Quatre laughed softly watching Usagi inspect her new room. She'd been reluctant to leave, and it probably had something to do with being shut up in a car with both Duo and Heero for any stretch of time, though her explanation had been worry that Wufei wouldn't be able to find them.
But it had been a mutual decision to leave her apartment. Relena knew where it was, and that alone was reason enough to leave. The Peacecraft didn't know about the Tokyo Winner estate. Plus, there was enough room there that Heero, Duo, and Usagi wouldn't even need to be near each other.
"Well, what do you think, Usagi-san?" he finally asked.
"Really cool, Quatre-kun." She glanced out the window then back at him. "And it's very isolated, so we can train without being seen."
He frowned slightly. "Why don't you just relax a while first?" She looked up, apparently quite interested. "Hai, there's a game room, and a full size kitchen, and I'm told there's horses, and there's even an indoor heated pool."
She seemed a bit embarrassed, blushing faintly and standing there with her hand behind her head. "Ano. . . Quatre-kun. . . I'd forgotten how rich your family is. Saa! I'll find something to do! Ja!" She shoved him out the door and leaned against it, her smile fading as soon as it was shut.
She wasn't fooling Quatre or Trowa, that much was for sure. She was smiling the smile, and she was walking the walk, and she was talking the talk, but one thing was certain: she was not and could not be Usagi. Not anymore.
At least not the Usagi they knew.
~ * ~ * ~
"Does Usagi-san really think she's fooling anybody?" Quatre thought aloud. The Usagi he knew would never have let Duo go rent movies alone, much less turn down a trip to an arcade, and she never would have disappeared into the woods behind the house without a word to anyone.
Not to mention that every Usagi-like thing she did now, even acting stupid from time to time, was all forced.
"She knows she isn't," answered Trowa, "but the fantasy is more pleasing than the truth."
~ * ~ * ~
A soda can seemed to lift itself up in midair and then collapse in on itself like a miniature black hole in action. The one who created such a phenomena on earth, however, scowled at the amount of effort it took her to do just that. But, determined, Usagi concentrated on the next can and repeated the procedure.
She bit back a scream and whirled to face the slightly nasal voice that had come from behind her. She had to fight down another scream as she recognized Heero and instead tacked on a pretty smile. "Konnichi wa, Heero. What brings you out here?"
He was silent for a long moment then he answered, "I was looking for you."
She gulped and tried not to make it too obvious. "For me? Why?"
A handgun seemed to almost magically appear in his hand, and he held it out to her, butt first, all but placing it in her hands. "To give this to you," he answered slowly.
"I did something unforgivable to you. I can't undo what I did, so this is all I can offer you to make up for it."
She glanced down and slowly lifted the gun. "To make up for it?"
"Hai. If it'll make up for what I did, then you can kill me here and now, Usagi-san."
A hard look entered her eyes. She darted forward and slapped him as hard as she could. "Nothing can make up for this!" As his face remained blank except for the rising handprint, tears began to stream down hers, and when she spoke again, her voice was much lower, though maybe not calmer. "This is as much my fault as it is yours, Heero." Her eyes suddenly focused on the red mark on his face, and the tears doubled. "Gomen! I didn't mean to hit you!"
He stood there, stock-still, for a few long moments, his eyes never leaving hers. Whatever he read in there, all the self-hatred she lacked the skills to hide from him, apparently did nothing to make him feel any better. Slowly he turned and walked away, leaving the gun there with her.
Her breath choked her throat then tore its way out of her as a sob. Another followed the first, then they wouldn't stop coming. For what felt like the millionth time in the past day, and was probably fairly close to that number, she collapsed in tears.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, a part she really wanted to shut out, images began to fly by:
Dark auburn hair blew into her eyes as she stared into Duo's violet ones. An emotion between abject glee and abject sorrow flitted through her as she saw pain enter his eyes. This would teach Shinigami to try to come between her and her love.
Readjusting an already short dress to make it even shorter, she waited in the dark alleyway for her love, tracing Heero by the red power rolling off him unchecked. She'd make sure he wouldn't refuse her tonight; he would be hers.
Blonde bangs hung in her eyes, and she impatiently pushed them away. "Come on, Heero-kun," she pleaded, latching onto his arm. "It'll be fun!" He rolled his eyes but nodded in agreement. Elated, she impulsively hugged him tightly, faintly noticing his arms tightening around her as well before she bounded off.
Exhausted, she smiled at the man below her. "I knew you loved me, Heero-sama, but next time, don't make me prove it to you."
The sharp crack of flesh against flesh, followed by, "Nothing can make up for this!"
She shook herself free of the visions, sweat pouring down her body and terror racing through her as a terrifying revelation began to sink into her tired and strained mind.
"I always used them, him," she thought aloud. "I understand now. I... was always Hekate."
5 March 2001
The countdown did little good. Thanks to everybody who send me cards though.
Here's a little note to leave you guys with:
Usagi's been through a lot. Can she put it behind her to fight her enemies? And can there ever be peace among her, Heero, and Duo again?