by: Zillie
warnings: AU fantasy, 1+2, 3+4, 5+M, various other characters will appear
rating: this part is fairly innocuous, but it will get more... graphic. in several ways. let's go with R.
please let me know what you think...

Journey in Blue + Prologue

My lady --

We leave today.

Now, really -- so early in the morning that the whole world seems covered by a blue shadow. It is bitterly cold and we are waiting for Duo.

As soon as you were out of sight yesterday he turned to us. "Tomorrow morning," he said. "Be ready. And don't, for gods' sakes, make a big fuss. Just the five of us and enough food and horses to last us a few days.

We all looked at him; Heero asked, "where are we going?" Duo was already walking away, but he paused and shrugged. "I don't know yet," he said. "I'll try and find out before we go."

And then he disappeared. Heero went off to confer with Marquise -- Trowa went to look at horses. Quatre, to me, seems a little distracted lately -- did you notice this before you left? I find myself sure you did. For a week following Noventa's death he and Trowa were inseparable. Sickeningly so. But this past week, although they still come out of the same room in the morning and sit very close to each other and smell of each other -- and even though Quatre, at least, still steals kisses -- there is something different. Trowa has been flirting, more and more; I do not think he follows through but it shocks and bemuses and hurts Quatre. I fear the prince has grown tired of my lord Winner's charms; I fear my lord Winner still thinks of Trowa as a man among princes.

This talk of kisses has turned my thoughts to you -- a welcome thought on a cold morning. I find myself wondering how you would look here with us, in blue light and sharp winds, and I find the picture incomplete without you.

But Duo arrives -- I must close this if I wish to leave it for delivery to you.

I remain,

Yours most respectfully,

Chang Wufei

+

They looked like a painting, standing there, the five of them dressed for travel. Horses stood waiting, their heat of their breath visible in the cold air. The watcher noticed the ease with which the men -- boys, really -- wore their weapons. If he could paint he would paint them like this -- five young warriors in the blue morning light. Five travelers, off to discover. If he could paint. . . but there had always been more pressing matters. He sighed and put the thoughts aside.

There were, after all, more pressing matters to attend to.

+

Duo seemed to glide from nothingness. "Are you ready?"

Wufei started; at least, Heero thought, I'm not the only one who can't catch him coming. "Where do we go?" he asked his lover.

The boy's laugh was too hard to be real -- his eyes glittered fiercely. Heero's own eyes narrowed a bit.

Duo was hiding something.

"Simple enough," the other boy said with a careless smile. "You get to take me home to meet your parents."

Heero blinked, genuinely taken aback. He'd been preparing for a journey into Oz; from the look on Trowa's face, he wasn't the only one there, either. "We're going into Odin lands?"

Duo flourished a piece of paper. "So my errant brother informs me, though he could not, it seems, spare the time to tell me in person before he left."

Quatre leaned forward. "You know where he's gone?"

"Just that he's gone." Duo's mouth twisted wryly. "I'm fair certain of that."

"Are you telling me that the Weapon is in Odin?" Heero asked. "All I'm telling you is that Solo says that's where we go," Duo said, and headed for his horse.

His mouth tight, Heero followed.

+

"The Weapon," Relena had sighed. "The Weapon. You all know the tales -- Sanc broke off from the now defunct Krais Empire. The Emperor wanted the country back -- it is, after all, a fairly nice place. Stories vary as to exactly what the young king of Sanc -- who was, by the way, the Emperor's younger brother -- did to receive the Weapon, but it is generally thought to have been a particularly heroic act, for which the gods gave him the Weapon. He used it in some manner to preserve the country. It was used again a hundred years later, four times in the next three hundred years, and again seventy years ago, by my great grandfather. For the first hundred years or so, the Weapon had a wielder -- the king, then his illegitimate daughter, then her line, but the wielder died without issue defending Sanc from a plague, and the Weapon became the monarch's to wield. The Weapon is represented in various works of art, but rarely is it the same twice. Symbolicially, it tends to be represented by a pair of crossed knives, but it never, as far as we know, split -- it is thought that one knife represented the Weapon and one the wielder." She sighed. "It is the symbol of Sanc. It is the protector of our bodies, of our peace, and of our way of life. It is the symbol of our pride and what unity we have. If it becomes known that we have. . . misplaced it. . . ," she sighed again. "I fear the consequences."

"That," Duo had said lazily, "is why we're going to find it." He noticed that there was more than one astonished gaze coming his way; he smiled. "Well, that and the money."

+

"So what will your parents think when you show up with a boy from the streets in your bed?"

Heero looked over at Duo, who had apparently gotten over the early morning funk that always plagued him for a good hour after he woke up and raised an eyebrow. "My parents?"

"You know. Mommy. Daddy. I've heard all about parents." And there was something a little greedy in his eyes, a little lonely, but it was gone quickly. "Or should we be discreet?" The derisive tone in his voice as he drawled the word left no doubt in Heero's mind that `discresion' was at once what Duo expected and what he would not put up with.

"Well, my mother probably won't be there, this time of year. She trains in the fields every so often. As for my father, well," and here Heero put on a deliberately vague voice, "he and his husband will probably take to you."

Duo had an arrested expression on his face. "His husband?"

"Well, shield mate, technically." He glanced over. "My people have a habit of fighting in all male or all female groups. And of finding lovers within those groups. There are marriages, and there are sexual liaisons, but a shield mate -- that's someone who's your equal on the battlefield and off, someone who you can trust at your back and in your bed."

"You trust me at your back in your bed," Duo said in a sultry tone.

Heero kept his eyes on the long, open road ahead of him. "Is that a proposal?"

He felt rather than saw the other boy withdraw. "Sure is," Duo said with a laugh. "A proposal to meet me behind that clump of trees up there." He swung dangerously in his saddle and managed to place a kiss on Heero's unsuspecting nose. "I'll leave you to make our excuses."

Mouth tight, Heero watched his lover ride away, whooping. "It may be the stupidest thing I've ever done," he said under his breath, "but for some reason I do trust you."

And then, bending low over his horse, he raced silently after the boy he called love. But never to his face.

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