Author: KatiKat
see prologue for warnings, disclaimers

Hidden Treasure + Part 2

To escape the soldiers' snickering and Heero's highly amused look, Duo decided to take a nap. Settling down more comfortably - which unfortunately brought him even closer to Heero - he yawned, closed his eyes and sighed. He decided to dream about something wonderful - like wearing his trousers again.

Heero looked down at his peacefully slumbering 'bride'. Duo had his head laid on Heero's chest, arms hugging him loosely around his waist - and he was drooling on his black shirt. Heero had to smile. Duo looked cute. Heero tucked his cloak closely around Duo, not wanting him to get chilled. Hugging him tightly, he smiled as Duo sighed happily and rubbed his cheek against his chest. Lightly caressing Duo's right cheek, he glared at the snickering soldiers, making a 'hush' sound to silence them. He didn't want Duo to wake up. He smiled broadly - his 'bride' needed 'her' beauty sleep.

Duo was still sleeping when they reached the mighty walls of Oz, the capital city of the Sanq Kingdom. The city was fascinating - high buildings, wide streets, merchants everywhere. And lots of people. Nobody actually gave them a second glance as they were walking their horses slowly through the masses - everyone was used to seeing much bigger suites than Heero's.

When they arrived at Odin Lowe's house, the gate was open - the messenger Heero sent ahead had obviously arrived. He stopped the horse in front of the marble stairs leading into the house. As the rocking movement stopped Duo began to stir. Opening his eyes slowly, he didn't immediately recognize where he actually was. Remembering everything he straightened quickly, almost managing to fall from the horse.

"Easy, Duo," Heero tried to calm him down catching him before he could take a header down the horse's back.

Duo looked around, curiosity once again taking the better of him. "Where are we?"

"In Oz. This is my father's house."

Duo looked at the impressive building of General Odin Lowe, the first soldier of the kingdom. Then the words finally registered with him. "We're in the city? Why didn't you wake me up, Heero? I wanted to see it."

Heero jumped from the horse and turned to help Duo down. Catching him around his waist he helped him slide down. For a couple of seconds it seemed as if Duo's legs were made of butter, but catching the mischievous glimpse in Heero's eyes, he leaned into him and whispered: "Take me in your arms and carry me over the shelf like a bride and I promise you, you will spend your wedding night as an eunuch!"

The corners of Heero's mouth twitched but he managed to contain his smile. Straightening Duo's dress he stepped away and, seeing that Duo's legs were behaving once again, he offered Duo his arm. "Milady." He just couldn't help teasing Duo.

Duo gave him a murderous look but laid his arm on his. "I will get you for that, Heero!" he mumbled under his breath. Together they walked up the steps and entered the big house.

+

The hall was as impressive as the fašade. Mosaics on the floor, paintings and expensive goblins on the walls. The one who had decorated this house had taste. Across the big hall lay an even bigger room where the Master received his guests. On both sides of the hall there were long stairways leading to the first floor.

And from the stairway on the right came the shout: "Master Odin!"

Both Heero and Duo turned to the right and saw an elderly man rushing down the stairs at neck breaking speed and, as he stumbled on the last step, almost falling face down in front of them.

Heero raised his eyebrow. "Howard?" He'd known his father's housekeeper his whole life. He had always been a little... weird.

"I'm sorry that I wasn't there to welcome you to your father's house, Milord, but there is so much to do before everything is ready and your father gave me so little time when he told you were coming in the morning and I tried to rush the people but..."

"Howard, I understand. It's okay." He looked around. "And where is my father?"

Howard straightened. "Your father has been invited to the castle. The king needed his advice. I should have given you this note as soon as you arrived." Hunting for the sheet of paper through all his pockets he finally found with a triumphal 'Ah-hah!' and handed it over to Heero.

Heero let go of Duo's hand and open the note.

Dear Son,

I will try to get back as soon as possible. Until then make yourself at home. I can't wait to meet your bride.

Gen. Odin Lowe.


Heero nodded and looked at Howard. "Howard, this is my bride, Duette Maxwell," he introduced Duo to the housekeeper.

The old man finally seemed to notice the person standing next to his Master and stared. If it hadn't been rude - and the housekeeper always tried to behave like a gentleman - the man would have been salivating. His jaw hit the floor and he just stared.

Duo blushed and coughed self-consciously. Offering Howard his hand he smiled. "Howard."

The man gripped the hand and kissed it making Duo blushed even more. There was so much puppy dog love in Howard's eyes that Heero almost laughed. It looked like Duo had just gained his first admirer - the dozen soldiers outside not counting.

"Milady, it's my pleasure and honour to welcome you into this house." It seemed as if Howard's voice finally returned.

"Heero!" The voice coming from the main room across the hall startled everybody.

Heero looked over at the young man with golden hair and beautiful sea blue eyes dressed in light clothes of blue and green colours coming out of the room. "Quatre!" He smiled. He hadn't seen his friend for a long time.

Duo blushed and tried to hide behind Heero. Oh god, was he embarrassed. He forgot that he would have to meet their friends in this... dress - he had trouble even thinking the word without shuddering.

Howard almost hit himself on the forehead. "Excuse my forgetfulness. Your father invited Lord Quatre to wait for you and keep you company until he could come back from the castle."

Quatre smiled and shook his friend's hand. "Your father told me you were bringing your bride with you. I was thinking 'no way, not Heero', but I was obviously wrong." He looked at Heero's "bride". "Milady, it's pleasure to -- " he stopped in mid-bow and looked at the longhaired beauty with shock. "Du-"

"This is Duette, my future wife, Quatre," Heero interrupted and when Quatre looked at him he warned him with his glare to keep his mouth shut.

Quatre looked back at Duo and raised his eyebrows. "Well... uhm... nice to meet you, Duette." He stressed Duo's false name to warn them that he would be asking a lot of questions later.

There was a big bang and the sound of breaking glass coming from somewhere behind the stairway on the right. Howard rolled his eyes. "You can't find competent people these days. Excuse me, Master, Milord. Milady." There was a slight pause as he continued to stare at the beautiful lady in the hall before he rushed away muttering something about dumb servants.

Quatre raised his eyebrows. "Could you explain this now?" He pointed at Duo who was once again scratching.

Duo glared at Heero when he caught his scratching hand in his without looking away from their friend. Then he turned to Quatre with a beaming smile. "Quatre, long time no see."

"Obviously. It looks like you have turned into a woman in the meantime, huh?" Quatre couldn't keep the sarcasm from his statement.

Duo blushed again. He seemed to be doing that pretty often today. "It was not my idea, ya know?" He glared at his best friend again. "Ask this tactician about his plans."

Heero frowned at Duo and turned back to Quatre. "Short version - father wanted to see my bride, I didn't have one, I asked Duo to play the part, he agreed, we are here."

Quatre's eyebrows still didn't creep down. "Huh? That's crazy, Heero! And you agreed to that?" He turned to Duo.

Duo shrugged. "Don't look at me like that. I'm pleading temporary insanity." He looked at Heero. "See? I told ya they would recognize me as a boy."

"They didn't recognize you as a boy. Quatre recognized you as Duo."

Now it was Duo's time to lift his eyebrows. "And you want to tell me that as Duo I'm not a boy?"

With an incredible patience you would have with the old and crazy ones Heero explained: "No, but Quatre recognized you because he knew you from before. My father has never met you, so this problem is solved."

"Yes, but what about the other guys?" Duo objected. "Trowa and Wufei, huh?"

"I'm sure that Quatre will not say anything, neither would Trowa OR Wufei!"

The sound of hooves from the courtyard broke the glaring match between the two best friends as they turned to see who was coming.

"Oh, speaking about Trowa and Wufei, I think that's them. They promised to come and welcome your... uh, bride." Quatre's voice faltered a bit on the last word.

Hearing Wufei's name, Duo jumped as if shot. "Heero, Wufei can't see me like this. I would never live it down. Not after all the things I've done to him during the years. He'll take revenge on me now." He gripped Heero's arm tightly and shook him. "You have to do something!"

Heero raised one eyebrow. "And what do you suppose I should do about it?"

Duo shook his head. "I don't know. Kill me and bury my body somewhere where he won't find me."

The sound of quick steps echoed through the hall as the two young men walked up the stairs and entered the hall. In a desperate attempt to avoid his destiny Duo turned his back to the main door.

"Heero!" called the exotic looking man with a short ponytail, his companion only nodding to everybody. "Looks like you really will did it. You have really found yourself a bride." Stopping just a step behind Duo he asked: "Will you introduce us?"

Duo froze and his eyes grew large. 'Oh god, what did I get myself into?'

[part 1] [part 3] [back to the Singles page]