Author: Caroline
Rating: PG mebbe? NC-17 eventually >:)
Pairing: 1+2, 3+5, 4+H
Warnings: AU, OOC, a tad angsty at times, fantasy, magic, an insane author with too much time on her hands
Disclaimers: for some reason I can't quite fathom, I don't own Gundam Wing. I know, strange isn't it? I don't make any money off it. I make money teaching bratty children. And believe me, you wouldn't be getting much if you sued.

S Beag, S Mr + Part 2

The quiet stillness of the late afternoon was shattered by a loud shout, followed by a tremendous splash. Laughter peeled through the air like tinkling bells as one, water-logged sidhe sputtered to the surface of the crystal clear pond.

"DUO!" a short-haired fairy screamed in righteous indignation as she swept her sopping wet bangs out of her eyes. "When I find you, I'm going to cut off that braid and use it to tie you to a hill of fire ants!"

"Now, now Hilde," a golden-haired sidhe said, giggling. "I'm pretty sure it's against Faerie Law to threaten a member of the Royal Family."

"I don't care if he's the bloody king! I do not appreciate being tossed into the water like a sack of acorns, especially if I'm asleep at the time. And in my pretty little sun dress too," Hilde pouted, wringing out the sky blue material. "Duo! Where are you?"

A little white handkerchief tied to a blade of grass popped up from behind a nearby rock and waved. A moment later, a chestnut brown head peeked fearfully out from behind the rock. A plaintive voice called out, "Truce, Hilde?"

"Get out here right this minute so I can pound some sense into you, Duo!" the girl shouted, stamping her foot.

Duo stood up slowly, looking fearfully in the girl's direction. "But Hilde... it was Quatre's idea."

Hilde spun around and glared at the blonde sidhe, her purple and blue wings flapping angrily in the late afternoon breeze. "Quatre..." she growled as she advanced on him.

Quatre began backing off slowly, putting his arms up in front of him to defend himself. "He's lying Hilde. I said no such thing!"

"You know Duo doesn't lie, Quatre. Your ass is mine!" she cried as she leapt at him, sending them both into the water. Duo blinked, then doubled over in laughter as his two closest friends tried to drown each other in the pond. Deciding the water looked nice, he stripped down to his swim trunks and cannonballed into the water, sending a large wave to drench his already wet friends.

"Duo!" they both shouted as the braided sidhe resurfaced.

"Aw, you guys were already wet. What're you complaining about?" he asked, grinning. He rolled over on his back and spread his wings, which were dyed blue and green today. Spread out behind him, his wings acted like a make-shift raft, allowing him to float on his back.

Hilde and Quatre swam over to him and did the same. It wasn't often that they got out of the palace to just relax and have fun. Their days were usually spent in their studies and in keeping their Crown Prince out of trouble. Hilde and Quatre had been picked at birth to be Duo's companions and the three were rarely seen apart... except when Duo managed to escape even them.

Quatre sighed. Duo was valiant, brave, and intelligent... everything that a good monarch should be. But his child-like curiosity and sense of adventure got him in trouble more often than not. Just last week, he and Hilde had gone to meet Duo after his weapons' practice, only to find that the prince had never shown up. They'd stammered some excuse to the weapons master before frantically tearing out of the palace in search of him. So far they'd managed to keep every one of Duo's disappearances a secret from his brother, the King. But this last time had been a close call indeed.

When they had finally found Duo, the boy had been lost in thought under his favorite willow tree. He'd refused to say what had happened, but both he and Hilde knew something was up. So they'd decided to "kidnap" the prince and bring him here to see if they could find out what was wrong with him. The little pond had been one of Duo's discoveries on one of his previous "expeditions". It was at the far reaches of Unseleigh territory, close to the borderlands. Hopefully an afternoon of fun at one of Duo's favorite places would get the prince to open up.

Quatre was about to broach the subject when Duo beat him to it.

"Quatre, have you ever... kissed anyone?" the prince asked softly as he floated across the water.

Quatre was so surprised by the question that he lost his 'balance' and slipped under the water. He came up coughing. Duo swam rolled over and swam to him, hitting him on the back.

"You all right, Quatre?" the prince asked, worry clouding his lovely purple eyes.

"Y... yeah," the golden haired sidhe sputtered. "You just surprised me, that's all."

"Oh." Duo used his wings to backpedal lazily through the water. "Well have you?"

Quatre glanced at Hilde, and two of them immediately flushed and looked guilty. Duo looked from one to the other in confusion before his eyes opened wide with understanding. He smirked and elbowed Quatre in the ribs.

"Why Quatre, you sly devil. Why did neither of you tell me?"

Quatre looked at him incredulously. "But... but you're to be betrothed to Hilde, and I'm to be your seneschal. We... we've betrayed you!"

Hilde looked like she was ready to cry, and Quatre didn't look much better. Duo placed his hands on Quatre's shoulders, forcing him to look him in the eye.

"Quatre, look at me. The only thing I'm upset about is that you didn't tell me. But now that I know, I couldn't be happier for my two best friends." He shifted his gaze to Hilde and blushed. "Hilde, you know I love you as a friend, but you and I both know how ridiculous this betrothal is. I was afraid I'd break your heart if I told you that I didn't want to marry you."

Hilde's eyes grew wide in astonishment. "But... but I thought the same thing!" She grinned and threw herself into his arms, hugging his neck until Duo thought he'd turn blue. She kissed him on the cheek and added, "Duo, are you sure?"

"Oi... can't... breathe..."

Hilde giggled as she released Duo. The braided prince smiled. "Of course I'm sure Hilde. Quatre's much more suited to deal with your mood swings than I am anyway." He ducked as Hilde took a swing at him.

"Why you little... and while we're on the subject, why don't you want to marry me?"

"Hilde," Quatre warned, wrapping his arms lovingly around the girl's waist.

"Not that I'm not grateful," Hilde murmured to her lover. "I'm just... curious."

Duo took a deep breath. "Hilde, please don't take this the wrong way. I'm just not... attracted to you. Or to any girl for that matter." He felt his face turn red as he looked away.

Neither Quatre nor Hilde said anything for a long moment as understanding set in. While it was no stigma to fall in love with a member of one's own gender, members of the Royal Family were expected to marry and produce an heir.

"Duo... have you told your brother this?"

The violet-eyed sidhe shook his head. "No. Treize doesn't know. And I don't know how to tell him." He smiled and shrugged. "Besides, it's not like I've been named Heir. Should Treize marry and have a child, he or she will take the throne, not me. And it's not like I've... met... someone..." His voice trailed off as his gaze grew distant.

Quatre shot a look at Hilde before swimming over to his best friend. "Duo, why did you ask me if I'd ever kissed anyone?"

Duo blushed and turned away. "I was just wondering." When he received two disbelieving stares, he sighed. "Look, I don't want to talk about this now anyway. Let's talk about something else."

"Like what?"

"Like... well... do either one of you know why the Seleigh and Unseleigh courts are at war?"

Quatre blinked at the abrupt change in subject. "Well Duo, maybe if you'd paid more attention to your history studies rather than daydreaming..."

"I pay enough attention Quatre! And I've never once heard the reason why the two courts have been at war for nearly a millennium. Have you?"

"Well... no actually." He turned to look at Hilde. "I'm not sure if anyone knows. The reason seems to have been lost in the past."

"Then why are we still at war if no one remembers how it started anymore?" Duo asked.

"It's... tradition, Duo," Hilde replied. "No one questions it. It's just the way it's always been."

"Well that's stupid," Duo muttered as he sank down into the water to his chin.

"Maybe if you become king, you can change all that," Quatre suggested.

"Bah. You two are boring," Hilde said, splashing both of them. "We have more important things to figure out."

"Like what?" Duo asked, splashing back.

"Like how to tell our families the betrothal's off." She grinned. "And since you are the prince and Heir-Apparent, I designate you to tell them."

Duo smirked and lunged at her. "They won't need to know if you accidentally drown, Hilde. Defend yourself!"

Quatre rolled his eyes as he watched his best friend and his lover try to kill each other for the second time that day.

+

Heero sighed as he fluttered wearily down to the ground to settle on a large, green lily pad. He pulled his boots off and laid them carefully aside so as not to get them wet. Gingerly, he put his feet in the soothing water and leaned back, content for the moment.

"There you are, Heero."

Heero opened one eye to watch as his closest friend and second-in- command landed gently on the lily pad beside him. "Trowa. Finished your sector?"

"Aa. Aside from a nest of hornets I almost stumbled into, all's quiet."

Heero leaned back on his arms and gazed up at the blue sky. "Why do we do this, Trowa?"

"Do what?"

"Patrol the borderlands. There hasn't been a skirmish with the Unseleigh in two summers," Heero explained as he thought about a pair of violet eyes.

"That's why we do it. We never know when another attack might come."

Heero turned to Trowa. "Why do we fight them at all?"

The green-eyed warrior cocked his head. "Why? Why are you even asking that, Heero? Have you been out in the sun too long? We fight them to protect ourselves and our land."

"No, that's not what I meant. Why did we start fighting them? What heinous crime was committed that sent our two clans into a war that's lasted a millennium? Do we even know?"

Trowa opened his mouth, then shut it.

"You don't know, do you?"

"I've never thought about it. I don't think I've ever heard the reason why the courts are at war."

Heero sighed and leaned back again. "What if they're not evil, Trowa? They're different, but what if we've been fighting for no reason?"

"There's always a reason for war. What brought this on, Heero?"

The cobalt-eyed warrior leaned back, sighing. He thought of the strange Unseleigh creature he'd met a week before. Since their meeting, Heero had been distracted. Memories of Duo's actions and words... and the kiss... had occupied his mind since that time. Heero had always prided himself on being no nonsense and down to business... the 'perfect warrior' so to speak. But lately, he found his mind wandering back to the meeting with the Unseleigh sidhe. Even his friends had noticed how distracted he'd become.

His lips tingled with the phantom memory of that kiss. He touched his lips with his fingers as if to make sure they were still there.

"Trowa?"

"Hn?"

"How long have you and Wufei been... together?"

"Three summers now. Why do you ask?"

Heero shifted uncomfortably. "How did you... when did you first... kiss?"

Trowa's one visible eye opened wide. "Why do you want to know that?"

"Just indulge me. Please?"

"We'd been meeting secretly after dark for four moons before I got up the nerve to kiss him."

"How was it?"

"You're treading dangerous territory, Yuy, asking all these personal questions."

"Please, I..." He touched his lips again, lost in the memory.

Trowa sighed. "It was bloody awkward. I didn't really know what to do, and Wufei certainly didn't know either." He smirked. "But it got better with practice. Lots of practice."

"But the first time... did it feel right? I mean... did it feel like stars were bursting in your stomach? Did it leave your lips tingling for days after?"

Trowa looked at him in shock. Heero could feel a blush steal across his face as he realized he'd probably said too much.

"You kissed someone." It wasn't a question.

"N...no. Someone kissed me."

"Who was it? Relena?"

"Baka. You know the princess and I are more like siblings. It wasn't her." He looked at Trowa with a horrified expression on her face. "But don't tell her! She'll pester me until I am forced to tell her everything."

"What makes you think I won't do the same?"

Heero smirked. "Because I outrank you. If I tell you not to ask me about it, you can't."

"Can you at least tell me if it was male or female?"

Heero narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Why?"

Trowa smiled. "Indulge me."

"Male."

"Damn."

"What?"

"'Fei and I had a bet going. I just lost three gold pieces."

"Baka."

His green-eyed friend was about to say something when a sudden noise from around the bend in the pond caught their attention. He motioned Trowa to go investigate while he pulled his feet quietly out of the water and pulled his boots on. He was lacing up the last one when his friend returned looking rather grim.

"What was it?"

"Unseleigh scum," Trowa growled, fingering the hilt of his sword. "They're on our land."

"Where are they?"

"Just around the bend in that little cove. I saw only three but there might be more."

"Go back. Keep watch. Make sure they don't see you. I'll go get the men."

Trowa nodded and zipped away. Heero flapped his brown wings and took off, clasping one hand around the amber stone set in the pommel of his sword. By invoking the spell set in the stone, the other members of his regiment would know to report immediately to him. The spell also keyed them in on his location. He alighted on the branch of a nearby rowan tree to wait.

He didn't have to wait long. Within minutes Heero heard the buzzing of wings as his men flew through the air to him. A moment later, nine similarly dressed warriors were hovering in the air before him.

"Heero, where's Trowa?" a black-haired sidhe asked, landing on the branch beside him.

"He's keeping an eye on the situation, Wufei," Heero replied, taking note of how the dark-eyed warrior's shoulders sagged in relief. He frowned. He'd have to talk to Trowa and Wufei later. He couldn't allow personal relationships to get in the way of their mission even if he didn't really believe in it anymore.

"Trowa has spotted at least three Unseleigh sidhe on Seleigh land. There may be more."

His men began murmuring amongst themselves.

"What would you have us do, Captain Yuy?" one of his men asked. "Do we kill them?"

"Only if they are a threat. If not, capture them. King Merquise will want to know why they are here." Heero dispersed his orders quickly. He didn't want the Unseleigh sidhe to get away. He wanted to capture at least one so he could question him or her himself.

"Does anyone have any questions?" No one did. "Then let's go. Remember, no killing unless absolutely necessary."

He rose up off the branch and sped back the way he'd came, his men flying closely behind. As he winged his way through the air, he tried hard to convince himself that he wanted to question the Unseleigh sidhe about why they were on Seleigh land... and not about the beautiful Unseleigh boy with the violet eyes.

+

The sun was hanging low in the sky when the three friends decided they needed to be heading back to the palace. They grabbed their dry clothes (Hilde thanking the Great Mother for packing extra as her sun dress hadn't dried yet), and took turns changing behind some tall grass growing nearby. Duo was sitting on a rock next to Hilde while waiting for Quatre to finish changing when a slight noise caught his attention. He jerked his head around, listening.

"Duo, what is it?" Hilde asked, puzzled at Duo's behavior.

Duo motioned for her to be quiet. He looked around, eyes narrowing. "The birds have stopped singing."

Hilde's eyes grew wide. Duo was right. It was eerily quiet. The prince stood up, motioning for her to do the same. He took a step in the direction where Quatre was changing when the world around them seemed to explode.

A levin bolt slammed into the ground nearby, sending a shower of sand and dirt in their direction. Duo tackled Hilde to the ground as debris went flying. Quatre scurried out from behind the tall grass, calling their names.

"Duo! Hilde!"

Duo yanked Hilde to her feet and ran toward the golden-haired sidhe.

"Quatre!" the violet-eyed sidhe yelled as the battle cries of Seleigh warriors filled the air. "Take wing, Quatre! We're under attack!"

He spurred his own wings into action, pulling Hilde up with him. Their only choice was to outrun their attackers as they had brought no weapons with them. Duo gathered his magic and sent a levin bolt blindly behind him. He didn't have time to stop and aim. He had to get his friends away.

Duo could hear their enemy closing in on them. Another levin bolt flew past his head, striking a nearby tree. A heavy branch hit by the blast came loose just as Quatre was flying underneath. Duo screamed in denial, and, using magic to augment his speed, pushed his friend out of the way. The branch slammed him into the ground at breakneck speed. His last thought before darkness claimed him was for his friends, hoping they would get away.

+

"Duo! NO!" Hilde screamed as she saw her friend and prince lying limp on the ground below. She started to dive down to him when a hand caught hold of her arm.

"Hilde, we have to get away!" Quatre cried as he dragged her away.

"But we can't just leave him!"

"We have to go for help. We're outnumbered." Hilde continued to struggle. Quatre yanked on her arm, forcing her to look at him. "We won't do him any good if we get captured too. One of us has to make it back to get help." He pleaded silently with her to understand.

Hilde choked back a sob and nodded. She clasped her hand to Quatre's as the two flew away. Quatre was right. They had to get help. But she knew she would never forgive herself if something happened to Duo. Hand in hand, the two raced home.

+

Trowa landed on the ground next to the fallen Unseleigh sidhe. He approached cautiously as if expecting the boy to leap up and attack him. When no attack came, he knelt down and rolled the creature over. The boy was unconscious. He grimaced at the Unseleigh's appearance. It was almost disgusting they way they wore bright colors like that. Quickly he placed a gaes on the boy so that when he did awaken, he would not be able to use magic against them.

He was tying the boy's hands together when a small mark on the inside of the boy's elbow caught his eye. His own eyes widened as he recognized the mark.

'What in Danu's name is a member of the Unseleigh Royal Family doing on Seleigh lands?' he thought to himself as he finished binding the boy's hands.

Shrugging the thought off, he heaved the boy over his shoulder and took to the air.

+

Heero looked up as he saw Trowa approaching. Most of his men had already returned, disappointed in their failure at letting two of the Unseleigh sidhe get away. But one had been caught. One was all he needed.

"Well Trowa, looks like we've partially succeeded," he said casually as he motioned for his friend to set his prisoner down.

"We've more than succeeded, Heero. We've caught ourselves a prize," he replied as he flung the limp form to the ground. "What we have here is an Unseleigh prince. I believe King Merquise will be most pleased with us for this one."

Heero barely heard his friend's words. He was staring wide-eyed at the figure on the ground. He'd hoped to be able to question the prisoner about the sidhe called Duo. He'd never expected to capture him instead.

[part 1] [part 3] [back to Caroline's fic]