Of Worlds to Fall
Chapter Thirty-One - Worn
by Apollymi

Main Series: Sailormoon, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing
Genre: Crossover, Romance, Supernatural
Word Count: 2,479
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.

Everything that she had been expecting where this Sylphiel-san was concerned, the woman before her was pretty far from being. She had been expecting someone a lot older; Sylphiel-san was only a few years older than Trunks-kun. She had expected someone dour and matronly; Sylphiel-san was spry and chipper--and was wearing an actual cape. In short, everything she had pictured, Sylphiel-san was not.

But she was most assuredly the person that they had been sent to see, and she most assuredly was the person behind keeping everyone in clothes.

General introductions quickly set aside, she set about making her order: "blankets and winter clothes for four people. Three men and me."

Sylphiel-san smiled and nodded, heading back into a back section of the room where a few small dressers sat. "Without measurements," she commented mildly, taking a few items out of one of them, "these are the best I have. I can start measurements on the two of you today and get the other two later."

She bowed deeply, hair dropping over her shoulder to scrape the floor. "Thank you, Sylphiel-san. You are very kind to be helping us like this." She set the bag with the food on the floor in front of where she stood. "It's not much, but please accept this for your help."

It really wasn't enough, not for all Sylphiel-san was talking about doing for them. It only made it worse when the other woman waved it off as she handed over the clothes and blankets. "Anything you can spare is enough, Usagi-san. Cloth and sewing materials are part of what's dropped off for me daily, so I certainly don't mind helping other people out like this."

She nodded, bowing again briefly. "All the same, I would like to bring you something else when we come back." Between the breakfasts Duo didn't eat and if she managed to skip or halve a few meals herself every now and then, it should be a satisfactory payment.

"If you want." Though she couldn't say that Sylphiel-san sounded overly eager at the idea of an additional payment. The older woman stopped, staring at Usagi. More specifically, she was staring at her feet. "Usagi-san, does anyone else but you need new shoes?"

Duo-kun had been uncommonly quiet while exploring the room, but he turned quickly back to face her as well, as if completely surprised. It wasn't that startling, was it? Okay, yes, they were held together right now by little more than a prayer and maybe she was thinking about seeing if the Ginzuishou could repair them, but she hadn't said anything about them or their current state.

She had given thought to asking Sylphiel-san for shoes when she had first gotten her new clothes. As the nights started getting colder here, though, she had put that idea aside in favor of making sure they had enough warm clothes and blankets to make it through a winter here. She had no idea what they could be like--if it would be mild and fairly temperate or harsh and unrelenting--and it would be best to be prepared. New shoes to replace some that were quickly becoming worn were secondary to that.

"May I?" Sylphiel-san asked politely, holding out a hand. She nodded, setting the clothes down behind her, stepping out of her shoes, and handing them over. And wow, she hadn't realized that the sole of the left one had gotten quite that bad, but then these were her uniform shoes: they were certainly never meant to be worn for what amounted to cross country hiking. Maybe that they had lasted this long was a bit of a miracle. "I might have something here that could work, if you'll pardon me a moment."

She nodded, and Sylphiel-san disappeared into another room. Once the other woman left, she sank down to sit on a rather battered piece of furniture that had probably once been a sofa next to the clothes and blankets.

I wish I could do something for Sylphiel-san to make up for all she's doing for us, she thought glumly. It was a rather vague wish, but that was all she knew to make. I don't even know what Sylphiel-san lost when she was brought here or I could try to wish it back to her.

"You didn't say anything about your shoes, Usagi," Duo-kun's voice interrupted her thoughts.

She shrugged, copying the same gesture that Duo-kun seemed to love doing at her. "I thought stuff for winter might be more appropriate, since we don't know if we'll be able to get out of here before it sets in."

"And if your feet froze before we were able to get back over here?"

And yeah, she had no good answer to that, she was sad to say, so instead she shrugged again. "I like to think I would have found enough payment to get over here again before then."

"Maybe. We don't know how harsh it is here or how quickly it sets in. Fast, I'm betting, given how much colder it was last night than the night before it. How quickly do you think you could have gotten up the payment?"

"I'm sure you've noticed, but Sylphiel-san seems to have a whole lot less food delivered than we do." She nodded at the small stash in a corner of the room. If each person here got the same amount of food, it would have been a fourth of what appeared for them; instead it was even less than that. "I could get enough up from our deliveries to make payment in a day or two."

"So we're paying her in food for the clothes?"

"It's not like money matters here."

"Usagi-san?" Sylphiel-san's voice cut through their conversation as she returned to the room, carrying a pair of knee-high boots in one hand. "It seems I do have a pair to spare, so they're yours. We seem to wear the same size."

"I can't accept this, Sylphiel-san," she objected, though admittedly, it was half-hearted at best.

The older woman grinned. "I'm afraid you have no choice, Usagi-san. You're not getting those other shoes back."

Put that way... "Thank you for your generosity, Sylphiel-san. I will do my best to repay you for this." And wow, Trunks-kun's politeness was most assuredly rubbing off on her. She yanked the boots on over her socks then tucked her jeans down over them. And what a surprise: Sylphiel-san was right about them wearing the same size shoes.

Sylphiel hand-waved away the concern, taking a seat herself on an adjacent and very worn chair. "Think nothing of it, Usagi-san."

She bit her lower lip for a long moment, debating before she asked her question. It didn't seem like anything that might offend the dark-haired woman, but Tenchi-san had been so adamant in his opinion... "Sylphiel-san? Do you know the Thunder Emperor?"

"Raitei? Of course I do." At least she sounded very casual. "He's the protector of this area. Sure Tenchi-san or one of the others must have told you about him."

She shook her head. "Very little. All Tenchi-san said was the Thunder Emperor--I mean, that Raitei-san--"

"Just Raitei. It's more of a title than a name."

Now that was intriguing. No, she had to finish saying what it was she had started. "All Tenchi-san said was that Raitei ruled part of the city, he had his powers back, and he's mad."

"Mad... would be a stretch." Out of the corner of her eye, she could see one of Duo-kun's eyebrows shoot up questioningly, but he remained quietly, letting Sylphiel-san say whatever she would. "There aren't words for what Raitei is, at least not in my world. I would say that Raitei is the mask that a good man wears when he is pushed beyond his limits." She shook her head. "No, a mask is possibly not the best way to phrase it. Maybe it would be better to say that Raitei is the very dangerous, very closed off man that a good man becomes when he is pushed beyond his limits."

"Like a... persona," Duo-kun asked quietly, finally coming over to join the conversation, leaning against the sofa she still sat on, "or like a whole other person, if you don't mind my asking?"

Sylphiel-san seemed to mull this over. "I would say almost like a whole other person. I met the other Raitei once. I have to say that I rather liked Ginji-san when I met him, but then I've only met him for a few moments. Raitei himself is not intolerable company, though he's some of the quietest company I've ever had."

"Raitei visits here often?" Duo asked before she could get another question out, not that she knew what she had been about to ask. It might have even been the same thing.

"From time to time. I haven't seen him since our new arrival to this area of the city landed a few days ago, though. It's not unusual," she continued, seemingly knowing what they were about to ask before the words came out. "He's been known to vanish for weeks at the time. I do know he doesn't like to be disturbed."

She bit down on her lip again. "Can you ask him something?" Sylphiel-san nodded, leaning forward closer to Usagi. "The Reapers are getting ready to leave this world. If we fight against them, would Raitei be willing to join us?"

"Others have tried to fight the Reapers before, Usagi-san," the older woman stated cautiously. "They've all failed. Only Raitei still has access to his powers. Even I've lost mine."

Please, Ginzuishou... Please have done what I think you did.

"What did you have before you came here, Sylphiel-san? If you don't mind my asking?"

Sylphiel-san shrugged elegantly. "I was trained in White Magic, mostly healing and defense."


"Can you try a spell? Just once? Please, Sylphiel-san?"

"Usagi-san... Like everyone else here, I've spent years trying my powers, trying and trying to bring them back." She sighed heavily. "They're gone. All of our powers are gone. I'm sure yours and Duo-kun's and your two friends' are all gone as well."

For a split second, she was terrified that Duo-kun might reveal the fact neither he nor Heero-kun had powers. Thankfully, though, he remained silent, just offering an inscrutable shrug.

"Please, Sylphiel-san?" she repeated. For good measure, she even pulled out her most pleading face, one that always seemed to work on her parents, Mamo-chan, and at least half of the Sailor Senshi.

The older woman sighed resignedly. She shifted to the forefront of her chair, holding one hand before her. "Defense."

For a split second, she could swear she saw a bubble forming around Sylphiel-san before it seemed to fade, leaving it completely invisible. She could still feel it, however, and given how quickly Duo-kun had shot back to his feet, apparently she wasn't the only one to pick up on it.

Thank you, Ginzuishou, she whispered gratefully. She was starting to feel a bit faint, though. Apparently even if using the Ginzuishou were all she could do, it would still be really draining to use.

Sylphiel-san blinked a couple of times in shock, but she seemed to recover herself quickly, making a brief hand gesture that apparently released the spell. "Usagi-san...?"

She offered a tired smile. "I wouldn't say they're all gone. Wouldn't you agree, Sylphiel-san?"

"How... How did you...?"

It was a bit of a white lie, but... "I got some of my own back. If we're going to get out of here, other people will need theirs back as well. With that in mind, do you think you can get Raitei to join us?"

"Or barring Raitei, then perhaps Ginji?" Duo slid in. "Or anyone under either of their protection perhaps."

"I... I'll ask Raitei the first chance I get. But what about once the Reapers are defeated?" And wasn't that a good feeling, to hear something like that said aloud already? "We can't stay here."

"There's a plan for that too," Duo continued. She had to say she appreciated it: it was giving her at least some time to recuperate. "We may not be able to get everyone back to their own worlds, but we should be able to get you off this one."

Sylphiel-san nodded, apparently already starting to recover her poise. "All right. I'll relay that to Raitei as soon as I see him. He might want to talk to you, though," she paused, considering, "for as much as Raitei talks. Where should I send him?"

"We're near the center of the city," she replied, "not too far from where Carrion territory begins." She reached out, taking the older woman's hand in hers and squeezing it reassuringly. "I should be able to give most everyone back at least some of their powers back. We may even have a way out of here. With enough people to take on the Reapers, we can do this, but we will need Raitei and his people."

Sylphiel-san nodded. "I will do what I can. Whatever Raitei decides is what he decides, though; I can't change that. But I believe you, Usagi-san." She wrapped long arms around Usagi, squeezing her tightly, before wiping at suspiciously bright eyes. "Thank you."

"Think nothing of it," she repeated back to the other woman. Moving as quickly as she dared, she unpacked the food she had brought Sylphiel-san and repacked the clothes and blankets into the same plastic convenience store bag. She offered her one more bow, not nearly as deep as the other ones, and headed out of the room, Duo-kun at her side.

She barely made it to the stairs before her knees finally gave out and she stumbled. Thankfully, Duo-kun was right beside her to catch before she either went over or went down the steps. "Are you all right?"

The smile she tried on was weak at best, but at least it was an attempt she figured. "I might have overdone it a little bit. I'll be all right in a little bit." She took a deep breath to steady herself and then tried the grin again. "I'm good. We need to get back to Trunks-kun before much longer."

The look Duo-kun was giving her was appraising. She had the distinct feeling that she was being measured against whatever Duo-kun had thought he knew about her and at least some of the previous measurements were being replaced. She certainly hoped her reevaluation was more flattering than the previous one.

"Yeah, let's get out of here," he finally stated. He wrapped an arm around her waist to hold her steady as they started down the stairs. It was going to be a long walk back to Tenchi-san's place where Trunks-kun would presumably be waiting, but it didn't seem like it would be too bad now.

21 October 2012

And here's your next chapter a day-and a long one at that. This is one I've been waiting to get to. I have absurd amounts of love for Sylphiel from The Slayers (though not as much as Lina, who sadly wouldn't fit in this story), so I have been anxiously awaiting getting her in here. And a little more on the Thunder Emperor.

Andy, you called it: yes, the Thunder Emperor is Raitei is Ginji from GetBackers. I apologize now if I don't get Ban and Ginji in character, but I do so love that series. I'm in the middle of re-reading the manga, even though the Tokyo Pop translations make me twitch a bit.

See you all in the next chapter!

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