24 Hours to Life
by Moon Momma

8:00 pm, Tokyo
Nephrite, Jadeite, Kunzite, Zoisite

* * * * * * * *

Another long, discontented silence passed between the four men on the bench, then Jadeite spoke again. "We are so screwed, to use another Earth phrase."

"Indeed," Kunzite said.

Zoisite looked at him. "I didn't know you knew any human slang."

"I picked up a few appropriate phrases here and there," Kunzite replied glumly.

"So what are we going to do?" Jadeite asked. "No one remembers us; according to what Nephrite said, it's almost like we were never here at all and the Dark Kingdom war never happened. Forget not having any money; that's our real problem."

"Like it never happened..." Kunzite said.

"If there's one group of people who would know if it really happened or not, it would be the Senshi," Nephrite said.

"Don't look at me," Jadeite said. "They nearly ran me over with a jumbo jet. I'm not going near them again."

"They actually did kill me," Kunzite added. "They would probably try to kill me again on sight. I don't know if I even have any power -"

"We did teleport," Zoisite pointed out. "I wouldn't mind another try at them."

"We're not supposed to do anything else wrong, remember?" Kunzite said. "Provoking a fight with Earth's guardians would probably come under that category."

Zoisite crossed his arms and legs and sulked.

"We were - I wouldn't say friends, or on the same side, at the end," Nephrite said, "but they seemed less hostile towards me than they had been, because of Naru-chan. I did save her life, after all, and I was killed by a member of the Dark Kingdom." He couldn't help directing a resentful glance Zoisite's way. "You've heard the saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I suppose that describes how the Senshi saw me at the end."

"So, maybe you can go hunt them up and find out what's going on, if we just imagined the whole thing or what," Jadeite suggested.

"Even if we find out what's going on, that won't change the fact that none of the people we're supposed to make amends to remember what happened," Kunzite said.

"It also wouldn't change the fact that even if we found them, we've got no money to give them and we have less than twenty-four hours left to do the impossible," Zoisite added. "I say, as Jadeite so elegantly put it, we're screwed anyway, so we might as well do whatever we want, get some revenge on the Senshi, live it up for the rest of the time we have, and then go happily to our damnation."

"Speak for yourself, pretty boy," Jadeite growled. "At least you two can go to hell together. I'll have to suffer alone for eternity. And so will Nephrite. But yeah, even if we do find out what's going on and find a way to make people remember what happened, how are we going to come up with enough money in less than a day to pay for everything without robbing a bank or something?"

Nephrite didn't answer. A thought had come to him, and he had taken out his wallet and was counting the money in it; all the money he had in the world, at least until he figured out what had happened to his bank accounts and how to get them back.

"It has to be our own money -" Jadeite glanced at Kunzite, who nodded agreement, "- lawfully obtained. I don't think it would work if you just gave us the money, even if you had enough."

"But I wonder," Nephrite said, "if it would work if I gave each of you a small gift, to do whatever you want with, and then you found your own ways to turn it into more money."

"I suppose so," Jadeite said doubtfully. "But how -?"

"Opinion is divided on whether or not gambling is moral," Nephrite went on, "but there are certainly places where it's completely legal. And if you don't cheat, no one can say you came by the money wrongfully or hurt anyone in getting it."

"Gambling," Zoisite said with distaste. "Aren't those casino places nasty and smoky and tacky?"

"Not the really high-class casinos, where you can win the really big money," Nephrite said. As young millionaire Sanjouin Masato, he had spent a little time in some of Asia's classiest casinos. "Jet-setters, celebrities, business magnates, royalty from all over the world - that's who you'll find in the best places."

Zoisite's eyes lit up. "In that case, it sounds like a perfectly wonderful plan."

Kunzite agreed, and so, less enthusiastically, did Jadeite.

Nephrite counted out what was in his wallet. It was a respectable amount, enough to get them into some of the most famous, most exclusive, and richest casinos around the world. He kept back a little for himself, and divided the rest among the other three. "You'll need to rent some formal evening wear. They won't let you into the best casinos dressed like that. I think I know a place not far from here."

He stood and started walking, the others right behind him. It felt good to have a plan. He would get Jadeite, Zoisite, and Kunzite outfitted for their glamorous high-stakes night out, and then he would track down the Senshi. They would be able to tell him exactly what was going on, and then he could find a way around it so he could make his apologies and any other necessary amends, and then...

...Then he would have to find a way to steal Naru-chan away from the boy she loved, who loved her.

It still wasn't going to be easy. But if he could help the others, who had once been his friends, almost his brothers, that would make his own failure easier to live with.

* * * * * * * *

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