Into The Realm of Dreams
Trowa ran a hand through his unibang, warily eyeing the Perfect Soldier with some trepidation. After Wufei's rather abrupt announcement, the look that had appeared in Heero's eyes had even made the Chinese pilot back up. Quatra wouldn't come near him.
" Calm down, Heero," Trowa tried again. Heero's ice-blue eyes flicked towards him momentarily before fastening once again on Wufei. Wufei sighed.
" Heero, we'll find him--"
" What happened?" Heero cut in sharply. Wufei snorted and then began to explain what had occurred during the last mission, describing the battle in detail and then the eerie light emanating from the sceptor that had captivated Duo before causing him to vanish.
" And then the staff fell to the ground," finished Wufei. " I picked it up and brought it here."
" Duo's alive, Heero," piped up Quatra hesitantly. Heero's head swivelled so quickly, Quatra was amazed he didn't hear a snap. He shook his head, trying to convey all his sincerity to the Japanese pilot. " I would have felt it. Duo's alive!"
Heero's eyes bore into him, searching, hoping. After a few minutes, he relaxed slightly and nodded once. Quatra sighed in relief. Trowa motioned towards the sceptor.
" That is the key apparently."
" How was it activated?" Heero asked briskly, picking up the staff and studying it himself. Wufei gave a single shrug of the shoulder.
" Your guess is as good as mine," he said at last. " It was glowing when Duo found it. Then it exploded in light."
" So how do we make it glow?" Quatra examined it curiously. Trowa frowned.
" That is the million dollar question, Little One," he said softly. Quatra gave him a small smile. Heero abruptly turned towards the desk where he had stored his laptop and began running searches for antiques fitting the description. Quatra tapped the blue diamond on the end thoughtfully.
" This is the trigger," he said with conviction. " I can feel it's power. Kinda...dormant right now, but it's there."
Trowa eyed him with concern, moving beside him. Quatra looked up.
" I said it was dormant," he grinned. Trowa shrugged and Quatra leaned against him. Breaking his gaze from the staff, he glanced over where Heero was busily researching and discarding files. At first glance, he looked no different from any other night he'd spent on his laptop. But when Quatra looked deeper, he saw the muscles tensing, his entire body rigid, eyes looking more concerned then usual. Quatra sighed.
" Be safe Duo," he whispered silently.
Pain. It concentrated primarily in between his eyes, he found. So, the trick was never open his eyes again. Simple. no sweat.
" I am NEVER drinking again," Duo mumbled, lifting a hand to his head gingerly. He did a mental inventory, flexing his toes experimentally, and raising his other hand. All extremities, present and accounted for, and in working order. Wicked. He opened his eyes.
And shrieked in pain.
" ITE!!" Duo's eyes slammed shut as pain spiked and blossomed behind his eyes. Concussion...how?...a light went off inside his head and he remembered fighting with Wufei. Blowing up the OZ lab, noticing that light, picking up the....
" That sceptor!" Duo slowly opened his eyes again and was rewarded with only a minimal spark of pain this time. Groaning aloud, he slowly pulled himself to a sitting position. " That..that stick did something."
He touched one hand to his head. It came away sticky. Blood. He rubbed his fingers together thoughtfully.
" What happened?"
The light. It must have hypnotized him. He remembered picking up the ornamental staff and then....poof? He fell into...pieces or something.
" That's one way of putting it," came a dry voice from behind him. Duo looked around wildly, before moaning in pain as the world dipped and spun around him.
" I'm going to be sick."
" After that fall, I shouldn't doubt it."
" Where are you?" Duo growled, rubbing his eyes briskly and nodding with satisfaction as his vision came to a stop. " What fall?"
" You fell out of the sky. You hit your head."
" Thanks for pointing out the obvious," Duo said, eyes darting around. He reached into the waistband of his priest uniform, searching for his gun automatically. " Now tell me the not-so-obvious. Who are you, where am I and where the heck are you?" He remembered something else and tapped his head thoughtfully, a scowl breaking out. " And where's my hat?"
" I'm Aztec, you're in my world, and I'm down here. So's your hat."
Duo dropped his gaze to the ground--and froze. Standing before him, about a foot high and about three feet long, 90% of it's body being it's tail apparently, was a small green dragon, scales glittering irridescently. Large, graceful wings unfurled gently from its back, highlighted with yellow. A gold ridge tipped its spine all the way down its back and tail. Its wings were gold-tipped, and it's upper chest in belly had a pinkish tint that faded to white-yellow further down its stomach. Mischievious blue eyes crinkled up at him.
" Ulp!" Duo backed up until he hit a tree, violet eyes blinking furiously. The dragon glided forwards softly, peering up at him quizzically.
" Y-you...y-you're a...a..."
" A dragon!" The small lizard thumped its chest proudly. " You'd think it'd be obvious."
" Obvious..." Duo was in a daze. The dragon scowled at him.
" Yeah, obvious. What'd you think I was? A flying snake?" Aztec chuckled. Duo shook his head.
" That's it man. I am SERIOUSLY kabbitzed in the head. Gone. My mind has gone on a vacation without me." Another thought struck him and he spun around searchingly. " And it apparently took my Gundam without me. Hey, uh, Aztec was it?"
" You see a big, black shiny metal thing around? About 40 feet tall or so? Has a wicked scythe attached?"
The dragon scratched its head. " Uhhhh...."
" Nevermind." Duo stood up slowly. " Now I'm talking with dragons--"
" Why not? We make great conversationalists!" Aztec chirped.
"--and I'm missing a first-class, state of the art weapon of mass destruction," Duo continued blithely. " Man Heero, I wish you were here."
Duo raked a hand through his hair, wincing at the matted knots therein thanks to the gash on his head. He felt his braid and sighed with relief when he realized it was intact.
Duo eeped and stepped back, jaw hanging in shock. Aztec was floating in mid-air, wings flutting rapidly as he hovered beside Duo, staring at his braid in rapt admiration.
" You've got even more hair then Lavender!"
" And who's Lavender?" Duo asked warily, snatching his braid back from the curious dragon, who shrugged nonchalantly.
" A friend." The dragon swooped forward and leaned forwards, staring at Duo. " Your eyes are purple!"
" It's neat!" The dragon grinned again, somersaulting in mid-air and coming up to nuzzle Duo's arm. Duo felt his natural friendly nature come to the surface and he finally smiled at the dragon.
" So're your wings," he said, reaching out and stroking the gold tip. " Bet they come in handy."
" Well, Aztec. As much as I'm enjoying this little exchange, I need a few questions answered." Duo continued to stroke the dragon's scaly head and Aztec all but purred as he cuddled against the Shinigami pilot. " Where am I?"
Duo groaned in frustration.
" I know that. Where is here?"
The dragon looked up at him seriously. " Dreamworld."
" Dreamworld." So this crazy place had a name. Wonderful. " Where is Dreamworld?"
" In minds of children, where flights of fancy rule." Aztec sounded like he was quoting a guide book. Duo chuckled.
" Very poetic. Okay. Let's say I buy this story. How did I end up here?"
Aztec lifted one slender shoulder and shrugged.
" You don't know?"
Vigorous shaking of the head.
" Any ideas on how I can get home?"
More shaking of the head.
Duo growled and the little dragon looked at him warily. Noting the concern, Duo hastily smiled. No sense in frightening the little guy.
" So who do I go to for answers around here?" Duo asked. Aztec brightened.
" Lavender knows everything!" he chirped. Duo grinned.
" So I guess we pay this...Lavender...a visit neh? " Duo began walking and then froze after a few steps. " Waitaminute.....how do we find Lavender?"
" She lives up there."
Aztec pointed one tiny claw at what appeared to be a floating castle, surrounded by clouds. Duo's jaw became reacquainted with the ground.
" Oh yeah. Great," he muttered. " How'm I supposed to get up there?" He eyed Aztec speculatively. " How much can you carry?"
This time it was Aztec who eeped.
" Not that much, for that far," he said flatly, tail twitching. " I'm a little dragon, you know."
" Yeah, I know," Duo chuckled. " Got any big brothers?"
" No. But he can give you a ride." Aztec pointed to a spot behind Duo's right shoulder. Duo slowly turned his head.
White. White and big. With wings. Duo looked up...and up....and hit the ground with a thud. Still staring, he muttered, " A unicorn. I don't freakin' believe this....Yui, you'd better get me outta this one."