A/N: so, here's chapter 3! enjoy!

Chapter 3: Strange and Alike

Van felt his knees shake as he walked toward the church, Helena on his arm looking as beautiful as ever.

"Don't be so nervous, Van," she smiled.

"Sorry," he shrugged. "I can't help it."

The doors to the church opened and the priest stood at the end of the isle, waiting for them, but there was something odd about him.

"I wonder what happened to him," Van thought as he glanced at his right hand that had been replaced by a claw. Something snapped in Van's mind. He quickly turned to Helena but it was too late. The claw slashed through the air and all Van could see was blood.

"Not again!" he shouted. "Helena!"

Van sat straight up on the couch, breathing heavily and drenched in a cold sweat. He sighed and fixed his hat then rubbed his eyes in the morning sunlight.

That same dream. He thought he was done with that when he killed the Claw, but that dream kept coming back every once in a while to play games with his head.

"Guess there's not much I can do about it," he mumbled to himself. "Helena, what are trying to tell me?"

"What's that, Van?"

He jumped with a start and looked toward the kitchen to see Wendy already up and making breakfast.

"Uh…nothing," Van replied as he stood to walk to the table. "Where's…uh…what's her face?"

"Diana is changing," Wendy smiled as she bustled around the kitchen. "I gave her some of my old clothes that she liked. I convinced her that she should look her best when she meets her boyfriend." She turned from one of the cabinets to look at Van. "Don't you think she should, too?"

"Whatever," Van shrugged, sitting at the table. Wendy sighed, hopelessly. "Shouldn't she be leaving now?"

"Van!" Wendy scolded, whirling around to stare an agitated look at him. "That's rude! And if you recall, this is my house! She can stay as long as she needs to, and…" She trailed off but Van looked up at her, waiting for her to finish. "And…you could too, if you want."

Van blinked at her a few times in surprise. There was something he had figured out last night about her, but for the life of him he couldn't remember. His memory lapses were starting to get on his nerves.

"Good morning!"

The two jumped with a start and stared wide eyes at Diana as she entered the room. Wendy couldn't help but smile at how cute she looked, and Van couldn't help but stare. She wore a small, purple stripped top that showed off her mid-section with short sleeves and a purple flower on the white and purple striped material. Her purple skirt buttoned in the front and had a pleated hem which fell a few inches above the knees. Her tall purple socks came up just below her knees and she had on a pair of purple shoes to top match the rest of the purple.

"Oh, Diana! You look adorable!" Wendy grinned and Diana blushed slightly. "Doesn't she, Van?" When she heard not even a rude response from him she turned only to find him staring at Diana with his mouth slightly agape. She was a far cry from what he had seen last night.

"Van, you're gonna make me blush even more," Diana smiled nervously, seeing Wendy stare at him with burning eyes. "Maybe I should wear what I normally do."

This caught Wendy's attention. "No! You look wonderful! Your beau is gonna fall head over heals for you all over again!"

"You've been so kind to me, Wendy," Diana smiled. "How can I ever repay you?"

"Stay for breakfast and we'll call it even," Wendy smiled. Diana laughed and walked to the table to sit. Van was still staring at her, obviously in shock. She looked at Wendy who had made herself busy with breakfast again.

"Um, where do you want me to sit, Wendy?" she asked tactfully, drawing the other woman's attention.

"Oh, anywhere you like," Wendy smiled, not catching her cue.

"No," Diana mumbled and stood next to Wendy to whisper. "Where do you want me to sit?"

Wendy frowned, wondering why Diana was asking her again. The brunette nodded at Van and realization dawned on her.

"Oh," Wendy breathed. "Well, uh, you could sit across from Van, I guess."

Diana nodded, and walked back to take her seat. Van still stared. As Diana sat she glanced at Wendy to make sure she wasn't looking then kicked Van's shin.

"Ow!" he growled but Diana acted as if she didn't hear him. At least he wasn't staring at her anymore. Wendy turned with a start to see what was going on.

"Van, what happened?!" she gasped.

"She kicked me!" Van snapped, pointing at Diana who looked up at him with flashing eyes.

"You wouldn't stop staring at me!" she retorted then stuck her tongue out at him.

"Wendy!" Van whined. "She kicked me!"

"You were staring at me!" Diana replied again.

"Stop it, the both of you!" Wendy shouted then sighed as the two at the table sat quietly. "I swear, you both sound like little kids!"

"Maybe you should try the name Little Kid Van," Diana smirked, and Van looked at Wendy as if to say 'See?!' Wendy sighed again and turned back to making breakfast. Diana glanced at Wendy again then leaned forward to whisper to Van.

"Doesn't she look nice this morning, Van?" she said, and Van frowned at her in confusion.


"Wendy," Diana explained. "Doesn't she look nice this morning?"

Van glanced at Wendy and shrugged. "I guess."

"Oh, come on," Diana nearly groaned. "You don't think she's even a little pretty this morning? Take a good look."

Van rolled his eyes, but he did look at Wendy as she finished up breakfast. He knew she had changed a lot, but at the same time, she hadn't. She was still the kind hearted girl in many ways, as he had seen when they discovered Diana, but she was also a woman, a pretty one at that. Van couldn't help it when a small smirk curled his lips.

"You should tell her you think she looks nice, Van," Diana whispered, jolting him from his thoughts. He looked at her as she smirked back at him. "I saw that."

"Saw what?" Van asked.

"That smirk," Diana replied. "You do think she looks pretty today, don't you?"

"So what if I do?" Van shrugged. "And anyway, it's none of your business."

"Fine," Diana shrugged casually, but she kept her eye on Van as he twiddled his thumbs on the table, glancing from them to Wendy.

"Hey, uh, Wendy?" Van called, and Diana smirked as she pretended to mind her own business.

"Yes, Van?" Wendy replied, not looking at him.

"You…uh…You look nice," he mumbled. Wendy froze and turned wide eyes filled with disbelief at Van. He didn't look at her but he could feel her gaze boring into the top of his head.

"Thank you," Wendy breathed and slowly turned back to what she was doing. A smile slowly crept to her face and Van and Diana frowned at each other in wonder when she started humming. However, it took Diana a millisecond to figure out why, and Van had no clue.

"Ok, here's breakfast!" Wendy grinned, bringing three plates of eggs to the table. She served Diana first, then Van and sat next to him with her own plate.

"Could I get all the condiments?"

Wendy glanced in wide eyed shock between Diana and Van. They both asked for all the condiments…at the same time. Diana and Van stared at each other in the same shock.

"Don't tell me you eat food that way too?" Wendy pleaded with Diana and the brunette could only nod as she and Van still stared at each other. "Well, you two have more in common than just being armor riders." Wendy stood and went into the kitchen to gather the condiments then set them in the middle of the table. "Help yourselves."

Wendy couldn't help but shudder as she watched the two poor everything onto their food then wolf it down as fast as possible. It was almost like they were related, but she knew that would be impossible. Diana and Van looked nothing like each other, even if they did have the same tastes. She shrugged and ate her food. Stranger things could happen she supposed.

"This is great!"

Like that.

Once again, Diana and Van had said the same thing at the same time. They stared at each other again in shock, and Wendy glanced between them several times, trying to see if there was something hidden in their stares. They seemed like they were both shocked, but there was no hidden message in their eyes which relieved her a bit.

"So, Diana, tell us about your armor," Wendy tried, catching the other woman's attention.

"Oh, well, nothing much to tell," Diana replied as they all started eating again. "She's a reliable piece of machinery, though. Sleek, but tough. Graceful, but deadly. I've had her for about ten years now, since I was sixteen. I've got her stashed somewhere safe till I can go back and start looking for him again."

"You never told us his name, or what he's like," Wendy recalled.

"Oh, his name is Oliver," Diana replied. "Oliver Gallagher. But, like I said last night, he might've changed his name."

"Never heard of him," Van blurted, catching the girls' attentions.

"That's a relief, somewhat," Diana replied, slightly sarcastic, then became serious when she said, "At least he's not getting into so much trouble that he's infamous."

"What did he look like when you were together?" Wendy asked, leaning her chin on her hand, her elbow on the table and Diana smiled.

"So cute," she grinned. "Shining gray eyes and thick black hair, kinda scrawny. I tend to go for guys a bit bigger, more shoulder, but he's so sweet! A smile to die for!"

"He sounds like he'd be handsome now!" Wendy giggled, making Van glance at her. Diana noticed and smirked before going on with the conversation.

"Yeah, he should be," she agreed. "He's an armor rider too! His is kinda bulky though, and he probably doesn't have it anymore. I think he named it…David."

A clink of silver on porcelain came from Van's direction and the girls turned to see him staring at Diana.

"David?" he echoed and Diana nodded with a frown. "Bulky, gray armor with thrusters in the back to get it into the air?"

"Yes!" Diana gasped, pointing her fork at him. "How'd you know?!"

"Wendy, you remember that tournament I told you about?" he asked, turning to the other girl and making Diana frown again because he hadn't answered her.

"Yes," Wendy replied cautiously.

"Did I tell you we won?" he wondered, really not remembering, and Wendy shook her head then glanced at Diana to tell him to answer her question. "Well, we beat out this armor…" He turned to Diana. "…and it looked like the one you're describing. Its name was David, I remember that."

Diana's eyes widened slowly as she sat back in her seat, her fork falling with a clang to her plate. The two others at the table weren't sure what was going through her mind but she must have snapped back when she jumped and leaned toward Van.

"Which city?! Where did you see him?!" she asked, slamming her hands onto the table and making Wendy and Van jump. "Tell me!"

"I don't remember!" he shot back, leaning forward as well. "Somewhere…east!"

Diana said nothing else as she stood and ran down the hall. Van and Wendy stared after her then at each other and as Wendy turned back to the hall, but didn't leave her seat, Van glanced at Diana's plate. He looked at his own plate, nearly finished with his food and back at her food, no where hear finished. He reached for it slowly and when Wendy turned to tell him something she gasped in astonishment at him and smacked his hand away gently.

"Ow," Van mouthed, shaking his hand.

"Oh, that didn't hurt," Wendy said, knowing it didn't. "What do you suppose she's going to do?"

"Who cares?" Van wondered, eating the rest of his egg mush.

"I do!" Wendy insisted.

"Why?" he wondered and she looked at him with wide eyes. "She's gonna do what she wants. As long as she's ok with what she decides to do, why should we care?"

"If you'd have rephrased that last part, I would actually say you have a point," Wendy retorted and Van looked at her with wide eyes as she stood, but when she turned, Diana appeared again in the same outfit she was wearing last night, a bag in her hand with the outfit Wendy had given her.

"Thank you so much for breakfast, Wendy," Diana said, hurriedly as she pulled on one of her gloves and headed toward the door. "I hate to eat and run, but I have to go…" She turned to Van with a slight frown. "East, you said, right?"

All Van could do was nod as he watched her go to the front door.

"Right! I hope I see you guys again! It was fun, the food was great, but I have a man to find, so, bye!" Diana closed the door on her way out and Wendy and Van stared at it in shock. She had gone just as suddenly and as quickly as she had arrived. Wendy suddenly spun around to Van.

"Go after her!" she ordered and he frowned as he jumped in his seat.


"You can't let her go alone, can you?!"

"Why not?! She can take of herself!"

Wendy huffed in frustration and marched to her room as Van only shrugged and continued with his then pulled Diana's half-eaten plate in front of him. Only a moment later, Wendy came back out in travel clothes and headed toward the door. Van glanced at her then took a double take when she passed him.

"Where do you think you're going?!" he wondered and Wendy stopped.

"Oh, right," she replied in realization and hurried toward her back as Van frowned at her. She flung the door open and shouted, "I'll be back Kameo! Mrs. Foreman will take care of you!"

"Why---?" Van cut himself off he realized something of his own. "No! You're not going after her!"

"I'm not a child anymore, Van," she reminded him, heading for the front door again. "I can make my own decisions about what I should do. She can't go out there by herself."

"She's been doing fine so far!" Van reminded her, standing to follow her out the door. "What if you run into trouble, huh?"

"Diana has an armor," Wendy shrugged, walking out, Van on her heels. She locked the door and turned to Van. "You're coming after all?"

Van frowned then looked around, realizing where he was. He looked back at Wendy who only giggled. He sighed in defeat.

"I guess," he muttered, then felt around to make sure he had his sword, which he found on his hip.

"Great!" Wendy smiled and threw her arms around his chest for a hug. Van froze, not knowing what to do but he was relieved from the obligation to react when she quickly pulled away, still smiling. She turned to where she thought Diana headed and walked down the street. Van shook away his shock and hurried after her to walk next to her.

"You have money, right?" he hoped and Wendy patted a pocket on her skirt.

"Enough for a few days worth of food for both of us," she assured him.

"I have my own money," he said a defensively. "You just worry about yourself."

"Nice day for a walk, isn't it?" Diana wondered, suddenly next to Wendy. Wendy nodded and smiled at her then took a double take as she and Van stopped dead.

"Diana!" she gasped and the other girl stopped as she casually stopped as well, as if they'd been walking together since leaving the house.

"What?" she shrugged.

"We thought you'd left already!" Wendy explained then turned to Van, grabbed his arm and pulled him next to her. "We're going to help you find Oliver!"

"Well, she is," Van corrected, fixing his hat. "She dragged me along for the ride."

Wendy made a face at him, her lower-lip slightly puckered and Van glanced at her then stared as she stared back at him.

"She looks kinda...cute," he thought but said nothing.

"Great!" Diana cheered, drawing their attention. "I could use the help! I hope you guys are ready for anything. I've run into some unsavory people on my travels."

"Oh, don't worry about us," Wendy smiled, waving it off. "We're no strangers to those types. We'd better hurry if we're going to catch up with Oliver! I'll only be a second, though. I have to ask a favor from someone. You'll wait for me, won't you?"

Without waiting for an answer she ran off toward a house across the street as Van and Diana stood and watched her. Diana glanced at Van as he only stared after Wendy and finally turned when she was out of sight.

"So why'd you really decide to come?" Diana wondered, her hands on her hips. Van frowned at her in confusion.

"What do you mean?" he wondered. "She dragged me along."

"Oh, come on," Diana smirked, crossing her arms. "You don't let yourself get dragged around by some girl unless you really want to go." She glanced to the house Wendy had disappeared into and stepped closer to Van. "If it's a secret you can tell me. I won't tell Wendy."

"Get away from me," he ordered flatly, and his hand went to her face to shove her at arms length. Diana squeaked in surprise and smacked his hand away, her eyes flashing in anger.

"Ok!" Wendy called, running back to them. "Let's go!" She wrapped her arm and Van's, making him straighten and Diana noticed with a smirk.

"Oh, that's why," she smiled at Van. The two looked at her with frowns.

"What?" Wendy asked.

"Oh, nothing," Diana lied, shaking her head. "Just something Van and I were discussing. He told me something and I just got it." She pointed ahead and waved her new friends toward that way. "Onward! We need to get Tabitha and take off east!"

She ran down the street and Wendy ran after her, dragging Van behind her. Van suddenly found himself pondering Diana question. Why had he let himself get into another search for some guy who would probably end up on the wrong side again? Then he thought of when Wendy had pulled his arm into hers hands and Diana realizing something. It snapped in his brain.

"She thinks I like Wendy!" he realized, his eyes widening as Wendy still pulled him down the street. He thought again and suddenly remembered what he'd figured out last night about Wendy. "Because Wendy likes me!"

A/N: believe me, was shocked at my own self! i was like, "whoa, they're gonna go after her?!" and my hands were like, "hell yes!" lol! so, i hope it makes sense the way i did it. i tend to do stuff and then i read it over and it doesn't make sense then later it does. so tell me if it make sense! wacky that Diana and Van both eat their food with all th conidments...lol! again, i was shocked myself. Reviews?