24 Hours to Life
by Moon Momma

12 Midnight Tokyo Time
Jadeite, Kunzite, Zoisite

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After another hour, Jadeite, Kunzite, and Zoisite met back in the bar at the casino. This time, Zoisite's martini glass was filled with something colored neon green. Again, Jadeite didn't want to ask what it was. For himself, he was sticking with a very smooth, very expensive scotch. They shouldn't spend too much of their money on drinks, but this was only the second round they'd had.

"How are we doing?" Jadeite asked. He and the others counted out their winnings, and found that they had quadrupled their original stake. Pretty impressive, Jadeite thought, but still not nearly enough. It might come close to being able to cover refunds for the gym memberships and the clocks and the weird pets and for the amusement park admissions, but there were also the cram school fees, and the fake good luck charms, not to mention the tickets for the cruise ship and damages to two jetliners and three city buses...

And that wasn't even considering what the other three owed. He didn't even want to think about it. And what if the powers-that-be that had given them this second chance decided that money gained from gambling wasn't rightfully theirs to use for refunds? They'd be really screwed, in that case. But what else could they do within the 24-hour time limit?

"The dealer at my table was starting to give me some dirty looks," Zoisite was saying. "And I wasn't even cheating, I swear. I even lost on purpose a couple of times. I just have this instinct for knowing what cards are going to come up next. Am I just supposed to ignore that?"

"Maybe it's time to move on to a different casino," Kunzite suggested. Jadeite and Zoisite agreed with him. They finished their drinks and left the bar, then cashed in their winnings.

As they left the casino, Jadeite let his mind linger for just a moment on the buzz of energy in the building. Greed, arrogance, blind hope, desperation - they all gave off a thick, delicious energy. If only he had come to a place like this when he was gathering energy for Beryl, he never would have ended up in that stupid crystal.

Kunzite and Zoisite were walking arm-in-arm, seemingly without caring who saw them or what anyone thought, and talking. They seemed to be circling around some unspoken subtext in the conversation, as though each of them had deeper things they wanted to talk about but were waiting for the other one to go first. Jadeite wondered what they were supposed to resolve between them and if Nephrite was having any luck in figuring out his dilemma with the little redhead, and, most of all, where Thetis was.

They stopped in the shadow of a cluster of brightly-lit palm trees to pick their next destination. Kunzite opened the travel guide and picked an opulent-looking casino in a location a few hours behind where they were now, where the evening was just getting started. Jadeite looked at his watch again; they had a little over eight hours before they had to meet Nephrite in Tokyo.

"This one?" Kunzite asked.

"Looks good," Jadeite said.

Zoisite said nothing, but his eyes lit up at the picture of their sparkling, glamorous destination.

"Everyone got your tickets in case we need to use them again?" Jadeite asked, patting the pocket of his jacket.

Kunzite and Zoisite also checked, and confirmed they also had their tickets. They stared at the picture for a long moment, fixing it in their mind, then linked arms so no one would get lost, and teleported.

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The Nephrite and Naru Treasury