Usagi watched in horror as the light flashed from Oneesan's hands. If she wasn't mistaken, it was headed straight for Heero. The screams erupted from her throat before she could help herself. Iie, she couldn't stand losing him, not after all that they had been through. In a quick movement, her body was reacting before her mind could even process anything - only to be halted by the solid wall of Aya's body.
"Iie! I have to get to him!" she screamed out, trying to push him away, but he remained frozen in place. She began shoving him frantically, only to have him grab her hands and stare at her.
"Trust us," was all he would say as the light somehow grew even brighter and sent an incredible shock wave of energy rippling through the room. Heero's mouth fell open in disbelief as betrayal ran through him. He stared at Oneesan accusingly before the light overtook him. Pain struck his body, making him haunch over. It was as if he was being ripped apart by the force which had taken over.
Oneesan's eyes stared at the young man before her, crouched over as the process began. ~ Gomen nasai, little warrior. I know how much it hurts... ~
Aya gave her a brief glance as with one hand, he managed to control Usagi's struggles, then he closed his eyes, concentrating on what he had to do. Like ripples through his blood, he felt the familiar tingling upon his palm before a liquid form appeared, shooting upwards. Then the metallic shape took on the form of a sword before solidifying in his other hand.
Heero's harsh breathing rang in the room, and the power that Oneesan had used also served to keep the others away from him. Aloud yell sounded from him, as the demon was painfully wrenched out of his body.
Usagi could only watch in horror as the man she loved was being put through what seemed like unbearable pain. At the sight of the tight clench of his jaw and the beads of sweat that had appeared on his forehead, her heart twisted in anguish. "Onegai," she pleaded, "let me save him. You're hurting him."
"Iie. We're saving him. If anyone else got to him, there's no way he'd be allowed to live." Aya's amethyst gaze softened slightly at the look in her deep blue eyes. Such suffering. Was that how she had looked like right before shaking his head, he reverted his attention back to the task at hand. "Stay back, understand?"
A dark form materialized right above where Heero's body had fallen. It had taken considerable energy from him doing what she did. Without even glancing at Aya, she knew what would happen next.
Like a well-oiled machine, their actions were so perfectly synchronized, born from working together for such a long time. But it was somehow beyond that, Duo thought with amazement. The blaze of white light that flared from Aya's palm was lifted in the air as the dark shadow shrieked in agony. It was trying to make its way back to its host. He watched as Aya, with unbelievable precision, swung the sword down in a graceful arc, slicing through the air with a perfect swish. The creature exploded in a flash of black energy, scattering throughout the area.
Hotaru found herself almost bringing her glaive up to call upon the Silence Wall when Setsuna put a restraining hand upon her arm. "Iie, there's no need. See what Oneesan has done?"
The energy bounced off the protective walls harmlessly, and Oneesan permitted herself a small smile. Contained within the shield that she had created, there was nowhere else the demon could run. Narrowing her eyes, the wall that had formed around Heero to keep him safe began detaching from the other which had trapped the demon. Aya then raised his hand and, in a seemingly impossible motion, sent a bolt of light thundering into the ball that imprisoned the creature.
Loud hissing struck the air as the demon evaporated. Duo couldn't help the grin that popped on his lips. "So much for Relena, huh?"
Aya's stoic expression still remained, though she didn't miss how his eyes had softened when he had stared at the blonde goddess in his arms. With a quick clenching of her fist, the shield that had kept them all out disintegrated, and Usagi immediately ran for Heero's body laying still on the ground. It was only then that she allowed herself to feel the stab of unwanted pain.
"Heero!" Usagi cried out, tears marring her perfect complexion and landing on Heero's clothes. "Don't leave me, onegai? I can't do this without you. Onegai?p>"Ch'. He isn't going to die," Oneesan growled. "I just refuse to train a demon to fight."
"I said I would, didn't I, Ryujin?" She turned slightly towards her companion. "We should divide up who trains who, but I want to train Hachiman."
"Then I'll train Selene."
"As you wish, Aya. Then I'll leave you with Shinigami and Kali as well. Ryujin, Kore, come with me." She glanced over her shoulder. "I'll start on Hachiman as soon as he wakes up."
"So what do you want us to do?" Wufei prompted, even as the woman turned on her heel and stalked back outside.
"For now, be quiet and learn. Lesson One: a god should never be without a sword. It can be the only means of survival when you're all alone. Lesson Two: there are two ways a god can readily die. One is losing your head; the other is if your bondmate dies."
"Bondmate?" Setsuna repeated. "But I thought bondmates were just myths."
"No more than the three treasures," she whispered, stopping and turning slightly to face them, holding up her gloved arm for a large dark bird to land on, "or us gods," she brought her arm before her to pet and speak to the bird, "ne, Donguri?"
~ * ~ * ~
An ominous silence then -
"Kuso!" A wooden chair exploded into tiny splinters as it collided with the wall. Thanatos's fist followed its path and ineffectually punched the same spot. "I was so close, so damn close, and they had to show up!" He overturned a table, knocking it out of the way of his tirade. "Aed and Morrigan... why did they have to interfere?"
"It's enough to make you hate them all over again, isn't it?"
The sudden intrusion froze him for a second, then he slowly turned towards the voice. Blue eyes widened in shock as he took in the slight figure dressed in a schoolgirl's uniform before him.
"W-what are you doing here?"
"I want to finish my revenge on Morrigan." She smiled grimly. "You want pain from her and Selene for turning you down, don't you?"
"What are you driving at?"
"A partnership to destroy those little gods," the grin turned evil, "and let me get back what is rightfully mine."
"You've held that body this long just for that?" He frowned almost imperceptivity as she happily nodded. "And why would you want to join forces with me? I fought with them against you back then."
She waved a hand negligently. "I'm willing to bury the hatchet if you help me get my revenge on Morrigan." She held out her hand, staring at him expectantly. "So, do we have a deal?"
He stepped forward and took the proffered hand. "We have a deal, Tomoe-san."
~ * ~ * ~
"Welcome back to the world of the living," was the first sounds to greet him as he regained consciousness. It took him a moment to place the voice's owner.
"Good. You remember me. Nice to see the demon didn't do too much damage."
"'Too much damage'?" he repeated vaguely, trying to shake the fogginess out of his head.
Gloved fingers grabbed his chin and twisted his head slightly side-to-side, apparently inspecting his face. Then as quickly as they appeared, they vanished. "Hai, Heero, 'too much damage'." He wrestled his eyes open to see the Elder Goddess sitting in a chair across the room, studying the fire burning in the huge fireplace. "It's only been about a week, not long enough for it to firmly bind you to itself. You'll probably never reach you full potential though."
"So what am I supposed to do now?"
Oneesan looked up at him with cold eyes. "You have to learn to adapt to your situation."
"What do you mean 'adapt'?"
Suddenly she exploded into action, in one quick movement pinning him against the wall, both legs and a hand not touching him but holding him in place nonetheless; the other hand held a large handful of his shirt. When she spoke, she whispered harshly right into his ear.
"Yes, adapt, little warrior. And I wrote the book on it."
"What do you mean?" Prussian blue eyes slanted down slightly in anger.
"I mean I went from being a damned third-year history major to a goddess of war and destruction. Can you even begin to imagine what that's like? Or what it's like to be poked and prodded to see what made you different, to be treated like a thing and not a person? I would have gone insane and taken my own head a long time ago if it... wasn't... for Aya." Her eyes softened, and her grip on him relaxed; he could have broken it, but he kept listening. "He's one cold customer, but he was always there for me." The softness vanished, and she slammed him against the wall. "And now your little girlfriend is stealing him away from me!"
Heero's own eyes darkened. "You leave Usagi alone."
If it were possible for someone to look any sadder without crying, he'd never seen it. "I'll do anything for Aya, even give him to someone else. I don't deserve someone like him; he's too perfect for someone like me."
This sounds familiar. "Do you... love him?"
She actually cringed. "I... don't know. I'm not really sure what love is anymore. But once, before one of these demons get me, before I die, I want to see him happy."
He felt her head hit his shoulder and she sagged against him, all that energy gone in a rush. Only both arms around her waist held her upright as a new thought entered his mind:
Would Usagi be happier with Aya-san?
An emotion he could only call denial rushed through him, butt was followed by the absolute knowledge in his own mind, anyone could make her happier than he could. He let his own head rest on the Elder Goddess's shoulder, each both giving and receiving some scant comfort.
And on the opposite side of the room, two people silently stepped through the door onto that scene.
And those two people felt the first inklings of...
22 June 2001
*grins* Guess what? You have a treat coming up... but I'm not telling what!!!
Happy Summer Solstice, minna!!! This was written and finished yesterday, but *kicks ISP* CompuServe won't let me connect at all.
Anyway, here's the preview I've been leaving off for a
So what is the relationship between these two Elder Gods? And how will it affect Heero and Usagi and the others?