Someone sighed, and that was what woke him up. Oh, Kami, I hurt, he vaguely thought as he slowly forced his eyes open. The first thing that crossed his line of vision was a white pair of lethal-looking high-heel boots. Two red ribbons floated on either side of long, slim legs. Whoever this person was, she was wearing a tri-layered, tri-colored mini-skirt with a white bodysuit that was almost indecently tight. One of her arms was wrapped around her waist, and the elbow of the other arm rested on it; that hand supported her chin. Her face was drawn tight as she paced a small circuit, never moving more than ten steps away from him. She sighed again, and her wings (wings?!?) moved with the sound. Finally she looked down at him and smiled, transforming her already beautiful face. "Welcome back," she said softly in a silvery voice.
"Am I dead?" he asked.
"Sh-h! Just because they haven't found this place yet doesn't mean that they won't," she cautioned, a terrified look crossing her face. She smiled again. "You're not dead, though I imagine when those painkillers wear off, you may wish you were. You had quite an accident."
"Who are you?"
She frowned. "My friends called me Usagi. What's your name?"
"Trunks." Wincing slightly, he sat up against the wall. She raised her hand and took a step forward as if to protest, but she stopped and was silent. She slowly knelt on the floor across from him, her wings settling out on either side of her. "What's with the wings then?"
She glanced behind her then met his eyes with a small grin. "They just sort of showed up one day, and they're useful, so I keep them."
"Do you always take home everyone you find?"
"Just the ones who manage to live through crashing into skyscrapers," she quipped. "You're the only person I've seen in the last two months," she frowned and looked down, "besides the Animates."
"I knew you weren't from Tokyo."
"Because, everyone here but the Animates and me are dead. Besides, there was that machine..." She let her voice trail off, then she brightened up. "Ne, Trunks, are you hungry?"
She had to mention that. "Starving."
"Good. Me too. I'll be back in a little bit. Don't try to move around too much, okay?" She stood up and stretched her wings a little bit, wincing as if it hurt before smiling back down at him. "Guess I'd better walk, ne?" She glanced down. "Keep an eye on him, Artemis. Don't let him move around too much."
"Hai. I will, Usagi-chan," a deep voice answered. "Be careful."
"Wakatta." She silently slipped out of sight. A white cat padded its way into view and sat down near him.
"Usagi-chan my be entirely uncurious about your origins," the feline stated, "but I am curious. Where did you come from, Trunks-san?"
"You talk?" The cat nodded. "Hope City."
Artemis nearly fell over, but he quickly regained his poise. "And the machine Usagi mentioned was...?"A
"A time machine."
"Masaka... But it does make a sort of sense. Why did you come here?"
"I don't know."
Usagi hummed to herself and tried to pretend she really wasn't scared to death. She wasn't too sure what Trunks's appearance meant, but maybe it meant the help she'd begged for. He looked pretty stong.
She wasn't even trying to figure out how he'd survived Galaxia's rampage and the Animates; she had a few ideas of her own on that subject. Ami had told her once about the possibilites of time travel other than the Time Gate, if enough power could be found to fuel such a machine. And that meant the possibility of fixing her time.
"Thinking about our new arrival?" a voice said from around the corner.
She started so badly that she almost dropped the food. "You know?"
A figure slowly came into view. "I knew the minute he got here, odango."
There it was: the implied threat. They already had Luna, had threatened Artemis, and had threatened to bring her friends back as Animates. A threat to Trunks was hardly a surprise.
And so it began again...
23 Feb. 2000
So, what do you think?