"If you figured out that much," Oneesan stated, her face in a sneer but her voice almost playful, "maybe you're smarter than you look." She chuckled lightly. "But I would expect nothing less from Hyperion's adopted daughter."
"He never actually adopted me, you know."
The smile on the Elder Goddess's face was so cheery, it had to be faked, as she took a step forward and held a hand encased in a rough leather elbow glove out to Usagi. "Hajimemashite. I am Morrigan, called Oneesan. Doozo yoroshiku."
"Tsukino Usagi desu, and also the goddess of the moon, Selene. Doozo yoroshiku." With only a slight hesitation, Usagi also stepped forward, taking the other woman's hand.
"Selene, eh? Then introduce me to your friends, Moon Goddess." The playful tone was back in her voice at last, and she let Usagi's hand go slowly.
"Soo desu..." Usagi turned and gestured to each of them as she said their name. "Chang Wufei, Ryujin. Meiou Setsuna, Kore. Tomoe Hotaru, Kali. Duo Maxwell, Shinigami. Yuy Heero, Hachiman."
"The hanyou," Oneesan observed, the smile still in place, "or whatever you call a god walking around with a demon inside him. Eh, little warrior?" she addressed towards Heero. She inclined her head just slightly to them. "Doozo yoroshiku, minna."
He could feel the blood raging through his body at Oneesan's playful words. That nickname... In all the years he had known her, she had never given him one. ~ Stop that! What do you mean? You want her to give you a nickname? ~ Clenching his fists, he forced himself to remain calm.
Usagi gave him a curious glance as if knowing what he was feeling. Oneesan wasn't playing nice at the moment, and Usagi didn't quite like the nickname she'd given Heero. Wisely, she kept her mouth shut, knowing better than to say anything to the Elder Goddess. Beside her, Heero squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"Who's he then?" Duo asked curiously, just barely resisting the urge to point at the crimson-haired man.. Something about the way the Elder God was glancing at Heero made him wonder if the redhead wasn't as coolheaded as he pretended to be.
"Aed," he replied tersely. Kuso, these feelings...these emotions... He swore he would never feel again. Why did it take the presence of Hachiman to stir this turbulence within him? Had he grown so accustomed to taking Morrigan's presence for granted?
Aed and Morrigan, the infamous and deadly Elder gods. One is never seen without the other, Setsuna thought wryly, and they show up on our doorstep - so to speak, of course - right when we could use dangerous people like them. This is a gods' send.
"Aya," Oneesan whispered, an honest smile and teasing smirk on her face now, "be nice to the children. After all, they're going to take on our old friend Thanatos." He snorted softly and rolled his eyes just slightly as if stating his opinion on the matter. "Hai. I know. As they are, they really don't stand much of a chance against him, do they?"
"Oneesan?" Setsuna asked, pulling the Elder Goddess's attention over to her. "What exactly do you mean?"
"I mean, Shinigami and Selene here have been gods for four years; Selene had the added benefit of an Elder God as her guardian. They're the oldest and best-trained of you all. Then you, Kore, and you, Kali, are both two years old each. Self-trained, but friends with the goddesses of the inner and outer planets, so you've surely picked up some skills there. Then Ryujin and the hanyou, who have been gods a week and a half and two weeks respectively." She glanced around. "Based on the damage, I'd say you, Ryujin, have learned to use your powers rather quickly. But you, little warrior," she turned as she addressed Heero, her good humor fading, "display no real power at all. Just a demon's influence and presence."
Heero felt a growl rising up in the back of his throat and bit it down quickly. By no means did he want a repeat of what happened a few minutes ago. "Hanyou or not, I can still fight Thanatos."
"Yare, yare. At least you have determination on your side. Demo, I think, determination or not, it's going to take a lot of training to get you children ready to go against Thanatos."
"You can help us get ready to face him?" Wufei couldn't quite help asking.
"Saa..." She seemed to look a bit worried, biting her lip lightly. "It would be a lot of work for me to properly train all of you." Almost slyly, she glanced over her shoulder at her companion.
He saw the light from her eyes, the purpose that he had never seen in all the years he had known her. She almost looked excited at the prospect of training. ~ She hasn't looked like this...not since she was with... him. ~ He tightened his lip, willing the painful memory to the back of his mind. He remembered how much pain the bastard had put her through and all the mind games he had played.
Fury began filling his blood, and he didn't know how he was fast losing the iron control that he was famed for amongst the gods. ~ It's her. ~ Shut up. Shut up, he thought to himself.
Morrigan gave him a strange look, as if sensing the rage simmering on the surface. She quirked an eyebrow, and Aya stifled the emotions that ran through him when her gaze fell upon him. He would never see a frown upon her face. He would protect her; failure wasn't an option. Plus, there was an added incentive for him. ~ Thanatos, you bastard, you will pay for everything you've put her through. ~
"I'll help," he announced tersely. Oneesan could barely hold back her glee. In all the years that she had known him, he had always supported everything she did. A wave of tenderness swept through her - and she ignored it blithely. She did, however, grin at the sight of the younger gods gaping at her partner in open shock.
"There is one problem still remaining." Eyes fell upon him, and he could barely restrain the satisfaction that ran through his blood. "We still need to eliminate that hanyou."
The glee still apparent on her face, Oneesan raised one gloved hand, the same hand she'd shaken hands with Usagi with, a white light forming before her outstretched fingers. "I'll handle that now," she said simply before releasing that light at Heero.
17 June 2001
Closing note from Eternal:
Whew... that took a while! Love me, adore me, hate me, or despise me, all I ask for are reviews and/or e-mails. I'm writing again, albeit it's limited to this and Tenshi-chan's and my little side project, and more reviews/e-mails make for quicker chapters. Tenshi-chan is also releasing a superb Escaflowne/Sailormoon/multi-crossover in the very near future; I'd appreciate it if some people would review it as well.
Closing note from Tenshi:
Wait till you readers see what we have in store for our cast!