*falls down* It's over... well, mostly. I thought I'd never get through this part. I have a ton of fics piling up in my "to read" folder. Maybe now I can finally get to them. ^__^ Now may I present to you the sappy, WAFFy, totally predictable ending to my li'l fairy fic.  I need a nap now...
Author: Caroline
Rating: this part, PG-13 - 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?
Disclaimers: don't own 'em.  never will. 'nuff said

S Beag, S Mr + Part 8

Darkness. The first thing he was aware of was darkness. While his mind was trying to comprehend why it was so dark, in the distance he heard voices. Angry voices. But he couldn't make out what they were saying. He moved toward the voices so he could hear.

"...pay for what they've done!"

"Your Majesty..."

Quatre. That was Quatre's voice. He tried to call out to Quatre in the darkness but found his voice wasn't working.

"Reports have come in from the borders. The Seleigh army has assembled and is heading towards the northern fields."

He felt a strong hand cup his face. 'Treize?'

"I'll leave some soldiers here to safeguard you. The Seleigh dog has been locked in the empty storage building at the edge of the city."

"What will happen to him?"

"He will be killed."

'Heero? No...'

"But Your Majesty... he brought Duo home."

Treize sighed. "I know. But it's out of my hands. Had we not received word of the approaching army, he'd have been executed already."

There was a long pause. Duo struggled to get out of the darkness. 'Heero...'

"I have to leave now, Quatre. Take care of him."

"I will, sire. May the Great Mother protect you."

"May She protect us all."

'Treize, no! Don't do this!' he tried to cry out, but the darkness was oppressive. He struggled to get out, struggled to break free of the blackness surrounding him. He had to get out, had to get to Heero, had to stop this stupid war.

'Heero...'

A pinpoint of light drew his attention. He flew towards it as fast as he could. The light grew bigger as he approached until it was blinding. He moaned in protest... and opened his eyes.

"Duo?"

A figure with Quatre's voice hovered over him. Duo blinked, trying to see through the light. Gradually Quatre's face came into focus, aqua blue eyes staring worriedly down at him.

"Quatre," his voice was horribly raspy. He tried to swallow but his mouth was so dry. Quatre must have noticed because the next thing he felt was a cup being placed against his lips.

"Drink this," his blonde friend said, tipping the vessel slightly so the cool, clear liquid slid into his mouth. Duo drank greedily. When water started to spill down his chin, Quatre took the cup away. Duo whimpered in protest.

"More?"

"Not yet. Take it easy. You don't want to make yourself sick."

Duo nodded and looked around. His vision had finally cleared. He was in his room, lying half-propped up on a mound of pillows in his own bed. Sunlight was streaming through the windows. Since his room faced east, Duo assumed it was mid-morning. He struggled to sit up, hissing as his body protested the movement.

In a flash, Quatre's hands were on his shoulders, urging him to lie back down.

"Duo! You need to rest! You underwent a massive healing session with Gee yesterday. You need to rebuild your strength!"

Duo blinked. "How long have I been out?"

"A whole day. We found you at dawn yesterday. You were injured and unconscious. Gee healed your ribs and your shoulder. He did the best he could with your wing, but you know how difficult it is to heal wings with magic. You'll be sore for a long time, and you shouldn't attempt to fly for at least a month."

Duo looked down at his arms. Quatre had been right. The dark purple bruises he'd seen spreading over his body during his brief period of consciousness in the Seleigh cell were now turning yellow. Within a day, they would be gone altogether.

Duo looked up at Quatre as the blonde sidhe tried to get him to lie down. "What's happening?"

Quatre averted his eyes. "Nothing you should worry about right now, Duo."

Duo struggled against his friend, this time succeeding in sitting up all the way. "Don't lie to me Quatre. I know Treize was here. Where has he gone?"

Quatre looked down and started to chew on his bottom lip.

Duo's eyes opened wide in realization. "Blessed Danu. We're at war."

Quatre nodded. "We received word this morning. The Seleigh army is approaching. We started to assemble our own warriors when we found you yesterday."

"Why? Why are we going to war? I'm here. I'm safe. Heero brought me..."

At the mention of Heero's name, a flood of emotions washed through him - emotions that were not his own. For a moment it was as if he was two people - one was lying in his bed, sore but recovering; the other was in a cold, dark room, hunched in a corner, feeling weak and afraid. His shoulder started to hurt. Duo cried out and clutched at his own shoulder as if he could make the phantom pain go away.

"Duo? Are you all right?"

"Heero. Where's Heero?" he demanded, fighting back a wave of nausea and trying to get his own emotions under control.

Quatre didn't answer.

"Dammit Quatre! Don't make me order the information out of you!"

"I'm not going to tell you, Duo."

"Yes, you will." When Quatre still refused to say anything, Duo clutched the front of the blonde's tunic. "Quatre please! He's hurt. I can feel his pain. I need to go to him."

His friend blinked. "You can feel him?"

"I don't have time to explain it. I just need to know where he is."

"Why? They hurt you. Why would you want to help someone who hurt you?" Quatre asked, hugging his friend close.

"He didn't hurt me, Quatre. He rescued me. I was in a Seleigh cell. I got caught through my own stupid foolishness of not realizing I had a geas placed on me. Heero risked his life, betrayed his own people, just to get me out and bring me home. But that's not why I want to see him."

The blonde sidhe looked down at him with questioning eyes. "Why then?"

"Because I love him, Quatre. I love him more than I thought possible. I would give my life for him."

Quatre saw the conviction in the young prince's eyes. "Great Mother... you've Bonded," he breathed in wonderment.

"What?"

"Never mind. You said you could feel him? Is he hurt?"

Duo nodded. "He's weak. I think he's been injured."

Quatre helped Duo stand. As quickly as they could manage, they got Duo into some clothes, mindful of Duo's injured wing. Quatre grabbed some spare bandages and other supplies off a nearby table where Gee had left them. Placing the items in a small, wooden box, he handed it to Duo.

"You carry that. I'll carry you."

"Quatre..."

"Don't argue! You need to let your wing heal. You could re-injure it and permanently lose the ability to fly."

Duo hesitated for a moment before nodding. "You're right. You're always right. Thank you for helping me, Quatre."

The blonde smiled. "You're my best friend, Duo. I'd do anything for you."

Duo could feel his eyes misting up. "Thank you." Quatre moved behind Duo and put his arms around the prince's waist. "Ready?"

When Duo nodded, Quatre flapped his wings and lifted them both into the air. They hovered for a moment while Quatre caught his balance, then zipped through the balcony doors.

Duo clutched the box of medical supplies tightly to his chest as they flew.

'Hold on, Heero. I'm coming...'

+

Heero shivered, huddling in the corner of the dark, empty room. He'd passed out as soon as he had handed Duo over to the Unseleigh border guards. The next thing he knew, he'd been flung into this room and locked inside. That had been the last contact he'd had with Duo's people. He was surprised at that. He'd expected a mage to come in and put a truth spell on him to find out what had happened. But no one came. From the noises outside, Heero surmised that the Unseleigh were getting ready for something... getting ready to face his people on the battlefield.

Heero sighed and wrapped his arms around his knees, curling up into a tight ball. By his estimation, he'd been locked in the room for a whole day. He was cold, tired, thirsty, and sore. But most of all, he was worried.

'Duo...'

Was Duo all right? Had the healers seen to him? Had they been able to take care of his wing? Was he no longer in pain? Logic told him Duo would have been taken care of as soon as he was taken to the palace. And he could still feel his love in the back of his mind. But he wanted to see Duo with his own eyes - he wanted to be absolutely sure he was all right.

A noise on the other side of door drew his attention. He looked up through his messy bangs, blinking as light streamed in through the opening door.

"H...Heero?"

The Seleigh warrior's eyes opened wide. "Duo?"

Heero suddenly found his arms full of long limbs and chestnut silk as the Unseleigh prince flung himself at him. Heero hugged the trembling body tightly to him, running his hands over Duo's body to make sure he was all right.

"It's okay, Hee-chan. I'm fine," Duo whispered against Heero's chest.

"Thank the Mother. I was worried about you."

Duo drew back, searching Heero's eyes. "What about you?"

"I'm fine," Heero replied, ignoring the pain in his shoulder.

"Don't lie to me, Hee-chan. I can feel you. Your shoulder's hurt."

As soon as Duo mentioned their bond, Heero could feel Duo's concern for him in the back of his mind. He smiled as Duo began examining his shoulder.

"Guess I won't be able to hide anything from you ever again."

Duo smiled up at him, eyes locking as they both realized the meaning behind Heero's words "ever again". Neither one wanted to be apart from the other ever again. Heero had thought he could return Duo to his people, then accept whatever Fate had in store for him, whether it be death or Exile. But seeing Duo's beautiful eyes once more... he knew he could never let his prince go.

He reverently traced the fading bruise on Duo's face with his fingertips as he frowned. "Duo, I'm so sorry."

"For what?"

"I never should have left you alone. I heard a noise. I thought you'd be safe if I left you in that nest. I should have known better. I should have..."

Duo placed his fingers over Heero's mouth to silence him.

"No, Hee-chan. It wasn't your fault. I don't blame you. You were the one who rescued me." Sad eyes stared at him. "Why did you do that? Why did you risk your life for mine? I know what it means for you. You'll be Exiled. But why? Why did you give up your family, your home, for me?"

Heero cupped his cheek. "I had to, Duo. I love you."

Violet eyes filled with tears. "Heero, I love you, too. I can't believe you would do that for me. What will you do?"

"I don't know," Heero answered honestly. "I can't stay here, yet I can't go home again. I'll have to leave the Faerie lands, try to find a new home for myself."

Duo shook his head. "Find a new home for ourselves. You're not leaving without me."

"Duo..."

"No! Don't try to argue with me, Heero. I love you. I know now I cannot live without you. Wherever you go, I will follow. I'll follow you to the ends of the world if need be. As long as we're together, I don't care where we are."

"Duo, love. Do you mean it?"

"Of course I do, Hee-chan. I love you."

Heero smiled, swooping down to claim his lips. His heart felt as though it would burst from happiness. He couldn't live without his violet-eyed prince, but now he wouldn't have to. Duo would go with him. They'd be together, forever and always.

A discrete cough from the doorway startled him, breaking their kiss. Heero looked up to see a blonde-haired sidhe standing in the door, holding an acorn bucket.

"Sorry to interrupt, your Highness, but I have the water you requested," the sidhe said as he came forward.

"Thank you, Quatre. Set it here, please," Duo said, patting the ground next to him. He grabbed a wooden box sitting nearby and opened it.

"Let me see to that shoulder, Hee-chan."

Heero shifted so Duo could have easy access to his shoulder. He turned his head as his lover and his friend worked on it, not particularly wanting to see what they were doing. For some strange reason, the sight of his own blood had always made him sick to his stomach. And although he didn't have anything in his stomach to lose, Heero still didn't want to see it.

As his wound was being cleaned and dressed by the two Unseleigh sidhe, Heero kept noticing the blonde one - Quatre - giving him strange looks. Not liking the feeling of being watched intently, he narrowed his eyes.

"What?"

The little blonde jumped at the harsh question. "I... I'm sorry for being rude but... I was just curious."

"About what?"

"Well," Quatre shifted uncomfortably. "Is it true your people eat babies before going into battle?"

Heero raised an eyebrow.

"Quatre! I can't believe you'd actually think those old tales Nurse used to tell us were true!" Duo said, staring incredulously at his friend.

"I don't!" the blonde protested. "I just wanted to hear what he'd say."

"No, we don't eat babies," Heero replied, smirking. "We much prefer young men. Particularly blondes."

Quatre swallowed. Duo rolled his eyes. "If you two are quite through..."

"Quatre! Duo!" Hilde's voice interrupted their playful banter as the dark-haired girl came barreling through the door.

"Hilde!" Quatre exclaimed as he moved to his beloved. "What are you doing here? I thought you were helping with the palace children..."

Hilde clutched her soon-to-be husband, breathing heavily. "The army is approaching the northern fields. The Seleigh army is already in place." Her voice started to tremble. "As soon as our forces are in place... we'll be at war."

Heero could feel Duo stiffen in his arms.

"This is all my fault," the prince whispered hoarsely. "If I hadn't been so reckless, I'd never would have ventured out of Unseleigh territory."

Heero gave the boy a tight hug. "But then I would never have met you, koi."

Duo gave him a weak smile.

"Isn't there anything we can do?" Hilde asked plaintively.

Everyone was silent for a moment. Then Duo spoke up.

"Yes. There is. We can try to stop it."

"How?" Quatre asked.

"We'll have to fly to the battlefield. We have to try and convince both sides that this war is pointless."

"But how?"

"I don't know. But we have to try."

The four of them stared at one another for a long moment. Duo broke the silence by standing up.

"The longer we sit here, the more sidhe on both sides will die. I'm going to the northern fields. You don't have to go with me, but I have to try."

"But Duo! Your wing! You can't fly," Quatre protested.

"I will carry him," Heero said, wrapping an arm around the prince's waist.

"Heero? Are you sure?"

"I'll never leave you again. I'm going with you," Heero replied, kissing Duo on the forehead.

"You're both crazy," Quatre remarked. "But I'll go with you."

"I'm going too," Hilde said, clasping Quatre's hand tightly.

"Hilde..."

"Don't even think about telling me no, Quatre," the dark-haired girl admonished. "You know I can wipe the floor with you when we spar. I can take care of myself."

Duo smiled. "I have no doubts in you, Hilde. So... we're all going?"

Three heads nodded back at him.

"Good. Let's go then. We don't have much time."

The four sidhe left the building as quickly as possible. Duo clutched tightly to his lover as Heero carried them through the air. He was scared, but this had to be done. Many lives on both sides were hanging on the line. He only hoped they would make it in time.

+

Treize observed the Seleigh army gathered at the far side on the field. Their forces were numerous, but no more so than what Treize had expected. He glanced behind him at his own army. The Unseleigh army was just as impressive as the opposing army. But the Unseleigh king had every confidence in his people. They were fighting for something important - they were fighting for what had been done to their prince.

Treize's heart clutched at the thought of his little brother. He knew he didn't always show it, but he loved his brother dearly. As did their people. Ever since the younger prince had been born, he'd been the darling of the Unseleigh court. Duo loved life and always had a smile for everyone. Treize was proud of his younger brother. He'd make a fine ruler someday... should he not live though this day.

"What do you think?" a voice behind him asked.

Treize turned to see his most trusted advisor, Lady Une, standing behind him, regarding the Seleigh army intently.

"Do you want my honest opinion or blissful optimism?"

"Honest opinion. We'll save the blissful optimism for another day."

Treize sighed. "I don't think it will go well. As near as I can tell, we're evenly matched. Many sidhe will die this day."

Une nodded in agreement. "Why do we do this to ourselves?" she asked, indicating both armies.

"I don't know, Lady. I don't even remember why this conflict started. It seems to be our Fate for our two clans to fight each other."

As he spoke, a horn sounded on the Seleigh side. A wall of fairy soldiers started forward, marching steadily across the field.

"And so it begins," Treize muttered as he raised his arm. A young soldier saw the movement and raised a golden horn to his lips. He blew a short volley of notes. The Unseleigh army started forward. Treize took a deep breath as the two armies marched toward each other.

'May the Great Mother protect us all.'

+

[cont]