Thorny Roses

Chapter 18

The Senshi and Shitennou stood in shock, staring at Miya's smirking face. She studied her nails while obnoxiously laughing. The Shitennou cringed.

"Yes, that's right! I bought this beach house—"

"With you daddy's money," Makoto muttered.

Miya glared before continuing. "You're welcome to stay, Mamoru-san," she batted her eyelashes at him. "You're male friends can stay, too," she eyed them with interest.

In that moment, each of the Senshi, even Ami, felt incredibly threatened and insulted. Their mouths fell open when Mamoru took a step forward but Usagi didn't betray any emotions. Miya's eyes gleamed with hope.

Mamoru's eyes were cold and hard. "Are…you insane?" He hissed. "Why would I come all this way to spend a vacation with my girlfriend and then stay here with you instead? Does that make any sense?!"

Miya's face crumpled before becoming red with anger. "Fine! Go, go spend time with that little tramp! You're not good enough for me anyway!"

SLAP!

Miya turned to Usagi, cupping her cheek. Usagi slowly lowered her raised hand. "One, do not call me a tramp. Two, Mamoru is too good for you—in fact, you're not good enough for anyone." Usagi took a step closer to the frightened Miya—no one had ever hit her before.

"And three," Usagi whispered. "I will press charges and bring shame upon your daddy's company. I know that you are behind what happened to me at the festival."

Miya gulped before scowling in defeat. She turned on her heel and walked into the house, slamming the door.

The Senshi and Shitennou cheered for Usagi before walking back towards the bus stop.

"Now what do we do?" Nephrite dejectedly asked.

"We came all this way for nothing," Minako pouted. Kunzite put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"E-excuse me."

They turned around to face the owner—well, the previous owner—of the beach house.

"What do you want?" Jadeite coldly asked. Rei said nothing—she was too disappointed and Jadeite knew that.

"I am truly sorry for this," the man said, particularly to Usagi and Mamoru. "I will make it up to you, though. A few miles north of here, our company owns an old, abandoned bath house that no one has rented in over 10 years. I will let you stay there for free."

"Why would we—" Jadeite began.

"Thank you very much," Rei bowed, accepting the key from man.

Everyone looked at her in surprise. They had expected Rei to be the most upset. Rei smiled and shrugged. "I came here for a vacation and a vacation is what I will get."

They smiled at each other and bowed to the man in gratitude.

A fifteen-minute bus ride took them out of the urban area of Yokohama and more into the less industrialized area. Driving alongside cliffs and deep forests, the bus finally stopped directly in front of a forest path.

Getting down, the Senshi and Shitennou looked at each other skeptically before Chibiusa rolled her eyes at them and continued onto the path first.

They followed along after her, smiles on their faces at her behavior. A few minutes of walking through the forest lead them to a large clearing with a medium sized bath house overlooking a secluded beach that seemed to run on for miles. The water was a clear blue and palm trees swayed in the soft breeze.

They all took in the scene in amazement.

Ami read the sign in old Japanese hanging across the doorway of the bath house. "The Moon Haven. It appears to be the name of the bath house."

"I think it suits to our tastes better than the other house," Mamoru smiled sideways at Usagi.

"Let's put our stuff inside then come out for some swimming," Kunzite said.

Everyone rushed inside, eager to see the inside of the house. There were two floors, the first floor having an open room with a long kotatsu table and a kitchen through a door to the right. Two adjacent walls were completely made of windows that could be opened. On the left of the room, there were stairs leading to the second floor. There were two rooms on one side of the hallway and the entire other side of the hallway was the bath.

Half of the bath was the standard shower heads and stone stools for quick bathing but the other half of the bath was a large rectangular shaped pool. The pool was much like beach in the way that the bottom gradually deepened like the ocean. The corner of the pool between the two walls was the deepest and where the pipe for the spring water was located.

The Senshi and Chibiusa took one of the bedrooms while the Shitennou and Mamoru took the other. They each picked a designated area of their large rooms and opened their suitcases, setting up their sleeping mats.

The Senshi each pulled out one of their swimsuits and quickly changed, minding each other's privacies. Ami quickly changed into a blue and white striped swim dress with a slightly flaring skirt. Though the dress ended a little shorter then mid-thigh, Ami wore white swim shorts underneath.

Makoto had changed into a light pink bikini and wrapped a green sarong around her hips.

Minako had put on an orange, halter top one-piece bikini with a row of light blue bows down the front. White frills edged the ends of the bikini.

Rei's bikini was a strapless, bright red one with black lace on the front of the bikini top and the sides of the bikini bottom.

Usagi had brought along a "bow bikini" where the strapless bikini top had a large bow across the front. It was a creamy off-white with a light gold rose pattern all over.

Chibiusa had brought along an adorable one piece that was bright pink. There was a fake bunny tail on the back and there was a matching swim cap with bunny ears.

The girls squealed over each other's swimsuits, pleading with each other to let the other borrow once in a while. They each wrapped a towel around themselves and let down their hair from any ponytails, walking out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

The Shitennou were already outside swimming.

The girls soundlessly came out of the house, dropping their towels on the porch. They slowly walked towards the Shitennou, each (except Chibiusa) anticipating the attention of their respective General.

The Shitennou stopped playing and took a few minutes to just appreciate.

"Thank god this is a secluded beach," Jadeite muttered.

Nephrite gulped in response while Kunzite ran a hand over his face in frustration. Zoicite could only stand in shock.

Mamoru smirked to himself and walked towards Usagi, opening his arms to envelop her in an embrace and kiss her. In that moment, the girls broke into a sprint, running past the Generals and diving into the water. The Shitennou were shocked for a moment before joining the Senshi.

After an hour of playing together, they separated into their respective couples.

Zoicite and Ami were floating on their backs in the water.

"Ami…"

"Hm?"

"You really like swimming, huh?"

Ami laughed gently. "Yeah, I suppose. I've liked it since I was very young."

"I think I like you—I mean, I like swimming, too," Zoicite stuttered. Ami giggled, slightly blushing.

Kunzite and Minako were lying on the sand, relaxing.

Suddenly, Kunzite brushed a hair out of Minako's face, catching her attention.

They stared at each other heatedly, silver eyes clashing with blue. "You're so beautiful," Kunzite whispered.

Minako only blinked, touched by the sincerity and amazement in his voice.

She grabbed his hand, squeezing it while smiling at him.

Nephrite and Makoto were sitting on a blanket, eating a bit of Makoto's bento (she wouldn't let him eat too much because she knew he would finish it).

"How is it that you can cook so well?" Nephrite exclaimed, stuffing his face further.

Makoto was silent as she smiled a sad smile. Nephrite stopped eating, aware of her sadness. He tilted up her chin.

"Hey," he murmured. "What's wrong?"

"Is that the only good thing about me? That I can cook?" Makoto sighed.

"No, there are plenty of good things about you," Nephrite shook his head with a small smile. "In fact, there are too many good things about you. It makes me feel like I don't deserve you."

Makoto's eyes lit up in joy before she fed him another piece.

Rei and Jadeite were silent as they sat near Chibiusa who was building a sand castle but they were speaking with their eyes once again. While Rei was helping Chibiusa, she felt his eyes roaming her body, leaving fire in their path. But Rei didn't feel uncomfortable—instead, she felt rather warm.

Her eyes flicked to his but he was taking his time examining her, slowly coming up to meet her eyes. She nearly gasped at what she saw in his eyes. She was sure she had seen it a few times in Mamoru's eyes when he looked at Usagi.

While Chibiusa was distracted with her sandcastle, Jadeite ran a gentle hand down Rei's spine, letting his finger wander on her skin. She shuddered but enjoyed the feeling. The backs of his fingers scrolled up her spine again, running across her shoulder and down her arm, holding onto her hand. Rei said nothing, as did Jadeite, but they both smiled at each other.

Usagi and Mamoru were walking down the beach, far enough for the others to seem like tiny dots. They talked about random nothings, just enjoying each other's presence. They loosely held each other's hands, gently swinging their enjoined hands between them.

After a short moment of comfortable silence, Usagi giggled.

"What's so funny?" Mamoru softly inquired. He was entranced by the way she slightly covered her smiling mouth with her hand.

"I can't help remembering the look on Miya's face when I told her off," Usagi laughed. "Honestly, I can't stand her," Usagi wrinkled her nose.

Mamoru smiled. "Were you jealous?"

Usagi quirked an eyebrow. "Me? Jealous? Maybe before, but not now. I trust you, Mamoru. How can I be jealous of another woman when I know that I belong to you and you belong to me?"

Mamoru pulled them to a stop, turning Usagi's body towards him. He stared deeply into her eyes, trying to see into her soul, wondering where this wisdom was coming from. Usagi looked up at him through her eyelashes, her lips solemn but slightly parted.

"Usako," Mamoru whispered, trailing light kisses down the side of her face before pulling her into a kiss. Usagi jumped against him and Mamoru caught her, only to fall onto his back on the soft sand. He rolled over, pinning her beneath him. She kept her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer.

He teased her tongue with his as he reached up to squeeze her breast. She moaned into his mouth, widening her legs to allow him to lie between them. Mamoru let go of her breast and slid his fingers over to the edge of her bikini bottom.

Near the beach house, Minako stood up from the ground and stretched while Kunzite studied her from the bottom. Minako noticed his entranced gaze and winked at him, earning a playful smirk from him. Makoto also stood, dusting the sand from her sarong. Nephrite noted the way the setting sun had colored her a light orange, illuminating her green eyes.

Rei and Jadeite helped Chibiusa up as Ami and Zoicite waded in from the sea. Jadeite gently grabbed Rei's hand, momentarily surprising her. Zoicite handed Ami a towel, smiling the way she dabbed the water from her flushed face.

"We should head inside and get ready for dinner," Makoto said. Nephrite stood up as well, picking up the bento box.

"Okay. Would you like me to help you with dinner?" He smiled.

Makoto gave him an eye smile. "That would be nice."

"Great! Maybe I can learn your secret recipes," Nephrite winked. Makoto giggled, shaking her head.

Kunzite and Minako walked up to them, followed by Chibiusa, Rei, Jadeite, Ami, and Zoicite.

"Hey, where are Usagi and Mamoru?" Chibiusa asked.

"I'm pretty sure they went for a walk…" Ami trailed off, looking around for them.

"Oh! There they are!" Jadeite pointed. He squinted at their tiny figures in the distance. "But what are they doing? They're just lying there…oh."

Rei elbowed him in the gut. "Would you shut up? I'm sure they're not doing anything."

"What are you talking about, Rei?" Jadeite smirked. "I didn't say anything. My, what a dirty mind you've got."

"I'm going to smoke you're a—"

"Hello! There's a child present," Chibiusa rolled her eyes sarcastically. Rei shook her head in irritation.

"I'm glad to see they're back to normal," Minako whispered to Kunzite. He nodded in agreement.

"We should call them," Kunzite said. "It'll get dark soon."

"We have to walk all that way?" Jadeite groaned.

"I have a better idea," Nephrite smirked. "MAMORU! USAGI-CHAN! COME BACK OVER HERE!"

"Oh, that is a good idea," Zoicite smirked. "YAH! MAMORU! GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE AND STOP HARASSING USAGI!"

Ami blushed at what he was saying.

"ODANGO! GET OVER HERE! YOU'RE HOLDING UP DINNER!" Rei yelled.

They all began yelling a slew of things, trying to get Usagi and Mamoru to come back.

Usagi moaned again as Mamoru kissed her bare stomach.

Suddenly, they heard yelling and their names. Mamoru, about to pull off Usagi's bikini bottom, groaned in frustration. He continued pulling, only to be stopped by Usagi.

"Why?" Mamoru whined.

"We have to stop," Usagi gently chided. "They're calling us."

"Do you really want to stop?" Mamoru smirked, sucking on her hip bone.

Usagi shuddered. "No. But we can do this later. Besides, I don't want to get sand in my bathing suit."

Mamoru huffed at her lousy excuse. "Fine, we'll stop. But you're going to have to make up for it later," he darkly chuckled. Usagi raised an eyebrow and smirked back up at him.

"I'm expecting the same," Usagi said. Mamoru chuckled, wrapping an arm around Usagi's shoulders.

Usagi straightened her bikini on the way back. Mamoru hadn't been able to completely remove her bikini, only pull it out of the way to satisfy his needs.

"About time!" Minako called out when they neared.

"Yeah! What were you doing?" Chibiusa asked, her hands on her hips.

Mamoru and Usagi looked at each other in surprise and embarrassment.

"Well…" Usagi said.

"Uh…" Mamoru rubbed the back of his neck.

"We should get inside!" Makoto exclaimed, a large grin on her face.

"R-right, it's almost time for dinner!" Nephrite went along.

"We should bathe before dinner," Ami suggested. "It'll be nice to eat after we're clean."

"Ooh! We get to use the baths!" Minako smiled.

"Yay!" Chibiusa squealed. "Girls get to go first!"

Usagi mouthed her thanks to the rest of the group. They smiled furtively, heading in.

"Aww, I wanted to make them squirm a little more," Jadeite grumbled.

Rei smacked the back of his head while Kunzite and Zoicite shook their heads.

They entered the living room after closing the front door.

"So, you guys wait here and we'll take our baths really quick, okay?" Minako rushed through the sentence before bounding up the stairs. Chibiusa, Rei, Ami, and Usagi followed after her. Makoto stayed behind.

"Could you start cutting the vegetables and boiling the water while I take a bath?" Makoto sweetly asked Nephrite.

"Of course! I'd be glad to help," Nephrite said. Makoto smiled, before leaning over and kissing his cheek. She smiled once more before walking up the stairs.

Nephrite stood stock still for a few seconds.

"Strange," Zoicite smirked. "I don't think I've ever seen him this silent or still."

Nephrite sneered. "Well, you're not exactly Einstein when you're around Ami."

Zoicite blushed before glaring. He opened his mouth to retort but Kunzite cut him off.

"Let's not get into an argument about this. They each have a certain…effect on us," Kunzite said, smiling to himself. He coughed self-consciously. "Besides…we all know that Rei holds the whip when it comes to Jadeite."

"What?!" Jadeite yelled. Then he grew silent. "Well…yeah, I guess." He lay down on the ground of the living room while the rest of them laughed.

Upstairs, the girls quickly changed out of their bathing suits and, wrapping a towel around their bodies, dashed across the hall to the bath.

Rei ran into the empty pool. She walked towards the pipe for the hot spring water. There was a large wheel handle that, if spun, would cause hot water to come in from the wooden waterfall faucet. She reached the deepest corner of the pool where the pipe was located while the others girls stood on the edge, shivering in their towels.

"Hurry up, Rei!" Minako whined.

Rei grunted as she tried to spin the wheel. "I'm…trying…" she gritted her teeth.

"Oh, let me help," Makoto sighed. She walked into the pool and, with one hand on her towel, pulled on the handle with Rei. However, it still did not budge. Makoto grimaced before tying her towel in a tight knot. With both hands, she pulled but the handle barely moved an inch.

"Let's all just help!" Minako exclaimed. Ami sighed shaking her head while Usagi laughed at the predicament.

They each grabbed a part of the large wheel and, standing on one side of the handle, pulled. They were becoming frustrated but could feel the handle moving.

"Should I call Mamoru?" Chibiusa asked.

"NO!" They all yelled. In that moment, the handle came loose and water flooded into the pool. The force of the water knocked over the Senshi, sending Chibiusa into a peal of laughter. The Senshi stood up, sputtering water. The water only came up to mid-waist but the water had been so strong that they were completely drenched from head to toe.

Chibiusa laughed louder, falling back onto the tiled floor. The Senshi looked at each other with grim smiles before closing in on Chibiusa. The little pink-haired girl stopped laughing, noticing the mischievousness in the faces of the Senshi.

"Wait…wait, no! No!"

Splash!

Chibiusa resurfaced, sputtering as well. "That wasn't funny!" However, this serious comment had the opposite effect, causing the Senshi to break into laughter.

For the next hour, they splashed and played before relaxing the steaming hot waters. There was more fun when Minako accidentally spilled her bubble bath into the tub, causing mountains of bubbles and suds to grow. They took turns scrubbing each other's backs while exchanging stories. Their laughter could be heard downstairs.

Meanwhile, the Shitennou and Mamoru were having their own good time. They laughed and told stories over cups of coffee while Nephrite listened and talked from the kitchen, diligently working as Makoto had asked.

When the girls finally came down, Ami and Minako were wearing sundresses, Makoto was wearing Capri pants and a blouse, and Rei and Usagi were wearing shorts and blouses. Chibiusa had changed right into her pajamas, for she would be going to bed soon.

The Shitennou immediately went for their baths while Makoto and Usagi finished up cooking. They only spent half an hour bathing and, by the time they came down, the cooking was finished and the long kotatsu table was set. They all sat together and ate, laughing at each other's stories and jokes and having a good time. It felt as though there was nothing wrong in the world, there was no Black Moon Clan, no evil, nothing bad at all. Everything was blissful. After dinner, they opened up one wall of windows, letting fresh moonlight and a cool night air into the living room. They silently sat together on the edge of the windows, sipping hot chocolate or coffee.

After Chibiusa had fallen asleep on Usagi's lap, it seemed an indication to the others that it was time for bed. They closed up the windows and Mamoru and Usagi carried Chibiusa up to the girls' room and tucked her in. After a goodnight kiss, Mamoru left Usagi and the Senshi in their room while the Shitennou were getting ready in the room next door.

The Senshi were all tucked in, their bed rolls close together forming one large bed. Usagi was in the middle with Chibiusa while Minako and Rei were on one side and Makoto and Ami on the other. The last to fall asleep, Usagi stared at her companions. In that moment, she felt that they were more than just friends and comrades—they were her family.

Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for the next chapter where all the fun will begin ;) To those who reviewed, THANK YOU! This chapter is for YOU!

Love,

Pegasus'Horn