Last revised: 12/02/99

A THIN LINE BETWEEN - Part 2 (revised)

*** WARNING - SPOILERS
*** FOR THE FUSHIGI YUUGI
*** manga, TV, and OVA series

This is a substantial revision of my GW/FY xover fic.  A couple of the characters were rather OOC and I had managed to paint myself into a corner plot-wise, so I decided to rework the story.  ^_^  Hope you guys like this version better.

The major changes:
(1) opened up the plot a bit and gave it some room to breath
(2) tweaked Hotohori's lines to make him more IC
(3) rewrote Relena so she's not a TOTAL ditz sweatdrop

Well, this part focuses only on the Seiryuu side of things, so it's a bit on the dark side.  The next part will probably focus on the Suzaku side and most likely will be a bit more light-hearted.

For general info on the FY characters and story:
http://members.tripod.com/~JayLiz/index1.html

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A THIN LINE BETWEEN
A Gundam Wing/Fushigi Yuugi crossover fanfic by Madamhydra
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Part 2 (v2)
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WARNING:  shonen-ai, mild yaoi

Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Gundam Wing and Fushigi Yuugi copyrighted by their respective creators and all distributors of their work. Used without permission.

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In Lady Soi's suite in the Imperial Palace of Kutou, Duo held Relena by the throat and pinned her firmly against the wall.  In a menacingly cheerful voice, he said, "Well, imagine meeting you here, Relena."

In Soi's body, Relena blinked as she recognized the annoyingly familiar grin on Nakago's face.

"Maxwell!" she choked out.

"You're one for one.  Wanna go two for two?" Duo asked her with a wicked little smirk that rather suited the Shogun's face.

"Get your hands off of me, you jerk!"

"No way, Relena.  Not until I'm sure you're not going to throw another shit-fit."

"A shit-fit!?  That would be something a crass idiot like yourself WOULD say!  As if I don't have every reason to be upset!  Just look at me!  I'm trapped in the body...."

Her voice trailed off -- and not in an entirely voluntary fashion -- as Relena felt the steely grip on her throat tighten ever so slightly.  Duo narrowed Nakago's piercing blue eyes and said in an almost conversational voice, "Where you planning to say 'the body of a whore'?  Personally, I tend to think of a whore more as a state of mind, not an occupation.  In which case, Soi definitely does not qualify as a whore."  He shrugged carelessly.  "Then again, maybe I'm just weird that way."

Relena pursed her lips angrily.  "Of course you couldn't possibly understand how someone like me would feel about it!"

Duo glared back at her.  "Why?  Because I'm just a common, low class street brat born and raised in the gutter?"

"I didn't say that!" her cheeks flushing bright red.

"No, but you didn't have to.  I know what you're thinking -- you've made it abundantly clear whenever we meet.  You think I haven't noticed how you harp on how well educated you are, how sophisticated you are, how well-connected you are... and how fucking dedicated to world peace you are every time you talk to Heero!"

"Don't blame me if you're the one feeling inadequate, Maxwell!  I'm trying my best to do something worthwhile, while you...."

"While I what?  Just what do you think I've been risking my neck for?  And not just me, but Heero and the others, too!"

"It's obvious that you just don't get it, Maxwell!  I've been raised and trained all my life for this type of work, to work for the greater good, but you....  All you probably know how to do is fight and cause trouble, Maxwell.  That's all you're good for!  You're so used to living day by day, hand to mouth, that it's no wonder that you can't comprehend the big picture!  But Heero's different!  Heero understands what I'm trying to accomplish.  Working together, I know we can make my vision of world peace come true!"

Duo's temper finally snapped.  Feelings of resentment, irritation, and anger at either being totally ignored or being addressed in an infuriatingly condescending manner by Relena finally came to a boil.  

"You think you're the only one with dreams?  The only one with visions of a peaceful future!?  Do you think I've been fighting, sweating, and bleeding just for the friggin' excitement!?"

"How should I know!?  You certainly seem to treat this whole war like it's some damn game!  While you stand around wasting energy making stupid jokes, people are suffering and dying!"

Duo hissed furiously, "Oh, believe me, I know that *all* too well."

At her uncomprehending stare, he shook his head irritably.

"Never mind all that, Relena.  If you haven't noticed, we aren't in our familiar old universe anymore and you're no longer the guiding light of peace *or* the fucking Queen of the World!  New place, new game, new rules.  That means that at the moment, your precious ideas of social superiority means diddly-squat, so cut the holier-than-thou prima donna act.  It's only making me mad and at the moment, that's a BAD thing."

"You have the nerve to talk to me like that!?"

"And if you don't get a grip on yourself and fast, you're going to land both of us in a shitload of trouble!  I know it's hard for you to see past the end of your snooty little nose, but we both happen to be stuck in the bodies of two of the Seiryuu Seishi.  And, may I add, we both happen to be in what I'd consider hostile territory because these damn Kutou nobles and military goons are a pack of sneaky, conniving slimeballs who'd be happy to stab each other in the back at the slightest opportunity!"

"So what are you getting at, Maxwell?" Relena bit out in a low, furious voice.

Duo rolled his eyes.  "All this means that we can't let anybody know that anything weird is going on!  Which means that we have to do our damnest to convince people that it's all business as usual with Nakago and Soi until we figure out HOW the hell we got her and WHAT the fuck is going on!"

Relena gave Duo a narrow-eyed glare and said in a brittle voice, "Let me guess.  You want me to play the dutiful servant, complete with 'LORD Nakago' and the appropriate *deference*?"  Her lips curled in a contemptuous smile.  "You might make fun of me and my supposedly stuck-up airs, but I can see you're going to just ADORE playing the chance to play the high and mighty lord!  Does 'business as usual' includes being your lover?" she added with an angry toss of her head.

Duo stared at her blankly for a moment, then released his grip on her throat.  As she slid gracelessly to the floor, he started with smothered chuckles which soon escalated into outright guffaws of laughter.

"Hah!  I knew I was right!" Relena growled as she picked herself off the ground.

After a few minutes, Duo finally managed to get his laughter under partial control.  

"Sleep with you?  Yo!  Reality calling!"  He leaned against a dresser and said mockingly, "You know, Relena, I always thought that you were a self-centered, egotistical twit, but THAT really takes the cake!"

"What are you babbling about now?" she retorted furiously.

Duo smirked.  "It means that you, Relena Peacecraft, are the absolutely LAST person I would want to have sex with!"

She somehow managed to look both relieved AND offended.  "The last... what's wrong with you?  Don't you like women?  Are you gay or something?" she asked with a slightly disgusted look.

The Deathscythe pilot rolled his eyes in exasperation.  "Nothing's wrong with me and I like females just fine.  I just don't like YOU!"

As he watched Relena give him a slightly baffled frown, Duo sighed and said, "Get this through that dense head of yours, Relena.  I did NOT come up with this idea because I was dying to get under your skirts, okay?  The fewer waves we make, the better.  Now I KNOW you've got access to Soi's memories...."

When Relena grimaced and looked away, Duo snapped, "You take what Soi knows about the local politics and figure out for yourself what will happen if the Emperor and his scumbag court find out that a bunch of people from another world has taken over the bodies of some of the Seiryuu Seishi!"

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Treize waved away the female attendants and set off down the hallway alone.  However, within a minute, someone stormed angrily out of a side corridor and crashed into her, knocking her to the floor.

"Lady Yui!  I'm so sorry!" the red-faced young man blurted as he helped her off the floor.

It took Treize a few seconds to identify the speaker as Suboshi.

"No... I'm fine... really I am," Treize murmured as the young man hovered anxiously over his Miko.  

Suboshi glanced around and scowled.  "Lady Yui, where are your guards?  Or your attendants?"

Treize shrugged nonchalantly and replied with just a touch of temper, "I wasn't in the mood for company."

"But... it's really not safe for you to go roaming about by yourself, my lady!  The Suzaku Seishi have already infiltrated the palace on several occasions.  And of course, who knows what these overdressed court fops might do."

Treize allowed a startled look appear on Yui's face.  "You really think that they would dare to accost the chosen priestess of Seiryuu?"

"This palace is crawling with fools who would dare anything.  Besides, it's better to be safe than sorry.  Please allow me to escort you to Lord Nakago.  You were looking for him, weren't you?" the young man said, nearly falling over himself to be helpful.

Treize sighed inwardly.  (He's definitely developing a crush on Yui.  Just what I need, a lovesick puppy trailing at my heels.)

The OZ general smiled pleasantly and said, "And just where is Lord Nakago?"

Suboshi shrugged.  "From what I heard, he's in Soi's quarters."

"Oh, then I wouldn't want to disturb him...."

"It's not what you think.  For some reason Soi was throwing some sort of fit or tantrum just now.  I'm not sure what's exactly going on.  I was just on my way to find out."

Treize gazed calculatingly at Suboshi, who apparently had not noticed anything abnormal about Yui.  

(Well, I managed to fool him, at least....)

Unfortunately Suboshi was not the most observant of people, especially in his current state of rage and grief from his twin brother's death.  No, the true test would come when she faced Nakago.  

(But I can hardly avoid the leader of Yui's Seishi forever.  I might as well get this meeting over with and find out if Nakago detects anything strange about his Miko....)

Treize gave Suboshi a polite, but distant smile.  

"Very well.  I accept your offer.  There are certain urgent matters I want to discuss with Lord Nakago."

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Relena found herself struggling with an unexpectedly sharp pang of hurt when Nakago -- no, Maxwell -- bluntly told her that he didn't like OR want her.  She told herself that she should feel relieved that Maxwell wasn't interested in pestering or molesting her... but she wasn't.  Instead, his rejection stung worse than a slap in the face.

(No, it's not me!  Those aren't my own feelings, but rather this Soi woman's feelings!  She's the one who's hopelessly infatuated with Nakago... not me.  I couldn't care the least about Nakago OR Maxwell, but why am I feeling this pain... this sorrow?)

She pushed away the disturbing thoughts and said irritably, "Why should YOU be worried, anyway?  We both know how powerful Nakago is.  What could these barbarians do to you even if they did know the truth?  You can just...."  She made a careless, dismissive flick of her hand.  "Goodness knows you've done something similar many times before with that black Gundam of yours!"

Duo spun around and stared at Relena in disbelief.  "What the hell are you talking about, Relena?  Oh sure, if he really wanted to, Nakago could probably take out a good chunk of this palace and probably half the imperial court along with it without breaking a big sweat.  And then I would have the thrill and joy of watching this entire country go down the toilet as it disintegrates into civil war between the surviving nobles.  Do you have ANY idea how many innocent people will die if that happens, Relena?  If the fighting doesn't kill them outright, disease and starvation probably will."

She blinked in surprise, then looked away uncomfortably.  

"I...."

He stalked back toward her and said tightly, "I'd think that you, of all people, would be interested in staying out of trouble and keeping a low profile.  Or does your precious ideas of absolute pacifism only apply to 'civilized' people and not to these barbarians, as you call them?  You wanna risk getting a bunch of people killed just because you're too damn proud to pretend you're Soi, whom I think is a hell of a lot more likable than you are?"

Her growing sense of shame made her retort defensively, "You're... you're just exaggerating....  That's never happened when you've blown up things before!"

"Back home there's exists a strong central government who usually manages to keep things under control.  Things are totally different back here!  The country of Kutou like a house of cards.  The wrong sort of nudge can destroy the fragile balance of power keeps this country in one piece and send everything straight to hell!  And if I can figure that much from a bunch of junior high history courses, I'm sure Miss Super-Hotshot Diplomat Peacecraft can, too... if she can just get her damn butt down off her friggin' ivory tower and take a good hard look around!"

"That comment was entirely uncalled for, Maxwell!  I am very well aware of what can happen in a civil war...!"

"Oooohh, but you didn't expect me to think about things like that, right?  Sorry to destroy your illusions about me, but I happen to be capable of a hell of a lot more than gratuitous mayhem and destruction!  And I'm the first one to admit that blowing things up isn't always the best way to tackle a problem."

Relena opened her mouth to say something, but Duo interrupted her by saying, "As I see it, we have several options."  He lifted one finger.  "First, we can tell the Emperor and everyone else who we really are.  In which case, we'll be lucky if they don't immediately lock us up in the local loony bin which I seriously doubt are up to your standard of modern medical care.  Which leads us to two more choices: (A) give up and rot in prison until they figure out what to do with us; or (B) blow everything to hell as we fight our way free.  I've already told you what could happen if I do that!"

Relena scowled.  "You've made your point!"

Duo held up another finger.  "Second, we can run, but where the hell are we going to run to?  Konan?  After everything's Nakago and the other Seiryuu Seishi have done to those guys, we'll be lucky if they don't try to kill us on sight.  And with this weird divine destiny stuff with summoning Seiryuu and all that, I've got a bad feeling that we wouldn't be able to stay hidden for long, because if the Suzaku Seishi don't come after us, the other Seiryuu Seishi probably will."

She sighed in frustration.  "Damn...."

He held one more finger.  "Third, we can stay put and pretend everything's cool.  Situation normal.  That will at least buy us some time to figure out what the hell's going on before we do anything irreversible."

Relena flung up her hands and yelled, "All right, all right!  You don't have to beat the point into the ground!  I'll play along... for now."

Duo propped his hands on Nakago's hips and said, "Whoa, you're actually showing some common sense!  Listen, Relena, I want to make something absolutely clear, all right?  I don't like you and you don't like me.  However, we're in this mess together.  Which means that I don't care what the hell the provocation is, but you'd damn well better not blow your cover just because people aren't sucking up to you."

She gritted her teeth and retorted, "Don't worry about me!  I should be the one worrying about you, you twit!  You're the one who's always acting like a silly jackass!  You seem to have no concept of self-control!"

He grinned at her, but there was a dangerous edge to that smile.  

"Ah, but that's fun.  THIS is business.  And the fact that Heero is willing to put up with me and my little quirks should give you some idea about just how good I am at this sort of shit."

Relena blinked in surprise.  She was used to Maxwell laughing, joking, and generally acting like a total idiot, but she had never seen him so intensely focused like this.  She belatedly remembered that Duo Maxwell was an expert Gundam pilot AND a trained terrorist like Heero.  She looked away from that unnerving grin and muttered, "Fine."

"That's good, because I've got better things to do than to baby-sit you."

"I can take care of myself!" she snapped without thinking as her temper flared. "No one would dare lay hands on a Seiryuu...."

Duo gave her a mocking smile.  "Sorry, wrong answer, Relena.  SOI can take care of herself.  Oh, you may have her powers, but let me ask you something.  Are YOU willing to use those powers, Ms. Absolute Pacifism?  Do you have the guts to fry a person who's trying to hack your head off with a sword, Relena?  Because you'd better believe me when I tell you that these guys are not going to stop and patiently stand around to listen to your little spiel about the glories of pacifism and turning the other cheek.  That's not how things work around here and you know it!"

"Don't push your luck, Maxwell!  You might just be surprised at what I'm willing to do!" Relena snarled as sparks started to dance along Soi's hand.  However, Duo's calculating smirk stopped Relena cold.

(Why that little bastard... he was deliberately trying to provoke me!) she thought furiously.

"You... you...," she sputtered aloud.

Duo chuckled.  "Wow, you're certainly willing to chuck the pacifism shtick pretty damn quick when it suits your convenience, Relena."

She glowered at him.  "Why on earth did I have to end up with YOU, of all people!  I wish Heero was here!"

"You and me both," muttered Duo.

"Heero understands me!  He would treat me with the respect I deserve!"

"Oh, yeah.  Right... the respect you deserve.  Absolutely...," Duo said with blatant insincerity.  "At least I'm trying to explain what the hell I'm doing, which is more than he would.  Heero would simply tell you to act like Soi or else."

Relena tossed her head.  "You're so blind, Maxwell, it's almost funny.  You have no concept of how Heero feels about me!"

"Oh, can it, Relena.  I don't want to get into that argument again."  

Duo brushed Nakago's long blond hair out of his eyes and added, "Okay, now THAT's settled, why don't we take a walk and discretely check this place out?"

"Fine," she snapped, tapping her foot impatiently.

Duo opened the door only to find Yui and Suboshi standing just outside.  The young Seiryuu seishi had his hand raised as if he had been just about to knock on the door.

(Shit!  Did they hear anything?) Duo wondered anxiously, but his worries were abruptly shoved aside when his eyes met Yui's.  There was an instant flash of semi-recognition.  Perhaps he couldn't immediately identify who was in control of Yui's body, but he was certain that person or entity was from HIS world.

A quick sideways glance at Suboshi told him that the young man was as normal as any grief-stricken, revenge-obsessed teenager could be.  Before the uneasy silence could drag out too long, both Duo and Yui simultaneously spoke up.

"Nakago."
"Lady Yui."

Duo smiled slightly and said smoothly, "I was hoping to talk to you, Lady Yui, about some private matters."

Her lips quirked upward and she replied just as smoothly, "How fortunate.  I had some urgent matters to discuss with you, also."  Yui turned to Suboshi and said, "Thanks for the escort, but I'm sure that Lord Nakago can handle things from here."

Suboshi couldn't quite hide his disappointment at being dismissed.

"Yes... of course.  Then I'll see you later, Lady Yui."  The young man took a few steps, then stopped.  "Lord Nakago, about Tamahome... I would like permission to go after...."

Duo barely managed to keep a poker face as he recalled what Suboshi had done on his last 'little errand'.

(You fucking bastard!  Tamahome's entire family... you brutally murdered a bunch of innocent kids and a sick old man, just for some perverted idea of revenge?)  

With a vaguely threatening smile, Duo said firmly, "No.  I don't want you taking any more action against Tamahome or any of the Suzaku Seishi at the moment.  I have... other plans.  We'll discuss the matter later."

Suboshi scowled, but nodded.  "All right, Lord Nakago.  Later, then.  My lady."

As they all watched the young man disappear down the hallway, Duo spoke for the benefit of any observers.

"Lady Yui, perhaps the garden balcony?"

She nodded, "Yes, that will do nicely."

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A cluster of exceedingly drunk young nobles, newly arrived from the border regions of Kutou, loitered around the palace hallways and generally made a nuisance of themselves.  In a slurred voice, one of the better looking young men said loudly, "Finally some action!  I'll be glad when we move against those damn Konan peasants and that pathetic emperor of theirs!"

Another young man, just a bit more sober than his companion, chuckled and said, "Betcha you can't wait for the chance to grab some loot!  I've never seen anyone with worse luck at dice than you, Enshin."

"Did you have to bring THAT up, Kimako?  I'm starting to think those damn dice were loaded... whoa!"

"What?"  Kimako and the others peered around whoozily.

"Will you look at that guy!"

They all turned to glance in the direction of Enshin's pointing finger and saw a slim, beautiful young man dressed in a high-collared gold embroidered silk tunic and matching pants.  He looked gorgeous, with his long, silky black hair tied back in a high ponytail, except for two thin locks of hair which framed his elegantly boned face.

"Oh, he's a beauty all right...."  Kimako could barely keep himself from drooling at the sight.

"Awww... he looks a bit lonely.  Maybe he's looking for some company, eh?"

Another member of Enshin's group laughed nastily.  "No way!"

"Come on!  Just look at the guy!  He's just asking for it with the way he moves."

"He looks pretty damn cold to me."

"That shows what little you know.  It's the cold ones that burn the hottest on the inside," Enshin said with a knowing smirk.

"You're full of shit, you know that?  Like you could convince someone like that to take a quick tumble in the sheets with you!  Fat chance!"

"You wanna make a small wager on that?" said Enshin with a lecherous grin.

"Sure!  How about that chestnut horse of mine that you've always been after, against that black gelding of yours?"

"Done!"  And with those words, Enshin stalked toward the strikingly attractive young man, his progress only occasionally marred by an intoxicated wobble in his stride.

His companions watched Enshin brazenly introduce himself to the unknown young man.  When the stranger turned to give Enshin a startled look, they could all see that he had strikingly colored amber eyes.

"What are you gentlemen doing now?" barked an annoyed, gravely voice from behind the young border nobles.

They all jumped and turned to see a stern, scar-faced captain of the guard staring at them.

Kimako laughed and said, "Oh nothing much.  We made a small bet on whether Enshin could talk that black-haired guy into having a little... fun, you know."

The guard captain uttered a snort of contempt.  With the possibility of war against Konan, all the bored noble-born brats were flocking to the capital in hopes of some excitement, glory, and easy loot.  He glanced at the persistent Enshin, who was too drunk to notice that his advances were not at all welcome, and frowned.  The black-haired young man that Enshin was pestering seemed oddly familiar, but who was he?

The ponytailed stranger suddenly slapped aside one of Enshin's overly familiar hands.  As soon as the guard captain caught a glimpse of those long, lethally sharp fingernails, he instantly knew the identity of that black-haired young man, even if he wasn't wearing his usual costume, feathered headdress, and face paint.

"Oh bloody hell...," the captain groaned.

"Huh?  What's wrong?" Kimako demanded irritably.

"Do you people have ANY idea who your drunken friend is pissing off at the moment?"

When all he got was a bunch of blank looks, the captain snapped, "That's Lord Tomo, of the Seiryuu Seishi!"

"Err... is that supposed to mean something to us?" one of Enshin's companions muttered in a bored voice.

Recalling Lord Tomo's particularly nasty ways of dealing with annoyances, the guard captain rolled his eyes and muttered, "You have NO idea how much trouble you and that fool Enshin are in...."

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At that moment, Quatre was trying to restrain the almost overwhelming urge to do something a lot more damaging to the drunken nobleman, who was doing a pretty good imitation of an amorous octopus, than merely knocking those groping hands away.

Permanently trapping the disgusting drunkard in an agonizing illusion of boiling lava sounded pretty good... on the other hand, actually disemboweling the fool had its attractions....

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As Nakago -- or whoever he really was -- escorted Treize down the hall, the Shogun casually called back to Soi and said, "Attend us."

Treize noticed that Soi -- or whoever SHE happened to be -- barely managed to suppress an angry snarl.

"Of course, Lord Nakago," the female Seishi muttered between gritted teeth.

The three of them walked in silence until they reached the small platform that overlooked one of the many imperial gardens.  Treize found that Yui remembered the location all too well.  It was from this vantage point that she and Nakago had observed Tamahome, acting under the mind-warping influence of the Kodoku, as he had nearly beaten the red-haired Suzaku Seishi to death.

Nakago stared at Treize, who calmly stared back.  Neither gave anything away.  Finally, Soi muttered irritably, "This isn't getting us anywhere.  Just WHO are you?"

Treize sighed, then saw the impish grin on Nakago's face.

(Where have I seen that smile before...?)  The OZ general suddenly chuckled and said aloud, "Maxwell.  Duo Maxwell.  The pilot of Gundam 02, the infamous Deathscythe."

"Well, you know who the hell I am.  Mind returning the favor?" Duo said.

Treize sighed and raked Yui's hand through her short hair.  "Treize Khushrenada".

Duo started to snicker.

Glaring at Duo, Treize muttered, "I'm so glad you find this amusing, Maxwell."  He glanced at Soi.  "And who are you?"

"That's Relena Peacecraft," the Gundam pilot said with a chuckle.

Treize blinked in surprise.  "Ms. Peacecraft?  What on earth are you doing here?"

Duo followed up by asking, "Hey, that's right!  How the hell did you end up with us?  Now I know that the general here was at the weapons lab when that wacko's experiment blew, but you were nowhere near the place so how did you...."

Relena shuffled Soi's feet as her cheeks turned bright red with embarrassment.

Duo suddenly dropped his now-blond head into his hands.  "Oh crap, let me guess.  I bet you were following Heero.  But how did you find out... no, I don't think I wanna know."

The Gundam pilot turned back to Treize and said, "So now what?"

Treize shrugged Yui's shoulders.  "I think you've come to the same conclusion that I have.  Given the situation here in Kutou, it's best if we all pretend nothing unusual is going on."

Duo nodded slowly.

"And since we're now stranded in this strange new world, it seems rather pointless to continue to act as enemies."

After a thoughtful moment, Duo grinned and said, "Okay.  Truce?"

"Exactly."  

"Fine by me.  Like I was just telling Relena, we're all in this mess together."  Duo scowled at Treize and added in threatening tones, "But if you try to double-cross me...."

Treize gazed somberly at Duo.  "I could say that you'll just have to trust me, and leave it at that.  However, I will be frank with you.  I'm in a painfully vulnerable position right now.  Yui may be the priestess of Seiryuu, but she doesn't have any of the special offensive powers that her Seishi have.  And although Nakago had convinced her otherwise, Yui doesn't have any real authority with either the military or the imperial court, either.  In short, without Nakago's backing and protection, there's not bloody much she or I can do."

Duo chuckled.  "I'm sure someone with your sneaky mind didn't have any problems figuring out how Nakago's been 'handling' his Miko."

Treize quirked an eyebrow and murmured, "I have a bit more experience at this sort of game than a confused and traumatized schoolgirl."

"Uh huh.  Well, don't worry.  You deal honestly and in good faith with me and I'll do the same with you, okay?  At least until we figure out a way out of this mess."  Under his breath, Duo muttered, "If we can...."

"My word on it," Treize responded solemnly.  

Obviously annoyed at being ignored by both Treize and Duo, Relena interrupted their conversation by saying, "If both you and Maxwell here, that means whatever happened to us might have happened to other people at the lab!"  When Duo failed to react, she snapped, "Don't you understand?"  Heero might be here!"  She grabbed Duo's arm and said, "We have to search for him!  Right now!"

Duo said evenly, "Believe me, I'm very much aware that Heero could be stuck somewhere in this world, too.  However, let's deal with our own situation first before we go running off on some half-assed search!"

"But...."

Treize said firmly, "Maxwell's quite right, especially since we have absolutely no idea if Heero Yuy's on this world at all, much less where he might be.  He's a resourceful young man.  I'm sure he can take care of himself for the moment."

"Ohhh!  Of course you men WOULD stick together!"

"Men indeed."  The OZ general smiled sourly, then eyed Nakago's tall, broad-shouldered and undeniably masculine body.  "I must say that I think you got the better deal body-wise, Maxwell."

The grin vanished from Nakago's face as Duo said somberly, "I... wouldn't exactly say that."

Treize asked sharply, "What do you mean by that?"

Duo made a vague gesture. "Well, this Nakago guy isn't exactly what you'd call 'normal', you know...."  His voice stopped short as he stiffened, then turned around sharply.

"Maxwell, what...."

Duo made a sharp, silencing gesture.  "I felt a presence... there's an intruder or intruders on the grounds.  Damn it, something's here.  And it's hostile."

"How on earth can you tell?" Relena said in a skeptical voice.

"I can sense it... or rather, Nakago can.  You could probably feel it yourself if you'd only pay attention to what Soi's power is trying to tell you," Duo snapped.

Relena scowled at him, then an uneasy look appeared on her face.  But before she could say anything, a murderous hail of silvery darts exploded from a thicket of trees below and hurtled straight for the priestess of Seiryuu.

There was a flare of blue as the projectiles slammed into the protective barrier that Duo had reflexively cast with disturbingly casual ease.  As the razor-edged shards clattered harmlessly onto the roof tiles of the palace, Duo instantly counter-attacked with a series of energy blasts.

Without taking his eyes off the gardens below, Duo spoke in an unmistakable tone of command.

"Soi, gather the guards and locate the intruders."

Relena blinked and sputtered, "You want me to WHAT!?"

When Duo turned his head to glare at her, the glowing blue symbol on his forehead -- or rather, on Nakago's forehead -- was plainly visible.

"Someone has dared to attack the priestess of Seiryuu.  I want the intruders and I want them alive for questioning.  Now.  That's an order, Soi," he said in an unnervingly calm voice.

The look in his blue eyes sent a chill down Relena's spine.  Before she could stop herself, Relena found herself stammering, "A-At once, Lord Nakago!"  And with those words, she allowed Soi's memories and instincts to guide her as she ran back inside and started shouting for the guards to accompany her.

As the palace guards poured out into the garden in pursuit of the mysterious assassins, Treize focused his attention on Duo.  The OZ general had the unhappy feeling that he now understood what Duo had been talking about just before the attack, because at that moment, Treize had no idea just who was standing next to him on that balcony and coolly observing the hectic activity on the ground with a dangerous, almost sinister little smile on his face.  

Who was in control?

Was it Duo Maxwell, the pilot of Deathscythe?

Or was it Lord Nakago of the Seiryuu Seishi?

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The Full Disclaimer
All rights and privileges to Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing are trademarks and property of Sunrise, Bandai, Sotsu Agency, and associated parties. All rights and privileges to Fushigi Yuugi and all characters are created by Watase Yuu and are property of and owned by Flower Comics, Shogakukan, Studio Pierot, Bandai Visual, TV Tokyo, and Movic. The characters of these works are used WITHOUT permission for the purpose of entertainment only.  This work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.
Original portion of the fiction included here is considered to be the sole property and copyrighted to the author.
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