disclaimers: not mine. theirs.

warnings: total weirdness. yaoi (since when is that a *bad* thing?). overly hormonal teenage demi-humans. si leaning precariously towards oc.

[when you are born,
you’re afraid of the darkness
and then you’re afraid of the light
but I’m not afraid when I dance with my shadow

this time I’m gonna get it right,
to finger what I’ve got tonight
just looking for a little taste, a taste of india
he’ll steal the smile right off your face.]
-aerosmith, taste of india (one of my fav. songs)

[carpe notchem]
lady of the mer

[part 1]

[safehouse]

Gods, just who IS awake at 3:47 in the morning, anyway?

“Dammit Maxwell, get UP!”

Obviously, some people were.

A very agitated Wufei prodded me awake rather rudely.

“There is a very irritating onna at the door to see you. Got that? Now GET UP!”

Wufei decidedly glowed with rage. His face held an extreme likeness to a tomato, fire positively spurted from his nostrils, and a very sharp kisana gleamed against my neck. I blinked blearily.

“Umm…Woofa? I would get up if were able to, but I don’t want to have to skewer myself in order to do so.”

Wufei suddenly gave a damn good rendition of the Yuy-shut-up-or-you'll-die-of-unnatural-causes glare.

“Woofa?[1] WOOFA?!? Is there no JUSTICE?”

Uh oh. I had started him on a full-fledged justice rant again. That isn’t a good thing early in the morning. I’m telling you; those rants made him act like me on a sugar high. Scary.

“Calm down, Wu-man, calm down. Just get your sword away from my neck and I’ll get up.”

Wufei lowered the sharp-and-pointy object—thank the gods--but still glared daggers. If looks could kill, I would’ve been vaporized by now.

“Woofa, of all things. Wu-man I can handle. But Woofa,” he mumbled.

I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and pulled on some pants, yawning mightily. Although the light had been on in my room—thanks to Wufei—no such luck in the hallway. I stumbled around blindly until I crashed into something.

“Itai!” I complained, rubbing my nose.

“Duo…”

Rather, crashed into someone.

“Woofa...the injustice...ack!” Nope. Make it ‘crashed into two people’, now.

“Dammit, you people need to get softer heads!”

“No thanks to YOU, Maxwell.”

“Yo! DRAGON MAN! You up there?” A high-pitched voice rang through the corridors of our current safehouse. Could it get any worse?

“Who’s making all that racket?” Two heads, one yellow, one brown, popped out of the next doorway down. Quat and T-dog. Red faced and panting. With a sheet around both their waists. Ooo. Naughty boys.

Of course it could. The more the merrier.

Suddenly, Wufei’s eyes got as big as saucers. Twin gouts of blood sprouted from his nostrils.

“Ew, Woofa, you’re getting blood all over my shirt! And the carpet!” And then I lit upon what he was staring at.

Heero’s bare chest.

‘Nuff said.

“Well, if you’re not coming down, I’m coming up!” With that, there was a shimmer of air a few feet behind Heero’s back. A moment later, a small girl of what appeared to be about thirteen years appeared. She had shoulder length black hair, golden eyes, and a black bodysuit that looked as if it had been painted on. She saw us and suddenly blushed. “Oh...I didn’t realize what was taking you so long...”

Then it hit me. Heero’s chest was inches apart from mine our foreheads practically touched, our breath mingled.... In short, we were really damn close. Not that I was complaining. Who would? And then, I flushed deeply.

Damn. I was going to have to take another cold shower after this.

Me? Lusting after my partner? Naw. Well, maybe. Fine. I do. There. Happy? [an: yup]

“Omae o korosu.”

“What makes you think I’ll give you such a pleasure?”

“Hn.”

“Ack! Woofa, get something done about that nose of yours!”

Wufei grumbled irritably and plugged his nose with his tank top. Heero turned around to face the new girl and moved a decent distance away from lil’ ol’ me. He Glared at her. “What do you want?” he growled.

She Glared right back. “Who are you?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Are you Duo Maxwell?”

“No.”

“Then where is he?!?”

“Over there. The baka with the braid.” He pointed. I waved nervously, hiding behind Wufei as I knew any normal, sane person would. The girl’s face split into a grin so wide I was surprised the edges of her mouth didn’t touch her ears.

“Hi! I’m Mariel, daughter of space pirate Ryoko and Lord Tenchi. I am the junior princess of Jurai, after Florea. Grandma Washu said to give you Nox, since you’re the only one who can touch it. Or everyone says you’re the only one.”

One of Quatre’s eyebrows arched elegantly (well, about as elegantly as one can raise an eyebrow after making the mattress squeak for at least half the night). “Who is this...‘Washu’?”

The girl looked…uh…let’s just say that ‘surprised’ was an understatement. “You...you...you...don’t know who Washu is?!?”

Our faces were wiped completely of any intelligence whatsoever. Except Heero’s, of course. Five heads shook as one, making a sudden gust of wind sweep through the hallway.

The girl sweatdropped. “Obviously not. Well, Washu is my employer, creator of my mother, —making her my grandmother--and just about the greatest scientist in universe.”

Wait a minute...employer?

“How could your grandmother possibly be your employer?” I edged out from behind Wu-man.

“OH! I haven’t told you yet. I’m a bounty hunter. Grandma Washu picks out targets for Kerri-oh-ki and me and maintains Kerr-chan in working order. I’m one of the best in the business, you know.” She flashed a v-sign.

“Bounty hunter?” Heero looked frankly skeptical. Which is, in his case, not much.

“Yup. It was either that or space-pirate, but Washu refused to give me Kerri-oh-ki if I became a criminal. Kerri-oh-ki’s my ship, you know.”

“Hn. You’re hardly older than we are and you’re a bounty hunter?”

“Long story.” Mariel waved her hands dismissively and glanced at a yellow band on her left wrist. “Crap.” she muttered, her brow furrowing as she stared at the band. “It’s been a week. Hammer-space is going to attempt to reject Nox if I don’t get it out soon. That is NOT a good thing, just so you know.”

“Could’ve fooled me.” I murmured.

She shot me a Look. One with a capital ‘L’. It was one of those don’t-mess-with-me-mister-cause-I-know-what-I’m-doing-and-you-don’t looks.

“Do you know what will happen if hammer-space attempts to reject Nox? No, of course you don’t. If hammer-space rejects Nox, the thing’ll retaliate and make the whole space go kapow. Any competent scientist has access to hammer-space and most store stuff in there. If it gets screwed up and destroyed, everybody on Jurai’s gonna be after my ass.”

“Why, pray tell, can’t you get it out of this...uh...hammer-space?” Quatre wrapped the sheet tighter around himself and Trowa.

“I need Duo’s permission to get it out.” She fixed me with another Look. One that plainly said one of two things: say-I-can-get-the-damn-thing-out-or-you’ll-be-hurt-severely. That or I’m-hungry-so-get-me-a-pizza-NOW. I had a strange suspicion it was the former, though.

“Just was IS Nox anyway and what the hell does it have to do me?” I asked.

“Give me permission and I’ll show you.”

“Fine. Get it out.”

She snapped her fingers and a long, thin staff appeared out of nowhere.

This is Nox.”

The staff wavered for a moment in the air and then floated over to my hiding place behind Wu-man. Bright blue sparks sputtered out of one end as it slid past Wufei and stood, hovering, beside me.

“So,” Wufei said, eyeing Nox, “this is the Great and Powerful Nox. It looks like a really big, black stick [an: I didn’t mean THAT, hentais!] to me.”

Mariel ignored him.

“To answer your question from before, I honestly don’t know what it has to do with you. Washu just told me to give it to you, so I have to or else she’s gonna tan my hide.” She winced. “And let me tell you, it isn’t pleasant.”

Trowa nodded sympathetically. “You’re right. Getting your hide tanned isn’t the least bit fun. I should know.” He shuddered and Quatre patted his shoulder. How he managed to do that and not let the sheet slip, I’ll never know. [an: behold the power of sympathetic arabians. mwahahahaha!]

Meanwhile, Nox sputtered indignantly at my side. It started to dance in the air where it floated and began to hum. Let me tell you, long black sticks that hum ‘La Cucaracha’, dance in time to the beat and spit out sparks can become very irritating to say the least.

So I grabbed it, trying to hold it still and end the repetition of Spanish folk songs.

A gem imbedded near the top of the staff flared instantly to life, blue flames licking at its insides. Ribbons of energy spiraled outwards and enclosed the staff I was holding in a shimmering azure cloak. The cloak suddenly flashed bright white and disappeared, leaving me holding a scythe with a long, silver blade.

Sudden warmth radiating from my hands infused my body with energy. I had the unforeseen urge to swing the lethal blade and my body acted of its own accord. Sparks flew as the scythe moved in my hands, ever elegant, even as a weapon to kill. It arced in the air, shaving an inch off of Wufei’s ponytail and imbedding itself in the floor a few inches from his foot. It was out of the wood in an instant and twirling in the air high above my head, issuing a challenge to Wufei’s skills.

Then I realized that Nox was controlling me. A weapon, a mere tool, was controlling me. Shinigami. I pushed up at the blackness confining me to a corner of my mind. Great ebony waves pushed down at my rebellious thoughts, easily quelling any hope of freedom.

Wufei’s eyes shone with feral light in response to Nox’s challenge. His kisana came free from its sheath in one pull, glinting in the soft glow emanating from Quatre’s bedroom. Nox came down and the two blades met with a clang. Wufei danced away, kisana held low. Nox leapt and pressed the attack. Wufei tried to evade it but Nox was ready for him and swung downward, a fierce blow that would shatter any blade of lesser quality that his.

Parry. Block. Thrust.

Thrust. Dodge. Parry.

Jump. Parry. Thrust.

The dance went on and on, neither Wufei nor Nox getting drained. It was like watching a movie. I could still see. I could still feel. I could still smell. But I was a marionette and Nox held the strings, preventing me from doing anything of my free will. But the while the presence in my mind couldn’t see my memories, I could see all the killing it had done, all its owners, all the devastation it had caused. And always, always it controlled. Always. Well, I was going to change that.

I tried to overpower Nox’s fierce energy once again, worming my way out of the little corner in which Nox had left me to rot. The waves of black came quickly this time, pushing my consciousness down and threatening to crush it if I didn’t stop.

Leap. Skid. Turn. Slash.

Suddenly, Nox got an idea. It used my body to leap to the right and crouch into a defensive position. As predicted, Wufei took the opportunity to press attack. As the boy took a flying leap, Nox used my body to jump away and catch his head with the blade of the scythe, pressing just enough to draw a line of blood from his skin. I could feel Nox’s choking control on my body fade, so I grabbed the opportunity and shook it until it gasped for breath. Figuratively speaking, that is.

“Face it, Wu-man, Nox has got you beat. Now, you can be annoying at times, but I don’t want to kill you. Not yet, anyway.” I flashed my trademark grin and forced Nox’s dark presence away from my body. The blade flickered once, twice, and disappeared, leaving me holding a ridiculously long, black stick
in my hands.

Someone coughed.

Both Wufei and I turned around, looking for the source of the noise. Ah. It was that girl. What was her name again? Oh yes, now I remember. Mariel.

She coughed again. “Yeah, well, your little song and dance was nice and all, but we need to get going. Now.” She snapped her fingers. “Kerri-oh-ki, where are you? We have to get going!”

“I’m over here.” A person appeared from around the corner and stepped into the light. “Mariel, you sure know how to choose ‘em. That Chinese boy is HOT, man!”

Wufei paled.

The person in question was a girl, but she was obviously not entirely human. Long, furry ears sprouted from her head and a black, bushy mane surrounded that. Her body was covered in fine black fur. Her eyes were deep blue and a small, circular, dull blue stone was in the middle of her forehead.[2] “By, the way, my name’s Kerri-oh-ki. I’m Mariel’s ship/best friend.”

“Nice way to introduce yourself, Kerr-chan. I think you just scared the shit out of Dragon Man. You have way too many hormones for a teenage demi-human.” Mariel snorted. “We have to get going. Washu said that there was a greater chance of picking up evidence if we started out early. Now, you just be a good demi-human and transform, will you?”

Kerri-oh-ki rolled her eyes. “All right. But let’s go outside. I hate to think what my spikes would do to this. Oh, any by the way, you two might want to get some clothes on.” She shot Quatre and Trowa a toothy grin before disappearing.

“Where did she go?” I asked, still holding Nox’s dormant staff.

“Kerr-chan teleported outside. And she’s right. I doubt a sheet’s going to be sufficient for this venture.” Mariel said, eyeing them. Quatre flushed deeply and shuffled him and Trowa into the bedroom, shutting the door behind him.

Thus, leaving us in the dark.

“Geez, don’t you people have lights or something?” A small, bright yellow ball of light rested in Mariel’s hand, illuminating the dark hallway.

“Why did you come here?” Heero’s voice broke the silence.

“I told you: to give Duo Nox. And to tell you that you’re going to have to save the world.”

 

[end]

 

[1] when I first told my friend about g-wing, she thought I called wufei ‘woofa’. hehe.

[2] if you’ve ever seen ryo-oh-ki in tenchi muyo as a tall human (not the toddler) kerri-oh-ki looks just like that except for the face that she’s black. well la dee da. i like that better 'n' the original.