn to swallow. "Thank you.." she replied
almost inaudibly. She suddenly felt her pulse hammer at the base of her
throat and her heart began beating frantically. This wasn't right, she
cried to herself. But somehow she couldn't break away from the blue gaze
that held her captive.
A warm, tingling sensation crossed her cheek as she felt
the back of Jadeite's hand tracing it. He was gazing at her tenderly. "You're
so beautiful, Rei-san." he whispered. "Your loveliness robs me of breath."
No, no, this isn't happening, her nner mind shouted. What
power is he using? Why can't I break away? She closed her eyes as she saw
his face come closer. Inch by inch, the distance narrowed until she can
feel his breath onher cheek. It musn't happen, she thought, it musn't...
"Rei-chan!!! We're heeree!"
Her eyes flew open upon hearing Usagi's high pitched voice.
She quickly spun around and called back. "Just a minute!" Without as much
as a glance, she released herself from Jadeite's hold and ran off. Heck,
she didn't even remember hm holding her armslike that! She must've been
way too under his spell not to notice! Rei scolded herself for nearly falling
into his trap...if it was one. It's a good thing Usagi and Makoto had arrived.
Otherwise, she wouldn't have known what things would've led to.
Jadeite watched Rei's retreating figure as she ran to
meet her friends. He felt a wave of disappointment over what had occured.
He was so close. So close to achieving what he had longed for the moment
he had laid eyes on her. To touch her beautiful face, to caress her lips
with his own. He proceeded to do his chore, all the while thinking of what
he'd done just minutes ago. He sighed deeply. He just hoped Rei-san wouldn't
be mad at him for his brashness. His grip on the rake tightened. He couldn't
take it if Rei would be angry at him again. The mere thought of it gave
him a feeling of sadness.
He was about to stuff the pile fo leaves in a trash bag
when something had caught his eye. An object exhibiting considerable brilliance
glimmered on the ground. He picked it up and noted it was a ring. A beautiful
band of white gold shone proudly on his palm. It had an intricate design,
with a single polished diamond embedded in the middle. Inside the ring
was an inscription which he could not understand.
It must be Rei's, he thought. The ring was too small to
fit a man's hand. He kept the ring, deciding to return it Rei when she
Rei didn't like it. Didn't like it at all. It's been seven
nights. Seven nights of intense meditating, praying and thinking. The Great
Fire answered the same thing time and again. He was not evil. He, referred
to their less-than-welcome guest at Hikawa Jinja. She couldn't believe
it the first time The Great Fire told her so, making her ask repeatedly.
Her instincts tell her the same. She could detect an evil entity in a snap
of her fingers. She can sense malevolent spirits without her ever seeing
them. And here was a man, one she had known too well to have a heart as
cold as ice, whom she had destroyed and justly so because he had no conscience,
no remorse for the evils he had done. She could feel no danger in
Something must be wrong with her.
She got up and turned towards the window. The night sky
was enchanting, pretty as a picture. The moon was full and had cast its
glow on the temple grounds, making it a silhouette of lights and shadows.
The stars glittered in full glory, like diamonds in the black velvet of
the sky. Deciding that the breathtaking scenery might clear her thoughts,
Rei stepped outside.
Am I losing my touch? she thought. Its been a long while
since she had encountered any malignant spirits. Everything had been quiet
after their last battle as Sailor senshis. Ever since there have been no
sign of demons. Perhaps the lack of it dulled her otherwise sharp sense?
She frowned. Before she became a sailor senshi she already had this sense
and it was just as potent and as sensitive as it had when she was involved
in their battles. Why? her inner self asked. Why is it like this? It's
not possible. I refuse to admit that my powers of perception have waned.
Could it be? she thought. Could it be some power, some
newly developed power that Jadeite had that was blocking off her perception.
Perhaps it was. Like that power that he used over her this afternoon. The
power that allowed her to be drawn into his embrace.
She nearly jumped from surprise on hearing the voice.
She quickly turned around and found Jadeite a mere two feet behind her.
"You scared me there." she said, feeling her heart increase its beating.
"Gomen nasai." he apologized softly and lowered his gaze.
"It's okay." she dismissed. "I was just thinking about
something so I didn't hear you come."
He raised his glance and their gazes met for an instant.
Rei waited for that feeling to come. Waited for a sign, any sign, that
would tell her of his intentions. She waited for a sensation of impending
doom that overcame her everytime she went face to face with a black-tinted
There was none.
She withdrew her glance first, averting them to the magnificent
sky. ""What..what is it you want Jadeite?" she asked.
You...his mind screamed. I want you to be with me. I want
your heart to belong to me. "I...I.." he stammered. "I want to apologize
for this afternoon...Suminasen...what happened. You probably think it was
too brash of me."
Rei felt something pinch her heart. He was sorry he wanted
to kiss her? "It was nothing." she said. "It's okay. Nothing to worry about."
"You're not mad at me?" he was suddenly glad hearing such.
He was almost certain sh'd blow her top, scream at him or refuse to talk
to him. Then and there he wanted to take her in his arms and truly kiss
her. Better judgment only prevented him from doing so.
A long silence followed. The two of them merely stood
there with Rei her back to Jadeite. Neither of them not knowing quite what
"Rei-san." Jadeite spoke first.
He took one step closer to her. "I was wondering." he
started. "Can you interpret dreams?"
She was a bit taken aback by his query. "A little." she
answered. "I guess it depends on what its about."
"I've been having a strange one these past few days."
he said, and continued to tell Rei the visions he's been having for the
past four days. it was a recurrent dream set in a garden. A big, beautiful
garden with different flowers and trees. He would be standing there and
she would appear. A young woman with a flowing white gown in a sheer fabric
with floral patterns. Her face was covered by a veil and he could not see
what she looked like. Then she would take his hand and they'd go running
around the garden happily. And then...the ground would rumble. Rumble and
shake so hard that the earth would crack. A gigantic clawed hand would
appear from the opening and it would take hold of him and pull him away
from the veiled woman. He could hear her cry, begging that he not leave
her. Then he would fall...fall into an abyss so dark and so deep he could
see nothing. when he finally hit the bottom, his veiled woman would reappear.
But she seemed different. She was cold and hard, like ice. When he touched
her he began to burn. Flames engulfed him, raging with fury as the veiled
woman simply stared in what he felt was an intense hatred towards him.
At that point he would wake up, terrified and unsafe. A silent scream trapped
in his throat. It seemed so real he could feel the fire scalding his skin.
He was barely able to sleep after that.
If Rei was shocked with what he told her, it didn't show.
Could it be? Was it possible? No, she cant accept. she cant accept that
his dreams were exactly the same as hers...only it was she who had been
falling into the abyss and bursting into flames. The face of the man was
not known. he was merely a shadow of a man. And everytime she'd awaken
she experienced a grip of sadness, as if soomething, a part of her was
"Your fears." she said almost inaudibly.
"Fears?" he asked, coming closer to hear her better.
She nodded. "The other person was probably someone who
means a lot to you. Perhaps someone you...someone you have loved. And maybe,"
she paused to clear her throat. "Maybe you had insecurities, or dark secrets
perhaps." she turned up to look at him to see his reaction to her last
words. "Secrets which, if she found out, might cause her to stop caring
for you. So that's why you keep thinking about it, and you're scared that
she'll turn away from you. That she'll stop loving you." she stopped at
that instance. She realized she was echoing her personal sentiments, her
own interpretations of HER nightly visions. The visions so remarkably like
his. The thought of him having the same dreams as hers gave her goosebumps.
A shiver ran through her spine.
"Are you cold?" he noticed. He was on the verge of removing
his robes to give to her when she stopped him.
"No, no. I'm okay. It's nothing." she dismissed.
Jadeite was quiet for a while. he recalled her words.
"Someone who means a lot to you, someone you have loved...scared she'll
turn away from you...stop loving you." What then, would she tell him, if
he told her that since last night, the woman in his dreams had no veil.
That she has a face, and that her face was that of Rei?
"It's getting late, Jadeite." Rei spoke at last. "I have
to sleep." she sidestepped him and proceeded to go outside.
"Rei-san." he called her again.
"What!?" she snapped. Rats! she thought. Why is he affecting
her this way? She wasn't really annoyed with him. Its just that, since
he arrived, Rei didn't feel at ease. It wasn't the kind of unease she experienced
when facing an enemy. It was something different. As if there was some
kind of electric charge in the air. She's been fighting it since day one
and the fact that she was having a difficult time with it was getting her
"You dropped this this afternoon." he said. He opened
his hand to reveal the sparkling diamond ring.
Rei marveled at the sight of the gem. It was probably
the most beautiful ring she had ever seen. It glittered on Jadeite's hand
like a star plucked from the sky.
"It's not mine Jadeite." she said. "Where did you get
"On the ground, this afternoon, after you left." he said.
"It must belong to someone else." she shrugged. "I've
never had one like it."
"Can you keep it then?" he requested. "I don't have a
place to hide it. I might lose it."
"Okay." she was about to pick the gem from Jadeite's palm
when he suddenly took her wrist.
Rei watched as he gently raised her hand and inserted
the ring on her finger. She felt her heart flutter in an accelerated beat.
The act seemed so intimate, like a groom giving a ring to his bride. She
felt the color flood her cheeks. The ring was a perfect fit, as though
it belonged to her. Jadeite then raised her hand to his lips and kissed
it gently. Rei felt herself blushing to the tips of her toes.
"Jadeite..." she protested. She looked up at him and was
taken aback by what she saw. His eyes sparkled, smiling at her. They were
overflowing with a tenderness and an emotion she recognized without doubt
but refused to acknowledge.
"My fire princess." he whispered. He cupped her cheeks
after putting down her hand. "I've waited for this moment since the day
we've met." Without a moment's hesitation, he lowered his face and gently
pressed his lips to hers.
Rei felt a sudden inward explosion the minute his lips
touched hers. She felt as though she was being lifted from the ground on
a cloud. Her thoughts began to drift and her being began to melt. It felt
like an eternity before he withdrew from her and when she opened her eyes,
they began to turn misty.
Guiltily, Rei pulled away from him. And before she can
stop them, tears began to cascade down her cheeks.
"Rei, I..." he stepped forward to comfort her but she
took two stpes back.
"Please...don't..." she cried, "It's not...right..."
"Why?" he croaked. He felt his heart wrench, seeing her
cry like that. He never intended to hurt her. He cared for her too much.
"Just go away." she sobbed. "Leave me alone." and with
that she bolted past him and ran towards the temple doors.
Jadeite felt his heart shatter into a thousand pieces.
The right thing to do would have been to pack up and leave
Hikawa JInja. But Jadeite couldn't bear to be far away from Rei. It would
hurt too much. So he stayed out of her way. He no longer attmepted to repeat
what happened before. He contented himself playing the role of a servant.
He continued to housekeep, cook, clean, and safeguard the temple. He learned
more things as time passed by. He read the books kept at the shrine and
at times borrowed from a place they called a library. He would do the grocery
at the same place where he met Grandpa. He mastered every dish mentioned
in an old cookbook he found lying around. Day after day he tried to keep
himself busy so he would not think of Rei.
It was an exercise in futility. For every night, visions
of her would haunt him in the same dream that played like a movie in his
mind. Again and again it tormented him like a knife stabbing at his heart.
And he would wake up with a soundless scream in his throat. He reached
the point wherein he could take no more and he reached a conclusion.
He's got to find that man.
Rei applied powder on her face, trying to conceal the
dark rings that were beginning to form under her eyes. She bit her lip.
She can't go on like this. There were too many sleepless nights after what
had happened at the courtyard. Partly due to the event and partly due to
the dreams that came at her when she can finally force herself to sleep.
The same dream, occuring more frequently now, bothered her to no end. No
amount of anti-evil spell or meditation would dispell her disturbing visions.
She tried to avoid Jadeite after what had occured, and
she noticed he stayed away from her too. But she couldn't help it. She
would find herself stealing glances at him when he cleaned the temple entrance,
observing him when he fed her ravens. it surprised her to find out that
Phobos and Deimos took a liking to him. They played about him, once even
settling on his shoulders. She wouldn't believe it if she didn't see it
with her own eyes. Then there's her grandfather who adored him too. He
sometimes spent more time with him than with her! Jadeite was civil to
her, at least. He still lit the fire before she would go meditating and
clean up after her. He prepared the food she took to school, did her laundry
and served her food when she was too busy to go to the dinner table. Under
all circumstances, she could have fallen in love with him.
Or had she already?
"You know...I think he's not what he used to be." Ami
said when Rei hosted another one of their gatherings.
"You could be right, Ami-chan." agreed Makoto as she plopped
a biscuit in her mouth. "I guess I was wrong judging him."
"Still," Minako commented. "What's his purpose coming
back? I don't thinkhe's liekly to become something like Tuxedo Mask to
repent for his wrongdoings."
"The problem with you guys is you overanalyze everything."
Usagi giggled. She took another bite of the sushi. "Give it a rest. He
probably just came back to start his life anew, like Neflite."
All four pairs of eyes stared at Usagi in unison. "Neflite?"
"Uh-uh." nodded Usagi. "I saw him the other day with Naru-chan.
Ofcourse he isn't Neflite anymore. I was shocked out of my dalights when
I did see him, knowing he was dead and all. But I got this chance to talk
to him. He said something about being reincarnated by Queen Serenity. That
would be me, he he he, in the future. But then he told me she gave them
a chance to live good lives, and all of them had their memories erased
except for him because he turned good before he died. So now he's no longer
Neflite but Masato Sanjourin. He and Naru-chan are engaged. They're getting
married next year."
They remained speechless for a while, but no one was as
stunned as Rei. Could it be? She remembered her grandfather's words...no
home...no family...no memory...then Jadeite when she confronted him...I
don't know what you're talking about...is it possible? That all along he
was telling the truth?
"Hey Rei, are you alright?" Makoto asked.
She nodded. She tried to hide her feelings by opening
up a different topic of conversation.
Tokyo was a big city. It was not easy to find one man.
Jadeite walked for hours and hours, searching for a man whose name he didn;t
even know. He had almost given up his search when he chanced upon a car-that
red sportscar, parked in front of a cafe. the dark-haired man came out
of the cafe alone. Jadeite rushed over and tapped the man on his shoulder.
Neflite turned to look at him.
"I've got to talk to you."