by: Tanith
Author Note: C&C.. please?
Disclaimers: I don't own Gundam Wing, but I've asked Santa for a Hee- neko and a Duo-chibi! *bounces* BUT! I *do* own Magda. Please don't steal her, I love her too much! I'd be sad!! XD
Warnings: Total AU. There is no war. There are no Gundams. And Duo's a... Nevermind! *grin* There will most definately be shounen ai/yaoi. Also. There is an original character, and there may be more. If that bothers you (o.O?) don't read.. ehhh... Okay! I'm done!!

Crystalline Blue + Chap 1

Cork, Ireland, Earth AC 195

::On my own again...:: Duo Maxwell smirked wryly at the song running in loops through his head. "How fitting..." he said on a sigh, and tossed his hip-length, chestnut braid over his shoulders. His normally vibrant violet eyes slid closed wearily, feet continuing down the street years of travel had memorized. It was not like he was not used to being alone. And at least this time his foster parents had kindly told him to get lost instead of having the social workers do the dirty work for them, as his last 'family' had done. So here he was, trying to hard to understand why he was cursed to be unwanted, walking down a road that lead to the one place he would ever feel secure. No, he was not unused to being by himself, but that did not mean he was not still so very --

"Lonely?" a softly husky, feminine voice finished the thought for him. Duo stopped in his tracks, his eyes lids lifting slowly, head turning quizzically to the woman who had spoken. She was diminutive by any standards, smaller than Duo by at least a head and he was only 155[1] centimeters tall. Her cherry-red hair fell well past her shoulders, swaying sedately at the small of her back as she tucked a bothersome strand behind one ear, the color shifting through varying reds and purples with every movement she made. Wide brown eyes twinkled up at him from beneath long, dark lashes, the irises glinting almost red in the light. Forest green silk clung tightly to her torso before it opened at her waist, flowing like a waterfall from her rounded hips to her ankles, intricate knotting patterns made up of various hues weaving their way to the hem. The sleeves hug slightly off her shoulders, cinching at the elbow before belling outward, the hem falling over her hands until only the tips of her burgundy-polished nails peeked out.

Duo blinked, blushing when he realized he had been staring. His gazed moved to the building they were standing in front of. He could swear that, as long ago as it had been since he'd found his sactuary, he had never once seen the small shop before. "I'm sorry? Were you talking to me, miss?" he asked, his soft tenor hesitant. ::It's not every someone does.:: he thought before giving himself a mental shake. ::No! No self pity.::

"Yes! I asked if you were lonely," the girl beamed, a pale, slender hand waving in the air as she spoke. "I can offer you a way out if you are."

Duo took a small step back, his cheeks pinkening further then he quirked a small grin. "I don't think I'm interested, miss -- "

"What? Oh..." the already wide brandy colored eyes widened further. "No, no, I didn't mean it like that!" the hand waved dismissively and the girl giggled, the sound slightly reminiscent to twinkling bells. "How old are you? About fifteen summers, yes? No, much too young for me!" she pronounced and smirked.

"Too young for you, miss?" Duo chuckled in disbelief, looking the girl's petite form up, then down, his violet eyes sparkling. He was actually enjoying himself for the first time in what seemed like ages. "I think maybe you are too young for me."

"Appearances can be deceiving," the red head beamed.

"Doesn't matter, you're not really my type, anyway. I prefer them tall, or at least taller than me, dark and hand...some..." he trailed off, realizing what he'd said. ::Oh, shit... Well, there went that.:: He sighed, head lowering, waiting for the usual outcry of disgust.

Duo watched as the girl opened her mouth to respond, his shoulders tensing visibly. He was used to it, he would not let it bother him. He could not exactly help the way he was, right? It was not his fault people did not understand. It would not bother him... it wouldn't bother him... it would not bother him... ::Methinks the.. er.. lord doth protest too much.::[3] No! It would n --

"Then we have something in common!" the girl giggled as Duo's head shot up, meeting her open gaze in surprise. "Of course, I guess I have to like them tall, eh?" she smiled, a dimple showing in her left cheek. "Can't get much shorter than me!"

Duo blinked stupidly for a moment before his lips spread slowly into a grin. "You know, I thought the same thing until today," he winked and chuckled at the redhead's rueful look.

"So, you want to come inside?" she asked motioning toward the door of her shop. "We can keep each other company, what do you say?" she cocked her head to the side adorably, glinting cherry hair falling off her shoulder as she looked up at the braided boy.

"Sure," he agreed, following when she lead the way inside. She moved extremely gracefully, Duo would have had to have been blind not to notice. Like a dancer or one of the faeries villagers here loved to tell tales of.

"Since you've agreed..." the girl started when they reached a small room, her eyes glinting with devilish mischief. "You automatically agreed to obey my every whim!" she let out a short cackle and settled down behind a small table, propping her elbows onto the muted red cloth covering the surface and resting her slightly pointed chin in her hands.

"Hey! You never mentioned that," Duo shook his head in mock dread, backing away slowly raising his hands before him as if to ward her off.

"What, don't trust me?" she asked, blinking wide, brandy eyes up at him innocently.

"Trust you, miss? I don't even know your name!" he exclaimed, arms akimbo[2].

"It's Magda, and I could say the same for you. Now sit!" she straightened, pointing to the chair across from her and grasping the edge of the table with the other.

"Duo Maxwell, miss!" Duo saluted teasingly and obeyed immediately, a subservient expression fixed onto his face.

Magda giggled, clapping her hands and bouncing in her seat, "Very good! But I'll concede. You don't have to do everything I say, just allow me to tell your fortune?" she asked and produced a deck of long cards from seemingly no where.

"You want to do one of those tearott readings they advertise on the vid screen?" Duo asked slowly, raising and eyebrow and crossing his arms.

"Ack! No, nothing like that. Those illegitimate crones wouldn't know the eight of Swords from the Devil," Magda's eyes narrowed crossly. "And it's tarot," she huffed, holding the deck out to him.

"That's what I said," Duo smiled broadly and eyed the cards suspiciously, not moving.

"Take them!" the redhead pushed the cards at him. "Just shuffle them, I can't exactly do it for you, the reading wouldn't be for you then. And be careful," she breathed when the boy finally took them into his hands. "Those cards are ancient. Hand painted. They've been in the family for centuries."

Duo shifted the cards delicately in his hands, on a whim flipping a group upside down before he began shuffling again stopping when he got irritated with the repetitive motion. His thumb smoothed reflectively over the minuscule brush strokes on the back of the top card, the antiqued yellow knotted pattern standing out in stark relief against the black backdrop. "Celtic?" he asked, hold the deck out to Magda.

"Yes, means 'unity'," she smiled slightly but didn't take the cards, pointing to a space on the table beside her elbow. "Can't touch them, I don't want to diffuse your energy," she beamed when Duo rolled his eyes but obediently put the cards where she requested. "Now! Shall we begin?" Duo gave a brief nod and Magda laid one burgundy tipped finger on the top card, pushing it toward her, but not disturbing the rest of the stack.

"This card will represent you," she said simply, and raised the card to her face so that all Duo could see was the Celtic knot on the back. Magda just stared at the card for a moment before her tinkling laughter filled the air.

"What's so funny?" Duo asked, his brow furrowing in confusion.

"Nothing, nothing!" she hooted, and laid the card face up in the center of the table. "It's just I've never seen the High Priestess represent a male before."

"It's just a silly card," Duo muttered and rolled his eyes. "But... let me see it."

"As you will," Magda said, choosing to ignore his first statement.

Duo leaned forward, his eyes darting between the woman on the card, with one arm cradling a scroll as if it were a baby and the other hand holding a yellowed rose, and the girl across from him. "Beautiful painting. She looks like you," he said, raising an eyebrow.

"I told you, they've been in the family for generations," Magda responded, waving a hand vaguely. "Strong family resemblance," Duo smiled, sitting back in his chair. "So, what's it mean?"

"Since the Priestess was chosen as the significator, it doesn't represent you so much as it represents the as of yet unrevealed future. Basically it means mystery. I know, doesn't tell you much, but we'll let the rest of the cards do the talking for it, eh?"

"I see..."

"Do you?"

"No."

Magda smirked. "The next card represents the influence of the problem affecting the situation," she went on, drawing forth another card. "The two of Staves, reversed," she informed him, covering the High Priestess with the other card.

"Reversed? Is that a good or a bad thing?"

"Well, generally if a card is a 'bad' card, than it will be a 'good' card reversed, and vice versa. But still, sometimes if the card is reversed it will retain the nature it originally had, and continue to be 'bad' or 'good', sometimes more so. With this card specifically, though, it all depends."

"On..?" Duo asked, not a little impatiently. He wanted to just get this over with.

"On the next card. Which will also tell the nature of whatever obstacles you come across," she grinned and drew the next card, laying it side ways on the first two so that they formed a cross. "The nine of Staves," she frowned down at the card. "Generally speaking a bad card. Whether reversed or otherwise is spells trouble," she muttered to herself before looking back up into Duo's wide violet eyes. "Tied with this card the two of Staves represents danger and fear. Whatever happens will happen because you were too afraid to act."

"The nine itself tells of you going up against a very strong opposing force. It does not necessarily mean something overtly bad, it could just be telling of a delay in some task you set forth. But the most likely translation is the attack of a very powerful enemy. Most likely when you are unsuspecting and unable to defend yourself."

"So basically, I'm all but dead." ::Hell, death might be a step up from where I am now. Not like I have anywhere to go...::

"Not necessarily. Someone who loves you may divert the attack, or draw attention to himself long enough for you to get away, or even nature itself may intervene. It only stated that you will meet the onslaught badly, it doesn't say anything of outside forces."

"I'm dead, then," Duo stated bitterly.

Magda just shook her head at such strong emotion coming from one so young and drew the next card. "The four of Staves," she beamed, placing the card above the cross of cards and sat back, looking smug. "What?" Duo gave in and asked after a moment of silence.

"Oh, nothing. This card just represents the best that can be achieved under the circumstances..." she tilted her head and smiled.

"And why are you so smug?"

"Because the four of Staves tells of unexpected good fortune. I doubt that has anything to do with death, do you?"

"Hmmph, you never know," Duo smiled when Magda threw her hands into the air.

"Hopeless! Gah! Moving on, the next card reveals the root of the problem, what caused everything that has or will happen." She drew the card, placing it under the cross of cards. "The Tower," she frowned. "Again, not a good card. However you came to be where you are, it was reached through deception and ruin. All and all confusing, because you seem to be just a normal boy, eh? The card seems to tell of royalty being betrayed, possibly by a close friend. Perhaps a kidnapping...." she said quietly, as if talking to herself. "Tell me, who are your parents?" she looked up at Duo and raised an eyebrow.

A flash of pain ran through those amethyst eyes and Duo swallowed tightly, remembering his last family. He'd thought they'd loved him, but at the first sign of a 'defect'... "No family, I'm an orphan," he whispered. ::Or so I prefer to say, because it's most likely that my real parents abandoned me like everyone else.::

"Ah..." was Magda's only reply before she drew another card, placing it right of the cross.

"Death reversed? So, what, does that equal rebirth or something?" Duo queried, then looked closely at the card. "Wait a minute, that looks like -- "

"You," Magda finished. "Striking resemblance, really..." she said, looking up at him with wide eyes. "Braid and everything." She picked up the card again, holding it out so that Duo could get a better look. A boy stood in the center, bare-chested, clothed in a long, black cloak which was flaring up, as if lifted by the wind,. encircling his slender frame. His head was thrown back, long sooty lashes closed, mouth twisted in a grimace of pain. Both hands grasped a large scythe, the blade hooking over the chestnut head to end at the base of his neck. Duo sat back, his lips parted slightly and Magda replaced the card on the table.

"How did..?" Duo narrowed his eyes in confusion.

"Perhaps our ancestors knew each other, and yours posed for a few of the cards of the Major Arcana as mine did," she replied quietly. "And no, it most definitely does not represent rebirth," she answered his previous question. "Death is another card that when reversed it still has a dark meaning. In the position it holds, it is representing the influence to the situation that has just passed. So, when death is placed here," she put a light finger over the card where it was placed to the right of the center cards. "It lends a sense of hope recently destroyed to the situation. And that could also be the way you got here," she pointed to the nine of Staves.

"Instead of the two of Staves tied with the nine translating into you being afraid to act, reversed Death helps it understand that you had no hope of winning, whether real or imagined, and therefore did not act, leading to catastrophic endings. I think that whatever is bothering you, you should not let do so," brandy eyes gazed into violet with honest concern.

"Easier said than done," Duo whispered. "The next card?" he said hopefully, eyes begging to change the subject.

Magda sighed and nodded. "The next card shows what is going to happen in the very near future," she muttered, not looking at him as she removed the top card from the stack. "The Moon," she laid the card to the left of the crossed cards. "This card deals again with danger and deception. There may be enemies lying in concealment, waiting for the right chance to strike."

"This is just great!" Duo laughed falsely. "I'm just glad it's a bunch of meaningless cards," he muttered to himself, wondering with a sense of dread why he did not truly believe that.

"The next card shows your position and attitude in the situation," Magda went on after a minute of strained silence.

"So, these cards are telling me my emotions now?" Duo asked, his mouth quirking teasingly when the red head looked up.

"Yes, now shush," she smirked, relieved that the tension had somewhat dissipated. She drew the next card and put it down near the base of the table to the right of the rest. "The Hermit... is telling you to use prudence, to be first and foremost cautious and careful. This is another card that indicates royalty, which is quite odd. Once could be ignored, but twice..." she sighed and shook her head. "It says to expect treason, which gives me hints of high stature and which I don't understand how it applies to you. There will be roguery, but of which circumspect, I've no clue..." she looked up at Duo, her brandy eyes shaded with confusion and something else Duo could not identify. "I suppose the other cards will tie this one down," she shrugged. "Otherwise, it holds only base meaning."

"My past, my future, and my supposed position in all of this have all been formed by treachery. Who could possibly hate me so much to insure my misery in every possible way?" Duo whispered, his voice slightly strained, not even noticing he was now referring to the tale the cards were weaving as real.

"I... don't know," Magda replied, and looked away, drawing the next card. "This one will signify your environment, your position in life, or the influence your immediate friends have in this."

"Hah! You have to have friends for them to influence you!" Duo grinned, and sat back in his chair, crossing his arms loosely.

Magda shot him a quick look but smiled brightly, "Obviously you do, because there's no way this could influence the other options," the smile evolved into a grin as she placed the card above the Hermit adding the second row to a column of what would be four. "Seven of Staves. How you have so many Staves and not one Sword, Coin or Cup, I don't understand..." she rolled her eyes. "Anyway, this card shows a dark child, a very brave boy. Five are attacking one, but he has the vantage point and is protecting another, hence the seven. His motives are unknown but there's almost a morbid sense of duty."

"Well, at least he's dark," Duo mumbled, remembering their previous conversation. "Though I know for sure I haven't met him yet." ::Wait... when did I begin to take this seriously?::

Magda laughed, "I'm almost jealous."

"Don't be," Duo groaned, rubbing the back of his neck. "You saw the other cards, after all," the braided boy winked.

"Unfortunately. The next card will show, at least me, your hopes or fears throughout all of this. You, should already know them, after all," brandy eyes sparkled cheerfully as she drew the card and placed it above the last. When she looked down her air drastically shifted from merry to serious, though. "Oh, Duo," she frowned up at him.

"What?" he frowned questioningly, missing the happy Magda.

"The Stars," she said as if it explained everything. Then she shook her head. "Whoever you let get close to you, you fear will abandon you. Or that someone will steal him from between your fingers because you are not good enough to hold him."

"Well, you would to if people were leaving you your entire life," Duo replied darkly, violet eyes flashing.

"But Duo, you should not fear that, he would never leave you," she whispered, wide brandy eyes open and honest.

"And how do you know that? You speak as if you know this person!"

"I..." Magda paused for a moment, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth. "I know that you're a wonderful person, Duo. No one who truly loved you would want to leave you," she said after a while and Duo had an odd feeling that was not what she was originally going to say.

"If you say so..." Duo trailed off. Magda opened her mouth to reply but Duo cut in before she could, "What's the next card, Magda?"

"The last one," she said simply. "The final results. The outcome of everything that has or will transpire." She drew the card from the deck but did not need to look at it to know what it was. "The Lovers," she said and moved to place it at the crown of the column. The thin card slipped from her fingers, falling in a crooked line to land sideways where it should have been placed. "Odd..." Magda whispered, but made no move to right it.

"Well, aren't you going to fix it and tell me how this will end?" Duo demanded.

"I can't," she replied, not a little disappointed herself. "I didn't see whether it was reversed or otherwise, and obviously that was the intention. You have to build your own outcome, Duo. Depending on your actions it can either end in love, the trial overcome completely in your favor. Or it can end in failure. It's up to you," she smiled.

Duo nodded in comprehension, but his gaze was now riveted on the last card drawn. Reverently, he reached out and took the Lovers card between two fingers. "It's me again," he whispered his finger smoothing over the little image of himself. Magda looked up at that, her eyes widening to amazing proportions. "And he's beautiful," his focus moved the other figure. On the card, a dark-haired boy stood, his eyes closed as he clutched at the braided boy desperately. The one who looked like Duo was rusting his head on the other's shoulder, eyes also shut tight but he had a somewhat more peaceful expression. Duo looked away from the card, blinking his eyes slowly as if waking from a trance as he handed the card to Magda. "I... have to go," he said, standing.

Magda stood also, smiling cheerfully. "Sure you don't want to stay for tea? Or just to stay? I get bored, you know. No one ever comes here," she pouted adorably.

Oh, I'll be back," Duo grinned, but he was somewhat distracted. "Count on it! But for now, I have to go, think things over."

"Of course. But if you don't come back, I'll hunt you down and do... do... not nice things to you!" she grinned, leading him to the door.

"I'll remember that, Magda," he chuckled and hurried off.

The red head stared after the boy's retreating form until he disappeared, her eyes sliding closed with a sigh. "I only hope I was able to give you enough of a warning... And maybe this time you'll actually listen."

+

Duo leaned back against the oak tree behind him, his mind mulling over the happenings of earlier. What did it all mean? He closed his eyes wearily. So much had happened in one day. His f -- the people he had lived with's abandonment. And the tarot reading. He didn't know why, but he could not think of it as faery tale. He sighed, shaking his head, strands of thick hair catching on the rough bark beneath his head.

Violet eyes opened and he stared out at the placid water that was in the center of his little sanctuary. The clear blue surface reflected the image of the many oaks surrounding it beautifully, perfectly. It had always managed to calm Duo to some degree whenever he was distraught and that was not any different now. Perhaps he believed what the cards had said because of some hope that his life could be different. That he could actually have friends who would wish to protect him... ::Maybe even love.:: he thought and smiled slightly, remembering the beauty of the Lovers card.

Duo shook his head and sighed. Hopeless. ::But... no.:: Deciding to go back to the church that had given him a home in between all of his other families, Duo begin to stand before something caught his eye. In the center of the lake and lone swan began to flap its wings, lifting itself gracefully into flight. The water rippled with the breeze the wings produced, setting everything reflected to a steady rocking motion. Everything, except the trees still standing tall, seeming to have dimension beyond that of a reflection. ::What the..?:: Duo's violet eyes widened and he scrambled to his feet, reaching the water's edge just as the ripples stilled.

He leaned over the water, staring into the bright amethyst eyes of his double. "I must have imagined it... right?" he whispered to himself, not truly believing. "I'm just extremely tired. I need a bed and some sleep and... But just to be sure..." he reached out, grazing a finger across the surface of the lake, causing gentle ripples to spread outward, his own reflection wavering before him. But the trees still did not move. Duo's brow furrowed in wonder and before he could think about it, his hand shot out, placing his palm against the water. Pushing in slowly, he gasped and pulled back out as the water seemed to separate under the surface.

He stared at his hand for a moment before gazing back into the lake, but could see nothing past the reflection of the oaks surrounding him. "Gods, I'm tired," he moaned, but did not move to leave, his curiosity piqued. He brought his hand cautiously back to the water, slowly building up enough courage to plunge beneath the cool blue surface again. After he was submerged to his elbow, he moved his arm, violet eyes widening impossibly when he could feel nothing but crisply dry air after only a few centimeters of water.

Duo jerked his hand back and stood up hurried, his fingers flying up to tug his braid before him so he could twist at the tuft it ended with mercilessly. "That wasn't... what I think it was," he reassured himself haltingly. "Wait a minute, what do I think it was?! Well, whatever just happened, didn't just happen. I mean..." he trailed off with a frustrated sound. "Duo you idiot, talking to yourself won't help anything. I'm just going to go to the church, find a bed, take a nice nap, forget this happened and go see Magda in the morning. Yes... there's a plan," he muttered and turned to walk away.

He had made it halfway around the lake and nearly to the part of the forest that would lead to the church when his foot caught on the twisting length of a concealed tree root. A startled yelp forced its way from between his lips as Duo's arms pinwheeled, trying vainly to straighten himself as he teetered on the edge of the lake. "Oh shit," was all he could manage before he went tumbling into the crystalline blue water.

+

1. For all Americans who don't feel like breakin' out the old calculator to do conversions, that's about 5'1" but then... That's only one centimeter off from what all of the "official" sites say, so maybe I needn't have told you that? *grin* Ah, well...
2. I've.... always wanted to use that word. XD
3. Hehe, Hamlet. I couldn't resist XD XD
4. Yuukio notes that Tanith should really learn how to count and apply that knowledge. Tanny: Shut up, muse. >.<

[part 2] [back to Tanith's fic]