[Mel and Christy are sitting on the sofa, wearing matching fuzzy nighties, tucked up under matching fuzzy blankets.]
WUFEI: And thinking with matching fuzzy heads. OW!
[Christy puts the scythe away again.]
CHRISTY: Watch it... or you won't GET any in the sequels we're planning for 'Reunion'. We won't write the kinky lemon side fic!
WUFEI: Huh! Like I care... [he looks uncomfortable.]
MEL: Now see what you've done. Look at Duo!
DUO: *sniff* ...'Fei? Hee-chan! 'Fei doesn't care any more!
WUFEI: Gods, Duo, not in front of the onnas! DON'T give them any more ammo than they've already got!
DUO: But... *sniff*
WUFEI: I do care... really.
[Duo glomps him and tackles him to the ground. Mel and Christy peer disapprovingly over their notebooks.]
CHRISTY: Get a room! ...on second thoughts, there is just fine.
QUATRE: I've got popcorn!
WUFEI: QUATRE! Trowa, do something about your boyfriend!
TROWA: I've got soda.
HEERO: I've got the backpack nuke. Either cut it out, or move it into the bedroom and let me join in.
MEL: You've been re-reading 'The Young and the Hentai', haven't you? *sigh* Oh well... on with the fic!
CHRISTY: And just for that, Heero, we're starting with your romantic problems! Nyah!
HEERO: [slaps forehead] Oh shit...
DEMON OF JUSTICE
'Demon with Style'
Ow. This has got to be the headache from hell. What happened this time?
...Since when does my pillow have a heartbeat? And when did it get this solid?
Carefully, wincing against the light, Duo opened his eyes.
How the hell did I get into bed with Heero?! Have I started sleepwalking?
Duo was lying half on top of the sleeping Japanese boy. Heero had both his arms wrapped around Duo's shoulders, one hand clutching the braid.
This is Wufei's room, so... is Heero sleepwalking? Whatever, who cares, I've just gotta get outta here before he wakes up! He'll kill me otherwise!
Slowly and painfully, Duo wiggled downwards until he was out of the circle of Heero's arms. Unfortunately, he couldn't see any way to get his braid out of Heero's death grip without waking him up.
I never thought I'd seriously consider cutting it, but...
Heero frowned and made a dissatisfied noise, one hand groping sideways along the bed; Duo quickly pushed the pillow into his arms, and he let go of the braid to clutch at it.
Phew. Now to make my escape!
Limping downstairs, Duo pressed one hand to the back of his head and winced. What time is it? It looks like mid-afternoon... why was I in bed? Did I get hit in the head again?! The last thing I remember is going into the hangar to check on 'Scythe...
Duo sighed in relief as he peered into the kitchen and saw Trowa and Quatre. "Guys? What hap--"
"Duo, sit down! Are you feeling all right? Should you be up?" Quatre almost teleported to Duo's side and helped him to a chair; Trowa just smiled and put a cup of coffee down in front of him.
"Where's Heero?" Quatre continued, glancing towards the door.
"Um... upstairs... guys, what's going on? What happened?!"
The other two pilots glanced at each other. "Well... Duo, what do you remember?" Trowa asked.
"I was going out to check on 'Scythe," Duo said, frowning. "I got the ladder out to take a look at his knee..."
Quatre and Trowa glanced upwards as they heard quick, light footsteps overhead; struggling to remember, Duo didn't notice.
"...I got up there and started checking it out..." I was talking to 'Scythe about Heero, but they don't need to know that. "...And..."
Heero came thundering down the stairs and skidded to a halt in the kitchen doorway, eyes wide and hair even messier than usual. "Quatre, have you seen-- Duo! There you are! Why didn't you wake me up? Don't scare me like that!"
The last piece clicked into place in Duo's memory.
"...what did you say?"
Heero blinked. "Uh... don't scare me?"
"No... earlier. In the hangar," Duo said with exaggerated patience, fingers whitening around his coffee mug. "When you came up behind me and scared me off the ladder. What did you say then?"
Quatre and Trowa exchanged glances and quietly sidled away to the other end of the kitchen -- far enough to be unobtrusive, but not so far away that they couldn't hear everything. Then they leaned on the wall and watched as Heero gulped and started turning white.
Finally, he managed to get his voice working. "I... uh... I said... I l--"
"Don't say that," Duo hissed venomously. "Don't ever say that. Not when you don't mean it!"
There was a long, painful pause.
"I love you," Heero said quietly. "I mean it."
"Well you sure have a weird way of showing it," Duo muttered, looking away.
"...I'm sorry. I shouldn't have treated you like that. I was..." Heero grimaced. "I was an idiot. I couldn't admit that I actually... that... that I cared about you, so I was getting angry with myself... and taking it out on you. Until Trowa threatened me," he finished sourly.
Everyone looked at Trowa.
He shrugged. "I told him we'd take you away from him for good if he didn't start treating you properly. It got his head out of his ass... part way, at least."
Quatre coughed, covering a grin with his hand; Duo blinked, surprised, then stared accusingly at the blond boy. "Take me away... is that what you were getting at three days ago, when you kissed me?"
"Well. Er... actually, at the time I was most interested in getting some sort of reaction out of you," Quatre confessed, blushing. "Any reaction, even if you decked me. I was worried! And... all right, yes, if you'd responded I would've been delighted. We... um... well, if you ever want to consider it..."
Duo stared at Quatre and Trowa for a moment, then pushed his coffee mug away and dropped his head onto his arms. "I don't want to deal with this right now," he moaned. "I don't even want to think about it... my head hurts! I think I wanna go lie down..."
"I'll get you some painkillers," Quatre said quickly, escaping out the door.
"Do you want some help getting back upstairs?" Heero asked quietly.
Duo lifted his head and glared at him. "I hope you're not thinking that I'm going to squeal and throw myself into your arms, yelling 'all is forgiven', just because you've said you love me. All is not forgiven, you got that?"
"All right. Now you can help me up to bed."
* * * * *
"I won't take anyone with me," Uthmar told his second-in-command. "You stay here and keep an eye on things."
"Are you expecting trouble, sir?"
"Once Yithar wakes up, yes."
The other dwarf snickered, hiding a grin.
"And that's exactly why I'm expecting trouble," Uthmar pointed out, trying to keep his own face straight. "According to the way he and his relatives think, he was entirely within his rights to strike that child... and then Wufei made a fool out of him."
"Have I mentioned that I like that demon, sir? He - heh! - he has style."
"You can like him all you want, Gunnar, just please don't mention him to Yithar if you can help it. I especially want you to avoid references to broken swords, broken noses, and wet *cough* breeches. Yithar is a spoilt brat who's been swatted, and he'll be looking for someone to take it out on."
Gunnar snorted. "I'd like to see him try to touch us."
"If he gets angry enough, he'll take it out on the villagers," Uthmar said seriously, all humour gone. "He's afraid of Wufei, and he's got no power over the Order of Torframos - unless he can convince his relatives in Bortalik to blockade us, which they won't do over a personal snit. The villagers are almost completely in his power, though, and they all saw him pass out and pee his pants. That's enough to make him vindictive, don't you think?"
"Er... yes, sir. No wet-pants jokes, and we'll try to keep a lid on anything he might start."
"Thank you, Gunnar. I'd also appreciate it if you'd have a quiet word with Goodman Royce... ask him to sit on any hotheads who might crack the wrong joke at the wrong time, that sort of thing. I doubt he needs the advice, but I'll feel better."
"Got it, sir. Have a nice walk!"
Uthmar snorted and turned away, walking over to where Terrin and Wufei were waiting for him. "All right, gentlemen; shall we go get your big friend?"
Wufei set a fast pace as they started down the trail to Nataku's hiding place. Terrin winced inwardly as he thought about how his legs were going to feel - again! - but Uthmar settled into his stride without a problem.
"Er... milord Champion? D'you mind if I ask a question?" Terrin ventured after a few minutes.
"Not at all. What is it?"
"Well... I haven't met very many dwarves before today. Are you all, umm... really good walkers?" he finished in a hurry.
Uthmar chuckled. "No, not really. It depends on what you do in life. I do a lot of travelling, so I had to either get good at walking or ride. And can you imagine me on a horse?"
"Now that you mention it, sir... not really, no," Terrin said, grinning tentatively.
"In other words, you can imagine it, and it's a damn funny picture," Uthmar said dryly, gesturing down at his short legs that were taking two steps for every one of Terrin's. "Dwarves ride mules or donkeys. I usually wear armour, so I'd need a strong mule to bear the weight... and I've never yet met a mule that didn't hate me on sight."
Terrin blinked. "Any idea why?"
The dwarf snorted. "Mules are smart. I think they take one look at me, and decide to work for someone lighter. How long before we reach the cave?"
"At this rate? Maybe five hours."
"That far?! I thought you said we'd get back before dark!"
"If you're willing to let Nataku carry you, sir, we'll be back in the village half an hour after we reach the cave."
Wufei glanced back over his shoulder, then turned away as it became obvious they weren't addressing him.
"...It's that fast?"
"Yes, sir." Terrin grinned. "When he moves, he moves."
"Ah. Yes. He, not it." Uthmar grimaced. "Must remember that... I wouldn't want to offend him."
"I don't know if it would, sir... Nataku's... well, he's strange."
Uthmar rolled his eyes at Terrin. "Goodman, if you can explain to me how a giant metal demon can be anything but strange, I'd appreciate it. And you don't have to call me 'sir'; just 'Uthmar' is fine."
"So long as you call me 'Terrin' instead of 'Goodman'..."
He grinned, reaching up to lightly swat Terrin's shoulder. "Done! Now, what did you mean by 'strange'?"
"Well..." Terrin frowned. "I know Royce told you Nataku carries Wufei. Did he get to telling you how?"
"I don't believe he did, no..." Uthmar nodded to the demon in question as he shot another glance back at them.
"Inside. There's a hole in his chest, about here," Terrin marked off a space with his hands, "and Wufei gets in. The armour closes up over it."
"...That's strange, yes."
The hunter shook his head. "No, that's not it. The strange part is that I don't know if Nataku can do anything on his own. If Wufei's not in there, he just sleeps. That's what damaged the tree in the square; he was leaning on it. I've heard him speak once, and it might not've been him at all, because Wufei was in him at the time and it sounded like Wufei, only... um... bigger, if that makes any sense. It's like Wufei is Nataku's mind, or... well, maybe Nataku is an it!"
"Giant armour, you mean?" Uthmar raised an eyebrow, and Terrin shrugged.
"Maybe. All I can say for sure is that I haven't seen him do anything without Wufei."
"Well, it's certainly something to consider," the Champion replied. "It's very difficult to say anything for certain when you're dealing with demons, though." He fell silent, and Terrin - who was beginning to need his breath for walking, not talking - didn't try to start the conversation again.
Can you tell? Uthmar thought brusquely, flicking a quick glance upwards.
=*...are you talking to me again?*= Torframos replied; it sounded like he was trying to be casual, but there was an apologetic feel to the thought.
Are you going to answer the question or not?
=*I honestly don't know.*=
What?! You should be able to tell whether there's two demons in the area, or one demon and his gear!
=*Actually,*= the god said, sounding rather sheepish and a little annoyed, =*I can't see Wufei unless you're looking at him. I felt the summoning that brought him here, and I got a vague impression of what had come through, but I've felt almost nothing from him since. I got something from him when he used his power during the fight, but...*=
Uthmar got the impression that if Torframos had been visible at that moment, he would have shrugged.
Even though they say Nataku's in a cave right now? he thought incredulously.
=*That's what's really annoying,*= Torframos grumbled. =*Not to mention alarming! Earth and the underground are mine. The moment a demon - any demon - sets foot underground, I should know it... unless another god is working to hide it from me. Even then, I should know that something is wrong!*=
And that hasn't happened this time.
Another bit of evidence that you gods aren't as omniscient as you sometimes think.
He felt Torframos wince. =*Uthmar...*=
=*...all right! I'm sorry! I shouldn't have done that.*=
You once told me that gods need their champions to exercise their free will, because you need warriors instead of sycophants or puppets, Uthmar went on mercilessly.
That felt awfully like being a puppet, he finished with heavy sarcasm.
=*I won't do it again.*=
I hope not, Torframos, because if you do I'm going to give back your axe, and I don't want to have to do that.
=*...you're serious, aren't you?*=
Deadly serious. Uthmar glared upwards briefly. I became your Champion to help you, not to have you make decisions for me.
=*...I'm sorry. I won't do it again!*=
* * * * *
"Something wrong, brother?"
"Oh... *sigh* no, nothing serious." The voice turned wry. "I just acted without thinking things through and nearly lost my favourite Champion, that's all."
"Ouch!" A chuckle. "I'm surprised at you, Torframos... that sounds more like something I'd do."
"Oh, wonderful... my big brother is finally rubbing off on me. Thank you so much, Korthrala, I feel much better now."
* * * * *
"Father, I have to do something about him! He killed my favourite priest!"
"Now he's your favourite? I never heard you mention him before he died... I think you just want an excuse to go outside the restrictions."
"Nobody asked your opinion, brother. My lord father, please!"
A sneer. "Begging suits you, Sharna. You should do it more often."
"My lord father!"
=*YOU MAY SEND ONE. NOW, GO.*=
"Thank you, my lord!" A triumphant glare at the third presence, and Sharna was gone.
=*...YOU DON'T AGREE?*=
"I have... doubts, my lord father."
The heavy voice darkened. =*REGARDING THE WISDOM OF MY DECISION?*=
"Regarding my brother's abilities, my lord."
A chuckle. =*IN THAT CASE I'M SURE YOU'LL AGREE WITH MY NEXT COMMAND. FOLLOW YOUR BROTHER. IF HE SUCCEEDS, WE WILL HAVE NO FURTHER CONCERNS. IF HE FAILS...*=
=*WATCH THIS STRANGE NEW DEMON, KRASHNARK. IF SHARNA CANNOT KILL HIM, I WANT YOU TO MAKE HIM YOURS.*=
"As you command, my lord."
* * * * *
Uthmar stood at the end of the trail of giant footprints, looking around at the wide circle of flattened plants; then he turned back to Terrin and Wufei.
"All right. I give up. Where is it?"
They smirked at each other before turning around and going back the way they had come.
"I have to admit, I was wondering why you thought you could keep Nataku's hiding place a secret when he leaves such clear tracks," the dwarf went on, falling in next to them. "Obviously, I was underestimating you," he added dryly.
Terrin chuckled. "Not me, Uthmar; I had no idea what they were going to do when I showed 'em the cave. I thought I'd be spending three hours doctoring the signs, but Nataku didn't leave any."
"Mind telling me how he managed that?" Uthmar asked hopefully.
"Er... no offense, but... well, if Wufei decides to let you know, that's another matter. It's not that I don't think we can trust you," he put in hastily, "it's just that it's not my secret to tell--"
"That's all right. I understand."
=*Wufei certainly seems to inspire loyalty,*= Torframos commented tentatively. =*And yet, from what the villagers say, he hasn't been trying to...*=
It could simply be that he's willing to fight for them, Uthmar pointed out. After all, he didn't have to do any of the things he's done... save the girls, bring them home, defend the children... He chuckled. Gunnar would say that it's obvious.
He 'has style'. Of course they like him.
Terrin broke into Uthmar's thoughts, pointing up towards the Spinewall. "Up there."
"Really?" Uthmar squinted. "...what, that crack?"
"Well hidden, isn't it?" the hunter grinned, settling down onto a rock and stretching his legs as Wufei started up the slope.
Uthmar nodded absently, still peering up at the vague shadow on the rock that might be a cave entrance. Torframos? Now can you feel anything?
=*There's certainly a cave there, but... no. Nothing.*=
Wufei sprang up the last few feet, turned sideways, and vanished.
=*Now I can't even feel him,*= Torframos grumbled.
A few minutes passed with nothing happening. Eventually, Uthmar began to fidget. "What's taking so long?" he muttered.
Glancing up towards the cave as he eased one boot off, Terrin shrugged. "Wufei draped a black cloth over Nataku before we left him there; when he finished, you couldn't tell there was anything there unless you nearly walked into him. I guess he's taking it off, and then he has to wake Nataku up... I helped him put it on, so I suppose I should've helped him take it off again, but somehow I didn't feel like climbing up there after he walked me off my legs again. He--"
There was a faint, almost imperceptible rumble through the ground underfoot.
=*All right, now I feel something,*= Torframos announced tensely. =*Something just woke up in there.*=
So Nataku is another demon?
=*...I still can't tell!*= the god said, frustrated. =*It does feel like something new woke up, but at the same time it feels like Wufei... only...*=
*Only what?! Uthmar snapped mentally. Stronger? Older? Younger?
=*...Bigger,*= Torframos said lamely.
About to say something rude back, Uthmar lost his train of thought as Nataku began to emerge from the cave.
...bigger? he thought eventually, watching the giant demon walk down the slope towards him. Ye-esss... I'd say 'bigger' would cover it...
* * * * *
Once again, Heero sat by Duo's bed, watching him sleep.
Okay... now what do I do? he thought, reaching out to brush a wisp of hair away from Duo's nose. I seem to have a second chance. This is good. This is wonderful, in fact. But... if I don't work out how to use it, fast, I'll lose it.
How do you prove that you love someone? he thought helplessly. This is not something I have any experience in! Not to mention that I also have to make up for the way I've been treating him...
Quatre said 'decide how you feel and tell him'. I did that. He fell off the ladder. Careful choice of time and place is obviously important.
Heero yawned and leaned on the bed, thinking.
All right, what are all the things I did wrong?
...I ignored him. I yelled at him. I insulted him. I hurt him. I refused to talk to him. I acted as if he wasn't important... I'm amazed he didn't give up on me earlier!
So... to do things right...
I should pay attention to him. I won't yell at him, or insult him. I definitely won't hurt him. If he wants to talk, I'll talk to him. And he's... he's very important. I'll do things for him... find out what he wants and give it to him...
"It's awfully quiet up there," Quatre said uneasily.
"Duo's probably gone to sleep," Trowa pointed out, "and I doubt Heero would be making much noise if that's the case--" He turned around, and saw Quatre's back view vanishing out the door.
"I'll just go check," the blond boy muttered, heading for the stairs; Trowa sighed and followed.
Carefully inching the door open, they peered in.
Heero was sitting in the chair next to the bed, slumped forward with his head resting on the covers, one arm stretched out so that his hand rested limply on Duo's chest. Duo had worked his arms out from under the covers; one hand was holding his braid, and the other was reaching down to Heero's head, fingers tangled in his messy hair.
Trowa reached over Quatre's shoulder and firmly pulled the door shut. "I think we can leave them alone and go to bed."
"Trowa, it's only nine o'clock!"
"So?" He raised one eyebrow. "We can still go to bed."
* * * * *
"I demand that you hand him over for punishment!"
"My lord Yithar," Gunnar said, keeping his voice and expression polite with an effort, "in my opinion, the child has already been sufficiently punished. You did hit him."
"It is not sufficient in my opinion, and it is my opinion that matters here!" Yithar sneered, still sounding slightly nasal though the swelling had started to go down. "This is my land!"
"But these people are not slaves, lord, they are tenant farmers. There are certain legal restrictions on how you can treat them. Moreover, the child's youth is--"
"The Purple Lords have never accepted the Empire's legal system as their own, and you know it!"
"I was speaking, my lord, of the legal restrictions imposed by all the militant orders," Gunnar rumbled, eyes narrowing slightly. "While it's true that the Purple Lords have not officially accepted them, neither have they officially repudiated them. Would you care to be the one who makes that decision for all your relatives... sir?"
"Er... well, I--"
"What was that?" one of Yithar's armsmen muttered, glancing around. They and Uthmar's other men were the only witnesses to this argument; all the villagers had quietly trickled out of sight as soon as it had started, knowing it was a bad idea to be around when Yithar - inevitably - lost.
"I heard it too," Cameron said, looking around. "What--"
"YAY! Nataku's coming back!" A sudden flood of children poured through the square, towards the main trail.
"Now you get back here, Keye!" a woman scolded, wiping wet hands on her apron as she leaned out her door. "The rest of you, too! How's poor Nataku supposed to get into the square with the lot of you underfoot?"
"Poor Nataku?!" Karthan asked incredulously, automatically hefting his axe as the heavy footsteps came closer.
Gunnar looked around and raised an eyebrow as he saw all the villagers emerging from their houses, expressions of delight and anticipation on their faces. "We walked in with their lord, and they looked worried," he whispered to Karthan. "A giant metal demon is about to walk into their village, and they look happy. Is it just me, or is there something wrong here?"
"Not something, sir," Karthan replied dryly, nodding towards where Yithar was sidling behind his biggest armsman. "Someone."
"There he is!" Jarad cheered, bouncing up and down.
The lay brothers of the Order of Torframos took a step back in unison as Nataku's head came into view over the trees. Yithar's armsmen took two steps back... and Yithar scrabbled backwards until he hit a wall, looked frantically around, and dived into the nearest doorway.
Uthmar leaned on Nataku's thumb, watching the village come into view. "I could get used to this, you know," he chuckled.
"Best way to travel I've found yet," Terrin grinned, lying on his stomach with his boots and socks off.
As they came up the last section of trail, a small figure darted out in front of Nataku's feet, nearly getting stepped on; at the last instant, the descending foot jerked up and to the side.
"Whoa!" Uthmar yelped, clutching at the thumb as he skidded towards the edge of Nataku's palm. "What the--?!"
"JARAD!" Terrin shouted, looking down over the edge. "Damn it, that's becoming a habit for that boy!"
< < Not do that! > > a deep voice boomed out, loud enough to make them wince. < < Jarad! Get hurt, not good! Ta ma de! > >
"I want a ride too!" Jarad yelled, not at all concerned that he'd nearly got himself killed. "Please, Nataku? Pick me up, please!"
There was an annoyed-sounding grumble, and the demon lowered his left hand to the ground for Jarad to climb on. < < Terrin, hold! > > the voice commanded, and the hand didn't rise again until the hunter had a firm grip on the boy's smock.
"I see what you mean about him sounding like Wufei," Uthmar commented quietly, barely audible over Jarad's excited squeals; Terrin just nodded and held on.
The instant Nataku's passengers were back on the ground, Jarad's mother ran up. Before she could get her mouth open to start scolding, her son was crowing about his triumph.
"Did you see, Ma? Did you see me?! I was up soooooo high--"
"Yes, and I saw what you did, too!" she replied, grabbing his arm and delivering a sharp smack to his bottom. "Don't you ever do anything like that again! What am I to do with you? You could have been killed!"
"Ow! But Ma, I knew Nataku wouldn't step on me--"
The hatch in Nataku's torso opened and Wufei jumped out. "Not do that!" he yelled angrily, stalking over.
Jarad's bottom lip wobbled as he was confronted by his hero. "B-but--"
"Not run out!" the demon continued, slightly calmer but still glaring. "Not run into fight. Not run in front of feet. Never!"
"But Wufei," Jarad wailed, "Nataku wouldn't hurt me--"
"Not want hurt. Maybe foot hit, you hurt. Sword hit. Not want," he struggled to explain.
"Sir Wufei or Nataku could hurt you by accident," Jarad's mother snapped, nodding her thanks to Wufei as she started to tow her son away. "How do you think poor Nataku would feel if he didn't see you in time and he stepped on you? You have to be more careful!"
"*sniff* I'm sorry..."
Wufei shook his head and stalked back towards Nataku, sputtering something in his own language; Naiya chuckled, hiding a smile behind her hand as she came up behind Uthmar.
"Are you laughing at the child, or Wufei's expression?" he inquired politely.
"Neither," she replied, smiling down at him. "It was what he said..."
"Oh?" He raised an eyebrow. "You understood that?"
"Some... I've learnt a few words, and you can get more from his tone. I think that was something like 'Women and children! Aagh!' and then a lot of swear words..."
end chapter 9
MEL: Before we go any further, I would like to point out that Christy and I did not make up the group of half-elves called the *snicker* Purple Lords. *snicker* David Weber did. Blame him for the name.
CHRISTY: You can blame him for Yithar, too. Well... mostly.
MEL: Yeah, you see, in 'Oath of Swords' Yithar only had a very brief mention.
CHRISTY: He got dead! And he didn't get better!
MEL: *snicker* Severe case of steel poisoning... as in, he got three feet of it in him, and it didn't agree with his stomach.
CHRISTY: So we had to... er... extrapolate.
MEL: Add bits.
CHRISTY: Make stuff up out of thin air, really.
MEL: But we think we've kept him reasonably true to his original character. He's a sniveling rat bastard.
CHRISTY: Definitely. And a scum-sucking worm, who should have the Hamster Dance as his theme music.
WUFEI: So when do I get to kill him?
CHRISTY: Soon, dear.
MEL: Actually... you may not.
WUFEI & CHRISTY: What?!
WUFEI: But he deserves it!
MEL: Ye~essss, but not everybody who deserves to die does, guys.
CHRISTY: That's not right!
MEL: *sigh* In both Gundam Wing and the Oath of Swords universe, some people who deserve to die live, and some people who deserve to live die. Case in point! [She holds a picture up in front of Heero.]
HEERO: *ack!* Little girl... with a puppy...
MEL: And we're trying to keep this story at least vaguely in touch with its parent universes!
WUFEI: I fail to see how half-elves, dwarves, fuzzy-eared giants--
CHRISTY: Bless you.
WUFEI: --demons and magic can be termed 'in touch with' Gundam Wing.
MEL: They're not. They're in touch with the other one, dummy. Live with it.
CHRISTY: Gee. For babble, this is almost serious.
MEL: I've got whipped cream.
CHRISTY: That'll fix it. Oh, and guys... if anyone out there has any ideas about what Heero can do to make things all better with Duo (aww!), let us know!
DUO: Give me the whipped cream. I've got an idea...