Sequel to Morning Glories
Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected
After eating a quick breakfast, Venus sat down on the bed, closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. She had to control herself. She couldn't let the memory of Nephrite's pain and her own anger get in the way of the conversation, it was too important. After all, Jupiter must be suffering, too. She wished Artemis were here. She could use his advice. But since he was also on holiday, she'd have to fly blind.
The screen rang. Venus opened her eyes, picked up the remote and accepted the feed. The first thing she noticed was that Jupiter's eyes were red, as if she'd been rubbing them. The second thing she noticed was Jupiter looked tired and pale.
"You wanted to speak with me?"
Out of respect, Venus decided to get straight to the point. "I spoke to Nephrite last night. He told me you kissed him back."
Jupiter's eyes widened. They looked even greener against her bloodless skin. "He's - he's in Prague!"
Venus nodded. "So am I. We bumped into each other. Mako-chan, is it true? Did you kiss him?"
The use of the first name disarmed her friend, as Venus had known it would. Jupiter closed her eyes and hung her head. "Yes..."
"Then why have you been acting like it's his fault?" Venus put one hand behind her back and gripped the blanket.
"Because it is!" Jupiter rubbed a hand over her face. "If he hadn't helped... if he hadn't touched me..."
"You've always told him where to go," Venus said. "And he's never pressured you. You're not Rei-chan, you don't blow hot and cold. Which means you've been hot all this time..."
From bone white, Jupiter's cheeks flushed blood red. She bit her lip. Venus felt her heart ahce, not just for her friend, but for Nephrite as well. "Oh, Mako-chan..."
"I have a boyfriend," Jupiter whispered, her voice strained. "And I love him."
"Yeah, but you want Nephrite," Venus pointed out. She tightened her grip on the sheet, suddenly wishing Kunzite were here, not to say anything but just to feel his presence, to know he'd back her up. Of course, if he had been here, she would never have been able to have this conversation. "You want him so much that you were ready to have him right then and there weren't you?" She took her friend's silence as an affirmative. "Maybe it is a good thing you were interrupted. I don't want to imagine how badly you'd treat him if you'd actually managed to have a quickie."
"I'm not angry with him about that!" The screen grew fuzzy for a moment. Venus wondered if Jupiter realised that she'd shocked the system.
"No! I'm angry because he stopped!"
Jupiter's voice echoed in the video room. She put her hand over her mouth and closed her eyes. Venus didn't say anything for a moment, her mind blank with shock, then she cleared her throat.
"He only stopped because Itto came in, right?"
"I didn't see him," Jupiter whispered.
"Oh." Venus's mind began to race. "And you should have. You should have been the one to pull away, but you didn't. You didn't even notice. You're angry because Nephrite did the right thing, because that put you in the wrong."
Venus had been thinking out loud and she had to stop herself from jumping when Jupiter shouted back.
"I don't need this! I don't need a lecture, Minako-chan, I feel bad enough about what happened-!"
"I'm sure you do." Venus tried to make her voice as calm as possible. "But that doesn't mean you get to take it out on Nephrite."
"After what he did-!"
"What he did back then is completely different from what happened in the bakery, Mako-chan. You know that. You can't use what happened in the Silver Millennium, or what happened in the 20th century, as an excuse for how you're treating him now. It doesn't work like that."
Jupiter glared at her. Her eyes were shining, but Venus knew she wouldn't cry, she was too angry. She sighed and moved her shoulders around, feeling how tense she'd become in the short time since Kunzite had left.
"You're asking me to be honest with Nephrite?" Jupiter said, her voice trembling. "After how you've been behaving?"
"I've been nothing but honest with Kunzite," Venus said, refusing to take the bait. "I haven't lied about my activities or my feelings." She looked up and held Jupiter's gaze. "And you were the one who encouraged me to take a chance on him in the first place, Jupiter."
Jupiter swallowed. "That's different! Anyone could see that he feels remorse about what happened, that he wants to make amends. And you two are right for each other!"
"But you and Nephrite aren't?"
"No!" Jupiter put her face in her hands. "I can't... I can't do this. It doesn't matter how much I may 'want' Nephrite, Itto has always been there for me!"
"It kind of does matter, given that you practically ravished him the moment you two were alone together."
"He started it!"
"But you continued it. And you didn't even notice Itto walking into the room. He saw what happened, Mako-chan. He's not a fool, I'm pretty sure he's figured out at least some of what you've told me. You owe it to him to be honest. Sticking with him just because of your history together, that's not fair. Whatever choice you make, I'll support you, but you have to make a choice, one way or the other."
"I can't trust him," Jupiter whispered.
"If Rei-chan can learn to trust, you can at least try," Venus stated. "And Nephrite doesn't have a deceitful bone in his body, which is more than can be said of Jadeite."
Jupiter's lips tightened. "You're not going to let go of this, are you?"
"I'm not going to stop until you start treating Nephrite and Itto with some respect, no."
Her friend let out a small growl of frustration and sat back. "Fine. I'll speak to him when he gets back from Prague. But I'm not promising anything, Venus!"
"Talking's a start," Venus said, unable to stop herself smiling.
Jupiter glared at her and rang off without even saying goodbye. Venus let out a breath and flopped back onto the bed. That had gone about as well as expected. Now to dress up, find the place where the boys were having a hangover brunch, and make her stunning entrance.