Chapter Seventeen
by Apollymi

Series: Gundam Wing, Sailormoon
Genre: Crossover, Romance, Supernatural
Main Pairing: Duo/Usagi/Heero
Word Count:: 3,393
Disclaimers: I own nothing but the idea.

Usagi had been unusually quiet the entire drive, for her at least. He had come to expect a certain level of noise out of her, even now, but this time she had confounded him. She hadn't said a word to him since they left the hotel.

That wasn't to say she had been completely silent, because that wouldn't have been the truth. She had, however, kept up a whispered conversation with that jewel of her--the Ginzuishou, as she called it--for most of the drive. From what little he was able to overhear, she seemed to be laying down the law about what it would and would not be doing in the next hour or so. It would be helping them find Duo; it would not be killing anyone that was in their way. It would be healing Duo if needs be; it would not level the entire place no matter what she said in the heat of the moment. It would help keep Heero safe; it would not vaporize anyone that was trying to hurt Heero.

Frankly, if this was the kind of heart to heart that was necessary to keep the thing in line, he wasn't sure that it was an asset. It might have been an equal part hindrance, and that was something they did not need right now. Right now, they needed everything to go their way... and he was almost tempted to ask Usagi to tell it that too, if he wasn't worried what she would have to tell it could not do after that.

Finally, he had to ask, "Is that always necessary?"

Startled, Usagi glanced up at him. "What?"

"Is it always necessary to lecture it to make it do what you want?"

She tucked it back into the locket and reattached the locket to her dress before she answered, clearly taking her time to be sure she said whatever it was she was going to say correctly. "No, it's not. It's supposed to respond to my heart. But I want to be sure that it and I are on the same page. I have this vague memory of it not responding properly the first time I tried to use it, and I don't want a repeat of that with Duo. Especially..." She trailed off and fidgetted a bit uncomfortably. "Especially since I don't really have any way to focus it right now."

He thought back to his research and all the articles that had been written on the nature of the various weapons Sailor Moon had used: various scepters and wands. Clearly, they must have been what she was talking about, that focussed the power of the Ginzuishou. "Will you be able to use it without a focus?" Because that was the big question right now.

She nodded. "I can use it. It can just... No, I can use it. There's nothing the Ginzuishou can't do, and I'll make it do what I want."

And he wasn't sure if she was addressing the last part of that to him or to the jewel itself. It could go either way.

This was the last turn he remembered seeing before the mansion's driveway. He drove slightly past it and pulled off to the side of the road, as far away from the road itself as he felt comfortable doing. The car was partially hidden by some low-lying branches of the nearby trees. It wouldn't fool anyone for long, but it would have to do for the moment.

He had this annoying feeling like time was starting to run short. The doom that had been hanging over their heads, dangling like the Sword of Damocles, was getting closer; the thread holding the sword up was beginning to fray.

They were going to have to get in there and get Duo out of there quickly and hopefully quietly, before things had a chance to go downhill as quickly as he feared that they might. Whether that was his newfound ability or just his sense as a soldier, he didn't know, but it was a feeling he couldn't shake.

"Heero?" It was just his name, but it was also a wealth of questions, not the least of which being what they were doing.

"It's about three kilometers from here to the house they're keeping Duo. We're going to cut that distance down by cutting through the forest." She glanced down at her feet, shod once again in borrowed boots with something very much like relief. If the situation had been less dire, it might have almost been funny. "That way they won't see us coming. Hopefully we'll be able to get in and get Duo back out without anyone noticing."

She nodded once, climbing out of the car and pulling herself to her feet, before she closed the car door quietly behind her. This was nothing like the kind of fighting she was used to, he knew from the things he had found out in his research and from Duo's story, but she was gamely following his orders. Hopefully he wouldn't have to worry too much about her while they were getting Duo out. He didn't want to get one lover free and lose the other.

He would feel a whole lot better if she wasn't wearing that dress still. Partially that was due to everything that had happened and that he had dreamed, but partially that was also thanks to the fact it was at least part still white. It would blend in with absolutely nothing. She would be too easily visible. There was really nothing to do for it, though. It had been too late in the evening to find a place open to buy her new clothes.

They kept silent as they walked through the woods. Usagi stayed at his side whenever possible, and he had to wonder if she was doing it to reassure him. He didn't want to admit to needing it, so that she was being proactive on the matter helped. Or maybe she wanted to keep him in her sight. This was not the time for either of them to be wandering off.

"If they do spot us," he finally continued, speaking just loud enough for her to hear him, "stay with me. I'll keep us safe."

"I'm not totally useless here, Heero." The reminder was gentle. Hell, Usagi was gentle; he didn't want to be getting her involved in his kind of fighting. "I'll do everything I can to make sure we can get Duo out of this place." She shivered against the heat of the night, rubbing her bare arms slightly. "Something about this entire place feels wrong."

"'Wrong'?" he heard himself repeating. "Wrong in what way?"

She shook her head. "Wrong in a magic way, I think perhaps. Someone has been trying to do some truly terrifying things here, and whatever it was, it did not go well. People died, and I think that was the intention." Her face hardened slightly. "No one should be allowed to do something like this."

Okay, maybe his assessment of her gentleness was a bit premature. She was gentle, but it was like velvet over steel: there was a hard layer beneath it that wouldn't bend or break. She might have been used to another means of fighting, but she was every bit the warrior he and Duo were. He needed to make himself remember that, before he found himself on the wrong side of it.

He nodded slowly. "We'll have to be extra careful then. Please, stay close to me, Usagi." Desperation made its way into his voice and even pulled a 'please' out of him.

"I'll... do what I can. I think I have to find out what did this. I think I have to stop it." She sounded a little distracted, and that wasn't good. No, not distracted; she sounded far away, as though she was already at the house.


For half a second, he vaguely considered that, if he had rope on him, he would probably tie her up right here and now and leave her until he had Duo in tow. This was going to be more than he could sanely handle right at this moment. If he had to be worrying about Duo and Usagi...

Almost as if she could read his mind--and wasn't that a terrifying thought, the idea of Usagi being able to read his mind--Usagi's blue eyes turned to meet his own. Her face was dark in the shadows of the trees, but he could clearly see that she did not look happy. And okay, neither was he, but she looked a lot angrier than he could remember seeing her since he had known her. She looked angrier than all his research on her as Sailor Moon and all his personal interactions with her as Usagi would have indicated that she was capable of.

"I mean it, Heero," she intoned darkly. "Don't you dare count me out of this. I have to do something to stop this. Think of it as a distraction. I am the one they want, after all."

"But they would be absolutely stupid to think that you're going to be there alone," he reminded her. "And even if they do think you are for some reason, they're going to swarm you."

"And take me to whoever's in charge, and we can get this completely out of the way. I don't want this hanging over any of us." She took the half-step closer to him that was necessary to gently press up against him and cupped a soft hand against his cheek. "I'll be fine. Take the distraction and get to Duo. You're the one who knows where they're keeping him."

Damn it... He did not like this plan, especially the fact that it made sense. He didn't particularly concede that point to her, though, at least not aloud. "Once I have Duo, we're coming after you."

She nodded. "You'd better. I'm counting on you, Heero. I know you won't let me down." She cracked a grin, and if it was weaker than her normal ones... Well, he wasn't going to say anything. "I could make a crack about 'my hero'."

And that was terrifying too. He determined to himself that he wasn't going to ask about what she remembered of her past, including the whole Sailor Moon thing and, beyond that, the thing Duo had mentioned, that the princess the Sailor Senshi fought and died to protect--he thought he remembered Duo saying the princess' name being Serenity--being Sailor Moon. That seemed... like an important thing about Usagi they should know.

Not knowing did nothing to change how he felt about her, but it did seem like important information... since his current experiences with princesses seemed to center around Relena. In very few ways did Usagi seem like a princess of Relena's ilk.

"Let's hold off on those until we have Duo back," he finally requested. He took a deep breath and nodded. "I'll go along with your plan. I don't like it, but I'll do it. You just make sure you keep yourself safe until we get there." And he wasn't entertaining any thoughts that Duo wasn't all right or going to be all right. If he let himself think about that, he would lose it. Amazing how quickly these two had developed such a hold on him.

"I will. You had better do the same, Heero, or you're going to be in big trouble, mister." She poked him in the chest briefly as she spoke, her words as fierce as any he had ever heard from her. She followed it up with a kiss, as if to soften her words. "Let's go get our Duo."

If looks could kill, Heero would have put her in her grave with the nasty look he shot her the moment she broke cover, she thought to herself in some amusement. She carefully kept the emotion from showing on her face, instead focusing on counting all the guards she could see rushing towards the front of the house where she was. She had no way of knowing just how many there were going to be; if anyone knew at this point, it would be Heero; but at least she had done as promised: she had most assuredly created a distraction for Heero.

Of course, there were enough guns shoved into her face right now that she really needed to put Heero out of her mind, at least for the moment. This was going to be tricky enough as it was.

She glanced around, and yeah, it was no real surprise that she saw some of the same men who had come to take her before. The firestarter wasn't there, at least not yet, but a few of the others were. It was to one of them that she walked up and flat out stated, "All right. You wanted me here. I'm here. Now let him go." The man stared down at her in undisguised shock. Was it really so surprising that she would come here after Duo? Really? What did that say about first opinions of her? What did it matter anyway? This wasn't exactly a popularity contest. "Now?" she prompted once more.

"The master of the house would like to see you, Miss Tsukino," another voice spoke up. She glanced to the side of the man she had been speaking to, and yep, it was the firestarter. She should have known he would be the one to be leading things off here.

"If I do, will you let him go?" It paid to be persistent. Besides, if they were all preoccupied with her and not Duo, then Heero should be able to sneak down to wherever he was and get him out. "I'm not moving another step until you promise me that."

"I promise you."

That was too easy, she thought tiredly. He had agreed too easily and too quickly for it to be the truth. They had no intention whatsoever of letting Duo go. Typical. It didn't matter if they were aliens or monsters or humans. Bad guys were all the same. Well, if they weren't planning letting Duo go, then Heero should have a clear path.

"Okay," she feigned agreement. "Then I'll see your master."

The firestarter gave her a slight bow, gesturing her forward. Weird... As far as she had noticed, she was the only one who still bowed. But then, it didn't seem like a very Japanese style bow. Instead, maybe, it seemed almost courtly, which made even less sense. From what she had gathered, Relena was very close to being nobility--if not royalty--in this new era of hers, and there had been no bowing in her household. Maybe she hadn't been there for the right formal occasion? She shoved the discrepancy from her mind; there was no reason to worry about it right now. Right now, her concern needed to be for playing her part of this escape attempt.

She let the firestarter lead the way into the house before she spoke again. "What exactly does your master want with me?" It was partially playing her part, but there was also genuine curiosity to the question. Who would go to such lengths to get her and--presumably--her abilities? More than that, why would they?

"I believe that is not my story to tell. The master of the house will tell you everything you need to know, Miss Tsukino."

She bit her tongue at the urge to correct him to 'Tsukino-san'. It was actually harder than she had thought it would be, but she wanted to be damn sure not to give away any idea of how much of her past and her own abilities she remembered. She wanted to maintain some level of surprise in her favor here.

But at least she was in the house and on her way to meet the person who was behind all of this, so maybe that was a plus. And, once Heero had Duo out of here safe and sound, maybe he wouldn't kill her for this too badly.

He was going to have words with Usagi when they all got out of this. They weren't going to be pleasant words either.

No matter what else, though, she had most assuredly kept her word: she had created one hell of a distraction. The place was practically empty: a few guards remaining here and there, but clearly the bulk of the staff was preoccupied with Usagi.

He didn't have to like it, but she was keeping her word and buying time for him to go find Duo. She was keeping up her end of the bargain; he was working on doing the same. Of course, knowing bits of the layout ahead of time definitely was helpful. It was easy to tell which window led to a room closest to the door leading to the lower levels of the place.

The door he had seen that led down was at the end of a short hallway. Of course it was locked; given that they wanted to be sure to keep Usagi out of there, it made a lot of sense to do so; but that was no real obstacle for him. He twisted the door handle slowly and cautiously... but firmly enough that he was able to hear the lock crunch. The noise sounded loud as could be in the silence of this hallway, but he was skilled enough to know that it was barely anything at all. With Usagi holding their attention, no one was going to pay attention to some little noise.

The stairs were dark, and he wasn't about to risk a light switch. Just because he hadn't hit any opposition yet, that didn't mean he wouldn't encounter some before he left here. Besides, he could see in the dark well enough to tell where he needed to put his feet and if someone was approaching him, and that was all he needed for right now. Once he reached the bottom, though, that would be a different story.

If he had to guess, he might hazard that he had descended about fifteen meters below ground level when he reached solid floor again. Why would someone need this kind of depth for a cellar? He didn't believe it was a bunker, like the President possessed; he had detected no means of lowering the house into the ground nor anything that could work as blast doors. If it was a bunker, it was an odd one. Of course, if it was a cellar or a basement, then it was an even odder one still.

There was emergency lighting on down here, which was a small relief, though he was not about to question why there wasn't any on the steps. If pressed, he would go with the eccentricities of rich people as his answer. It was a good catchall reply.

The room Duo was in was about three or so meters down the narrow hallway. Still no signs of any guards. This was getting to be a bit concerning. Even if Usagi had the bulk of them busy, there still should have been at least a few men down here guarding their prisoner. Why wouldn't they be?

Again he found himself in front of a locked door, and again he twisted the handle until he heard the lock crunch. It wasn't as elegant as Duo's lock picks, but it was just as effective at getting the job done. He quickly opened the door and slipped inside, closing it once more behind himself.

If Duo had moved at all in the time since Heero dreamed about him, then it wasn't by much. He held himself as still as a statue, not even daring to draw breath, until he saw Duo's chest rise and fall, the tell-tale signs of the other man breathing. He was alive, if nothing else. Beyond that, they could deal with anything else.

"Duo?" he started to say, taking about a step forward to touch the other's shoulder.

Abruptly, his back collided with the wall behind him, his feet rising up off the ground, leaving him suspended in the air by nothing but the invisible hand around his throat.

16 August 2012

And here's another early morning chapter. I've been doing my best to keep checking and making sure you guys get your chapters on time. I'm not getting my ice creams, though... because I'm broke. Sometimes being grown-up sucks. (And sometimes not going "Paypal me some money?" to all your friends is tough too.)

I have gotten a total of 10 reviews for Belladonna. So whenever I have money again, I can get my treat. Thanks, you guys! You're awesome!

I'll be starting to upload the new story either today or tomorrow. Keep an eye for "Of Worlds to Fall"!

See you next chapter!

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