WUFEI: Where did you say those crazy women went?
DUO: To see 'The Mummy Returns'. < sulkily > They wouldn't let me go with them.
HEERO: Hn. Good thing, too.
WUFEI: Remember what happened the last time you went out with one of them? < glare >
DUO: Mel paid for your new sword rack! And the house got fixed!
WUFEI: That's not the point.
QUATRE: What exactly did happen, Wufei? I'm, uh, rather fuzzy on the details, for some reason...
WUFEI: That's because Christy gave you a bottle of Redeye.
QUATRE: *blink*blink* Oh. Um... I hope I didn't do too much damage.
DUO: Oh, hardly anything, really. You just set the house on fire.
QUATRE: Oh, well, that's a relief then-- WHAT?!
WUFEI (grudgingly): It did, as Duo said, get fixed. Don't worry about it, Quatre.
DUO: Cool! That means I don't have to worry about breaking your sword rack!
WUFEI: No it doesn't.
DUO: Hey! How come Quatre gets absolution and I don't?!
WUFEI: The house belongs to Mel, one of the two people keeping us trapped and forcing us to perform in their *shudder* fics. The sword rack belonged to me.
[Whatever response Duo was going to make is cut off as Mel comes flying through the door without opening it first, dropping a bagful of large, heavy books as she lands.]
< THUDcrashCLATTERclatterclatter*THUMP* >
MEL: Whoa! Feisty little specimen, isn't he?
[She runs back outside.]
CHRISTY (from outside): Me~el! Help! OW! No biting!
MEL (also from outside): Got him! Get his legs, quick, he's kicking!
CHRISTY: OOOF! Owwww... I got him, Mel, but I think he broke a rib.
MEL (worried): His or yours?
MEL (relieved): Oh good.
[Mel and Christy struggle in the door, carrying a kicking, biting, swearing bundle of black robes and rope. There's probably a person inside, but it's hard to be sure.]
MEL: Okay, I'll keep him pinned while you cast the spell to keep him here!
[Christy grabs one of the books, unlocks the clamps holding the cover shut with a weird star-shaped key, and starts reading.]
WUFEI: WHAT the HELL are you two DOING?!
MEL (cheerfully, sitting in the middle of the prisoner's back): He followed us home! We plan to keep him.
WUFEI (eyeing the struggle): Uh-huh. How much force did it take to make him 'follow' you?
MEL: Well, not much, anyway. At least not until he woke up. OW!
CHRISTY: Here it is! Swenet, behdet, nekhen, waset...
QUATRE: When did you learn Ancient Egyptian, Christy?
CHRISTY: Ancient Egyptian secret! Iunet, abedju...
MEL: Ummm... are you sure that's the Book of Isis? It's got a snake on the cover.
CHRISTY (pausing): Um... snakes symbolise medicine and magic, right?
MEL: In the Greco-Roman pantheon, yes. Pigs are sacred to Isis. Snakes are usually sacred to Set. He's a bad guy.
CHRISTY: Vipers are sacred to Amun-Ra, though, aren't they?
MEL: That's an asp.
[The sun dims, and thunder rolls outside.]
CHRISTY: At least it wasn't the Book of the Dead. Somebody hand me the book with the pig on the cover, okay?
MEL: Before the ravening mummies or whatever break down the walls-- OW! --and before Ardeth Bey chews through the ropes and gets to his sword, on with the fic!
DEMON OF JUSTICE
Sitting in Nataku's cockpit, Wufei seethed, struggling to bring himself back under control.
I nearly killed the little idiot, he thought, feeling again the rush of fear and horror that had run through him when he'd seen Jarad run out under Nataku's feet. I've caused civilian casualties before, in pursuit of a mission goal. Not deliberately; it's been the result of poor advance intelligence, or my failure to take something into account when planning, or sheer bad luck that took a battle into the wrong area. I'm sure... I know, I've killed children.
Never one I knew. And certainly never because they trusted me too much...
Shaking himself angrily, he scrubbed one hand over his face and reached out for the controls.
Jarad was not hurt, and I'm sure his mother will make sure he never does anything like that again. He doesn't need me yelling at him again, so I'd better stay in here until I've calmed down!
Switching to Nataku's self-diagnostic programs, he began working his way through a full check of the Gundam's systems.
"Any problems while I was gone?" Uthmar asked quietly, back turned to Yithar's armsmen. The half-elf lord himself hadn't yet re-emerged from the hut he'd taken cover in when Nataku came into view.
Gunnar grinned at the Champion, but there was an angry glint in his light-yellow eyes. "That Purple Lord pissbag wanted the boy handed over to him for 'proper punishment'. I headed him off," he continued as Uthmar swore viciously, "by hinting that taking action against Jarad would count as a formal repudiation of the militant orders' legal code - well, actually, I did more than hint. I, ah, hope that's not a problem..."
"It's probably the best thing you could have done, Gunnar," the Champion muttered, grimacing. "I certainly can't come up with a better idea! That overdressed little prick is cautious of us, but what he's really scared of is upsetting his high-class relatives in Bortalik. Getting them into a serious conflict with the militant orders would definitely do that."
"He's scared of them, too, m'lord," Gunnar said softly, tipping his head slightly towards Nataku's brooding figure.
"Yes, but that doesn't help much," Uthmar replied sourly. "After all, the Order of Torframos is here to protect him from the big bad demon threat."
"And the little worse demon?" his second asked mildly, semi-permanent grin widening; Uthmar nearly choked suppressing his laughter.
Wufei stared incredulously at the neat block of text on his screen.
"This is ridiculous," he whispered, hitting a key combination to clear that set of test results and start the diagnostic program again. "Ridiculous. I've been forced to accept a lot over the last few days, but this--" He fell silent, watching the screen as it flicked through screens of text and diagrams too fast to follow.
I have some sort of link to Nataku, yes. I can draw strength from it, and I now heal ludicrously fast, yes. I can sense damage to Nataku's systems as if it happened to my own body, all right, yes!
But Gundanium armour just does not regenerate!
The test summary blinked onto his screen again as if to contradict that thought.
| ARMOUR 94%
| SENSORS 100%
| MOBILITY 100%
| AMMUNITION 47%
| WEAPONS 99.5%
| COMPUTERS 100%
| - HARDWARE 100%
| - SOFTWARE 100%
| NAVIGATION 22%
| **LOCAL MAPPING BEGUN**
| **NO BEACONS FOUND**
| **NO LANDMARKS RECOGNISED**
| **PLEASE INPUT LOCAL MAPS**
The armour was at 89 percent the last time I ran a full diagnostic. 89! That was only three or four days ago. Almost half of the damage has repaired itself! And-- Wufei pulled up the previous test report out of Nataku's maintenance records and scowled at it. --I thought so. Weapons were only at 99 percent; I couldn't quite fix that joint in the right arm. That's mending itself, too...
I suppose it's a small remnant of normality that the ammunition stores aren't refilling themselves. Yet.
Wufei blanked the screen and sat back, rubbing at his temples. This is giving me a headache. Every time I think I've seen all the weirdness this world can throw at me, something else happens! It's a lot easier to accept two moons and multiple non-human races and even the existence of magic than it is to accept some of that magic happening to Nataku and myself!
Duo would think this was 'cool'.
Wufei glanced sideways at the storage compartment holding Duo's bagful of CDs and smiled, a little sadly. I'd give a lot to have Duo here now. He wouldn't let a little thing like several major laws of physics being broken bother him... he'd love Jarad... and I can just imagine how he'd react to the other people around here. "Shit, Wu-man, this guy's even bigger than Rashid! I didn't think that was possible!" "Ah, piss off, ya pointy-eared pipsqueak!" "Man, you guys are short. So, where'd ya park Snow White?"
Wufei chuckled softly, getting up and hitting the control to open Nataku's hatch. He'd be in his element. And it wouldn't even bother me if he insisted on keeping up the idiot facade... well, not much, anyway.
I know what he's really like.
* * * * *
Quatre carefully pulled the door to Wufei's room shut and tiptoed away. "Duo's still asleep," he reported to Trowa as they started downstairs, "but Heero isn't in there. Probably out in the hangar tweaking Wing's systems," he added in an uncharacteristically sour voice.
Trowa sniffed the air, frowning slightly. "I'm not so sure... that doesn't smell like motor oil."
Heero was standing in the kitchen, scowling at an old, grease-spotted cookbook as he stirred something in a large bowl. The coffeemaker was burbling on the bench as it finished brewing a large potful, and a surprising range of foodstuffs were lined up on the bench waiting to be cooked or served.
"...Heero? What are you doing?" Quatre asked tentatively.
The Japanese pilot shot a brief glare at them from under his bangs, then turned back to the cookbook. "Cooking," he said flatly.
"Cooking what?!" I didn't know Heero could cook! Quatre thought incredulously. Every time he's prepared a meal that I know of, it's been something pre-packaged that he could just heat up...
"Breakfast," Heero snapped, in a tone of voice designed to end the conversation then and there.
It didn't work.
"Bacon, tomatoes, corn fritters," Trowa mused, examining the food on the bench. "Coffee, orange juice, Fruit Loops, eggs--" he glanced at the cookbook "--and blueberry pancakes. All Duo's favourites. What are you going to do if he doesn't come down for breakfast?"
"I'll take a tray up to him." Heero slammed the mixing bowl down on the bench and grabbed the frying pan.
"What if he doesn't wake up before it's all gone cold?"
"I'll. Make. More."
"Excellent idea," Trowa said blandly, turning away to hide the smirk. "Carry on."
Before Heero could decide whether or not to hit him with the frying pan, the doorbell rang. Differences abruptly forgotten, the three pilots looked at each other speculatively.
"Who knows we're here?" Trowa asked.
"Only the doctors," Heero said grimly, "and they wouldn't send anyone without warning us first. I checked my mail this morning..."
Trowa nodded. "So did we. No messages."
"It could just be Mormons," Quatre pointed out.
"At seven A.M.?"
"Rude Mormons, then. Or Jehovah's Witnesses."
"Quatre, we're fifteen miles out of town!"
"Jehovah's Witnesses who are desperate to meet their monthly quota of sinners harangued?"
"Will somebody answer the door?!" Heero growled, belatedly putting down the frying pan and pulling out his gun as the doorbell rang again. "I don't care if it's Jehovah's Witnesses, door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen, or an OZ assault team that hasn't heard about the surrender yet, just answer the damn door before they wake Duo up!"
Sidling to one of the front windows, Trowa peered cautiously out through a crack in the blinds, then slumped, gently thumping his forehead with one palm. "Ah. Of course. Why didn't we think of that?"
"Who is it?" Heero asked tensely.
"There's a pink limousine parked out front."
Heero groaned and turned back towards the kitchen. "I've changed my mind. Don't answer the door."
Quatre sighed. "If we don't, she'll just stay there ringing the bell until she does wake Duo up." The doorbell rang for the third time. "See?"
"Fine! Whatever!" Heero waved one hand dismissively as he vanished through the kitchen door. "Do whatever you like, just keep her away from me and keep her away from Duo. Deal with her yourselves. I'm going to make breakfast before the pancake batter curdles."
"*sigh* Let her in, Trowa."
Trowa yanked the door open, to reveal Relena Dorlian-Peacecraft standing on the porch, one hand raised to push the doorbell again; she blinked in mild surprise, then smiled. "Trowa! It's so good to see you again, especially now. May I come in?"
"How'd you find us?" he asked bluntly, not moving aside.
"Actually, it was quite easy this time," she said calmly. "I didn't even need help with the research. Things were going 'boom' in this general vicinity a few days ago, and this property is publicly listed as part of the Winner Estate."
Trowa rolled his eyes and stepped aside. "Come in. Quatre! We have to talk about hiding in your family's properties..."
"Good morning, Relena," Quatre said politely, ignoring Trowa's comment for now. "To what do we owe the honour of this visit?"
"Well, I'm sure you've heard about OZ's surrender," she said, putting her purse down on a chair, "but it's official now. Lady Une signed the formal articles late last night, and we're proceeding with general disarmament and securing all the OZ bases and weapons stores."
"The new peacetime administration." Relena blushed slightly. "About the only good thing OZ did was the unification of Earth under one government; an interim cabinet has been formed from the leaders of several resistance groups and the surviving heads of countries OZ took over, and... well, they offered me the post of Vice-Foreign Minister, and I've accepted. There'll be a general election as soon as possible, of course, so I don't know how long I'll be in this position--"
"That's wonderful, Relena!" Quatre said happily, clasping her hands in his. "I'm sure you'll be re-elected, too, don't worry."
The blush deepened. "Well, that depends on whether or not the people of Earth decide they want a seventeen-year-old girl helping to rule them! I'll certainly do my best for however long I hold the post, though." She quickly shifted topics, looking around. "Is everyone here? I particularly wanted to talk to all of you; I'm going to need good advice now, more than ever before, and I couldn't think of anyone whose opinions I'd value more. Apart from my mother, of course, but some of the policy decisions we've got to make very soon are military in nature, and she's got even less experience in that area than I do..."
Quatre and Trowa blinked at each other, bemused; they were both thinking the same thing. Relena wants our advice? On military matters? She's not going to automatically argue for Total Pacifism?!
"Ah. Well, in that case," Quatre started hesitantly, "I think--"
"Heero's in the kitchen," Trowa said, pointing at the door. "Want some coffee?"
"Oh, that would be lovely," Relena said quickly, dropping Quatre's hands and heading in that direction. "I had a late night and a very early morning, and-- Heero~! Have you been well? I--"
The closing door cut off her voice.
"We could have arranged it so Heero had some warning," Quatre said reproachfully.
"He knew she was in the house. If he really wanted to avoid her, he should have gone out the window."
In the ensuing bustle as Heero was pried out of the kitchen and brought up to speed, and everybody settled down in the lounge room with cups of coffee or tea, nobody noticed the upstairs floor creaking quietly as Duo crept to the head of the stairs.
Who's there? he wondered, sidling down the first couple of steps with one hand on the railing and the other clutching his gun. Nobody's supposed to know we're here-- oh. Relena, he thought grumpily as he identified her voice. I shoulda guessed.
He winced and shifted his weight as a sharp twinge of pain ran up his leg from the injured knee, and carefully eased himself down to sit.
I can hear just fine from here, he thought, clicking the safety on his gun and shoving it into his waistband. I'm not going out there until she's gone, if I can help it! She's nice enough, I guess, but watching her make goo-goo eyes at Heero really gets up my nose.
Sitting hopefully on one side of the sofa, Relena didn't show her disappointment when Heero sat in the most distant chair instead of beside her; instead, she sipped her coffee and looked around. "Where are Duo and Wufei?"
She knew something was wrong when nobody answered her. Heero stared into his coffee; Quatre and Trowa looked at each other, then down and away.
"...Is there a problem?" she asked tentatively.
"Duo's asleep," Heero said, "and I'm not going to wake him up. He was injured in our last battle and needs the rest. Wufei..." He swallowed. "We don't know where Wufei is."
"He's not missing," Quatre said abruptly, glaring at Heero. "We have to face it sooner or later. No matter what Duo insists on believing, he can't have survived that explosion. We couldn't even find any recognisable bits of Shenlong! Wufei is gone."
"Bullshit, Quatre! He's not dead!" Duo half-fell, half-slid into view on the stairs, clinging to the banister as his leg threatened to give way under him. "There's no way he woulda come through everything that's hit us so far and then get killed right at the end! He wouldn't do that to me! He knows--" Choking, Duo turned and began to scramble back upstairs, then went down with a cry of pain as his knee twisted and slammed into the edge of a step.
Heero got to him first, and Relena stopped short, swallowing past the sudden pain in her chest as she saw the expression on the Japanese pilot's face. Oh. Oh, no...
"Duo? Duo, are you all right?" Heero caught at Duo's shoulders, helping him to turn over so that the injured leg wasn't twisted underneath him.
"Wufei is not dead," Duo insisted through clenched teeth. "He's not!"
"Come on, Duo," Heero said softly, gathering him up in his arms. "Let's get you back to bed and take care of that knee... again. Somebody bring a bag of ice up," he tossed over his shoulder as he rose and started upstairs.
"I'll get it," Relena said quickly, almost running into the kitchen. Out of Quatre and Trowa's sight, she leaned on the bench, taking deep breaths as her fingers tightened around the coffee cup she still held.
That... that can't have been what it looked like, she thought desperately, looking down at her shaking hands. It just can't. Heero loves me, and now that the war's over he can start to show it, and we... we can... She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, then straightened up and put the cup in the sink, moving with exaggerated care.
Either that look on Heero's face wasn't what it looked like, or I have been... mistaken. I won't find out which by staying in here.
"Do you think we should call Sally?" Quatre asked, looking up he stairs with a worried expression. "His knee's not getting better, he keeps doing more damage to it, and he's hit his head twice..."
Trowa shrugged. "It looks like we don't have to be quite so paranoid about hiding any more, at any rate. I'll call her."
"Excuse me," Relena said, squeezing past them with a large bag of ice and an armful of dish towels.
Reaching the top of the stairs, Relena hesitated for a second, looking around; then she heard Duo's voice coming from an open doorway, and moved quietly in that direction.
"You think he's dead too, don't you?"
There was a pause; then, as Relena reached the door and peered around it, Heero sat down carefully on the bed next to Duo and answered him.
"I don't know." Duo grimaced and looked away, but Heero continued, reaching out towards the other boy's shoulder but pulling his hand back at the last moment. "If I said I was sure one way or another, it'd be a lie. It doesn't look good, but--" he shrugged "--it doesn't add up, either."
"What do you mean?"
"We didn't find any pieces of Shenlong. Quatre said 'recognisable pieces', but we would have recognised them no matter what shape they were in; I sure as hell know the difference between Gundanium and steel or ceramic armour. So, we didn't find any bits, and neither did OZ. That means either Shenlong is in one piece somewhere, or it was vaporised, and if that explosion had been enough to vaporise a Gundam the rest of us would have taken a lot more damage. I don't know where Shenlong is, but I don't think it's in pieces on the battlefield."
"...so, what about Wufei?" Duo asked, so softly that Relena almost didn't hear him.
"I don't know," Heero said again, tentatively covering Duo's hand with his own; when Duo didn't pull away, he picked the limp hand up, holding it between his own. "He's nowhere near the battlefield, I know that - we or OZ would have found him if he were - but I don't see how he could have got out of scanner and screamer range so fast. Whatever happened, we will find out. We sent the doctors all the data we had; maybe they'll have an idea."
The two boys fell silent, and Relena leaned back, out of view if they glanced towards the door.
It was what it looked like, she thought, dazed. He has the same look on his face now.
Duo. Heero's in love with Duo. How is that possible?! He never said anything-- he never showed any signs--
Her eyes widened as a sudden realisation hit her. He never said anything about me, either. He never showed any signs of being in love with me... but I just thought that was because he couldn't let himself show it until the war was over and he had time to relax...
Maybe I was half right, at least.
Squaring her shoulders determinedly, Relena fixed a polite, concerned smile on her face and stepped forwards, tapping at the door. "Heero? I've brought the ice..."
* * * * *
The priest trembled with mingled fear and ambition, lying prostrate in front of the giant statue. "It is finished, my Lord, summoned and bound as you commanded. Have I done well?"
=*It will do,*= came the answer, echoing in the priest's head. =*You know the target; send it out as soon as night falls. Succeed, and I'll make you my Archpriest.*=
"Thank you, my Lord! I won't fail you!"
The mental voice darkened. =*You'd better not. I won't tolerate anything less than complete success.*=
"It is my one ambition to serve you, my Lord." The priest hesitated, then continued. "My Lord... I understand that a Champion of your enemies is with the target?"
=*What of it? With my help, you should have summoned a demon that can take care of them both. Unless you did something wrong...*=
"No, my Lord, I assure you! It's merely that the Champion may be able to sense the approach of our demon, especially since--"
=*I'm aware of that,*= the god's voice snapped petulantly. =*I will shield its approach.*=
"You relieve my mind, Lord, and I beg pardon for troubling you with my concern. May I withdraw, to prepare?"
"Thank you, my Lord Sharna."
As the priest backed out on hands and knees, the dancing shadows cast by the tall candles around the altar made the huge stone scorpion seem to move.
* * * * *
For perhaps the tenth time, Gunnar watched Uthmar stand up, twitch at his belt, pace restlessly into the center of the square and gaze southwards, to where a section of the Spinewall humped itself up into rough hills; then he jerked at the axe slung over his shoulder and stamped back to his seat.
"Is something specific bothering you, m'lord Champion," Gunnar asked sweetly, "or do you just have ants in your revered breeches?"
Uthmar glared half-heartedly at his second-in-command for a moment, then jerked back onto his feet and started pacing. "Something's wrong," he growled, glaring at the hills, tinted gold by the late-afternoon sunlight. "Something is badly wrong, I know it, but damned if I can work out what!"
Gunnar sat up straight, eyes narrowing as his hand automatically dropped to his own axe-haft. "Can you get any details?"
The dwarf Champion shook his head impatiently. "Only that something stinks, somewhere in that tangle of hills to the south. I can't get-- hm! It's fading... Torframos?" Can you tell any more about it?
=*Only that my favourite nephew is meddling,*= a disgusted mental 'voice' responded.
=*Who else? It's beginning to look as though he regards the Spinewall as his personal playground. One of his priests just did something big, but I can't tell what; there's probably a properly consecrated temple down there, and its shields are blocking us. The trace faded because Sharna put some of his personal power into hiding it.*=
Why didn't he hide it from the very beginning, if he can do that? He's not taunting us, is he?
Torframos snorted. =*I doubt it; he's too much of a coward. He probably just forgot, until somebody reminded him.*=
Not the brightest of the Dark Gods, I take it.
=*Quite the opposite. I love my brother Korthrala, but even he admits he's no thinker. Compared to Sharna, Korthrala's a genius.*=
Uthmar grinned, hitching at his weapon-harness again. So, what are the chances that whatever-that-was has something to do with 'Sir' Demon Wufei and his big friend?
=*Excellent. Almost certain, in fact; Sharna has to be miffed about losing that other priest.*=
Right. "Gunnar," he snapped, turning back towards the tables outside Gwent's inn, "put the men on alert, get all the villagers in from the fields, and pass the word to Lord Yithar's guardsmen. The Scorpion is stirring up something, and I doubt we'll like it when it arrives."
"I," Uthmar continued, nodding his head towards where Wufei was examining Nataku's armour in the last of the daylight, "will try to explain the situation to our friends."
"Better you than me, sir," Gunnar said cheerfully.
"Oh, shut up and get going!"
After about an hour of earnest explanation, involving a lot of drawings scratched onto scraps of parchment, elaborate gestures, and enlisting Naiya's help, Uthmar was reasonably certain that Wufei understood that he was excited about something to the south.
"How's it going, sir?" Gunnar asked politely.
Uthmar threw up his hands, tossing his stick of charcoal down in the litter of parchments on the table. "I give up. I give up! He just doesn't know enough words, and I can't teach them to him fast enough."
"The drawings aren't helping?" Gunnar picked up a handful and peered at them, holding them close to the lantern.
"You try drawing a picture that will explain 'An evil god is annoyed at you for killing his priest and seems to be planning something, so watch out'," Uthmar grumbled.
"You may be getting too complicated, sir..."
Uthmar passed him the stick of charcoal and folded his arms challengingly.
"Right." Gunnar raised an eyebrow at his chief and picked one of the sketches out of his handful. "Wufei did this one, didn't he?"
Naiya leaned over for a look, and nodded. "That's the priest that summoned him and Nataku."
Gunnar quickly sketched a shadowy scorpion with something man-shaped on its back above the priest's head, and laid the drawing in front of Wufei. "Priest," he said clearly, pointing, "to Sharna. Uthmar is priest to Torframos," pointing to the golden pick embroidered on Uthmar's surcoat and then up at the sky.
"I'm a Champion, not--"
"Close enough, sir, shut up. Torframos is a good god. Sharna is an evil god, bad. You--" he pointed to Wufei, then Nataku "--killed the priest." Ripping the picture up, he tossed the pieces away over his shoulder and grinned. "Now Sharna is angry. Sharna is there--" he pointed south, towards the hills, invisible now in the dark "--and will come here, to get you." Screwing his face into a ferocious scowl, Gunnar pulled out a knife and threatened Wufei with it, then stepped back. "Understand? I hope I didn't insult his intelligence too much, sir..."
Wufei frowned. "Sharna's people fight?"
"Maybe people. Maybe demon. Fight, yes."
"Understand." The small demon nodded determinedly and got up, stalking off towards Nataku.
"'Sharna's people fight'. Why didn't I just say that?" Uthmar said incredulously. "'Sharna's people fight'. I've spent an hour trying to explain gods and temples and revenge!"
"You're welcome, sir," Gunnar said brightly.
end chapter 10
[Ardeth Bey is sitting on the sofa, sulking. Mel and Christy are bouncing up and down in the corner.]
CHRISTY: It worked! It worked! The spell worked! YAY!
QUATRE (patting Ardeth's shoulder): You'll get used to it here, really.
DUO: Why should he? We haven't!
QUATRE: Now, Duo, it's not that bad. At least they won't be writing about him.
WUFEI: He can hope.
QUATRE: And we have had some amusing times here.
HEERO: Speak for yourself.
QUATRE: I'm trying to cheer him up! You could at least help me here!
CHRISTY: Oh, go on, Ardeth, don't sulk! Quatre's right, we're not going to put you in any fics.
CHRISTY: Huh?! I thought we were just planning to drool at his handsome hunkiness, dress sense, cute li'l tattoos and witty one-liners? We can't cross him over with the G-boys, the time period is all wrong!
MEL: Unless we do an AU fic or two.
MEL: And I wanna put him in one of the things I'm planning with Hazrat Haan.
TROWA: Ardeth? Run.
ARDETH: I would if I could. < sulks >
QUATRE: Oh, that's right, Trowa, you weren't here when they brought him in. Christy cast a spell to keep him here.
MEL (brightly): She also accidentally summoned every snake in a hundred-kilometer radius to the house, but never mind.
CHRISTY: It wasn't my fault! You handed me the wrong book.
MEL: Did not! I was restraining Ardeth. You picked it up all by yourself.
CHRISTY: Oh. ... Duo, it's your fault.
DUO: What?! Why?!
HEERO: Everything's always your fault.
DUO: 'Fei! He's being mean to me again!
WUFEI: I refuse to get involved in this. < surreptitiously glares at Heero >
[Christy hands Heero a blanket and pillow.]
CHRISTY: Looks like you've got the couch tonight. They aren't gonna let you in bed with them.
MEL (whispers): You really should have figured that one out by now, Hee-chan.
HEERO: < grumble >