Title: Unprepared

Author: Girl Who Writes

Feedback: If you feel so moved.

Characters: Jadeite, Hotaru, Chibiusa

Word Count: 1814

Rating: PG

Prompt: Shitennou – Winter Sports

Genre: Gen

Summary: This had not been what Jadeite planned for his Sunday afternoon.

Notes: Lots of notes. First of all, if it isn't entirely clear, I like Jadeite. He's most excellent. It's been awhile since I went skating, so I apologize for any inaccuracies; I just had this image of Jadeite being dragged into baby-sitting. And from personal experience, head wounds do tend to spurt, fyi. This comes after both Amongst the Stars & Presumption.

Disclaimer: The characters of Sailor Moon belong to Toei, Bandai and Naoko Takeuchi. I make no profit from this fan-based venture.


This had not been what Jadeite planned for his Sunday afternoon. The original plan had involved salted snack foods and the sports cable channel, whilst attired in sweatpants.

This plan had even been in action until the phone call had come.

Now he was trudging through the snow, wearing an ancient bottle-green parka and two pairs of mismatched gloves.

It wasn't hard to find the Prince in the snowy park – one of his companions was clad in a bubblegum pink parka so bright that, Jadeite thought sourly, would burn his retinas until the Coming of Crystal Tokyo.

The Prince – Mamoru, he had to remember, Mamoru – was kneeling in the snow, looking far too cheerful for someone who was rapidly acquiring frostbite of the knees, was tying the laces of ice skates onto the waiting feet of the Small Princess.

"Jadeite!" Chibiusa beamed up at him and, with her brightly coloured scarf trimmed in pom-poms and jingle bells, the rabbit-shaped earmuffs and rosy cheeks, he couldn't help but grin back and take a seat beside her.

On Chibiusa's other side sat little Hotaru, who waved shyly. Attired in a neat, navy blue winter coat and embroidered scarf, she looked the antithesis of her best friend in such grown up clothing. Jadeite remember a little of what Mamoru had explained about Hotaru; that she had been reborn and was meant to be closer to fourteen than nine, as a way to explain about the little girl's preoccupation with dark clothing and heavy philosophy textbooks. Jadeite had never really had much contact with the kid before; the Outer Senshi were protective in a way that, no matter how many dark glares Haruka gave him, was purely maternal.

"Thanks for doing this, Jadeite," Mamoru patted Chibiusa's leg, and she swung the other leg over, and he started lacing the second skate, each decorated with tiny pink bunnies. Jadeite suddenly wondered who the poor bastard was that dedicated their lives to keep both Usagis clad in bunny accessories.

Perhaps that was what Pluto did up at the Time Gates. Stuck for all of eternity, sewing rabbit head after rabbit head. Jadeite had to suppress a shudder. No wonder the girl came across barking mad.

"A family friend of Usagi's has been admitted to hospital," Mamoru twisted the last lace in place. "Hotaru?"

Hotaru shyly slid across the bench, and Jadeite noticed that her tights were covered in a pattern of glittery stars; her skates trimmed with slightly wonky violet pompoms that just screamed grudging effort on Haruka's park.

"Haruka and Michiru are in Osaka until tomorrow evening, and Setsuna's unreachable," Mamoru continued.

"Renaissance France?" Chibiusa enquired.

"Revolutionary Russia," Hotaru corrected softly.

"I need to be with Usagi and her family, and I promised the girls I'd take them ice skating," Mamoru finished tying Hotaru's skates and stood up, passing a heavy black bag to Jadeite. "Mrs Tsukino doesn't want them at home alone, or sitting around the hospital all day. Makoto will pick them up from Hikawa Shrine at four."

Jadeite nodded and looked at the black bag. "What's this for?" he asked uneasily.

"Ice skating," Chibiusa said sweetly and hurled herself to her feet.

"My skates should fit you, and there's a first aid kit in there," Mamoru said in a quiet voice as Chibiusa helped Hotaru to her feet. "And you've got Hotaru, so you shouldn't have any problems. I'll talk to you later."

As the Prince dashed off towards the street, waving good-bye, Jadeite looked at the black bag and suddenly wished he'd let Kunzite pick up the phone.

- - -

It had been a lifetime since Jadeite had skated. Back in the Silver Millennium, skates were fashioned from polished bones tied to their boots; a loose tie or an uneven bit of bone could lead to ugly injuries, resulting in it being more of a male past-time than female, at least on Earth; he vaguely remember both Mercury and Jupiter being known for talented female skaters.

It appeared to be a popular past-time in the future as well, if Chibiusa was anything to go by; the girl whipped around the lake with the carelessness of someone who'd done it a thousand times – and took enough tumbles that it was no doubt who her mother was - or would be, at least.

As he tentatively stepped onto the ice and pushed off over the smooth surface, he noticed Hotaru standing on the edge of the ice looking nervous and slightly embarrassed.

"Hotaru!" He called, gliding almost-confidently over to the girl, who looked up, her eyes wide. "You've been skating before, right?"

She nodded, and then mumbled something, looking down at the group, her cheeks growing pink – not from the cold.

"What's that?"

"Haruka-papa takes me and she always holds my hands. I don't know how to skate by myself."

Jadeite blinked. God, now Haruka couldn't deny it. He could practically picture the pale girl in front of him hanging off the taller woman, trying to get her footing in skates Haruka had bought and decorated just for her. He'd seen the way Hotaru lit up whenever Haruka turned up at one of the informal senshi gatherings when she wasn't expected. He'd seen the framed photos of a toddler Hotaru hugging Haruka around the neck with the sort of enthusiasm and affection that only the very young can muster up.

God, the Outer Senshi were seriously rivaling Mamoru and Usagi for some sort of parenting award, at this rate.

"Want me to get Chibiusa to help you?" he offered, lamely. He wasn't good with children. Chibiusa was okay, as she seemed to know and like him from that very first day, which spoke volumes about his presence in the future. She'd chatter away, occasionally latch onto his arm and cheerfully take his money for ice cream. It was the same way with the Princess – she had a similar ease with people.

"Chibiusa falls down a lot," Hotaru pointed out, just as Chibiusa collapsed onto the ice, sliding across the ice on her stomach before she managed to get herself back onto her feet.

"Well, how about I help?" Jadeite said finally, holding out a gloved hand. "Maybe I could help you skate by yourself and surprise your Haruka-papa?"

Hotaru looked at him and then the ice before holding out her hands and stepping delicately onto the ice. The look of panic as her skates went in different directions was almost comical.

It was surprisingly easy to help Hotaru skate; she seemed to do it okay and was just terrified out of her mind of falling. He'd act almost as the railing when her balance failed, her arms clinging as her skates slipping from under her. But she avoided hitting the ice and everything was going fine until Chibiusa decided to join them.

"Hotaru!" Chibiusa squealed from across the ice and pushed off towards them, gaining an admirable speed.

Seconds before she reached them, it suddenly clicked in Jadeite's mind why Chibiusa seemed to fall down a lot. She knew no other way to stop.

Before he could pull or lift Hotaru out of the way, Chibiusa crashed into them. With a squeak, both girls fell bodily against Jadeite, which through his balance out and all three of them ended up sprawled across the ice – Jadeite flat across his back, staring at the grey and white sky; Chibiusa lying across him, giggling, and Hotaru face-down next to Chibiusa's feet, looking shell-shocked before she touched her lip.

She'd split her lip open, blood running down her face. As it registered that Hotaru had gotten hurt, Jadeite uttered a profanity that both girls turned to look at him with stunned looks.

Within moments, he had both girls sitting on the bench, as he rifled through Mamoru's bag for the first aid kit. Mamoru was going to kill him, but not before Haruka – and possibly Michiru and Setsuna – castrated him for letting harm to their precious Hotaru.

"Jadeite, what are you doing?" Chibiusa said exasperatedly as Hotaru held a glove to her face to stop the bleeding.

"Getting the first aid kit," Jadeite babbled. "Don't cry, Hotaru." Don't tell your parents, Hotaru. Especially your 'Papa'. Perhaps the Prince or Princess could fix it so there was no scar, no evidence. Just have to pay off the girls with ice cream or rabbit pom-poms or something…

"I'm not crying," came the soft voice and he looked up in time to see Hotaru hand Chibiusa the blood stained glove and touch her fingers to her lip. A soft lavender glove surrounded her fingers and Jadeite gaped as the cut across her lip – at least an inch long, god-knows how deep – healed back to perfectly smooth skin, the only evidence of injury the blood around her mouth and the dark stain on the violet glove.

"Huh." Jadeite sat back, ignoring the snow seeping through his jeans.

"She can heal," Chibiusa provided helpfully.

"Huh."

"I could do it even… before," Hotaru supplied, putting her glove back on, deciding she'd rather a blood stain than ice-bitten hands. Jadeite blinked.

"Maybe we've had enough skating for today," he said weakly. "How about hot chocolate and a movie before Makoto picks you up?"

Both girls cheered and hurriedly unlaced their skates. Jadeite replaced his skates with shoes and gathered up their things, before he focused on the stain on Hotaru's glove.

"Hotaru, maybe I should take your gloves," he said nervously. Could he bribe Makoto to hide them before Haruka turned up, or even wash them?

"Why?" Hotaru picked up her skates and both girls looked up at him, confused.

"The blood. If Haruka finds out you got hurt, my life isn't worth shit," Jadeite said, helplessly, forgetting the cardinal rule: never let children know your weakness.

Chibiusa's face split into an evil grin, just as Hotaru destroyed any possibility of blackmail.

"It's okay - when I was a baby, I followed Haruka-papa into the garage and fell down the stairs, split open my head. She was hysterical and I just stood up and put my hands on my head, and fixed it. Michiru-mama and Setsuna-mama never found out 'cause Haruka-papa hit my jumper," Hotaru shrugged. "I've got spare gloves at Makoto's place."

Jadeite wasn't listening. "You got hurt when you were with Haruka?" he said slowly, a grin similar to Chibiusa's passing over his face.

"Pretty bad – Haruka-papa told Michiru-mama the stain on the garage floor was oil," Hotaru shrugged. "But Michiru-mama never told Haruka-papa about the time she lost me in the mall. And there was the time I followed Setsuna-mama into the Time Gates and almost got lost in the mists…"

The grin on Jadeite's face was positively diabolical as he shouldered the black bag and shepherded the girls out of the park.

"Hotaru, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."