Of Worlds to Fall
Chapter Five - Encounter
by Apollymi

Main Series: Sailormoon, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing
Genre: Crossover, Romance, Supernatural
Word Count: 2,378
Disclaimers: I own nothing but the idea. All series and characters are copyright to their individual creators and distributors, of which I am not one. I make no money from this fan-created work.

To his credit, Trunks-kun hadn't put up much of a protest to the offer for her to come along with him to scout for supplies. She wasn't going to speculate on why, not yet, not without knowing Trunks-kun a little better than she did now. As of right now, it could be any number of things: he didn't want to leave her alone, he thought she was safer with him, it would be easiest to do this in pairs rather than all alone... She just wasn't sure.

It didn't really matter anyway; she was going with him either way. At least this way she could stick fairly close to him and not have to trail behind, following him.

The view traveling the opposite direction on what obviously used to be a street was no improvement of the side she had first traveled down. One after another after another, it was toppled buildings all over the place. The wind whistled through them as if through bone; she couldn't shake the image she had originally had, that these remains were very much like skeletons; and she shivered.


She nearly jumped at the sudden, if quiet, sound of Trunks-kun's voice in the silence. It was actually on the tip of her tongue to berate him for scaring her, but she reined it in. It might have been years since she had been Sailor Moon, but she did remember how to be brave when the situation called for it. This situation called for it.

"A little," she offered just as softly in return. It wasn't the whole truth, but it was close enough. "Something about this place really freaks me out," she continued to admit.

He nodded. "There's something... off about this place, but I can't put my finger on it. Can you stay close to me?"

Stay close, now that she could do. She had offered to be his crutch again, serving as a method of keeping him balanced and on his feet, with as little pressure on his bad leg as possible. He had politely refused her. Apparently, if it came down to fighting of any kind, she would be putting herself in harms way, and he couldn't allow that. So instead she was walking closely to his side, ready to catch him and/or otherwise offer help should any be needed.

"Definitely," she answered, edging a little closer.

This whole place had her on edge--and not just the creature, though it certainly didn't help matters anyway. Something was just off about this place, as Trunks-kun had said, and she couldn't quite put her finger on it. She wasn't going to try to right now. All she knew for right now was that something made the hair on the back of her neck stand up straight. In fact, it was very much like...

"Hey! Hello, down below!"

...like they were being watched.

She might have nearly jumped out of her skin, but if the sudden voice had startled Trunks-kun, he gave no sign of it. Instead, he turned his gaze up towards a semi-intact building, his eyes tracking upwards until they lit on a figure about three windows up. She nodded slightly to acknowledge that she too had seen it.

"Come on inside, you two! Get off the street!"

She and Trunks-kun exchanged questioning glances, each of them asking the other what they thought of the idea, before they both shrugged and headed towards the door of the building.

Once they were inside, it was just a matter of trying to navigate through the broken remains of what had obviously once been a very nice hotel lobby. She seriously doubted that the elevator was working, so they were going to have to negotiate the stairs, she thought sourly.

Or at least they might have had, their mysterious figure not made an appearance, taking the stairs a few at the time, until he slid to a stop just short of tumbling down the last few of them.

"Hi.. um.. Hey." The man winced, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. "Sorry, it's been a while since we've had new people here. A few years, if I remember right."

Oh, now that didn't bode well at all. "Pardon me?" she prompted as politely as she could.

"Sorry, where are my manners? Please have a seat." There weren't too many options in the room, but there was the battered remains of a sofa only a few steps from the stairs. Slowly they had a seat on it, and she had to admit being surprised that it would take their combined weight. Mostly, she was just glad to see Trunks-kun off his leg and able to stretch it out; it had to be hurting a lot by now. "My name is Tenchi."

She eyed him curiously and a little warily. She did not have that same immediate sense of trustworthiness from this Tenchi person that she did from Trunks-kun; in fact, there was something about him that made her leery. Somehow, though, she did have an odd suspicion that it was only his time here that made her uncomfortable. He was older than both she and Trunks-kun, perhaps in his mid-thirties with short-cropped black hair and dark eyes.

"This is Usagi-san, and I'm Trunks," he answered. "What did you mean about new people, Tenchi-san?"

"For a while, we had new people showing up every few months or so, but that's been years ago. It has to have been at least two years since someone showed up." She found herself frowning in confusion, and in response, he continued. "No person who lives here is from this world. All of us were brought here, somehow and by some unknown force, from our own worlds--and we've all been left here."

"No one has ever gotten out?" Her voice was no louder than a whisper. If it had been any louder, it probably would have shook... but at as it was, she could pretend it was steady. She probably wasn't fooling either of them, though, but at least she could think that maybe she was fooling herself. "Ever?"

Tenchi-san shrugged. "People have disappeared and never been seen again. We don't know if they're finding a way out or if the Reapers or the Carrions are finding them."

"The what?" Trunks-kun asked.

"The Reapers and the Carrions. I don't know where the names come from. Someone who had been here a lot longer than me told me the names, and he said that someone else had told them to him, someone who had been here for a long time before that. He said the Reapers are the ones who bring us here and they're the ones who stop us from getting back out. I've known a few people who have fought them trying to get out, but no one has ever succeeded. Most people who tried have died.

"The Carrions seem to be the original inhabitants of this world. You may have seen them. They tend to attack people who are out alone. You can't see them coming or anything, but you turn around and there they are."

She felt more than saw Trunks-kun's eye on her. "Your 'creatures', perhaps, Usagi-san?" She nodded. It sounded right anyway.

"They're fast," Tenchi-san continued, "but they can't run for any distance. They don't seem to like heights either, so it would be best to find shelter that's well above ground level. They're... Well, I'd say they were cannibals if they were human. They look like us, but they aren't human. But they most assuredly do eat people."

That would mean that they would need to move their shelter. It also sounded like they seriously needed to stick together, neither one of them being out alone without the other. It worked by her, and she certainly hoped that Trunks-kun would agree to it as well. And she wasn't even going to think about that last revelation, not if she wanted to sleep ever again.

"Is there anything else we need to know, Tenchi-san?" she asked. Either Trunks-kun's politeness was rubbing off on her or she just wasn't quite sure what to think of or call this Tenchi-san person; he talked like he was closer to her in age, despite what she could see before her, and yet he was definitely her senior in this. This worked for now. Who knew, after all, if they were going to see him again anyway?

"You'll have noticed by now that you're missing something, an ability you had before you came here. We all are. The Reapers seem to take them. The theory is that they're taking them and using them, but they can't keep them unless they keep us too. I don't know if that's true or not, but they do sort of try to keep us alive--and I know I've lost all of my own powers when I was brought here. We all did."

Her ability to transform and all the powers that went with that, whatever it was Trunks-kun's was missing... And everyone else here was missing something too? How horrible.

"We've noticed." Trunks-kun's voice sounded stiff. He definitely looked uncomfortable.

"You will find that we heal fairly quickly--well, quicker than we may have before--here. Other than that, all I have for you is a warning, Usagi-san."

She blinked hard. "A warning? What do you mean, Tenchi-san?"

"Most of the people who have disappeared from here have been women, and the Carrions seem to have a special love for them. Please don't go out anywhere by yourself, Usagi-san. If you do, you'll need to be able to outrun them."

"I've managed it once before," she returned, and it was a struggle to keep her voice level.

"You'll need to do it every time, or else that's it. Do you have anything to wear besides your seifuku?"

And that settled it. Tenchi-san was definitely Japanese... or he had been before he wound up here. Still... She picked at her uniform skirt and shook her head. "No, it's all I had on when I was brought here."

"I'll see what we have upstairs," he offered. "They probably won't be a good fit, but people outgrow things and leave them here for new people. There's someone a few buildings over who is a decent seamstress, and she'll barter new clothes for extra food." It was on the tip of her tongue to say that they didn't have any to barter with, but she bit down on it. "Oh! Of course! You just got here."

She nodded. "That's right."

"Once you settle into a place, food and water start showing up. We've all checked it, and it's all right; there's nothing wrong with it in any way. The best guess I've heard on it is that the Reapers bring it. They do try to keep us alive after all. It's nothing fancy, but it serves its purpose. I'll see about those clothes now, Usagi-san."

Before she could say another word, he was on his feet again, springing up from where he had been sitting on one of the bottom steps, and rushing up the stairs. It sounded like he went up a few flights before there was the sound of a door opening and closing.

She glanced back over at Trunks-kun, though honestly, she had no idea what she was going to say, if she was going to say anything. Really, this was all too overwhelming for idle commentary, at least for her.

"The two of us are sticking together from here on out," Trunks-kun declared. No, it's actually more a pronouncement than anything else. Even if she felt inclined to argue, she didn't think she could have with that tone.

"All right," she agreed easily. It wasn't exactly a hard decision to make. "And neither of us is going anywhere alone from here on out either."

"Agreed." She had to say that she appreciated Trunks-kun not saying anything about her especially not going out alone. She wasn't used to being completely helpless and without her powers. She didn't much like the idea of it being pointed out though. Who wanted to be reminded of something like that? "I don't like the idea of staying here. Tenchi-san seems nice enough, but we don't know that anyone else here is trustable. Do you think the building we were at before was sturdy enough to try the upper levels?"

She thought about it carefully. It didn't look sturdy, but it had held up to the near earthquake that had come from Trunks-kun's ship--time machine, and that wasn't going to quit being weird--crashing. "I think... maybe. It's worth a try."

They broke off when they heard the sound of a door opening again, followed by footsteps running down stairs. Mere seconds later, Tenchi-san came around into their view from the steps above. "Yeah, it's not going to be a good fit, Usagi-san, but they should work." She stood as he came to the bottom of the stairs and accepted the pile of clothes. On top of them was a bag of some sort, and she could smell food coming from it. Two water bottles sat on top of that. "It's not much, but it's what we can spare for now."

She sketched a careful bow, not really daring to do much more with all this in her arms. "Thank you for your generosity, Tenchi-san."

"I won't ask where the two of you are staying at. We don't talk about that sort of thing around here. I will say, if you go to the northern side of the city, watch out for the Thunder Emperor. He's the only one of us who has gotten back any of our original powers. Even the Carrions are afraid of him. The rest of us try to avoid him. He's a bit... indiscriminate about who he lashes out at."

"We'll keep that in mind," Trunks-kun offered, pushing himself to his feet as well. Immediately, he shifted so most of his weight was off his left leg. "Thank you for all your help, Tenchi-san." He didn't bow, but it didn't seem to offend Tenchi-san at all.

"Best of luck to the two of you."

Somehow she got the feeling that they were going to need it.

26 August 2012

Today feels like a pretty big day: I'm just home from a weekend away, and here I am posting both the final chapter of Belladonna and Chapter Five here.

So here it is: the first minor character to show up. When I originally began this story, there were only going to be four characters appearing at all. Rather than apocalyptic horror wasteland (with survivors), it was going to be more apocalyptic sci-fi wasteland (with no one but my four characters). I think adding in the other characters was a wise idea. Plus... Raitei!

I'm on Chapter Thirty-Seven, so yeah, coming along pretty well. I didn't get a lot written on my weekend away (less than 500 words, in fact), but I'm back at home and back to writing now.

See you in the next chapter!

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