Usagi shivered slightly and tried to draw up on herself to preserve what little warmth there was in the cold dank prison they were being held in, hugging her knees to her chest.
"Cold?" a tired voice asked in English.
She nodded, even though she knew the other woman probably wasn't looking at her. "Hai, I am, Oneesan." She chuckled lightly. "I wasn't exactly dressing for being thrown in a dungeon. Gomen."
"Slide over here."
She couldn't hold the shock out of her voice and off her face. "Nani?"
She could practically hear the smile in the Elder Goddess's voice when she spoke again, this time in Japanese. "Your chains are longer than mine. Slide over here; I'll share part of my coat with you."
"Oh." She obeyed, scooting across the cold stone floor, until she was tucked under the older woman's arm, part of the warm leather jacket wrapped around her body. "Ne, Oneesan, I thought you hated me."
Reddish-black hair fell around them as she shook her head. "I don't hate you. I just hate losing." She sighed heavily. "But I guess it doesn't matter now."
She shook her head stubbornly. "We're going to get out of here. I know it."
For a second, Oneesan looked like she was going to argue then stopped herself. "Maybe," she finally said, leaning her head back to rest it against the frigid wall behind them, "maybe we can, if one of us can use our powers somehow. Thanatos's partner seems to be blocking it."
"Who is she?" Deep blue eyes turned to stare down at her, and she rushed to finish the thought. "I mean, you and Ran-nikun acted like you acted like you knew who she was."
"She's... someone from Aed's past, even before we became gods. He never told me that much, but I know she pursued him...that she liked him a lot even though he was a bit older than her. I started to confront her about it when we were about to leave Tokyo after we fought... our first enemy, but he... stopped me and said to leave it alone, let them leave on good terms." She sighed. "When we came back to Tokyo a bit later, she'd crossed the line and become obsessed with him and that led her to be possessed by the first demon. So she's the oldest and the most powerful of the demons."
"And she's obsessed with Ran-nikun, the same way Relena was obsessed with Heero," Usagi finished, huddling just a bit closer to the Elder Goddess, who merely smiled down at her tolerantly. She was acting so much different from her usual self that it was almost like she was a different person. "Ne, Oneesan?"
"Yeah?" She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, apparently about to try to get some sleep.
"If you didn't hate me, then why did you - Never mind, I know; because of Ran-nikun. So why are you being so nice to me now?"
"Who says I'm being nice? Maybe I just want to stay warm too," the Elder Goddess teased. "It's just that you remind me of someone I used to know once, a long, long time ago." Usagi leaned her head down against her shoulder and nodded at her to continue. "Her name was Lizzy... err, Elizabeth Keogh. She was my best friend, my only friend, when I was... before I became a goddess." She sighed again, stretching out. "I lost track of her for a while after I became a goddess, but I never once looked for her."
"I guess... I guess I didn't want her to see me, not since I wasn't human anymore. I didn't know any better. Maybe I still don't."
"Oneesan? Can I ask you something personal? You don't have to answer it if you don't want to..." She was quiet for a long moment then spoke again, taking her companion's silence for an affirmation. "Who was Freyr?"
The woman behind her stiffened and seemed to withdraw away from her, without hardly moving an inch, her eyes flying wide open, filled with pain. "Freyr..." When she spoke again a few minutes later, her voice was tired and in English again. "I'll tell you this once, then I never want to hear you say that name again."
I don't think this was such a good idea after all, Usagi thought to herself, mentally wincing. Slowly she answered, "Hai..."
"He was one of the other Elder Gods. Aed and I met him...when we were all told we were going to become gods then again right before that first battle. He was the first of the other gods we met face-to-face." She nodded her head slightly in the direction of the huge sword leaning against the far wall. "That's his sword; he gave it to me - to kill him with."
"Nani?!?" Usagi exploded.
She was silenced with a sharp look. "Do you want to hear this or not?"
"Gomen ne, Oneesan. Please continue."
"He was possessed by a demon we killed, just like your Heero was, and it slowly drove him mad. He... almost..." Her voice trailed out for several long minutes; Usagi almost thought she was done before the words started again. "Anyway, when he realized what was going on, he asked me to kill him before he... hurt me or anyone else. And before you ask, yes, we were lovers." She sighed heavily. "But that's the ancient past. No point dwelling on it now."
"You feel guilty about it," she assessed softly. The older woman was quiet, turning her head away from Usagi. "That's it, isn't it? That's why you won't let yourself look at Ran-nikun... like that; you think something will happen to him like Freyr."
"Don't..." The word came out somewhere between a whisper and a moan.
"Oneesan..." She slowly craned her neck around to stare up at the maroon-haired woman. "Give it a chance, onegai. Even if anything happens, that way you won't regret it."
"Give it up, Usako," that familiar deep voice advised from the other side of the door, startling her enough to at least make her move away from Oneesan. "She'll never do it. Tomoe-san is over there visiting Aed - or should I say 'Aya-san'? - as we speak."
"I'm going to kill you in the most creative ways possible, Thanatos," the Elder Goddess murmured.
"You'll die before I will." He chuckled humorously."In fact, I would be surprised if you lived more than an hour after Tomoe-san gets back. She hates you, you know." Usagi sensed rather than saw him shake his head. "You really should have chosen me all those years ago, Morrigan-chan."
"Screw you" came the tired answer.
"The same goes for you as well, Usako. I'm sure Tomoe-san isn't happy with you for getting so close to her Aya-san."
"You like hanging out with psychos now, don't you, Thanatos?" Usagi returned, jumping into the conversation. "First Relena, now this Tomoe person. Trying to set a record for finding insane demons?"
"Going to count Hekate in that number as well, Usako?"
Something cold ran through the inside of her body, and she felt herself shiver lightly. Beside her and around her, she felt Oneesan stiffen. "You're going to regret this, Thanatos. How is it Heero says it, Usagi? 'Omae o korosu'?"
"Not in this lifetime, Morrigan-chan. You're forgetting, you're my pris-"
He was cut off and Usagi watched in shock as Oneesan simply held out her hand and the Masamune flew into it and then the chains simply fell off both of their wrists. She stood up, grinning as she spoke. "And I do believe you're forgetting, Thanatos-chan, that Selene's powers deal with probabilities and odds. If you upset her too much, things aren't going to go your way." Her movements slow and steady, she pulled the huge katana from its sheath and dropped into a fighting position. "Now, you were saying...?"
25 August 2001
Closing notes from Eternal SailorM (Angel-chan):
Well, do to the current downtime, etc., on FanFiction.net and all, I decided not to hold out on you guys. Fifteen reviews on every chapter after this one though! So does anyone still think Oneesan's a bitch? I know a lot of people did way back when I first brought her in; feelings still the same? So we've touched a bit on the pasts of the Elder Gods. :P So what's to come next? Only time - and reviews - and e-mails - will tell! ^_~
*snuggles with the muses* And I want to say that there
were many muses employed in the creation of this chapter. To name
all of mine:
Duet-chan, Chibi Inu-kun, Fluffy-chan (Why do all my violent muses have names that end in -chan?), Sephy, Cloud-kun, SD Hee-chan, and Aya-sama
Muses that are being... well, muse-sat:
BT-chan (BT-kun, Battousai), Schul-chan (SchuSchu-chan, Schul-kun, Schuldig-san), Mirai Souji-chan (Mirai Soujiro), and more ^_~ I like muse-sitting... *ecchi grin*