Minako sat on the sidewalk and stared at the young female body sprawled out in the middle of the street. Lying in a pool of her own blood, she was surrounded by citizens who shouted in confusion, no one knowing what to do as they waited for the police to arrive. The girl had been careful to look both ways before crossing the street but despite doing so; a drunk driver had whipped around a street corner and hit her.
She wanted to tell the people that the girl had died upon impact, but she just couldn't bring herself to do so. A young woman had started to do CPR, hoping to start up a heart that was too damaged to beat. Weaving through the crowd, a white male cat walked over to the girl and licked her hand which was starting to grow cold. Meowing softly, he nudged her hand with his pink nose, wanting her to pet him.
An ambulance arrived and the paramedics jumped out and rushed over to the girl, quickly checking her vitals. However, there were none to be found. Putting the girl on a stretcher, they covered her with a white sheet before placing the stretcher in the ambulance. The woman who had tried to do CPR held the cat in her arms, feeling sorry that its owner had passed on. The cat was impatient however and squirmed free of her grip and ran off down a street, heading for a shrine that was only a few blocks away.
The car and the drunken driver were both gone, neither sticking around after the girl had been hit. Minako knew who had been driving the car and she wasn't pleased about that fact either. Standing up, she shoved her hands in her pockets and turned her back to the scene. Police were questioning the witnesses, hoping to find out who had driven the car.
For the girl to be taken from the world in the prime of her life was unfair. She wasn't even allowed a chance to fight for the life that she loved so dearly. Fate was being cruel today. Minako looked over her shoulder, the police were leaving and everyone was starting to resume their daily lives. Their personal lives weren't affected at all, they didn't know the girl, and they didn't feel sad over the loss of some poor soul.
Shaking her head, she headed down the street; she didn't want to remain there anymore. Before she went far, she came across someone she recognized. Short black hair and large violet eyes, Hotaru stood before her with a sad smile on her face.
"Minako, I'm sorry to have to meet you under these circumstances." She wore her sailor uniform and held her glaive in her hand.
"Yeah yeah, I guess I can't stick around here, huh?" Hotaru extended her hand to Minako and with a heavy sigh, Minako took it.
The scenery around them faded, only to be replaced by nothingness. Purple mist swirled around their feet as they appeared in what seemed like a hallway. Doors lined each side of the hallway and stretched out before them.
"Setsuna should be around here somewhere." Hotaru started to walk down the hallway with Minako dragging her feet behind her.
"To be stuck here with nothing to do but watch everyone live out their lives, all because of a drunk driver." Minako kicked at the purple mist that swirled around her feet causing it to separate for a moment.
"It was bound to happen someday, Minako." Hotaru gently reminded her friend. "You will get to know Setsuna better."
"I'm only 18 though! I hadn't gotten my license yet, I didn't become a famous actress/model/singer, and I won't know if I got into Tokyo University, I..." Mina's eyes widened as a new thought struck her. "I died SINGLE!!" Hotaru held onto Mina and lead her down the hallway as her friend bawled behind her.
"Minako, it could have been worse." Looking over her shoulder, Hotaru felt bad that her friend was finally starting to realize she was dead.
"I don't want to wait here until I'm needed! I want to go live dammit!" Turning on her heel, Minako took off in the opposite direction down the hallway.
"Minako please! You're making my job harder!" The mist swirled up suddenly as if it was trying to hide Minako's retreat.
Setsuna sighed as she opened her eyes. There was a decision to be made and she wasn't sure which option she should take. The first was the path that Fate had dealt for Minako to take, while the second was the path that she, the Time Guardian, could deal for Minako. It was a hard decision for her to make. Usually, she would stick with the first option and not even consider the second. However, she felt as if the second one was the better option this time.
Holding her staff before herself, she stared into the orb which had turned from a garnet color to a clear one. The orb showed Minako running down the hallway with Hotaru not too far behind. Biting her bottom lip, Setsuna tapped the end of her staff on the floor three times. A door suddenly appeared in front of Minako, and before she had time to slow down to keep from running into it, it swung open and she ran inside, into a new timeline. As soon as she entered, it swung closed and returned to its place along the hallway.
The orb shifted to Hotaru who had suddenly stopped running as she realized she couldn't hear Minako's footsteps anymore. Looking around in hopes that a door was open, showing where her friend had gone, she glared at seeing them all closed. Her hand tightened on her glaive; she couldn't let her anger take control of herself. Hotaru's glare shifted upwards, almost as if she knew Setsuna was watching her.
"Sorry Hotaru." Setsuna murmured as she tapped her staff twice on the floor.
The doors that ran along either side of the hallway clicked once as they were locked. Setsuna watched as Hotaru's hand shook with anger and her eyes momentarily flashed black. The young girl was going to yell at Setsuna once she found her and demand that she tell her where Minako was. Similar to taking a soul to the afterlife, Hotaru was going to take Minako to Setsuna, and leave the blonde girl in her care until she came back to retrieve her for rebirth. For Setsuna to interfere with her escorting the Love Goddess…
"Setsuna, I will find you." Hotaru swore as she turned on her heel and headed back in the direction she previously came from.
Waving her hand across the orb, it returned to its previous garnet color. Even though she didn't want to admit it, Hotaru could be a bit intimidating when she was angry. However the Time Gates were large and if she kept moving around it would be awhile until Hotaru found her. The thought was somewhat comforting to Setsuna and she couldn't help but smile. She only hoped that she could buy Minako enough time.
It had been relatively peaceful the past few months and the ex-Gundam pilots were thankful for that. Wanting to get away from work for awhile, they all decided to go to one of Quatre's lesser known mansions. What made the vacation even better was the fact that their location was kept secret from Relena.
It was the last week of June and the day was beautiful. The bright blue sky was cloudless and the sun shined brightly down on the Earth, heating the air significantly. Quatre's mansion resided in what seemed to be the middle of the woods. The tall trees which rose high in the air cut down the high winds that blew through the forest every afternoon. Despite there being no other houses nearby, a tall iron fence encircled the mansion.
The five boys were spread throughout the mansion, each occupied with what they were doing.
Trowa was in the library. Walking down an aisle, his eyes quickly skimmed the books on the shelf, looking for one he hadn't already read. Pausing at one, he pulled it from the shelf and flipped it over in his hands, reading the brief summary on the back. It was a fantasy book which was not part of the genre that he usually read. Contemplating whether or not to read the book, he glanced at the cover which had a picture of a boy on a horse with a sword in hand. It did sound promising and he had read most of the other books in the library.
He headed to the back of the library which had multiple windows along the wall and a few chairs near the windows. Going over to a large brown chair, he sat down and opened up the book, turning to the first page. If he was lucky, another afternoon would pass by quietly. A typical, quiet afternoon usually included him and the others ignoring the constant fighting that took place between Wufei and Duo. Shaking his head to get rid of the thought, his eyes shifted to the first line of the book and he began to read the page.
Quatre stared at the piece of paper in front of him, quickly reading over the list of ingredients he needed. Going over to the fridge, he got out butter and eggs and placed them on the counter before going to the pantry and getting the rest of the ingredients. Having so much free time on his hands, he had decided he wanted to learn how to cook and bake. Of course having no previous experience in those areas, he was told by the cook to start with something simple like chocolate chip cookies. He hoped that they would turn out good and if so, he could treat his friends to some.
"Don't forget the vanilla." The cook reminded him with a smile.
"Oh, thank you." Going over to a cupboard he opened it and pulled down a small bottle of vanilla. Glancing at the paper, Quatre memorized the next few steps. Quickly measuring the first few ingredients, he poured them into a large bowl and started to mix them together.
Wufei was outside in the backyard, sitting on a bench with his legs crossed. His hands rested on his knees and his eyes were closed. After spending most of his morning avoiding Duo, he was only now able to start focusing on his daily meditation. Inhaling deeply, he held the breath for a moment before exhaling slowly. While focusing on his breathing, he tried to clear his mind and relax his body. It only took about a minute or two for him to clear his mind and have his breathing under control. The next part was to keep his mind clear of thoughts while continuing to keep his breathing under control. Despite having meditated since he was a child, it was always somewhat a challenge to keep his mind clear.
Especially when he knew that Duo was planning something. He could have sworn that boy drew up a chart indicating which days he was going to bother someone. To Wufei's annoyance, he realized that he was the victim for the day. Realizing his mind had strayed from nothingness to the braided idiot, he cursed loudly, blaming the boy for being in his thoughts. He had to keep his mind clear of all thoughts, including the idiot who would soon be disrupting him.
Duo rolled onto his stomach on his bed and looked at the chart which hung on the wall. Today was Wufei day. It was almost noon and to Duo's annoyance, he hadn't pulled one prank on the Chinese boy. He didn't quite understand how, but for some reason he couldn't think of one new prank. It was beyond frustrating and he had ended up spending most of his morning in his room, trying to think up new ways to irritate Wufei. Was his losing his touch? Could his days of pulling pranks be over? Shaking his head, he tried to rid his mind of those thoughts.
Getting up from his bed, Duo went over to the door that led out to his balcony and opened it before stepping outside. Going over to the edge of the balcony, he leaned on the railing and looked at the garden beneath him. Wufei was in his usual spot meditating. His friend was right there, begging to be disturbed by a prank of some sort. But what prank? Duo refused to stoop so low as to pull a prank that an average person could come up with. Frowning, Duo just watched his friend, his mind a complete blank for once.
Heero turned the knob on the shower, causing hot water to pour down on him. It took a few minutes for both his hair and body to become slick from the water. After spending most of his morning exercising, it felt great to spend a few minutes in a hot shower. Despite the recent peace that he and the others were experiencing, it didn't mean that he could grow lazy like Duo and stop training. He had to be ready for any situation at any time.
Grabbing the shampoo bottle, he poured some in his hands and started to work it into his hair. A loud thud from behind Heero caused him to turn suddenly and his eyes widened in surprise at what he saw. A girl about his age sat on the bottom of the shower, staring up at him, her eyes wide in shock.
The two just stared at each other for a moment, neither of them saying a word. The girl didn't seem to notice that she was quickly becoming wet from the shower. Her eyes drifted down a bit and suddenly her cheeks turned bright red. The reddening of her cheeks caused Heero to snap out of the slight daze he was in.
"Who are you?!" He demanded as he took a step towards her.
"I-I-I-" The girl stuttered as she jumped up suddenly, hitting the shower knobs, switching the water from hot to cold. The icy water hit her, causing her to scream in surprise and jump forward, trying to avoid it. Before her however, was a very naked Heero and she found herself only inches away from him. Glancing down, her cheeks became even redder and she quickly put space between the two of them. It seemed as if she forgot about the cold water, which was soon beating down on her again, causing her to jump forward in surprise once more. This time however, her foot slipped and she crashed into him.
Heero, who was pinned beneath the blonde girl, suddenly remembered his nakedness and for the first time in his life, felt his cheeks burn as he blushed. As if the girl could read his mind, she jumped off him and flung open the shower door before racing out of the bathroom. Picking himself up, Heero ran out of the shower, grabbed a towel off the counter and wrapped it around his waist as he followed the water trail out of the bathroom.
Mina's whole face felt red as she ran down a hallway, her shoes squishing with each step she took. For the first time in her life she had seen a naked man. The thought of it caused her to trip over her own feet and fall to the ground. Before she could get back up she heard a noise behind herself and turned to find a gun pointed at her head.