AN: This takes place after Chapter 4. Serenity and Relena have signed their accord and swapped Hiiro and Mina, and are trying to end conflict on Earth and the colonies, 'diplomatically'. To update the continuity, it's 2, 4, 6, 1, 3, 5 from beginning to end, though they are intended to be read (kind of) in the order they are posted. I have no idea why I wrote this. I'll probably be writing random chapters of this story when I'm 80.
When she finally managed to corner him alone, he was in a section of their compound that provided physical fitness facilities for their civilian members of staff. It was a well-lit room, lined with mirrors on the wall and textured, padded flooring. He hadn't bothered to change out of the dress pants he had worn to the Crystal Council meeting that morning, gray with a red stripe down the side of the leg, ironed-creases still crisp. But he had stripped down to a sleeveless undershirt and bare-feet, doing one-handed pull ups with an extra 25lb weight in his free hand.
He saw her, but continued his work without acknowledging her.
"I always knew we had workout rooms somewhere in here, but I've never actually seen one." She spoke casually, trying to be the calm, efficient operator she had sometimes dreamed of being. And it was working, a little. After all, when the senshi had woken from their state of suspended animation, she was the one who had changed the most. Still, the rage roiled just under the surface of her skin, and she knew it showed.
"Let me guess. You people don't actually have to train anything."
"It's magic," she spat. "Our power comes from the force of our will. Well, to be precise, my power comes from the force of my anger. My will comes into play when it's time to stop setting everything on fire. That's what the meditation is for."
His eyes were fixed squarely on her, now, as he dropped off the bar, and set the weight back in its place. He strode toward her.
"A spar. My strength against your will. My training against your …. meditation"
"A test of my will? I came here to speak to you about the disrespect you continuously show my Queen and the rest of our people in Council meetings."
His cold control – real control, and not her facsimile of it – eroded her calm-seeming demeanor, and her words came clipped and short now. The air in the room started to stir, as she put out heat that altered its equilibrium.
"We both know you didn't come to speak at all."
Despite his coolness, there was a tiny double entendre beneath his words. But something in Rei, perhaps the part of her that had remained dead and frozen in the icy pit where she lay dormant for over a hundred years, failed to react to it.
"I came to show you my anger. Not my will."
"Somehow, I don't think that me versus your anger would be a very fair fight."
"You think I care about that?"
"You would when I was a pile of bone and ash, and there was a war between your kingdom and mine."
"Arguable," she spat, running out of patience with even this very short conversation.
"I think violating her treaties is a much deeper disrespect to your Queen than anything I could ever say or do, and you know that. So: can you beat me without burning me?"
She stepped towards him and swung her other leg around, aiming for his midsection. She didn't bother to prepare herself, even though she was still entirely in her formal dress, a mysterious uniform that someone had designed to resemble their old senshi costumes, but with long sleeves, and a slightly longer skirt, and of all things, a cape. Her clothing and footwear had never made much of a difference in the way she fought. Just another part of the mysterious nature of senshi powers.
He blocked her kick forced her leg down with his. The fabric smoked.
He warned her with a look.
She took a deep breath, not daring to close her eyes. She exhaled slowly, letting a tiny stream of air flow from her lungs as she defended herself against the flurry of punches that Yuy directed at her head. His own face was annoyingly still. But his hands and arms remained un-singed where she had made contact with him.
They continued, exchanging long series of cautious strikes and blocks. Hiiro Yuy was a work of art: a transcendent master class of his craft. His stance was always perfectly balanced, his blows perfectly timed. She marveled at it even as it unraveled her own control. Instead of trying to win, he remained neutral, matching her at every step without having to struggle, and flaunting his ability to keep his emotions within himself. There's nothing worse in an emotional state than knowing that someone else is not. Knowing that her will couldn't stand up to him only infuriated her more, making her defeat more inevitable.
Finally, their dispute came to a cusp – flying at him, she pushed him to the ground, hands on his mostly bare shoulders, searing scars into his skin.
As the smell of burning skin and flesh reached her nose, she recoiled, jumping off of him immediately. Turning to face the wall, she leaned against it with one arm, trying not to lose the contents of her stomach.
He stood slowly, the only concession to the pain in his shoulders was a glance, one to each side, and walked towards her. She turned her head to look at him with half a smile, and he could not feel any heat radiating from her skin.
"So you see, perfect soldier? It's no use. I was made to fight demons. Pure manifestations of evil, and humans who sold their souls to the devil for supernatural talents. To bring my powers to bear against a person is … destructive, in the end. I can sense the corruption in humans, and I itch to burn it out, but I can't. Not without going so far that I can never come back again."
"You realize you've just given me your weakness? What good is an alliance with your kingdom when all of us ordinary humans find out that we have nothing to fear from you?"
"You, an ordinary human?" She scoffed before heating up in anger again, "have you not been listening to what I'm saying? We fight true demons. Someday, something will come … no, something IS coming and we senshi will be your last line of defense. When it comes, humanity must be united behind us, not killing itself off in a neverending series of revolutions."
"You're running out of time," Hiiro said softly, finally realizing what this had all been about. "You don't think peace will be fast enough to unite the earth's sphere."
"And I can't do anything about it." She stood up straight now, looking him in the eye.
"But I can," he said without hesitation. Gaze locked with hers, he shook her hand. Though his hand felt cold in hers, she could see an inferno in his eyes, buried deeply within him, but hot enough to match her own.
She was the powder and he was the bullet. Together, they would make the whole world tremble.