MEL & CHRISTY: Who let the dogs out?! WHO? WHO, WHO-WHO-WHO?
CHRISTY: C'mon, Duo, sing it with us!
MEL & CHRISTY: A doggie is nothin' if he don't have a bone, poor doggie, hold your bone, poor doggie, hold it...
MEL: What's the matter? Don't you like that song?
CHRISTY: OOH! Ooh! 'Teenage Dirtbag' is on next!
MEL: Come on, Duo, sing!
MEL: Hey, what's-- OI! He's got cotton wool in his ears!
[She pulls it out.] *plock!*
DUO: AAGH! DON'T DO TH-- oh. You've stopped.
[Mel and Christy glare at him.]
CHRISTY: Are you implying that our singing is... how shall I put this...
MEL: Less than perfect?
CHRISTY: Thank you.
DUO: Um... let's just say Redcap and Stormdancer told me the cotton wool was a good idea.
[Mel and Christy swivel to glare at the muses, who are sitting in the corner playing with G-boy voodoo dolls. The muses are wearing fluffy earmuffs, and ignore them.]
MEL (through gritted teeth): We can't kill them. We need them.
CHRISTY (likewise): Damn.
DUO: Oi! I thought you said things were going to get better for me!
MEL: Um... we want to have things get more violent so we need Redcap! < tries to look innocent >
DUO: You said 'them'. That means you're using the ANGST muse too!
CHRISTY: Wellllllll... Heero's not too happy...
DUO: I don't trust you. You're going to use her on ME!
MEL: That sounded like an order. Did that sound like an order to you, Christy?
CHRISTY: Yep! Thanks, Duo!
DUO: Wha-- you-- NO!
MEL: Before Duo weasels out of it -- on with the fic!
DEMON OF JUSTICE
"I Can't Say"
Quatre wandered towards the kitchen in his pyjamas, yawning behind his hand, vague thoughts of breakfast in his head.
Coffee first. Definitely coffee first... hm! Smells like someone already made a pot...
He walked in the door and jerked to a halt, eyes wide in surprise.
"Heero... how long have you been up?"
"Didn't go to bed." Heero took a gulp of coffee from the mug sitting next to his laptop, set it down, and continued typing.
"What are you doing?"
"A mission? Should I get Trowa?"
"No. This is a personal mission."
Quatre frowned. "Personal?"
"Hn. ...I have to get Duo back."
There was a rather long pause before Quatre replied. "You're writing a mission plan... on how you're going to make up with Duo?"
"Yes," Heero said, in an 'I-just-said-that' tone.
One fast sweep of Quatre's arm sent Heero's laptop skidding across the table to smash on the floor. The pieces slid to a halt in the doorway just as Trowa was about to walk in; he blinked down at them, carefully took a long step over the bits of plastic and metal, and walked over to the coffee pot, pouring himself a mugful and leaning back against the bench to watch.
"Duo is not one of your fucking MISSIONS, Yui!" Quatre snarled. "He is a flesh-and-blood person who needs more than a frigid machine to make him happy! What were you doing, planning your attack?! Deciding how much affection to apply, when and how? Love is not a mission, Heero; and if love isn't what you feel for Duo, he's better off with you out of his life!"
Heero looked across the room at the remains of his laptop, then slowly raised his eyes to meet Quatre's. He swallowed, and spoke in a surprisingly soft voice. "So... what should I do?"
Quatre gestured impatiently, running one hand through his hair. "Oh, for... talk to him, Heero! Decide how you feel about him and tell him. Be honest with him!" He crossed his arms across his chest, glaring at Heero. "Of course, first you've got to be honest with yourself. This is not raising my estimation of your chances."
Heero blinked at him, looking confused and rather lost; Quatre snorted and spun on his heel, throwing a parting comment over his shoulder. "I'm amazed we're even having this 'discussion'! We should be celebrating the end of the war, or mourning Wufei; instead, we're playing supporting roles in the Heero Yui soap opera!"
There was a long silence.
Heero stared down at his hands.
Trowa finished his coffee.
Finally, Heero stood up; Trowa watched from under his bangs as he walked over to the doorway and crouched down, picking up the biggest piece of his laptop and turning it over in his hands. "I don't believe this," he muttered softly. "This thing was supposed to be impact-resistant!"
"Was it weatherproofed?" Trowa asked calmly, putting his mug in the sink.
"Enough to survive, say... a cyclone?"
Heero twisted around to look at him over his shoulder, a puzzled frown on his face. "No... Dr. J couldn't do too much without making it look too distinctive."
Trowa strolled past him and out the door, a faint smirk on his face; he shrugged. "Cyclone Quatre strikes again."
Okay, I'll find Duo and...
Heero leaned on the windowsill in his room, staring past the computer bits on his desk at Duo's empty bed. Well, planning what I'll do first doesn't seem to be an option. The only way I know to plan something this important is apparently not appropriate...
...besides which, I don't want Quatre to break my spare laptop too. And I think he would.
So... find Duo and play it by ear.
Duo wasn't in Wufei's room; his bed hadn't been made, but the covers had been pulled sort of straight.
He wasn't in the bathroom.
Nobody was in the kitchen.
Quatre and Trowa were in the living room; Heero backed out of there in a hurry.
Heero eventually found Duo in the underground hangar, balancing precariously on a ladder as he poked at Deathscythe's battle-damaged left knee. Swallowing nervously, he moved up behind him on silent feet and opened his mouth to speak - then paused, as Duo shifted his weight, wincing slightly, and started talking.
"Hell, 'Scythe, we're a right pair at the moment, aren't we? We've both popped a knee joint, both got a bunch of dings and cuts... though I think I win in the visual stakes, seeing as Gundanium doesn't bruise." He sighed. "At least I can talk to you, hey? You're a great listener, 'Scythe, don't think I don't appreciate it."
Duo rummaged around in his toolbox and pulled out a handlight, shining it into the access panel and craning his neck to get a better view of something; Heero watched, dry-mouthed. I should say something... let him know I'm here...
"If Wufei were here, I'd talk to him. He actually takes me seriously, y'know? We have real conversations.. in private, a'course, since in public he's gotta do the whole aloof thing. I'd say he was stupid if I didn't do something like it myself. But he's not here. And I can't really talk to Trowa and Quatre about this, since they're not exactly impartial... well, Wufei wasn't - isn't! - impartial either, but he can... I dunno... leave his own feelings out and think about something logically when he wants to give me advice. So anyway, here I am talking to you. You're not gonna give me advice, but talking things out helps me think. And, hey... at least you won't hit me or hate me for showing what I feel."
Heero flinched. Oh, hell...
"Love sucks, 'Scythe. Really, really sucks. I mean, sure, sometimes you get people like Quatre and Trowa, who understand each other; those two hardly have to speak, they understand each other so well... which is great for bang-boy. Okay, Trowa does speak, but he keeps it for the important stuff... so yeah, I guess he whispers sweet nothings into Quatre's ears. He'd figure that was important. But me? Noooooooooo, I have to go and fall in love with Mr Perfect Soldier, Heero Yui."
Heero's eyes widened as he listened, frozen.
"I don't think there's a heart in that 'stone cold killer' body. Sure is a sexy body, though... you know, 'Scythe, sometimes I just stand there at night and watch him sleep?"
What the... he does that too?!
"I just can't help myself. The number of times I've wanted to just lean over and kiss him... the number of times I've nearly done it... I guess I like flirting with death, huh?" Duo abruptly smacked himself on the forehead, making the ladder wobble. "What the hell am I talking about? I'm Death! But hey, some poet once wrote something like 'Death loves a soldier', so I guess it still fits." He chuckled softly.
If I don't say something now, I never will, Heero thought desperately. I have to say something... tell him I... I...
"I really love that baka... but I can't tell him. And I really can't keep going like this." Duo sighed, leaning on Deathscythe's leg. "Jeez, Duo, get a grip! Get over it! Yeah, right, that's sooooooooooo easy to say. But if he's never going to love me back... then I just gotta let go and move on, right? Give up on him." He sighed again, shoulders slumping as he pushed himself back upright. "Just... give up."
NO! No, no... shit! Say something! SAY something! Say it! say it! say it! SAY IT!
"Duo, I-- I love you!"
Lost in thought, unaware that he wasn't alone, Duo was taken completely by surprise.
A strangled yelp escaped him as he jumped and started to turn... totally forgetting, for just that crucial moment, that he was standing on top of a wobbly ladder. His left foot slipped partway off the step; he threw his weight onto his other leg, trying to save himself, and his damaged knee couldn't take the sudden strain.
As Duo started to fall, grasping for a handhold that wasn't there, the rest of Heero's sentence registered.
"I-- I love you!"
Then everything went black.
Heero slapped the intercom button with an open hand and yelled into it, "Trowa, Quatre, get to the hangar now! Bring the medical kit, Duo needs help!"
When the other two pilots ran in, he was hovering over Duo's crumpled form with outstretched hands, desperately wanting to touch him and make sure he was okay, but terrified of making his injuries worse. Shit! Shit! SHIT! No matter what the hell I do, I end up hurting Duo! SHIT!!!
"What the hell did you do to him now, Yui?!" Trowa yelled as he skidded to a halt next to Duo, hands already unsnapping the catches on the medical kit. "He kissed you again and you punched him out, is that it?"
"No! I told him I loved him and he fell off the ladder!"
"You told him you loved him while he was standing on a ladder?" Quatre asked incredulously. "Did he at least know you were there before you spoke?"
"I don't think so..."
"For the love of Allah, Heero, you have no people skills! Assassination does not count as a people skill!"
* * * * *
The villagers had explained the danger to Wufei not a moment too soon; the day after Nataku was hidden, one of the older children who'd been posted as sentries came running into the square, out of breath.
"Hold up there, take a breath and tell it slow," Royce commanded as the boy wheezed and stammered. "What have we got, and where are they coming from?"
"Five on tall horses," he gasped out, "Lord Yithar and his men. Seven on foot... *wheeze* ...four very short. Brown tunics. Gold thread on the front. Couldn't make out... *wheeze* the symbol. Sorry! Coming up the road from the west... they were at the big oak tree when I saw 'em."
"Thanks, lad; well done. Go get a drink, you look to need one." Royce turned to Cord, frowning, as the boy wobbled off. "Gold on brown... that'd be one of the militant orders?"
"Sounds like the Order of Torframos, I'm thinking," Cord said slowly. "They wear a gold pick on a brown field, and that'd fit with four of them being short; Torframos is the patron of miners, and he likes dwarves."
"Fair enough. And coming from the west, that means they went to the canyons first. It's a good thing we didn't try to hide Nataku there!"
"Aye, and it looks like we've a Champion to deal with, not a mage. That's something to be thankful for."
"Oh? Why's that?"
"Champions usually come one at a time, and while I don't know too much about what they can do, I do know mages. Mages come in packs, and some of 'em can read minds. They won't do it without a good cause... but finding a demon would be a very good cause. I'd rather deal with someone we can lie to."
Royce's eyes widened and he whistled softly. "Ye-esss... that would be best. Ah... is there any reason why you didn't mention this before?"
"Could we have done anything but fret about it?"
"Point. Good point."
Wufei watched from behind a screen of leaves as the party entered the village, two of the ones on foot breaking off to investigate the tracks he'd left all around the area yesterday.
As he watched the riders dismount and start talking to Royce, his eyes narrowed and he found his hand inching towards his swordhilt. The ones who arrived on foot seem to be acting politely enough... but the others... He scowled as two of the men remounted and rode out into the fields, carelessly trampling the remaining grain as they waved the women working there back into the village.
I think I need to be closer, Wufei thought grimly. This has the potential to go wrong whether they find me or not.
Uthmardanharknar dihna' Shirkanath was working very hard to suppress a scowl as he watched the villagers scurry into the square under the eyes of Yithar's armsmen.
I like this arrogant young idiot less and less, the more I see of how he acts, he thought. Half this village's fields are stubble and ash, several men have bandages... they've clearly suffered an attack in the last few days, but does he care? No! His first thought is to get a drink! And then he pours it out on the ground because it's not as good as he gets in his own house.
He turned away from watching Yithar berate the bowing, apologising brewer with a faint sigh of relief as the two scouts returned. "Ah, Cameron, Karthan... what have you found?"
The human, Cameron, stepped forward and saluted. "Sir Uthmar, there's tracks all round the village; it looks like the thing was prowling in circles, then went off down the trail to the east."
"So it didn't come in and try for a meal? Lucky for them!" Uthmar mused.
"Well, that's certainly the way it looks, Sir, but..." Cameron flicked a quick glance around, then lowered his voice and leaned down nearer to the dwarf's ear. "I can't say for sure, Sir, but if it didn't seem stupid I'd almost swear the tracks to the west are older than the ones around the village and to the east. A couple of days older. It's hard to say, though; they all fall on hard ground and rock. That's strange, too; the thing never once wandered into the grain fields, didn't crush any bushes, even avoided thick grass! I spoke with Karthan, and he agrees with me. It's like it wanted to leave tracks, just not clear tracks. And--"
"And I for one would like to know what made that," Karthan muttered, nodding slightly towards the huge tree that shaded half of the square. "I noticed it just now, Sir; the bark on that tree is crushed all up this side. It's a fresh mark; I can smell the sap from here. Something heavy hit that tree, Sir, or leaned against it for a while."
"In-ter-es-ting," Uthmar purred, raising one eyebrow. "We'll see what these people say about it soon enough..."
Wufei crept along behind the back wall of the smithy to the door and slipped inside.
I need a weapon... something a little less threatening than my sword. A little less deadly, too! he thought, examining the piles of metal stock and other supplies stacked along the wall. If I understood Naiya and the others correctly, these men are doing their duty; they have no way of knowing that I have no evil intent. If it comes to a fight, I don't want to kill them! And with my new strength, he grimaced, I have to be even more careful... ah! This should do. He pulled a long wood stave carefully out of its pile. Probably intended to be a spear shaft, but it should make an adequate bo staff.
Easing the door open, he slid out once more and went in search of a good place to observe from.
"...and I don't mind telling you that we were all pretty scared, sirs," Royce stammered, twisting his cap between his hands, "but it went off before dawn and we've seen nor heard nothing of it since." He didn't have to fake nervousness; he was well aware of what could happen if anything went wrong, and the dwarf champion's stare was incredibly disconcerting.
"Let me see if I've got all this straight," Uthmar said, starting to pace. "This priest of Sharna and his men attacked the village, kidnapped three girls and sacrificed one to summon a demon. It broke loose and killed them all... but didn't harm the two remaining girls?"
"No, sir," Royce said earnestly. "Looked straight at them, it did, but never raised a finger to stop them when they ran away."
"The men who'd gone after the kidnappers met up with the girls, and all returned to the village--"
"Craven fools," Lord Yithar snorted. "Cowards!"
"Lord, sir, what else could they do?" Royce protested. "We've boar-spears, bows and logging axes as weapons, nothing more - unless you count Cord's forgehammer," he added, jerking a thumb towards the blacksmith.
And that's another thing, Uthmar mused. What are two hradani doing in a human village, on a half-elf lord's land? Horse Stealer hradani, too, unless I miss my guess... what are they doing so far south?
"We were willing enough to go up against men," the headman continued. "But when the girls told 'em they were all dead, and a giant demon was loose... going up against something like that 'ud be suicide for folks like us! We knew someone would have felt the magic, so we just clung close to the village and prayed you'd reach us in time."
"Yet the demon got here first," Uthmar pointed out, "and you're all still alive."
"That's true, sir, and we can't offer an explanation for it... except... well, it had plenty of time to kill the girls, and it didn't. It could've killed us, and it didn't. What if it's not evil? I, ah, know that's a strange idea, but..."
"It killed that priest and his men fast enough!" one of Yithar's armsmen snorted.
"Well, yes, that it did... but they had it captive and were trying to enslave it. They did it a wrong. None of us ever did it a wrong, sir, and maybe that's why it never did us harm." Royce looked earnestly at Uthmar, twisting his cap so hard the dwarf almost expected to hear the leather tear. "Is that possible, Milord Champion, sir?"
"Anything's possible," Uthmar growled skeptically, "but a demon that's not evil doesn't seem very likely. I'd rather find out more before I make a judgement like that. To continue: that night you heard the demon walking all around the village, but it never came in?"
"That's as I've said, sir, yes."
"None of you saw it."
"What's that, then?" Uthmar asked, pointing at the tree.
"Eh? I'm afraid I don't follow your meaning, sir..."
"That mark on the tree," the dwarf said, watching the headman closely. "The bark is damaged. What did that?"
"Eh?!" Royce blinked rapidly, swallowing as he looked from Uthmar to the tree and back again. Behind him, the other villagers shifted nervously and looked at each other. "That, ah, well, I... really can't say, m'lord. Sir."
That wasn't 'I don't know', the Champion thought grimly. That was 'I know perfectly well what caused that mark, but I really don't want to tell you'. This gets more and more interesting... hm. Are you there, Lord?
=*Yes,*= a deep voice said within his mind.
The signs back at the canyon were strange, Uthmar thought, pretending to study the tree. The altar had been very thoroughly destroyed and de-sanctified, but I couldn't tell what power had done it. And I don't feel anything 'wrong' from these villagers, but they're definitely hiding something. I don't know... it's far-fetched, but could someone have taken hostages and ordered them to lie to us? It looks like about the right number of people for this size village, but they needn't have taken many.
=*They seem to be doing their best not to lie... or at least, to lie as little as possible,*= the voice mused. =*Keep asking questions. Events are developing.*=
Events? What events?!
A chuckle. =*Now, now, you know I can't tell you everything, Uthmar.*=
You've told me almost nothing! Torframos!
There was no answer; Uthmar growled softly and pinched the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes shut.
"Something wrong, milord?" Karthan asked softly.
"Our Lord is being more than usually cryptic at me," Uthmar muttered, turning back towards Royce. "Now then," he said, raising his voice, "I'd like to speak to the girls who were kidnapped."
"Certainly, m'lord Champion. That's Rami and Naiya... come on, girls, come forward..." Royce fretted at his cap as the girls stepped out of the crowd, Rami timidly clutching at Naiya's hand; he forced himself not to stare or grimace at the blonde girl. Gods help us if she doesn't remember what to do! One wrong word out of her mouth could kill us all - she's far too likely to mention Wufei, or call Nataku by name--
Naiya bobbed a curtsy to the Champion, slightly hampered by the fact that Rami wouldn't let go. "What is it you want to know, sir?"
"I just want you both to tell me what happened when the priest--" He broke off as Rami began to sniffle, tears welling up in her huge blue eyes.
"He-he-he tied Dena up, and-and-and then he--" She took a shuddering breath, voice rising. "--he was going to kill us, they w-were going to-to-to-- PAPAAA~!" And she crumpled into a sobbing, hiccupping little heap on the ground.
Gwent rushed to her side, followed by his wife. "Rami! Rami, baby, Papa's here-- it's all right--" He turned beseechingly to Uthmar as his wife gathered Rami to her ample bosom. "Please, m'lord Champion, don't make her speak of it! She's our only living child, and she's always been a delicate little thing--"
Delicate, my left foot! Royce thought, nearly grinning in relief. She's healthy as a horse and about as bright, sometimes - but at least she did the right thing this time! "It's true, sir," he said in a concerned voice, stepping forwards. "She's never been strong-willed, and she hasn't been able to speak of it without this happening. If it weren't for Naiya here, I don't think she would've made it back to us."
"Very well!" Uthmar said hastily, waving the little family away; he hid a sigh as they vanished back into the crowd and Rami's sobs subsided.
"What did you want, again, sir?" Naiya asked calmly, folding her hands in front of her.
Wufei relaxed slightly, watching from behind the chimney of Cord and Naiya's house. Their roof was shingled, not thatched, which meant it was easier to climb, and the storeroom at the back had its own flat roof; if it looked like someone was about to walk around to somewhere he could be seen from, he could slide down, lie flat and remain hidden.
Things seem to be going well enough, he thought, watching Naiya gesture as she talked to the short... um...
He's not a human, and he certainly isn't a hradani like Cord, Wufei mused. Short and very broad, ears with slight points, thick beards... I might as well call those ones dwarves. And then there's the slim fop with the very pointy ears, Yithar; he's another type again. A slight, wry smile crossed his lips. Two new nonhuman races, and all I do is mentally catalogue them? All the surprises I've had lately are making me jaded.
"What did you say?!" Yithar burst out angrily.
Naiya raised her chin stubbornly. "I said, m'lord, that I was scared... but I never felt threatened by the demon. And I don't believe it's evil."
"That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" he shouted, waving his riding crop. "It's a demon!"
"A moment, if you please, Lord Yithar," Uthmar cut in smoothly, raising a hand. "Would you mind explaining that, Naiya?"
"The demon could have killed me along with the priest, but it struck over me," she said determinedly. "It could have killed Rami and me both when it shot down the priest's men, but it didn't. It could have caught us as we ran, but it let us go! It looked right at us, m'lord, it knew we were there for the taking, and it never lifted a finger against us. I don't think things would've happened that way if he were evil?"
"'He'?" the Champion repeated; she flushed, clasping her hands more tightly.
"Well, m'lord, I suppose... with it being shaped like a man, however big... 'he' seems appropriate."
"That's a good answer," Uthmar nodded, "but I can't help feeling there's something more to it."
"Yes. A lot of little things don't quite fit... the tracks around this village that aren't all the same age, for one thing."
Naiya stiffened. "Aren't they? Well, I... I'm sure I can't explain that, if it's true."
"And that makes two of you," he mused. "'I can't say' and 'I can't explain', not 'I don't know'. Can't or won't?"
"Really? As you say. But there's still the way you and Goodman Royce seem determined to persuade me that a giant demon he's supposedly never seen isn't evil... there's that mark on the tree... and you call it 'he'. I can't help thinking that you know where that demon's gone," he said quietly.
There was a breathless pause; then, amazingly, Naiya smiled.
"As to that, m'lord Champion..." she said calmly, "...I really can't say."
"Oh, you'll say," Yithar said viciously, "and we'll find it! And then--"
"Jarad, no, come back here! JARAD!" a woman's voice shrieked as a small form hurtled out of the crowd, fists clenched.
"You leave them alone!" he howled, running towards Yithar. "Wufei's my friend! They're nice!"
Yithar lunged forwards and backhanded the boy across the face, knocking him to the ground. "You little piece of shit!" he hissed, raising his riding crop. "How dare you oppose me--"
He staggered back a step, gaping at the figure that had appeared out of nowhere. Wufei dropped the broken riding crop and spun his makeshift staff forward, stopping it with one end just touching the half-elf's throat.
"Is child," he said coldly, glaring into Yithar's terrified eyes. "Not hit!"
* * * * *
Quatre slid out of Wufei's room, closing the door silently behind him.
"I'm surprised," Trowa said quietly, standing up from where he'd been leaning against the wall. "You're letting Heero stay with him?"
The smaller boy smiled tiredly. "He's finally admitted how he feels - to himself and to us - so he won't hurt Duo on purpose; and he's so terrified of hurting Duo by accident that he'll be handling him like eggs. I think it's safe enough. Of course," he added, voice hardening, "if Duo wakes up and doesn't want him there, it'll be another story."
Trowa chuckled softly, shaking his head. "Cyclone Quatre," he whispered.
Trowa held his silence until they reached the kitchen, then stopped his lover with a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Quatre, what you said earlier... 'we should be celebrating the end of the war, or mourning Wufei'..." He swallowed. "Do you really believe he's dead?"
Quatre slumped slightly. "What other possibility is there, Trowa? We all saw the crater. OZ - whatever's left of them - doesn't seem to have him... and I haven't been able to feel him since."
"You said you didn't feel him die."
"Maybe... if it was fast enough... he didn't feel it, either." One trembling hand lifted to wipe at his eyes. "I h-hope so..."
Trowa pulled Quatre into his arms and held him close as he cried.
end chapter 7
MEL: There, Duo, that wasn't so bad... now was it?
DUO: What are you talking about? You knocked me out!
MEL: And you never felt a thing. Aren't we nice?
CHRISTY: Aww, Duo, poor baby! [grabs him and starts patting his head] So, Wuffie, looks like you're gonna get some action next chapter!
MEL: Fighting, Wuffie, get your mind outta the gutter!
WUFEI: I was NOT--
MEL: Yeah, yeah, heard it before. Why are you looking at Duo like that?
CHRISTY: Ooooo, predatory! Would you two like some privacy?
WUFEI & DUO: NO!
MEL: Kinky! Do we get popcorn?
[Wufei goes wide-eyed and chokes; Duo kicks his way out of Christy's grip.]
DUO: We are NOT doing... stuff like that! Jeez, you two would have to lift your minds to get them into the gutter!
CHRISTY: Why would we want to do that? Okay, if you aren't with Wu-babe and Heero, is it Trowa and Quatre?
MEL: Hehhehheh. Our minds aren't in the gutter, they're in the sewer.
DUO: That's exactly what I meant!
MEL: Perceptive boy!
CHRISTY: I knew we kept him around for more than just the comedic value.
MEL: C'mon. We made Quatre cry; the least we can do is comfort him.
CHRISTY: Trowa's doing that.
MEL: All the more reason to go check on them! *zip!*
DUO (shaken): Ye gods! What are they on today?!
WUFEI: They're writing really fast to try and get 'Reunion' finished by Valentine's Day. It's making them hyper. And Mel got bitten by the Kinky Bug on Saturday; they're still under the influence of 'The Young and the Hentai'.
DUO: The young and the WHAT?!
WUFEI: Haven't you seen that one? You're in it!
DUO: Um... doing what?
WUFEI: Being chased.
DUO: By who?!
WUFEI: *blush!* I'd rather not talk about it.
DUO: Um... okay...
WUFEI (turning to audience): Look, for our sake, please send the onnas lots of feedback about this and 'Reunion'... then maybe they'll stick to writing those, horrible as they are, and NOT inflict lime one-shots on us!
DUO: LIME?!?!? COOL! With who?!
WUFEI: *BLUSH!* I told you, I don't want to talk about it!