Okay, Heero was always quiet, but this was too quiet, even for Heero. Not even a "Shut up, Duo" in the past few hours that he'd intentionally been running off at the mouth trying to actually provoke such a response from his friend. It had started when he finally drug himself in from his so-called walk around ten o'clock this morning, looking more dead than alive, with a bit more haunted than usual look in his eyes, but he wouldn't even tell Quatre where he'd been.
And, for once in his life, Duo was about to get tired of talking. He'd drug Heero out of the apartment so that they both could escape Quatre's mothering, hoping just a little that Heero might tell him what was wrong, but no such luck.
Heero stopped suddenly beside him, staring down a short but dark alley. Faintly he could make out two people, one vastly taller than the other, at the other end; they were apparently arguing. The shorter one (the curves seemed to indicate this was a woman) broke away from the man's hold on her and was now marching towards them but looking over her shoulder. The closer she came, the better he could hear her voice over the traffic. "-natos, I mean it; keep you hands off me."
"Hekate," Heero stated, moments before he also noticed who she was.
Heero started when Duo grabbed his arm and pulled him back a few steps. Before he could say anything, though, the American whispered, "Shhhh! Be quiet and still, and they won't even notice us."
"It's a little trick we gods have that you obviously haven't picked up on yet, called invisibility. Trust me; me and Deathscythe used to do this all the time."
Hekate and Thanatos stormed right past them without so much as glancing their way, Heero noted. Unfortunately Hekate whirled to face the tall dark-haired god only a few steps away from them. "I would never sleep with you, Thanatos, even if Relena-sama ordered me to!" she declared as loudly as she could.
"But you will sleep with the enemy, eh?"
She glared at him and growled. "Bite me."
"You know who you are, who I am. . ."
"Hai, hai, I know, and frankly, I don't give a damn! We were over long ago, Thanatos!"
"Iie!" she cut in. "Only one person is allowed to call me that, and you sure as hell aren't him!" She turned away from him and gestured off-handedly. "Leave me alone, Thanatos."
"I could get Relena to. . ." His voice trailed off, but his meaning was obvious.
She froze and slowly turned to face him again. "You wouldn't -"
He smiled grimly. "Or I could have her turn you back into Selene." Hekate paled, actually paled, at the thought, but when she spoke her voice was calm and clear.
"It's not like there's that much difference between Selene and I anymore. We're both in love with men who don't really love us back. The circumstances are different, but the end is the same."
"So why can't you love me?"
"Because you killed Hyperion-tousama! He was the closest thing I had to a father in this time, and you killed him!"
"So you'd rather waste away for the love of a human," he sneered the word so that it was most definitely an insult, "who doesn't even love you back than be with me?"
Hekate rolled her eyes and pretended to wrestle with a deep but quick thought before she spoke. "Hmm. . . Let me think: yes!" She barely had time to blink before his open palm connected with her cheek. Heero started to move forward as she stumbled with the force of it, but Duo held him back. She looked up at him once she regained her balance, her eyes snapping with ice-cold anger, and plainly stated, "If I still had Kuzanagi, you'd be dead now, Thanatos."
"If I had my way, you , Shinigami, and that human would all be dead."
She snorted, an arrogant smirk on her beautiful face. "Yeah, right. You and what - What?" Her expression fell into confusion. "Heero-sama? Shinigami? What the-?"
Even as Thanatos turned to look at them, a woman giggled; it was a familiar sound. "Looks like we're all here," commented Relena from somewhere just out of sight.
The tall dark god smirked. "I believe I promised you were next on my list, human."
Suddenly Hekate was between them and Thanatos. "Yurusunai, kisama! No one hurts them, especially not you!"
"I think it's past time a decision was made," Thanatos stated, his voice deadly calm.
"A decision?" Hekate and Duo repeated, almost in one voice. Neither seemed to notice.
He continued as if they'd never spoken. "Where does your loyalty lie, Hekate? With them or with us?"
Hekate paled again and looked at the ground. After a second, Relena appeared, literally appeared, beside Thanatos, and Hekate glanced up to meet her eyes. "Do I have to, Relena-san?" she asked plaintively. The Peacecraft nodded slowly. "Gomen ne. . ." She glanced over her shoulder. "Heero."
Relena smiled. "I knew you'd say that, Usagi-san." She raised her hand and snapped her fingers, and the Moon Goddess froze for a long, tense moment.
As she slowly turned around to face Heero and Duo, her eyes focused on the ground again, her hair lightened several shade still it was its original golden blonde. Usagi looked up at Shinigami first - and stiffened again, falling a step back. Her gaze skipped over to Heero, and she buried her hands in her hair and screamed, and screamed, and screamed, her legs giving out from under her. When she hit the ground, she was silent, though, still holding her hair back, apparently in a state of shock.
Heero turned dark eyes on the demon pacifist. "What did you do to her?"
"Simple. I turned her back into Usagi -"
"You did what?" interrupted Thanatos.
"- but she had to keep all her memories from as Hekate. Her mind is trying to cope with it now. Hekate was, after all, Usagi's mirror opposite, as different from her as night is from day, yet a part of her."
"Everything Hekate has done?" Heero slowly stated. When Relena nodded, he actually seemed pale, as impossible as that -
Duo cut off there and rethought that. And suddenly that "sleeping with the enemy" bit Thanatos had said earlier made a whole lot more sense. Heero, you bastard. . .
"Then if she's no longer our ally," Thanatos stated slyly, drawing the attention (everyone's except Usagi's) back to him, "then that makes her fair game again."
He leveled his hand at Usagi, and a crimson red rose light began to form on it. Within seconds, it had encompassed his entire hand and shot in the direction of where Usagi still sat motionless.
Faster than he could have even thought to do it, Heero had knelt between the blast and Usagi, pulling her tight to his chest and shielding her with his own body. The feeling of that red light hitting his back was worse than any wound he'd ever had, but that pain was quickly replaced by the even worse sensation of his flesh knitting itself together again at high speeds.
"Well, I'll be damned," Relena whispered. All Duo could think for a long, inappropriate moment was Too late. "You're a god too, Heero?" She chuckled then looked up at him. "Well, Shinigami, you're free to take them and go."
The demon shrugged. "It'll be so much more interesting if they're back at full strength again, so ja ne." She grabbed Thanatos's shoulder and vanished, her voice echoing after her, "We'll see you around, Shinigami."
Heero was already climbing back to his feet, true to Perfect Soldier style, not letting a barbecued back stop him from carrying a very limp and unresponsive Usagi. "I'll take her," Duo offered mildly.
Heero shook his head. "I've got her." He shot the American a very dirty look, even for him. "Don't stick your nose in this, Duo."
"I'm doing this for Usagi's sake, not yours. I don't want to see her upset when she wakes up and the first thing she sees is you."
For a split second, Heero's eyes were raw with some unspoken pain; it only lasted a fraction of a second though, and Duo was pretty sure he'd imagined it. "Just stay out of this, Duo," Heero was saying. "I'm warning you."
He bit his lip to hold back a retort; now was not the time to get into a knock-down-drag-out with Heero. Right now, they just needed to get Usagi to Quatre and fast.
9 February 2001
13 days till my birthday
Here's a little note to leave you guys with:
Well, Usagi is Usagi again. Or is she?
And for the last time:
My spellings are based on the katakana, not the romanization or the dubbed spellings! GET OVER IT!