Ch 23: The Perfect Soldier's Rage
Everything seems to grind to a halt as that simple command rings through the trees. I strain my eyes, turning my head and trying to find the source of the voice while Irdarr does much the same. Suddenly the Power crackling around Jova and Trowa simply disappears, and they relax slightly, blinking at each other in stunned confusion.
"Honestly, you fight like animals."
There is a flurry of wind and leaves, and suddenly she is standing off to the side, watching us dispassionately, hands cupping her elbows, sundress fluttering a little as the breeze dies off. She tosses her head to keep the dark curls from her face, emerald eyes switching from me to my cousin. She waits for a moment, as if thinking something over, then lowers her hands by her side and strides towards us purposefully, and as she walks, she transforms, the wind springing up once more to surround her, her flapping yellow sundress lengthening and fading, turning green and gold and trailing behind her like a wedding gown, a silver band appearing across her brow. A necklace of turqoise and feathers bobs against her throat, the wooden bracelets on her arms clacking quietly.
Behind me, Trowa draws in a deep breath of shock and jerks away from Jova, falling to his knee. Wufei winces from his position in Quatre's lap and hurriedly lowers his eyes in respect while the angel blinks in confusion.
Irdarr's eyes narrow in recognition, baring his teeth angrily. "Terra. What are you doing here?" he growls. "This is none of your concern."
"Isn't it?" her voice has a strange ringing tone to it, seeming to echo quietly. She arches an eyebrow at him, her gaze cold. "My daughter lies in your claws, and it is no business of mine?"
His jaw jerks slightly, but he stands his ground, tightening his grip on Heero. I tear my eyes from the earth goddess, switching my frantic gaze to the Perfect Soldier, who only winces slightly as his breathing becomes harsher. ~Just hang on, Heero,~ I urge silently.
Terra turns her intense, calm gaze on me. "I warned you when I tried to retrieve the mirror from you," she says quietly. "You insisted on using it thrice more. I should not have allowed you to use it like a toy."
I lower my gaze shamefully, nodding jerkily. "I...didn't think that..."
"No. You did not think. That much is obvious." She looks away in dismissal, her cool green eyes softening slightly as she spots Relena crumpled on the ground.
"Begone, woman," Irdarr snarls, pressing closer to Heero to remind us of his shield. "Don't think you can kill *me*. Your child is mine to do with as I like. I captured her. Try to take her back, and I will imprison you, as well."
Her eyes are like jaded ice as she stares at him. "Your confidence is overwhelming, God of Despair," she says coldly. "You really think you can overpower both the God of Death and the Goddess of the Earth?" She gives a short bark of laughter, raising one hand, palm upward, her tone condescending. "I think not."
Slowly the trees begin to sway with an invisible wind, the branches creaking and clattering together, the loud whispering of their leaves surrounding us ominously. Irdarr's look of confidence slackens somewhat as he darts his gaze from her to me and back to me again, panting. His claws dig into Heero's neck unconsciously, and blood slips free, running down his throat. Something in my stretches and hums, close to snapping.
A dark aura slowly surrounds me, my wings extending menacingly as I snarl at him, eyes narrowing. "Get. Your. Claws. Off. Him."
He blinks, looking at me, anger and sudden wariness flashing in his silver orbs. "Or what?" he snaps furiously, his confidence slowly crumbling as he edges backwards, still keeping his prisoner before him.
"Gerfaldinarom," Terra responds quietly, flicking her fingers towards him. Suddenly Heero disappears from his grip, and I grunt in surprise as the Perfect Soldier's weight is suddenly deposited on me. I cling to him frantically, stumbling to catch my balance again, my voice exploding hoarsely in frantic relief and fear. "Heero! Heero!! Daijabou ka?!" I realize I am kneeling on the ground, Heero's body tucked against mine as I cradle him, rocking back and forth unconsciously, one arm twined around his shoulders to support him as my other hand flutters over his face, wiping blood and hair from his eyes.
Slowly he lifts his eyes to me, lids half closed, his chest rising and falling raggedly as he blinks dully.
"Heero..." I whimper. "You'll be ok, you'll be ok...."
"Give him back!!" Irdarr screeches in fury, thrusting out a hand, sending razor-sharp threads of crackling energy towards Terra. She leaps back quickly to avoid the attack, throwing up a barrier, but he is already diving towards me, his fist flaring with Power as he swings it at my head. I open my mouth dumbly-- but before I can even register what he is doing, his fist halts a mere few inches from my face. His face twists in furious confusion, and I can see him straining, but his wavering fist does not move any closer to me. Suddenly my lap feels hot and I look down in surprise to see Heero glaring up at Irdarr, his eyes snapping with barely-concealed rage, his entire form glowing faintly white. "Kisama," he growls, teeth clenched.
Irdarr screams as an invisible blow sends him rocketing backwards, slamming into a tree and leaving a scorch mark in the bark. He slides to the ground, moaning quietly.
Heero's voice is low and deadly as slowly, painfully, he sits up, narrowed eyes focused on the object of his hate. "Omae o korosu....baka yarou..."
"H-Heero--" I grab his shoulders, trying to restrain his movements, but quickly snatch my hands back, hissing in pain. He's white-hot!
He doesn't seem to notice, his eyes still locked on the God of Despair, who is painfully climbing to his feet. "Don't touch him," he snarls, breathing heavily, baring his teeth. "Come near him and I'll *kill* you."
My eyes widen slightly. There is more emotion in that one warning than in almost anything else I have ever before heard him say. "Heero..."
"Why....you......" Irdarr huffs, out of breath, spitting blood to the ground. "Omae.."
"Urusai!" Terra extends her arms, and roots suddenly erupt from the earth around my startled cousin, arching over him and slamming back into the ground, making an efficient cage.
"Dieties cannot kill dieties," Heero says in a low voice, slowly rising to his feet, never taking his eyes off his enemy. "But I am no diety."
I rise behind him, my own voice cold. "And you are forgetting the mortal in me, Irdarr. Shinigami cannot touch you...but Duo can." I open my palms, and with a crack, a blazing scythe appears in my hand, throbbing with black light. The band in my braid snaps, and in the sudden outrush of black wind that surrounds me, the long hair I have allowed Duo to grow for so long unwinds itself, whipping about me in an amber cloud as I spread my wings regally. I close my eyes in a silent prayer. ~Duo... guide my hand...~
Heero places his palms together, the white aura around him suddenly flaring to life, practically blinding us all. He glares at Irdarr over his fingertips, slowly pulling his hands apart. Between his palms a crackling, leaping mass of energy forms, like miniature lightening. Farther and farther apart he pulls his hands, the lightening stretching between them, its noise and light almost too much. Just before I am forced to turn away, he slams his palms back together.
There is the sound of a defeaning explosion, and then there is nothing but blinding white, and a wind that forces me to cover myself with my wings or else be thrown.
Finally, it is over.
Slowly I lower my wings, taking in the damage.
Terra is lowering her hands, and I note with some relief that there is a shield around us all and most of the trees. Outside of that protective bubble, however, is another story.
Trees are mere ashes and stumps, the ground blackened and dead, the shriveled things that were roots holding Irdarr now cracked and lying useless on the ground. Irdarr himself...
Where is he?
Heero's eyes sweep the clearing as he lowers his hands, instant suspicion marring his features. "Doko--"
An inhuman screech rents the air, and everyone's head snaps up in shock.
My heart leaps into my throat as I see the mangled, blackened form of the God of Despair leaping from a tree-- right above Heero. The scream leaves my throat even before I am moving, already dreading I will be too late.
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