I'm sorry this part took so long to write.  It was hard to get through since it's mostly conversation (*snore*).  There should be only one more part after this, plus Akuma's lemony 2x1 epilogue.  ^_~
Author: Caroline
Rating: this part, R - overall, NC-17
Pairing: 1x2, 3+5, 4+H
Warnings: AU, OOC, a tad angsty at times, fantasy, magic, lemon
Spoilers: none
Comments: why not?
Archive: Anyone who's been archiving my stuff, sure.  Anyone else, email me.  ^_^
Disclaimers: don't own 'em.  never will.  'nuff said.

S Beag, S Mr + Part 7

Heero peered around the corner, scanning the darkened hallway for signs of life. He'd beaten Trowa and the others to the city by just a few minutes. He didn't have much time if he wanted to get to the king before Mueller. Fortunately, he knew more secret passages of the Seleigh palace than anyone did. He also had an "in" with the king.

Seeing no one in the hall, Heero quickly crossed to the other side and pulled on one of the sconces set in the wall. A secret door opened before him to reveal a dark passageway. Heero hurried inside, careful to close the entrance behind him. He cast a mage light so he could see and almost ran down the narrow passage in his haste. A few moments later, he came to the end. He pushed the door before him open and stepped inside the dark room, banishing the mage light as he did.

Through the dim glow of the moonlight streaming in the windows, Heero could make out the outline of the large canopied bed at the far end of the room. He crossed the room quickly and shoved aside the bed curtains to shake the sleeping occupant awake.

The girl in the bed sat up, startled. "Wha? Heero?"

"Relena, I have to speak to the king right away."

Cornflower blue eyes blinked at him in astonishment. "Can't it wait until morning?"

"No, princess," Heero explained, tugging at her arm. "By morning we may be at war."

Relena's eyes grew wide as she shimmied off the bed and grabbed a robe from a nearby chair. "What has happened?"

"I'll explain everything when we wake your brother."

"Zechs won't be in bed yet. He'll still be in his study."

"Good. We can use the hidden passages to get there. I can't be seen."

Relena cast him a questioning look but didn't say anything as they stepped back into the passageway. Several twists and turns later, they found themselves facing the back end of a large bookcase. Relena pulled a secret lever and pushed the case aside as if it were a door.

On the other side of the secret entrance stood the king, sword in hand. He shoulders sagged with relief as both Heero and Relena stepped inside the well-lit room.

"Relena. You startled me."

"I'm sorry Brother, but Heero insisted on seeing you. He said it was urgent."

"Urgent?" The king looked at Heero. "What could be so urgent that couldn't wait until morning?"

"Your Majesty, I'm sorry to disturb you, but this could not wait," Heero explained, stepping forward. "In a few minutes, Mueller, Alex, and some others will be coming to see you. They're planning on exposing me as a traitor."

The king sat down. "That is a pretty serious charge, Captain Yuy. Do they have any basis for their claim?"

Heero and Relena glanced at each other. "You should tell him," Relena urged gently.

"Tell me what, Captain?"

"This evening when Princess Relena told you I could not attend dinner because I was ill... that was not exactly the truth," Heero explained.

"I can see that," the king replied, eyeing Heero's motley colored wings. He clasped his hands together under his chin thoughtfully. "And why did you feel the need to get my sister to lie to me?"

"I... went to meet someone."

The king waited patiently for Heero to continue.

"The Unseleigh prince we caught a few days ago. I went to meet him."

King Merquise stared at Heero for a long moment before speaking. "Relena, would you excuse us please?"

"But Zechs..."

Heero turned and clasped Relena's upper arms. "Princess, Trowa's bringing Duo here. He's hurt. Could you check on him? Please?"

"But..."

"Please?" He looked at her imploringly.

Relena sighed, glancing at her brother then back to Heero. "All right. But I want to be kept informed." She leaned forward to place a small kiss on Heero's cheek. Then, casting one last look at her brother, she hurried back down the passageway.

When she was gone, the king spoke. "Now Heero. I want you to tell me exactly how we now have an impending war on our hands."

"I went to meet Prince Duo by the pond near the northern end of the borderlands. I must have been followed. I heard a noise and left Duo to investigate. Mueller and his cronies found him... hurt him. They're bringing him here. They're going to say I've been conspiring with the enemy."

"And have you?"

"Your Majesty - you've known me all my life. Relena and I grew up together. My first loyalty has been and will always be to you and the throne."

The king stared at him for a long moment. Finally, he nodded. "I know. I didn't doubt you. I just wanted to hear your answer. So if you weren't out there consorting with the enemy, what were you doing?"

Heero coughed and shifted uncomfortably. "Consorting with the enemy," he mumbled quietly.

King Merquise raised an eyebrow.

"From the moment we first met," Heero continued, "I've been... strangely drawn to him, and he to me. I couldn't stop thinking about him."

"Go on."

"I thought at first he'd put some kind of love spell on me. I know love spells don't work, but I was... scared. I'd never felt anything like what I was feeling for him. I accused him of it, and he was so distressed by that..."

"That he let you place a truth spell on him," the king finished when the younger man hesitated.

Heero nodded. "He was innocent of my accusations. He'd been feeling the same things I was feeling. Neither one of us knew what was going on. So before I let him go, we agreed to meet again. Tonight."

"To figure out what was going on?"

Heero felt a blush spread across his face. "That was the intention but..." He trailed off, looking at the ground sheepishly.

"I see," King Merquise said, smirking a little.

Heero opened his mouth to reply when a wave of pain and fear washed over him. He stumbled forward, catching himself on the edge of the ornate desk. King Merquise jumped up and rushed over to him.

"Heero? Are you all right? What's wrong?"

"It's Duo," Heero answered, gasping for breath. "He's awake. He's in pain and he's frightened."

King Merquise stared at him in shock. "You can feel him?"

Heero fought for control of his emotions. Only through the years of disciplined training as a member of the Royal Guard was he able to block out most of it, pushing the pain to a corner of his mind where it was more bearable.

"I hadn't noticed it before tonight, but... it's like I can feel his presence in the back of my mind. Only now... it's stronger. I can feel what he's feeling."

"Great Mother," the king murmured as recognition filled his eyes. "It can't be..."

Heero looked at him curiously. "Can't be what?"

A loud knocking at the door of the study interrupted whatever the king was about to say. Instead, he grabbed Heero by the upper arms and stared him in the eye. "Answer me quickly, Heero, and tell me true. Do you love the Unseleigh prince?"

The knocking came again, this time more urgent.

"More than anything in this world, Your Majesty," Heero replied, a little surprised at his own answer.

King Merquise gave him a small smile. "Go hide in the secret passage. I'll see to Mueller. And then, somehow, we'll sort this mess out."

Heero nodded and hurried over to the bookcase as the king moved toward the door. He slipped behind it, then opened the little peephole on the other side. Now he would be able to see and hear what was going on in the room in safety.

As Heero had anticipated, the person on the other side of the door was Mueller. He and two of his fellow Guard members entered the room as if they owned it. Heero saw the king frown at their behavior. Following the three men were two of the king's advisors, Jay and Quinze.

From his hiding place behind the bookshelf, Heero couldn't hear much of what was being said. Their voices were muffled and Heero could only hear snatches of the conversation. Mueller and his friends were agitated. Heero heard his name mentioned contemptuously several times. The king's advisors looked distressed. Quinze was pacing nervously back and forth across the carpet. Heero could hear his words quite clearly whenever the man approached the bookcase.

"...all over the city," he was saying, wringing his hands. "News of the capture of an Unseleigh prince..."

Heero cursed as the man moved away again. He strained his ears to hear what they were saying about Duo.

"...do nothing the people may riot," he heard Jay explain in his raspy voice.

"...prince on Seleigh lands..."

"...act of war..."

"...getting information on us from that traitor, Yuy..."

That last was from Mueller, his eyes gleaming triumphantly.

At that moment the door opened. Trowa entered the room, followed by a very agitated Relena. Heero saw the princess glance around the room looking for him. The king's eyes flickered briefly to where Heero was hiding behind the bookcase. Relena noticed the motion and gave a slight nod, indicating that she understood. She moved closer to the bookcase before she started speaking. Heero smiled to himself and silently thanked his friend.

"I've just been to see the prisoner," Relena explained, her posture rigid with anger. She turned her accusing gaze to Mueller. "Would you care to explain to me how he managed to get three broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a broken wing?"

Heero felt faint. He knew Duo was in pain... he could feel it. But he hadn't been aware of how extensive the young prince's injuries were. He fought down the urge to leap from his hiding place and strangle the life out of Mueller with his bare hands.

"The little mongrel fought back," he barely heard Mueller say. "We had to defend ourselves."

"Six well-trained King's Guard against one small boy. None of you have a scratch on you and yet the Unseleigh prince is black and blue."

"He used powerful magic on us, milady," one of Mueller's friends closest to the bookcase said.

"Bullshit!" Heero heard Trowa exclaim loudly. "I find that hard to believe since I placed him under a geas last time. He is unable to use offensive magics against us."

"...must have had it removed," the other friend said.

"I find that highly unlikely," Trowa continued, moving closer to Relena. "What I would like to know is what you would have done had I not come along. Before I walked in, I saw you molesting that boy. How far would you have hone had I not stopped you?"

Mueller sputtered in rage. "How dare you accuse me..."

"How dare you do something as disgusting as that?" Relena interrupted, jumping forward and pointing an accusing finger at him. "That boy may be of the Unseleigh court but he is still a prince. Even as a political prisoner his status his higher than yours. You have not only disgraced yourselves, but you have disgraced our clan and our king!"

"The princess is right," King Merquise said as he stood. "You and all the men who were with you tonight are dismissed from my service. Get your things and get out. And if I were you, I'd move to some remote location on the outskirts of our land because if I see you near the city again, I will have you all executed for treason."

Mueller stared at the king incredulously. "You can't do this!"

King Merquise pointed to the silver circlet adorning his head. "See this? This crown tells me that I can indeed do this. I am your king. You would be wise to remember that. Now go. I never want to see your faces again."

Mueller's face contorted with rage as he and his comrades were ushered out of the room. King Merquise turned his back on the former Guard members to address Trowa. "Will you please see to their removal, then check on the prisoner?"

Trowa nodded once. "Yes, Your Majesty." He turned and left the room, closing the study door behind him.

Jay stepped forward. "What will you do with the Unseleigh prince?"

"Barton will see to his safety," the king replied.

"We need to let a healer in to see him," Relena added. "He's in pretty bad shape."

The king started to nod but was interrupted by Jay.

"With all due respect, Princess Relena," the wizened old man said, "we shouldn't be wasting healing magics on an enemy - not when we've an impending war hanging over our heads and certainly not on a prisoner who will be executed soon."

Heero felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. He heard Relena gasp and the king cry out in outrage.

"I gave no such order! That boy is not to be harmed!" the blonde ruler declared, slamming his hand down on his desk.

"My apologies, Your Majesty," Jay continued. "Mueller made sure to tell everyone he saw as he entered the city with the prisoner that your right-hand man was conducting secret meetings with a member of the Unseleigh Royal Court. The people are beginning to gather in the courtyards below. They're angry and they're frightened. They're calling for the deaths of the traitor and the prisoner."

"Heero is no more of a traitor than I!" Relena shouted, jumping forward. "How dare you accuse him of such!"

"Princess," Quinze said, "the events surrounding the boy's first escape are suspicious enough. Combined with this latest accusation, Yuy has been branded a traitor to the throne."

[cont]