RENEWING OF A DREAM
(GW/RK Crossover)

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DISCLAIMER:
I don’t own the beautiful bishounen here! Don’t sue me! Any comments, however, are appreciated! This is alternate timeline, you realize, for both series. It’s supposed to happen after the battle with Shishio but it doesn’t follow the anime after that. And there are warnings of OOCness! Not to mention, a lame attempt at light-hearted humor to balance the angst fics I’ve buried you guys under. Read at your own risk! ^_^

NOTE:

1. Grading system is based on the Canadian one, using percentages.

2. I’d add ‘Xena: the Warrior Princess’ as part of the title because it is where I got the idea of the ‘Chronos Stone’ but I only added that one tiny thing so I didn’t bother.

3. Okay, a year and a half have passed since the start of the war and it’s still going. We’ll see what happens next, ‘kay?

FIRST DRAFT: Sunday, November 28, 1999
LAST REVISED: Sunday, April 30, 2000

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Author greetings & morning rantings:

Hola minna! Thank you for those who kept writing to me about this crossover! I really, really appreciate it and so here's ch 4.

Um, this chapter, does get fairly long-winded. Would you believe that I was tanked when I was writing this? No? Well, okay, I admit, I never realized how hard it is to write without a plot! *Aaaarrrrrgggg!* So this is why this might have as much point as any spherical object.

Oh well, long-winded or not, it does contain what I think is Heero's view of Relena, which you guys might (make that, probably would) disagree with. This is second draft, proof-read but unbeta-ed, and would is very much subject to change. Okay, now onto your fic reading. I think I've ranted enough for one time. ^_^

I have added a great big chunk into it so please take the time to read and review, otherwise the next chapter won’t make sense!

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CHAPTER 4: MIBU’S WOLF

The Kamiya dojo was silent, a rather unusual state of affairs. Most of its occupants had left for the hanami, the point of time where cherry blossoms began to bloom. It was an occasion of great celebration for the inhabitants of Tokyo.

"Heero! Hurry up! Look! Look! They left already!"

Of course, with one Duo Maxwell, even a graveyard does not remain silent for long.

Said young man was glaring at his companion as Heero double-checked every door in the dojo. His feet, covered in open-toed sandals, began a rhythmic tapping as he waited in the front courtyard.

Finally, a dark-haired figure slipped out of the door. Duo gave a mock sigh of relief and immediately began bouncing onto the streets. Already, they could hear the sounds of laughter and cheering in the nearby park, where everyone had taken their families for the annual celebration of the rebirth of spring.

The park was filled to bursting as men, women, and children sat beneath the lush shade of the cherry trees. Only Yahiko's frenetic jumping allowed the two newcomers to find their friends.

"Kireina," sighed Duo, plopping down onto the worn blanket beside Sanosuke. He tipped his head back and stared at the exquisite white blossoms. "So beautiful."

Heero agreed quietly. With the wind dancing through the trees, shedding flowers swirled all over the park in tempestuous whirlwinds. Never in all his life had Heero seen such poignant magnificence.

"Here!" Sano handed a cup of sake to the two boys. Kaoru started and grabbed at the cups. "Sano! They're just kids! Don't give them that!"

"Daijoubu, Kaoru-dono," Kenshin interrupted soothingly. "One cup won't get them drunk."

Kaoru stopped trying to grab the two cups that both boys were cuddling close. "All right, Kenshin, but if they get sick, you take them to Megumi." Kenshin winced at her dark tone.

Heero's eyes wandered around. Everyone was in high spirits, dressed in their best garments. It was very strange to Heero; the ball parties that he had gone to paled in comparison to this merry ritual. There were no political maneuvers one had to watch for, no missions to mar the elegance, and most especially, no Relena Darlian Peacecraft.

He frowned. He and Duo had come out to their friends, including the beautiful politician. It was a surprise to him when Relena had responded with such anger and disgust. Mostly towards Duo.

It had snuck up on Heero, the realization that he valued Relena's good opinion. Since the beginning of the war, she had been there, first an enemy, then as an ally, a friend, and a standard. She was the only one, other than the other Gundam pilots, who withstood his indifference, his callous threats to her very existence. Slowly, dislike had transmuted into liking, something that Heero knew she sensed in him. But it would never be more than that, no matter how much she wanted it to be.

Heero turned his head and stared at the boy that had ensnared him. Duo Maxwell was very good-looking, with his rounded features, sparkling eyes, and voluminous chestnut hair. He was alternately annoying and charming, with his zest for life even in the face of death. There was very little restraint in the American, an undeveloped notion of 'moderation'. To Duo, everything worth doing is worth doing excessively.

Relena was different. She was inhibited, constrained by her upbringing. Sympathetic, brilliant, and friendly though she was, Relena radiated presence. The blonde could never hide in a crowd, for power poured out of her like water through a sieve. There were many times when she was reminiscent of the late Treize Khushrenada, whose ideals and charisma easily won crowds and almost worshipful devotion. Relena's fan-group in the schools came to mind quickly.

Relena…Relena was the cherry blossom tree that bathes the earth with its beauty and radiance, fragile in appearance but enduring. Heero had realized long before that she lived in a different reality than he did, one that would ultimately suffocate him. Duo…the pilot of Deathscythe Hell is the deep rich earth that he could anchor in, a point of stability. And this is why Heero loved Duo Maxwell.

Heero started, not noticing the concerned looks of his friends. In the past six months of their relationship, he knew that he loved the other pilot. He knew yet he never said it out explicitly, or even implicitly, within his own mind. HE LOVED DUO MAXWELL!

A touch on his arm jolted him away from his thoughts and his eyes were caught by puzzled violet eyes. "Heero, daijobu?" Duo asked.

"Aa," the Japanese boy reassured his lover. "I'm fine. Just…thinking."

"Uh-oh, that damned police bastard's coming our way," muttered Sano, dark eyes narrow as he glared at someone beyond Duo's shoulder. Everyone followed his gaze towards a tall man in a blue uniform. The man's face was narrow and cut into sections by long strands of dark hair. It was his eyes, though, his yellow tiger eyes, that caught attention easily.

Duo noted the stiffening of the entire group and he filed it into his memory. Studying the policeman, he suppressed a little shiver. No one he knew back in their own time had the same aura of leashed ferocity than this man. This was a man who killed not just because he had to, but because he enjoyed the sensation as well.

Beside the policeman was a familiar woman. Duo's eyes widened as he realized who it was. From the expression in Heero's eyes, the other boy recognized her too.

"Oh, Fujita-san, arigatou! Arigatou gozaimashita," the woman was expressing, her lined face suffused with warmth and pleasure. An elderly woman, she looked nonetheless dazzling in her flower-print jade-green kimono, gray hair pulled in buns with decorative ornaments.

Duo and Heero came to their feet. "Obaa-chan, what are you doing here? Are you alright?" Duo asked, looking her over worriedly. The bandit's attack could have easily injured or traumatized her. She hadn't been when Heero had checked her, other than bruises, but maybe…

"I'm alright, young man," the woman replied, beaming at the two of them. "I just wanted to thank you for helping me the other day when that bandit attacked me. I realized only as I got home that I haven't asked for your names, so I asked Fujita-san to help me look for you." She produced two prettily-wrapped packages, handing one to each pilot. "This is for you," she murmured, giving a deep bow. "A gift from my daughter who have learned of what had happened. It's not worth much, but please, accept it."

Both teens bowed as well. "Thank you, grandmother," Heero said. He was staring fixedly at his gift. "Thank you very much."

Duo nodded. "For me as well, grandmother. We will cherish your present. Would you like to join us for our celebration of spring then?"

She shook her head. "Iya, my family waits for me." Turning, she bowed to the sinister policeman. "Thank you again, Fujita-san, you can not know how much this means to me." She disappeared into the crowds.

"Saitoh," Kenshin greeted reservedly, hand still at the hilt of his katana.

The man smiled, smirked really, and replied back, "Battousai."

Duo's mouth gaped open. Heero's eyes only widened a little. They had heard, back in their own time, of a legend that told of a man with hair the color of blood, which had slain hundreds for the Ishin-Shi-Shi government. A man with a crossed scar on his left cheek and golden eyes.

The Kenshin-gumi winced at the two's reaction. All had known that Kenshin's past identity could not be kept a secret for long but for it to be disclosed at such a time and by such a man…needless to say, Himura Kenshin was seething with anger. He held the lid of that particular hotpot tightly, only the coldness in his amethyst eyes showing anything other than a cheerful geniality. "Saitoh, I did not know you celebrated hanami," he said. "Would you have sake with us then?"

"No. I have no purpose with you, Battousai, but rather with these two young men. I am Fujita Goro, a servant of the law in Tokyo. You are Yuy Heero and Maxwell Duo from America, isn’t that right?"

"Well, yeah, but we're not under arrest or something, are we?" Duo asked warily. The reactions of his newfound friends to this man were alarming to the American pilot. Alarming and strange.

"I wanted to meet the two who had manage to catch the man that had been responsible for several break-ins and the death of one of the victims. During his interrogation, the thief you caught was found to be one of the members of a new yakuza clan, that is moving into Tokyo territory. I merely wanted to inform you that they are not a very forgiving group. Congratulations on catching him and here is the bounty on his head.” He tossed Heero a large money-pouch. “Good day." He strode off, flicking his cigarette along the way.

"Mou! That was unnecessary! Today's hanami, Kami-sama! How could he just ruin it like that!" vented Kaoru, her eyes spitting fire at the retreating form.

Sano, meanwhile, had straightened up from his comfortable, slouched position, which had been uncomfortably near to Kenshin's crossed legs. "Yakuza---I have heard of them." Contempt was evident in his voice, for his past experiences with the yakuza were anything but good.

Kenshin nodded, eyes on the two boys. "Have you boys heard of the yakuza?"

Both pilots nodded. In A.C. 195, yakuza were the underground kingpins, and they despised the Romefeller Foundation. Still, the pilots remained far from their grasp, unwilling to trade the pan for the fire. "But tell us more please, Kenshin," Duo asked, sipping his rapidly-cooling sake.

"The yakuza are groups of petty criminals, thieves, murderers, and slavers. Saitoh was right----they will hunt you down unless you show them that you are stronger than they are."

"Who is that man?" Heero asked. "He called himself 'Goro' but you called him 'Saitoh'."

"He was, is, Saitoh Hajime. In the fight for the Meiji Era ten years ago, he was a captain of the Shinsengumi known as Mibu's Wolf. Do not underestimate him, for he is very strong and very cunning----like the wolf he is called," Kenshin said.

"Is it true then, that you were the assassin called Battousai?" Duo asked, curiosity rather than fear or excitement in his eyes.

The redhead hesitated before nodding his head once, sharply. Heero and Duo looked at him, then at each other. Both remembered the countless times they themselves were the assassins that lurked the night. Sometimes the mission required close contact, sometimes not, but always it required the death of the target, man, woman, and once, a child. They looked away, back to Kenshin who had become very silent and grave. "I am happy that he's no longer you," Duo said brightly. "So, ojousan, what kind of food do you have in there?"

Heero said nothing, only staring at his yet unopened present. The revelation that Himura Kenshin, a gentle man who carried a non-killing sword, was the legendary Hitokiri Battousai, a savage assassin who massacred for a cause, was oddly soothing to him. If Hitokiri Battousai could find redemption in the aftermath of war, could he, Duo, Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei find the same after their own war?

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[On the banks by a koi pond, AC 196]

:It’s odd…

I hated him before I even met him…

I burned for the desire to kill him…to avenge my family…to avenge my honor…

To vindicate why my wife had to die in my place…:

A finger dipped onto the still pond, creating ripples.

:And then I loved him…

I loved the way he loved others…in his own strange, ruthless manner…

I loved the way he stood underneath the sunlight, smelling one of his favored roses…

I loved the way he could smile…when I am underneath him…:

The image on the water vanished, leaving only the startled movements of the silver and gold carps.

:So when does love begin and hate ends…

Or had it become so twisted that both have no beginning and no end…

Treize Khushrenada…

Enemy…lover…general…soldier…pseudo-deity…man…:

The finger became a clenched fist that broke through the surface with a loud splash.

“Wufei!”

He turned from the wavery image of a face ravaged by tears he never remembered shedding. A blond boy ran towards him, eyes wide and alarmed.

“Heero…Duo…they’re gone!”

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Disaster struck several days after Saitoh Hajime had delivered his warning. It came in the form of a kidnapping.

Duo and Yahiko had left in morning, heading towards the Akabeko restaurant where Tae had hesitantly offered Duo a position as dishwasher. Kaoru had vanished into the marketplace, dragging a reluctant Kenshin along with her. Sanosuke had not yet appeared, and Heero escaped to the dojo.

There Heero began moving into a kata, flowing from one form to another flawlessly. It had been a long time since he had last practiced without thought on how one move could break a neck, how another could disable or main, how speed was essential. In this time, he needed only to enjoy, to feel the moves he had been taught in his childhood.

Suddenly, the hair at his nape prickled and he froze. There was no sound and Heero silently moved out of the dojo to the entrance gates. But he could find nothing wrong.

He spent the rest of the morning in a state of wary alertness.

Noon came and Kenshin, Kaoru, and Sanosuke returned to the dojo. With Kenshin grilling fish and cooking mixed rice and vegetables, the four of them had an enjoyable meal. Yet, Heero still could not shake the premonition of danger.

Sunset came and went. And Duo and Yahiko did not arrive.

Heero was all for hunting the town for the two of them, but both Kenshin and Sano persuaded him to wait awhile. Still no sign of Duo or Yahiko.

Three hours later, the three of them set forth.

@@@@@

Yahiko growled behind the dirty cloth around his mouth. His captors only laughed and one particularly nauseating specimen kicked him in the ribs. The pain was excruciating and Yahiko blinked away tears of pain.

Finally, the door to the shack closed and only the faint light of the setting sun through a tiny window illuminated the two prisoners.

Settling with his back against the wooden walls, Yahiko stared worriedly at Duo, bound hand and foot. The other boy had fought valiantly, surprising Yahiko with his skill and speed. Unfortunately, the two had been overwhelmed by the thirty attackers, who had cornered them as they were coming home from the restaurant.

Yahiko had been slightly easier subdued, with his beloved shinai jerked out of his grasp swiftly, only able to incapacitate four. Duo was a much more difficult opponent. Seventeen went down before a club was smashed against the boy’s vulnerable back, driving him dazedly to his knees. The remaining attackers had not been merciful, beating with fist and foot until Duo had lost consciousness, battered and bleeding.

They had then been tied up with coarse twine and dragged to the outskirts of town, to a nearby forest and a shack.

Yahiko wriggled and squirmed but the knots were too tight and he stopped his exertions, panting. His eyes were dark with worry as his companion still hadn’t regained consciousness. The smooth tanned cheeks and shoulders were speckled with blood from numerous bruises and cuts. Yahiko winced as he saw the condition of Duo’s eyes, both already swollen and would get even more so as time passed.

Then Duo’s body began jerking, spasming convulsively for several frightening moments before stilling once more. Yahiko saw the battered eyes open slightly and the face behind the gag was mobile. The boy swallowed but he could only hear faint grunts and moans.

A few minutes more it was obvious to Yahiko that Duo couldn’t see him and that the other boy was obviously trying very hard to find him. Biting his lip, the boy began wriggling, cursing the ties on his ankles.

:I can roll over a couple of times. I could at least reach his hand then.: Yahiko eyed the stony ground and closed his eyes. Spreading his fingers out behind his back, he pushed out at the walls, simultaneously shifting his weight.

:Shimatta!: The move had worked but only so far. The ground was so level that Yahiko didn’t roll at all, but only landed on his stomach with a soft thud. The boy winced as he felt a stone dig into his tender torso.

There was a questioning grunt from Duo’s corner. That revitalized Yahiko and he began determinedly wriggling towards his friend. He had only managed to crawl three inches when the doors opened and in stepped Saitoh Hajime.

@@@@@

“This is all that’s left?”

The dorm-president nodded uncomfortably. It was odd that he towered over his interrogator by a good foot and yet felt much smaller.

“So the dorm didn’t know they were missing for two days and nights. Why?” Chang Wufei narrowed his black eyes at the tall, dark-haired man standing with him at the open doorway of Eiji Takikura and Drew Saltmarsh’s abandoned room.

The place was quite bare, with only two uncomfortable-looking twin beds, matching nightstands and study desks, and a pair of large cast-iron armoires. There were no pictures, no posters, only a few books and novels on the dusty shelves on one wall. There was nothing incriminating or mysterious about the room at all, except that it was the last known place where two ordinary high school students were last seen.

“On those two days the school were having their midterm examinations,” the dorm-president replied indignantly. “We were all cramming and the last thing we worried about was the school genius and the school clown.”

Wufei’s eyebrows twitched at this surprising announcement. “Genius. . . and clown?” he murmured invitingly.

“Eiji Takikura was considered one of the best students in Shizuka Academy. If he only did tutoring, maybe somebody might have noticed something was wrong earlier before all this happened. But he only kept to himself and his roommate.

“Drew Saltmarsh is . . .” the other boy sneered, “without doubt, the dumbest person I’ve ever seen. He was flunking everything and he was all for parties where he made a big fool of himself. I don’t know how people could have stood him.”

Wufei was careful to hide the instinctive clenching of his fist and the grimace that came to his face. “So two days passed. And then what?”

“Then the Principal started inquiring about them because both didn’t show up for their examinations. That’s when everybody started realizing that they had thought the two had been in everybody else’s class for all the examinations. And here we are with two missing students two weeks later.”

“Did the police already search their rooms?”

“Yeah. The only thing they found out of the ordinary was that,” the boy pointed at something hidden behind the night-lamp.

Wufei stepped into the room and walked slowly to the night-table. There he saw a piece of green crystal and he stifled a gasp.

“We really need this room,” the dorm-president interrupted his thoughts, “and so we’d appreciate it if you’d pick up your friends’ items. You’re the only who showed up so far. I guess both didn’t have a lot of relatives or friends.”

:They had friends enough, you little shit! Which is more than I can say for you!: “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.” He waited until the dorm-president had left before taking out his cell-phone.

“Quatre here” came the soft voice.

“It’s Wufei. I think I might know what could have happened. Can you get somebody to come over here and pick up all their equipment? And do you know where they might have stored 01 and 02?”

“Raoul will handle it personally. As for 01 and 02, scanners indicated they had seen what might be camouflage nets at the base of one of the newly-dormant volcanoes. We are still searching for a second one.”

“I’ll meet up with you at the apartment.”