A/N: I know, I know... I should be updating Night Jade instead of making new stories. I will! Next chapter almost done and I hope to submit it this weekend!
For now... this is Rei/Jadeite again, but a different approach. For White Jade and Night Jade, I made Jadeite more capable and mature (probably more than could be justified from the series ;D). It works for the stories, and allowes for a robust handling of both Rei and Jadeite, and for a lot of fun.
But I was always wondering about going the opposite direction... and I was wondering how those two would work in a story where Jadeite is well... for a lack of a better word... and in spite of my general dislike of the concept ;D... fluffy.
It turned out I liked this approach, too, and scenes piled up... so I give you a start into a slow and cautious Rei/Jadeite story. More chapters coming up, although I can't say when as this is what I write when I should write something else ;D (Yes, thank you, "then you should update all the time", whoever it was over there, I heard you very well ;D). But as it is now, I think it's already a nice read.
Enjoy, and please comment!
The first time Rei saw him in Tokyo was some time after Usagi had returned to the restored Earth due to their memories of her.
She was walking home, when she suddenly stopped at the sight of someone sitting on a bench, someone who was unmistakable even from the corner of her eyes, and her stomach clenched. Enemy! But then she told herself not to be silly. Usagi had told them over and over they weren't enemies any more. He sat hunched and looked tired, a boy in jeans and t-shirt, noone to be afraid of.
Come on, Hino, she thought. New times, new rules. Be nice to him. Show him you're not afraid, or mad.
"Hey, Jadeite," she said as she walked over to him and stood before him, still keeping some respectful distance. Just in case.
He looked up, surprised, round-eyed. Oh god, he still had these blue eyes, and the ridiculous blond hair, but without a dagger and the attitude that came with it, he looked ten years younger than what she remembered, and that had been young enough already.
Look at his hands, and feet, she realized, they're so huge, like a puppy's, I bet he's still growing.
He's just a kid, and he's lost in our world, she thought, and the thought was unsettling. Somehow, this was not how it should be.
When he spoke, his voice was different, too. Deep, but soft and light as a feather.
He sounded like he was about to panic any minute.
She smiled at him reassuringly.
"It's Rei now. And you, any other name?"
He shook his head.
For a while, noone of them said anything. Rei just didn't know what one talked about with a boy. Or an enemy. Former enemy. And it seemed like Jadeite wasn't a great talker either.
He turned his head away.
"You don't have to talk to me if you don't want to," he said embarassed.
Rei sneered. "Don't worry. I'm not known for doing things I don't want to do."
She put her hands into the pockets of her jacket and stood there, shooting him a look that was supposed to make certain she wasn't going to let him tell her what she had to do or not. The effort was wasted on him, he had dropped his gaze to the ground, his feet to tense that he dug his toes into the ground.
"mumblemumble... what I did in the Dark Kingdom... mumble mumble..." he breathed.
"Ts," said Rei coolly. "You must be pretty full of yourself to think you've been able to impress me that much."
Now he looked up in surprise. his big blue eyes staring at her again.
"What?" he asked.
Rei raised an eyebrow.
"What did you expect? That I'm shaking from fear? That every evening I check my closet or under my bed if there is a monster or a stupid Shitennou hiding under it because you scared me so? Ha! The nerve!"
A slight smile lifted the corners of his mouth. It was a smile without warmth, but it was a smile at least.
Another awkward silence followed, Rei searched her brain for something to say.
There had been a meeting between the Sailor senshi and the Shitennou where the Shitennou had formally apologized. The senshi had accepted their apologies, but in the cases of Jadeite or Kunzite there wasn't a lot of honest forgiveness Rei could bring herself to. Since then, she hadn't seen any of them. The thought that they were walking around town was... odd.
"And, what are you doing here?" she finally came up with.
"I'm waiting for the Master."
The Master... Mars had never heard him call Mamoru that before. She was surprised. But of course, if Jadeite was good now...
"So you're working for Mamoru now?"
He nodded, and when she looked at him questioningly, he added: "Destiny..." and shrugged.
He seemed to be pretty indifferent about it. Not hating it, but not being overly enthusiastic either.
Rei would have liked to ask him lots of questions, like: How long have you been back? What is it you're doing now for Mamoru? How do you get along here? How much do you remember? What happened after I last saw you in the Dark Kingdom? How did you... die?
But that were hardly things to discuss when meeting someone in the street, especially if that someone wasn't very talkative, so she just said:
"And... are you okay?"
He was surprised again.
"What do you mean?"
She shrugged. He didn't really look okay to her.
"Well, you know," she said hesitantly, "... new life, old memories... I remember how it took Ami a while to settle back in when we got her back... and this is not exactly the Silver Millenium either..."
He glanced nervously to the side.
Then he realized that an answer was expected from him.
"It's... it's okay here. Nice planet... Interesting times..."
Rei frowned. "These are obviously supposed to be compliments, yes?"
Again, he was puzzled."Sort of, yeah."
Another pause. Rei couldn't for the world think of anything else to say. She wasn't good at small talk. She talked to someone when she had something to say. She felt like she should have something to say to Jadeite, but she had no idea what it was.
It was Jadeite who finally found something to say.
"Rei...?" he said.
He looked worried. "Just for the records, I never was under your bed."
Rei grinned. "Would have been a bit difficult anyway, with me sleeping on the floor. And coming to think of it, I don't have a closet either."
She realized this wasn't the coolest thing to say.
"This is silly, Jadeite. Why are we discussing my bedroom?"
For the first time, a genuinely amused smile lifted the corner of his mouth.
"Dunno...No idea why you'd bring it up the moment you saw me... but go ahead..."
That made Rei laugh. It was good to see there was still some nasty bastard left inside him.
"You wish," she sneered.
For a moment, they were grinning at each other.
Then, very suddenly, the smile dropped off Jadeite's face, and Rei for a moment didn't understand why.
A voice in her back greeted her.
"Ah, Mamoru, hello!"
Mamoru came closer.
"Trying to cheer up Jadeite, hm? Sorry he isn't very talkative lately."
"Just gave him the virtual tour of my bedroom, " said Rei dryly. "Can't see how this could have been improved by a guy's comments."
Jadeite actually grinned at this, although a lot thinner than before.
"Wow, I can't believe he smiled at your joke. He never does that at mine."
Rei didn't like the hurt tone in Mamoru's voice that shone through his joking, and she didn't like the embarassed look on Jadeite either.
"Oh, come on, Mamoru," she said. "Noone ever laughs about your jokes, except Zoisite and we all know he just takes pity on you, or has probably his head so full of music that he didn't hear what you were saying in the first place."
Jadeite grinned again, and Mamoru was embarassed for a second at least.
Rei liked that a lot better.
She accompanied the two guys to Mamoru's motorbike that was parked nearby. Rei who knew nothing about motorbikes had to admit it was really cool. She was surprised about the disgusted look that Jadeite gave it, and his hesitation to put on the helmet that Mamoru had handed him over.
"I liked it better when we had horses," he said and shot Rei a grim look. "Try protecting someone while he is driving that."
"Hey, I told you, it's safe. I'm going to drive extra carefully." Mamoru defended his beloved bike.
Jadeite put on his helmet and fastened the closure.
"There's a reason humans aren't supposed to have an exoskeleton and move faster than the eye can follow, we have cockroach youmas for that," he sneered, and sat behind Mamoru on the bike.
"Says the guy who does Kamen Rider video marathons every other night," grinned Mamoru and started the engine.
He sat on his bike, waited until Jadeite had seated himself behind him and held onto him, then he lifted a hand to wave Rei goodbye.
Jadeite didn't, and he didn't look back when they drove away.