"Eeeaaaggghhhhh!" Relena burst into Heero's office in a frenzy. Her hair was out of shape, and her eyes were wild. "They're gone, Heero!"
Heero looked up calmly. "Who?"
"The gundams! Oh Heero, they're not in Quatre's hanger, I just checked! They're nowhere else of course, nobody could hide something that big nearby!" She wrung her hands.
"They can't just be gone. That's impossible." Heero was concerned, despite his statement, and was leaving to check for himself.
"I don't believe this!" Wufei raged. "How could all five of our gundams just disappear?"
Duo was staring relentlessly at the spot where Deathscythe Hell had been stationed. "The real question is, who has them now?"
"Sandrock!" Quatre wailed.
Trowa was leaning against a steel pillar with his eyes closed. He seemed somewhat detached from the scene.
"Remnants of Oz!" Heero suggested. His statement produced more anxiety. The hanger grew with horror.
"I suggest we ask our guests." Relena grumbled. "I didn't trust them from the moment I met them! They must have done it."
"I'll go question them!" Wufei stormed into the daylight determinedly.
"Wufei!" Quatre protested. "Wait for us!" He turned to the group. "We'd better follow him. Who knows what he'll do to Mihoshi and the rest, being so angry."
"I'd say they're pretty safe, considering they're women." Duo commented flatly.
"Then let's go for Tenchi's sake!" Quatre pleaded.
There was a silent agreement, and the hanger was emptied.
"Adorable!" Sasami picked up the little creature. "This one's got such long ears!"
"And he's got soft fur!" Ayeka stroked a similar animal. "Is he purring?"
"Heads up!" Ryoko warned. "The whole party's closing in at six o' clock and they don't look happy."
Mihoshi turned her head to see the gundam pilots and Relena approaching. They didn't look particularly cheerful.
"Where are they?" Wufei demanded after they were close enough not to yell.
Ayeka shrank back. "Hmm?"
"Just a little problem." Quatre tried to hold Wufei back, but was unable to.
"The gundams…" Wufei had death in his eyes. "Don't act stupid. That is a worthless tactic."
"What is he talking about?" Ryoko asked seriously.
"The gundams are missing." Trowa looked at her. "And some of us think that you might have something to do with it."
"Me?" Ryoko pointed at herself in disbelief. "You're accusing me of stealing your robots?"
"Not just you." Wufei threatened. "All of you!"
"Knock it off, Wufei!" Duo advised his friend. "We have absolutely no reason to think they did it! What would they do with a gundam anyway?"
"What's the problem here?" Tenchi had seen the conflict from where he had been sitting with Washu. They both made their way to the shady spot under a tree where everybody was gathered.
"The gundams are missing!" Sasami shivered.
"They think we did it!" Ayeka looked miserable. "Can you believe that?"
"Sure I can!" Washu announced. "Because we did!"
"See?" Relena pointed. "Didn't I tell you?"
"What do you mean?" Ryoko levitated dangerously near Washu. "I didn't steal anything!"
"Just because they're missing doesn't mean they're stolen." Washu walked with her hands behind her back up to Wufei. "Nobody's accusing anybody of stealing."
"Do you have a point to make, or not?" Wufei felt like shaking Washu by her lab coat.
"Fine show of impatience, there!" The scientist laughed. "But I'll get down to it. I did borrow the gundams."
"You?" Tenchi looked amazed.
"Yes, me! I had no destructive intentions though. I actually made a few improvements!"
"Where are the gundams?" Heero was dead serious.
"Fine, just thank me later." Washu rolled her eyes. "Anyway, you're looking at them!"
"Eh, Mihoshi doesn't really look like a gundam to me." Quatre said doubtfully.
"Ugh! Not the girls! The pets!"
Everybody noticed the assortment of animals that the women had been playing with. They looked like Ryo-Ohki, except different sizes and colors.
"Those beasts can not be the gundams!" Wufei plucked a cabbit from Mihoshi. "Nataku is not cute and fuzzy!"
"Egads! I thought you'd be happy that those lumbering behemoths were a little more transportable, now! But don't you want to hear about the other upgrades?" Washu winked.
"Sandrock?" Quatre had collected a cabbit and was looking into its eyes longingly. "Is that you? How can we tell which gundam's which?"
Duo rejoiced with recognition. "That one has got to be Deathscythe!" He gestured at a black creature hopping around like it was on a sugar high. "He's so cute now!"
"Takes after you." Trowa could hardly focus on the hyper cabbit, bounding from place to place mindlessly.
"Anybody want to hear about the other upgrades now?" Washu gave the peace sign.
"Heero, could this possibly be Wing?" Ayeka offered a multi-colored beast to Heero. "It is just so noble looking."
Heero gently accepted the small rabbit-cat, and examined it closely. "Somehow… I think it is. It recognizes me too, doesn't it?" The cabbit was looking back at Heero with delight.
"Isn't Deathscythe just the best?" Duo chased down the romping gundam and picked it up."
"Just a little something I call: Death-Ohki!" Washu proclaimed.
"Death-Ohki… cool!" Duo lifted the cabbit to eye level. Death-Ohki seemed to grow tired of being a display and swatted Duo's nose angrily. "Ouch!" Duo dropped the little gundam-ohki and rubbed his nose. "Flighty critter…"
"Nataku…" Wufei despaired. "You are so cute!" He added with disgust.
"Let me introduce you to: Altron-Ohki!" Washu waved her hand. "But that's not the only improvement!"
"Wing-Ohki?" Heero glanced at Washu. "I refuse to call it that."
"Sandrock-Ohki!" Quatre was delighted. "That's cute!! I wonder why I didn't think of it before?"
"Where's Heavyarms?" Trowa had been absorbed in searching for the other gundam-ohki.
"Oh!" Sasami realized. "Here he is! I've been holding him all along."
Trowa scowled at the lazy red beast in Sasami's lap. "Whatever."
"That one's rather lacking in personality." Washu admitted. "Heavy-Ohki, why are you so boring?"
Heavy-ohki pretended not to notice.
Duo examined his nose by crossing his eyes. "These things pack quite a punch!"
"What are you talking about?" Quatre was cuddling Sandrock-Ohki. "They're so docile and sweet!" Sandrock-Ohki took the chance to lick Quatre's nose.
"Death-Ohki, why didn't you lick me?" Duo complained.
"Nataku…" Wufei was still mourning his gundam.
"Don't worry." The scientist assured. "She kind of likes her new form."
"She?" Wufei detached his gaze from the cabbit. "What do you mean, she?"
"You didn't realize it's a girl? It's the only one out of the gundam-ohkis!" Washu looked exasperated. "You should pay more attention!"
Wufei thought about the implications for a moment. "Nataku's a girl?" He tossed the cabbit skyward in horror.
"Meow!" Altron-Ohki complained. It soared for a little while and then it's mass started fluctuating. The gundam-ohki enlarged and reshaped into the Altron Wufei knew. It landed on its big feet with a thud. "Meow!"
"Hey!" Wufei noticed. "Its back to normal!"
Altron turned its head a bit. "Meow?"
"Wha?" Wufei started. "It's still whining like a cat!"
"Of course it is!" Washu pat the gundam's foot. "It's a conscious creature now, no matter what form it's in!"
"Cool!" Duo ran to collect Death-Ohki again. "I'm gonna try! Come here!"
The assembly observed Duo's failed attempts to reclaim his gundam-ohki.
"Oh well." Trowa picked up the heavy gundam-ohki. "I like you better in your other form." Trowa tossed the cabbit unceremoniously. It followed a similar transformation as Altron-Ohki.
"Get over here, you!" Duo stumbled over a rock.
"Aw… they're taking so much space now." Quatre complained. "I think we should keep them all small."
"It's undignified." Wufei responded.
"Well, at least now we'll just need a pet-carrier, instead of giant transports!" Quatre hugged Sandrock-Ohki again. "And they're new friends!"
"It is convenient." Heero had Wing-Ohki on his shoulder. "Now they can come with us everywhere."
"Get over here, Death-Ohki!"
"Now about those other improvements!" Washu had materialized a megaphone. "Listen up! Now that the gundams have their own wills, even if the pilot is knocked unconscious, it will still be able to function! I've also increased all of their defense powers… they used to be so primitive. And I'll suggest that you do keep them in their smaller form whenever you can, because they'll consume a truckload of carrots in that form!" She gestured at the two full-size gundams. "Everybody catch that?"
"Come on! I almost had him!" Duo was still chasing the hyperactive-ohki.
"Cute, cute, cute!" Quatre was swaying with joy.
"So did anybody catch that?" Washu repeated.
"Whatever." Trowa walked away. Heavy-Ohki started following him, taking small thundering steps. Trowa looked back. "Don't follow me."
"Meow?" Heavy-Ohki cried.
"You're making an earthquake. Just stay put." Trowa commanded. He began leaving again.
"Meow." Heavy-Ohki complained and continued to follow the pilot loyally.
Trowa turned around again, exasperated. "Fine then. How do you make them small again?"
"Just tell him to!" Washu explained, as if it were completely obvious.
"Oh." Trowa turned to the gundam. "Become little again so you can come with me, Heavy-Ohki."
"Meow ow!" The cabbit agreed. It followed a similar transformation as it did to become large, except backwards. Afterwards, it shook its head lazily, and slowly marched to Trowa.
"You are slow. It will take all day just to walk to the house if we go at your pace." Trowa explained to the uninterested creature. "Here." He placed the heavy cabbit on his shoulder and left.
"Let's introduce them to Ryo-Ohki!" Sasami suggested. She ran to the mansion and returned with the (slightly smaller) cabbit. "Meet your new friends, Ryo-Ohki!"
Ryo-Ohki smiled excitedly and ran up to Altron-Ohki. "Ooo!" Ryo-Ohki introduced herself to the fellow female.
"Meow ow meow?" Altron-Ohki nodded happily.
"Ow meow meow!" The original cabbit responded. The two hopped over to Heero, who had Wing-Ohki on his shoulder.
"Meow ow!" Ryo-Ohki seemed to be asking Wing-Ohki to descend and play.
Wing-Ohki shook his head deliberately.
"Meow?" Altron-Ohki looked sad. "Meow meow meow ow?"
Wing-Ohki shook his head again, ears flopping.
The other two Ohkis looked surprised, but left to catch Death-Ohki.
"Good luck!" Duo advised. He was panting from his attempt at capturing the hyper cabbit. Duo turned away and sat at the base of the tree. Death-Ohki noticed and came and sat with him.
"What?! I just spent five minutes chasing you? Did you think that was a game or something?"
"Meow!" Death-Ohki nodded.
"Argh!" Duo picked up his gundam and looked at it. "Luckily for you, you're so cute I could never punish you."
"Mewo!" Death-Ohki rejoiced.
"Hey! What'd you just say?" Duo leaned in closer.
"Duo?" The pilot looked confused.
Death-Ohki nodded. "Mewo!"
"Cool! Deathscythe knows my name!"
"I figured that would sort of pay you guys back," Washu nodded. "I can't understand why you're so attached to these machines, though."
"Look who's talking." Ayeka muttered.
"Now my machines," Washu ranted. "That's some great technology!"
"These little guys have been through a lot with us." Quatre explained solemnly. "They mean a lot to humanity, too. Peace could never have been won without them."
"Yes." Heero responded with sincerity.
"I think you guys are so cute, the way you care about them!" Mihoshi plucked Death-Ohki from Duo carelessly.
"Hey, watch out…" Duo warned.
The deathly cabbit became infuriated and nipped Mihoshi. "Eeeep! How awful!" Mihoshi returned Death-Ohki to its owner, blushing.
Trowa moved the book he was reading so that Heavy-Ohki could become more comfortable in his lap. He considered shoving the little creature out of its spot, but resumed reading instead.
"Hell~o!!" Ryoko fluttered in theatrically.
"Oh, it's you." Trowa kept speed-reading.
"Of course! Weren't you expecting me?"
"Happy to see me anyway though, huh?"
Trowa sighed and tore his gaze away from the book. "Not particularly, Ryoko."
The space pirate looked confused. "Why are you always acting like that? What is wrong with you?"
"I'm busy right now."
"You're always busy." Her sweet exterior had melted and was replaced by a harsh expression. "Why can't you make some time for me?"
Trowa returned to the book.
"Don't ignore me!" She ripped the book from his grasp and promptly destroyed it with a laser beam. "You know that's rude?"
"I'm rude?" Trowa responded sarcastically. Heavy-Ohki looked afraid and ran away. "Can't you leave me alone for a few minutes?" Trowa walked to the bookcase and selected another book.
"Hey!" Ryoko whined. "Reading is dull! I promise I'm not dull… please?"
"I'm interested in this."
Ryoko eliminated the new book in the same manner as the last one. "Not anymore. I think you'll be interested in this!" She proceeded with intention to hug him but he had returned to the bookcase.
"I'm interested in this," he held up another book. "Not you and your death grips."
"Come on! Don't you ever have any fun?"
"No." Trowa attempted to seat himself in one of Quatre's large recliners, but Ryoko blocked him, clasping her hands.
"Please!" Her eyes were very big. "Please!"
"Yes. Please," he stressed the word. "Leave me alone so I can read this book."
"I can't believe you'd pick a book over me! You have one last chance to change your mind." Her eyes flashed red.
"I understand." Trowa nodded. He pointed at the bookcase. "I choose all those books over you."
Ryoko considered. Her lips grew tight. "We're taking this outside! That was the last straw!" She picked Trowa up and crashed through a window violently.
"Knock it off!" Trowa complained after they hit the ground. "This is why nobody likes you, you know?"
"Oh sure! I'm going to take advice from you, Mr. Anti-social mute!"
The rest of the gang had heard the noise, and were running over. Ryo-Ohki and the gundam-ohkis followed them.
"What's going on?" Wufei demanded forcefully. "Can't you two get a room?"
Trowa look infuriated. "I was in a room until she decided to smash that window."
"Stop blaming me!" Ryoko's hands began to glow with a sinister aura.
"Don't do it, Ryoko!" Washu warned. "I'm sure this is all some kind of misunderstanding!"
"No… I understand," Ryoko grinned. "And this is the only way to handle him." She blasted some beams at Trowa, fully intending to destroy him.
"Heavy-Ohki," Trowa leapt out of the way of certain death. "I need you now!!"
"I'll get you!" Ryoko blasted multiple times. Trowa dodged easily with some of his twirly jumps.
"MEOWW!" Heavy-Ohki emerged from the broken window, all the way down transforming into its gundam-esque form. Trowa took advantage of his war-suit's presence by leaping into the cockpit and slamming the door shut.
"Oh yeah!?" Ryoko fumed. "Come here, Ryo-Ohki!"
Ryo-Ohki complained, but transformed into a spaceship. Ryoko was teleported away. The two space-vehicles began an all-out assault on one another.
"Hey!" Quatre moaned. "You two are destroying my home!" He grimaced as shingles and siding shook loose from his expansive abode.
As if they heard, Trowa and Ryoko ascended with haste. Soon they were beyond the atmosphere and out of sight for the earthbound surveyors.
"I warned you," Ryoko transmitted her voice to Heavyarms. "Would it have killed you to be nice to me? Because I can assure you this will kill you!" Ryo-Ohki released some shots, many finding their mark on Heavyarm's plating.
"I was trying to be nice, but you are impossible!" Trowa fired some large missiles, which hit Ryo-Ohki head on.
"I am affectionate!" Ryoko insisted. "You just have a problem with that!" Ryo-Ohki smashed into Heavyarms. Shrapnel flew into space.
"You need to tone it down. Everybody is turned off by your aggressive nature." Trowa was recovering from the collision.
"Tenchi's not!" Ryoko argued. "I don't know why you are!" She broke communication off and began fighting with full-force. Heavyarms was slow, and took many well-placed shots. However, Trowa had plans.
"Give up, Ryoko." Trowa suggested. "You'll regret it if you don't."
Ryoko continued her barrage of shooting without bothering to reply. Ryo-Ohki let loose with a triumphant battle cry.
"I don't want to have to do this." Trowa positioned his hand over a conspicuously large red button. "But I will destroy you two."
"You wouldn't dare!" Ryoko broke her silence. "The war is over and you're just not a murderer anymore!"
Heavyarms shook with the violence of the battle. Trowa cringed at her implication. "I was never a murderer!"
"Oh please!" Ryoko returned with an obnoxious tone. "Mihoshi told me all about you."
"I only did what was necessary…" Trowa fired at Ryoko's ship with his largest gun.
"It wasn't necessary!" Ryoko explained. "Betraying your friends and killing your allies is never necessary."
Trowa decided that it had come time. He pressed the red button angrily and watched as his entire arsenal unloaded upon the surprised and helpless Ryo-Ohki. "Meow!" The ship shook, and began to shatter. Ryo-Ohki whined as she began to reenter the Earth's atmosphere, glowing red with the increased heat.
"Ryoko!?" Trowa pressed the comm. button hopefully. "You need to pull up, now!"
The ship continued its descent. Trowa watched painfully before he piloted his own machine to intercept the doomed craft. He collected the wounded creature in his mechanical arms and returned to the surface of the planet. A confused group of friends ran to their landing spot.
"What's happened?" Ayeka started. "Ryo-Ohki has been blasted!"
Trowa emerged from his equally devastated vehicle. "How do you get in there?" He gestured at the moaning form of Ryo-Ohki.
"Oh!" Sasami rushed to her beloved pet's rather large side. "Ryo-Ohki! Revert to cabbit form so I can help you!" As she put her hand to the sizzling ship, it transformed into a little writhing mammal. "Oh! She's okay." Sasami held the dizzy cabbit up for everybody to see, but there attentions were focused on Ryoko holding her head in a dazed condition.
"Ah ha ha ha!" Ayeka pointed cruelly. "You lost to Trowa! Ah ha ha ha ha!"
"Oh no." Trowa helped Ryoko to her feet. "I get carried away…"
She looked at him with clenched teeth. "I can't believe it… you're not half bad."
"That's the understatement of the century." Relena smirked. "You should see him in a real battle."
The two duelers looked at her with disgust. That had been a real battle.
"So did you make up?" Duo asked.
"I have a book I need to go finish." Trowa steadied Ryoko and marched away.
"Oh no you don't…" Ryoko shook the last bit of dazedness from her system and followed him. "You can't tell me that I battled you for nothing! I've earned a little time with you… but no books."
Trowa sighed but let her follow. The two disappeared into Quatre's devastated house.
"I guess they did…" Duo scratched his head.
"Eh?" Tenchi took a double take. "Hey, Ryoko! What are you doing?"
"Doesn't really matter!" Ayeka interjected quickly. "Nice to see those two getting along though, don't you think, Tenchi?"
Tenchi nodded distractedly.
"Alright!" Wufei snatched everybody's attention as he grabbed Washu's shoulders. "Now you're going to fix my gundam."
"I already did!" Washu looked annoyed, and a little uncertain. "I improved it, remember?"
"I remember what you did and I still don't approve." He made eye contact with the scientist seriously. "You will reverse the changes you made."
"I won't do that." Washu tried to shake Wufei's grip, but he easily overpowered her. "Unless you call me Little Washu!"
"Huh?" Wufei said. "That's a waste of time. Change… her… back now!"
"Call me Little Washu or I won't do anything."
"That's ridiculous! You had no right to mess with my gundam and I demand you repair it this instant!"
"Are you threatening me?" Washu's face lit up with an idea. "Oh poor me! What should I do, Tenchi?"
"What?" Tenchi raised an eyebrow. "Come on Washu, we all know how powerful you are."
"Oh. But this guy doesn't want to fight with a girl, do you?" Washu grinned at Wufei girlishly.
"Eh?" Wufei released her suddenly. "I don't fight weak people… or women."
"That's good." Tenchi sighed with relief.
"But I will fight you!" Wufei drew his sword at Tenchi. "You're responsible for this woman's defiance. Why don't you keep her in line?"
"Tenchi!" Ayeka wailed. "Don't hurt Tenchi!"
"Stay out of this, Ayeka!" Tenchi backed up. "I don't want to fight with you, Wufei."
"This must be settled!" Wufei lunged threateningly. "Accept this challenge!"
"Good!" Wufei nodded. "Let's get this over with!"
Tenchi drew his sword in defense, but was soon caught up in an intense match with Wufei. The experience they both possessed was unmistakable, as blows were traded with lightening speed and power.
"Oh!" Washu clapped. "Tenchi my hero!"
"You are terrible!" Quatre was horrified. "How could you be enjoying this?"
"Take this!" Wufei slashed, nearly hitting his mark. However, Tenchi was proving to be exceptionally agile. The intensity of the duel increased, and the sword blows were producing sparks.
"Wow." Heero remarked. "Your friend has a talent there."
"I know." Ayeka melted. "Isn't he wonderful?"
Tenchi made an aggressive advance, throwing Wufei off guard. The gundam pilot fought back valiantly, although he was in a seriously compromised position.
"Ha!" Tenchi dashed Wufei's sword to the ground and flicked it away carefully. "You're unarmed."
"You… you…" Wufei was stunned. "I am defeated."
Tenchi sighed and sheathed his sword. "Just leave Washu alone now."
"Ooo!" Washu attached herself to Tenchi, winking at the shocked audience. "I knew you could do it!" And then she stuck her tongue out at Wufei.
"Now will you call me Little Washu?"
Wufei was horrified. "Fine… Little Washu."
"Oh!" Washu pointed at her own face. "I am little! So I'll get started on that modification right now, then?"
"What?" Wufei jumped up. "You're going to fix my gundam?"
Everybody groaned. Wufei could have avoided that whole embarrassment with two simple words.
"Wow!" Quatre was admiring the modified Sandrock. All the pilots had agreed that the gundams weren't suitable as organic life forms, and requested Washu to change them back. "That's really amazing."
"Washu's really good at this stuff." Mihoshi informed him. The new Sandrock was highly advanced compared to its previous form.
"I call them the gundam customs!" Washu smiled broadly. "They did turn out pretty spiffy!"
The five gundams all had their makeovers. Each of the pilots approved. The increased power was a welcome addition.
"I kinda miss that hyper little thing." Duo looked serious. "But I've never been good with animals anyway."
"It looks pretty!" Sasami pointed to Deathscythe Custom.
"Hey!" Duo bugged out. "Don't say that! This is a creature of death, little girl, and don't you forget it!"
"Sorry!" Sasami giggled.
"These new wings are interesting." Heero was studying the new Wing Zero with Relena. "I wonder if they're functional?"
"Heero, are we ever going to get a chance to talk?" Relena said sternly.
"Things have been hectic." Heero explained. "And I don't appreciate you nagging me."
"Fine. But as soon as we get rid of these people, we're going to have a discussion."
"And so!" Washu danced around energetically, absorbing everybody's appreciation of her modifications. "I guess we're done here, folks!"
"What?!" Ayeka asked. "So soon? You're taking us all home now, Miss Washu?"
"That was the plan." Washu glanced sidelong at Ayeka. "You sound disappointed, Princess."
"I suppose I am." Ayeka agreed softly. "None of us really got a chance to know each other."
"Speak for yourself!" Ryoko was wrapped around Trowa happily. "I got to know Trowa really well!"
"Stop saying that stuff!" Trowa looked at her seriously. "Ayeka is right."
"I know!" Mihoshi sniffled and sat on a workbench. "A few days aren't enough to get to know somebody. And I did want to get to know somebody."
Washu looked amused. "Cheer up, girls! We're returning to our old lifestyle!"
"That doesn't make me any happier." Sasami collapsed in a defeated heap. "I liked the change."
"You belong in that other universe." Quatre explained solemnly. "It's just the way things are."
"And what about you?" Mihoshi interrupted her gushing of tears. "Where do you belong?"
Everybody looked at Quatre, surprised. "How can you ask that?" Duo chided. "We need Quatre!"
"For what?" Mihoshi argued. "To handle all the political stuff? To lend you money? He isn't happy here."
"How would you know that?" Trowa asked.
"He told me." Mihoshi's eyes were very big. "Tell them, Quatre. You can come with us if you want to."
"Well," Quatre sat next to Mihoshi. This was very hard. "I thought about it."
"Nothing's holding me here anymore. The war is over… and my life ended back then."
"What!?" Heero was surprised. "The war didn't affect you like that, Quatre."
"You came out with the least scars… emotionally, I mean." Duo was obviously comparing Quatre's disposition to his own.
"You are so strong!" Wufei announced.
"Not anymore." Quatre argued. "I lost all my power when the battles were over."
"No you didn't," Relena furrowed her eyebrows. "You have the power to change the entire fate of humanity! People listen to you, Quatre… they believe you and they trust you. How are we going to pick up all these broken pieces without you?"
"She's right." Trowa had allowed Ryoko's presence and had an arm around her. "You brought all of us together." He gestured at the pilots. "And you've kept us all together, too. And I don't think any of us can do what it takes to pull the world back together… not without you."
Quatre was getting bleary. "Thanks you guys…"
"It's not fair, though!" Mihoshi complained. "How can you expect Quatre to sacrifice his entire life for this? Why is it always him?"
"That has always been his own decision." Heero said. "It's in Quatre's nature to protect people. I don't believe that's changed."
Quatre shook his head. "I don't know what to do."
"Stay with us, Quatre!" Duo was sincere. "We need you, buddy!"
"I need you, too!" Mihoshi added.
"Let's go!" Washu stamped her foot. "Let's decide now."
"We aren't sure that the war won't flare back up." Wufei reasoned. "How can you leave an entire world behind before you know its fate?"
"You can't." Quatre agreed sorrowfully. "Heero's right. It's just who I am. I've given up so much already… I have to see this through. I have to stay, Mihoshi."
Mihoshi turned away. "I thought you'd say that… I have seen all the episodes, you know, and this is what I like about you." She turned back. "You never give up, do you?"
"Not as long as my friends are with me."
"That's just beautiful!" Ayeka collapsed into a well of tears.
"You'd better go…" Quatre said. "You have people depending on you in your world, too."
"That's right, Mihoshi." Tenchi escorted her to where Washu was standing. "I depend on you."
"Oh?" Mihoshi considered. "I never knew you…"
"Wait a minute!" Ryoko snapped. "Don't flirt with Tenchi, Mihoshi!"
"I'm not!" Mihoshi wailed.
"I saw you!" Ryoko shoved Trowa with significant force. "Do I have to take you down?"
"Enough!" Washu brought Sasami and Ayeka to a spot on the hangar floor where she had drawn a big red X. "We'll have plenty of time for all this at home."
Ryoko cooled off. "That's right, I guess." She joined her friends at the foot of Sandrock Custom.
"Well," Relena said slowly. "I guess that's it then, isn't it?"
"Goodbye, Sasami!" Duo said. "Thanks for cleaning my room!"
"Thanks for carrying me to bed the other night!" Sasami laughed when she saw Duo's expression. "Yes, of course I knew that was you… you're really sweet, Duo!"
"The god of death is not sweet!"
"I think you are!"
"Goodbye Heero!" Ayeka waved while fending off Ryoko. "You're really a wonderful soldier!"
"Yeah…" Heero replied. "I know."
"Goodbye, Wufei!" Washu blew a kiss.
"Goodbye… Little Washu." Wufei muttered angrily.
"Oh! I like that! Say that some more!" Washu laughed and twirled around.
"Nice meeting you, Mr. Masaki." Relena curtsied properly. "And just to let you know, I didn't believe that salesman story for an instant."
"That was pretty stupid." Tenchi rolled his eyes. "But nice meeting you, too."
"Trowa," Ryoko levitated so she could see the damage she caused the pilot. "Thanks for that fight!" She winked. "Maybe next time I won't let you win."
"You didn't let me do anything." Trowa brushed off some dust he had fallen into when Ryoko shoved him.
"Oh, you have no idea." Ryoko laughed evilly. "It got me what I wanted, didn't it?"
Trowa gaped, but Ryoko turned to Tenchi and began assaulting him lovingly.
Quatre and Mihoshi were gazing into each other's eyes. Mihoshi looked ready to explode with her big gushing tears.
"I don't have anything left to say." Quatre said. "Maybe… maybe when this world starts shaping up."
"Okay then!" A small device appeared in Washu's hand. "If we're all done, then we should be on our way."
Ryo-Ohki came bounding to her creator, looking at Altron Custom with farewell.
"Yes." Heero glanced around. "You're all done. Goodbye."
Both teams waved, and the Tenchi cast disappeared slowly. Soon, they were entirely gone and everybody remaining was left staring at a blank spot of floor with a big red X painted on it.
"Wait a minute!" Wufei realized. "That Tenchi guy and I have to have a rematch! Now I'll never be able to defeat him!"
"Finally over." Relena sighed. "Now, Heero?"
Heero grimaced. "I don't think the same things apply as did at the party."
"In a good way?"
"What do you mean?"
"You'll always come home… even when all the missions are over?"
Heero shrugged. "Yes."
Relena looked happy. "Good!"
"Finally!" Trowa looked dizzy. "No more Ryoko! AHAHHAHA!"
"You're not fooling anyone!" Duo nudged the spiky-haired pilot. "You two made a cute couple!"
"Don't even go there, Duo."
"Wha~t? How do you plan on explaining all that time you spent with her then?"
"After the battle… you know. You both were gone for a while." Duo looked utterly goofy.
"What are you suggesting?" Trowa raised his only visible eyebrow.
"You know. Smoochy, smoochy!" Duo clasped his hands together.
"Oh," Trowa wrinkled his nose. "No, no. We just found a book she really liked and I read it to her."
"What?" Duo looked disappointed. "Are you serious?"
"Yeah… it was some flimsy romance novel Quatre had… it was really stupid but she loved it."
"I can't believe that!" Duo snorted. "She was suggesting that…"
"Yeah, I know… aren't you glad she's gone!?" Trowa looked momentarily joyous.
"Hey Washu, look!" Mihoshi pointed at the TV energetically. "Your Gundam Customs are on!"
"Oh!" Washu entered the living room. "That's nifty! They look great."
"Oh, Heero is so brave!" Ayeka swooned. "It's a shame I never got to see him battle while we were visiting."
"Duo is so cool!" Sasami smiled. "I'll bet his room's a mess by now!"
"I already knew Trowa could battle," Ryoko said smugly. "He beat me pretty good guys."
"They did need Quatre, after all." Mihoshi pouted. "He has a really cool part in this Endless Waltz movie."
"I think Heero and Relena are going to get together." Tenchi said knowingly. "Did you see how fast he left to save her?"
"That Relena," Ayeka looked evil. "Is a selfish, horrible, wicked woman with nothing but bad intentions for that sweet pilot."
"Uhm… Ayeka," Mihoshi said coaxingly. "Heero is a psycho."
"How dare you?" Ayeka fumed.
Were the battles really over this time? It had been so long… fighting for most of each of their lives. Can I be normal? Live a normal life after all that I've seen and done? When can a true soldier put down his weapon for the last time. Maybe I'll never fulfill my destiny.
Heero Yuy watched an audience leap to their feet after a stirring speech by Relena Dorlian. It's amazing what that girl can do. The same age as himself, but inflicting a completely different history upon humanity. It was all a matter of experiences, Heero thought. The peacemaker and the perfect soldier. How is it that those two opposites can both work together to bring peace for everybody?
Relena glanced to the balcony, where she thought she saw a flicker of movement, but Heero had already abandoned his vigil over her. He had nothing left, for now, than to protect the future, through Relena. She smiled, recognizing the presence of her guardian. Now we can finally start over. "Even you, Heero." Relena whispered at the empty balcony.
It was over. The news broadcasts all brought word of closure and the colonies would rebuild, hopefully for the last time. Don't think that way… it is over and you've fulfilled your responsibility. But that's not true. Peace will never be attained. The universe is precariously teetering on the edge of war by its very nature. Or by humans' very nature. Somehow, I always manage to bring this whole problem back on myself as if I caused it. Maybe we all cause it by being born.
Quatre leaned over a desk with his head in his hands. Peace was not coming as easily for him, as for the rejoicing citizens on Earth, and all the colonies. He knew that was because he had seen how quickly civilization can shift to its old ways. Just like Wing Zero shifting the demeanor of its pilot. It's all necessary to keep the balance.
"Master Quatre, please come out." It was Rashid in the doorway. "You've been thinking for hours."
"I know." Quatre sat up straight. "But there is a lot to think about."
"Come out for dinner, Master." Rashid beckoned. "The cook would be offended if you declined."
Quatre brightened. "I know! I didn't realize it was getting so late!"
Rashid smiled as he held the door open for Quatre to pass.
"What's this?" Quatre gestured at a sectioned plastic dish with defrosted food in it. "This isn't the cook's specialty, I think."
"No. That's a TV dinner." Rashid explained. "I made it."
The other Maguanacs entered, carrying a TV. "We're going to have an old fashioned dinner and movie!"
"Okay," Quatre looked confused. "Whatever you people want to do…"
The Maguanacs plugged the television in and tuned it, while Rashid convinced Quatre that the TV dinner was edible. "They're just vegetables, Master Quatre!"
"Ooo! Look what's on!" A Maguanac exclaimed.
"What?" Quatre tried to see around the hoard of soldiers, but to no avail. They were all a lot bigger than him. "What's on?"
"Oh!" Rashid announced. "Master Quatre can't see his television! Let's get out of his way!" The crowd moved and Quatre witnessed an episode of Tenchi Muyo playing on the screen.
"Oh my gosh!" Quatre said. "They're a TV show for us?"
"We thought you might enjoy this… help get you out of your mood." Rashid looked pleased.
Quatre watched the episode with interest. It appeared that his strange friends were also fighting a war of their own. "Is this a rerun?"
"No. This is brand new!"
"Wow." Quatre experienced deep thoughts. How recent were all these events? "I know those guys!"
TheGWF: Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Elly: I can't believe how sad that all was. (sniffles)
TheGWF: Hey… have you been electrocuted recently?
Elly: No… why?
TheGWF: No reason… just wondering how your hair got like that! (snicker, snicker)
Elly: Hey! Cool… my hair's like Washu's?
TheGWF: No… it's like it's electrocuted.
Elly: Oh. Anyway, I like Quatre so much more now after all that drama. (sniff)
TheGWF: This time, I'll tell the readers that they can contact us (or me, if you have compliments) at DancingMoogle@hotmail.com
Elly: Yes, of course! Can't forget that! I think a sequel is in store, Fan!
TheGWF: What kind of sequel?
Elly: Maybe the Gundam guys can visit the Tenchi world next time!
TheGWF: Not a bad idea… how are you going to pull that off, though?
Elly: Shhh! Let's not ruin it for them! (Points at readers.)
TheGWF: This is the longest fic we've made… ever!
Elly: (Gives peace sign.) This is also the longest author notes we've ever done… ever!
TheGWF: Oh! We'd better shut up now, then.
Elly: Okay! Goodbye!