MEL: First I would like to thank Christy for coming up with all the new names last chapter. I couldn't think of a damn thing. If it'd been left up to me, Derrin and Terrin would be called something like 'Village Twins A and B'.
WUFEI: I hope you weren't just stealing names and changing letters!
CHRISTY: Nope nope!
MEL: Well... only Terrin's. We stole that from Derrin. We figured their parents weren't very imaginative.
CHRISTY: Cord is a nice generic name, anyone could have it. And Gwent is an old English name, I think. Welsh. Whatever.
MEL: Just don't ask me how I came up with Naiya's name, OK?
CHRISTY: I thought I came up with Naiya?
MEL: Nope, that's the only one I've come up with so far.
CHRISTY: Oh that's right, I came up with Rami.
MEL (mutter): Stole it from Sam and subtracted an 'i'...
WUFEI: What was that?
MEL & CHRISTY: Nothing!
CHRISTY: Wufei, don't you have anything to do? Like, beat up Duo?
DUO: I HEARD THAT! I thought I was your favourite, C-chan!
CHRISTY: Oh, you are, darling! I just want to tend your bruises... and you don't have any right now.
(Duo and Wufei look at each other, nod in perfect understanding, and sneak out.)
MEL: I was meaning to ask you, Christy, what do you think about Wufei and Naiya? I mean, together?
CHRISTY: NO! We don't want him boffing her! Not that we write boffing scenes...
MEL: Oh, I agree; it's just that one of our beta readers asked me if we were going to "get him together with Fuzzy Ears there".
CHRISTY: Which one?
MEL: Well... my boss at work, if you must know. She also had hysterics over Cord's accent, and started quoting Braveheart. "'FREEDOM!' Is half his face painted blue?"
CHRISTY: Nope! Nope! Nope! If you hook Wufei up with Naiya, I'll feed Quatre sugar again!
MEL: Okay, okay! Sheesh... I was only asking!
CHRISTY: Hmph. Let's just write already. I wanna get to work on Duo angst.
MEL: Well, in that case... on with the fic!
DEMON OF JUSTICE
"Happy Christmas (War is Over)"
The village was in chaos.
First, they'd been attacked by masked raiders. The grain fields had been set alight to draw most of the men away; then the soldiers had ridden in, cut down the few remaining defenders, and snatched three teenage girls. When the hastily-assembled rescue party had marched off in pursuit, nobody had expected them to come back successful. Some hadn't expected them to come back at all. Still, they had returned, unhurt, bringing with them two of the kidnapped girls, the body of the third...
...and a demon.
A very large demon.
The three men with horses had ridden on ahead of the rest - partly to warn the village what was coming, and partly because their mounts were determined not to stay anywhere near the metal monster - so nobody ran away as it walked carefully into the village square at dawn and knelt to lower its burden to the ground. It was a close thing, though; mothers clutched children to them as they peered out windows at Naiya and Rami, stepping off the giant hand. They seemed all right...
Rami's mother wept and babbled in relief as she clutched her only child to her breast, dogs barked hysterically, Dena's mother and sisters started to keen as Derrin brought her body to their house, babies cried, old men waved hoes at the demon and shouted questions at the rescue party; the boldest children began to dart forward to touch the demon's feet, only to be shrilly scolded back by their mothers and clouted around the ear. Nobody could make sense of just what questions were being thrown around, much less make their answers heard; and over it all the demon towered, looking down calmly at the chaos around its feet.
Wufei leaned back in his chair and watched the hysterical mob on his screen.
I don't think I'll come out just yet.
He yawned tiredly, and propped his head on one fist to wait.
Finally, some semblance of order was imposed. Royce, the village headman, hadn't been making much headway on calming everyone down until Cord added a leather-lunged bellow to his efforts.
Dozens of pairs of eyes stared at him in the sudden silence.
"I'm thanking you," he said graciously. "Now, I think Royce was after having something to say?"
"*ahem* Thank you, Cord." Royce raised a grizzled eyebrow at the huge hradani and got an innocent look in response. "Now then! There's nothing to be gained from everyone yelling at once, so if everyone could just be quiet while Naiya and Rami tell what happened, I'd appreciate it. And I see you sneaking over there with that spear, Manten! I'll thank you not to start anything with the demon until we know what's going on!"
"It likely wouldn't do any damage," Cord commented as the teenager sulkily put the boarspear down. He exhibited his huge axe, now with the edge rather crushed and bent. "That lad's armour is tougher than anything I've ever forged or seen, that's for sure!"
Royce turned to the two girls. "Well?"
Rami blinked huge blue eyes, and her bottom lip trembled. "I-- I-- I was so scared!" Bawling, she threw herself into her mother's arms.
"I guess that leaves me to tell it," Naiya said dryly. She was starting to act almost sensible until she got back with her parents!
Some time later...
Royce scratched his head. "Well... I think we can say for sure this demon's not one of Sharna's get."
Naiya nodded wearily from her perch on the demon's foot, where she'd settled down half way through her explanation. "The priest looked awfully surprised when he appeared, like he wasn't what was expected. And he did kill the priest!"
"Well, now, I've heard that all demons hate their summoners for binding them, so that's not such a good sign of its intentions; but leaving the two of you alive, that's not something one of old Demon Breath's creatures would do. Let alone destroying the altar and burning the canyon clean! No, that priest made a mistake somewhere. Still, the question is, what is it? What does it want? And what do we do about it?"
"All I know is, I'm sure he isn't evil," Naiya said, emphasising the pronoun pointedly. "And--"
There was a low grumbling sound, and the demon shifted its weight slightly. Naiya jumped down off its foot and backed away to stand by her father as the people who'd sat down around the square to listen stood up nervously.
"What's it doing?" Royce whispered as the demon settled down on one knee.
"I don't know! Maybe his feet are tired! Mine certainly are, and I wasn't walking all night," Naiya shot back under her breath.
The light in the demon's eyes died out, and then there was a soft 'pssht!' sound as a section of armour on the demon's torso swung downwards. Another piece of armour, just behind it, slid up into the chest--
--and a young man walked out to stand, arms folded, staring arrogantly down his nose at the gaping villagers.
* * * * *
'Why are you watching the clock? Trowa's going to be waking him up, not you.'
'Oh, was that another touch of jealousy?'
Why should I be jealous? There's nothing between us.
'And after that performance, I'm not surprised! If I were Duo, I'd never forgive you.'
Heero winced internally at that.
'That's a point for my side, I believe.'
The insistent little voice fell silent as Trowa rose wordlessly and went upstairs.
"Duo? Duo, you have to wake up."
"Why bother? I give up." Duo's voice was dull, listless.
There was the rustle of bedclothes as Duo rolled over, then a soft sigh from Trowa.
Outside in the dark corridor, Heero flinched. The defeat and hopelessness in Duo's voice... He waited for the little voice to speak up, to claim another point, but there was nothing but silence.
* * * * *
Wufei looked down at the throng below, open-mouthed faces staring up at him. Well... they aren't going to understand this, but I have to start somewhere!
Drawing in a deep breath, he hoped he didn't look -- or sound -- as nervous as he felt.
"My name is Wufei! And yours?"
He grimaced inwardly as he realised he'd spoken in Japanese, not Chinese; but he'd been speaking Japanese and English almost exclusively for two years, and habit is a wonderful thing.
"Ore no namae wa Wufei! Omae wa?"
The villagers exchanged blank looks and shrugs.
"Well, that last bit sounded like a question..." Royce muttered. He glanced briefly at Cord and Naiya, but the hradani just flicked their ears and shrugged; so he swallowed and stepped forwards. The new demon's unnaturally dark eyes were on him instantly.
"Ah... begging your pardon... sir," he bowed tentatively, "but we don't understand. Do you know this language?"
The demon frowned slightly, and said something in what sounded like a different language; then a third, surprisingly musical and sing-song.
"Sorry... sir. We don't understand that either." Royce turned and looked at Cord again. "I know you know a couple more languages; want to try?"
Cord shrugged. "None of 'em sound anything like that lad's tongue, but I'll try." Stepping forward, he spoke first in one of the hradani dialects, then something Royce thought was Sothoii; he recognised a few words when Cord tried Axeman.
The demon listened intently as the hradani spoke, but showed no signs of understanding. When it was clear nobody was going to try any more languages, he seemed to sigh, slumping slightly; then he jumped to the larger demon's knee and down to the ground.
Stepping forward to stand before Royce, he pointed at himself. "Wufei." Then at the giant behind him. "Nataku." Then at Royce, raising an inquiring (and arrogant) eyebrow.
"Well, I understood that," Royce muttered; then he pointed at himself. "Royce."
The demon smiled wryly and bowed, hands held out to the sides. "Royce. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu."
"Er... pleased to meet you, I'm sure, Wufei. Welcome to our village."
* * * * *
When morning came, Heero hadn't slept, though he'd gone to his room to lie on the bed for a while. He was pretty sure Trowa hadn't either; after all, he'd been waking Duo up every hour...
He stalked downstairs, cold blank mask firmly in place, to check his laptop for the results of the searches he'd been running.
"Anything?" Trowa's calm voice came from the chair in front of the TV.
Has he been there watching the news all night? "Nothing relevant... there's some data on Wufei, but it's all old stuff. Speculation, mostly. A note to field commanders when his colony was destroyed, warning that he might be more likely to try a suicide attack... that sort of thing. You?"
Trowa shrugged slightly. "They now know the explosion was the result of a battle; there's been helicopter footage of the site and a surprisingly accurate estimate of OZ losses. Normal OZ procedure would be to keep reporters away from the area and issue a statement about 'colony aggression beaten back with minor casualties', but not this time. The aerial footage of the battlefield showed people moving around, but without organisation; I didn't see any signs of strong leadership."
Trowa's laptop beeped.
Heero watched intently as Trowa opened up a message and scanned it, then closed the laptop. "Mission?"
"No. The doctors want complete battle logs from all four Gundams, plus reports on the systems problems we experienced after the explosion."
"I'll get Wing's and Deathscythe's." Heero badly wanted to ask Trowa 'how is Duo', but stayed silent. It's none of my business.
'It could be. It should be, even if you only care about his fitness for missions.'
He ignored the voice, and went to get the data.
Quatre woke up, feeling much better than he had the day before. Lying in bed, he tried to remember what had happened; it was all rather blurry after the first shattering realisation that Wufei was... gone.
Was I in shock? he thought, determinedly blinking away fresh tears. I suppose so... Sitting up, he glanced over at the other bed, and was surprised to see a knot of blankets with a long braid trailing out of it.
Duo? He was hurt... I suppose they put us in here together to keep an eye on us both. He considered calling out, but there was a definite feeling of pain and 'keep away' echoing in his heart, so he got out of bed as quietly as possible and made his way downstairs.
"Trowa? Heero?" he called quietly. There was no answer, but both their laptops were set up in the lounge room and the TV was on, sound turned down low.
His eye suddenly caught by the TV screen, he stared incredulously, then ran over and stabbed at the volume control.
< < Again, repeating our footage of the announcement just made by Lady Une of OZ... > >
"Duo! Duo, wake up!" Quatre threw himself into the room and tugged at the roll of blankets. "Duo!!"
"What?" Bloodshot eyes peered at him out of a bruised face.
"Duo, the war's over! OZ has surrendered! Kushrenada committed suicide last night!"
Quatre stopped, brought up short by Duo's reaction. "...Duo?"
"Go away, Quatre."
Trowa and Heero walked back into the safe house to find Quatre sitting on the sofa, holding the remote control and watching TV. The sound was muted, but they seemed to be showing a looped film clip of Lady Une... crying?
"Quatre! How are you feeling?" Trowa stepped forwards, but stopped when his lover looked up with his 'boardroom face' on - cold, professional, and without any sign of softness in it.
"I have two pieces of information for you, gentlemen," Quatre said coolly. "One; the war is over--"
"--and two; Duo doesn't care." He stood up and dropped the remote onto the coffee table. "What did I miss?"
Heero's mask cracked for just an instant as pain and doubt flashed over his face; then the cold unemotional front was back. "Nothing important," he said curtly, sitting down at his computer and handing two disks to Trowa. "Here; you send these."
As Trowa took the disks, he flicked a quick look at Heero, then upwards to where footsteps were making their way slowly down the corridor. "I'll explain later."
The muscles along Heero's jaw clenched, and he hit the keys with more than necessary force as he started a new search.
Quatre shot Trowa an 'Oh-you-just-bet-you're-gonna-explain' look, then turned and smiled brilliantly as Duo limped down the stairs. "I was just going to make breakfast; do you want anything in particular, Duo?"
"I'm not hungry," he said flatly.
Quatre stared wide-eyed at that, coming from Duo, and even Trowa turned around from sending the data to the doctors. Heero's typing didn't slow down, but he had to go back and delete several characters.
Duo glanced up at Quatre and Trowa with dull, uncaring eyes. "...Thanks anyway," he added as an afterthought. "I'll just make myself some coffee."
"O... okay, Duo," Quatre managed. "If you're sure..."
"Yeah." His eyes lingered briefly on the back of Heero's head; then he turned away and limped into the kitchen.
Trowa sent off the message and reached for the remote, avoiding Quatre's eyes; he flicked the mute button and brought the sound back up. Lady Une was unfolding a piece of paper, slow tears trickling down her cheeks.
< < --left this note, > > she said. < < "I intended to build a world fit for the soldiers of the future, but it seems they have reached out and taken it from my hands. I bear them no ill will; I wish them joy in the world they will create, and only wish I c-could stay to-- to see its b-birth--" > >
Both laptops beeped.
"A mission?" Quatre asked, muting the TV again as Trowa read the message.
"I'll get Deathscythe ready," Duo said from the kitchen door.
"Duo, you're hardly in any shape to--" Quatre protested.
"The state you're in, you'd just get in the way," Heero snapped. "Trowa and I will handle it."
Duo's eyes, which had been showing a tiny spark of life, went flat and dead again. "Oh, that's right; I'm useless," he said. "Thanks for reminding me, Heero. I forgot for a moment." And he turned around and shuffled back into the kitchen.
Trowa shot a cold glare at Heero as he stood and picked up his computer. "Nice work, Yui. First you stab him, then you twist the knife. What are you going to do for an encore?"
Heero rose and stalked out.
As Trowa glared after his retreating back, a small hand grabbed the front of his turtleneck and dragged him down to face Quatre's furious blue gaze. "What the hell happened last night?!" the smaller boy snarled.
Trowa swallowed nervously and motioned 'quiet!', glancing towards the kitchen. Quatre's voice dropped to a hiss, but he didn't let go.
"Tell. Me. Now."
"Um... short version..." Trowa took a deep breath and talked fast. "Duo was concussed, thought he was dreaming, and kissed Heero last night when he went to wake him up; at least, I think so, since Heero told me to wake him up the next time, and he nearly kissed me thinking I was Heero. Then I made Heero go to wake him the next time - I thought it would force him to face how Duo feels about him and vice versa - and I don't know what happened, but something went badly wrong. Duo came downstairs after him and yelled at him for 'trashing him in his sleep', and then just... gave up." Trowa's voice dropped even further. "Quatre, I'm worried! I've never seen him so... defeated. Could you look after him while we're gone? We shouldn't be long, this mission's just a quick infiltration and data retrieval job."
Quatre looked thoughtful, his hand relaxing its grip slightly; then he looked up seriously into Trowa's eyes. "So... Duo's best friend is missing, possibly dead, and now Heero's done something that makes him feel completely worthless and unwanted. That about it?"
Trowa nodded. "He feels guilty about not warning Wufei in time, too. Damn it, Quatre, this is at least partly my fault and I don't know what to do!"
Quatre flattened his hand against Trowa's chest and rubbed gently, comforting. "Well, Heero's broken him, and somebody's got to fix it." He looked away from Trowa's eyes, seemingly fascinated by his own hand drawing slow circles. "If Heero won't... Wufei could have helped, he was closest to Duo and might have..." He blushed slightly. "If Heero keeps on being an asshole, we may have to do something to, uh, show Duo that someone cares... someone does want him. Um... are you okay with that?"
Trowa smiled in relief, reaching out to cup Quatre's cheek gently. "Yeah. We can do that."
When Trowa walked into the hangar, Heero was just walking out from behind Deathscythe.
"What were you doing back there?"
Heero didn't look at him. "Disabling the self-destruct."
"Ha!" Trowa muttered, just loud enough to be heard. "First good idea you've had all day."
As Heero swung himself into Wing's cockpit, a familiar little voice spoke up. 'So, you finally realise what you've done, hm?'
Quatre moved gracefully around the kitchen, keeping up a steady stream of chatter as he assembled breakfast. Since he was trying to get a response out of Duo, he was concentrating on two topics that normally would have been guaranteed to start up a lively discussion: food and the mission.
"I know I'm not exactly the best cook, but I think I can manage pancakes. We have maple syrup, or would you prefer lemon juice and sugar?"
"There's bacon and eggs, if you'd rather have that."
Since the topic of food wasn't getting him anywhere, Quatre switched tactics.
"I hope the mission is as easy as Trowa thinks it will be," he said, putting a glass of orange juice down in front of the braided boy. "The doctors want them to break into an OZ research base located near where our last battle was; they think it's where that new energy weapon was developed. They want to get full info on it before OZ can destroy all their records." He glanced sideways at Duo as he piled pancakes onto two plates and poured maple syrup over the top.
Duo didn't say anything, but he reached out and started turning his empty coffee mug around in his hands.
That might have been a response... Quatre thought, frustrated.
He sat and ate his pancakes in silence, trying to think of something - anything! - that would get a reaction out of Duo. At the other side of the table, Duo shifted bits of his pancakes around and drew patterns in the syrup with his knife.
I have to get through to him somehow. Almost anything would be better than this! Even if I make him angry at me, if it gets him out of this withdrawal...
Well... Trowa did say it was okay...
Making up his mind, Quatre stood up and walked around to stand next to the other boy.
There was no answer, so he reached out and gently tipped Duo's chin up, forcing him to look away from his plate.
"Duo..." And he leant down and kissed him on the lips.
Quatre didn't try to make the kiss any more than a gentle, friendly pressure, but he stroked his fingertips along Duo's jaw and down the bared throat, trying to show without words exactly how much he was offering. He drew back slowly and looked into wide violet eyes.
Okay, confusion is sort of a response. It's a start, anyway. "Duo, if you want to talk... or anything... Trowa and I--"
He broke off as confusion shifted to sorrow, unshed tears glittering in Duo's eyes; then the shutters came down again and Duo stood, blank-faced, and walked out.
Quatre was left standing in the empty kitchen, looking at the congealing syrup on Duo's plate. He sighed, raking one hand through his hair. "Well, I got a response. It wasn't the one I wanted, but it was a response." He started clearing the table. "Damn it, Heero Yui, when you get back... omae o korosu!"
* * * * *
Wufei scrubbed his hand briefly over his eyes and blinked, struggling to focus properly.
How long have I been awake?
It took a while, but eventually he worked out that it'd been well over twenty-four hours since he had last slept - at least, if he didn't count passing out after the explosion - and it hadn't exactly been a peaceful time. What with adrenaline fatigue, injuries and plain tiredness, he was well on the way to passing out on his feet.
I don't have time to be weak! he thought angrily, and tried to concentrate on what the grey-haired man, Royce, was attempting to explain.
Naiya scowled, concerned, as the small demon swayed slightly on his feet.
"All right, that's enough for now!" she said abruptly, stepping forwards. Royce and demon both looked around at her; the demon scowled, but it's hard to look threatening when your eyes are crossing with fatigue, and Naiya wasn't about to be afraid of someone who only came up to her shoulder, demon or not.
"Lass, we need to--"
"Can't it wait until he's slept?" She waved a hand at the startled demon. "Look at him! Gods know I'm tired, and I haven't done half of what he has! He's exhausted, he's wounded - I think they were fighting before they were summoned, the big one's armour is damaged and seeing as how it's so hard that must've been a dangerous opponent. Even if he could speak our language, right now I don't think he's in any shape to answer questions!" She spun around to look at Cord. "Father, he can stay with us, can't he?"
Cord spread his hands helplessly. "Aye, girl, he can stay."
"Good!" Naiya turned back to the demon. "Wufei, yes?" She pointed at herself; "Naiya," then at her father; "Cord." Then she simply reached out, grabbed Wufei's wrist, and started walking.
He yelped in surprise, stumbling after her. "Onna!"
"No, it's 'Naiya'."
He sighed and dug in his heels. "Onna, onna, onna, onna, onna," he said, pointing to various women with his free hand; then he started pointing at men. "Otoko, otoko, otoko, otoko, otoko. Ne?"
"Ah... I see!" She started pointing, starting with herself. "Woman, woman, woman, woman, woman; man, man, man, man, man." She mock-glared at him, slanting her ears back. "But it's not polite to just call me 'woman'. Nai-ya!"
"Hai, hai, wakatta," he said, rolling his eyes, a slight smile twitching one corner of his mouth up. "Naiya."
"Good!" She smiled brilliantly at him, then started walking again.
"Oi! Nani o shiteiru?! Doko e?" He twisted his arm free and glared.
"I'm thinking you'd best try to explain, lass," Cord said, amused.
"All right... um... Wufei, Naiya, Cord," she pointed at their house, "over there; eat, then sleep," she said, miming.
He looked doubtful for a moment, but nodded; then he pointed back at the giant demon. "Matte, kudasai. Nataku ni chotto..."
"Um... I don't know what we can do about him--" Naiya watched nervously as Wufei walked over to Nataku and reached up, patting at the giant leg; he caught something that swung down to him from the opening and was lifted into the air, rising smoothly until he could step onto the sticking-out armour plate. He vanished inside, and it closed behind him; then Nataku's eyes glowed to life again and it/he stood up. It moved only a few steps, over to the ancient tree that shaded one side of the square, then sat down and cautiously leaned back against the trunk. It creaked loudly, but held.
The glow in the eyes died again, the armour opened, and Wufei stepped out; this time, the opening closed behind him as he jumped down to the ground and walked back.
Royce intercepted him. "Uh... does Nataku need to eat? Food? What does it want?"
Wufei looked surprised, then tiredly amused; he shook his head. "Iie. Nataku wa... neru. Sleep," he said, carefully pronouncing the foreign word.
"Oh. Well, that's a relief," Royce muttered.
Naiya studied Wufei as he nodded over his half-eaten bowl of stew, spoon slipping out of his fingers. He's even more tired than I thought! she mused, fighting to keep her own eyes open. He looks much younger when he isn't glaring... rather handsome, too, even with those strange eyes.
She considered her strange guest...
He looked almost human, except for his eyes - slanted and black, an impossible colour and rather frightening - and the warm gold tint to his skin. Humans came in a wide range of shades, but none quite like him; and although black hair was possible, she'd never seen anyone with hair so uncompromisingly straight. A wisp had escaped the tight, short tail at the base of his neck and fallen forwards over his eyes, incredibly fine strands drifting in every current of air. Naiya had to stop herself from reaching forwards to touch it and see if it was as soft as it looked. Yes, with those threatening demon eyes half-closed and veiled behind long black lashes, he looked much more approachable.
His clothes were strange too, cloth finer than anyone but a lord would own. A tight black sleeveless top clung to his torso, embroidered with a multicoloured twining snaky beast; it was tucked into high-waisted white pants tied with a black sash. Black leather wristbands and low black soft slippers made up the last of his outfit.
There were fresh scrapes and cuts down his arms, along with a few faint marks of old injuries; a giant bruise was purpling one shoulder under the top, and a bloodstained tear in one pants leg hinted at worse injuries, but he'd ignored them all as he moved earlier. Perhaps, to him, they weren't anything to speak of? The damage to the giant Nataku's armour certainly suggested that far worse was possible where they came from...
Cord interrupted Naiya's revereie with a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I'd best get the lad to bed before he falls flat on his face," he said softly, "and you should sleep too. He can have my bed; I've work to do in the forge. Nay, leave that!" as she started to clear the table. "I'll take care of it before I go."
Wufei jerked upright and blinked hazily as Cord shook him. "Come on, lad; time to go..."
Wufei settled into warm softness, barely aware of huge hands drawing the covers up over him. As much as he wanted to stay alert and wary, his exhausted body had its own ideas.
I wonder... are the others okay? he thought as he slipped into sleep. Did they win?
 well, duh.
 "Pleased to meet you." (Literally means something like 'please be good to me'!)
 "Yes, yes, understood."
 "Oi! What are you doing?! Where to?"
 "Wait, please. I'm just going to Nataku for a sec..."
 "No. Nataku will... sleep."
end chapter 4
(Christy throws her stuffed dragon plushy at Heero, bouncing it off his head.)
CHRISTY: Heero, you SWINE!
MEL: Yeah, you total spud, how could you be so mean to poor Duo?!
(Mel administers the Hundred-Hand Bitch Slap, too upset to just punch him the way she usually would.)
HEERO: Damn it, you two wrote it!
MEL: Well... you shouldn't have let us! Look what you've done to poor Christy! She's crying all over Duo and getting his braid all soggy!
DUO: C-chan! Let go! Salt water's bad for my hair!
HEERO: Read your own damn apology! YOU are doing this to US! It's not my fault!
MEL: Well... blame them! (She points to Redcap and Stormdancer, the muses, who are sitting in a corner playing with Gundam models and a baby Cthulhu plushie.) They made us do it! It's not our fault either! If you want us to stop doing angst, you gotta talk to them.
HEERO (grimly): Ninmu ryoukai. (He stalks off.)
MEL: Ooo... shit. I didn't think he'd actually do it!
(Duo lunges after Heero, but Christy is still sobbing into his braid and he's yanked back.)
DUO: Itai! Hee-chan, no! They're DANGEROUS!
< WHACKthudCRUNCH "eeyow!" SPUNGwhappitawhappitawhappitaBANG >
(Heero comes staggering back, rather dishevelled.)
HEERO: Ninmu... shippai... < THUD >
MEL: I guess we keep going with the angst, huh, Christy?