By: Tanith
see prologue for warnings, disclaimers

Kiss of Fate + Part 2

Heero's steps slowed as he neared the source of deep, panting breaths. His grip tightened on the hilt of his sword and he paused for only a moment before stepping into what seemed to be a very recently made clearing. In the center stood a large dragon, it's scales gleaming silver and black, sparkling every time it's back rippled with movement. The dragon was leaning over a limp body, whether it was a young man or woman he wasn't sure. The scaly head moved, nudging the figure's waist slightly and then snorting again.

Heero took a step forward, his foot coming down on a small twig, snapping it. ::Shimatta:: Heero cringed at the noise, and stopped, muscles tensing as he raised the his sword defensively. The dragon whirled around it's considerable wings splaying, head lower as he took what looked for all the world to be a protective position in front of the unconscious person. Large amber eyes narrowed, slitted pupils shrinking further until they were nothing but thin lines. The dragon snorted again, smoke flaring from it's nostrils, leaving the rancid smell of sulfur behind.

Man and reptile stared off, minutes taking far too long to pass in Heero's mind. The dragon made no move to attack, seeming to not want to give up it's defensive pose over the prone form behind it. Cautiously Heero turned his wrist so that the blade was held sideways. He made a small move forward and bent, laying the sword on the ground at his feet then came back up, hand raised in a calming gesture. ::I hope I'm not making the wrong decision.::

The dragon blinked its amber eyes, standing there just gazing at Heero as if trying to discern what the man was thinking. Then it's wings slowly folded inward, securing themselves up against gilded silver and obsidian scales.

The person the dragon had been protecting stirred, a soft moan piercing the silence that still pervaded. "Huh... What happened..?" Heero's eyes shot to the boy, for it could only be a boy. That voice was far too smooth and deep to be feminine. ::Far too pleasing. Not nagging enough.:: Heero thought and inwardly shook his head. One of the person's slender hands came up to rub at his forehead lightly. Eyes blinked open and the boy sat up, gaze quickly finding his protector. "Aah! I remember now..!" he cried and scurried backward, still in his sitting position.

The dragon half turned, constantly keeping an eye trained on Heero as it looked at the boy. The boy's already wide eyes widened further, seeming to swallow up his entire face as he sat his limbs locking in place. "Um... A little help here?" he managed, his tenor a little raspy as his eyes flicked quickly to Heero and then back to the dragon.

+

"I don't think it will hurt you." ::He didn't think it would hurt me.:: Duo would have laughed if he didn't have the biggest lizard he'd ever seen much too close for comfort. ::It's a dragon for Kami-sama's sake! And he doesn't think it'll hurt me! Gah!:: He was about to voice his disbelief, but the only thing that came out was a weak --

"N-no?"

"Iya. He was protecting you." Duo could have sworn those amber orbs flashed with displeasure at that, but the thought quickly left his mind as the dragon lowered it's great, reptilian head and nudged him with it's nose. He let out an involuntary cry and stared at the dragon. The dragon huffed irritably when Duo didn't move and bent toward him again, clenching the back of his drab brown jerkin between it's teeth and lifting him up, setting him gently on his feet.

"See? He's not going to hurt you." Duo turned and realized that the other boy had walked closer and was now standing beside Duo. Violet eyes raked over his would-be savior but before he could really get a good look at him, the boy was suddenly on the ground before him, rear planted firmly in a mud puddle. Duo couldn't help but chuckle at the image the boy made. An infinitely confused look was in his cobalt eyes as he stared up at them through his messy brown bangs, wondering what had just happened.

Heero raised a hand to point at the dragon in disbelief. "He just -- " but his words were cut off when the dragon snapped at him, narrowly missing the finger. Heero's eyes widened in what could have been horror and he scrambled upward then backed away. Duo was outright laughing by now, bent over at the waist and clutching his middle tightly. "Just what is so funny?" Heero glared at him."Oooh, nothing, but... I think the dragon's just trying to tell you it's a 'she'," Duo said, managing to calm down a bit. The other boy eyed the dragon, watching as the large head bobbed once, as if in agreement.

The boy turned to Duo, running a hand through his already messy brown hair and replied with a distracted, "Hn. Figures," as he finally gave Duo chance to get a good look at him. ::Gods...:: Duo barely kept himself from gaping.

The boy's dark green tunic hung loosely from his form, falling to mid-thigh from where it was belted at his waist, sleeves ending widely at his wrists but giving enough of his lean, wiry figure away to make Duo hard-pressed not to drool. The light brown leggings clung to narrow hips before disappearing into calf length boots that gleamed black in the dim light that managed to sneak its way through the think canopy of green overhead. He seemed to be about the same height as Duo and as his gaze moved up and he noticed the boy had the most beautiful eyes he'd ever seen.

They were an intense, deep blue, close in shade to only the darkest midnight sky. His face was perfectly sculpted, high cheekbones and a chin that jutted only slightly. Duo sighed inwardly. He'd like a chance to get to know this perfectly gorgeous man, but he doubted that was likely. His clothing -- no matter how plain and covered with dirt -- was very well crafted, his posture was stiff and elegant at the same time and there was a certain light in those cobalt eyes... All spoke of wealth and high stature. His own brown jerkin didn't come close to the quality of the other boy's clothes. Why would someone like that want to get to know a boy who lives in a small, very plain cottage at the edge of a forest, much less be with him as Duo would have preferred?

For one thing all his clothes were hand sewn, because they'd never owned a spinning wheel, for reasons Duo could never pry from his "parents". His top laced up the front -- the neckline dipping in a shallow V to the top of his chest -- and sleeveless for maximum movement and incredibly plain and somber. The dragon snorted, breaking the silence as she considered the two boys with knowing eyes. Duo took his braid in hand and scrunched his nose up when he saw the mass of mud. He looked back at Heero, his eyes twinkling cheerfully, "What say we find a lake and clean ourselves up?"

Heero opened his mouth to accept, but the sound of an all to familiar high-pitched female voice crying his name made him snap it shut again. ::K'so I forgot about Relena... Leave or stay...:: "Heeeerrooo??" broke into his thoughts and his habitual scowl deepened. "Heero, where are you?"

Muttering a curse he turned his back to Duo without answering and retreived his sword. He started to walk away when the braided boy's smooth tenor stopped him.

"I take that as a 'no'," Duo tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice. ::A woman... figures I would be that luckless.::

"Hn." was Heero's only response.

"Heero, ne?" Duo ventured, hoping to get the blue eyed boy to stay a bit longer.

"Hai," Heero turned toward him a bit. "Heero Yuy," he muttered before turning again and stalking off into the woods after the annoyingly feminine voice.

::Yuy... Why is that familiar?:: Duo caught his lower lip between his teeth. Then his eyes widened as he stared in the direction Heero had left. "Shit," he mumbled, his heart sinking. He turned toward the dragon and hesitantly brushed his hand over her smooth silver and onyx scaled head then started openly petting her. "I was right. High-classed," he laughed. "Gods, I think I've fallen for the Prince. The Prince!"

The dragon snorted and knocked his hand away then laid her head on Duo shoulder, her amber eyes shining with sympathy. Duo shook his head and grinned cheerfully at her, "Wonder what they'd say if I brought you home with me. Eh heh, my "parents".. Yeah, 'Kaachan Quatre, 'Touchan Trowa and... er... distant Oji-chan Wufei?" Duo could have sworn she flinched at the last name he said. Then he just shook his head, passing it off as imagination. "Wanna find out?" he invited with a smile.

The dragon backs away from the boy and shook her head, looking off in he direction of the cottage with an almost mournful gleam in her eyes. Duo frowned briefly then grinned again and shrugged. "Heh, suit yourself, but I have got to get this mud out of my hair. 'S driving me crazy!" The dragon nodded in agreement and turned away, obviously telling the boy to go. Duo shrugged again. "Well, ja!" he turned and walked away, unaware of the now human amber eyes following his movements.

"You are only too welcome, Prince Duo," a soft feminine voice whispered, the words tinged with a long-lived sadness. An elegant hand brushed black hair away from high cheekbones and the slim form of a woman clothed in shimmering silver turned into the forest and moved swiftly deeper. "Only too welcome."

+

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