Disclaimer: i don't own gwing.. my bad. again.
Pairings: 1x2x1, a weeee bit of 3x4x3
Genre: AU, high flooting fantasy
Spoilers: yah, right.
Warnings: smidgen of angst, complications, lack of beta, need of sleep
Notes: i hope part 7 will come out faster than part 6 did...

Evergreen + Part 6

Truth is never in the eyes of its beholder, because it simply does not exist.

The sharp and loud noise of nails tapping against a marble surface reverberated throughout the impressive sitting room, echoing off the vast ceiling adorned with a crystal chandelier. The room was large and stark, hardly decorated in any fashion, but it spoke of style and grace. It was the kind of room only the privileged were able to have, all marble and rose stones with furniture that was older than most civilizations.

The nails continued their tapping, steadily clicking against the marble table, almost toppling over intricately carved chess pieces upon it with the incessant movements. The nails were painted in a faint orange color only available to the extremely wealthy and they were attached to the pampered and soft hands of a beautiful lady. She not only had exquisite hands, but also had miles of sunlight blond hair and blue eyes the color of winter lakes. Her peaches and cream complexion covered her exotic face perfectly and the only flaw that anyone could make out was her strange forked eyebrows.

Across from this stunning vision sat Milliardo Peacecraft, the prince of the kingdom. He eyed his lady guest warily, his gloved hands idly playing around with chess pieces near him in a seemingly bored fashion. He tilted his head slightly, his own platinum locks falling gracefully around his shoulders down his back. His own icy blue eyes then looked into his guest's.

"Lady Dorothy, I believe you said. The note you sent me tells me that you have a business proposal. Please, do tell me what you would like from me."

Dorothy smiled like a cat with a flock of canaries in its stomach. She did appreciate handsome and urbane mortals, even if they were mere puppets to her strange whims. This one in particular was quite a specimen and she flipped through her brain to find out every last detail about his past. She would have bugged Relena for his future path as well had her sister not betrayed them and gone off to who knows where.

"Your Highness," she began in a lilting voice, "I'm here to say that you need not worry about Relena any longer and that I will be happy to help you achieve the throne."

All the years of politics and maneuvering for position in the royal court worked in his advantage as he kept the surprise out of his eyes and face. Lady Dorothy was no trifling trying to play her meager hand at politics. No, she was a skilled adversary who knew how to drop subtle hints into innocuous seeming conversations. And she had hinted rather generously that she knew that it was he who had beset assassins upon his beloved sister.

"You don't say, my dear lady," Milliardo replied without showing any emotion. "And why would you believe that Relena is a problem? She is my most beloved sister."

A mocking laugh joined the tapping nails in echoing off the walls. It was a beautiful sound, but also terrifying in its predatory edge.

"My dear Milliardo, why don't we stop dancing around the topic? I know that you hired the guild to kill Relena and that they failed. And of course I know that you have hired yet another group, this time from the murderer's guild of all places, to finish the job the assassins blundered. Am I not right?"

This time, Milliardo allowed the rueful smile to blossom on his face. It was to be blunt honesty, it seemed. It was quite refreshing and a welcomed change of pace from the double talking and veiled speech he was used to.

"Quite right, Lady. Do you mind if I inquire as to your sources? You are very well informed of my activities that no one else has any clue of."

Dorothy's smile was all gleaming white teeth, but it managed to look friendly somehow.

"Oh now, Your Highness, you wouldn't be as uncouth as to ask a lady to reveal her secrets! But I will say, I am very well informed. You would be very surprised to know what kind of information I have within my fingertips."

Milliardo considered her answer carefully. She had not exactly dodged the question, but she had not answered fully either. It was clear, however, that she had one hell of a network that fed her correct and dangerous information. He mentally noted to do a palatial sweep later on to find spies and informants later; it would not do to have his secrets get out into the general public.

"Not surprised," Milliardo continued in his smooth and cultured voice, "just very impressed, My Lady. Your spies seem most skilled. And so, Lady, why is that Relena is no longer my worry?"

"She is dead." Dorothy said without a trace of regret. "There has been a gruesome murder in a small town quite a distance from here. Mishia, I think that is the name of that town. Plenty of witnesses."

Milliardo frowned slightly. He was not aware of such developments.

"I haven't received a confirmation of a kill from the murderer?s guild yet. How do you know for certain that it was Relena? And what was she doing there in THAT little hole in the ground?"

"Oh, you won't be getting any confirmations from the murderer's guild. They had nothing to do with it. It was just a case of random violence. How.. fateful for you, don't you think?"

She watched one of Milliardo's well formed eyebrows arch up in a classic show of 'is that so' without smiling too broadly. The fact that Relena had died had not been fate, of course, since she was a Fate, and moreover, since the mortal who had killed Relena was out of their control, destiny had not had a hand in it at all. The irony was only clear to her and Noin, however. They were determined that no one else, not even those in their own family, would know about the two free agents roaming around the tapestry of fate unguarded and uncontrolled.

"How very convenient for me that Relena is dead. So, my dear Lady, how will you help me get the throne?"

"Oh, I have my ways, Your Highness," Dorothy replied with a sharp grin, "but I can't tell you exactly how. It would spoil the fun and the intrigue."

Milliardo accepted her explanation for now since he had next to no information on this mysterious girl. Instead of questioning her on her methods, he decided to play along and see where this went.

"I wouldn't dream of spoiling your good times, Lady. But if you are willing to help me, there must be something you want from me as well. That is the way the game works, is it not?"

"You are quite right, Your Highness. I do have something I want from you in return for my services."

Milliardo did not ask further, but waited for her to elaborate. She did not seem the type to appreciate getting rushed along.

"Well, Your Highness," Dorothy continued after a brief pause, "I want you to arrest a couple of people for me. And most importantly, I want you to make sure that they are not killed."

With that, Dorothy unhooked a small bag from the underskirts of her dress and laid it on the marble chess table. She waited for Milliardo to take it and remove its contents before speaking further.

"Those two must be in your possession within three moon cycles, Your Highness, if you want my help to the throne. I guarantee, if you hold up your side of the bargain, your throne is ensured."

Milliardo did not completely believe her, but something in her voice told him that she was capable of doing exactly what she had stated. Apparently, this young lady had the power to put him on the throne and all he had to do was arrest the boys sketched in intricate detail on the paper he held.

There were no names attached to these faces, but the pictures were striking. One was a boy with long, brown braid with spiky bangs hovering over his most unusual violet shaded eyes, smiling in impish delight. The other was a serious looking boy with unruly dark brown hair that flowed every which way, his cobalt blue eyes blazing like twin stars within his handsome face. No names, but they would be easy to identify. No one would be able to forget these faces.

"You have a deal, My Lady."

Two boys for the throne. Milliardo smiled and counted his lucky stars. However, he was too convinced that he had gotten the better end of the deal and he failed to register the gleam of malicious satisfaction in Dorothy's eyes.

+

The night waxed on as six people sat around a small fire in a clearing many miles away from the scene of political intrigue. Relena did most of the talking since she was the purveyor of news while the others interjected periodically with questions and surprised intakes of breaths. It seemed that even after establishing who and what she was, no one except Heero was comfortable with her position.

"So," Trowa asked for the fifth time in that hour, "the Fates are going to completely decimate Heero and Duo for being free?"

Heero twitched involuntarily and felt his hand clamp down on his leg. He had no idea that things would be this way when he had used the Pendulum Signet. He had been under the impression that all the Signet would have done was to free Duo's past memories buried within his soul that he could love him again. He had not known that the consequences would bring about free radicals within the pattern of destiny. For as long as he had been a god, there had never been mortals who could claim to be free of destiny. And now, there were two of them, one of them a former god with infinite knowledge of the world and the other a mortal who had already wanted to rebel against his given path. They were a dangerous combination and it was no wonder that Dorothy and Noin were out to erase them from existence.

"Look, I wish I knew more," Relena replied with a frustrated sigh, "but my sisters no longer trust me. I don't know how they are going to erase their souls, what their plans are, I don't know anything. The paths I have laid down for Duo is long gone, the thread unraveled from the tapestry. And because of Duo and Heero?s freedom from the path, they are affecting the choices I have made for all of you. They may even alter the decisions Noin has placed upon you. It is a complicated and ugly thing. All my sisters can see is chaos for the mortal realm ahead."

"So we have no idea what?s coming, do we? And you can?t know either since you don't control Duo or Heero. What are we left with here, then? What can we do?"

Quatre's voice had held his frustration at his feelings of helplessness plainly, but he had kept his face calm. He could not afford a break-down in the face of adversity, no matter how hard or complicated. He would not allow his family to suffer something worse than death.

"When I look into your future, I see paths of glory and power. There are other paths as well, but I want to choose something glorious for you. But that no longer is steady. The way the Fates work in conjunction with the whims of the gods and the interplay of threads against one another is too complex for you to understand. I can give you options, but ultimately, the choices you make are up to Noin."

"I just want to get this straight then, Relena. You are saying, even if you choose something that will somehow help Duo and Heero, even if we want to help them, your sister can make it so that we cannot act upon those wishes?"

The regret shining out of Relena's eyes answered Quatre's question without words. There were choices, yes, but in the end, there was only one decision. And that would be made not by these mortals, but by Noin, the Fate who controlled present decisions and lives. Relena knew that her sister would not choose in favor of Duo and Heero, no matter what. In an essence, Duo and Heero were on their own, because thanks to her proud sisters, even their family and friends could be used as weapons against them.

"This is one bitch of a situation, I have to say."

Duo nodded in agreement with Wufei's bitter yet correct statement. It seemed that no matter what, there would be no way to avoid the ugly future that loomed before them. Duo and Heero could not depend on their friends as allies as long as they were controlled by the Fates and Relena could only do so much in constraining her sister's plans.

"What can we do? I mean, how will I and Heero survive all this? Literally, it's the whole fucking world versus us."

"Don't worry too much, Duo," Heero broke into Duo's anxious inquiry, "because I'll be here with you. I may not be a god anymore, but I can still protect us, whether it be from the world or from the gods."

"How can you be so sure? How can you say that? Haven't you noticed, Heero? We are already on the run and to top it off, we now have to worry about being erased out of existence!"

Relena watched in silence as Heero put a calming hand on Duo's shaking shoulder, soothing him without words. His eyes held a calm and peaceful light even in this awful turmoil, as if he had found what he had been searching for. She supposed that he had found it; it seemed almost as if he loved this incarnation of his lover more than the previous one.

"We have to run, by ourselves, don't we."

The question was laden with heavy sorrow and a sick kind of realization. Duo could only imagine what his future held for him now. He had railed against the Fates, destiny and Heero, telling himself that all he had wanted was the freedom to choose, to be free of all constraints. Unfortunately, he had never thought about the consequences of his most heartfelt desire. Was this worth his true freedom? A life of running, hiding, hoping and despairing? He raised his head to look at Heero when he did not answer and found himself drowning in twin pools of midnight blue as calm and serene as the still mountains. They held a confidence in them, in him, that he could not fathom.

Heero believed in him, in them, with an unshakable resolve. Even now, after all Duo had said and done to deny that he loved him. And no longer could he blame his heart's reaction to a cruel trick of fate. Ever since the day he had met Heero, he had made his choices and laid his own paths.

Somehow, along the way, he had fallen in love with this strange yet familiar boy all on his own. That thought alone chased away the despairing and frightening demons in his head to the recesses of his mind, comforting him and somehow offering him the strength to believe in Heero?s faith in them.

"Running, hiding, none of that will help."

Duo blinked, trying to cast off the haze his revelation had set upon him. Heero was speaking to him, ignoring everyone else in the clearing.

"We must confront them."

Duo and Heero heard the gasp from the others as the words left their mouths in unison, but they did not pay them any mind. It was clear. Their choice was made. It was time to pay a visit to the Fates.

+

"I just may take a vacation after this is over."

Sally agreed with Hilde with a soft grunt. When they had set out to kill a couple of failures on the orders of the guild, they had not considered that they would run into such complications. Now, after eavesdropping, they were hip deep in shit. Or rather, gods and destiny.

"We are so screwed."

Yet another grunt followed on the heels of that statement. They were whispering quietly to each other huddled in the underbrush just outside of the boundaries of the fire?s light, observing and listening to the most absurd conversation. Worst of all, they both realized that their mission was bound to be a failure no matter what.

"How the hell are we going to go up against a Fate? She can set us on the path to the most miserable future ever!"

Sally clamped her hand over Hilde's mouth when her whisper nearly turned into her speaking voice. But that did not make Hilde's assessment wrong. They weren't up against mere mortals, they were head to head with gods.

The situation was not acceptable.

"If you can?t beat them, join them."

Ignoring the look of utter surprise and shock from Hilde, Sally calmly stood and brushed off leaves and dirt from her black pants and shirt with steady hands. She gave Hilde a look that brooked no argument and watched as her prot'g' sighed. After a moment, Hilde followed Sally's lead and stood with her. Without nary a word, they walked towards the camp fire and their new allies.

+

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