A/N: Hi, guys! Just wanted to whip up a quick ficlet. Mars/Venus is listed for their friendship, and the person in the story is a mystery!
Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon.
The Partner In Disguise
Quite unlike her, Hino Rei was confused. Completely and utterly baffled.
Such was the result of a dream, a memory, that had come unbidden to her during an otherwise normal night.
"Why aren't you dancing?"
The unexpected voice and presence startled the raven-hared girl out of her reverie. Although taken aback, she managed to feign a polite and controlled smile.
"The last one was much too forward for my liking." The sentence was uttered more out of contempt than humor. "Sometimes, men truly digust me."
There was gentle laughter.
"C'mon, let's go."
Despite the girl's vehement protest, she was pulled off her feet and onto the dance floor. As they twirled and swayed with perfect timing to the music, the girl was hit with a wave of emotions.
How could she have danced with countless suitors from all over the solar system—from Neptune to Jupiter to Venus—and not have felt so confused, unsure, excited, happy, and so, so complete before? It was beyond her.
As the clock struck midnight, the girl looked around to see everyone removing their masks.
Remembering proper masquerade etiquette, she pulled at the ribbon tied in a knot behind her head, freeing her eyes of the red covering.
Although she knew her own mask made no difference, she was surprised to find that the guise on her dance partner remained firmly in place, blue eyes twinkling.
"You know, you would do much better to smile like that all the time."
The tone in that voice made the hair on the girl's neck stand on end.
And before the senshi could react, she felt a pair of lips cover her own.
What surprised Mars more was that she found her own fingers threading through golden tresses.
When Rei woke up that morning, she cursed herself for two things.
First, why was it that she could only remember blonde hair and blue eyes? Those were the only characteristics about the mystery person that had remained clearly defined the minute she regained consciousness. She couldn't even remember what the playful voice sounded like, although every spoken word had ingrained itself into her brain.
Second, how dare she allow herself such a moment of vulnerability! Although the entire context of the scene eluded her—save for that fact that she had been at a ball—Rei guessed that it was close to the End. While measures could have been taken to ensure protection for the royal family, Rei was angry to find that her past self had been prancing around, falling in love.
In love? Rei closed her eyes and frowned. As much as it frustrated her, Rei was mature enough to admit that that night, Mars had indeed fallen in love.
Yes, she was familiar with the feeling. Hino Rei had had her fair share of heartbreak in the past.
However, the intensity of the love and passion she had felt that night was new to her.
Which was exactly why Rei resolved to uncover the identity of that person, dead or alive.
First of all, there were too many people she knew with blonde hair. Mamoru's friend Asanuma, Minako, Haruka, and Usagi immediately came to mind.
Swallowing the bile that had quickly built up in the back of her throat, Rei quickly disallowed herself from entertaining that last thought. Added to the fact that she didn't feel that way about her princess, Rei really was not all that excited at the prospect of being caught in a love triangle between Usagi and Mamoru.
She quickly ruled out the others as Haruka must have had Neptune even back then, Minako was probably too busy chasing around every male in the palace, and Asanuma was most likely not a reincarnation. And even if he was, the strange kid probably would have been the third leg in an Usagi-Mamoru love triangle.
Rei ran a hand through her hair in exasperation. Maybe she didn't have to find out. Maybe she could just forget and leave her past life a mystery…
The phone rang, and Rei quickly hurried into the hallway to answer it.
"Moshi moshi. Hikawa Jinja."
"Rei-chan! We're having a sleepover at Mako-chan's tonight! Are you free?"
"Yes, I'll be over in a few."
Rei hung up the phone, widely aware of the fact that she had just lied to Usagi.
No, she would not be free until she remembered this blonde mystery.
Because tonight, she had a chance to find out.
"Did you know? Just like you guys, Mamo-chan had his own senshi back in the old days too!" Usagi giggled, no doubt thinking of a bunch of Mamoru clones in sailor fuku. Rei realized that she was imagining this too.
"Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite, you mean," Minako said, smiling mischievously.
"No way, they used to work under Mamoru?" Makoto visibly shivered.
"Don't act so disgusted, Mako-chan. For all I know, you guys could have been paired up with them like Mamo-chan and I! Since Mina-chan and Kunzite were the leaders, they would have been together…"
At this, Minako visibly flushed but remained silent. Rei smiled, remembering she had recognized Kunzite from that night, dancing with an unbearably giggly girl. She now realized that girl must have been Minako.
"Nephrite with Mako-chan…"
"That makes sense! He does resemble my old sempai—"
"Ami-chan with Zoisite," Usagi continued, preventing Makoto from going off on one of her famous Sempai tangents. Ami looked more pensive than embarrassed at the idea. Rei guessed that she was probably reflecting on his level of intelligence. Then again, he must have been a complete idiot to believe in Beryl—ah, she's frowning and shaking her head now. Rei smirked; she loved how she and Ami were often on the same page.
"And Rei-chan and Jadeite!" Usagi finished, completely surprising the former.
"What? Why him?" Rei was disgusted. The first time she had encountered him in this life, he had already kidnapped dozens of innocents under the guise of being the world's creepiest bus driver ever.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, Rei was disappointed to find.
"He seemed to be quite enamored with your beauty," Usagi gushed.
Rei noticed Minako was staring at her intently. She figured she was expecting some sort of reaction along the lines of "Kyaa! I've always harbored feeling for Jadeite-sempai!"
Instead, Rei furrowed her eyebrows and glared.
"As did a certain blond in this room."
Usagi blushed and Minako smirked.
"Seriously, who follows a complete stranger home?!"
Minako openly gaped at Usagi, who was trying her best not to let the blood vessels in her face burst. Ami and Makoto snorted obnoxiously, the former being present when Usagi had refused to follow her off the bus that day, infatuated with a certain raven-haired passenger.
"Anyways, I can only hope that Jadeite was not as moronic as he was in this life. At least, before he had to go and join the enemy."
Although Rei was ready to let this whole thing go, she could not deny the feeling that had settled itself into her heart. Her mystery lover not only turned out to be long-dead, but was also an idiotic traitor.
She tried her best to shake the feeling off.
It's okay, Rei reassured herself. You can continue to hate men like you always have. You were destined to.
Destiny had never seemed so cruel.
Hours after sleep had claimed the other girls, Rei stayed wide awake. A quick glance to her right told her that while Usagi obnoxiously snored, the others had the decency to look graceful even in slumber. Especially Minako, Rei thought, smiling. It was interesting how—when she wasn't yelling out orders or chasing after boys—she looked the picture of both youthful and worldly. Rei decided it was a nice look for her best friend.
She quietly got up and padded her way to the fire escape of Makoto's apartment. As she leaned against the railing, she let out a long-suffering sigh.
The truth was, Jadeite was still on her mind. Although she had been more mild-mannered about it in front of the girls, Rei had felt utterly disappointed and disgusted with herself for allowing herself to fall in love with someone so weak.
It's all in the past now...
"You're still thinking about Jadeite, aren't you?"
Rei spun around to meet the person who had feigned sleep so skillfully. Minako stood in the doorway, still in her orange shorts and loose black shirt. For once, Rei couldn't tell what exactly was going on in the blond's mind. However, she knew she wasn't going to like it.
Rei knew Minako was one of the few who could see right through her, but had hoped she wouldn't say anything. She now knew that the normally stubborn girl was going to poke and prod at her subordinate until Rei spilled her guts out. Being the closest of friends, they normally did that sort of thing with each other.
"I'm angry," Rei said, not seeing the point in evading the question. "I'm angry for falling in love with the wrong person."
Minako smiled wryly.
"No, Rei, I'm the one who did. Not you."
There was a silence, and Minako looked as though she were expecting something.
"What do you mean? You and Kunzite seemed like a good match—"
"Hardly." Minako frowned. "I still don't remember enough, but he was probably one of many failed attempts at love. There were others, you know."
The mention of others somehow made Rei feel sick.
"The truth was, I was actually in love with somebody else, but chose Kunzite out of convenience... and fear. I don't remember enough to know if I ever corrected my biggest mistake."
"Adonis?" Rei asked. She had heard of Kaitou Ace before. In fact, Rei was the only person Minako felt comfortable talking about her time as Sailor V with.
Minako let out a laugh that sounded more like a sob. Rei paled, cursing her lack of tact.
"Oh, crap! I'm so sorry, Mina..." Rei began.
"Save it." Minako laughed softly. She turned back to look at Rei and reached up to gently stroke her cheek.
"Remember that there's not much choice when it comes to whom you fall in love with, Rei. I can tell you this, though. I remember a night where you danced with somebody, somebody who loved you very, very much. More than they could ever tell you. You really were right on two accounts. That person was an idiot, and Jadeite was the wrong person."
Before Rei could let the last sentence sink in, all clear thought was muddled as she registered the tender look Minako was giving her.
So many feelings coursed through Rei at once, but two stood out, also clearly visible in Minako's eyes.
Love and Passion.
Although Rei tried to resist, the revelation was overwhelming.
A wide grin spread across her face.
Blonde hair and blue eyes.
How could she have been so blind?
And as she leaned in, Rei still couldn't quite believe it.
She had finally found her partner.
Mars had finally found Venus.
A/N: Sorry for tricking all you Rei/Mina fans! I wanted the surprise to be semi-pleasant. And yes, in case you were wondering, Mars and Venus did not love their Shitennou counterparts. And as for Mercury and Jupiter? Who knows~
EDIT (just hours after posting): Fixed up a bunch of typos and grammar errors! Also, reworded a lot of things so it flows better. This was originally typed and posted in a flurry, hehehe.