A Holiday of Death and Demons
Disclaimers: Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing copyright Sunrise, Bandai, Sotsu Agency; Yuu Yuu Hakusho copyright Yoshihiro Togashi, Shue Isha Fuji TV., Studio Pierrot
Heero stumbled as he climbed off Botan's oar, looking as green as the ubiquitous tank top he was wearing. Wufei, also weaving on his feet, caught a hold of him for support and found himself the leaned-upon as much as the lean-ee. Heero could no more stand without support than he could. Both of them glared across at Botan who was smiling happily as she patted Quatre on the shoulder while he and Trowa stumbled towards the flight of stairs that rose from the sand they were standing on. Heero weighed the pros and cons and decided that they had the right idea and stumbled his way towards the stairs, half-dragging half being dragged by Wufei. They fell into a vaguely sitting-like position on the steps and began to draw in deep breaths, hoping to settle the nausea that was still churning in their stomachs.
Heero glared at Botan some more, resenting the ease with which she caused this sensation that had long been buried amongst the memories of his training. There should have been nothing that could have forced him to this state, especially when he considered his zero-g training. But, somehow, this, this girl - even if she was older than he was - had done it.
Now she had the gall to stand there smiling while they waited for their stomachs to calm and their knees to stop shaking enough to walk.
And then she began talking. He didn't think it was possible for his day to get worse. First a battle, followed by running and hiding, then the revelation that Duo had parents and the trip to the Reikai. The only thing that could possibly save the day would be death. At least then he wouldn't have to deal with any more.
Then it occurred to him that he was in the Reikai. Could one die here?
"Welcome to the Reikai! Please make yourself at home while you're here, I'll have rooms prepared for you and I'm sure Duo-chan will give you a tour."
Heero looked around at the wide-open space that was the Reikai, with its blue sky and the sparkling river that flowed past their feet. White puffy clouds drifted past and sunlight bathed everything in a golden glow, even if there was no sun to be seen, per se. He turned his head and looked up the flight of stairs they were still sprawled on and took in the large fortress that stood there, across the width of a raised walkway, gates thrown wide open and the sound of business and fun drifted through it.
He recalled all those times when he tried to self- destruct, it matching his philosophy of not being deserving of life, and felt like banging his head against a wall. If he'd known Death was like this, he would never have even considered it, let alone tried. Maybe he should have listened to Duo when he'd mentioned that he wouldn't like Death.
Wufei, next to him, bravely struggled to his feet and stood, a little shakily but there was enough stability for he, Quatre and Trowa to give it a go.
Soon they were all standing and Botan led them up the stairs and into the fortress that, she mentioned, was the Reikai office, and all the Dead passed through it for processing before passing on to their new life or whatever it was they were destined for.
They encountered the first office worker as they passed through the door, and Quatre stumbled back a few steps as the green ...Thing... bared it's teeth in his face. There was a scramble for guns until they noticed Botan introducing them to it and they realised it had been a smile. Heero shuddered inwardly and wondered what they'd got themselves into. Or, more precisely, what Duo had got them into.
There were more Things - creatures - around the next corner and then they entered a room full of them.
Heero frowned at the incongruity and just plain wrongness of demons acting the parts of office-workers, running frantically to and fro with stacks of paper. Demons, at the very least, were meant to down a few bodies, follow with a few souls and laugh it off before heading off to battle a kami, another demon or something.
What he found worst, however, was the huge, orange demon that waved to them, blinking myopically while he sat at a typewriter in a shirt and tie, thick spectacles perched on the end of his snout.
Then a familiar voice broke through the daze he had fallen into.
They entered a private office before anything else was said and found their erstwhile friend standing in front of a large desk, stacked with piles of paper. Heero frowned as he ran through the past few moments and realised Duo had disappeared before they'd perched themselves on Botan's oar. A low growl emerged from his throat. Traitor.
"Duo, I know what you've been doing and I know why, you don't have to explain it to me. But how could you leave like that when you knew how busy things were!? I've a mind to take a vacation and leave you in charge."
Heero blinked, then did it again. No, he was still there and the voice... the voice...
He checked once again to make sure the person sitting behind the desk really was that short, that his voice really was that high and that Duo had really addressed him as Otousama. Then he blinked again and tugged on Wufei's sleeve.
"Is that a-a baby?"
Which had the effect of drawing the said baby's attention to him. The bright golden irises clashed with his blue ones and there was a pause before they moved on to Botan where she stood next to him.
"I thought I asked you to warn me before they got here," he whined around the small blue globe of the pacifier that sat in his mouth.
Botan blinked and shrugged. Duo sighed and sat himself down on the edge of the desk, grinning down at the infant who had decided it was his turn to get glared at and swinging his legs back and forwards.
"Otousama, these are the Gundam pilots, Heero, Wufei, Quatre and Trowa. Guys, this is my father, Koenma."
Silence echoed through the room as the four pilots struggled to accept the statement impassively. They came close, but from the amused expressions on Duo and Botan's faces and the irritation on Koenma's it seemed they hadn't quite managed it.
Heero turned his gaze back to Duo so as not to offend the God of Death any more than he already had and allowed his amused bewilderment to metamorphose back into rage. Heero hadn't been off balance in years and having felt it twice within an hour decided he didn't like it, which meant that Duo was going to pay.
But before he could begin to think of a suitable means of revenge a knock sounded on the door, it swung open and four people walked in.
A short redhead entered the room carrying a tray of steaming teacups, a smile on her face and an intelligent sparkle in her green eyes. She was flanked by a short black-haired male, dressed in black, with an aura of palpable darkness and power surrounding him. On the redhead's other side was a taller male with long black hair tied loosely at his nape and midnight blue markings scrawled across his cheeks. He carried with him an even greater aura of power, though there was less darkness swirling around him. The fourth person was the tallest and least human of the lot. He stood about seven feet high, with long silver hair, golden eyes, furry ears sticking from the top of his head and a bushel of tails. Another person, Heero noted, with large amounts of power, though his was far colder than that belonging to the two black-haired men and he shivered. For some reason, he found himself more terrified of the less powerful, but much harder, creature.
Then his attention was pulled away from the three males as the redhead's eyes fell on Duo.
Heero watched as the clearly intelligent girl's eyes widened at the site of the psuedo-American then glazed over into dreaminess. She immediately set about stumbling over her own two feet, sending the tray of tea flying directly towards the braided boy who's eyes had the chance to widen before he was drenched. The redhead's loss of balance caused her to take a few drunken steps forwards before she crashed face first into Duo's lap, sending a few tall stacks of paper crashing to the floor.
Instead of reacting the way Heero thought he would - with a yell followed by the immediate need to get away from the girl and cool remove the moisture from his clothes and skin - Duo merely raised his hands and dropped his face into them, muttering through clenched teeth.
"Oh dear. Hinageshi..." Botan rushed over to the redhead, assisting her into a standing position and holding her elbow to keep her legs from giving out. The remainder of the room's occupants, minus the Gundam pilots, sweat dropped.
"Hn. Baka," proclaimed the shorter male, folding his arms across his chest and trying his hardest not to laugh.
Koenma, mood having changed rather rapidly, was snickering to himself and was joined by the taller black- haired man. The non-human merely arched an eyebrow in amusement and looked around in smug superiority.
Duo straightened away from the desk and grimaced in pain and discomfort, before glaring at his father and his companion in mirth and whining, "Do you have to do that?"
Hinageshi bowed her head, blushing furiously and stood penitently before Koenma's desk, body turned towards Duo. "I'm sorry, Koenmako-sama," she whispered, keeping her eyes fastened firmly on the floor and her hands clasped in front of her.
Botan sighed and patted Hinageshi on the shoulder, murmured assurances at Duo and turned a rather stern gaze on Koenma and the other man. Each caught the orchid glance and sputtered to silence, not willing to risk whatever Botan was threatening with those eyes.
Heero also kept his peace, mostly because he wasn't sure whether he could keep from laughing manically or screaming.
===Owari, Part Two===