Hotaru frowned at the computer. "She said that?" On the screen before her, Ami nodded. "Poor Usagi-san." She bit her lip in thought, glancing back at the closed bedroom door. "Maybe I shouldn't bring Heero-san back so soon."
"How long you wait won't matter. She won't be able to decide."
"Ami-san, that was a mean thing to say," she scolded, trying not to scream and wake up Heero.
"But it was the truth. I believe her exact words were 'I love Duo for himself, and I love Heero in spite of himself.' And she doesn't want to hurt either of them."
Hotaru's purple eyes narrowed sharply. "There's something else, isn't there, Ami-san?"
The blue-haired woman looked a bit abashed. "I... had to tell her some upsetting news about Hyperion."
"The DNA testing?"
"Most every god does." She frowned. "Usagi-san didn't then, I take it."
"No. She seemed to take it better than I'd expected, but she has been so guarded since this whole mess with Hekate started."
"Can't Shinigami-san help her?"
"Maybe, but I think Hachiman-san would be better suited for this job. After all, he -" She blushed, apparently thinking of something totally off-topic "- knew Hekate. Besides, could Shinigami-san handle the truth about Hyperion?"
"Honestly, I didn't think Usagi-san was going to be able to, but she held up under the pressure better than I thought she would." She paused, listening to the faint sounds a room away that seemed to signal her guest waking up. "So give me an idea what kind of battle plan we need to be coming up with, Ami-san." She heard the door open but pretended to ignore it. "I'd hate for us to go into this unprepared. Like last time."
"Fighting Thanatos now is going to be like fighting at least three gods, two of them Elders."
"Loki-san was only a few hundred years old. It would have been worse if he was an Elder God too."
"It will be worse if Thanatos finds Signe."
"I know, I know. Do you know why he's doing this?"
"There's only one person who knows that, and that's Usagi-chan. You'll be seeing her soon, so ask her. Konban wa, Hachiman-san."
Hotaru glanced over her shoulder to retort to him that he really should be catching up on some sleep, but he was already sitting down on the other side of her. "How is Usagi?"
Ami blinked sharply at the raspiness of his voice; she was fairly certain it hadn't been like that before; it sounded like he'd been screaming too much. "Honestly, Hachiman-san, the last two times I talked to her, she seemed a bit too good to be true."
"Did Duo seem to be taking good care of her?"
"Perhaps a bit too good."
Dark blue eyes turned red for a second; Hotaru moved to the other side of the room in a heartbeat, and Ami backed a bit away from the computer; then he blinked sharply several times, and they returned to their normal shade. "So what do we need to end this battle?"
"All three of the treasures. If you get them before Thanatos does, you can summon Amat-"
The screen went black in midword, and Heero turned to Hotaru, blood in his eyes. "We keep the messages set to automatically shut down if someone tries to hack in," she explained. "It keeps our identities secret."
He nodded. "You've seen Usagi recently?" She returned the nod, taking a seat on the couch. "How did she seem to you?"
"I only saw her for a few moments before I came after you. The first time she was crying," she noted that he winced slightly, "and then a few minutes later, Shinigami-san had her smiling again. She seemed happy when I said I was coming to get you, though."
"No, but I thought it might cheer you up." At the glare he sent her, she shot back up to her feet, though she tried to keep her face calm. "Look, Heero-san, I probably shouldn't, but I'll tell you what Ami-san told me." He turned the glare down a bit. "After you left, Shinigami-san told her that he loves her too. Hime-sama... eto... Usagi-san is very upset and confused right now..."
"Then why are we going back?" he asked, his voice soft and almost normal sounding. "It's just going to hurt her all over again."
For a second, she was amazed; she'd always heard about Heero Yuy as cold and heartless, the Perfect Soldier. He certainly seemed to understand Usagi well enough, though. "I think you being there will help her a lot. Besides, I'm rooting for you, Heero-san."
His eyebrows shot up. "Eh?"
"Hai. I think you and Usagi-san would be good together."
"Do you really think she'd be happy with a heartless bastard like me?"
"If you understand that much, then you're not as heartless as you think after all. Besides, doesn't Usagi-san need to be the one to decide who she'd be happy with?"
~ * ~ * ~
"Who the hell taught you to sword fight, onna?"
"My name is Usagi, Wufei."
"Who taught you to sword fight, onna?" he repeated.
She shrugged, sighing. "Hyperion-tousama. Why?"
"Some of those moves are annoyingly familiar."
"Oh! Not just familiar, but annoyingly familiar," she teased. "Well, it's true. Hyperion-tousama showed me all I know about using a sword." She turned gracefully and leveled her sword at his bare throat. "Beginning with never letting your emotions enter the battlefield. They only make you a sloppy fighter."
Duo laughed manically from the far side of the large training room, what he considered to be a safe distance from Wufei and his sword. "Wu-man got beaten by an 'onna'!"
"Kisama o korosu, Maxwell!"
"Not now, Wufei-san," Setsuna interrupted. "Someone's approaching. Gods, the both of them. They'll be at the front door any minute now."
"Too late," a young woman's voice countered. A second later, Hotaru appeared in the doorway. "We're all ready here."
"That was a quick trip," Duo dryly commented, grin dropping off his face as Heero followed the young woman into the room.
"Shinigami-san...," she began. Without warning, though, her eyes visibly turned colder. "We need to talk in private, please."
Duo's violet eyes skipped over to Usagi, who nodded once; she'd be fine. The God of Death followed the dark-haired young woman out the door.
"We should probably leave too, Wufei-san," Setsuna stated, grabbing the Chinese young man by the back of his tank top and starting to pull him out the door leading outside. "I want to show you some... interesting uses for that water power of yours." A second later, that door shut behind them as well.
Usagi found herself stubbing her toe against the floor, looking up at Heero, looking back down at the ground, tapping her sword against her boot, and looking back up. Unless she was gravely mistaken, he was staring at her...
"You have a sword."
If she was an anime character, she thought to herself, she would have facefaulted at that; as it was, she had to resist the urge to bury her face in her hands and shake her head in resignation. "Hai, hai," she answered tiredly.
"Why don't you -" he began, taking a few steps closer to her...
... when the French door Setsuna and Wufei had exited exploded inward with a brief torrent of water. Over the rushing sounds in her ears, she could have sworn she heard a sarcastic voice that sounded suspiciously like Wufei's muttering, "Whoops."
As the water stopped as mysteriously as it began, she opened her eyes and, through the blonde bangs plastered to her face, found herself face-to-face with Heero, their bodies practically molded together.
She froze. And her hand was so tangled up in his shirt she'd practically torn half of it away. And her white shirt was clinging to her in very revealing ways. And from the faint red stain on Heero's cheeks, he was looking.
And, to her surprise, she utterly did not care.
And that was when the door opened.
18 April 2001
Again, no reviews, no updates. If anyone notices this... Somehow, I doubt it. 10+ reviews means another chapter of something. I'm not even going to bother leaving my e-mail addie. No one e-mails me.
Also, for my website, DarkMagick.net, I am looking for a fan artist to do a manga to this story and others. Please contact me.
The winner is decided. I won't say who. You'll have to read and find out on your own! *mighty evil laugh* Thanks go out to Chibi Tenshi for the inspiration. Doomo!