Second Impressions
Prologue - Encounter in the Snow
by Usa-chan

Author Notes: I'm aware I vowed that I wouldn't write another non crossover fic without finishing Kiss of the Enemy first but... I was rereading Blood Moon (the fic tha inspired me to believe that Usagi and Mamoru don't always have to be together... and I decided to write a tribute sort of piece to it. The coupling... shall be a surprise... ah and before I forget I've changed Sentaku it's now located at and submissions are accepted for alternate couplings from the canon (not just Sailormoon but basically all anime, books, movies, etc... if it gets bigger it'll have to cut down but for now just about anything is accepted) as for 'Kiss of the Enemy' ? It will be worked on soon, I've got some plans for the next chapter.

The cold wind sent a chill through her bones and made her wonder if she had lost all traces of sanity. What was she doing out here in the middle of no where? A sneeze caught her unaware and she shuddered as she burrowed deeper into the fuzzy black parka she had picked up. At least she had been smart enough to remember how cold this place was...

With a sigh she raised her hand to shelter her eyes from the raging snow storm and studied the horizon quizzically. There was no sign of that long ago battle... No proof that her and her friend's blood had been shed on the icy white layer.

Considering that her dear Mamo-chan had enrolled into a local college for her sake, she felt... guilty. On one hand she wanted to keep him to herself and not allow him to study over in America, but on the other hand she knew his education would probably be better over there.

As a gust of wind nearly tore off her hood she shrieked and forcefully kept the barrier up. She had come here in memory of that day. As a reminder of the strength she had managed to show... She wanted to show that power again and tell her beloved that he had her permission to go off and study. She wanted him to be happy more than anything else... But try as she might, she couldn't get the courage to tell him this. A part of her wanted to lock him away and bond her to him forever. She realized it was childish and not altogether healthy, but she was terrified history would repeat itself and she would lose him again. It was enough to crush her.

A dim sparkle of light caught her attention and she stumbled through the snow drifts towards it as her teeth clattered from the cold. She couldn't stay out here too much longer or she would freeze to death on the spot! She staggered to the small sparkle and paused as she realized the snow wasn't as stiff or as packed in that spot. As she continued her stubborn trek she become conscious that the snow was all together gone beneath her feet!

A little scared now, she slowed her dogged pace and glanced back at the path she had made. Snow had swallowed up her first few footsteps and only the melted areas showed any signs of someone's passage. If anything happened, she would be alone. She had been lucky to make it here in one piece, she didn't want to wander too far away from her solid landmarks that she had earlier marked on a map, or she could be forever lost. Closing her eyes and searching for that well of strength inside, she felt herself smile as she managed to grasp it and let the warmth overtake her. It was only a little further, she was destined to be a queen one day and she couldn't be a queen if she was a frozen Popsicle so she should be fine.

The object was starting to come into view now. It wasn't as anything as grand as Usagi had first hoped for or expected. She had risked getting lost over oversized pieces of ice. Her features turned into a scowl of annoyance and she cautiously glanced back the way she came. If she hurried she would be able to make it back to her temporary camp before dark. Her plane didn't return to Japan until the next day so as long as she got back to camp she'd be perfectly happy.

She turned to go when she noticed something odd about the pieces of ice... They were colored. One was a dull golden color at top and a drab sort of gray with red lines zigzagging through it. The other was an odd silver or white hue on top with the same gray, but instead of red the lines dashing through it seemed to be an icy blue. Considering that the only thing around was snow, how did these icicles gain colors?

Sweat was starting to gather at the base of her neck and with a little whine Usagi shimmied out of her winter gear before exploring further. Why was it so hot in this spot? The storm didn't even seem to reach her considering the fact that it was melting from some sort of barrier. Her fingers itched to call her friends and have them deal with this potential problem but... Hadn't the entire reason she came here been for inner strength? How was she to be stronger if she was always relying on her friends? They couldn't help her send Mamo-chan away to America. With a resolute sigh she ungloved her hand and cautiously touched what she presumed to be ice.

Warmth seemed to radiate from that block into her. An odd sort of warmth that seemed to encompass her entire being and vague memories flitted through her mind. They were so hazy and quick she wasn't even sure what they were of, only that they seemed to be filled with pain. She tried to pull her hand away and break the contact but it only served to increase the sensation and now she realized these weren't her memories... or thoughts. What was going on here? "Let me go!" she demanded as she pulled with all of her strength. She was a fool for journeying without her precious senshi! The memories, thoughts, emotions or whatever they were was becoming painful. She felt her body start to shake and she struggled even harder. "NO! Moon Eternal Power... Make UP!" her scream echoed over the vast white lands and when it faded a panting heroine was curled on the ground and nearly sobbing. What was that?

The snow started to roar as it seemed to cascade in the rapidly cooling spot. The storm had picked up and Usagi felt like she was caught in a whirlwind. She screamed in fear and fell to the ground huddling in a ball as she broke into uncontrollable shivers. She was freezing, and the snow wasn't stopping! At this rate she was going to get buried!

The snow ceased blanketing her and she paused to glance out of the mound that had already built up around her. The snow was still blinding her so all she could make out was a silhouette directly above her. A human silhouette... It was natural that she opened her mouth, and started to scream.

Glazed blue eyes tried to focus on the screeching banshee and finally managed the feat. He brushed an unsteady hand through his shoulder length stringy blonde hair and slowly surveyed the screaming woman. Something at the back of his mind buzzed as he saw her multi colored short skirt, but the wings that arched from her back didn't ring any bells at all. Who was she? All he had known for so long was pain and suffering... He had been destined for an eternity of torture, and all because of a failed mission that he only dimly recalled.

Usagi finally had to pause for breath and got a closer look at the confused man in front of her. For some odd reason he gave her the creeps and she felt as if she should recognize him... He did kind of remind her of a foreign version of Yuuichirou with the fact he had all this hair everywhere and it was obscuring his eyes... but there was something beyond that. "Hello?" she cautiously whispered as she got to her feet and tried to get a better look. The glint of a golden button threatened to blind her and she squinted away and focused on red lines that emphasized his uniform... "Jadeite?" the name fell from her lips before she was even aware of it and those glazed over eyes instantly focused on her.

Why did this girl recognize him? She resembled someone in his mind, but he wasn't sure of the name anymore... He had known it once, long ago. Now though? His mind was like a sieve, it was probably because he had been locked in that endless half sleep for so long. As memory of that curse came back to him another followed, a much more important one, "Sailormoon..." Jadeite swayed in place and nearly collapsed to the ground. He hadn't used his muscles for so long that they felt like water. It was a miracle he had managed to stay standing for as long as he had.

Usagi shivered as a particularly icy blast hit her and fidgeted nervously as she watched one of her greatest enemies fall to the powdery snow. It was amazing how fast the stuff seemed to build up once that odd barrier was gone... She thought about leaving him there, letting the man freeze to death out here in the middle of nowhere for all the suffering and fear he had made her go through in years past. Usagi sighed; she knew she couldn't do such a heartless thing to anyone. She had forgiven Galaxia after killing her friends off one by one... surely she could find room in her heart to help Jadeite out of here. "Give me your hand," she softly requested before standing up and offering her gloved hand. "We should get out of here before we freeze... then we'll talk."

Jadeite started to nod before he noticed the other giant icicle. "What's that?" he didn't trust his former enemy, she had been the reason he had been locked away... well her and that idiot queen; speaking of which... "Where's Beryl?" it surprised him that he hadn't even thought of adding a term of respect to that term. What was going on? He tried to distract his attention by getting a closer look at the ice and his eyes widened beneath his blonde fringe. "Kunzite?"

"Kunzite?" the feminine squeak came from Usagi as she forgot all about her former enemy and focused her attention on the greater threat. "What is Kunzite doing here? He died! I saw him die!" Hysteria was starting to line her voice but she ignored it as she stared stunned at the block. Why were her former enemies out here in the middle of no where? Did this mean Beryl was around? Her color drained and she sank to her knees as she swallowed hard.

Jadeite tore his gaze away from the senior member of his group as he studied the heroine. Memories that had been almost forgotten swamped him and he was forced to his knees as they hit him one after the other. Sailormoon, no he had found out her name before he had been sent to his hellish prison... Tsukino Usagi... the reason he had suffered for so long. With his eyes shining with a demonic light and his teeth bared in a primal snarl he all but growled at her, "I'll kill you for what I went through!"

Usagi couldn't stop the sudden trembling of her limbs, no matter how hard she tried. "This can't be happening," she whimpered as she stared up at the furious Jadeite. A part of her realized if she didn't do something he could attack her, but seeing him made her remember a time when she couldn't cope without the senshi. When she had failed in defeating him and had only heard his laughter. What if he was still stronger than her?

For a moment sanity slowly came back to Jadeite. He took a deep calming breath but his fury still simmered. She wasn't the same girl he remembered, she had grown while he had been locked away and he had apparently missed several key events. "Free him," he softly demanded as his eyes locked on hers. "I want answers and I don't trust you."

He wanted her to free Kunzite? Was he insane? Slowly she pushed herself to her feet and cautiously approached the imprisoned king. Considering these might have been her last few moments on Earth her thoughts were surprisingly calm. Or at least calm enough to be prepared for the unbearable heat as her fingertips pressed against the icy cold stone.

She wasn't sure if it was because of her transformation, or if there was a genuine difference, but what she felt while touching the block couldn't be compared to what she had went through while touching Jadeite's prison.

An icy chill rolled through her hand and to the rest of her body. She could feel features on her face slowly freezing and her mouth felt like she had stuck it onto a frozen pole. She could even feel the feathers arching from her back being weighed down with ice. She struggled to breathe but only produced a soft whimper of distress as she vainly struggled to break her hold. She could see Jadeite watching her with hate-filled eyes from the side and tried to call out for help only to find that she couldn't even lift her tongue anymore. Her eyes bulged with effort to escape and she made a raspy strangled noise before she fell to the ground hard while choking.

Icy gray eyes examined the trembling heroine for a long moment. Of course he remembered her...Slowly, so as not to scare the trembling girl he grabbed her arm and helped her to her feet. She was terrified of him; it was well warranted considering the circumstances of how they had last parted but... With his eyes locked on hers he slowly knelt to the ground on one knee. "Serenity-hime," he whispered as he clenched his cold fingers into a fist and struck his chest in a salute.

Jadeite blinked sharply and stared in stunned amazement at his senior before he heard the words. "Serenity-hime?" he demanded as his cheeks flooded with color. The last time he had heard that name had been when Beryl had killed the princess in the Moon Kingdom... Slowly with his eyes full of lingering doubt, he too knelt to one knee and bowed his head. "Serenity-hime... if you are her," he softly added casting a suspicious glance to the man to his right, "my life is yours."

May 6, 2004

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