Okay, I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this out, especially since I left off in a very nasty spot last time. In case anyone was wondering, these next parts won't be going up on my website as it's currently undergoing a complete rehaul, including an entirely new design and name -- oh yeah, and it's moving. Since I don't know when it's going to be finished, until then consider it an update-free site.
Author: Anria Lalumin
Disclaimer: I'm in denial. They're all mine.
Warnings: OOC, yaoi, introspective -- all for this part. Overall warnings include yaoi, violence, angst and tension. So, nothing unusual.
Pairings: 1x2, 3x4, and the muse has come up with something else that is currently irrelevant -- but will soon crop up! Mwahahahaha!

Past Encounters
Part Eleven: A Father's Son

For some reason Heero had never thought he would see the inside of the dungeons on a prisoner basis.

It wasn't a particularly bad dungeon, as dungeons go. It was one of the first in the levels of the dungeons, as even though Heero was accused of treason, he was still the Crown Prince of Ylloh. This afforded him some benefits, since the lower levels stank of blood, sweat, and fear. They held the worst criminals, spies, murderers, and anyone the king or higher levels of nobility took such an extreme dislike to that they would invent false charges in order to have them placed in the dungeons. Torture was the norm there.

On the higher levels, however, the 'dungeon' could only really be termed that as it was underground. A bed lay in one corner, larger than the small stone cots below, with clean linens. There was a desk with a chair, and the heavy oak door provided for some privacy while the torches in their brackets were shielded by bars that kept them from prying fingers while providing light for the room. Heero had even been given some paper and ink, as it was known that tomorrow he would fight to the death, and he still had to write his last will and testament.

It was a minimalist cell, but still it was far more comfortable than the fearsome reputation of Juki Palace's dungeons would have admitted to.

Heero's mind returned to its previous line of thought as he leaned back in the chair. Despite his way of life, he had never thought he would end up on the inside, having been found out, and accused of treason. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had even refused to believe that he would ever die, as shown by his lack of ever having thought of writing a last will and testament. It was perhaps the last vestiges of his adolescence, that he had subconsciously considered himself immune to death.

He wondered if Duo had ever felt the same.

The thought of Duo led him to contemplate more on how the braided Duke was doing, in a cell further down from Heero's. Somehow, Heero wasn't sure that Duo would be given the same kind treatment he was, as the nobleman had no family left and was known in all the four kingdoms to have offended many important members of the gentry with his pranks and antics. Duo's influence as the powerful Duke Maxwell had protected him before, as had his family's money, but Heero sincerely doubted that anybody associated with Duo would want anything to do with him now that he was accused of treason.

But then, the same could be applied to himself.

Heero blinked. Actually, he was sure that would never happen, as although he was accused of treason -- and against four kingdoms, no less! -- his family still had an interest in his safety and well-being. He was, after all, the only son of King Odin of Ylloh. As Crown Prince of one of the four kingdoms and the only possible heir, as well as fiancé-in-all-but-name to Princess Relena of Sank, he had a guaranteed backing.

What did Duo have?

Him, Quatre, and Trowa. Possibly his servants and others employed by his family. But that would be about as much help as using a net as a windbreaker in the middle of a gale.

Thinking about Duo so much brought him to think about the predetermined events of the next day. He would fight Duo. Duo would fight him. One of them would die.

No.

That was all that came to mind.

No.

No.

I can't kill Duo.

Can I?

Heero sat bolt upright suddenly. Could he kill Duo? Could he, in all honesty, follow through with the fatal thrust?

He forced himself to examine his state of mind whenever he fought. Detached, unthinking, unfeeling. Simply following orders, emotions shoved to the back of his mind so he was completely focused on the fight. If he allowed his emotions to show through, it would distract him from the mission and he might hesitate when the time came to kill. He had trained that out of himself in order to carry out the many orders and missions J had given him, beginning it on ones where he felt the orders were justified in preparation for the ones he abhorred. It was instinctive now, thoroughly ingrained into his being.

So. When I fight, I fall into that mindset. In that mindset, could I kill Duo?

Yes.

Heero shuddered, finding himself facing a part of his psyche that he found he really did not like. True, when he was in control of his emotions there was no doubt that he would never, never be able to kill or harm Duo in any way, but once the soldier mindset took over. . . .

Well.

So how to combat it?

Heero was jolted from his thoughts by the heavy thud of the bolt on his door being thrown back. The door opened ponderously, its massive weight hauled open by the guards outside, and King Odin of Ylloh walked into the room.

Heero straightened instinctively in his chair, but something kept him from rising to his feet in proper respect. The door swung shut behind Odin, and the bolt thudded back into place.

Neither man said a word.

Heero refused to give in under the gaze of the man he had learned his patented death-glare from. Smoothing his face out into its usual rigid lines, he met and held the other man's gaze steadily.

After a moment, Odin dropped his eyes.

Silence fell. Neither man, despite upbringing and diplomatic necessities, had ever been much of a talker. And neither one was willing to break the silence, not quite yet.

"Why?"

The one blunt word fell like glass shattering into the silence between them. Odin looked up from his contemplation of the stones beneath his feet, and looked at his son. "Why?"

"Why what?" Flat, non-expressive.

Odin gestured vaguely in the direction of the wall.

"Why BG? Why J?"

"When I joined, I was informed that BG would be used as a peace-keeping force, to hold down the bandits and criminals and other miscreants. Once I discovered differently, there was no way I could have left BG without compromising my safety, your safety and the safety of the Sank monarchy."

Silence fell again.

"I always believed that we had no secrets," Odin said abruptly. His son watched warily, not sure where this line was leading to but having some inkling and not liking it. "I believed that you would tell me anything --"

"-- as long as it did not compromise your safety and well-being."

Odin shut up. Heero had nothing to say.

After a moment, the King of Ylloh tried again.

"I will not help you in any way because I cannot condone your actions in joining BG," he said. "Firstly because it was without my knowledge, and as closely linked as you are to the throne you should consult me in all big decisions. Secondly because of what your actions led you to do." He fell silent for a moment, then, "I never thought you were capable of this, my son. I never believed that it was in your character."

"Then you never knew me at all."

It was a simple statement, and one that to Heero was undeniably true. His own father did not understand why he would join an organization professing to work towards helping the peace and stopping the crime that was rampant throughout the four kingdoms. Once he had discovered that BG were not stopping it, they were adding to it, it was too late to back out and J had sufficient blackmail material to keep him ensconced in the organization for the rest of his life.

And if his own father did not understand why he had continued, and why at the worst of the atrocities committed by the organizations Heero was never reported anywhere near it, then he had never truly known his son at all. Heero knew himself to be a killer. He had always been one. He always would be one.

So why didn't his father understand that?

"Yuy --"

"My name is Heero," he said harshly. He was done talking to a man who would not help his own son to live.

Odin flinched visibly. He stared at the man in front of him, wondering when he'd stopped being a boy. "You are my heir," he whispered, wondering why his heir would act so coldly to him.

Heero's eyes saddened, but did not look surprised. "So now I am only your heir."

"No --"

"I understand."

And to that, Odin could find nothing to say. It was said in a tone of such gentleness that all it seemed to convey was 'it will be easier for the both of us if you agree and accept.'

After a moment, the King turned and walked to the cell door, rapping on it loudly three times. After a moment, the bolt thudded back and the door swung open, allowing a route for the Ylloh King to escape his son's cell.

He paused in the doorway, turning his head to the side and staring at the frame. "Don't die tomorrow," he said, and left.

Heero sat in his tiny room after his father had gone, not moving for a long time. Then, slowly, he leaned forwards and placed his elbows on the desk and covered his face with his hands.

A few minutes later, water trickled out from between his fingers.

++

I'm sorry. This didn't resolve anything. But I promise you it will all be over in either the next chapter or the one after that. Promise! And this one *will* be kept, despite my annoying muse.

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