Golden candlelight reflected off glowing whiteness. The woman kneeling at the alter, her head bent so that her face could not be seen, looked just like an angel who had lost her wings. Her hair was longer than she was tall, and she was dressed all in white; even her hair was white.
At the back of the room, a blonde-haired woman leaned against the wall, her arms crossed across her chest, looking thoroughly disinterested with her surroundings. Her eyes remained locked on the white-haired woman, but the tenseness in her body suggested she was alert for any threats to herself and the woman she was apparently guarding. Her pale, pale blue eyes landed on him for just a moment then, obviously not seeing him as a threat, skipped on, to land on the tall man in black beside him. She uncurled herself easily and took a few steps closer to - her sister? her friend? - the other woman.
"Gomen nasai," the angel-woman spoke. Her voice was silvery, like bells, and it reminded him of nice things, like snow and candy, and a full stomach. "We did not mean to intrude like this, but we saw the light on."
The old man smiled down at her. "This is a place of peace. Everyone is welcome here, my child."
She smiled back, her face sad. "No one has called me a child in a long time, Father." She looked up at them at last. She had huge blue eyes, a strange colour of blue that he'd never see before. "I'm not sure what drew me here, but this place seemed so peaceful. There aren't that many peaceful places in this time anymore."
"You're not from this colony, are you?"
She sank down and looked at the floor. "No. I - we came to the colonies from Chikyuu, from earth," she corrected herself, "so I could try to find my son." She smiled up at him. "I think he'd be about your age. How old are you?"
"Seven," he answered proudly.
"And then you and he are the same age," she stated, smiling up at him. Almost irresistibly, he found himself moving closer and closer to her. "What's your name?"
"Duo!" he announced proudly. "What's yours?"
"We need to leave," the blonde woman cut her off from the back of the church. "The Federation Army's coming this way."
The white haired woman sprang to her feet. "Hai, Juu-chan." Her hair swayed as she turned back to them and bowed. "Thank you for your help and your hospitality, Father, but we have to leave." She snatched a black hooded jacket off a pew and threw it around herself, tucking her hair into the hood before she glanced down at him once more. "I'll see you again, Duo."
Somehow he knew that was a promise she'd keep.
The other woman grabbed her by the arm and yanked her. "Jo'ou-sama, we have to go now!" she hissed.
Without another word, they slipped off into the night. The shadows seemed to engulf them as they moved beyond the lights of the Maxwell Church.
"Don't tell anyone she was here tonight," Father Maxwell stated softly.
Duo glanced up at him in alarm. "Why not?" Was she really an angel after all? Was it all a dream?
"Because Neo Queen Serenity does not need any more people from the Federation looking for her, not when she's looking for someone herself."
"The Queen of Earth?" No way... She didn't look near old enough to be Neo Queen Serenity... even though Neo Queen Serenity was supposed to be ageless.
"And chances are, neither of us will see her again in our lifetimes."
But he was wrong. For Duo at least.