Twelve Months Is A Year

Prologue: One Sunny Day

© 2007 by AuroraExecution

This page was last modified: 2007/04/06


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"You couldn't!" Aphrodite shouted playfully across the room.

"I could!" Deathmask retorted indignantly.

"You could not. You would kill her before the end of the first day. Or at least you'd try."

"I am not incapable of self-restraint!"

"Prove it, then. Find a girlfriend and stay with her for a significant amount of time."

Deathmask and Aphrodite had gotten into another of their famous arguments. To insult his friend, Deathmask had called Aphrodite a girl. Aphrodite had then replied that Deathmask would not know, since he had never had a girlfriend. Of course, this conversation had then led to the inevitable...Deathmask's rather nonexistent love life. Aphrodite said Deathmask would never have a girlfriend because he was incapable of handling another person in that kind of relationship.

To be honest, Deathmask realized, Aphrodite did have a point. The only close relationship he had with anyone was with Aphrodite, and that was due in great part to the fact that Aphrodite was not driven away by their constant bickering. It was odd, now that he thought about it, that Aphrodite had continued being his friend. But of course, part of their link was fighting with each other at least once a day, so Deathmask could not help but want to win the argument.

"Name a girl, and I'll do it," the Cancer Saint declared proudly. Aphrodite looked surprised for a moment before shrugging.

"All right. Shaina."

"Wha--?!" It burst out of him before he could stop himself. Shaina was one of the most Amazonian of the female Saints, and she had a temper to rival Deathmask's own. To make matters worse, the biggest problem was that Shaina had openly announced her love for Seiya, which would make his life--if Deathmask knew anything about women--very unpleasant. But then, Deathmask smiled. "All right," he said. "If you can make her agree to be my girlfriend, then I will date her for...three months."

"Three years," Aphrodite bargained. Deathmask's eyes bulged.

"Six months," the Cancer Saint returned.

"Three years." His friend was firm.

"Nine months."

"Three years."

"Twelve months."

"Deal." Aphrodite smiled. "Can you last a year with Shaina? We'll see."

"Can you get her to agree to date me? Now, that will be a feat." Aphrodite smiled mysteriously.

"I have ways, Angelo. I would say you'll regret this, but now I'm not so sure." The Pisces Saint glided gracefully out of the temple. Deathmask wondered what Aphrodite had meant by his last statement, and ultimately came up with only the thought that killing Aphrodite sounded like a very good plan at the moment.

* * *

Meanwhile, Aphrodite went directly from Deathmask's temple to Milo's. The Scorpio Saint was always the first to come to mind when anyone needed help with relationships and/or plotting. Milo seemed to have a penchant for both. Aphrodite smiled to himself, feeling that Deathmask was definitely in for it.

"We're hooking up Shaina and Deathmask?" was Milo's first response to Aphrodite's story. The Scorpio Saint then spent several minutes laughing hysterically. "They'd kill each other!" he choked out as he calmed down. Aphrodite smiled again.

"That's the point. Deathmask is not going to survive a week with that woman, much less several months. Now, all I need is for you to go talk to her briefly." Milo grinned.

"I know exactly what to do." Aphrodite nodded in satisfaction.

"Good."

* * *

After Aphrodite departed, Milo made his way to the training grounds in the main part of Sanctuary. After practicing leisurely for a few minutes, he sat down and watched the other Saints mock-battle. As Shaina finished winning her fight, Milo gave her a few words of congratulations and then offered her a seat. Shaina sat down next to him, wiping her brow.

"What's up, Milo?" she asked cheerily.

"Oh, not much. You seem to be in a good mood today. Finally found a boyfriend?" The air around Shaina seemed to lower several degrees in temperature.

"No."

"Just as I thought. You're still hung up about Seiya. Well, well. I'm not surprised." Milo smiled a little as Shaina remained silent, probably flushing in indignation under her mask. "Anyway, I just came to tell you about a little bet that a few of us are holding. I know how you like gambling, eh?" Milo gave a charming smile. Shaina seemed to brighten, thinking they were off the subject of her unrequited obsession.

"What kind of bet?"

"Well, Mu was saying to me that you seemed like a pretty girl who could use a boyfriend. So, naturally, I said you still hadn't gotten over Seiya. We discussed it for a while, and finally some of us started a bet. Most of us have laid our money down on the fact that you're obsessed with Seiya. And from our conversation earlier, I see you're still not over him." Milo chuckled, allowing a slight mocking tone to creep into his voice. "Of course, we all know you wouldn't be able to date any other guy, much less Deathmask..." The Scorpio Saint slyly allowed himself to fade out. Shaina stood.

"You think I can't do it, Milo?" she demanded, teetering on the border of good-natured fun and indignant self-assurance. "All right, it's on. I'll prove to you that I can date another guy--"

"Deathmask."

"--Deathmask, even if I still like Seiya. I'll get over Pegasus sooner or later."

"Right. Then you better run along to Cancer temple and tell Deathmask the good news." Milo winked roguishly at her. He shook his head to himself as he walked away. Shaina never could resist a challenge.

* * *

Deathmask was grumpily kicking his walls when he heard a noise from the front entrance to his temple. Grumbling in annoyance, he made his way to the door to see who was coming. He hoped whoever-it-was was only passing through and not trying to see him.

"Oi, Deathmask!" a female voice called. He peered into the bright sunlight that illuminated the form of his mysterious visitor. His well-figured female visitor.

"Shaina?" asked Deathmask, a rare look of adorable confusion on his face. The girl rolled her eyes.

"You're going to be my damn boyfriend, got it?" she snapped. The look of surprise on Deathmask's face was replaced by one of extreme irritation.

"You're not going to tell me what to do, bitch, got it?" he snarled back.

"Ah, ah, ah, Angelo," Aphrodite chided, entering the temple. "Remember what you said to me earlier?" Deathmask seemed to sag at the edges.

"Damn you, Aphro. I'm going to kill you someday." Aphrodite smiled evilly.

"You wouldn't dare. Anyway, I'm going to spread the good news to everyone."

"Good news?" Deathmask and Shaina demanded in unison.

"Why, you two are the new couple in Sanctuary," said Aphrodite, a look of feigned surprise on his delicate face. "I mean, we haven't had any new couples since Marin and Aiolia finally got together, and that was months ago." The Pisces Saint smiled sweetly again as he exited. Deathmask turned to his new girlfriend with a bad-tempered glare. Shaina responded with one of her own.

"Fine," Deathmask finally spat out. "You can be my damn girlfriend."

"Fine." There was a long silence. Deathmask intensified his glare.

"Need anything else?" he demanded. Shaina did not back down.

"Yeah. Go get Marin for me."

"I'm not your servant, whore. You go get her."

"You're my boyfriend. That means you do what I say, you bastard. Go get Marin."

"Make me."

"That can be arranged." Shaina moved her hand up into the air to start her attack.

"You really want to pick a fight with a Gold Saint, wench?" Shaina smirked at him.

"What of it?"

"I'd kill you."

"No you wouldn't. You're my boyfriend."

"So?"

"So you're not allowed to kill your girlfriend!"

"Oh-ho-ho. You want me to show you otherwise?"

* * *

From behind a pillar of the archway, Aphrodite and Milo exchanged a what-can-you-do glance. "You think it's safe to leave them here?" Milo demanded. Aphrodite shook his head.

"You think it's safe not to leave them here?"

"You have a point. Let's go." The two Gold Saints tiptoed away from the forbidding aura that surrounded the Cancer temple.

The End of the Prologue -- Continued in Month 1: August


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