A/N: Many thanks to Yagi for helping me out with Mondo's psychological umm . . . issues. X.X And thanks for all the reviews! There weren't supposed to be that many grammatical errors (is there ever?) but I type in MS Word, so that's prolly the reason. Ja!

" . . . What time his pride Had cast him out from heav'n, with all his host Of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring To set himself in glory above his peers, He trusted to have equaled the Most High . . ."
~ John Milton
Paradise Lost

J-Pop was echoing loudly throughout the small, unopened coffee shop. It was to open in ten minutes, and it was tradition for Puck to blast music as loud as she could right before she had to unlock the doors. Despite the fact that she carried a cleaning cloth in hand and some kind of a biodegradable cleaner, she somehow managed to enjoy her music.

For Jones, it was a different story.

"Molly Mallard, PLEASE turn that down before I attack you with that blasted plushie of yours!" he screamed as he picked up an unfinished doll.

"You're just jealous because I'm not making one for you," laughed Puck before she started singing Two-Mix's song: "Gravity Zero."

"Don't make your situation any worse," said Jones as he turned the volume all the way down, "Don't act like I haven't forgotten about your failure at Trinity Base."

"Failure?!" Puck's cheeks reddened, "He beat the shit outta me! Why do you want Mondo dead so badly, anyway?"

"Mondo used to be an awesome guy, you really would've liked him. He was an idealist, but he had facts and the skill to back his ideas up," Jones sighed, "I used to fight beside him with another friend of ours, we truly were the greatest trio of friends. Nothing could split us up, except love."

"Love? Is Mondo married?" despite the innocence of the question, something welled up around Puck's heart-- a shield. If he was married, then she had no pity for the woman who was foolish enough to marry a murderer.

"No, no," Jones smiled slightly, "The young woman married our other friend, Lute Anderson Sr., and lived quite happily."

"Lived? Shouldn't she still be alive?"

"She should. Mondo said that he respected Anderson, so he concealed his feelings for her and imbedded the Angel of Yorkland inside his heart forever," Jones sighed, "But this man is no angel. After the wedding, Mondo became dead inside. He was not the same man he was before, he was tough, cold, cruel," Jones paused, "Anderson called him one evening and told him that his wife had died. This is just a rumor, but when he heard this he did something . . . something that he hadn't done in some time, he cried."

"Oh . . ."

"After that happened, Mondo became more than just dead. He became numb, immune to emotion, deranged, and loved the sight of blood," said Jones, "Trinity destroyed Wakatu, supposedly under Yaruto's orders, but Mondo did something on his own. He . . . killed Lute Anderson Sr., even though his child had just been born by his new wife!" Puck turned away and started to make some coffee, they were five minutes behind schedule, but neither one of them noticed.

"I didn't see him wearing this Yorkland thingy, what happened to it?"

"I heard he gave it to a member of another anti-Trinity group, because she looked like Anderson's bride. That woman must have been truly breathtaking," Jones let a smile curl on his face.

" . . . You were in love with that girl, just like Mondo, weren't you?"

" . . . . ."

"I'd better open up shop," explained Puck as she unlocked the door, "Okay?"

"Yeah, sure . . ." Jones sighed as he walked behind the counter and started to make one of their signature lattes, "Want me to make you anything?"

"No," said Puck as she sat out some of the creamers and lemons.

"I want you to go back."

"Why don't you do it yourself?! Why do you want ME to kill the man you so hate?! Two wrongs will never make a right, no matter what kind of justice you're trying to prove . . . you, you freak!" burning with anger, Puck threw a lemon at Jones' head.

"Such boldness, such defiance, you're everything Latte needs, Miss Mallard," sighed Jones as he picked up the thrown lemon from the ground.

"Stephen, why can't you take me seriously?"

"It must be those freckles of yours."

**********************

'Why must I go here again?' thought Puck as she walked towards the entrance of Trinity Base. The guards at the front eyed her curiously, but Puck didn't stop.

"I'm here to see Mister Mondo," she flatly stated.

"Do you have an appointment, miss?"

"No . . . I'm afraid that my reason for being here is of the utmost urgency, and I didn't have enough time to make an appointment," Puck put on her innocent angel eyes, and tried to look pitiful.

"What exactly are you here to do, lady?"

"It's very important . . . you see, I have to . . ." Puck paused to reach behind her, and the guards' eyes narrowed.

"I have to . . . deliver his morning latte!" Puck pulled out a steaming hot latte, and the two guards sweatdropped.

"We'll take that in for you," said the guard.

"Hey! How do I know whether you want to steal his latte or not?! I have to deliver it personally, besides, he still has to pay me!" Puck hissed.

"Listen, girlie, Mr. Mondo is a very busy man, I doubt he'd be very happy if you bothered him with coffee."

"Please call him and tell him that the latte is here," Puck's eyes narrowed dangerously.

"But lady . . ."

"DO IT NOW!"

"Sheesh, fine, don't get all huffy, Pippi Longstockings!" the guard walked inside his booth and picked up the phone.

"Yes, could you please tell Mr. Mondo that someone's here to see him . . . No, she doesn't have an appointment . . . yes, it's important . . . it's a flustered green haired Pippi Longstockings wannabe trying to deliver some coffee . . . Yes, I'm serious!" A moment of silence passed, with Puck looking up at the huge base, her eyes watering slightly from the intense sunlight.

"Alright, I'll let her know, thank you," the guard hung up the telephone and looked at Puck, "Looks like the boss bought your story, get up there and don't cause any trouble, Pippi!"

"If you call me Pippi Longstockings one more time . . ."

"Do you want to get in or not?" the guard raised an eyebrow as he unlocked the gate. Puck grumbled as she walked in, her short skirt hiking up from all the anger and stress.

"Hey lady! Nice polka-dots!" laughed the second guard. Puck blushed irritably as she pulled her skirt down to its normal length and rushed inside.

*********************

"I hope this coffee doesn't get cold," whispered Puck as she got in the elevator to the Commander's office, "And I hope that this thing has enough bullets . . ." Puck let her fingers trace across the small pistol in her lace garter and smiled. When the elevator stopped, Puck hopped off and walked in, readying her gun in case a robot or some other kind of apparition decided to show up. Seeing nothing, Puck sheathed her gun and opened the door.

"Don't you people ever learn how to knock?" Mondo smirked as he saw who it was.

"Glad you're so happy to see me," muttered Puck as she drew her gun, "Because I'm here to . . ."

"I know, I know. kill me," Mondo couldn't help but laugh, "You know, as funny as this may look, your visits are getting rather annoying."

"What, would you rather have a fat coot like Yaruto coming to kill you, old man?" Puck grinned.

"Old man? Am I?" Puck stiffened, she never touched magic, but she could sense it - the air was stagnant with Rune magic.

"Rune Master . . ."

"What, first you come in here with a gun and now you're calling me Master? Make up your mind." Puck pulled out the latte she had been carrying with her and put it on his desk.

"Thought you might like a last cup of coffee before you die," explained Puck.

"You know, only a coward would poison their opponent before a battle," stated Mondo.

"You're one to speak of cowards, murderer, Jones told me about everything! About your past as an idealist, about Lute Sr. and his wife, about Wakatu . . ."

"Stephen? Is he your boss?"

" . . . Yes, he is."

"I see, even after all that he still manages to get a woman . . ."

"Shut up! You don't know what you're talking about! Prepare to die, Mondo!" Puck cocked her gun at him, her fingers cold with sweat as her hands trembled. Puck's eyes widened and her heart gave a sickening lurch when she saw Mondo open up his shirt, revealing his heart - a target.

"Are you mocking me?" she hissed.

"If you're so hasty to say such words, then shoot me. You're eager to talk, yell, and scream, but when the time to kill comes you merely tremble! So shoot me now, woman, if you're not afraid." She could end it right there, she could set the ghosts of Wakatu free, she could put Lute Sr. and his wife's souls at ease, she could do all of those things, and yet, her hand still quivered.

"Is something wrong? Run out of bullets?" Mondo's voice was dripping with slyness, and was filled with confidence. Puck's whole body shook now, like an eternal shiver, her soul trapped in a beautiful realm of snow and ice.

"I want a world where justice rules . . . where corruption doesn't exist, where people can be friends, and where people can love without being afraid. Jones and I are different, I don't want to kill," Puck dropped her gun, "And I mean it." Mondo paused to button up his shirt and jacket.

"You've won!" Puck glared at Mondo with hatred and anxiety burning in her chocolate eyes, "Do what you want! Arrest me, kill me, or beat the shit out of me . . . again!"

"You really hate being wrong, don't you? Listen, I wish I had time for your childish ideals, but I have work to do. If you come after me again I will kill you, so go," Mondo turned and looked at an old map of the regions that hung up behind his desk. Puck looked at the pistol that lay on the ground and considered picking it up, but instead she left it on the cold floor and turned the doorknob.

"I hope you enjoy your latte."

*********************

Puck wordlessly passed the guards at the gate and got into the small car that waited for her. She was silent, even as a bouquet of roses fell onto her lap. Jones was also silent as his lilac eyes stayed on the road, the morning sun reflecting off of his honey-blonde hair. Even in her sorrow, Puck managed to smile a bit when she saw the result of forgetfulness on his part.

"You need to shave, you're looking a bit too rugged," said Puck.

"You didn't kill him. I thought that it brought me good luck when I didn't shave before an important event . . ." at Jones' response, Puck laughed, "Oh I'm so glad you're not mad at me!"

"Not mad?"

**********************

Puck winced as a doctor examined her bruises.

"How did you get these bruises?"

"I just got in a fight!"

"A fight? It looks a bit one-sided, don't you think? Is your boyfriend abusing you?"

"He's not my boyfriend, he's just very stressed," explained Puck.

"Stress is not an excuse," muttered the doctor as he wrapped a bandage around Puck's stomach. After a few more bandages were put on, the doctor let her out and said, "I'm going to put you in the hospital for a few days to make sure that there wasn't any internal damage, it almost seemed like you were hit full-force with a hammer!"

"I can't stay in the hospital, I have a job to do!"

"What could be more important than your health?"

"Revenge on the both of them."

******************

Puck was grumbling, for she was tied to a hospital bed.

"This is an outrage! It's rape!"

"How can it be rape if you aren't being touched?" asked Stephen Jones as he walked in.

"IT'S YOU!" Puck struggled against the bonds, but winced as she felt the wounds she had received, "I swear when it's not Mondo controlling me with Runes, it's you trying to bash my brains out!"

"An assassin shouldn't get close to their victim," was all Jones said in reply as he sat down a bouquet of wilted roses, "You left these in the car."

"You tried to kill me . . ."

"I just had to knock some sense into you, besides, I have a new job for you. Since you don't have the guts to kill Mondo, I know of someone who does," Jones walked over to the hospital window and shut it as he continued, "Go to the seafood restaurant in Owmi, there's a Captain there who can help you. I believe she's waiting for Lute Anderson's son, Lute Jr., but she might be able to help you. You see, she comes from Nelson."

"Nelson? I don't want to work with a bunch of pirates!" Puck gripped the bed sheets with anger.

"Who says that they're pirates?" Jones turned towards Puck and smirked.

" . . . Trinity."

"Exactly," Jones' smirk widened as he bent down towards Puck and kissed her gently on the nose. A humiliated blush formed on Puck's face as she protested, "Why did you do that?"

"It must be those freckles of yours, Puck. Listen, come back from this venture, and once Mondo is dead then maybe . . ." Jones' voice was now in a hushed whisper.

"Maybe what?"

"Maybe it could be like before," said Jones as he undid Puck's bonds.

"Like it was before? Like it was before?! You attacked me yesterday! Nothing can ever be like it was!" screamed Puck as she leapt up.

"Go to Owmi, Ms. Mallard. Don't disappoint me or you may have two of your loves kill you when you come crawling back to them," Jones turned on his heels and walked out, leaving Puck in silence.