Ami stood in the bookstore perusing the newly issued biology book she had just pulled of the shelf. She vaguely noted the noise behind her but didn't pay close attention until she was knocked into the shelves. She dropped the book as she clutched at a shelf to keep from falling to her knees.
She looked up to see who or what had ran into her and found herself looking into the faces of some high school boys who obviously went to the School of Thuggery. The creep closest to her looked her up and down and sneered. He thrust his face into hers. "Why doncha watch where yer goin', skinny bitch!"
"W-what?" stammered Ami.
"W-w-w-what?" mocked the boy. He leaned forward again; Ami moved her head back so that he wasn't breathing his cigarette breath into her face. "Ya heard me. Ya ran into me! Whatcha goin' ta do about it!"
"She should pay ya damages, Rock-san!" said one of his friends. The others laughed.
Rock smiled evilly down at Ami. "That's a good idea. Gimme your money. Ya owe me for nearly hurtin' me!"
Ami opened her mouth but she was overridden by a deep voice with an almost casual drawl. "Why don't you just leave. I doubt you even know how to read and you're dragging down everyone's IQ points just by being here." Ami turned and looked at the person who spoke up.
Her heart stopped.
The man looked almost bored but she could feel the energy coming off him. He was already anticipating violence and was looking forward to it. "Please. Don't make yourselves look any more stupid than you already are. Get lost."
Rock growled and swung at the man. Who simply smiled.
Rock whimpered as his fist was caught in one large hand. Ami heard a bone break as the hand squeezed.
Ami's savior spoke softly but clearly. "You are very lucky that the man who loves this young lady isn't here." He released Rock's hand. "Otherwise the police would be dealing with your bodies…or worse."
Rock swung at him again. And, again, his fist was caught. Ami winced at the sound of several more bones breaking. Rock sagged to his knees whimpering.
The man looked over the rest of the shocked thugs, his blue eyes ice hard. "Get your friend here and get lost before I lose my temper."
The other boys all swallowed hard and grabbing their formerly oh-so-brave leader, they ran out of the bookstore.
It was Ami's turn to swallow hard as she looked up at the man who had protected her. "Hello, Jadeite." She was surprised at how calm her voice was.
Jadeite smiled. "Hello, Mercury. But, since you aren't in uniform, shouldn't I call you Ami? Or would you prefer that I call you Mizuno-san?"
Ami smiled faintly. "Ami is fine." She tilted her head. "The man who loves me? And what could possibly be worse than their bodies?" she asked delicately.
Jadeite chuckled. "Zoicite, of course." He leaned forward, widening his eyes in mock horror and whispered in her ear. "And damaged BOOKS!"
Ami couldn't help but giggle at the last part.
Jadeite grinned and held out one hand. "Yamamoto Jun. Pleased to meet you! All my friends call me 'Jade'." He smiled at Ami's raised eyebrow. "Trust me. There are probably a half a million or so men with the name of Yamamoto Jun just in Tokyo alone. There were four others in my elementary school, so using Jade was just easier."
Ami frowned. "You knew that you were Jadeite way back then?"
He shook his head. "No, my dad gave me that nickname after we went to a jade exhibit at a museum and I was able to talk about the various types. He didn't know that I knew that much about the subject. I didn't know that I knew that much about the subject." He looked at his watch. "I'm sorry Ami but I can't stay and talk. I have to meet some people before too long." He hesitated. "I know you are shocked to see me. Yes, we are all alive. But, please, don't say anything to the other girls about us." He got down on one knee and grabbed hold of her hand. Ami blushed as people began to whisper excitedly around them.
Jadeite looked into her eyes. "I swear to Selene that we are not evil. That we will NEVER hurt you." He stood up. "At least not intentionally we won't. We're guys. You're girls. There are always misunderstandings. But we won't hurt you. I promise. Just don't say anything just yet."
Ami took a deep shuddering breath. "Okay. I won't say anything to the other girls."
Jadeite smiled. "I'm glad it was you that I ran into. You are intelligent and rational. With someone else, I probably would have been flambéed before I even was able to say 'Hi'." He grinned. "And just so you know, I'm not flirting with you. I'm being charming."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because I don't want my arm ripped of my body and get beaten to death with it. I also don't want to be set on fire because someone thinks I'm flirting."
"She'll probably set you on fire anyways."
"Probably. But I'll deal with it when the time comes." He patted her hand lightly. "I don't know when I'll see you again. But stay well. I promise we'll tell you everything when we're able to." He released her hand and strode out of the bookstore.
Ami stood and shook for a moment. She needed to talk to someone and she had just promised not to say anything to the other girls. Her eyes widened when she realized that Jadeite had left her a loophole!
Ami knocked loudly on the apartment door. Her other hand was clenching her book bag so hard she could feel her knuckles ache. She knocked again. Finally the door opened and she pushed past the person standing in the doorway. A part of her was appalled at her rudeness but she couldn't help herself. She threw her purse and book bag on a chair and began to pace.
Mamoru closed the door and stuck his hand in his pockets as he leaned against a wall watching her. He was fascinated with Ami's agitation. He didn't think she knew how.
"He said that I couldn't tell the other girls." Her voice was raspy. "He didn't say anything about you. I don't know if he overlooked that or if it was deliberate but he did say that I couldn't tell the other girls."
"Well, I'm certainly not a girl. Who told you that you couldn't tell the other girls?"
Ami continued pacing, her movements jerky. "Jadeite."
Mamoru straightened and with two great strides he was at her side. He forcibly turned her to face him. His hands were almost painful on her shoulders. Midnight eyes stared into lake-blue ones. "What do you mean?" His voice was harsh. His face tight. She could see that he was fighting painful memories both old and new.
Ami took a deep, shuddering breath and told him of the encounter at the bookstore.
Mamoru release her shoulders. It was his turn to pace. "He swore on Selene and said they weren't evil."
"And that, eventually, they'll tell us everything."
Mamoru ran a hand through his black hair. "Then I guess we'll just have to wait."