A/N: There's going to be rather crude language in this chapter, so beware, kiddos! This one's a bit shorter, but I promise the next will have more!


Chapter Three: What In The Hell (Is Going On Here)


Okay, so maybe that hadn't exactly been the smoothest of Minako's decisions.

But still, she had her priorities. Patrolling the area and assisting her fellow citizens were much more important than sitting around getting to know Hino Rei.

Pushing away the thought that what was important and what she wanted were two completely different things, she instead busied her mind with surveying her surroundings. She had been perched on this building for a while, and Minako could feel her legs begin to numb.

Something needed to happen.

But nothing did happen, so Minako, disguised as Sailor V, made her descent down the building. Her prayers, however, were answered the moment her heels met the ground.

"I told you, already. I am going to go home, and you are going to beat it."

She nearly stumbled onto the floor.

Of course. Of fucking course Hino-fucking-Rei would be here once again to practically seat herself in the middle of a death trap. Of course she would once again be halted by a shady looking male. And of course this would all be in the same fucking alley Aino Minako had spent the past few months getting herself acquainted with.

But this situation was slightly different; the man appeared to be harassing Hino verbally, and not physically. Yet.

Minako cracked her knuckles. Yes, it was going to be different this time. Because this time, Minako was going to fucking break somebody's jaw in half.


Okay, so maybe this hadn't exactly been the smartest of Rei's decisions.

She had just wanted to get home quickly. What were the chances she would be stopped again?

But at least the man this time seemed a little less threatening; all talk. Maybe a few more minutes and he'd relent.

..Or get tackled by a mass of blue and white. He instantly flew to the side and out of Rei's vision.

Her heart hammered wildly in her chest as she heard the familiar clacking of heels in the distance. Could it have been.. her? The protector that had been plaguing her dreams and visions for months now? She had watched the news and read the reports. Many wanted criminals were often found here, beaten and unconscious. It must have all been the work of her.

Rei had to meet her. She had to talk to her.

Completely forgetting the fact that she was supposed to be in danger, Rei darted out of the alleyway and gaped at what she found.

On the floor, was the dirty old man. With a foot firmly planted onto the underside of his chin was..

Aino?

Still clad in her school uniform.

Where was the white and blue?

Where were the heels?

Where was she?

So shocked was Rei that she didn't notice the angry girl advancing toward her.

"What are you doing?" Aino cried, frustration written all over her features.

Now she was questioning her choices? Rei had had it with this imbecile of a girl.

"What does it matter to you?"

"What matters to me is that you are in a very dangerous area. At night! What the hell kind of business do you have here?"

Whatever was shining in Aino's eyes made Rei feel oddly uncomfortable. She decided to change the topic.

"So I can't be here at this time of night, huh? Then what are you doing here?"

"I.. I.." Aino began. She then turned and gestured (seemingly at random, Rei noted with suspicion) to a building across the street. "Needed to get some shirts dry-cleaned!"

"Aino-san, that's a donut shop," Rei pointed out with narrowed eyes.

"They also do dry-cleaning on the side..?" The other girl mumbled half-heartedly, finger that had been firmly pointed at the store wilting. She then straightened up and directed her finger at Rei. "It doesn't matter why I'm here! What matters is that you really shouldn't be here."

"I don't need you to be my babysitter. Unfortunately, unlike a certain someone else in this vicinity, I am a grown woman capable of making my own decisions." The statement may have had been more valid had the raven-haired girl not crossed her arms in a sudden act of petulance.

"Ugh, fine! Do what you want!" The blonde turned on her heel and started to walk away. Rei had been burning a hole in her back with her gaze for all of six seconds when Aino suddenly turned around.

"What?" Rei demanded.

Aino appeared to mumble something, but the words were unable to travel the five feet to Rei.

"I can't hear you," she stated, her impatience exposing itself.

"Where do you live?" Aino may as well as have been shouting.

"Hikawa Jinja. On Sendai Hill. Why do you ask?"

"That's a long way's off."

"Well, the last bus left an hour after school ended. The one before that is fifteen minutes after."

There was a long silence. For a second, Rei thought Aino was going to say something, but she instead started to walk off. Rei had to jog to catch up with her.

"Hey! Aino-san!"

The other girl kept walking. "Why did you stay at the school?"

"It was my study time. I am perfectly capable of achieving a one-hundred whether or not you actually pass."

"Can't you study at home?"

"It's already hard enough to juggle shrine duties and visitors."

"Why does it have to be a perfect score?"

Rei stopped walking. "Because." Because whether or not you know it, you proposed a challenge that I'm not going to back down from.

"..." There was that silence once again. Aino was being too quiet. Rei almost wished she would say something, but caught herself at the last second.

They continued to walk in silence until they reached a pathway all too familiar to Rei. She shot Aino a questioning glance, but the blonde had her gaze firmly fixed ahead.

Eyes still trained forward, she finally spoke. "You'll be rid of me in a bit. Just bear with it for now, Princess."

"What did you just call me?!" Rei protested, turning her body to face Aino completely.

But the other girl kept walking, a smirk plastered onto her face. "Just what the rest of the school calls you."

The biting retort died in Rei's mouth when she realized they were in front of her jinja. Aino kept walking, however.

"Wait a minute!" Rei called.

The blonde's figure halted momentarily.

After not receiving a reply, she continued. "What do you want from me?"

"Just.." Aino's shoulders seemed to tense. She finally made eye contact with Rei.

"Be safe."

And she really did walk away this time, causing Rei to look after her retreating form with a small frown.


After another night of being plagued by those dreams, Rei lay awake, unable to go to back to sleep. Forgetting about her for a brief moment, she allowed her mind to drift to the infuriating blonde from her class.

Forget what she had first thought upon meeting Aino. In less than twenty-four hours, she had already proven herself the complete opposite of Rei's expectations. Maybe even the school's.

Aino wasn't friendly; she was rude. She wasn't ditzy; she was cold. But if Aino were to be summed up in one sentence only, Rei could definitely, confidently say this:

Aino Minako was the most interesting person Hino Rei had ever met.


Notes!

Sorry for all of the swearing; I was starting to feel Minako's frustration at Rei's stupidity. If you notice, however, none of the swearing is on Rei's side of the story. Actually, the previous chapters are quite polite in terms of language, because their characters don't conflict then.

And to mookkitt, who reviewed the first chapter: The conflict begins here! In my head, Minako and Rei are the kind of people who get along perfectly.. until one gets too protective of the other.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed! Things should speed up from here.. hopefully.