Rei stood slowly, her eyes fixed on the ground where Wufei had lain not a moment before. (How, how, how, I don't know if I can do this.) Still staring, she sighed, but her breath came short and her chest tightened. (I can't. I keep failing and I still don't know what to do.) "Quatre, I-"
She turned to face him and jumped sharply as Nia's voice cut through the air. 'I'm tired of waiting, Princess. Time's up.'
Rei met Quatre's eyes and she felt her heart twist in her chest. (No no no no no no I can't do it I'll never find Heero again-) She suddenly threw her arms around him and threw herself into the power wrapping itself around him. (I don't care if she kills me let her kill me I can't do it alone.)
"Rei…" Quatre's voice was quiet and he gently wrapped his arms around he shoulders. (God, I know she can save us, help her help her-) And when a snap went through his body like a spasm and Rei was gone.
Rei's head pounded as the power Nia had used to pull Quatre away slowly dissipated. She was suddenly lying down, the ground cold against her cheek. (MOVE!) Jerking away out of pure instinct, a fireball the size of her head slammed down where her head had been seconds before. (Wait a minute…) The ground wasn't ground. It was darkness. Rei looked up just in time to dodge another fireball.
"You broke my game!" Nia flew from the darkness and Rei quickly deflected a smaller fireball. Stopping short, Nia glared at Rei, breathing raggedly. "Do you have any idea," Her voice slowly rose. "How long it took me to make that!"
"Where are the others?" Rei demanded, trying to keep her voice level. (Concentrate, stay ready.)
Suddenly regaining composure, Nia straightened. "Who? Oh, you mean your little friends?" Nia lifted her hand. "Like dear Relena?" Relena suddenly emerged from the darkness, walking slowly, her low heels not making any noise on the dark floor. Rei stared into blank eyes. (Wait wait if she kept her alive Heero might-) But Nia's laugh cut off her thought.
"Oh, don't expect miracles now, Princess. Relena Dorlin is actually back in her own little world, organizing peace and whatnot." Nia allowed a chuckle. "This Relena, well," She stepped back. "She wasn't too fond of her previous company." This time the chuckle grew to a dark, terrible laugh and Rei caught flashes of their broken, bloody bodies. Heero's exploded into her mind's eye and stayed there. (Nonononononono-) Power exploded and Rei was vaguely aware of the doll Relena fading into Nia's place.
"Get back here!" Rei screamed and doll Relena spasmed before erupting into flames. Nia had faded completely into the darkness. "NOOOOOOOOO!" Rei shrieked as her heart thumped madly in her chest and tears streamed down her face. The image of Heero's body seemed to throb with her heart and she wrenched from her body a final explosion of power. She gave one last tortured cry as the darkness caved in on her.
Voices trickles into Rei's mind.
"Shut …rest…" And faded away again.
Rei stayed in the darkness, letting it envelop her, and she thought about Heero. (Heero…I'm sorry…I failed you….You and everyone else…Heero…Please forgive me….)
"Who's a hero?" A small voice lifted the darkness away and Rei found herself lying in her own bed. She looked over to see Hotaru standing patiently at its side. Hotaru broke into a smile. "I knew you weren't dead. So who's the hero you keep talking about?"
Rei smiled. "His name was Heero. He was a guy I met."
"In the other place?"
Rei hesitated. "Yes…How did you find me?"
Hotaru made a small wave. "Sestuna said there were little mess-ups in the continuum and it started in your room." She shot her hands up and Rei started. "Then you blew that universe totally up and we found you and those other people in the in-between space. So what did he look like? Which one was Heero?" Hotaru rested her head on the blanket. "Was he your Prince Charming?"
Rei forced a smile. "He had really messy hair and blue eyes. And as for the other question…I don't know. But Hotaru," Rei's voice wavered. "Is…. Is he-"
"He is recovering nicely." Another voice interrupted. Pluto, in uniform, stepped into the room.
Rei struggled to sit up. "Where! Can I see him! Was he-"
Pluto held up her hand and gestured for Hotaru to leave. Shutting the door behind her, Pluto pulled a chair over to Rei's bedside, leaning her staff against the wall as she sat down. "He was badly injured when we found him, but as I said, he is recovering well. Back in his own dimension." The color fell from Rei's face and she slumped back onto the pillows. Pluto smoothed the blanket. "If I had known he meant something to you-"
"I told you!" Rini's voice yelled defiantly from the other side of the door.
Pluto smiled lightly. "Had I known he meant so much to you, I would have kept him here. But as I did not…" She stood and took her staff in hand. "You will see him later." She turned to leave.
"Setsuna…" Rei called gently. "Where….where's Nia?" Her voice wavered, afraid.
Nodding gently, Pluto smiled. "Trapped in the universe she created to trap you. And one more thing," She stopped at the door. "How much of your powers did you show them, those people?"
Rei shrugged and winced. "I don't know, most of them I would guess. Why?"
Pluto shook her head. "That older one, with the red hair, he knew me. He said there was a book in the game's library about us."
Rei closed her eyes. "That explains a little."
Pluto nodded again. "Get well, Rei." And shut the door.
Rei stared into the portal. Lavender swirls reached out to brush her. (Does he want to see me? What about the real Relena?) Someone grabbed her shoulders from behind.
"Get in there, lovergirl." Minako giggled and shoved her forward.
Rei tumbled through the spirals, cursing the Goddess of Love. A surface stuck to her feet and she found herself in an empty hospital hallway. A door opened next to her and she started. Relena came out. Rei couldn't help but stare. The meanness, the spite, all of it was gone, leaving what looked like a strong-willed, kind woman. Rei opened her mouth but nothing came out.
Relena spoke first. "You must be Rei. I'm Relena." She held out her hand. Rei shook it with a sense of surreality.
"Um, yeah, I, uh…"
Relena just smiled. "Better get in there before he passes out again." A sense of urgency took over and Rei started towards the door. "Rei?" Relena called. Rei turned back to her. "Thanks." And she turned down the hall and left. Rei stared after her. (So that's the real Relena…) Suddenly remembering where she was, Rei opened the door.
Heero was laid out on the bed and his eyes darted to her as she entered. They widened in surprise for a moment before retreating back under his mask as Rei crossed the room to sit by his bed.
Phew! Well, It's done people! Finally done! I don't think I could even express how sorry I am that it took OVER A YEAR to post the last chapter. But I really do want to thank the people who still reviewed during my dry spell and all those who have been with me from the beginning, especially those who have been with me all through One Summer Day, To Love a Fire Goddess, and now through Shivers. I don't think I'll be doing any more fanfics for a while, I've got a ton of original ideas building, desperate to get written down. Once again, thanks to all of my fans. Kittens to you all!