sighs> I finally got through my homework and essays--yay! Now I can finally write... at last... <grins happily >

NEway, a few announcements before we begin. Naturally, this is a GW/FY crossover, it contains yaoi, spoilers for FY, is becoming AU, and is probably OOC for several characters.

Also, a momentous bit of news: my muse, Bob, who has been lately courting the fair muse Cas, has finally popped the question! (See, I told y'all she'd make an honest muse out of him yet.) He's been running now for awhile... the question remains--will she accept?

With that being said, on with the fic!

 

Okane and Omae o Korosu
Part Eleven

After his fiftieth *consecutive* game of solitaire, Duo slammed the pack of cards down on the table with a curse. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been this bored. Playing cards was all well and good, but by the point one has won five games in a row, solitaire loses its charm. Duo glared at the worn deck of cards, as if blaming them would alleviate the boredom somewhat.

The cards didn't seem too impressed, and Duo shoved them away. Normally at a time like this he'd be able to sit and let his brain rot in front of a television, but he'd already tried that once. Tamahome had given him such a wonderful rendition of the Yuy Death Stare that he'd quickly lost his appetite for television.

Duo considered going to the hangar and working on Deathscythe, but...What was the point? It had been a couple of weeks since the last mission,and he'd gone over the Gundam repeatedly as he'd waited for Heero to wake up from self-destructing. Deathscythe was, if possible, in better than mint condition. Going to work on it now would be redundant.

Duo sighed and summed up how he was feeling as eloquently as possible."Man, this sucks." He looked down at the cards, wondering if he could teach Tamahome how to play poker... No, *that* was a deed doomed to failure. "Ano... maybe Heero has some games on that laptop! Surely he can't spend all his time on it working on missions..."

With a new diversion at hand (he'd always wondered about the secrets of Heero's computer), Duo scampered into his and Heero's bedroom. Thiswasan opportunity not to be missed! He stopped short on the threshold,caught a little off-guard... Tamahome obviously wasn't as obsessed with cleanliness and order as Heero was. Ignoring the rumpled bed and the clothes strewn across the floor, Duo went to the desk with its waitinglaptop. "All right, Heero, let's see what you *do* with this thing..."

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"What *is* it?" Heero asked, staring suspiciously into the cup that the bartender had handed to him.

Nuriko just chuckled. "It's a Nuriko Special... go on, just drink it. It won't kill you."

"Hn." Something in Nuriko's attitude rang warning bells in Heero'shead.

The seishi was having fun with him, that was for sure. Oh well. Steelinghimself, Heero took a hearty swallow.

It burned all the way down, and sat uneasily on his stomach as if not completely comfortable with its new environs. Heero determinedly foughtthe urge to cough, choke, gasp for breath, and curse. He sat stoically for a long moment, tears pricking at his eyes. Then he leveled a glare at Nuriko and deliberately took another drink.

This one wasn't as bad, and Nuriko applauded. "Sugoi, Hee-chan!"

"Don't call me that."

"I've never seen anyone take to one of my Specials like that!" Nuriko took a sip of his own drink. "You must be something pretty special back home,ne?"

"Iie. I'm just a soldier." Heero was silent, rapidly finishing off his drink.

Nuriko laughed, softly. "I doubt that. If you weren't someone special,Suzaku wouldn't have sent you here. So what do you do in Miaka's world?"

*I kill little girls and puppies.*

Something on his face must have showed, because Nuriko hissed softly."Never mind, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

"I... do what is necessary... for the mission..." Heero told him,staring down at the bar's surface fiercely.

//Are you lost, nii-san?//

"Aa." Nuriko sipped his drink. "The mission is that important?"

"It is what I am trained to do. There is nothing else for me," Heero replied, tossing back the rest of the drink. From the moisture pooled in the very bottom of the cup, two indigo eyes peered up at him.

//I've been lost all my life...//

"Who're you thinking about?" Nuriko asked, casting a furtive glance at Heero from the corner of his eye.

"A little girl and her dog..." Heero muttered after a long moment spent staring into his empty cup. *A braided baka who's always laughing...even if it's only to cover up the pain...*

//Suki da, Heero.//

*No.*

"Why did you cut off the braid?" he asked abruptly, changing thesubjectand signalling for another Special.

It was Nuriko's turn to become quiet. "It was time to let go... As long as no one knew that I was cross-dressing, I could feel her with me. Demo,when Miaka and Hotohori and Tamahome found out... she started slipping away. I didn't see any use in continuing the charade any more."

"And you're tired of hearing about being gay." *That* slipped out before Heero could think about it. Glancing at his second drink, he realized it was three-quarters gone. How the hell had that happened?

Nuriko chuckled, dry and slightly bitter. "There is that. I know they mean nothing by it, so I mostly laugh it off... Funny thing is, Idon't know whether I am or not, anymore. First I fell for Hotohori, just like Korin would have. Then along comes Miaka, and she made me question it all... I know *you* don't have much use for her, but it's hard not to love someone as giving as she is. And then... If I didn't know you had someone of your own back home, I'd throw myself at you, Tamahome be damned."Nuriko shrugged. "I guess that makes me one confused cross-dresser,ne?"

*Nani?!* Heero looked at Nuriko, trying to convince himself that he'd not heard wrongly. "Why me?"

"Lots of reasons. You knew right off I was a man... and you didn't care.And for all the stuff you say to the contrary, Hee-chan, you have a soft spot about as big as Tasuki's ego. You just work really hard to keep it hidden is all." Nuriko smiled at him. "Whoever you've got is one lucky person. 'Sides... Tamahome has a nice butt."

"Hn. Baka."

"Ne, Hee-chan, you have such a way with words." Nuriko smiled. "C'mon,let's go to bed. We've got a long day ahead of us tomorrow."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nothing.

An hour and a half spent perusing each file on the goddamned computer,and there was nothing personal there. Folder after folder offered lists of data on OZ, the Romefeller Organization, various strikes by theGundams...but there was nothing to be found that had anything to do with Heero himself.

*I can't believe it. He really _does_ spend all his time on this thing working on the mission.* "Shit," Duo muttered. He turned the computeroff, and sat in Heero's seat. So much for yet another attempt to getintohis partner's head a little bit more.

Sometimes he wondered why he even bothered.

Maybe it *was* time to go teach Tamahome how to play poker.

TBC

~~~

And there's part eleven... Comments, anyone?

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

<bounces out, hyper from Ben & Jerry's> Hello, minna!

Bob: Disgusting, isn't she?

Don't mind him, he's a little bit grumpy at the moment... he's still waiting for Cas's answer. She's such a tease.

^_~NEway, here's part 12 of GW/FY: yaoi, spoilers for FY, AU, OOC, and...uh... this corresponds to episode 33 of FY, minna. And it gets a tiny bit... erm... graphic... <eeps and hides behind Bob>

Okane and Omae o Korosu
Part Twelve

"What do you *mean*, we don't have the signal flare any more?" Heero gritted out, his voice even more threatening than usual, due to his throbbing headache. He had privately decided that he would never ever drink anything Nuriko concocted again.

"I used it to get rid of Ashitare yesterday," Nuriko sighed, looking chagrined. "Perhaps I should have let him eat Miaka instead?"

"Iie." Heero sighed and shook his head. "This just... complicates the mission."

"Look, since I lost the flare, why don't I just head up to Mt. Black and retrieve the Shinzaho myself," Nuriko offered. "You two can find everyone else, and we'll save a little time and summon Suzaku that much faster."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tamahome flipped idly through the TV channels, less interested in shows that meant nothing to him than in the amazing variety of life that he found. He'd had no idea that Miaka's world could be so fascinatingly complex! Hitting one channel, his eyes widened as he saw a couple kissing (and doing other things) as if there were no tomorrow. He moved on quickly, before a geyser of blood could erupt from his nose.

Duo bounced into the room. "Ne, Tamahome, whatcha watching?" he asked,settling on the floor a safe distance from the other boy.

"What do you want?" Tamahome sighed.

"I'm bored... so I'd thought I'd let my brain rot for a little while.Anything good on?" Duo asked. When there was no response, he continued to ramble on. "Man, it's quiet around here... I hate it when the guys go onmissions and I don't get to go along. Hope they're giving OZ a little hell, though... Too bad Shinigami can't be there to help out, ne? Ooh, I didn't know they were releasing that movie so soon! I'll have to go steal a copy or something."

Tamahome steadfastly ignored the chattering teme, praying that Duo wouldt ake the hint and just go away.

*Heh. You've got to do better than that,* Duo thought, casting a furtive glance at Tamahome's long-suffering expression. *I'm used to Mr. Heero I-am-a-stone-wall Yuy.*

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heero shook his head decisively. "Dividing our forces is not a good idea.We know that the Seiryuu seishi are here, and also in search of the Shinzaho. They've already made one attempt on the miko's life, andthey'll probably attempt it again."

"So, what should we do?" Miaka asked.

"If I could found out where the Shinzaho is, then so can they. What weneed is a way to attract the rest," Heero told her. *What I wouldn't give for just a small explosion...*

Miaka and Nuriko shook their heads at him, neither knowing what to do.Heero sighed mentally. *This is a bad idea...* "The three of us will retrieve the Shinzaho instead."

Nuriko grinned. "And *then* we'll gather the seishi and get back to Konan... Sounds good to me, Hee-chan."

"Hn. Baka."

Miaka clapped her hands. "Well, let's get going."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Duo wanted to chew on his own braid for frustration. "Look, Tamahome, you *have* to eat something," he growled. "Just because I cooked it doesn't mean it's going to kill you!"

"I'm not hungry." Tamahome glared at Duo over the steaming bowls of ramen.

"The hell you're not! I can hear your stomach growling from here! For the love of God, Tamahome, eat! You're injured, and you need your strength, baka!" Duo shouted. "I swear, if you starve to death before I get Heero back, Shinigami will come for you!"

"I'm not hungry, teme." He deliberately turned away from Duo.

"You bastard." Duo resisted the urge to throw a bowl of ramen atTamahome's head, and walked back into the kitchen, swearing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slogging through the snow--even through the path already broken by Nuriko--was difficult work. Heero was seriously beginning to consider suggesting a break; not for his sake, but for Miaka's, since she was slowly starting to lag behind him.

"We're almost there!" Nuriko called back to him. "It's just a little bitfarther to the top!"

"Yatta..." Miaka sighed behind Heero, the first word that could have beenconstrued as complaint that she had uttered since they had begun climbing.

The minutes stretched out, until they finally staggered to a halt at thesummit, three tiny figures against a backdrop of glittering, sun-dazzledwhite snow. "So... where is it?" Miaka asked, looking around.

Nuriko examined the area--a windblown peak, a huge boulder against a rocky cliff face... and little else. "Ne... I think..." He walked around the boulder, and saw an ancient-looking iron door. "It's probably back here."

Heero joined him in his examination. "Think you can move that thing?"

"Of course, Hee-chan!" Nuriko grinned at him sunnily. "Not a problem."

That was when Miaka started screaming.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*I hate him I hate him I hate him...* Duo scrubbed fiercely at Deathscythe's already gleaming surface, taking solace in the release of energy in the vigorous act. *Damn him and his homophobic stupidity. God,you'd think he'd never been around a homosexual before...*

Duo stared at his reflection in the gleaming black metal beneath him. For a moment, it wavered, revealing a boy with cold cobalt eyes. "Heero,where are you? I need you..."

A single drop splattered across the reflection.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"K'so! What is that?!" Heero demanded, whirling around to see a hulking, monstrous form loping towards Miaka. It was semi-bipedal, and almostman-like, but appeared to be covered with fine grey fur. Its snarling face was wolf-like, and furious. One eye was burned and seamed shut--an apparently new wound. The man-beast roared as it shambled forward."Suzaku no miko!"

"Ashitare!" Nuriko yelled, hurling his body forward, neck to neck withHeero as they raced to save Miaka.

The deformed Seiryuu seishi changed his course. "You!" he howled. "I will kill *you* first!"

Nuriko laughed. "You can try!" he scoffed, his bracelets flashing intobracers.

"I will tear you to pieces and eat you!" Ashitare screamed. He threw himself at Nuriko.

"Stay back!" Heero shouted at Miaka, casting about in search of aweapon... Damn, he wanted a gun... or a small explosive device...

Nuriko rolled out of Ashitare's way, landing a solid blow on thewolf-man's side as he did so. It barely fazed the Seiryuu seishi, and herecovered swiftly. "I will eat you, and your weak little friend, and thenI will eat your miko!" Ashitare proclaimed.

Heero blinked, feeling unaccountably enraged at the thought of this beast laying one clawed finger on Miaka. "Omae o korosu..." he growled, unaware of the oni symbol glowing red on his forehead. He launched himself into the fray as Nuriko landed another solid hit on Ashitare before dancing out of range.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tamahome dropped the bowl of half-cold ramen, heedless of the mess itmade across the table and dripping down his ridiculously scanty clothing.Chopsticks fell from numbed fingers as he stared at a cold mountain top through stranger's eyes... Nuriko, braidless, attacking a monster...Miaka, white and silent in the background... He was fighting, too... a redmist glowing around him... there was only one objective, the mission,protecting the miko... Ninmu ryoukai...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nuriko cursed as one of Ashitare's claws gashed his arm. "Kisama!" heyelled. He kicked the wolf-man, having the satisfaction of feeling ribs break beneath his foot. Then a fist lashed out, hazed over with red ki."Heero?"

Apparently it *was* entirely possible for the perfect soldier to access Tamahome's seishi powers... if properly motivated. Nuriko shivered, recalling the previous episode where he had seen Taiitsu-kun's gift to Tamahome in action. Unlike the real Tamahome, however, Heero was deathly silent, his glazed-over eyes blazing with intensity and single-minded purpose.

Heero's fist connected solidly to Ashitare's abdomen, breaking the fleshand lodging within the man-beast's body. Ashitare screamed in pain as Heero ripped his fist back out, blood and other, less pleasant, things splattering across the snow. He lunged for Heero, intent on making him pay for causing such pain.

Heero leaped into the air, arching gracefully over Ashitare's head...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tamahome screamed, feeling the agony of clawed fingers piercing his chest.He fell to his knees in the mess of noodles and broth, clutching at a non-existent wound.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At the inhuman scream of agony, Duo's head jolted up. "What the--Heero!"He leapt off Deathscythe, running into the safehouse.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kneeling before the altar to Suzaku and holding Miaka's teddy bear, Hotohori went rigid as a stab of agony jolted his body. "N-nani?" he gasped. "Tamahome?!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Daaa..." Chichiri staggered, feeling the pain wash over him... He lookedup at Tasuki, who was grey-faced and swearing violently. "Heero!" He whipped off his kesa instantly, waving the bandit forward.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chiriko screamed. "What is it?" he whimpered, tears of pain streaming down his face.

Mitsukake shook his head, trying to find his bearing... Tama--Heero was in trouble...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Iiiiieeeee!" Nuriko screamed, vaulting forward as Ashitare laughed and bled. "Heeeerrrrooo!" Taking advantage of the distraction, he seized Ashitare's head and squeezed with all the fury he felt.

Gore spattered across him and the snow as Ashitare's body crumpled, Heero pulling himself off the impaling claws. The ki glow faded, and his eyes became less vacant. He looked down at Ashitare's corpse, and then at Miaka.

"Ninmu... kanryou?"

Nuriko rushed to his side as he slowly fell forward, catching him and easing him to the snow. "Stay with me, Heero," he ordered. "Your mission isn't over yet, you've got to stick around to protect Miaka so you can go back to your world."

Heero's eyes fastened to his face, but Nuriko could tell he wasn't seeinghim. "My... world..." He blinked. "Gomen... Duo. Had to self-destruct... Better..."

Nuriko seized on the name. "Duo wouldn't like it if you died, Heero," he said urgently. "I'll bet he's waiting for you right now, missing you..."

"Why... Duo? Why... me?" Heero rasped.

"Heero no baka." Nuriko was crying, and he didn't care.

"Shouldn't... love me... Not good enough... for you..."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Mitsukake!" Chiriko pointed at Chichiri, who appeared from his kesa with Tasuki.

"Hurry up!" Chichiri cried, holding out his hands to his fellow seishi.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Duo skidded to a stop in the doorway, taking in the sight of Tamahome's strained face. "Tamahome?" he asked, breathing harshly.

The other boy looked up, cobalt eyes tortured and unfocused. "Duo..." he gasped. "Gomen... suki da... omae o korosu..."

"Heero!" Duo screamed, throwing himself down beside the boy and wrapping his arms around him. "Don't leave me!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nuriko sobbed as Heero coughed wetly, blood bubbling from the corners of his mouth and his nostril. "Duo..."

"Daa! Hold on!" Chichiri yelled.

"Please, Heero... don't leave us yet," Miaka whispered, kneeling across from Nuriko. "I'm your miko, and this is your mission..."

"Ninmu..." Heero stared up at the sky.

==Heero! Don't leave me!==

tbc

Well?

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eh heh heh heh... here's part thirteen, everyone!

Warnings: GW/FY, definitely AU at this point, yaoi, OOC, flashbacks, andso forth... and maybe sort of spoilers for FY now...

~~~

Okane and Omae o Korosu
Part Thirteen

 

So much blood... so much blood everywhere, staining pristine white snowcrimson... How could one man bleed so much?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[flashback]

"For God's sake, Heero, wouldja just let me *look* at it?" Duo sighed,exasperated. "Even perfect soldiers have to treat wounds when they get them!"

"I'm fine," Heero grunted, impassive expression betraying none of the pain he had to be feeling because of the piece of shrapnel buried in his arm."I can take care of it myself."

Duo seized his face, staring into cobalt eyes with angry violet eyes."You just don't get it, do you?"

"Let. Go. Of. Me."

"Fine, fine... treat yourself then. Don't mind me, I just thought that since I'm your partner you might let me lend a hand." Duo released his grip and turned away. "You're a real piece of work, you know?"

Heero didn't comment, and set about extracting the sharp, twisted shard of steel from his bicep. Intent on his task, he didn't even notice Duo watching him. Heero hissed a little as the metal slipped out, prompting a fresh flow of blood, steady and heavy. He clamped his hand down, trying to stem the flow of blood, finally registering the lightheadedness he'd been trying to ignore. *K'so...*

Then Duo was at his side, hands moving swiftly as he tied a tourniquet around Heero's upper arm.

"Duo--"

"You're going to kill me, I know. Save it for after you're not bleeding to death, okay?" the other pilot told him, briskly cleaning out the deep wound. "Ch. You really ought to learn that relying on other people sometimes isn't necessarily a bad thing, Heero."

Heero just stared down at the strange boy at his side, who was now bandaging his arm with the same intensity of purpose.

"There, all done. Go type your mission report now," Duo told him, smiling at him crookedly. "I'll clean up here."

Heero stood up, moving to where his laptop waited. He thought he heard a soft sigh behind him.

*Arigato, Duo...*

[end flashback]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Ninmu..." the boy in Duo's arms whispered, one hand grasping at his braid unconsciously.

"Heero, suki da, suki da... please, don't self-destruct on me again," Duo begged, burying his tear-wet face in dark messy hair. "I don't want to be left alone again!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[flashback]

Looking down at the braid coiled around his fist, Heero looked back up at Duo. Duo smiled at him lazily, with drowsy pleasure written across hisflushed face. Then he winced as Heero tugged on the braid with just a hint of roughness.

"Itai! Don't yank on the braid, Heero!"

"Why?"

"It hurts, Heero no baka!" Duo complained, trying to wrest the coil away from his lover.

Heero refused to let go. "Why do you wear the braid?" he asked the squirming boy pinned beneath him.

Duo stopped struggling abruptly, his eyes darkening. He stared up atHeero with the most serious expression the Japanese pilot had ever seen on his face. "You really want to know?"

"Hai."

Duo sighed, and in a few brief words sketched in the history of his earlylife on L2... the death of Solo, the massacre of Maxwell Church... being left alone time and time again. "The braid... is my way of remembering.I know, it's useless and gets in the way a lot, but it's all I got." Then he smiled up at Heero, cheekily. "'Sides, what would Shinigami be without his braid?"

"Hn. Baka."

[end flashback]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

==Heero, suki da, suki da... please don't self destruct on me again...==

"Duo..."

==I don't want to be left alone again!==

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[flashback]

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

The noise of Heero's fingers dancing over the keys of his laptop were the only sounds in the dormroom.

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

He was alone on this mission--It was fairly basic, and there was no need to share a crowded dorm room with a loudmouthed American with too much hair for his own damned good.

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

No matter that the room felt empty without Duo's chatter... sterile without his clutter... lonely without his presence.

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

It was just as well. If he had to spend one more night in close quarters with Duo and his unashamedly sensual behavior, he'd... Well, he'd do something about it, that was for sure.

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

Baka boy who was too sexy to be ignored... Damn him. Since when had he become such a distraction? Even when he was alone, he couldn't escape Duo's presence.

taptaptaptaptaptapBANGBANGBANGBANG

*Nani?* Heero closed down the laptop swiftly, checking his gun, and then answered the door.

"Ah, Yuy, sorry to disturb you so late, but we have a new transfer student... I trust you have no objections to a roommate?" inquired the dorm supervisor.

*K'so.* "Iie," Heero lied, with a stony expression.

"Ah, good, then let me introduce you to Duo Maxwell. Maxwell, this is your roommate, Heero Yuy."

*Masaka!* Heero forced himself to remain calm as a laughing pair of indigo eyes presented themselves.

"Hi, Heero, nice to meet you," Duo enthused, extending his hand and going overboard with the act. "I'll bet we're going to be great buddies!"

"Hn." Heero ignored the proffered hand and stalked back into the dormroom. Duo followed him. Once the door was safely shut, Heero returned to his laptop. "What are you doing here?"

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

"I missed you so much that I just couldn't stay away any longer," Duo grinned, flopping down on Heero's bed.

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

"Baka. What's the real reason?"

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

"The same reason as ever... the mission." Duo sighed heavily. Then he brightened. "Hey, you got a room with a private bath? Sugoi!" In an explosion of energy, he was off the bed and moving into the tiny bathroom,already shedding clothes.

taptaptaptapmustnotthinkhentaithoughtstaptaptaptaptap

A while later (presumably after the supply of hot water had been exhausted), Duo emerged from the steam-fogged bathroom, his hair a soggy,dripping mass, wearing only a towel.

taptaptaptaptaphe'sonlywearingatoweltaptap tap tap tap tap tap tap

"Hairbrush, hairbrush... where the hell is my hairbrush?" Duo muttered,clutching at his towel with one hand while rummaging through his still-packed duffel for his much-used hairbrush.

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

Wiry, muscular frame tapering down to narrow hips and long, slender legs... Water trickling down pale flesh slowly, languorously... That towel, so precariously perched... teasing and hiding, flaunting and concealing...

tap. tap. tap. tap. tap.

"Shit, I can't find it... Ne, Heero, mind if I borrow your comb?" Duo asked, turning away from his duffel.

"Go ahead," Heero grunted.

"Thanks!" Duo darted back into the bathroom.

taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

Duo returned, abandoning the towel in favor of a pair of boxers. He plopped himself on his bed, and started working on the wet hair.

taptaptaptaptaptapIwanthimtaptaptaptaptaptap

"Heero?" Duo called plaintively.

"What?"

"Would you give me a hand here, please?"

"Duo no baka." *A chance to touch that hair...* Heero left the computer and took the comb from Duo, kneeling behind him on the bed and beginning to work the tangles out of the thick tresses. Duo hummed with pleasure, leaning into the careful strokes of the comb.

"Ne, Heero, didja miss me?" Duo asked abruptly. When he didn't reply, Duo went on. "Quatre and Trowa are on a mission together, and Wufei disappeared again. Very boring for me."

Heero said nothing, and began separating the hair into sections for braiding.

"I hate being bored, you know? Gives me too much time to think... You don't mind if I crash your party here, right?" As Heero finished the braid, Duo turned around and grinned at him. "Thanks, Heero."

"You aren't supposed to be here?" Heero asked, frowning.

"I got clearance," Duo sputtered indignantly. "Like I said, I hate being alone." His expression turned impish, and he leaned forward till he was nose-to-nose with Heero. "It gives me *way* too much time to think." Then Duo kissed him.

[end flashback]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Come on, Heero, stay with us," Nuriko pleaded as the boy gasped for breath. "Please..."

"Duo..." Heero choked, coughing up another burst of blood.

Then Mitsukake's healing ki washed over his battered body as the tall seishi skidded to a stop just behind Nuriko.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tamahome stiffened, a groan escaping his lips as the pain lessened suddenly, quickly trickling away under the gentle influence of a friend's healing powers. "Nnnnnn." He became quickly aware of the tight arms wrapped around him, and the moisture trickling down the side of his neck,and the soft, husky voice pleading between sobs.

"Heero, please... don't go... please... Heero... I need you..."

"Duo."

The braided one jerked, looking up at Tamahome with terribly vulnerable indigo eyes. "H-heero?"

"Let go of me," Tamahome ordered him. As an afterthought, he added,"Please."

Duo dropped his arms and leaned back, not moving away. "What... just happened?" he asked. "Are you Tamahome or Heero?"

"Tamahome. And I don't know what that was."

Duo cursed, the long string of soft expletives tumbling from still trembling lips. "Is--is he--"

"He's still alive," Tamahome replied, feeling vaguely angry at the other boy--how dare he risk a body not his own like that? "Not for lack of trying, though."

"That's my Heero, all right," Duo half-laughed. Then he ran a hand across his eyes. "I can't take much more of this..."Tamahome couldn't agree with him more.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heero inhaled sharply, sitting up and looking around with wild eyes."Duo!"

"He's not here, Hee-chan," Nuriko said gently. "You're still in ourworld."

Heero's shoulders slumped slightly, and he bowed his head. "Wakatta," he muttered after a long moment.

Tasuki was the first to break the silence. "Oi. He's gay, too?"

tbc

An illustration for this chapter by Spade! More fanart on Spade's site

You didn't actually think I was going to kill him, did you? How could I do such a wicked thing? Anyway, hope this reassures y'all...

Comments, Criticism, Chocolate, and Chibis welcomed 24/7.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

<Bob steps out of his lab, looking a little bit intimidated> Hello, minna... Ano, Emily is having one bitch of a Monday <from inside the lab, demented laughter and the cursing of suitemates and tax forms is heard> so I'm here to post part fourteen of O&O. <cringes as sound of mass destruction emanate from within the lab> Eh... hope that wasn't anything important...

Anyway, the standard warnings and disclaimers apply (GW/FY, yaoi, spoilers, AU, OOC, and such like).

<more noises come from Bob's lab> Um... enjoy the fic... I need to go see what she's doing... <rushes off, yelling, "Don't touch the--never mind...">

Okane and Omae o Korosu
Part Fourteen

Time froze for a moment as everyone gaped, not quite able to believe that Tasuki had actually asked that. Then Chichiri elbowed him sharply in the ribs.

"Oi, what the hell was that for, Chichiri?" he complained loudly. "I was just asking a question!"

Nuriko sighed heavily. "It's a thing called tact, Tasuki... Something you might want to give some attention to, ne?"

Heero ignored the conversation, hauling himself to his feet and ignoring the disarray of his--rather, Tamahome's--clothes. He glanced briefly at Mitsukake. "Arigato."

The healer nodded gravely in response. Heero absently offered Nuriko a hand up from his position in the snow, staring at the nearby boulder. "The Shinzaho is probably there," he said, as if nothing at all had interrupted their pursuit of the relic.

"Always the mission, Hee-chan?" Nuriko asked lightly, accepting the aid and in turn helping Miaka up.

Tasuki snickered. "Hee-chan? Nuriko, when were you going to tell us you had a boyfriend?"

The smile on Nuriko's face froze slightly. "When I got one, Tasuki-chan," he replied evenly, shrugging slightly. "I'm still available at the moment, though... why? Were you interested in the position?"

Tasuki flushed to the shade of his hair, but laughed heartily. "Naw... I don't like men even less than I don't like women." He grinned at Nuriko. "Gomen."

Nuriko smiled back, the incident already forgotten.

~*~

Duo glanced down and realized for the first time that he was sitting in a puddle of cold ramen among pieces of a broken bowl. "What a mess," he groaned, poing at the slimy noodles half-heartedly. "Ne... Tamahome... can you tell me what happened?" The jagged fringe of his bangs and his downturned face hid his eyes.

//crisp snow beneath my feet cold wind whistling past my snarling face red-hot anger how dare the enemy threaten my mission I will kill him satisfaction cold and brittle as I land my first hit this body has its advantages dodge leap PAIN regret bitterness PAIN don't want to die in this world PAIN haven't finished my mission PAIN can't breathe Duo why Duo why would you love me PAIN I don't understand it PAIN don't know why you should matter so much PAIN we're both soldiers PAIN there's no room for love PAIN can't escape your eyes PAIN gomen for self-destructing PAIN gomen for hurting you PAIN gomen for loving you PAIN I love you Duo PAIN you're a baka for loving me PAIN I want to live damn it//

Tamahome took a deep breath, the entire experience of having another person's consciousness forced upon him still throwing him off balance.

"There was a fight... with a Seiryuu seishi, I think... and we were fighting, and we couldn't dodge, and Ashitare... his claws... went through our chest, but Nuriko killed Ashitare... we protected Miaka, ninmu kanryou..."

"Ah..." Duo nodded, training his gaze on the floor and slowly gathering the broken shards of the bowl. "Thank you."

"He's sorry he never said it before," Tamahome said abruptly.

"Huh?" Duo looked up sharply.

"Than he..." Tamahome stopped, flustered. "That he... you know..."

Ever so slowly, a smile bloomed on Duo's face. "Really?"

Tamahome, embarrassed to the bone, nodded abruptly. *He isn't going to... hug me... is he?*

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The group waited silently as Nuriko sized up the boulder blocking their path. He turned and flashed a cheery grin at them, his bracelets becoming bracers once again. "Watch this!" With a small grunt of effort, he hefted the huge weight, slowly sliding it away from the cliff face.

A large iron door was set in the cliff face, in an obviously natural aperture in the stone. Miaka squared her shoulders and stepped forward.

"Well, let's go get the Shinzaho," she stated, smiling broadly.

Nuriko winked at Heero. "Yeah, we've got to get him back to his world, ne?" he asked, pulling the door open.

Heero didn't comment; he just stalked into the cave. If the Shinzaho were really here, then soon... soon he'd be able to go home to the mission.

To Duo.

The interior of the cave was dim, but the light from the opening was sufficient to illluminate the cave to a good distance. They moved forward slowly, cautiously finding their way through the gloom. Loose stones rattled around their feet as they advanced... till Miaka glanced down and shrieked to see a fleshless skull grinning back at her.

It wasn't stones they'd been shuffling through.

Heero immediately went on his guard... so many skeletons could not have accumulated without a damned good reason...

"Look no da!" Chichiri exclaimed, pointing forward. Two figures, silhouetted with faint green light, had suddenly appeared before them. The glow increased slowly, revealing the features of the two. The taller had long, flowing hair and an eyepatch. The shorter had short dark hair and swarthy skin. Both were scowling at the encroachers.

"Trespassers," hissed the taller warrior, eye narrowed and unfriendly. "You are not welcome here."

"I am Suzaku no Miko, and I've come for the Shinzaho," Miaka stated proudly, stepping forward a little bit to confront him. "Please let us pass."

"That we may not do," the spokesman said. "We are the guardians of the Shinzaho, and will not allow common thieves to defile it."

"Who are you no da?" Chichiri asked.

"Genbu no Shichiseishi Hikitsu," stated the tall one.

"Genbu no Shichiseishi Tomite," said the other.

"We aren't thieves," Miaka told them reasonably. "Taiitsu-kun sent us to retrieve the Shinzaho so that we may summon Suzaku."

Tomite snorted. "A likely story." He glanced at Hikitsu. "I say we take care of them now."

"Please don't throw your lives away," Hikitsu entreated them one final time. "Find something more profitable to steal."

"Oi! We're not thieves!" Tasuki protested.

Nuriko snickered. "You're not?"

"I'm a bandit. That's different," he replied stiffly.

"We won't give up," Miaka told Hikitsu.

"So be it, then," he sighed, as he and Tomite raised their hands for their attacks. Heero had just enough time to seize Miaka and pull her out of harm's way as Hikitsu lashed out with snakes created from ice. A bolt of green ki crackled over his head, and Tasuki cursed.

"Lekka Shinen!!!" Fire raced back across the cave in reply to the initial attack--and passed right through the seemingly substantial spirits of the Genbu seishi.

Great. Just great. Heero heard the muttering from Chichiri's direction, and saw a barrier spring up between the Suzaku seishi and the Genbu seishi.

The two spirits drew back, seeming somewhat impressed. "Perhaps you *are* more than you appear," Hikitsu admitted grudgingly.

"We still require proof, though," Tomite added. "If you're really Suzaku no Miko, prove it to us."

"All right," Miaka said readily, stepping forward, beyond the protective circle of her seishi.

Heero cursed. "Baka!"

Hikitsu looked at Miaka, almost as if disbelieving that she would be so willing, and then ordered, "Strip."

"Wha--?" Miaka stammered, as the men behind her reacted with various degrees of embarrassment and outrage.

"Just do it," Tomite sighed. "It's part of the test."

"Who knew a ghost could be hentai?" Miaka muttered to herself, reluctantly beginning to remove her clothes. She shot a glare over her shoulder at her seishi. "Turn around."

Everyone reluctantly obeyed, except for Heero, who stood his ground. "Iie. I can't protect you if I can't see you," he said firmly.

"Hai hai..." Miaka sighed and stripped down to her underwear, shivering in the chilliness of the cave.

"If you are truly Suzaku no Miko, save yourself," Hikitsu commanded.

Miaka gasped as ice encased first her feet, then crept up her bare legs rapidly. Her eyes were wide as it covered her torso, and she managed one final gasp for breath before it enveloped her head, freezing her in an attitude of shock and fear.

Long moments passed slowly, unchanging. Hikitsu and Tomite watched her immobile body narrowly as Heero became increasingly agitated. *K'so!* Then he sighed in relief as red fire exploded from the ice, scattering shards about the cave as Miaka sagged to her knees, gasping for breath.

Heero sprang forward, snatching a handful of cloth and wrapping it around her shoulders. He glared at the two Genbu seishi. "Satisfied?"

Hikitsu bowed. "Forgive us, Suzaku no Miko... we've guardians for so long that suspicion is a part of our natures now."

"It's all right," Miaka reassured him, teeth chattering as she pulled her clothes on. "May we have the Shinzaho now, please?"

Tomite grinned. "Right this way." He and Hikitsu turned and began walking deeper into the cave.

tbc

~~~

Bob: <blinks and yawns> Oh, my, look at the time... I really don't know how she manages to do this so often... Ah well, at least she calmed down some...

C&C always appreciated!

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bob: <apparently still speaking on behalf of his author> Good evening, all... It's time for another round of O&O. On behalf of Emily, who's currently just a touch out of touch, I will be your host this evening.

<Emily wanders past, muttering incoherently about taxes, Dostoyevsky, and Vergil, and holding an in-depth conversation with the voices about the virtues of marble as a sculptor's material>

Like I said, she's not completely coherent these days. So it's left to me to write part fifteen.

The usual disclaimers (y'all know the drill). And need I mention that there are incredibly major spoilers for FY running about through this fic, despite its stubbornly AU content? <grins> I thought not.

~~~~

Okane and Omae o Korosu
Part Fifteen

 

As they entered the deepest portion of the cave, Hikitsu explained how he and Tomite had elected to remain as guardians to the Shinzaho after the summoning of Genbu two hundred years previously. Heero listened on auto-pilot, his mind busy planning. No one quite knew how the Shinzaho would be used; no matter. Presumably it would involve traveling to Konan, with the Seiryuu seishi dogging their steps all the way.

Heero smirked knowingly. He had a lot of resentment building up against the enemy, and if they were so rash as to get in his way... well, may their god have mercy on their souls... because he certainly wouldn't.

They entered the lowest portions of the cave--and passed from the dank darkness into a hall filled with light. Without hesitation, the two spirits led Miaka to a shrine at the far end of the hall. "The Genbu no Shinzaho," Hikitsu pronounced solemnly, as Miaka lifted the ornate necklace from its centuries old resting place.

Miaka smiled happily, cradling the treasure lovingly in her hands. "Now we can summon Suzaku," she breathed reverently.

Tomite cocked an eyebrow. "So you've already retrieved the Byakko no Shinzaho?"

"The... Byakko... no Shinzaho?" Miaka asked, voice strangled.

Hikitsu nodded, and Tomite elaborated for the befuddled group. "There are two Shinzaho. You need both for the summoning ceremony." He paused. "The other one is in Sailo."

Tasuki cursed, fluently. "Why didn't Taiitsu-kun *tell* us we needed two Shinzahos?!"

"Ano... she only told us that we had to get this Shinzaho first no da," Chichiri muttered. "We were the ones who jumped to conclusions no da."

Nuriko sighed. "Well, I guess it's off to Sailo with us, ne?"

The muscles in Heero's jaw worked silently... To be so close to finishing the mission, and then to find out that he was really very far away... He'd definitely had better days.

Scowling, he waited patiently as Miaka thanked the Genbu seishi; utterly silent, he stalked back through the cave to the world of glittering snow above. Nuriko fell in beside him. "Gomen, Heero."

"Hn."

"At least it's only one more Shinzaho, ne? And Sailo isn't that far a journey--and it's over land, too. No boats... You'll be back in your world in no time at all," Nuriko continued.

*Not soon enough.* Heero didn't reply, but directed a comment at Miaka as they neared the mouth of the cave. "You'd better put that thing someplace safe."

"Nani?" Miaka shot him a puzzled look as she stepped out into the sunlight.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Duo paused in the doorway, watching Tamahome stare at the television for just a moment. *He's even more fascinated by that thing than I am,* the pilot thought, amused. "Ne, Tamahome, I'm going out for a little bit. Promise me you'll stay put?"

Tamahome looked up at him. "Sure. I'm not going anywhere."

Duo nodded. "I'll be back in a while. Ja."

Tamahome stared at the television mindlessly, turning over the afternoon's events silently. His brush with... whatever that had been... had been, if nothing else, illuminating. For a brief moment, he had *been* someone else. Even though the immediacy of the experience had faded (taking with it all but the most powerful images locked into Heero's soul), the impressions remained.

And with them, a new ambivalence toward Duo.

It was rather confusing. It had been so much easier to deal with Duo when he hadn't known anything at all about the indigo-eyed pilot... Before he had seen Heero's feelings for Duo. Heero felt every bit as deeply for Duo as Tamahome felt for Miaka.

Hence his current ambivalence toward Duo.

A pounding on the door interrupted his musings. *Who could _that_ be?* Tamahome wondered, hauling himself off the couch and moving to the door. Opening it, he had all of half a second to stare at the smiling face of a girl with honey-blonde hair before he was well and thoroughly glomped. "Heero! You're out of bed!" she exclaimed. "You're feeling better, ne?"

Tamahome just stared at her. "Who are you?"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heero hid his irritation as best as he could. "The Shinzaho. Put it someplace safe."

"Oh, right..." Miaka smiled. "We've got to keep it safe, ne?" Using one of the talents peculiar to females, she tucked the Shinzaho away *some*where on her person. "So, next stop Sailo!"

Heero looked at Nuriko wearily. "How can she possibly be this genki?"

Nuriko shrugged. "She's just Miaka... you get used to it."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The girl shot a quizzical look at Tamahome. "Ano... Heero... It's me. Relena. Did you... hit your head or something when you self-destructed?"

Relena. Ah. A familiar name, at least to Heero. Tamahome sighed and disentangled himself from the girl. "Well... it's a long story..."

She smiled. "It's okay, I managed to free up the afternoon and the evening. It's been terribly busy these days--I'm sorry haven't been able to come and visit you guys before now. I was so worried when I heard what you'd done... At least Duo managed to get a message through to me that you managed to survive."

Tamahome blinked as Relena brushed past him, making herself at home on the couch. She wrinkled her nose as she saw what he had been watching on television. "Ne, Heero, I never would have figured you for a soap opera kind of guy," she teased gently. "Duo maybe, or Quatre... but not you." She picked up the remote and turned the television off. "So, where is everybody?"

"Ano... Quatre and Wufei and Trowa are on a mission... and Duo left a little while ago... Dunno why." Tamahome dropped into a chair, staring at Relena curiously.

She smiled warmly. "I'm sure Duo is thoroughly enjoying playing nurse with you. Ne, did you get an earful about self-destructing again? Because the rest of us certainly did."

"Ano... actually... Duo and I haven't really been talking."

Her face became worried. "Tell me you didn't have a fight."

"No, not exactly..." Tamahome hesitated. How much should he say to this Relena person? Apparently she had mistaken him for the real Heero... and, incidentally, was rather important to him in some way.

Relena laughed. "That's a relief. Goodness, Heero, you're talkative today. Did you loosen up your tongue when you destroyed Wing?"

Shimatta. Exactly how could he say it without coming off as completely insane? Tamahome nibbled on his lower lip, uncertain. Then his savior walked in the door.

"Oi, Tamahome, I'm back! And I have fo--Oi, ojousan, what are you doing here?" Duo yelled, kicking the door shut behind him. He dropped the bags in his arms on the coffee table and glomped Relena.

She giggled as he spun her around the room. "Duo, put me down, you lunatic!"

He grinned at her cheekily. "Getting acquainted with Tamahome, ne?" he asked, setting her down and rescuing the plastic bags of groceries.

Relena blinked. "Tamahome?" she asked, puzzled.

Duo looked at Tamahome. "Didn't you tell her?"

Tamahome rolled his eyes. "She wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. I was trying to tell her, but..." He shrugged helplessly. "She talks almost as much you do."

Duo laughed at Relena's befuddled expression. "All right, everybody into the kitchen... You up for some Chinese, Relena, Tamahome?"

"Hai..." Relena mumbled. She looked at Duo. "Tamahome? Did I miss something?"

Duo nodded. "You have *no* idea."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

They trekked back down the mountain and into the town without incident, arriving exhausted at the first inn which looked clean and reputable that they found. Heero would have preferred to die before he admitted it, but he was on his last legs. Miaka was even worse off; Nuriko had carried her for the last part of the journey. Now, as they sat huddled around a table in the common room, she drowsed against Tasuki's shoulder as they discussed the best possible route to Sailo.

Heero sighed mentally. Just when things had seemed to be at an end, he mused, they started getting interesting.

tbc

<sighs and blinks> Can't believe it took three flipping days to write this. Oh well. C&C always welcome, dedicated to Spade, g'night everybody...

<passes out over her keyboard>