By: Tanith
Note: Whooohoo, I got it done!! Sorry for the major delay... I'm writing a duelfic lemon to make up for it! How's that sound? *waves a 1x2 flag* ^.^
Disclaimer: They're... not... mine.... *bursts into tears*
Warnings: Okay, Heero may get confusing in this chapter. Go along with it, all will be explained, if not right away.
Pairings: 1x2 3x4 5+OC

Crystalline Blue + Chapter Seven

"Where am..?" Duo's voice rang out huskily as he blinked away the last bit of sleep from his eyes. He tugged at his wrists where they were resting at his sides, becoming aware of the numbness that pervaded his limbs, the unwillingness to move. His eyes narrowing as they wandered over his strange surroundings, head lifting so he could take in the plants and animals that seemed frozen in time. Everything within a short distance of the stone slab he 'rested' on was coated in cloying black shadows with an almost tangible sticky- looking glaze.

"Hello?" he called out hesitantly, wondering if it were better to remain silent, but to late to take back the sound. And then, suddenly, glowing ruby eyes were hovering over his, flickering quickly over the braided boy. Duo swallowed, trying not to panic, not moving his amethyst gaze from the floating orbs as they faded from site then quickly reappeared as if cloaking eyelids had blinked over them.

"So, yer awake, then," a voice came from beside him, seeming to originate where the eyes peering curiously down. The eyes rolled upward, then turned away, an almost human body taking shape around them. His torso was draped in a loose green cloth which barely succeeded in concealing his muscular chest and sinewy arms. His face was blunt, but handsome, lips turned down in an almost pout, eyes glittering with obvious displeasure underneath a wild fall of tawny hair.

And then Duo's eyes trailed lower to where golden brown hair licked at his well muscled abdomen, the thick fur covering everything down to his cloven hooves. He took a step toward Duo, his inverted knees would have made the movement seem awkward if it had not been so natural, so fluid. Those crimson red eyes flickered over Duo again before the satyr snorted derisively.

Duo frowned as the creature turned away dismissively, gliding smoothly over to what looked to be a line of trees at first glance, but squinting Duo thought he could make out the faint outline of pine carved shelves. He tugged at his wrists again, trying vainly to sit up when the ache brought by lifting his head as it was became almost unbearable. "Stop fidgetin'," the deep voice sounded irritated as the satyr tossed Duo a warning glance over his should, before turning back to whatever he was doing. It looked like he was holding something in both hands, but whatever they were clutched could not be seen by the braided boy.

"Where am I?" Duo finally repeated when he could bare the silence no more. Silence, that is, if you did not count the odd chinks of glass and bell like symphonies of metal hitting metal that oddly filled the air.

"Me home, not that I wan' ya here," the other muttered, his accent sound so much like the Irish lilt Duo had grown up around.

"Then why am I?" Duo strained his wrists again, clenching his fists and pulling at whatever bound him, but making no leeway.

"Would you stop that?!" the satyr snarled, his previous accent gone, instead sounding almost like the shrill caw of a raven. He whirled around crimson eyes darkened to garnet, annoyance etched into his every feature. And then he calmed, a small irritated tilt to the corner of his mouth the only remnant of his outburst. "If ya don' stop that," he nodded toward Duo's wrists, crossing his arms over his chest. "Ye'll just end up hurtin' yerself." He leaned backward, propping one furred hip against an invisible support.

"Well?" Duo raised an eyebrow, his arms falling limp at his sides for the moment.

"That loony bit of human king brought ya 'ere," the ruby eyes rolled upward again, one arm uncrossing to wave irritably in the air before rejoining its twin. "Jus' waltz'd inta me 'ome and dropped ya whilst ye slept like a babe, he did. Humans..." he muttered with a shake of his head. "'Tis why I hate the lot of ye, no respect," he half- growled, the shadows that had been held at bay a few feet from Duo's position creeping toward him, closing in.

Duo jerked, tremors coursing up his body as they neared, a strange energy licking through him. He tugged at his wrists again and the creature glared, striding toward him. "Human! Stop that, d'ye hear?" and Duo stilled, eyes wide as the satyr turned it's glare to the shadows beneath his hooves. "Shadowen... Begone!" he snarled, commanding in that crow-like tone. "Away!" his glare deepened until the black film edged backward, creeping up the frozen trees and animals, slowly revealing dark pine walls and shelves covered with glasses and jars, tombs and scrolls, but not a spec of dust in sight. The blackness pooled in the center of the ceiling, roiling in protest of being compact into such a small space.

The satyr turned back to Duo, eyes flickering from garnet to crimson, his hand lifting to point to Duo's wrists. "Ya see?" he muttered, wagging a finger at the bright red and deep plumb marks blooming over Duo's pale flesh. "Humans, idiots all, ye are," he turned back, moving toward the worktable he had been in front of before. He loosely grasped a glass beaker and polished silver spoon, absently stirring the saffron liquid within as he turned back to Duo.

"Aye, I hate ye," he smirked and Duo scowled, but full emotion was not behind either expressions. "But I dinna wish ta hurt ye," he grimaced as if saying so left a sour taste in the back of his throat. "Ye make that daft human king nervous, had for that ye get me respect, if only a li'l."

"Then why am I bound?" Duo demanded irritably, shrugging his shoulders in an attempt to relieve the ache in his neck.

"I canna 'ave you wanderin' me 'ome!" the satyr glared, his mouth twisting into a stubborn pout.

Duo rolled his eyes, closing them wearily before focusing back on the satyr. "And why, exactly, was I left here if you hate the man who left me?"

"Right fluffy man, 'e is... Ne'er trust a satyr," was the simple reply. The spoon was lifted from the flask, the glass container brought up close to the satyr's face as he examined the liquid, one ruby eye magnified tenfold under the curved surface.

"And what do I call you, satyr?"

"Puck, at yer service," he leered at Duo, tapping one cloven hoof loudly against hardwood.

Duo chuckled softly before a frown creased his brow, finally wondering just how long he had been gone from the encampment. His lips pursed, eyes flitting unconsciously down to his immobile wrists then back up the Puck.

"Right, now," the satyr sighed, mumbling something about loose minded humans under his breath. He raised one arm, his head tilting to the side, the perfect sound of a falcon's shrill filling the air.

Moments later a large, dull brown bird materialized from a hiding place in the woodwork, landing sharply onto Puck's hand. The peregrine cocked her head, amber eyes gazing curiously at her master. "Aye, Rowi," the satyr murmured, stroking one finger over the falcon's breast. "Find that tiercel ya fancy, luvie, an' tell 'im ta get the lackwit human Heero 'ere, ye kin? But only Heero! I'll 'ave no other wanderin' me 'ome!" The bird seemed to bob her head before she launched herself from her perch, disappearing mid-flap.

Puck turned back to Duo in time to see the amethyst eyes twinkle with amusement, a slim chestnut eyebrow lifted. "Lackwit? Heero?"

The satyr gave a firm nod, but there was a fond gleam in his ruby eyes. "Aye. Humans..."

+

Heero sat, crouched onto his knees before the huge fire pit, his creased brow shadowed by a thick fall of hair. Where was Duo? he should have at least wandered into the center of the encampment an hour ago, immediately after Heero had found his way there. But he had not. A soft sound came from his right, bringing his gaze to focus upward, dark blue glazed from staring into the vibrantly glowing fire. "Trowa," he nodded, shifting toward the man and bringing himself to stand in one smooth move.

The taller boy's eyes were troubled as he raked a hand through his hair, dragging his reddish bangs upward, away from emerald eyes before it fluttered smoothly back into place. There was a falcon nestled comfortably on his extended arm, it was obviously a male, with its slight frame and fine bone structure it could be nothing else. The falcon's dark brown and reddish gold feathers fluffed, it's silver edges tail feathers splayed out proudly as if he was inordinately pleased with himself.

"Heero, where is Duo?" Trowa asked, the fingers of one hand idly working their way through the thick feathers over the tiercel's breastbone. His brow creased in a mixture of annoyance and amusement as that pointed head turned toward him, the amber eyes narrowing, a sharp shrill crooning noise escaping the back of the falcon's throat. "Yes, Corin, I know you told me where he was, but I'm asking anyway," he murmured back soft, his words near silent.

Heero frowned deeply, staring darkly up at Trowa, his gut sinking slightly. Duo was gone. How could he be? This had never happened before! Something was wrong, something had changed. "I haven't seen him since an hour ago."

Corin screeched, throwing himself backward on Trowa's arm, claws digging deeply as he hung upside down, wings flapping angrily, eyes glaring at Heero as if to say 'Of course you haven't!' Trowa winced as the bating falcon's sharp talons pierced through the thick leather of the sleeve of his tunic, his arm rising, jolting the bird so he flew from it's upside down perch before landing again immediately, feathers ruffled more than before. "Corin, he didn't mean to insult your mate's intelligence. Bating will solve nothing, do not pout," Trowa said soothingly before turning his emerald gaze back to the shorter man.

"Corin has told me that Duo was seen in Puck's forest... Within his home."

Heero suppressed a relieved sigh, not allowing any expression to show onto his face, but the crease in his brow lessened, his eyes losing their narrowness. He nodded and turned away, from the other, halting when Trowa's deeply smooth voice called after him. "Heero! Alone?"

Trowa's voice was truly concerned, worried, uncertain. He did not know how truly harmless Puck was... most of the time. Heero allowed a small chuckle, nodding without turning around, continuing through the 'camp.

The lavender-blue sky had barely reached it's noon day mark when Heero finally stepped into the cluster of pine trees. He noticed immediately the lack of disguise within, the rolling mass of tightly gathered shadowen at the on the roof as he made his way through winding hallways carved completely of dark pine, his steps certain, memorized.

"Human!" Puck's voice rang out and Heero was relieved to notice the musical lilt to the words. "It's about time ya got here," Puck materialized before him, his arms crossed, crimson eyes narrowed in irritation. "Yer boy there is right annoying, talks like ye wouldna believe, 'e does," he glared, hooves clapping loudly as he walked toward Heero.

"I do not!" a voice cried indignantly from the room to their right. Heero snorted and moved through the door, the satyr close on his heels. Duo lay prone on a flat stone slab, his neck lifting at the sound of someone entering, a wide grin forming on his lips when he saw the dark haired man. "Heero! Glad you're here! Puck! You can let me go now," Duo said on a rush, tugging slightly at the invisible restraints, the action drawing a sharp curse from Puck.

"Damn it all, lad, will ye ne'er listen?" the satyr muttered when Duo flinched, another dark red mark appearing on both wrists.

"No," Heero muttered knowingly, the word echoed by Duo's own voice, a cheeky grin spreading across the boy's face.

"Bah," Puck rolled his eyes, waving a hand flippantly in the air.

The numbness that had radiated through Duo's limbs eased and the boy sat up slowly, rubbing at his neck. Puck turned back to Heero, ruby eyes glowing fondly then darkening only slightly. "Ye 'ave to move, an' soon. Somethin's keepin' that fruity human king from doin' much damage, but it won't last fer long, methinks. He'll strike, an' knowin' him, he'll strike ye hard."

"Yes... I think his wait has something to do with the seer, Magda," Heero murmured, flicking his gaze over at Duo when the boy sucked in a sharp breath, his skin paling, tinging it a subtle sallow shade. Heero's eyes widened, lips pursing. Could he remember? No! Impossible. He's never... not ever before. But if he does... His eyes closed briefly before reopening, expressionlessly meeting Pucks crimson gaze. "We'll leave tomorrow at best."

Duo jumped up then, flying over to where the pair stood, flinging himself at the satyr, his eyes sparkling as he wrapped his arms around his neck. "Ack! Get off, ya hear! Now!" Puck shouted, unmoving as Duo stared up at him with wide amethyst eyes, blinking owlishly, fighting to suppress the gleeful cackle trembling on his lips.

"Come with us, Puck!" he beamed appealingly, arms tightening around the satyr's neck, eyes dancing merrily as an appalled look crept over the satyr's handsome features. "You would be very helpful, wouldn't he Heero?"

"Actually, yes, he would be," Heero smirked when Puck turned an accusing glower at him, the word 'traitor' written all over his face.

"Goddess, nay," Puck choked, finally managing to pry the braided boy off and away from him, removing his hands form his shoulders as if burned, wiping them on his furred legs with mock disgust. "I'd likely kill ye, and or meself before a fortnight passed. An' I'm to fond of all three to let that happen, ya see?" he sighed despairingly, winking at Duo. Then his face turned serious. "But I will be followin' ya, hear? That king pulled the last of me patience when he dumped that," he waved at Duo, "here. I willna allow ye lackwit humans to botch this."

"I'm debating whether to feel insulted or grateful," Duo's brow furrowed adorably and he turned to Heero who just shrugged.

Puck put a hand to his forehead, his eyes closing in disbelief. "Humans..."

+

[part 6] [part 8] [back to Tanith's fic]