This chap is dedicated as always to Rose-chan, Topaz, Megacat, Varee, Nerf, and Smiley! And everyone else of course, I know you're still out there.
I apologize for the delay, I admittedly had trouble with this chapter, it felt almost boring and choppy but I'm happy with the way it turned out in the end. This chapter leads in in all parts to the next chap which I think you will all enjoy. I'll also admit I was also a tad distracted by the Olympics. Everyone knows how intense curling can be! Anyways, I'll keep my chatter short for today and let you get on with what matters.
So with no further Adieu...
You're My Kryptonite
Let it all burn.
Straw on stone, the scratching scrape resounds through out the courtyard. Tempo uneven with swipes too hard or too soft, the broom is passed back and forth again and again in vain attempt to wipe the grounds clean. Frustration shines through as the bristles of the brush beg to be freed, leaving more shards in their wake then there is dirt swept away. Coaxing and pleading for the chore to be done, the courtyard resists with every exertion of the feeble wicker broom.
Whimpering a cry of dismay, she beats the broom harder, half way across the courtyard and the mess no better then it was when she started a few hours before. Whisking relentlessly at a stubborn smudge on the center tile, a mournful scream escapes her lungs as the broom surrenders and the straw falls apart, leaving a pile of bits on the ground and a useless nub in her hands. Shouting a curse to the low clouds up above, her wail is answered in spades when a chilling sleet begins to fall.
Dropping the wasted broom handle to the stone tiles with a clatter, Usagi covers her face in her hands, trying to suppress the sobs that invade her petite frame. The muted cries escape between hiccups as she fights the urge to meet the assumed disapproving gaze now taking in her form. The pressure too much, she feels herself crumbling under the guilt so great that no one person should have to bare.
"What's wrong Serenity-hime?" Umbrella in hand in the middle of the Hikawa courtyard, Setsuna looks down on the fragile form of their future Queen. Lost somewhere between an endeared smile and a frown, her heart aches with the sound of her inconsolable sobs.
"I can't do this...I can't take this..." Usagi cries, her voice muffled in the palms of her hands, "Not anymore."
"Do what Hime?" Setsuna asks her charge, concern trumping any other emotions she may feel. "Sweep? No one expects you to take care of the shrine."
"No!" Usagi shakes her head wildly, the sleet soaking her worse as the minutes tick by, "This. All this time...they've been gone so long and no one will forgive me." Another sob breaks her lips as she finally meets the Time Senshi's motherly gaze.
"Hime," Setsuna coos softly, kneeling before the distraught blond. "You're only human, just like the rest of us. Hotaru-chan promises that they're all safe. You'll see, they'll be home in no time and all will be forgiven." She reassures, hoping she believes her words.
Sniffling, Usagi wipes her eyes on her damp sleeve before meeting Setsuna's garnet gaze with a glimmer of her old determination. "Do you promise?" She asks hesitantly.
Holding out her hand, Setsuna takes Usagi's cold fingers in her own, pulling her to her feet to stand together beneath the umbrella. Taking a handkerchief from her pocket, she takes care to wipe away the last of the Moon Princess's tears. "I'm hoping with every fiber of my being...just like everyone else," She murmurs with affection.
Light it up.
"I won't say it again. Give me my book... and no one gets hurt."
Perched on the chair, she plants one heeled foot on the table, snapping the crop against her thigh, her action causing a mix of thoughts to pass through the room. Some of dismay and others not so clean. Flipping her hair over her shoulders, she does her best to give everyone a menacing look, considering the best interrogation techniques she knows to get what she's looking for.
"Minako-chan..." Rei grouses, attempting to use her own energy to break the chains.
"I'll be asking the questions here," Minako snaps. "I know one of you has it...you must be feeling pretty guilty." She points at each of them in turn with the crop before pointing it back at Hiiro who sits with his eyes closed. "Maybe you took it back...didn't want me to have it after all, hmm?"
"I can buy you another one of if you're so obsessed..." Hiiro drawls, only wishing to finish his meal and escape to solace.
"This is ludicrous," Wufei groans, earning the blond goddess's whip to be pointed at him.
"Or maybe your lack of interest was merely a ploy!" She deduces, confounding them with her shady logic before passing her whip around the room again.
"Can I just say this is pretty hot?" Duo pipes up, earning a groan from half the room.
Hopping off the chair, Minako marches around the table to stand between Duo and Trowa where she plops into Trowa's lap and lifts Duo's chin with the whip. "You WERE pretty desperate to know what it was. Maybe you snuck in and stole it?" She accuses, adding a little extra pressure to her prod.
"Minako-chan..." Haruka mutters, "No one took your book."
"Yeah!" Duo squeaks, "Besides, why aren't you blaming Trowa? He's the bookie here."
Waving him off with the flick of her hand, Minako crosses her legs, unknowingly wiggling a bit too much in Trowa's lap for comfort. "Bah, he already knows what's in it, why would he want..." Bounding from his lap, she stomps around the table to pounce on her next victim when a new voice cuts.
"Minako-chan," Quatre pipes up, hoping to forestall any more berating. "If anyone here took it, they'd be honorable enough to give it back...Will you let them go if I promise to help you look for it?" Imploring her with every fiber of his being.
Pursing her lips, halted mid stride, Minako looks at their fair haired host searchingly for any hint of deception. Sauntering towards him, her face a mask of skepticism and doubt, she stares down into his liquid blue eyes contemptuously. Scrunching her brow and narrowing her eyes, the others share a glance of exhaustion over waltzing around Minako for what now has rolled into a month. Brushing her hair back once more, a catty smile suddenly streaks across her lips as she bounds into Quatre's lap and coils her arms around his neck, the chains wrapped around everyone else disappearing in the process.
"I knew you loved me Quatre-kun!" She demurs with a purr, earning a blush from the platinum man and groans from everyone else in the room.
And let it burn.
"It's the most wonderful time! While I'm here!"
"Minako-chan! It's 'Time of the year'."
The days ticking by in a maelstrom of work and searching, it was some time in the early predawn hours of the first day of December that Quatre found himself ambushed while dozing on his work bench. Having been up beyond late the last few nights, he's woken in the early hours in a worse fog then before he fell asleep and the partially built hulk of engine looming over him with the taunt and tease of it's purpose built within. But this morning like all those others, started with the soft snores passing through his tired and parched lips, unaware until two sprites invaded his space and roused him from sleep.
Groggy to their initial pleas, they took him by his arms like the sirens of lore, leading him off to where they desired him to be. Convinced he was bewitched by the Goddesses of the Sun and the stars, it was over an hour and a few mugs of coffee, before he finally understood what they wanted and who they even were. But now he sits on a beaten old trunk in the corner of the dusty attic, the air stale from years of no use, as he watches them dig fervently through box after box as he nurses another invigorating cup of Joe.
"Is this one of the boxes Quatre-kun?" Minako asks from behind a stack of gray and green tubs, waving off Rei's correction, as she holds a box with stars colored on one side.
"Hm," Quatre wisps, keeping his nose over the coffee mug as he scrutinizes the box in her hands, questioning how either of them could be so awake right now. "Yeah. There should be maybe a dozen like it."
"Found them!" Rei shouts from a few rows back in the sea of boxes and crates, popping her head out to motion the two blonds to join her before disappearing again from view. "Talk about a gold mine!"
Grinning in excitement, Minako drops the box she found on the stack of tubs and rushes to grab Quatre by the hand to drag him along with, paying no mind to the mug that's now crashed to the floor. Ducking a weaving between the rows and stacks, he stumbles behind her and they nearly collide when she skids to a stop at the mouth of the isle where Rei disappeared. A gasp escaping her lips, she covers her mouth as she begins giggling with glee as she eyes the massive trunks that Rei stands between.
"This is gonna be perfect!" She squeals before lunging forward again, Quatre once more in tow.
"You have no idea..." Rei says with a devious glint in her eye, making a show of peeling open the front hatches for them to see. "More then perfect.
Boiling over with delight, Minako dances from one foot to another, unable to speak in her delight. An equally evil look shimmers to life in her own eyes, as she sees the treasure Rei has uncovered, unconsciously squeezing Quatre until he gasps and has to break free from her grip.
"We should get this stuff moved and hidden before anyone else wakes up..." Quatre suggests, looking over his shoulder to the door, certain he'd heard something but shrugs it off as sleep calling him back to the worn wood top of his work table.
Nodding her head, Rei locks the trunks back up tight, considering the best way to move them along with everything else. "Good idea. We've got these two big guys along with the twelve small ones, the six tubs, the three long boxes, and the two big boxes by the door," she counts off on her fingers, making sure they don't forget a thing.
"Don't forget about the stack of circle boxes," Minako chimes in, finally finding her words.
"Right." Quatre agrees, trying to formulate a plan. "Now where to stash all this stuff..."
"We could always stash it between the closets in mine and Minako-chan's room...that should cover most of it," Rei suggests, eying the large trunks and wondering if emptying them would be the answer.
Circling the two trunks, Minako sizes them up, she pushes on one to see how much it weighs only to find it doesn't budge. "Too bad we don't have sub-space bags!" She declares with a nod.
"Sub-space what?" Quatre asks incredulously.
"You know...Like Santa Claus." Minako says cheekily. "How else would he get all those gifts in his bag.
Thrown back for a moment, the fair haired pilot can't help but laugh, finding more often then not of late that these women didn't lose that innocence that most wars strip away. "Ah...our problem now is how to move these..."
Falling into silence, they each weigh their options. The plan had started out so nobly but now a road block looms in their path. Each watches the other searchingly, in hopes someone else will come up with an idea first. So intent on their hunt and then the planning, they each realizes too late that they've gone far to long without checking their cover and scouting for spies.
"Perhaps I can be of assistance..."
Burn it all down.
"Do you promise?"
"Then I think it's time."
"You don't mean..."
"Operation Melon Collie!"
"I think the word's melancholy..."
Burn it to the ground.
"No, no, no. You need to move like a man."
"I'll show you again."
Lunging forward before dancing left and then right, the lifeless training dummy shudders before standing back still. Afternoon come and gone again, the heat from the lights in the training room fill the room with the smell of bodies and sweat. Feet dance across the worn blue mats to the beat of the music, the dummy being assaulted again as it valiantly resists the attack before being left to stand still yet again.
Releasing an audible groan of frustration and throwing his hands in the air, Duo dramatically whimpers before placing his hands on the shoulders of his ward, remorse and conviction pouring from his liquid eyes. "Minako-chan," he cries passionately, desperate for her to feel his words. "You fight like a girl..."
Bright blue eyes reflecting the same flowing emotion, Minako pouts as well, clasping the front of his tank top. "What do I do Duo-kun?" She whines equally dramatic, failing to notice the way her bust peeks out the top of her purple sports bra with the motion nor the way the pilot's eyes dip for a fraction of a second.
Having escaped the kitchen duties after lunch was served, the blond Goddess hit her room to make a hasty change to her yoga pants and bra before disappearing into the gym to train for her upcoming mission. Trying the maneuvers again and again for what feels like endless hours, all the fighting she's experienced as a Senshi seems more and more detrimental to her ultimate goal.
"You need..." Stumbling for words, the pilot of zero-two wipes the sweat from his brow to both bide his time to think and distract himself from looking down her top. "Your problem is you..." He continues to stutter until a new voice joins in.
"You fight with your hips."
"Huh?" Minako expresses in confusion, stepping away from Duo's grasp to turn her eyes to Trowa as he crosses the mat from the wide open door, finishing a piece of orange with two more whole oranges in his other hand.
"Men move with their back and shoulders, not their hips," Trowa explains, handing the fruit to Duo and pushing him aside as he in turn puts both hands on Minako's hips and turning her to face him. "We keep our feet apart. Women keep their legs together, it's what makes them look thinner and more agile." Hands still firmly in place, he uses one foot to spread her feet, ignoring the sniggers from Duo, as he notes how the top of her head comes barely an inch above his chin. "You're a half a head too short..."
Frowning as she ponders his words, everything goes out the window as she finally surrenders the solitary soldier in her to whatever he may suggest. "What should I do?" She asks softly, imploring him to give her all the answers.
"We'll put risers in your shoes, but in the mean time," plucking one of the oranges from Duo's hands as he's about to peel it, he holds it before Minako's eyes. "Put this in your pants."
Eying the perfectly round sphere, Minako quirks an eyebrow, just as caught off guard as Duo who's nearly gags on the second one he's already torn into. "Excuse me?"
"Put this...in your pants," He repeats again, still holding it out until she finally reaches for it with hesitant fingers.
And when the fire burns out.
Agitation and confusion. The screwdriver rattles to a rest on the beaten wood top again as he grips his hands in his hair again. Whether it be the lack of sleep or the mystery of the confounded machine he's compelled to build, Quatre finds himself wondering why. Wondering if giving it to them half complete would make it all just go away. Away to some place where he can live in the peace they'd enjoyed for what's soon to be the six year anniversary and return the freedom his family had promised to the colonist.
With no end in sight, he picks up the infernal tool again, taking to studying it in lieu of staring at the blasted machine. A jumbled behemoth of wires and panels and twisted scraps of steel, it's girth has grown to almost swallow the table as the gel power packs hang in clumps towards the floor. Wishing on the simplicity of the clover head design, his soft blue eyes reflect the iridescent over head light from behind the smudged work glasses that still show the marks of soot and ash from the last two times it decided to blow.
"This would be easier if we knew exactly what the field were meant to do..." he says with a frown, willing it all away.
"Don't give up so easily," he's reassured, as the uniquely similar blue eyes of the wind Senshi stare back at him from across the table. "I'd say you're at least half way done."
"But this is only a prototype!" Quatre argues back, the weight of the situation weighing hard on him with less then four weeks in the supposed deadline and the Gundams now crawling on their way to being fixed, he flexes his grip around the innocent tool, contemplating ending it all.
Scrutinizing the complex web of bits and pieces, Haruka stands from her own tool to open a crudely fashioned panel to gain access to a few computer chips that they scavenged from a few electronics around the house. "We already know it's a generator...the working model will be put together in no time. Lets just concentrate on this." She encourages, snapping the panel back closed after a minute adjustment before rounding the table to look at the blue prints again.
"What do you suggest?" Quatre heaves with a sigh, shifting his eyes between Haruka and the sloppily drawn papers. "I'm worried we won't have the parts..."
Smacking him on the back, Haruka misses the look in his eyes as a laugh escapes her lungs. "Maybe that's why I'm here then," she says optimistically, shifting through the papers and scanning the lines of formula, finding the role of the optimist so starkly different from the part she played as a Senshi. "You're concentrating too much on the whole unit instead of the individual pieces."
"This is too much," Quatre finally exclaims, the numbers and letters blurring before him as he watches Haruka study them. "We won't even have one Gundam done by the end of JCO's imposed two months. I can't handle another war. I need...I need..."
"You need to get some sleep."
Listening quietly from the door way as the unlikely pair debates the schematics and shuffles some wires and fuses, curiosity finally gets the best of him when he finally speaks up and steps through the darkened doorway, much to the bewilderment of the rooms occupants. Something told him there was more to the machine as he gave into his soldier side and abandoned his work in the Gundam hangar.
"Why didn't you tell me this was a field generator?" he asks, shifting his calculative gaze between the machine and the fair haired pilot.
"Ah...Hiiro," Quatre stutters, feeling like a misbehaving child. "It was a theory Haruka came up..."
"How long have you known?" Hiiro interrupts, his eyes barely flicking to the Senshi before glaring back at his comrade.
Rubbing the nape of his neck, trying to think of a way out of the corner he feels himself being backed into before muttering his remorseful response, "Not long after the first explosion," the words drawing a grimace from his lips and dropping his chin to his chest.
"Stop trying to solve the universe Quatre..." Hiiro says with a grunt, having that feeling of deja vu harking back to the Barton uprising when the gentle man blamed himself for it all.
"But Hiiro..." Quatre tries to argue back when he finds himself pressed back down into his seat by Haruka.
"He's doing everything he can while you play with your robots, cut him some slack," she defends, keeping her hands firmly on his shoulders.
So willing to ignore her, Hiiro narrows his eyes with a grunt, "Quatre's the center if our plan. He'll need to be at his best to coordinate both teams as well as covering our escape routes should things go south."
"If his role is so important, why don't you do it?" She challenges back, willing to go toe to toe with him again.
"Haruka..." Quatre begins before just as quickly being trumped by Hiiro once more.
"Our best fighters need to be on the front line and our brains at the back," he says darkly before turning and leaving the room, not waiting long enough to see the looks of surprise left in his wake.
Watching the door for several more minutes, Haruka struggles to find her words, perplexed as she looks to the one man she's grown oddly fond of. "Did...did he just compliment me?" Her words earning a smile and a shrug.
Build it back up.
"It's almost time..."
Darkness. Purple and black and smoke. The world swirls like an endless falling void, consumed by the rich, velvety nothing that exists in it. Haunting as it penetrates the soul and fills every insignificant corner of anyone who should dare to take in it's gaze. It's the darkness that exists in the worst of nightmares, the same thick blanket of black that's to be feared when left all alone.
The air so hot a thick yet freezing cold, it burns the lungs and squeezes the chest as the eerie amethyst glow of the Throne of Silence snakes through the twisting vortex of fog, casting it's light as a halo in the center of the wall-less room. Awing while terrifying, the grand seat looms commandingly over the congregation of the dying and dead. Unseeing and nonspeaking, invisible to any mortal man, the departed cower at the majesty of the sinfully empty precipice.
Kneeling at the center of the halo, the fog parts feebly, almost consciously vying not to be touched, the glaive rests idly at her side as she tucks her heels beneath her. Eyes seeing beyond the vigilant disciples, her pristine fuku glows of it's own light, casting a malevolent image that one should hope to never see in the Earth bound realm.
Lips curved minutely, the attentive Senshi of Saturn watches over her young ward like a loving mother as she sleeps in a peacefulness that she too soon, will no longer know. Willing the child to sleep a little longer, she brushes her tender gloved fingers through her short cropped hair, feeling the rare warmth where her head rests on her knees. A possessive twinge stirs in her heart before she bats it away, willing it to submit for the sake of all that is good.
"Sleep a little longer my firefly."
The coo of her voice pierces the smoke before dissipating into the nonexistent throngs as she finds herself eternally grateful that she has no hand in time. The motion of brushing the young girls hair stirs a memory in her as she hums a somber tune, a tune she knows all to well but not how she came to know it still. A song that's kept her company in all her millennia spent alone on her throne, it comforts her still, even as the sleeping child keeps her company for this short while.
"Yes..." She murmurs amidst her song, a caring warmth vanquishing the hard edge of icy destruction that forever resides deep in her violet eyes. "It's definitely almost time."
Humming still, she gasps and snatches her fingers away like fire when her younger self groans and shifts her comfortable place before falling back into her peaceful sleep. Pure to the world and unfazed by the darkness and death around her, she continues dreaming with narrowly a whisper escaping her smiling lips.
And burn it back down.
"...Put this in your pants."
Hesitating for a moment, fingers curled but not quite touching the offending fruit, Minako suppresses a gulp before shifting her eyes back to Trowa's in desperation before snatching it from his hand. Biting her lip, she rolls it in her palm before firming her grip and standing as tall as she possibly can.
"It's...it's so soft," she suddenly exclaims, earning a snicker from Duo but pouting just the same, the humor lost to her as she squeezes it once more for good measure.
"Then you better not squish it," Trowa challenges, a similar humor reflecting deep in his emerald eyes as she finally heaves a sigh and turns around to tuck the orange down the front of her yoga pants.
Taking two deep breaths and exhaling them just the same, Minako counts to five before turning back around, finding she has to spread her feet to accommodate the more awkward stance, and prepared to glare daggers at anyone who so chooses to laugh. Noting the look akin to constipation on Duo's face, she crosses her arms and shifts to balance on one foot when she suddenly feels the distinctly cool trickle as it seeps down one leg.
"Now what?" She finally asks, shifting her position back to halt the flow, promising vengeance with every fiber of her soul.
Nodding approval, Trowa begins to circle the normally peppy blond, making adjustments to her stance as he does, noting the way some of her obvious curves are subdued by the simple movement of her knees and feet. "Move with your shoulders, that's your center of balance. Favor punches over kicks. Use your feet to push off and keep your hips square." He instructs before rounding back before her and dropping into a fighting stance. "Now attack me."
Absorbing his words, Minako tips her chin proudly and drops into her own fight stance, this time spreading her feet more and keeping her body balanced. Not saying a word nor breaking her gaze, she wastes no time before lunging forward with fist pulled back to strike, using her speed to her advantage.
Left and right, she throws her jabs as Trowa dodges smoothly, she changes tactics and jumps forward to kick, feeling only the slightest of dampness as she presses him towards the back of the mat. Hair tied back in a high pony tail, it waves behind her as she ups her tempo some more, leading with her feet and fists, careful to not rock her hips and tempting him to challenge her back.
Blocking her strikes with the flats of his hands, Trowa allows her head way to adapt to the change in motions. Taking the hits in stride until he feels his heels at the edge of the mat and sensing her growing comfort and speed, he knocks away her driving kick before going on the offense instead. Forcing her to duck and leap, he pushes her back with a few attacks of his own, careful to not hit her hard until he knows what she can take.
Another kick coming painfully close, Minako dodges once more, her pulse racing as she bats his next punch aside. In a frenzy and a flurry, she backs to more steps when he swings with his left, drawing her off balance as she stumbles right. Lost to the emotion, she lunges at him again but finds herself countered and blocked, the fighter with in cries for her to win at all cost.
Catching his fist and shoving him back, she leaps into the air but realizing too late. She flips over back and connecting her heel with his chin, before landing back on her feet, five paces back from her start. Breath labored, she watches him stumble and fall, followed by the explosion of juice cascading down her legs. Sticky and cold, her eyes dart from Duo to Trowa who still sits on his back side before she looks down to her light colored pants, soaked through and darkening still, the distinct sent of citrus pervading in it's wake.
Caught somewhere between triumph of the fight and embarrassment where there needn't be any, an unfamiliar sense of defeat works it's way into the Senshi of love. Panicking in her plight, it's only a moment before a scream escapes her lips and she takes flight, fleeing from the room.
The echo lasting but a heart beat and having watched the whole fight unfold, Duo finally lets out a rye chuckle as he pops the last bit of his orange in his mouth before waltzing across the mat to where Trowa sits and holds out a hand to hoist him up. He can't help the smirk still dancing on his lips, even as he looks back over his shoulder to see if she chose to come back or not.
"You got that?" Trowa asks, watching the door just the same.
"It's all on tape," Duo confirms, smacking his pocket before taking out a remote and pressing a switch to stop the tape.
Nodding acceptance, Trowa pulls off his sweat soaked shirt before crossing the room to grab a clean towel from the rack. "She's good...too good."
"Yeah..." Duo agrees, almost regretfully. "She's better then what we've seen of Haruka...she could probably even take Hiiro on a good day," considering his words, he shrugs his shoulders thoughtfully. "Or a bad day. Depending on how you want to look at it."
Drying his face and neck, Trowa ponders it as well, before tossing the linen and his shirt in a hamper at the far end of the rack. Having fought so many battles and been trained in so many skills, he can only begin too imagine what levels of training must exist to hold so much potential but care less that it's even there. "She's too good. It's time we move forward..."
"Wha?" Sputtering on his words, as Trowa turns so resolutely and heads towards the door, Duo takes to his heels, never expecting him to say those words. "But Trowa..."
'Til nothing is left.
Gentle with care. Small and soft hands, smoothing and tucking as the fabric spreads so fluidly across the marble floor. Her tender ministrations take on an air of obsession as she tries so hard to will away every single minute wrinkle and crease. Humming just the same, the ritual of her work flows out like the tails of her coat in the way the float like river of billowing clouds around her tiny frame.
Kneeling in the middle of the mass of taupe and tan, the rosy haired imp smiles in her own antics as the hat slips to the side of her head before she rights it once more. Enchanted by the delight of her game, she pays little mind to the rhythmic tempo of heals, steadily approaching the place she's taken root in the cavernous cathedral-like room.
Eying the precocious child from across the expanse, the mossy haired woman in the mask can only scowl at the way she so audaciously makes herself at home. Having had more then enough of those unknown radical harboring presence in their private hall. Taking stride across the room, her eyes weigh heavy on the naive little sprite as she keeps her in her sights until her shadow falls on her blanket of a coat.
"What are your intentions in this?" The severe woman demands, look down her nose at the chibi through the visor of her helmet.
Humming a happy tune as she completes her painstaking work, the child pays no mind to respond until she's certain all is as it should be, and then she turns her eyes to the questioning woman with her guarded looks. A coy smile curling her lips, no sign of intimidation or fear reflects in the glimpse of her eyes before she shifts her sunglasses back in place.
"They will be there," she purrs sweetly, ignoring the question as irrelevant in the grander scheme.
"And why are you helping us?" The woman ask in irritation, tisking at the way she avoids all her questions.
Spotting another wrinkle, the child hurries to smooth it flat, knowing the wrath she's taunting but not caring none the less. It's several more long moments before decides now is a good time to reply. "Reap what you sow, and sow what you reap."
Patience being tested the woman clenches a fist before biting back a growl of protest, reading into the words the chibi has yet to say. "And who are you reaping and who are you sowing?"
Sensing the challenge and knowing her words could spell her fate, a nonchalant giggle slips through her lips as her innocence radiates through. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
But ashes all across the war torn ground.
Another two days come and gone and well past midnight, the calm and prevailing silence wafts through the house, leaving in it's wake, the tension of the mission which is growing nearer. Only a day and a half and more information pouring in as the minutes tick by, the stress and rigors of rebuilding have ground the household into profound exhaustion.
Fully dressed with boots laced up and jacket over his arm, Hiiro clicks his door closed in the dark hallway before hoisting his heavy duffel over his shoulder and heading towards the stairs. The encoded email having rolled in a hour before and forwarding the message to the other pilots, he packed in haste to leave the colony to make it to his rendezvous with time to spare.
Rounding the rail at the top of the steps, the habit of repetitive action drives him to take the first step without looking when a sudden sound and light taunts his senses. Pausing in place with his hand still on the rail, he glances down the other end of the hall to see the tiniest stream of light creeping out from the crack in the training room door.
So lost in his work and rush to pack, he questions how he missed someone passing up the stairs, let alone the noise and light filtering from the spacious room. Curiosity getting the best of him, he lets his bag and coat slip to the floor before taking those long strides to peek in through the gap in the door. The sound of sombre rock music grows as he reaches the door, nudging it further open to scope who's inside.
The music pitches to a gentle roar as more sound escapes the widening door and his eyes fall on the lithe frame performing intricate katas perfectly in the center of the mat. Entranced by her finely crafted form, he watches as she performs an acrobatic back flip and turn before landing without so much as a sound followed by two more spinning kicks before twisting around with bladed jabs.
At it for what's obviously been hours, he can't help but to notice that she's stripped down to nothing but her training shorts and sports bra, allowing the light above to enhance the sheen of sweat coating her porcelain skin. Her lean muscle dancing beneath her skin and the way her bare feet cling to the mat as she performs a second retinue of moves in tune to the music intrigues him to cross the threshold into the room.
Her mane of tied back hair whips around her agile body like a midnight viper as she slows her motions with the new song that starts it's track, pausing her duel with the demons only she sees to breath deep before making a graceful kick and falling back to her heels. Eyes unfocused as she fixates on her trance, she moves to the balls of her feet and is about to do a flip when she has a sudden change of of heart and drops to a knee to spin in reverse to sweep out the feet of her invisible foe. So gone in her cloud, she's snapped back sharply when her ankle strikes a jarring blow against flesh and finds herself slammed to the mat with a groan, the weight on her chest forcing the air from her lungs.
Taking those steps through the door before he's even realized he has, he traipses softly towards the mat, not missing how her well honed moves suit her physique. He finds himself more intrigued by how her style differs so severely from her two friends. While Haruka fights head on, diving in full bore like a kamikaze and Minako fights with feints, using speed to taunt her foes to attack before dodging and then launching her an attack of her own.
Stopping at the edge of the mat as she rolls back on her heels, he nods in agreement that she uses fluid movement and raw fire power to her advantage. Letting them make a mistake and then overwhelming them with intense and focused power. Her easy accuracy by far trumps the other two. Considering his own plans again as he watches her spar, he misses the move as she rolls back forward and drops to the floor.
Knees locked, a grunt of surprise escapes his lips when he finds his feet taken out from under him and he falls forward before he can hope catch himself. Gasping a breath, it's several long seconds before he can blink his eyes, only to find himself in a heap on the mat and nose to nose with Rei. Only hair's width between them as their bangs tickle the others brow, a flush gracing each of their cheeks as she shifts beneath him in hopes to sooth her racing heart.
"Hiiro..." She groans his name, batting her eyes slowly, feeling the way his lips hover just over hers as her head continues to swim.
Not missing the feel of her body or the way she moves, he finds all his senses on overload and grunts an apology before hastily rising to his feet, offering a hand to help her up before brushing his fingers through his hair in a long practiced nervous tick. His years of training leaving him short a page or two on how to handle this unique yet peculiar girl. Thinking hard and fast, he fumbles for a reason why he'd even come to the room when she unknowingly saves him once more.
"I didn't mean to wake you..." Rei offers in apology, trying to forget that momentary look she saw in his eyes, when she notes he's fully dressed. "Were you going somewhere?" she finds herself asking, remembering the plan was for them to leave the following morning.
"H...Hai..." Exhaling a breath, Hiiro regains his composure, speaking before he knows the words have been said but feeling oddly at ease none the less. "The space port. I'm going to steal a mining shuttle."
"Oh..." a feeling of what can only be disappointment registers in her mind as she nods in acceptance of his message before grabbing her shirt and bottle of water she'd discarded at the edge of the mat. "I'll make sure Quatre knows. Good luck," with no thought involved as she tucks her things under one arm, she retreats silently from the room, but not with out absently planting a kiss on his cheek before leaving the space.
The action having been so innocent, almost automatic, Hiiro finds himself left in silence as the music shuts off and Rei disappears down the hall. So out of his element, he gently touches his cheek where she kissed him just seconds earlier, before he looks over his shoulder only to confirm that she's no longer there. Confusion confounding, he stuffs both his hands in his pockets, only to be surprised again as he fishes a hand back out to find that peculiar shinny key chain in his palm once more and that unique smile of his can't help but to breech the corners of his lips.
Fire burns hot.
Tearing across the kindling world.
The inferno rips with a passion.
Only the dead would know not that it's there.
Thawing the frozen still.
FIN~ for now...
Jack and Chibi Luv would like to thank you for reading.
I really appreciate your guys patience in me getting this out. I'll admit I had trouble with a few parts of it but feel it was all worth it for thirteen lovely pages. I hope you guys agree. Coming up...we're getting down to business!
So many questions to be answered. So what's the plan? What's with the boxes? And the machine? Time for what? What's that blasted Chibi up to? Did they ever find the book? Who was the interloper?
All will be answered soon enough!
The next chapter I plan to have up much faster then this one as the intensity's about to pick up.
I hope you guys enjoyed and let me know what you think or if there's anything I need to correct. I appreciate all feed back.