Warnings: shonen ai at best
Pairings: will be 1x2, 3x4
Category: AU, action/adventure, fantasy, romance
Author: Arigatomina

Without the Moon

Part 3

"Your highness, I don't understand why you didn't destroy the boy. You drained him completely, he should have died." Frowning, Une turned to the tall man.

Seated on a crystal throne, Zechs smirked as the woman's eyes moved to him. "No, I didn't. It's true that I drained him as much as the dark crystal could, but he still had power."

"But surely not enough to fight you, your highness. I just don't understand why you don't kill him. You've had plenty of oportunities, yet you've brought him to the other scouts. Why would you *do* that?"

"Lady Une, it isn't your place to question me." Seeing the woman quickly bow in appology, he smiled. "But I don't blame you. My reason is simple, I don't want him dead."

"But Zechs, you take an awful risk uniting our enemies like that." Raising a hand when the white-haired man looked at her, Noin moved to stand beside Une. "I know how you feel about Saturn, but surely you could have taken him by now."

"I had planned to," Zechs said, glaring suddenly, "but the other scouts showed up. If I'd known he was so strong I wouldn't have wasted all of that time toying with him." Anger calming, he smiled. "Besides, I enjoy the chase." Standing, he raised a hand, "Treiz, I need your assistance."

The air shimmered as a man appeared. Dressed in a black cloak, his short red-brown hair glinted in the light as his split eyebrows lowered. "Your highness, I sense more enemies drawing near. No, I believe they are already here but they haven't shown themselves yet."

"More?" Eyes narrowing, Une glared at Zechs. //That fool, he'd risk everything for that boy. He's more focused on him than on the plan.// "Are they formidable?"

Glancing at Une, Treiz nodded. "I have no certainty, but as scouts they will increase the difficulty of our operation. It will be much harder wipe our opposition out now."

"How many more?" Zechs asked, not bothered by the gloomy forcast.

"Four. That will make nine scouts. While the four I sense are no where near as strong as the five we've seen, they may not have come into their power yet. Your highness, we must act now."

"I had planned to, but this means my plans will have to be sped up." Sitting again, he looked up when he felt a light hand on his arm, meeting Noin's gaze.

"Send me, Zechs. I will destroy them for you, and, if you wish, I will spare Saturn."

Seeing the woman's concern, Zechs sighed and shook his head. "No, it hasn't come to that yet. Don't worry, Noin, if it becomes necessary you will get your chance."

"But Zechs, what do you plan to do?"

Smiling, he shook his head. "You'll see. I intend to be there myself, feel free to join me."

Glaring at the two, Une glanced at Treiz, their eyes locking. //They'll be destroyed together, little good their friendship will do them then. And I will remain.// Seeing Treiz nod slightly, Une glanced at the prince again. "Your highness, do you require my service?"

"Not now, Une, go on and get some rest. If things don't go as planned you may need it."

"Yes, your highness."

* * *

"Well guys, this is my cat." Setting Shinigami on the table, Duo sat on the couch as the four boys looked at the cat. Glancing at the boys one at a time, Shinigami nodded his head. "He talks," Duo said when Quatre looked at him. "Say something, Shi-chan," Duo said, poking the cat and causing it to turn and glare at him.

Looking back at the boys, Shinigami glared at Duo again. "Something."

"He has a much better sense of humor than Wing," Quatre laughed. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Shi-chan."

"It's Shinigami," the cat said, throwing another glare at the grinning violet-eyed boy before looking to Quatre. "The name's too long for him to remember."

"Isn't he cute?" Duo said lightly, sarcasm dripping off his words. Introducing the boys, Duo frowned, about to ask them something when Shinigami beat him to it.

Taking a step toward the blonde boy, the cat tilted its head. "Which scout are you?"

Wondering if the cat felt like he did when he had to look up at Trowa, Quatre slid off the chair to sit cross-legged on the floor. At Shinigami's eye level, he smiled. "I'm Neptune, Trowa's Uranus, Wufei is Pluto and Heero is Earth. Duo says the other scouts are the inner scouts, why isn't Heero an inner scout?"

"Well, I guess he would be except his power is greater than the inner scouts." Glancing at the boy in question, Shinigami's eyes narrowed for a second before he looked back to Quatre quickly. "The fact that he's a boy also made me hesitate to label him with the girls."

"How do you know so much?" Wufei asked. He normally would have felt strange talking to a cat, but after being around Heero's cat and it's domineering manner, he was used to it.

Turning to the boy, Shinigami sniffed. "How do you turn into a scout? My knowledge comes from the same place as my ability to talk. I'm sorry I can't say more."

"Tell us about the girls," Trowa said, "Do you know how strong they are?"

"Well, as far as I can tell, their power is significantly less than yours, but combined...the four of them can help a great deal."

"By your powers combined," Duo murmured, wincing when Shinigami whirled abruptly and gave him a sharp jab in the leg. "Itai, I was just kidding. Damn Shi-chan, that hurt."

"Act your age," the cat said, tone disapproving. Turning back, he looked at the boys. "As I was saying, the girls could help us. If they haven't learned about their powers, you should reveal yourselves and explain it to them. There isn't much time."

"Forget it," Wufei said, tone firm. "We don't need their help."

"Wufei, we can't say that for sure," Quatre argued, knowing he wasn't going to change the boy's mind. "All it takes is for us to lose once. If we're strong enough now, then we don't have to worry, but if we're not." Shaking his head, he nodded to the cat. "It's better to have as much strength as possible."

"I won't reveal myself to them," Wufei ground out, eyes narrowing to slits. "If we are defeated...*if*...then I will listen to you. Until then, say nothing to them. I am serious, Quatre."

Sighing, Quatre looked down. Feeling a hand on his shoulder, he looked up to see Trowa's reasonable gaze on him. With another sigh, he turned back to the cat. "We'll do as Wufei said."

"I don't think they'll send their strongest fighters just yet," Shinigami said, "so there should be some time left."

"Heero, you haven't said anything."

Turning sharply, Heero met Quatre's gaze. "I have no arguments."

* * *

"Duo, are you still mad at me for scratching you?"

Looking up in surprise when Shinigami leapt onto the table, Duo grinned. "Of course not. But you gotta admit, it was a pretty good joke, neh? I mean, think about it. Planet power, Captain Planet. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. Besides, I was kinda hoping to lighten the mood a bit."

"I suppose it's just as well, if you were to get depressed I wouldn't know *what* to do." Folding his legs beneath him, the cat watched Duo eat, head resting on his front paws. "Are you still worried about what happened at lunch?"

"Well, I do feel responsible. I mean, if I hadn't talked to them they probably wouldn't have come to the table. I still feel bad about Quatre's taking off like that." Shaking his head, Duo took a quick bite out of his sandwich. "Although it was worth it to see how quickly Trowa went after him. I *thought* there was something between those two."

"Duo, there's something I haven't told you." Tilting his head, the cat gave a smile, whiskers twitching. "Something I noticed today."

"What?" Duo asked, eyes wide. "Come on, Shi-chan, don't tease me."

"Well, I don't think you have to worry about their liking you. I noticed that someone was watching you almost the entire time we were over there."

"Wha...? Who? Tell me."

Standing, Shinigami twitched his tail as he gave the closest thing he had to a smirk. "Heero."

"No way! Are you serious? Wait, was he glaring at me? If so, then that doesn't count because he's always glaring at me." Preparing himself for disappointment, Duo held his breath. Silence met him. "Well?!"

"He wasn't glaring. In fact, I'd say he was watching you smile." Shaking his head when Duo grinned, Shinigami rolled his eyes. //He's rubbing off on me, but I can't help it. He's so happy.// Waiting until the boy's happy blush had receaded, the cat hopped onto the floor. "Yes, you can definitely stop worrying. I'd say he likes you plenty."

* * *

"Dorothy, Catherine, I don't think this is a good idea. I mean, what if someone sees us? We'd get into so much trouble." Frowning nervously, Hilde looked around her at the dark trees. Not wanting to do anything close to their homes, they'd taken the bus to a park with a real forest. Now, without so much as a moon to light the sky, Hilde was begining to have doubts about the plan.

"If we don't do it now, we'll never do it. Now then, what we have to figure out is how to tap into this power. Cathy, have you had any visions?"

"Really, Dorothy," Relena said, rolling her eyes as she folded her arms over her chest. "As if she'd come up with anything since yesterday."

Not paying the girl any attention, Dorothy looked to the red-haired girl expectantly. "Cathy?"

"Actually, I think I have." Grinning when Dorothy shoved Relena, she laughed. "I had a dream last night about fire. At least, that's what I think it was. It's like I was standing on a field and it was really dark. The only thing I could see was this red ball of fire in the sky. I'm sure it means something because I felt really strong when I looked at it."

"For God's sake, Cathy, how is that going to help?" Shaking her head, Relena stomped her foot. "If I get caught being out so late I'll get yelled at. You should have figured more out before dragging us out here."

"Shut up." Smirking at Relena's outraged gasp, Dorothy waved to Catherine who was starting to look angry. "Go on, Cathy."

"Well, as I was about to say, I think my dream was about the sun, or a star or something."

"A ball of fire in the night sky..." Frowning, Hilde looked at the ground. "A star...or maybe a planet."

"Yes!" Grabbing Hilde, Catherine grinned widely. "I think you're right. It feels...it feels right. A burning planet."

"Mars." Blinking when three shocked eyes flew to her, Relena shrugged. "Well, it is the red planet. I'm not stupid you know."

"I don't know any such thing," Dorothy said, glinting eyes belying the insult.

"A power that comes from a planet," Hilde said softly, thinking as if it were a puzzle or a riddle. "Planet power."

As if an electrical shock went through them, the four girls flinched and stared at each other. "Yes," Catherine said, voice low with awe. "I think that's my power, Mars planet power. But how do I get it?"

"I don't know," Hilde said, frowning. "I don't know where to start. And what if we're wrong? Maybe your vision, your dream, what if it *was* a star?"

"Yeah, and maybe it's both," Relena said, her shock giving way to a scoffing tone. "Maybe it's Mars star power not planet." Smirking at the rediculousness of the entire conversation she shook her head. "I think we're getting worked up over nothing."

"Relena, you're an idiot."

"No, Dorothy, she's a genius!" Grinning wildly when the blonde girl whirled to face her, Catherine nodded. "That's it." Breath coming fast, she let out an excited laugh that bordered on a giggle. "Okay..." Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly, the brightness in her eyes not dimming as she took a step back. "Now don't you guys dare laugh at me if nothing happens, deal?"

Nodding, the other three girls moved to stand together as they watched. "What do you plan to do?" Hilde asked, feeling the excitement the red-headed girl was radiating.

"I'm going to try calling my power," Catherine said breathlessly. "I think...this just might work." Blushing furiously, she knew she was about to make a fool of herself, but she couldn't help it. Something in her screamed that she was right. Grinning once more at her friends, she tilted her head back, closing her eyes. Voice ringing in the quiet, she cried, "Mars Star Power!"

Dorothy let out a loud whoop, Relena fell over, and Hilde gasped as a dark red light flowed around their friend, swirling and lifting her hair and the edge of her long skirt before wrapping around her like a caul. Eyes wide, they watched as the red light suddenly burst outward and Catherine was revealed, clothing different, but little else changed.

"Hell yeah!" Dorothy cried, running to her friend as Catherine looked down at her clothing. She was wearing a red skirt that was so short it barely reached her mid-thigh, her blouse white with a large red bow over her breasts. The neck line was blue like that of a sailor, and her sleeves were red, inches long as they seemed there only to hold up her shirt. A thin gold band curved over her forehead, coming to a slight V between her eyebrows. Long white gloves reached her elbows, trimmed in red, and she stumbled as she took a step toward Dorothy as her red high-heels sank in the soft dirt. Laughing, she recovered her balance and threw her arms around Dorothy as they cheered.

"I don't believe this..." Shaking her head, Relena suddenly glared. "Alright, Cathy, what's my planet?"

"Huh?" Blinking in surprise, Cathy shook her head. "I don't know, Relena, but since I'm dressed differently, I probably shouldn't go by my name. Mars, call me that."

"No one's here, besides, I'd recognize you with those clothes. It's not like you have a mask on."

Giving Hilde a disgruntled look, Catherine shook her head. "I know that, but this way even if we *are* around people you'll be so used to calling me Mars that no one will hear my real name. It's a good precaution."

Frowning, Hilde shrugged. "If you say so...Mars."

"Okay, 'Mars'," Relena said, still angry. "So why don't you know what my planet is? We don't have visions like you so we wouldn't know."

"Um, why don't you just try different ones until you get it right?" Hilde said, smiling when Relena glared at her. "I'm going to try."

"I'll really look stupid if I stand here screaming things out a random," Relena muttered. "But if you want to, go ahead." Sitting down so she could lean against a tree, she folded her arms and smirked. "I'm up for some entertainment."

"Say what you like," Dorothy said, "Hilde, do you want to go first? Or we could go together."

"Me first," Hilde said, blushing dark red. "That way, if I do find the right one, you'll know to leave that one out. I'll start with Earth and work my way out."

Having found the right planet with Mercury, Hilde looked over her clothing and frowned. "It's just like Ca--I mean Mars's. Only my skirt's dark blue and my bow is light blue. And I don't have high heels. Though these boots'll be much easier to get around with. I don't know, it's rather disappointing. I thought we'd be more different."

Dorothy went next, Jupiter being her planet. Unlike Hilde, she was pretty happy with the results. Her skirt was green and while she really hated the pink bow, she still smiled. "I look good in green." Laughing, she turned to Relena. "Alright. It's your turn."

Pushing herself off the ground, Relena smirked. "I should have known it would work out this way. Why, I might as well have went first." What followed ended with Relena near tears.

"I knew you weren't one," Dorothy taunted. "And you actually thought you were Earth."

"Dorothy, shut up." Moving to her wide-eyed friend, Hilde pulled her back to her feet. "Relena, calm down. Maybe that guy we saw was Earth, did you think of that? Just try the next planet."

"Dorothy, what do you have to say now?" Relena asked, having transformed under the name of Venus. "You may have gotten yours before me, but everybody knows Venus is the goddess of love." Grinning, she put her hands on her hips as she looked down at her yellow-orange skirt.

"Okay," Dorothy said, not bothered by Relena's taunt. "What now? I know we've tapped the power, but how do we use it?"

Smirking, Catherine glanced at Relena. "We fight each other."

"What?!" Blue eyes moving over the two girls who were grinning at her evily, Relena shook her head and ducked behind Hilde. "You stay away from me!"

"Come on, Relena," Catherine called, "How are you going to protect Heero if you're afraid of *me*?"

"I'm not afraid of you," the blonde girl retorted, glaring as she moved out from behind a very relieved Hilde. "I'll protect my Heero no matter who I'm facing. Just try me."

"And gladly," Dorothy grinned.

* * *

This is fun. ^__^ Just wanted to share that. ^__~