Chapter Five
by Apollymi 

Series: GundamW, Sailormoon
Genre: Crossover, Romance, Supernatural
Main Pairing: Duo/Usagi/Heero
Word Count: 2,782
Disclaimers: I own nothing but the idea.

"Tsukino? Is that my name?" Usagi hesitated as she asked, her voice little more than whisper.

Somewhere in the back of his trained mind, he was busy assessing her reaction: the shock and confusion seemed genuine, complete with appropriate pupil dilation. If it was an act, it was a damned good one, but he somehow didn't think it was one. There was no point in not being too careful, however. It had kept them alive so far, after all.

Duo was still running with it though. "From little we've been able to come up with, your name is Usagi Tsukino."

"Tsukino Usagi," he heard himself correcting. "The family name would be first."

She was nodding at his addition. "That... sounds... right, I guess. Maybe... I don't know! I can't remember!"

There was something about the way she said that that made alarms go off in his mind. For once, though, they weren't warning him of danger. No, this time they were letting him know about Usagi -- and namely, that trying to remember was actually causing her physical pain.

He started to let Duo know, but apparently, the other man had already picked up on it as well. He set his coffee cup down on a small table next to the window and crossed the room to gently set his hand on her shoulder. "It's okay. Don't try to push it. Forcing it won't make your memories come back any faster."

"Really?" He could hear a faint kind of hope kindling in the woman's voice. It sounded shaky at best, like the least little thing could dash it to pieces.

"Yeah," Duo continued. "It's like when you're trying to think of something: the harder you try, the harder it is to remember." He offered her a familiar smile, one he knew he had seen turned on him in some of his most down moments. "Or at least, that's how it is for me. Probably not Heero here. I swear he has a supercomputer for a brain or something. He never forgets anything. It's pretty amazing."

"Really?" she asked once again. This time, it was totally different, though. She sounded amused, and there was an almost conspiratorial twinkle in her eyes. "Now, that I'd like to see."

Oh, now this was just great. All the attention was back on him again. Apparently, his thought yesterday about when them teamed up on him hadn't been too far off base. He certainly felt a bit bowled over at the two of them grinning at him like that, not to mention perhaps a little nervous. Yeah, nerves were a good explanation for the odd feeling inside him.

"And what about you, Duo-kun?" she continued, much to his surprise. "What is it that you're... pretty amazing at?"

It only took Duo a second or two to recover if the segue had caught him off guard. "I could always show you."

Amazingly, she laughed at that, a surprisingly happy sound that seemed to light up the room. "Oh, I just bet you could, couldn't you?"

"Absolutely. And didn't I say yesterday to just call me Duo?"

Usagi seemed to be trying to act serious, but the grin threatening to spill over her lips almost ruined the image. "Duo-chan..."

He couldn't help it: a laugh spilled out of him unexpectedly. And here he had been thinking only Duo could make him do that. The indigent look on Duo's face only made the whole thing all the more amusing, and Usagi's laughter certainly wasn't helping.

"I'm missing something in translation here, aren't I?" Duo complained. He didn't seem too put out, though; it obviously didn't bother him as much as he was pretending that it did. In fact, he actually seemed a bit amused. "Go on. Laugh it up at the poor guy who doesn't speak the language then."

"Remind me explain honorifics sometime," he found himself commenting between fading chuckles. Not right now, though: maybe in the car where there should be fewer chances for retaliation, in theory anyway. For now, though, this was good. He could get used to it. He wasn't going to let himself, however.

As Usagi's laughter petered out as well, he noticed something that he would be embarrassed to admit he hadn't picked up on till then: the silence outside. He couldn't hear the thunder anymore, and the sound of the torrents of rain beating against the window had ceased. So far as he could tell, it looked like the storm was over, that it had just quit in an instant. If he had to make a comparison, he would say that it was as if the bad weather had just been shut off like a light switch.

That was miles outside anything he could do. He was pretty sure that it was beyond the scope of anything Duo could do as well. Of the few people with these talents -- that he knew of anyway -- the only one with the possibility of being able to do something like this was the woman standing next to Duo, a happy smile still on her face. Apparently, pleasing her could literally light up a room then.

So had the storm been a side-effect of how... sad she had been? If it was, then it was a lousy side-effect when she was so afraid of storms.

"The rain's stopped," he commented blandly. There was no way he was going to bring this up just yet. Maybe if and when he got Duo alone again, he'd air the idea, but not now. After all, most of this stuff was still new to him: he might be wrong.

* * *

Getting off from Relena's was turning out to be a lot easier than either of them had anticipated. Once the three of them went downstairs, the other woman was waiting for them at the dining table, a wide array of breakfast items laid out before her.

"I know you probably want to get on the road as soon as possible and take advantage of this break in the weather," she commented, "but sit down and eat something first. I know Usagi at least least is usually pretty miserable without food."

He glanced to the side at the pair standing next to him. Yep, Usagi was indeed blushing slightly in embarrassment, and Heero seemed to be making a mental note on that. The blonde was tiny -- he might have even used "slight" to describe her -- but somehow it wouldn't surprise him if she ate a lot. He'd noted that both he and Heero had started eating more to compensate for the extra energy burned by these... talents.

No, what was alarming was how much food on her plate once she got over her brief embarrassment. He tried to think back to dinner late last night to recall if she had eaten even a third this much, but unfortunately, he had been too exhausted to take note. At the time, the majority of his tiny bit of remaining attention had been split between two things: not passing out at his plate and making sure Heero was all right. The Japanese man would never admit, even to him, when he was in pain, so he made it a point to keep an extra close eye on him, at least when he could find him. Sometimes, though, he half-suspected Heero let him find him, not that he was ever going to ask.

From what little he did recall about last night, this meal seemed to be its near opposite. He remembered Usagi being sullenly withdrawn after Relena's announcement, but now she was animated and lively. Heero was even allowing himself to be drawn into reluctant conversation, mostly by the Japanese blonde. That in and of itself should count as a miracle. Heero was not exactly the social type unless it was for a mission (not that that had been a concern in years, thankfully). He wasn't one for protracted talks either, so it was doubly surprising.

But it was definitely a good thing.

* * *

Great. Just great. It seems he's dreaming yet again.

He wanted to catch a quick nap before it's his turn to drive a bit, since he didn't slept well after the previous dream. Instead, though, he's dreaming, so his sleep will definitely be anything but restful.

"Damn," he hears Duo mutter at his side. Have they managed to get him back? Is this what came after all the other dreams?

"What?" he hears his own voice quietly inquire.

Duo lifts a hand from the steering wheel to rub at his head as if it pains him. "We were making good time till we hit all this construction. It's going to set us back on our time."

"Do we need to be somewhere at a certain time?" Usagi's voice asks from behind him. The version of him in the dream seems a bit surprised to hear her. Why, he had to wonder.

"Nah, not really," Duo answers, turning in his seat to talk to her. With traffic at an utter standstill, it isn't nearly as worrisome as it might otherwise be. "I had called ahead and ordered us a couple of hotel rooms, but at this rate, I doubt we'll make our reservations. It's not a big deal."

The version of him in the dream just barely sees her nodding out of the corner of his eye. "I can understand that, as long as it won't be a hassle. Umm... Heero-san?"

"What?" Oddly, both versions of him are asking the same single word question -- but in utterly opposite ways. He's a bit concerned and perhaps even a tad alarmed at the worry in her voice. The him in the dream is distracted, barely hearing her inquiry. How odd.

"Are you okay? You look like something's bothering you." She definitely does sound worried, as odd as that might have been for someone to worry over him -- aside from Duo and Relena, anyway. "Can I do anything to help?"

And isn't that very much like her? Just from what he gathered last night, she might be more soft-hearted than Relena and Quatre combined.

He feels himself shake his head slightly. "No, I'm all right." It wasn't entirely a lie. Duo doesn't seem to believe that in the least, though, based on the look in his eyes and the warm hand on his leg. No, wait, there are two hands touching him: the other is much smaller and rests on his shoulder. Usagi's expression has changed little; if anything, she looks even more concerned than she had before. "It's just--"

He jumped awake, banging his knees on the car's dashboard. For a brief panicked moment, his eyes cast around desperately trying to place himself in the correct location and time. The clock on the car's radio told him that he'd only been asleep about thirty or forty minutes. As for the where, that was a bit easier.

By mutual decision, they had let Usagi have the car's rather small backseat so that maybe she could get some of the sleep she hadn't last night; she had seemed utterly exhausted. Because he'd gotten the most rest of them all, Duo had insisted on taking the first shift driving, as well as insisting that he try to get some shuteye as well. He vaguely remembered drifting off. What he didn't remember was shifting over to use Duo's shoulder as a pillow.

"Sorry," he whispered, sitting up sharply. "I didn't mean to--"

"Don't worry about it," Duo returned as quietly. He turned a smirk and a wink at him quickly. "I've been enjoying it myself."

He felt his face heating and mentally cursed that he blushed so easily. He knew it was just Duo kidding around, and there was no way he meant it seriously -- even with the fact he hadn't seen Duo flirt with anyone else but him until this morning with Usagi.

Usagi... Now that was a thought. What would she say in response to a statement like that?

"I bet you did." At best, it was weak, and at worst didn't bear thinking about. He did, however, note that he seemed to have surprised Duo: his head whipped back around to stare at him, eyes wide with undisguised shock.

It only took him a moment to recover himself, though, in his usual abundance. "And if that doesn't do it for you, I can always think of several other things I'd enjoy doing with you."

A smile threatened to break out, and he wasn't too sure how well he managed to hide it. "I'll have to take a rain check this time."

The other man nodded sagely. "You're right. The front seat of a car is no place for what I have in mind. Too crowded, not enough room to properly maneuver."

He was pretty sure his face was probably red enough to explode, but he somehow managed to get out a weak retort of sorts. "Probably not."

Duo chuckled quietly and didn't add anything else. It was probably just as well; if it was possible to actually die of embarrassment, he might have.

Waiting for his face to cool, he turned to stare out the window and think. While he was certain Duo didn't mean anything with his teasing, sometimes he almost wished the other did. No, scratch that "almost" and the "sometimes" too: he did wish Duo might care about him as more than a friend.

At least, he presumed that was how Duo treated him: it certainly wasn't like he'd had a multitude of close companions prior to the wars. He could, however, admit to being a bit puzzled at the feelings he'd experienced when the other man had been flirting with Usagi earlier this morning: amused, unnerved, confused, and maybe... jealous?

No, it would be better to concentrate on the dream. Compared to most of the others, it seemed strange. There was no sense of doom or dread to it at all. There had been one or two at the beginning that had been like that, but all the other had had the same oppressive air to them. This one had just been a normal everyday conversation, not important at all.

He barely noticed the car beginning to slow, but Duo's muttered "Damn" at his side did grab his attention.

He turned quickly to face the other man. "What?" he returned as quietly as the car finally stopped.

The American raised a hand from the steering wheel to rub at his head like it was hurting him. It was a habit he'd know him to use when something was bothering or annoying him. "We were making good time till we hit all this construction. It's going to set us back on our time."

"Do we need to be somewhere at a certain time?" Usagi's voice behind him was startling. He had assumed she was still asleep. It had certainly looked like she was drifting off about the same time he had. How long had she been awake -- and how long had she been listening?!

If that bothered Duo, he didn't let it show. "Nah, not really," he answered, turning in his seat to talk to her. "I had called ahead and ordered us a couple of hotel rooms, but at this rate, I doubt we'll make our reservations. It's not a big deal."

Why did all this seem so familiar?

Usagi nodded; he barely noted it out of the corner of his eye. "I can understand that," she commented, "as long as it won't be a hassle. Umm... Heero-san?"

"What?" Something about all this didn't sit quite right, and trying to figure out what that was had him completely distracted.

"Are you okay? You look like something's bothering you. Can I do anything to help?"

"No, I'm all right," he answered, shaking his head slightly, in response to obvious worry.

Duo didn't seem to believe that in the least, though, based on the look in his eyes and... the warm hand on his leg? Wait... No there were two hands touching him: the other was smaller and rested on his shoulder. Usagi looked more concerned now than she had before.

It was their hands touching him that cinched it, though. It was the dream. This was the dream. It didn't make sense -- he had never had one happen so quickly before, after all -- but that was exactly what this was. No wonder it had been bothering him so badly. But just to be sure, he asked, "It's just... We haven't had this conversation before, have we?"

21 January 2009

Finally, a decent turnaround time! I'm hoping I can repeat this for Chapter Six. I wish I could do a decent length author's note, but I'm about to run out the door right after I get this posted, so I'm going to have to keep it short and sweet.

See everyone in the next chapter!

Lots of love to everyone!

[ Prologue | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | Epilogue ]