Gundam Wing Fan Fiction / Outlaw Star Fan Fiction / Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Fan Fiction / Zoids Fan Fiction ❯ All Death's Children ❯ Chapter 8

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Notes: I'm taking artistic license with Hanmyo's "origin", so probably everything you read is false. But it COULD'VE happened. Write a fic if it makes you feel better. Or maybe I will… ^_^

Chapter 8

Hanmyo decided that she liked the boy with the strange hair and the violet eyes. He seemed like the kind of person people were drawn to, a friend you could tell anything and everything to.

He'd apologized over and over for having to shackle her hands and feet, saying that her spirit energy hadn't stabilized yet and that made her dangerous-to others and herself. But he'd agreed to stay and explain things to her. He'd told her about her powers, why she was needed there, and why she couldn't control how she felt.

"Your powers thrive on negative emotions, Hanmyo. Normally, you'd just draw strength from enemies and their fear and hatred of you. But as an Anten assassin, you've been exposed to countless victims with such feelings. It's incredibly lucky that we were even able to restrain you."

"And…what about myself?" Hanmyo asked quietly. "Can I feed off my own negative emotions?"

Yugi looked puzzled. "I'm not sure. Why?"

"It's just…right after I died…it was like my eyes were opened. I saw things so clearly, for the very first time. And…and it scared me."

"Scared you?"

She nodded. "Hitorega…I always just thought he didn't really have a heart, that he only respected me because I could destroy. I didn't know that he loved me and was proud of me, because…because I was…his daughter…"

"He never told you?" Yugi asked softly.

Hanmyo shook her head. "I always thought my parents had abandoned me. But now that I've had time to think about it, I know exactly who they are. There's only one woman that could be my mother, but she hates Hitorega…with a passion. So either he did something to hurt her after I was born, or…or…"

"Your conception wasn't a mutual decision?" Yugi reached over and squeezed her hand lightly.

Hanmyo nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. "I could understand why she wouldn't want me. I mean, she had a reputation. It wouldn't look right if an assassin had a family. They'd be too vulnerable. But what I can't understand is why he felt the need to force her to have me. Because of what he's done, my mother will never be able to look at me without remembering how much he hurt her…and she'll probably hate me even more because I'm all the family she has left…"

"You truly are the Mourning Rose, Hanmyo. But take comfort in the fact that you are like you mother in one respect. You will never again be too weak, powerless to stop those that would harm you. From now on, you control your fate, walk your own path, design your own personal destiny. That much you should be happy about."

"I guess," Hanmyo said, smiling through her tears. "So. Who do I have to thank for all this new-found freedom and awareness?"

Yugi smiled warmly. "His name," he said, "is Vega Obscura, the Dark Prince, and future King of the Dead. Quite a nice boy, actually, but a bit tied up at the moment."

* * * * *

"Wakey-wakey, my little one. There's someone here to see you."

Hotaru slowly opened her eyes, not surprised to see Washu leaning over her. "Did it work? Is Vega safe?"

Washu chuckled. "Well, if you consider snoring all over my patient safe, then yes, I suppose he is."

Hotaru then noticed a very familiar head of long, dark hair resting on her right arm.

"I booted him out so I could take care of you, and the instant I was done, he was all over me, demanding to know if you were really okay." She snorted. "As if I, the universe's greatest genius scientist, couldn't overcome a silly little thing like death. REALLY, the nerve of some doubters…"

"I think I had something to do with it, too," Hotaru reminded her with a small smile.

"Yes, well, HE doesn't know that, does he?" Washu asked.

"No," Hotaru replied softly. "But he will."

"Guess that's my cue." Washu faded from sight.

Hotaru reached over and ran her fingers through Vega's hair. "Hey, you. I'd like my arm back."

Vega's eyes snapped open at once, and from the way he jumped up, Hotaru thought he might grab her and never let go. Instead, Vega looked as if he was purposely holding himself back. It seemed to be quite a task, too.

"Hotaru," he said quietly after a few seconds. "You're…okay?"

"I am. And you?"

"Very, very relieved." He sighed. "I…I don't think I've ever been that scared before." His eyes narrowed. "WHY did you do that?!"

Hotaru looked surprised. "What?"

"Jump between me and Hitorega! You…well, obviously you're okay, but still…you really could've been hurt! Or WORSE!"

"Is that concern in your voice, Vega?" she teased.

"What I feel for you," Vega said evenly, his heart in his words, "is so far beyond concern that it frightens me. And I know I've been a jerk lately, but that's no excuse to go throwing your life away for me when-"

"It was a calculated risk," Hotaru interrupted quietly, looking away.

Vega paused. "That implies that you not only knew the limits Hitorega's power, but that your own were even greater. Is that accurate so far?"

Hotaru swallowed noisily. "Yes."

"Which also implies that you weren't in any real danger."

"Oh, no. I was very much in danger," Hotaru corrected. "I actually died. But that's what happens when I take mortal wounds in my lesser form."

"So…you're dead. Again." Vega seemed to be taking this fairly well.

"No. I'm alive. Just…mortal. Powerless. Vulnerable. Like I was when Hitorega-"

"I was there," Vega said quickly.

"Yes, you were," Hotaru agreed. "Vega…if you're ready to stop guessing, I'd like to tell you…my secret. What I wouldn't tell you before."

"May I assume that afterwards, we can go back to being best friends?"

"Yes. That is, if you still want to after you hear this."

Vega steeled himself. "Okay. Let's hear it."

Hotaru nodded. "The queen has been training me…because I'm the only one left who can do what she does. It's why you can't detect all of my power, or what it can do, and I know you've been trying. The thing is, most people are just meant to be born, live, and then die. Certain ones do all that more than once. I've done it…always. And I will do it endlessly. Because the cycle never ends with me. I'm meant to take the queen's place when she can't do this anymore." Hotaru took a deep breath. "I'm Death. Or I will be, once her term is up. There will be no others after me. That's why it's so important that I be ready when the time comes."

Vega blinked. "Wow. Didn't see that coming."

"Well, all of it's true. Can you see now why I couldn't tell you?"

"I guess so. And I wondered how you'd explain dying in my arms…"

"I was trying to save you. I didn't WANT to die on you. Literally, anyway."

"So…the missing hole in my chest. That was you?"

Hotaru smiled. "Yes. That's…a gift outside of the whole Death thing. Something I'd have even if I wasn't the next queen."

"I'm glad you told me all this, really." Vega frowned. "But that still doesn't tell me WHY you took the hit for me."

"Vega Obscura. Do you mean to stand there and tell me I gave up a life for you and you don't even have the faintest idea WHY?" Hotaru pouted. "I could HIT you. In fact, I think I will. Once I'm feeling stronger, anyway."

"So it's true, then. What Washu said."

Hotaru's eyes widened.

"Um…I mean what she IMPLIED. Unknowingly, most likely…"

"Washu doesn't do ANYTHING unknowingly, Vega."

"But…is it true?"

Hotaru sighed. "Yes, it is. And I don't care if you don't feel the same way, because it won't change anything."

"That's…good, then," Vega replied. "Because as much as I care about you, Hotaru, as much as I…love…you, I'm not…"

"In love with me?"

"Yes. Uh, I mean, no. Well…"

"I know what you mean," Hotaru added helpfully, and a bit sadly.

"Oh." Vega felt the need to say something. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be. The heart wants what it wants. Not your fault."

"And you…still want to be friends? Won't that be hard for you?"

Hotaru shook her head. "You saw what I was like away from you. THAT was hard."

Vega winced. "Sorry. I didn't like it, either."

"Good. Because I don't plan on letting it happen again. I'm going to be around so much that you'll be sick of me."

Vega grinned and raised her hand to his lips. "Not possible."

Hotaru blushed-and then shrieked as something black and furry landed on her head.

"It's just Oscuro," Vega said quickly. "I couldn't have saved you without his help."

"Really?" Hotaru lifted the cabbit off her head and held him up to her face. "Were you worried about me, Oscuro?"

Oscuro snorted and looked away.

"Deny it all you want, stubborn thing. I know you love me." Hotaru gently kissed Oscuro's forehead.

"Hey, I helped, too!" Vega pointed out.

Hotaru giggled. "You already used up your kiss."

* * * * *

Zero stared up at the Ernn Laties, not moving an inch.

Presently, a feathery soft touch caressed his cheek. "You've done well here, Rei. But you must come home. Come back to us. Come back…to me…Rei…"


Zero spun around, coming face to face with Washu.

"What are you thinking?" she asked, tilting her head slightly.

"I…I just…"

"Need to go home?" Washu guessed.

"I…yes, but…"

"You'll be missed," Washu said. "But this is just a stepping stone for you. You're needed back home, aren't you? You've still got things to do there…people to love and fight for. It'd be wrong to stay."

"How do you DO that?!" Zero asked.

Washu grinned. "I know what I need to know, Zero Enna. That's always been more than enough."

* * * * *

The queen gave Duo and Heero curious looks. "I think," she said at last, "that Vega will become very important to this team once I'm gone."

"How important?" Duo asked.

"That," Death replied with a smile, "will be up to our little Firefly. She's a big girl now, Duo, and smarter than you may think."

"She can't go risking her life for every cute boy she likes!"

"But was it really a risk?" the queen asked, her eyes sparkling. "Do you really think Hitorega could've destroyed a force so ancient, so powerful, so cunning that it has yet to be stopped for good? With each life she loses, Hotaru grows stronger. She is weak now, but once her powers return, you'll be ready to kneel before her. And one day, perhaps soon, you will…"

* * * * *

Yugi raised his glass. "Long live the King."

Vega reddened slightly. "You don't have to keep calling me that."

"Where I come from, when a man did something worthwhile, he was respected for it. Even more so if the man was one of importance."

"I'm not important," Vega said, staring into his glass. "I'm just a kid that loves to fight."

Yugi chuckled. "Duo said almost the exact same thing when the queen first approached him."

"And you think I'm meant to be like him?"

"I think you're meant to stand beside him and Heero when Hotaru ascends. But what do I know? I'm just a simple fortune teller…"

"No mere fortune teller could've captured the Rose, Yugi."

"She has a name you know. A rather pretty one, I'd say."

Vega nodded. "It's just…it's hard to think of her as human. When you showed me that hologram, I almost thought she was a bird or something. The way she moved was…amazing."

Yugi smiled. "I have some gifts for you. I was going through my deck today, and realized that I had two extra magic cards." He held out the cards.

Vega hesitantly took them. "Spirit Self? Royal Rage?"

"Spirit Self allows your spirit energy to take the form it's most comfortable with. That's where the Berserk Fury in the park came from. Royal Rage is only accessible to those of royalty. It's gotten me out of several jams, but I don't need to tell you about that."

Vega stared at the cards. "Thanks, Yugi. I don't think I've ever really gotten a gift before."

"What need do you have of gifts, Vega? Your own are quite considerable enough without help."

Just then, the door opened.

Vega looked up. "Zero. What is it?"

Zero smiled, but it seemed to be forced. "Good news and bad news, partner. The good news is, they say you're the next big thing around here now."

Vega stood up. "And the bad?"

Zero's smile faltered. "I won't be here to see it. I'm going home."

* * * * *

Hanmyo could not recall ever being more nervous. Yugi had told her she was to be the new partner of the future King of the Dead. She was wondering if the number of lives she'd snuffed out at Hazanko's command had anything to do with it.

But Yugi had made Vega sound like a great warrior, a king among kings.

She was not expecting a boy.

But as the door slid open, that was exactly what she found herself with.

Vega started into the room, not having seen her. It was, after all, his room, and he didn't expect anyone to be there. Then he noticed her sitting on the bed and stopped.

Hanmyo stood up. "They tell me…I'm to be your new partner. Because Zero's leaving."

Vega said nothing, and his face revealed no emotion at all.

"I…I know I can't replace him. But I'll do my best to make sure you never lose another partner. You won't have to worry about me; I'll take care of myself."

"Do you like to dance?" Vega asked abruptly.

Hanmyo blinked. "Yes…"

Vega stepped to the side. "Go ahead. Dance."

Hanmyo's cheeks flushed slightly. "For…you?"

He shrugged. "More for yourself than anyone else."

Hanmyo stepped forward and closed her eyes. Soon, she began to hear the music, music only she could hear, because it was hers. She gradually began to move, only swaying slightly at first, and then, without warning, she leaped.

There was simply no other word for it, Vega decided as she cleared his head-and kept going up.

She was like a thing possessed, but a thing of light, beauty, and grace. Faster and faster she went, until she was little more than a pink blur at times.

Hanmyo found herself smiling, and soon she was laughing out loud, just because she'd found herself-in the dance-again. She twirled and took a final leap, spinning like a top as she closed her eyes and stretched out to land.

Seconds later, strong arms wrapped around her waist, and she felt the impact of a thin but athletic frame bouncing off her front. Slowly, she opened her eyes, finding her face inches away from Vega's. He looked for all the world as if he'd just seen a ghost.

"You're beautiful," he said at last, his tone conveying awe.

"Is that a pick-up line?" she asked, sounding amused.

"No," he replied firmly, reaching up to stroke her cheek with his thumb. "That's a fact."

Hanmyo pressed his hand to her cheek and closed her eyes. "Promise me."


"That I'll never have to feel totally alone again."

There was a pregnant pause.

Hanmyo shivered in anticipation when Vega finally spoke.

"I promise…that I'll never leave you, my Mourning Rose."

It seemed like the most natural thing in the world for Vega to lean forward and cover her lips with his own. Even when her arms slid around his neck, he never doubted for a moment that it was meant to be.

When he finally pulled away, there was no after-image of Hotaru's face fading to reveal Hanmyo's.

There was only Hanmyo.

"What was that?" she asked, trying to catch her breath.

"Fate," Vega said simply before she silenced him in her own way.

* * * * *

Next Time: Zero goes home, Vega witnesses Hotaru's true form, and Hanmyo is attacked by that true form.