Jadeite walked her home.

They were at the stairs of the shrine when a taxi stopped by them, and the back door opened to let someone get out of the car with a quite impressive display of perfect legs in expensive shoes.

Sure, Minako, thought Rei with an eyeroll, let's pretend I believe that this happened by coincidence.

"Hello, Rei-chan!" boomed Minako with much more enthusiasm that the usual greeting. She even embraced Rei, who couldn't help enjoying it even if she knew it was for show.

"My, what a pleasure to see you after such a long time," she mumbled sarcastically. She had seen her yesterday.

"Yes, sorry I'm a bit early, but rehearsals went great today so we could finish earlier. Oh, hi, Jadeite," she added chilly.

And you must have skipped dance instructions to come early enough to intercept Jadeite, thought Rei. Was that really necessary?

"Jadeite, want to come in and join us for a cup of tea?" she asked him. She hadn't asked him in before, but she couldn't just watch how Minako did her worst to make him feel shook his head.

"Thanks, but I have sword drill before patrol."

"Wow, you progressed to swords now, great for you!" chirped Minako. Jadeite narrowed his eyes and shot her a dirty look, but he didn't answer.

Rei sighed.

"Come on, Minako," she said. "Don't talk like that to Jadeite."

Minako gave her a shocked and hurt look that said how she couldn't believe her best friend was backstabbing her like this.

Oh great, thought Rei. Now they're both sulking.

"You knooow, Minako," she said, "If we senshi want to complain about the Shitennou's manners, then our behaviour has to set an example. All the time. Especially around Jadeite, because he's a slow learner and needs lots and lots and lots of repetitions."

"Hey!" complained Jadeite.

"So you need to behave around him for a long time, a very long time, before you can safely bitch on him."

"Hey!" complained Minako.

"So first, I want you to apologize to Jadeite for that remark."

And for meddling with my choice of friends, she added silently.

"Hey!" Minako wasn't thrilled at all, but Rei just stared her down very firmly.

"Okay, okay, I'll do it," said Minako with a huge sigh.

"Listen, Jadeite, I'm sorry for saying this like you were a beginner at swords. After all, we all know you can do quite some damage with a sword already. So what I said wasn't true."

"Minako!" yelled Rei. She didn't even have to see the pained look on Jadeite's face to know Minako had struck home.

"What? It was a compliment."

"It wasn't! Minako, I'm serious about the example we have to set up in this! I want you to do a decent apology! A really good one! Don't tell me this is the best you can do."

"It's okay, Rei," said Jadeite grimly. "She doesn't have to force herself to be polite if that's such a problem."

"Jadeite!" Rei couldn't believe he had to butt in the second Minako was getting a grip of herself.

"It's not a problem, not at all," said Minako and put on a big smile. "Of course I can apologize with all due consideration."

"Glad to hear that," said Rei with a dangerous glint in her eyes. "Especially as Jadeite is so sorry about what he did wrong, and so sincere about redeeming himself that he has agreed to let you pick an outfit for him. Isn't that nice?"

"HEY!" Lemon biter face, Rei noticed with grim satisfaction.

"And now think of how you treated him, Minako. Shouldn't you do better?"

The business grin of the idol was replaced by the lopsided mischieveous grin of the true Minako.

"Oh, you're totally right, Rei, what was I thinking? Of course I need to be nice to Jadeite who is such a good boy and always sorry for the things he messes up. And such a cutie, on top of it," purred Minako and stepped close to Jadeite. Very close. She put that idol sparkle into her eyes, and smiled the angelic poster girl smile, and Jadeite didn't retreat but watched her in fascinated suspicious confusion.

"Maybe it's time I see you with Rei's eyes, little warrior, eh?"

Jadeite still looked skeptical, so she gave him another extra nice smile."I'm so sorry," she said, and then she raised to the tips of her toes and kissed him.

Only their lips touched, but Minako put all she had into that kiss.

Jadeite was way too surprised to end it, and it was a furious yell from Rei that made them stop.


With visible regret, Minako parted from Jadeite, turned to Rei and asked:

"What, was it still not nice enough?"

"I told you, no kissing Jadeite!"

Jadeite unconsciously wiped his mouth with his sleeve, and shot Rei a disgusted look.

"Wait a minute, you've been talking to her about kissing me?"

"I've been talking to her about not kissing you. And see how necessary it was."

Minako grinned, not looking guilty at all.

"Come on, Reiko, someone finally had to!"

Jadeite fully turned to Rei and eyed her accusingly.

"Why does this kind of thing always happen when I'm around you?"

Minako didn't like to hear that at all.

"What, this happened before?"

"No," said Rei.

"Yes," said Jadeite disgusted. "When I'm hanging out with her, every girl tries to kiss me!"

"What?" squealed Minako, half laughing at Rei's horrified and Jadeite's sulking expression, half furious. "Mars Reiko!"

"That's not true!" protested Rei. "That's just wishful thinking!"

"Happened again right now!" grumbled Jadeite. "Damn senshi of passion powers!"

"You wouldn't look so guilty if you wouldn't hide things from me, Mars Reiko!" said Minako firmly. "I want to hear everything about it!"

"Ha!" was all Rei had to say about took her by the arm and led her to the stairs of the shrine.

"Don't make me ask Jadeite for details, Rei. See ya, dagger boy!"

Rei shot Jadeite an apologizing look, shrugged and let herself be taken away by Minako.