by: Tanith
see prologue for warnings, disclaimer


Kiss of Fate
+ Part 3

"Where were you? Do you realize how worried I was?!"

Heero just snorted and walked away from the blonde woman without answering, rubbing a gentle hand over his horse's mane before vaulting into the saddle. Kicking the horse into motion he left a gaping Relena staring stupidly after him. He really did not wish to deal with her. His mind was still lingering over the recent events and a long haired, violet eyes boy. The boy had been pleasantly slim, hair swinging low around his hips, and far more beautiful than any boy had a right to be. His leather jerkin — while obviously handmade — was well sewn, fitting the boy's form snugly. It's lack of sleeves allowed Heero to see the boy's finely muscled arms. He gave the deception of being weak, feminine even, but Heero could tell that he would be strong enough to defend himself, and then some. And those wide, violet eyes. Heero nearly groaned. Their shade was haunting in itself; bewitching, captivating... But there was something else there too.

Something hidden deep within those purple pools. Something Heero found he had to unlock. Heero let out a dry laugh and shook his head slowly. ::Impossible. I don't even know the boy's name.:: his lips quirked in an almost imperceptable wry smile.

He was nearly upon his home when Relena caught up with him, a decidedly disgruntled look on her face. "Why did you leave me?" she questioned shrilly. "I could have been mauled by a bear, or kidnapped by bandits... or... or... worse!"

::Gods, if only I were that lucky.:: "You're exaggerating, Relena. There are no bears here, and bandits wouldn't take you," he said drily, ignoring her shocked offended look. "Now if you'll excuse me," he muttered and galloped through the gates of his palace before slowing once again.

"M'lord, a word?" one of the guards saluted, laying his right fist over his heart and bowing at the waist shallowly. Heero gave a tiny nod and walked toward the palace, quickly finding his way to his meeting room. Moving to stand behind a table with various scrolls spread out across the top of it he motioned for the man to speak.

"Earlier in the forest there was a disturbance, m'lord. Relena-sama didn't ride in with you. I trust everything is all right?" the man sounded hopeful, but whether it was hope that Relena was okay or hope that she'd been eaten by an unknown monster, Heero was not sure.

Heero looked down at the papers distractedly before answering. "There was a dragon. It was taken care of." Pause. "Relena is safe." Heero looked up expectantly and nearly smirked at the look of utter disappointment on the man's face. ::It seems I'm not the only one...:: he mused. Raising an eyebrow he looked steadily at the man and waited for him to say something else.

"That was all, m'lord," the man began to fidget under the intense blue gaze, not used to being with the Crown Prince for a long period of time.

"Then you may go," Heero urged, moving to the room's sole window dismissively. The heavy wooden door thudded shut behind the man. ::I wonder if I'll see that boy again?::

+

Duo realized it was dark by the time he finally reached home and that Quatre and Trowa were more then likely back from where ever they had gone. Realizing this, he had tried to close the door quietly... Really he had, but it ended up slamming against the frame as the braided boy morosely stalked toward the kitchen. He felt dirty and all he truly wanted was a hot bath and to be left alone so he could think. It was too bad that for the third time that day the Fates proved themselves against him. There, standing before the stove with which he had planned to heat himself some water, was Quatre.

"Duo!" the blonde boy turned and blinked at Duo for a moment. "What happened?" he queried, his blue-green eyes concerned.

"Oooh, nothing." Duo forced a grin. "You know me," he claimed vaguely, waving a hand dismissively moving quickly to place two buckets already filled with water onto the stove.

Quatre watched him, slowly crossing his arms over his chest as he took in the various muddy details of the young man. Normally when Duo went out for a walk he made sure to keep clean, especially his hair. Obviously, now was not normally.

"Duo... I'm not going to have to fight off people claiming theft or an angry father, am I?" The little blonde asked worriedly, cocking his head to the side as he gazed at the long haired boy.

"Gah, no, Quatre," Duo shook his chestnut head adamantly, violet eyes widening slightly. "Really, it was nothing. Just went out for a walk and got chased by a dragon, who really didn't want to hurt me, saved by a boy who really didn't save me, and liberally bathed in mud," he said this quickly - tone light - and shrugged at the end, acting as if was nothing. ::Hopefully he isn't listening...::

Quatre nodded and Duo thought his wish had come true, but then those aquamarine eyes widened on the braided boy. Quatre caught one of his lightly pink lips between his teeth and proceeded to worry it as he processed the information. Duo just waited uncertainly, hoping against hope that the boy wasn't in one of his moods. ::He sure looks like a fifteen year old boy, but man can he act like a mother hen when he feels like it.:: Duo thought and mentally rolled his eyes.

"A dragon?" Quatre asked. Duo nodded, unable to discern the other boy's tone behind that question. Quatre's brow furrowed but he just turned back to whatever he was cooking at the stove, the very air around the boy thoughtful. Duo's curiosity was piqued, but he decided against questioning the slightly smaller boy, thanking whatever god there was that the blond had dropped the subject that quickly. Instead he took his heated water and exited the room, trekking carefully up the stairs with the heavy buckets toward the bathing room.[1]

Emptying the buckets into the waiting tub, Duo quickly disrobed, untying his hair and sinking into the inviting water. Ripples solaced around him, making him relax easily, his eyes dropping slightly as the day's earlier events caught up to him. Thoughts of an enticingly beautiful prince he knew he could never have filled his head. ::I wonder if I'll ever see Heero again.:: he couldn't help but wonder as he quickly cleaned himself before he could fall asleep in the tub and subsequently drown himself.

+

A heavy sigh filled the ever present silence and fogged up the window before which he sat. ::Lonely.. always alone. I've always known it would be like this. I'm precognictic just as Trowa's a telepath... but it still never stops hurting, does it? Fifteen years...:: Wufei blew another sigh, his eyes closing wearily as he pressed his forehead against the cold glass.

"Yo, Wu-man!"

Wufei's head shot away from the glass, his back stiffening immediately. He turned to look at Duo, onyx eyes blazing and narrowing almost unnoticeably ::And there stands the root of my problem.:: "Don't call me that, Duo," he snapped and stood, facing the younger boy. ::For no matter how old I look I know how much time has passed.:: "What do you want?" he nearly growled.

Duo flinched his violet eyes widened slightly, hurt shining in their depths. "I..." he trailed off and shook his head, fixing a large grin in place. "Do you know where Quatre and Trowa are?"

Wufei's eyes softened ::It's not his fault. I have no right to hold it against him. To do so would not be justice.:: "In the kitchen," he replied softly and turned away, retaking his seat at the window.

"Arigato!" Duo sang lightly, and fled the room quickly. Quatre and Trowa were in the kitchen. They were standing there quietly, arms wrapped tightly around each other, lips connected hungrily. Duo smiled then coughed softly and smirked as the two flew apart. Quatre's cheeks tinted pink and Duo laughed, "Oi! C'mon Quatre, I've been walking in on you two since I was little, and you still get embarrassed?"

"Ano..." the blonde boy looked to where Trowa was standing, leaning his hip nonchalantly against the table. The tall boy winked one dark green eye at him and he blushed even redder, beginning to fidget slightly.

"Heh, I'll go take another walk. Leave you two... alone," he waggled his eyebrows, chuckling as Quatre got even redder, if that was even possible. "But, first, do either of you know what's wrong with Wufei?" he asked worriedly, newly cheerful mood dissipating slightly.

The other two boys looked at each other for a moment then back at Duo. "Time," Quatre offered, and Trowa nodded silently. Duo's brow furrowed in confusion but he new he wouldn't be able to get anything else out of the boys so he nodded.

"Don't steal anything!" Quatre called after him as he exited the house through the kitchen's back door

"Oh ye of little faith!" he threw back letting the warm morning air wash over him. He heading to the group of trees in front of him, planning on taking that walk but also looking for a certain mysterious dragon. ::Two birds with one stone, ne?::

+

"Heero-sama! Are we going for another ride? We didn't get to spend much time with each other yesterday, ne?" Heero gritted his teeth and carefully took the saddle out of Relena's hands. "Oh! Heero-sama, thank you... for putting... Heero-sama?" Relena watched in confusion as Heero put her saddle onto a hook out of her reach.

Heero turned to one of the stable hands. "No matter how much she whines, do not take it down," he motioned to Relena's saddle, the only side saddle in the stable. And since Relena would not ride astride to save her life... "I wish to be alone," his tone and the light in his cobalt eyes brooking no argument as he turned back to the blond woman. With that he mounted his horse and took his leave of the palace.

Relena stared after him, her eyes narrowed dangerously. ::Something's not right.::

+

"Here dragon, dragon, dragon..." Duo muttered softly, his gaze sweeping the forested area around him. A black-haired girl nearly laughed from where she sat on one of the tallest branches of the tree directly above the braided boy. ::People can be so amusing sometimes. Makes me wonder why I have been hiding from them for fifteen years.:: And then her amber gaze darkened and a frown graced her lush mouth. No, there was no need to wonder. The one she had devoted herself to had left her, perhaps not of his own volition, but if she had shown herself to selfishly be with him she would not have been able to watch over the one they so desperately needed to protect. And that, above all other tasks, was most important by far.

Just as she was about to fall from her perch and show herself to the braided boy, a horse came into view, its rider all too familiar. She smiled, and though the action did not reach her incessantly saddened eyes, she was happy that Fate was finally doing her job. ::And I will be able to live again.:: she thought, melting into the shadows of the verdant leaves swaying around her.

+

Duo heard a noise to his right and he cocked his head, "Dragon?" The was a soft chuckling sound then a horse and it's rider appeared. The boy sitting straight in the saddle dismounted and tethered his stead to a low hanging branch. Duo found himself staring as the boy reached up, his green tunic stretching across the smooth expanse of his chest enticingly. ::Look for a dragon, find a Prince. I should try this again sometime...::

"Iie, not a dragon," Heero's softly nasal voice denied as he turned to the braided boy. His cobalt gaze ran over Duo, hoping the fact that he was nearly drooling was not evident. "I hope you're not too disappointed."

Duo grinned broadly, "Not in the least, your Hi --"

Heero cut him off with a groan. "Please, no honorifics. Just Heero."

Duo's chuckled and Heero's eyes widened at the musical sound. "Of course, you Grace," Duo dipped a teasing bow. Heero couldn't help the small smile that twitched on his lips. "It must get rather monotonous, ne?" Duo asked, trying to cover up the effect that tiny smile had on him. ::Gorgeous is too plain a word for him. Gah, no! Bad Duo! Thieves do not attract Princes, except maybe for a quick execution.:: Heero raised a dark brown brow questioningly and Duo elaborated. "Your Highness this, your Majesty that. If I were royalty I swear I scream at them all to just call me by name."

Chuckled softly at that. Ruefully, "I've almost done exactly that one more than one occasion." Then, "What is it?"

Duo blinked, "Nani?"

"Your name. What is it?"

"Saa, I didn't tell you that all ready? Where are my manners?" he grinned and walked over to where Heero was standing a little bit away. Holding out his hand he cocked his head adorably, "It's Duo. No family; no family name. Just Duo."

Heero looked at Duo's outstretched hand for a moment as if not sure what to do with it, then he took it with his own. Violet eyes widened, a blush teasing his cheeks at the shock of actually having his hand gripped by Heero's strong fingers. A jolt of near electricity ran between them. Duo looked up - violet drawn to intense cobalt - pleasantly surprised when Heero didn't let go of his hand immediately, wishing fervently that he never would.

Heero loved the feel of Duo's hand in his; slender and warm and infinitely soft. The very feel of the other boy's skin against his own was nearly intoxicating. The way his cheeks were tinted pink made Heero want to do more to invoke that adorable blush again and again. He wanted nothing more than to get closer, touch more, drag the boy into his arms and never let go. Heero blinked and let go of the slightly smaller boy's hand; breaking the spell over them both. Heero took a step back and swallowed, trying to control his reaction to the violet eyed beauty.

::Maybe... there's a chance.:: Duo thought, still blushing lightly. He looked at the equally flustered boy in front of him and took a step forward to match Heero's backward, bending slightly at the waist to look into lowered cobalt eyes. ::Maybe...::

"Ne, Heero?" He paused; Heero's eyes focused on his and he nodded. Duo took a breath, "I know this really pretty lake, and maybe it would be fun if we could go there and talk, if you don't have to get back to the palace soon that is, we could even go swimming or something, ya know? It's private, surrounded by trees, but what isn't surrounded by trees around here, and you wouldn't have to worry about people listening in or watching us, so what do you say?" ::All in one breath!::[2] Duo thought proudly, inhaling deeply and waiting for Heero to respond; trying not to look too hopeful.

Heero just stood there and stared wide-eyed at the boy for a moment, amazed that any one could talk that fast. Then he nodded. "Aa, that sounds fun."

"Yatta!" Duo beamed and Heero laughed at his excitement. "Well, come on!" the braided boy hesitated slightly, then grabbed up Heero's hand and dragged him in the direction of the lake.

+

1. Normally in the time setting I believe I have my fic — Dristan: Look at that! She's not even sure about the time period!! *snickers* Shut up, muse. *withering glare* Dristan: Awww!! Kawaii!!! o.O; ... >.< ... ANYway, normally in this time setting, the bath would take place in the kitchen, where you heated the water, unless you were high born and had servants to lug them heavy buckets around. But I decided to give my Duo privacy. Ain't I sweet? *beams*
2. I've tested it. It can be done! If you're as hyperactive as Duo-sama that is. ^.~ Dristan: And Gods help us, she is... *glomps muse* Aren't I cute though? XD

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