Precious Metals

Chapter 7: A Little Trip

© 2008 by DaHaloChick

This page was last modified: 2008/08/08

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Roxohnda couldn't sleep. The mixture of DeathMask's cruel words and her increasingly confusing feelings about Milo robbed her of any rest. She had come home and taken a bath, which hadn't relaxed her in the slightest. She had eaten, which did nothing for the faintness of mind she was feeling. She had spent a good three hours pacing through her hut before her aching ankles prompted her to sit.

And what made it worse was that the sun hadn't even begun to rise yet.

She sat on her bed with a cup of tea in her hands, still shivering cold despite the warmth of the beverage. She looked into the liquid, staring back at her tired face. She didn't realize that tears were falling until one caused a ripple in the drink.

When was the last time I cried?

Roxohnda couldn't think of the answer. She had come close to it after Milo had tried to force himself on her, she remembered, but she couldn't recollect the last time she had actually allowed herself to weep. Her chest was in such physical pain from her emotions that she wasn't sure if it was those very emotions or the pain itself that was causing the tears to fall. She sniffled, putting the cup on her bedside table and wiping her face with the back of her hand.

Suddenly, her body sprang into motion as she heard a sound. She stilled, hearing the slight creek of her front door. No matter how distraught with emotion Roxohnda was, she had trained too long and too hard for such things to deaden her instincts. She sat up slowly, walking foot-over-foot to the door of her bedroom, ever so slowly opening it to try and assess the situation.

She backed up as she saw a shadow cast by the candle she had left in the other room. The intruder was heading towards her bedroom, and Roxohnda immediately decided to be the initiator in this situation.

She jumped out of the bedroom with a kick, but it was blocked by the intruder's arm. The moment the intruder tried to grab her ankle Roxohnda pulled her leg down with all of her might, dragging her opponent with it. She delivered a second kick to the person's side, sending them into Roxohnda's modest couch.

As her enemy regained composure and came at her again, the Perseus Saint's first instinct was to move outside; even though there was candlelight, she could not clearly see her opponent. That put her at a grave disadvantage, especially considering that her opponent's blows were frighteningly accurate; she was fairly sure this person could see in the dark far better than she could.

Roxohnda did a back flip as the fighter tried to knock her down with a sweep of her leg. Roxohnda cart-wheeled backwards, kicking her front door open while doing so. She flipped backwards once more, landing and quickly getting into an offensive position facing the door. She stared, waiting for the intruder to emerge and reveal themselves.

It was a woman. Roxohnda thought her outfit was familiar, but immediately recognized the intruder once she saw a familiar mask framed by long jet-black hair. She raised an eyebrow. "Apphia?"

The woman took off her mask, the playful brown eyes behind it confirming that Roxohnda's suspicions were correct. She knew Apphia as a fellow Silver Saint, her cloth being the one of Nyx, and she was known for causing mayhem around Sanctuary with her two twin sisters. "Hey there Roxohnda!"

Roxohnda put a hand to her forehead, not in the mood to be subject to one of the dreaded Triplet's antics. "What are you doing here at this hour?"

Apphia smiled mischievously. "What are you doing up at this hour?"

"That's none of your business!" Roxohnda snapped. Apphia seemed caught off-guard, and Roxohnda felt immediate guilt. "I'm sorry, Apphia…I haven't slept and…I have a lot on my mind."

Apphia came closer. "Anything I can help you with?"

Roxohnda shook her head. "No, I don't think anyone can really help me. Anyway…what did you come here for?"

"Well," Apphia began, "I came here to let you know that you, Oscar, and I have been selected for a last-minute mission."

Roxohnda raised an eyebrow. "Mission?"

Apphia nodded. "Lady Athena had one of her executives for the Grande Foundation fall sick, and he was supposed to fly to France for some big business meeting. Anyway, things have been slow here lately, so Lady Athena decided to stretch her legs a bit and attend the meeting herself. It should take her about four to five days she said, and she wants the three of us to act as her bodyguards."

"Okay," said Roxohnda, "But why does she need three of us? Isn't that a bit much?"

She grinned. "She wants you to translate for her." She giggled. "I don't think anybody had enough guts to even try to get Camus to do it, and no harm can come of extra protection for our Goddess, I guess."

Roxohnda thought about it. She was sure that if she truly objected to it, Athena wouldn't push the issue. However, the opportunity to get out of Sanctuary appealed to her. She could use the time to think things through and get away from Milo and everyone around her trying to push her in different directions.

"All right. When do we leave?"

* * *

Milo ran to his door when he felt a warm, familiar cosmos enter his temple. He smiled at his visitor. "Hey Roxy!" He looked at her and frowned. "You look exhausted, are you okay?"

Roxohnda nodded. "I'm fine; I just didn't really sleep last night is all."

Milo's face fell. "Oh. Well, come on inside; I made breakfast for us."

She couldn't stop the smile that came to her face. "Thanks, Milo."

* * *

"So," Milo began after taking a sip of his coffee, "I want to apologize for last night."

Roxohnda was surprised and tried to figure out how Milo knew about what had happened between her, Shaina, and DeathMask until she realized he was referring to the girl at the bar. "Oh! It was nothing; I'm sure the stain will come out, and I was tired anyway. No harm done, really."

Milo watched her from across the table and knew something was wrong. She seemed melancholy compared to her normal vivaciousness that Milo suddenly realized he enjoyed. His concern outweighed his common sense. "Roxy, can I speak to you, in a very honest manner?"

She looked up at him. "Sure. I told you that you can talk to me about anything, Milo. What's on your mind?"

Milo looked into her eyes, holding her gaze with sheer willpower. "I saw you running away from Shaina and DeathMask last night."

She looked down, breaking the visual connection between them. "…Oh, you did?"

"Yeah, I did; I was going to check up on you and make sure you were okay, but I wound up having a …conversation with the two of them."

"Really?" she asked, still looking down. "About what?"

She heard his chair shift, and before she could look up, he was sitting next to her, lifting her chin up with a finger. "Roxy, be honest with me…does it bother you, watching me with other women?"

"I…" Roxohnda tried to kick her mind into giving some sort of answer. If she didn't come up with something, she was afraid she'd begin to cry or scream right in front of him. "I…wouldn't have any need to be, right? I mean, we're just friends; we've been through this already." She smiled at him, genuine albeit tired-looking. "I just want to see you happy, Milo."

Milo was about to object and say that her response wasn't an answer, but Roxohnda was quicker. "I suppose I should tell you; I'm leaving soon on a mission."

The piece of information was so unexpected that it completely sidetracked Milo's train of thought. "A mission? What kind?"

"Apphia, Oscar, and I are accompanying Athena to France for a business meeting for the Grande Foundation; one of her big business people fell sick and she felt like getting out of Sanctuary for a bit. Since I speak French, she wants me to translate and have the three of us act as bodyguards."

Milo nodded. He knew that Athena had been talking about getting more personally involved with the Grande Foundation, and it was a good chance for her to test out her new Silver Saints. "I see. Well, be on guard and take it easy, okay?"

Roxohnda nodded as she finished her breakfast. "I'm sure we'll be fine. I gotta go and get packing; we're leaving within the hour. Thank you for the breakfast, Milo."

As she got up to leave, Milo followed her. "I'll come and see you when you come back, okay Roxy?"

She turned to him. "…Sure. That sounds good."

Milo watched her as she turned and continued walking. Something was definitely wrong, and he felt uneasy letting her go while knowing something was bothering her. Before he knew what he was doing, he darted forward and wrapped his arms around her.

Roxohnda froze as Milo pressed her back against his chest and his cheek to her temple. She shivered as his voice huskily whispered into her ear.

"Be careful, Roxy, okay?" He squeezed her tighter. "I'll miss you."

It took all of Roxohnda's willpower to pull away from him. She nodded to him before running off, desperate to distance herself from Milo as quickly as possible.

* * *

Milo sat down at the bar wanting nothing more than to get so drunk he couldn't see straight. He smiled when he realized one of his favorite bartenders was on that night.

"Hey Milo," the woman said, "What can I get you tonight, hon?"

A pair of blue eyes flashed in his mind. He couldn't… "Just a soda is fine." The bartender looked at him, shocked by his straight-laced request, but retrieved it for him nonetheless.

Milo couldn't shake the uneasy feeling he had. Roxohnda wasn't acting like herself, and honestly, he hadn't realized how much he liked her normally upbeat personality until it had left. Now that he thought about it, he couldn't remember the last time he really saw her smile. Where was the woman he had found himself so attracted to that first night? What had changed?

I'm a fool, he said to himself. I changed her. It was me. DeathMask and Shaina were right; I've probably been hurting her the whole ti—

"Hello, Milo."

Milo turned to his side, recognizing the Asian man next to him. "…Sanjiro, right?"

He nodded, adjusting his glasses. "Yes, that's me! I figured I'd find you here. I wanted to talk to you about something, more specifically, Roxohnda."

The Scorpio Saint sighed. "Listen, are you going to sit here and tell me I'm an asshole for the way I treat her? Cause if so, I don't need to hear any more of it, so you can just leave."

Sanjiro shook his head. "No, that's not why I'm here. I came here to warn you."

That caught his attention. "Warn me?"

The Asian warrior nodded. "I wanted to give you a heads up. Roxohnda left on a trip today—"

"I know," Milo interrupted, "She told me this morning."

Sanjiro nodded. "Alright then, I'll skip to the point. I want you to tell me honestly and truthfully; what are your feelings towards Roxohnda?"

Milo glared. "It's none of your business!"

Sanjiro glared right back. "Listen to me! I want to know how you feel about her, because if you seriously have feelings for her, you're going to have to do something about it before it's too late!"

"Too late?" Milo frowned. "What do you mean?"

Sanjiro sighed in frustration. "Milo…do you know who is going on this trip with her?"

Milo nodded. "Sure. She told me it was her, Oscar, and Apphia, and of course Athena, and probably Tatsumi. Why?"

Sanjiro shook his head. "You must not know, then. I'll get right to the point." He turned on his barstool to look straight at Milo with such intensity that Milo turned towards him, feeling fear nip at the back of his mind.

"Oscar is interested in Roxohnda, Milo. He hasn't been pleased with what's been going on between you two, and he plans on confessing it to her while they're away."

Milo's eyes widened as he heart practically stopped. "What?!"

The End of Chapter 7 -- Continued in Chapter 8

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