"Well, if it isn't Shinigami," a cool voice said from the darkness. "One of the two youngest gods, stepping right into my parlor."
"Thanatos?" he called out.
"Very good. I take it Selene has already informed you of who I am and what I want?"
"The powers of the other gods. You won't win, you know."
"We'll see. But I will finish what I started on the Moon goddess, then I'll be back for you."
"Leave her alone, you bastard!"
"Don't challenge me, young one. You don't stand a chance. You and Selene are not only the youngest two gods, but you're also the only two left in this area." He cackled, apparently trying to sound impressively evil. "And once I have the pair of your powers, the other gods will fall that much easier."
Duo was tossing and turning on the couch, apparently in the throes of a rather impressive nightmare. And even though she knew you weren't supposed to wake up someone who was having a nightmare, she couldn't leave him like this to go fix breakfast. She reached over and shook him gently and called, "Duo-kun? Wake up, Duo." She got very little response, so she decided to try once more and if that didn't work, he could wake up on his own. "Shin-kun?"
At this, he bolted upright, silently screaming. Almost of their own will, her arms wrapped around him, holding him as tightly as he was holding onto her.
"Daijoubu ka, Shin-kun?"
He let go of her so quickly she almost fell off the couch. At the sight of the smile plastered on his face, she did. Shaking her head in mock severity, she stood silently and headed back to the kitchen.
"What's wrong, Usagi?" She sent a glare at him over her shoulder. "Come on. What's wrong?"
"What were you dreaming about?"
"Oh, that? Nothing. You worry too much. What are you doing?" She merely turned around and thrust a coffee cup in his hand. "You know how to make coffee?"
"Hai. You can say I'm worrying too much, but I've already lost one person I cared about a lot to Thanatos; I don't want to lose you, D-chan."
"You *do* worry too much. I'm not going anywhere for a long, long time. I am the God of Death, after all; I can't--" She hushed him with a finger on his lips.
"You say that too easily, Shinigami. Promise me I won't lose you."
"I'll hold you to that."
"Don't go all Heero on me, okay?"
She grinned impishly. "Ninmu--" She burst out laughing before she could finish, mostly because Duo starting tickling her.
After she was gasping for breath and nearly blue in the face, he finally let up. "So, Usagi, what's for breakfast?"
"You're always thinking about food."
"Ecchi," she accused, still grinning widely.
"Who? Me? Never. So what's for breakfast, Usagi? And please don't say rice or anything like that because I swear that's all Wufei eats and--"
"Cupcakes. That's all I have for breakfast. American-style cupcakes."
"Remind me to stay over at your place more often. I almost forgot you have as bad of a sweet tooth as I do."
"I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't give you caffeine *and* sugar," she teased, half-seriously. "I've seen you on a sugar high before; it wasn't pretty."
"Yeah, well, I can handle it better now. I don't get nearly as hyper as I used to. And besides, I think better on a full stomach. So feed me, and I'll figure out how we can beat Thanatos."
He barely finished getting the words out of his mouth before she was setting down on the small kitchen table a twenty-four pack of cupcakes, only four of which were missing. "So eat, and let's get rid of him," she answered.
Duo stuffed one entire cupcake in his mouth and chewed on it thoughtfully. "Okay, first of all, we need to figure out what powers he already has and who all, besides Hyperion, he's already gotten to."
"He'll have gotten a lot of power from Hyperion; after all, he was older than both of us put together."
"I know. Usagi?"
"Hai?" She looked up at him from taking the paper wrapper off a cupcake.
"How *did* you get away from him?"
She frowned. "I told you, I kicked him. He's still vulnerable to physical pain. So I kicked him hard enough to get him to drop me and I ran for it."
"He got a hold of you?"
"Only for a moment; he barely had me for a minute, I mean; but it was long enough to really wipe me out and give me these." She pulled down the neckline of her robe enough to expose fading hand-shaped burn marks. "I don't think he got any of my powers."
"He did this in under a minute?" Duo couldn't help leaning over and brushing the marks with just the backs of his fingers, just barely touching the skin.
"Hai. Even now, I still feel kind of drained. D-chan?"
"You have a bit of cupcake on your face."