"Who do they think they're fooling?" Relena grinned as she stated; she sounded entirely too happy. "With these glowing yellow and green lights and so many negative feelings... I could spot them from the moon!" Her smile grew, and she stretched out.
"So they're behaving as predicted?" Thanatos commented.
"Exactly as planned."
The dark god frowned. "But what about Quatre and Trowa? When they make the change..."
"I've got that covered," she interrupted.
~ * ~ * ~
"Usagi! I'm back!" Duo called, shutting the door behind himself.
The blond who appeared, however, wasn't Usagi. "Okaeri, Duo!" Quatre greeted him. "Usagi's upstairs in my sister Meri's room, trying to find something else to wear."
A small pout hit the American's face. "I guess I'll wait on her to start the movie then. Ne, which sister is Meri? The chef?"
"No, she's the one in college."
"Okaeri, Duo-kun!" Usagi came bounding down the stairs in a pair of cut-off shorts and a tank top a few sizes too small with a pair of high-top sneakers. "What did you rent?"
"Oh, nothing you'd like," he teased. She pouted prettily. "Just a little Ranma 1/2, some Dragonball Z, and a few video games."
"Gimme!" she cried, trying to reach the bag of videos that hung just out of her reach. "It's not nice not to share Ranma with me right away, Duo-kun!" She put on her most kawaii face. "Please?"
"Iie, Usagi..." He raised the bag a little higher, grinning down at her, and she jumped trying to reach it.
"Give her the bag, Duo." They both glanced to the side to see Heero standing in the doorway to the living room, his face more of a blank than usual. "I need to talk to you about something." He paused, glancing at Usagi for a brief moment then turning his attention back to Duo. "It's important."
Duo handed over the videos. "Go ahead and start without me. I'll be back as quick as I can."
"Sure. Okay." She disappeared into the living room, smiling at Heero as she breezed by him, as if nothing had ever happened between them.
"Okay," Duo began, "so what's so important?"
"No. Outside." Heero stepped past him into the cold air. Once Duo had shut the door behind them, he stated without preamble, "I talked to Usagi."
Somewhere in the back of Duo's mind, he saw Usagi's tear-stained face. "I told you to stay away from her," he growled.
"I asked her to kill me, and she refused," he continued as if Duo hadn't spoken.
"How could you do that to her?" A deep burning sensation began to build within him. He clenched his fist, and when he released it, a familiar sword was in his hand.
Prussian blue eyes glanced his way. "Are you going to do it for her?"
Duo snarled and lunged, a red light clouding his vision. Heero didn't even attempt to dodge; the sword went straight through his stomach. An iron grip seized his hand and held it in place. The redness dimmed, and Duo could only stare at Heero.
"Doomo," the Japanese boy stated, finally breaking the tableau.
"W- what are -"
"I needed this to kill Relena." His grip inextricable, he forced Duo's hand off the sword, and it vanished. "Take care of Usagi for me, Duo. You're the only one I trust to do it." His fist smashed into Duo's stomach, and the American crumbled.
~ * ~ * ~
At exactly the same instant, Usagi grabbed her head and Quatre clutched his heart, both apparently in great pain. "Heero," the small Arabian whispered, "Heero's hurt."
"Iie," Usagi brokenly disagreed. "They're killing each other."
A second wave of pain hit Quatre. The yellow light that had been swirling about him exploded. Correspondingly, the green light around Trowa began to grow. Usagi vaguely noted they were both finally changing. ~About time too.~ she thought to herself.
Then both glows vanished.
~ * ~ * ~
"It's done," Relena's voiced echoed in Thanatos's Spartan room.
"Check the mirror. I put a seal on Quatre and Trowa so that they'll never become gods, not while I'm still around."
"A brilliant move then, Relena-chan."
She frowned. "But I can't find Heero anymore. There are no more negative feelings in his heart right now, only determination."
"It doesn't matter. He hasn't even been a god for a week. There's nothing he can do to hurt us."
Relena nodded. Heero wouldn't hurt me anyway. He never has, no matter how hard I chased him. I know... he thinks of me as a little sister, but he wouldn't ever hurt me. Contended, she stepped back out of the room.
~ * ~ * ~
"Duo?" a soft and decidedly feminine voice whispered from close to him.
He opened his eyes to see a very worried looking Usagi above him, and he grinned faintly. "Am I alive, or did Heero kill me and send me to heaven?"
She smiled but still looked upset. "You're alive, Duo-kun."
"What's wrong?" He struggled, trying to rise. Either Heero'd finally quit pulling punches or he had gotten a lot stronger.
"It's Quatre and Trowa." She helped him sit up, and he glanced over at his two friends, both of whom were unconscious. A strange feeling floated up from both of them.
"Quatre felt what happened to you and Heero, and it started his change. Quatre's beginning his change prompted Trowa's as well. Then both their auras froze and went back down to human level and they passed out."
"Kuso," Duo muttered. "They've been sealed, haven't they?"
"Hai. It seems that way. Duo-kun? Where's Heero?"
"He wasn't outside?"
"Iie. Did he say anything about going anywhere?"
"He - Shit!" He started, actually worried against his will, leaping to his feet. "He wouldn't. Not even Heero's that suicidal crazy, is he?"
"He said he was going to stop, to kill, Relena."
"No!" She was instantly on her feet as well. Neither of them seemed to notice her appearance changing as she did so. The kimono she now wore was something of a combination of Selene's and Hekate's; the basic body of it was the light blue of Selene's, but the trimming was Hekate's navy. The obi was like neither's; it was a brilliant blue with pink sakura branches and petals. Plain white socks, sandals, and long hair completed the transformation. "I've got to stop him!"
She took off at a dead run out of the side door, faster than Duo could think to follow in his current condition, but he went after her nonetheless.
As she ran in the direction in which she faintly felt Heero, the Moon Goddess did her best to project a message to the one she was chasing: "Don't leave me, Heero. Please, don't leave me."
~ * ~ * ~
It had been embarrassingly easy to locate Relena; he'd stepped onto the street after cutting through the woods, and there she was. Her face was blank at first, then she grinned and stated, "So good to see you, Heero."
"I know, I know. 'Omae o korosu.' You need a new line, Heero."
~Don't leave me, Heero,~ floated into his mind. ~Please, don't leave me.~
Usagi? he tried to return.
~Don't fight Relena, Heero. You're not -~
Go back to Duo, Usagi, he interrupted. He promised to take care of you.
He could tell somehow that statement made her angry, though he couldn't fathom why. ~Don't you understand, Heero?~ she demanded.
~Ai shiteru, you bastard!~
Something deep inside him twisted painfully at those words, and he had to resist the urge to wince and cover his heart, from where the pain seemed to originate. With an effort, he shut Usagi's voice out and leveled the sword at the demon before him. "It's time to end this, Relena."
"Now, that's better," she winked as she teased. "Did you say good-bye to Usagi-san before you left?"
"Leave her out of this."
~ * ~ * ~
Usagi skidded to a stop at the top of a steep hill at the end of the edge of the woods, startled by the sound of metal colliding against metal. Her eyes widened as she took in a terrifying sight: Heero and Relena face to face, two swords between them. And the sword Heero held was Kuzanagi.
For a long moment all she could think was, ~That's why it hurt so bad. He took the sword the same way he saw me give it to Duo-kun.~ She frowned. ~But Kuzanagi alone can't defeat a demon of Relena's caliber. It takes the will of a well-trained wielder as well.~
In a heartbeat, she heart something pounding within her. ~Of course. The Ginzuishou and Kuzanagi together could defeat her.~ Silently she knelt and summoned the jewel. Holding it in her hands, she offered it a simple prayer. ~Please let Heero win. Please don't let him die.~
Below her, Relena's head snapped to the side, noting the kneeling goddess. Her eyes narrowed as she growled out a single word, "Usagi..."
Light exploded from the blonde goddess's hands, from the crystal she held there, and Relena visibly back away from it. He took the opportunity to place himself between the demon and Usagi. I didn't want you here, Usagi, he sent her briefly.
~You knew I'd be here though.~
I was hoping you'd kn-
He was interrupted as Relena grinned and waved her hand faintly in Usagi's direction. The other woman collapsed with a pained cry. "Usagi?" he called back to her.
"Dai-daijoubu, Heero," she answered, climbing back to her feet.
Relena blinked sharply. "You two are that close now? No honorifics?" Usagi turned blood red, and Heero glared at her - well, more than he had been doing before anyway. "Soo da. So it's true. So it should be really interesting killing each you in front of the other."
The demon glanced at Heero, as if expecting him to speak, only he wasn't there anymore. She whipped around wildly, trying to spot him, then she froze, leveling her own sword at the Moon Goddess. "Show yourself, Heero," a dark glow began to form on the metal blade, "or else Usagi-san dies."
"I'm right here, Relena," his voice stated from just behind her. She whirled just as the sword Kuzanagi swished through the air. Relena's head fell off her shoulders.
A dark mist rolled out of her body and shot toward Usagi. Suddenly there was another body there, and the spirit slammed into it. Heero dropped to his knees, sweat pouring off him.
Quicker than a thought, Usagi slid down the hill as he stood back up. "Heero?" she whispered. "Daijoubu ka?"
For a second, he considered lying. But to Usagi... "Iie."
"She's inside you, isn't she?" He nodded. Usagi winced for him.
It hadn't been for the severity of the moment and the tears streaming down Usagi's face, the sudden hug she wrapped him up in could have been a glomp. This time she could feel his arms around her as well. "Usagi... you've got to leave me."
Unseen by either of them, Duo watched from the top of the hill. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but he could read their lips enough to get a good idea of what was being said.
"I don't know how long I can hold Relena back. I don't want to hurt you again."
She shook her head against his chest, grabbing handfuls of his shirt as if to hold him in place, the tears falling faster now. "I don't care! Just don't leave me, Heero, please!"
"It's not like I want to."
She raised her head to meet his eyes. "Will you come back when it's safe?"
"Of course." He winced in a brief but rather intense burst of pain within his body. "You'd better go soon." He glanced to the top of the hill. "Duo's waiting for you."
"I don't want to." She threw her arms around his neck. "I want to stay here with you." She kissed the cheek she'd slapped a few hours earlier. "I love you, Heero."
"I... love you, Usagi," he hesitantly stated.
Usagi stared at him for a long moment, disbelief shining in her eyes. Had she heard right? Had he actually said... She pulled herself closer to him and brought her lips to his. Heero remained motionless for a half second then gently, almost reverently, began to kiss her back.
For several long moments, they remained like that, each intent solely on the other. Finally the need for air drove them apart. Without a word, both took a step back, away from each other, transferring their arms around each other to joined hands. Then they had to let even that go.
Almost silently, Usagi turned and headed back up the hill to where the God of Death was still waiting for her. Even as they left to go back to Quatre's house, she never once looked back.
Heero watched until he could no longer see her, then he too turned and walked away.
9 March 2001
Author's Note: I sure did lie about the extreme happiness and WAFF in this chapter, did I? I'm trying to become the Goddess of Angst. How am I doing?
Here's a little note to leave you guys with:
Quatre's and Trowa's powers have been sealed away, and Heero can't help them fight anymore. What are Usagi and Duo going to do? And where is Wufei?