Oh goddess... my head is killing me, she thought to herself, struggling her way back up to consciousness. Everything on her, every part of her body, ached mightily, especially her head and her... arms? Why should her arms hurt?
Wresting her eyes open and trying her best not to whimper at the pain produced by the faint light, she glanced above her to see her hands chained above her head. She fought down a surge of immediate panic and slowly took stock of her surroundings. Bare, featureless, dank walls as far as her eyes could see with what little light a small candle on a table far across the room from her provided. On the wall beside the table leaned a tall, thin, and dark object that she knew but could not place.
There was a soft moan beside her, and she nearly jumped out of her skin at the sheer suddenness of it. She twisted sharply, unable to move enough to see who it was beside her through the pain in her body. Doing her very best to push it aside, she turned in time to be confronted with a groggy but alert pair of blue eyes. "Oneesan?" she whispered sharply.
The Elder Goddess stared at her blankly for a long moment, as if the name didn't make a word of sense to her. Finally she blinked and her eyes focused at last. "Usagi?" She nodded. "What's going on here?"
"I was hoping you knew. All I remember is that dark cloud until I woke up here."
"Damn it," she muttered darkly. Usagi watched anxiously as the Elder Goddess looked around her, apparently memorizing the layout of the room and the exact placement of everything, before getting up on her knees and yanking on her chains. The thick iron did not give, and Oneesan gave up after a few minutes struggling. "Damn it," she repeated. She leaned back against the wall enough to give the chains enough slack for her to brush her hair out of her eyes. "I'd like to know when Thanatos got so ambitious, to try s omething like this."
"Do you think the others will come for us?"
Blue eyes ancient with some strange emotion Usagi could not place stared at her. "Don't worry, Usagi. They'll be here for you. All we have to do is wait."
"Ran-nikun will come for you; I know he will," declared Usagi firmly, her confidence not shaking, until Oneesan just laughed at her determination.
"Come on, Usagi! I'm not the one Aed's interested in; it's you! He's never given me a second glance -"
"And yet you've stayed with him all these years, ne, Morrigan?" a deep voice cut through her words. A hidden door on the opposite wall had silently slid open to reveal a tall figure illuminated there. In a split second, Oneesan was on her feet, the look on her face making it clear she was spoiling for a fight. The tall man slowly stepped in the room and pushed the door to most of the way. "Don't you even regret sometimes not choosing me when I offered you the chance, Morrigan-chan?" Thanatos continued.
"Never. I like my life the way it is, not corrupted like yours." A sneer broke out on her face. "You, who have allied yourself with the demons we were created to fight, dare to question my choices?"
"If you'd chosen me... maybe Freyr wouldn't have died."
Horror filled Usagi's heart as Oneesan's eyes glazed over and she collapsed to her knees. Who's Freyr? Never mind. Deal with this right now then that. "So why did you kidnap us, Thanatos? To stand there and look smug?"
"Of course not." He pulled a chair away from the desk the candle sat on and sat down. "You, especially you, Selene, are here to distract the other gods long enough for my new partner to make her first move."
Oneesan slowly looked up and spoke even more slowly. "New... partner? The demon...?"
~ * ~ * ~
The entire house was filled with an oppressive air, Aya dully noted. At the same time, he wished for his old katana back, just so that he could sharpen it and have something to do with his hands, somewhere to direct his thoughts, away from... from...
~ No! I'm not going to think about this! ~
A loud flap echoed through the room he'd been given, and he glanced over to see Donguri land on one of the posts of his bed. "What are you doing here?"
The bird shot him a glare that could outdo some of his own better ones. *Because you're acting like a moron, Aed.*
He snorted softly. "You lost your manners; really mad at me this time, Donguri?"
*If I didn't know Lady Morrigan would feed me dandelions for the rest of my life, I'd love to peck one of your eyes out. Both would be better, but I don't want to get in that much trouble.*
He barely held back a some expression of shock from appearing on his face. In all the times he and Donguri has disagreed over the years, usually over Morrigan, no threats had ever been involved - except from Morrigan to try to stop them. "So this is my fault?"
*Whose else could it be? All the others here are godlings, not even a century old, any of them. You and Lady Morrigan are the only ones here with the knowledge and experience to stop a demon of that caliber, and instead of fighting it, you let her betaken! Who else am I supposed to blame?*
"You're right. It's my fault."
*So are you just going to sit there and mope, or are you going to start working on a way to get her back?*
"I'm already working on a few plans."
An almost soft look in his reflective yellow eyes, the huge crow hopped down onto the bed and picked at the covers, inching them back a bit, whispering in his mind at the same time, *If you're going to plan out how to save Lady Morrigan from a demon, Lord Aed, you need to do it on a clear mind. Get some sleep so we can work this out in the morning. Follow the same advice you gave those boys worrying about Lady Selene.*
He nodded slightly and woodenly obeyed the familiar's request. It hardly took a moment before he was asleep and dreaming.
"Aya?" a soft voice echoed around him.
"Who's there?" he called out, whirling around trying to spot the voice's owner. A figure slowly took shape in the pale mist a few feet away from him, and for a long second, he could have sworn it was... "Aya-chan?"
The fog parted, and Morrigan's figure slowly stepped forward. "Iie. Aya, it's me, Morrigan." Each step silent in this strange dream world, she came closer and closer, nearer than she'd ever voluntarily been, until she could rest a hand on his shoulder. "I'm here, with you, for you, whatever you want, Aya."
The dream Morrigan was nothing like the at-times brash and thoughtless but also vulnerable woman he knew her to be in the waking world. "How are you he-"
She put a gentle finger on his lips, effective hushing him. "I'm here. That's all there is to it." Then she leaned up the few inches difference in their heights and pressed her lips to his.
For a moment, he was too shocked to react, then before he knew it, his arms had stolen around and pulled her closer to him, sealing any distance between their bodies. But somehow it wasn't quite like he'd expected it to be... it wasn't quite right.
*You're not in control of your dream anymore, Lord Aed,* a vaguely familiar voice echoed through his mind.
~ Donguri? ~
*Who else would it be, you moron? That's not Lady Morrigan!*
He grabbed the woman by her shoulders and shoved her away from him. The illusion never faltered, but somehow, at the same time he could see through it. "Who are you?" he demanded.
"The one who loves you," the demon still wearing Morrigan's face and still speaking in Morrigan's voice answered cryptically. "The one who has always loved you, before you became a god, before you met her."
~ * ~ * ~
Donguri squawked at the intruding figure as loudly as he could from where she held him pinned to the floor with one well-placed foot.
*Wake up already, Lord Aed!* he screamed as loudly as he could, knowing it would do nothing against the high-level sleep spell that had been cast on the Elder God and the rest of the household. He could only watch as the intruder stood back from kissing the unconscious man, brushing shoulder-length brown hair away from her face and straightening her school uniform-like outfit before bending down and picking up Donguri.
"Just you wait, you stupid bird," she muttered, absently tugging at his wing feathers, pulling a few out as she went. "Once we get your mistress out of the way, Aya-san will be all mine again, just like it used to be, before she showed up."
*This girl's insane!*
Unfortunately, he was wrong.
13 August 2001
Closing notes from Eternal SailorM (Angel-chan):
W ell... here's you another chappy, minna-chan... though I'm not sure why I'm bothering. Only one person reviewed the last chapter. Doomo, PrincessLesse.
Anyway, I start back to school on Wednesday, and tomorrow I have to go to my university to get my financial aid settled out. In other words, I won't have much writing time again for the rest of the week, so unless I get something done tomorrow, I won't begetting anything else out until the weekend or next week. Gods, I hate college!!!! Demo... only 2 more semesters (this one and Spring)!!!
Well, seeing as how I'm sure no one bothers reading these things and I know hardly anyone's going down low enough to bother reviewing or e-mailing, I'll just say "Ja," and walk away.