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These Chains
by Edmondia Dantes

Disclaimer: Takahashi's, not mine. But you knew that already.

AN: Hello. Everyone remember me? I wrote a fic a while ago called 'No One Has Won the War'. In it, a lot of things happened to our favorite Chinese Amazon. Well, mine anyway. Seeing as how this is the sequel, I highly recommend reading the other first. Since a lot of things happened, and I don't want to be accused of having everyone OOC. Then again, they might be anyway, even taking into account the stuff that happened last time. Or not. Whatever. So. Sequel. Yes, because I left the last a bit open-ended. On purpose. Anyway, Mousse wound up a bit insane, or at least quite disturbed last time. This picks up immediately following chapter 9 of NOHWtW.

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- Prologue -

He blinked his way to conciousness, warm sunlight filtering through the small room to spill over the bed. Glittering turquoise eyes widened in remembrance, and he shuddered. Oh gods....

Blood everywhere, enough that he slipped and fell, the sword clattering from his trembling grasp onto the scarlet-soaked ground. Her lovely eyes huge, lips trembling, accusation burning in her thoughts. He half-felt as though she would drag him down with her...something he would have welcomed...

Mousse bit his lip anxiously, sitting up cautiously. His gaze swept over the room, and he did a double-take as he realized it most certainly did not belong to him. Wha? he thought muzzily, reaching a shaking hand to run through his hair.

The door creaked gently and slid open, revealing a slender arm clad in purple. It was followed by a lithe body, draped in a deeper hue of the same royal color. Lavender hair tumbled over her shoulders and down her back, the bangs shielding the look in her amethyst eyes.

His breath froze. "Sha...Shampoo?"

She was gone from his arms as quickly as she had once fallen into them, and he was alone. The howl of the wind raked his flesh, stinging the tears on his cheeks, sending burning pinpricks of pain through his skin. The screaming elements softened, and he could feel another there, one that smelled of sweat and pain, half-drenched with rain and another's lifeblood. Her hands were strangely soft and soothing, though they had killed so many of his love's creations not a moment past.

"Mousse. How you sleep?" she questioned softly, leaning back against the doorframe and tilting her head towards the light. It slid over her pale skin, catching the sparkle on her lashes and dappling on her throat. Mousse blinked.

He shoved himself up into a sitting position, the blankets pooling around him, staring at her in confusion. "I...I'm not sure." His voice was raw, his throat scratchy. He wondered what he had done to make it so sore.

"What you mean?" her voice was subdued, not demanding as it would have been a week ago. Was there concern in those softly accented syllables, or had he lost his mind with his heart as she had died?

"I hardly remember a thing." The words came out bluntly, coldly, and he wondered from whence the frigid tone had come. Shampoo didn't bat an eye.

"Great-grandmother say that to be expected. After trauma many warrior lose memory, or block out event. Probably why thoughts are hazy, yes?"

"...yeah." he mumbled, acutely aware of the tumult of emotion that churned in his stomach. He glanced down at his hands, clutching the blankets in a tight grasp.

The young warrior, fighting fiercely but ineffectively as he grasped her by the hair, sliding a razor-sharp blade from one of his sleeves at the encouragement of her soft voice.

The sudden scent of her perfume made him glance up, startled, to see that she had joined him on the bed. "{Mu Tsu, are you all right?}"

He didn't even have to think about it. "{No.}"

Her slender hand caught his gently, and he noticed her fingernails had been coated with pale polish that caught and reflected the light. Why would she paint her nails? he wondered.

Delicate shoulders rose and fell in a shrug. "{I couldn't get the bloodstains off.}"

He winced. She watched him from a heartbeat away, gaze inscrutable. "{What will you do now?}"

Such an innocent question to ask a murderer, he thought bleakly, what now indeed.

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