Second Impressions
Chapter Two

by Usa-chan

Author Notes: First of all a big THANK YOU to my Oneechan, Eternal SailorM. She edited this for me and informed me of my ellipses fetish I seem to have. In all honesty this chapter is kind of slow with not much happening, but it has a few set up points that will make sense later on in the story.

Usagi blinked at them, not sure if she had heard correctly or not. "Why are you doing this?" she whispered, stunned as she glanced around warily. She couldn't let her guard down for a second, no matter what these two said. What if Beryl was still around and managed to attack Usagi before she was prepared? Everything would be ruined. "Aren't you Beryl's men?" she demanded, as she finally pulled her attention back to the still kneeling men.

"Beryl's?" The sneer came from Jadeite, his stormy blue eyes seemed to bore holes through her. "We belong to Endymion-sama... A long time ago we were tricked into the service of Beryl." He paused and glanced around the snowy landscape. "Where are we? And where is Beryl anyway?"

"We're at the North Pole - and I defeated Beryl over four years ago." She instantly had their attention and felt herself turn red from their scrutiny. "Did Beryl really trick you two? Were the others tricked as well?" She dimly remembered the others. They would always be a part of her memories, but they somehow seemed to pale in comparison to the enemies she had fought over the years.

"It happened back when you still had a Kingdom, Serenity-hime," Kunzite interjected with a faint frown. He hadn't been aware he had been locked away for such a long time. And hearing that Usagi had defeated Beryl... It was a little more than he could take. "She turned us on our prince and we helped destroy the moon.” As for your other questions, Nephrite and... Zoicite..." His tone gentled for the space of a heartbeat as memories seemed to wash over him. "They were deceived as well." He felt his fist clenching, and cursed his inability to stamp down his emotions. He had wanted to be the one that killed Beryl. He had wanted the woman to suffer for what she had done to him and to Zoicite.

Usagi felt horrible and avoided both sets of their hard gazes. Whatever Beryl had done to them must have been awful. It was as if a layer of hard ice had built around each to protect them from something she couldn't quite see. "But... I saw you die, Kunzite," the names felt strange on her tongue, considering she hadn't spoken them in so long. "How are you and Jadeite still alive?"

"I didn't die. I was hit with my own weapon, but that wasn't enough to kill me. I returned to Beryl to tell her that you had discovered about the attack on the Moon Kingdom. Then she sentenced me to the same punishment as Jadeite suffered... eternal sleep."

"Eternal sleep?" Usagi echoed, her eyes acquiring a dreamy look. At first she thought how wonderful it must be before the full impact of their words hit her. Eternal meant forever, which meant that they had been sentenced to sleep forever. "That doesn't sound like too bad of a punishment... you two had nice dreams, ne?" It was the only bright spot she could think of from such a sentence.

"Nice?" Jadeite's snarl forced Usagi to take a step back, and her fingers curled around her brooch. "Serenity-hime, imagine being asleep and having countless nightmares you can't escape. The worst parts of your life flashing through your mind constantly and not being able to look away...We were locked away in that sort of hell for over four years." He brushed a stray hair that had blocked his eyes as he studied her. How had this girl defeated Beryl? It didn't make sense. "Where is Endymion-sama?"

"Mamo-chan?" Usagi echoed with a frown as ripples of unease spread through her. She wanted to believe these two, but what if they were using her to get to her Mamo-chan? "He's not here. He's back home." She doubted either knew where Mamoru was so it should be safe... she hoped. She was prepared for either or both of them to vanish and go track down her love, but both merely glanced at each other.

"It's odd that Endymion-sama has left your side. Serenity-hime, why are you out here in the middle of nowhere? What were you searching for?" Kunzite had a feeling that the girl hadn't known about them. She wouldn't have been so shocked and stunned if that had been the case. "This is a long way from Japan."

"I'm searching for something..." In order to distract herself from her own problems, she studied the two closely. They had seemed scarier when she had been merely fourteen. "If you two were deceived by Beryl into working for her, why do you still remember me? Weren't all those memories erased?"

Jadeite scoffed at the question. "Erased? Hardly! I still remember you staring up at me and trembling in fear because your pathetic little tiara didn't work and bounced off my shield..." He opened his mouth as if to say more but shut it with a barely audible click. She didn't need to know everything about his past.

A chill struck Usagi, and she took a step backwards. She remembered the day, the sheer hopelessness she had felt. Could these two really be trusted? Considering the way Jadeite's lip had twisted as he called her attack pathetic, she was beginning to think she would be better off hiking through the snow and getting back home. "But," she protested as she took another step backwards, "how come you still remember that? Doesn't that make you my enemy?"

"None of our memories of you were erased, hime," Kunzite had noticed the slow retreat and was faintly frowning at it. "Rather, our memories of Endymion and Serenity were fully unblocked..." He cast a wary glance at Jadeite, who seemed lost in thought, "Does Endymion-sama know that you're here?" He remembered his prince; the man wouldn't have let Serenity stray from his sight.

"He knows I took a trip," Usagi admitted as she stopped her steady withdrawal and relaxed slightly. Maybe they weren't going to try to sacrifice her in Beryl's name. "I told him I needed time to think before I gave him my answer..." Her voice trailed off as she stared out over the powder fresh snow. She still wasn't sure if she had the courage to tell her Mamo-chan to leave her so he could have a better life. She wanted to hold him close and never let him go.

Kunzite's attention was drawn to the dimmed enthusiasm of the girl. It was more than odd that Endymion had left her to travel by herself. Then again it was also true that Tuxedo Kamen and Endymion were one and the same, a fact he still couldn't comprehend, considering the personalities of the two men were so different. Perhaps this 'Mamo-chan' of hers was yet another facet of his personality?

"We should check the area," Jadeite cautioned as he tore his mind away from his thoughts. "We have to make sure that there are no more traces of Beryl or her minions." If he and Kunzite had managed to survive, who else could have? The thought irked him as he imagined Beryl sentencing more people to his fate. He had seriously believed he would die in that never-ending nightmare. For that alone, he was thankful to the slip of a girl that had rescued him, even if she was Sailormoon and Princess Serenity.

Usagi tried to digest all this information as she trailed after the two in their search. She wouldn't have the first idea where to look so it was fine with her to be behind the others. She just desperately wished that they wouldn't turn on her and attack her once they realized they had her trust. She wanted to believe in them, but they had been evil before...

"We're not going to find much in this light," Kunzite observed with a faint frown. The sun was sinking fast, and soon they would be left in the darkness. "We should set up a small camp for the night." He glanced at Usagi as he said those words, and noticed her wince. So, she still didn't trust them? It was a shame Beryl had corrupted the lot of them so thoroughly; if the girl knew about her past, she'd feel a lot differently. She probably didn't even believe their truth about being Endymion's guards. "Unless you'd like to continue?" His question was a measured one to test her level of trust. If she didn't begin to trust them soon, they could run into problems once they were reunited with their Prince.

Warily, Usagi let her eyes roam across the landscape. She had almost forgotten how cold it was in the midst of her worries about those two. She didn't remember much from school, but she did know it got even colder at night than it did in the day. "We don't have any wood to build a fire," she weakly protested.

Jadeite smirked faintly, and a small fireball appeared in his hand. It didn't take much for him to clear a space in the cold slush. Kunzite seemed to understand what his comrade was doing because after a moment of concentration a small fire pit full of wood appeared. Jadeite casually tossed the fire into the pit and smiled as it greedily consumed the fodder. "You were saying, Serenity-hime?"

She bit back a frown at the name. She wanted to correct these two, tell them that she wasn't quite Serenity, she was simply Usagi, but... "Thank you," Grateful for the heat, she knelt a safe distance away from the flames and used her coat as a buffer between her and the still cool ground. Would it really be okay to sleep like this? She could imagine the fit Haruka or Rei would throw for trusting her former enemies so easily. Speaking of which, how was she going to reintroduce these two to the others? They might try to kill them before she could explain. She winced at the thought. Though she was still cautious of the two, they hadn't hurt her or seemed to have any pretense to; she was starting to trust them.

Jadeite volunteered to take the first watch so the other two could get their rest. The girl's sudden shock and faint fear didn't escape his notice. It didn't take long for her to succumb to sleep though so he wasn't forced to watch those cautious eyes for too long. She at least trusted them this much. His only comrade was fast asleep as well, and that left Jadeite all by himself. As much as he wanted to sleep, he was afraid of it.

Jadeite stared at the crackling fire as he struggled to forget the horrors that he had faced. On one hand, he wanted to get his revenge on the sleeping girl. She had caused him so much suffering... Only the memory that she was Serenity forced him to calm down. Besides she wasn't completely at fault since Beryl had needed to be taken down. Not to mention if he even harmed a hair on her head, Kunzite would make him pay for the transgression. But as he let his eyes roam to the now snoring girl, he couldn't bring himself to hate her or blame her for what had been done to him.

Usagi whimpered in her sleep, and a moment later her eyes shot open. Something was wrong. Clearing the sleep from her eyes, she sat up and quickly surveyed the area. What was going on? It didn't take long for her to find out. Jadeite was curled in the fetal position as he clutched his head and screamed. She started to get up and go to him when she saw Kunzite shake his head at her.

"I'll take care of it, hime. Try to go back to sleep." Kunzite didn't bother to check if his orders were filled out as he crouched by the screaming Jadeite. "Jadeite, you're scaring the princess," he chastised softly.

"Serenity-hime?" Jadeite's eyes weren't quite back to normal as he turned his gaze on Kunzite. "Serenity-hime is scared?" His screams vanished almost instantly as he stifled them down and took a deep breath.

Kunzite paused to glance back to assure the child was sleeping. "She's not the Serenity you remember, Jadeite." As he saw Jadeite's eyes dim in thought, he nodded to himself. "I'll take the next watch. Get some sleep. We need to get her back to civilization by the morning. I haven't seen or felt Beryl's minions' presence anywhere so I suspect we're the only ones left."

Jadeite frowned at being told what to do. “I can finish my shift, Kunzite,” he all but snarled as he quickly regained his feet. Besides he had got more than enough sleep already. Those nightmares were going to haunt him forever, and he would rather guard all night than have to face them again right away. “You look like you need rest more than I do.”

Kunzite quickly dropped his gaze as he felt a familiar claw of fear grab his heart. Freed in one aspect and yet still a mere prisoner in others. “Stop being stubborn, Jadeite. Get some rest and let me keep an eye on things. Your falling asleep is what scared Serenity-hime awake.”

Jadeite scowled and glanced away as he felt his jaws clench. Part of him wanted to cave in and admit that he was terrified to fall asleep. What if his nightmares returned? What if he saw the death of everyone on the Moon again with him standing over them in triumph? And what if he saw what else had happened that day? The idea froze everything inside of him. He couldn’t deal with those memories and thoughts. “I’m fine. Besides, you’ll need the strength for your shift. I was only out for a second or so. You still have hours before you’re in charge.” He paused and glanced at the sleeping princess. It was funny how some things didn’t change. “I’ll keep an eye on her. Endymion-sama would have our heads if anything happened to her.”

Kunzite nodded in wary trust and left his fellow general to the solitary watch. Unlike Jadeite, he wasn’t thinking about the past but rather the future. Restoring a friendship with Serenity was all well and good at this point, but upon returning to Japan, he and Jadeite could quite easily be killed before being able to spill their tale. The other senshi weren’t as trusting as their leader.

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