Chapter note: From now on, Duo will be referred to as 'he' instead of the former 'she', unless it's from others' points of view.

Traitorous Acts Part 2
II.: The Masquerade~

Cold blue eyes studying the crowd with mild interest from behind a blue mask, Heero stood stiffly beside the L2 king on the platform. The old fool was talking about anything and everything that crossed his dirty mind at the moment.

"Pardon me, Your Majesty," Heero cut in, "but where is the princess Duo?"

Something about the expression of the king's face changed, becoming darker somehow. He looked at the clock hanging on the opposite wall. "She's coming," he said evasively.

As soon as the words left his mouth, a white-clad form glided down the marble steps. The upper part of her face was concealed by a sequin mask of golden feathers, and her hair was in rich loops on top of her head and cascading down her back. The lords and ladies present suddenly stopped their activities and turned their attention to her.

When Duo passed Heero, he gave the prince a side-wise glance. Undecipherable. He stopped in front of his father and bowed respectively. The king stood up, and with one hand on Duo's arm, addressed the crowd.

"My daughter," he announced, voice laced with pride.

Immediately, applause and murmurs filled the room.

"She's grown so tall."

"It's been SUCH a long time since I saw her last."

"A true beauty indeed."

Duo smiled, deciding to ignore Heero for as long as possible. "Thank you, everyone."

With that, the music began again and couples resumed their dancing.

The king turned to Duo. "I hope, my dear, that you will accept Mr. Yuy's offer for the first and last dance of the evening." Upon seeing his 'daughter' give Heero an odd look, he laughed heartily. "Oh my, it seems I've forgotten an introduction! Duo, this is the son of Sir Milliard of the Sanc Kingdom. A dashing young fellow, isn't he?"

Duo didn't say anything. He wasn't sure what to say, since the mask covered most of Heero's face. But from what he COULD see, it seemed to be true. He curtsied, and when the other held out a hand, he took it.

It was a waltz, the one dance Duo dreaded above any other. It was more intimate, and involved being closer to your partner.

Heero was a good dancer, he had to admit that, but still he didn't care for it.

"Where are your troops hiding?" he suddenly blurted out.

The unexpected question surprised Heero into nearly missing a beat and stepping on Duo's toes. He spoke for the first time: "What are you talking about?"

The full lips twisted into a smug smirk, and the violet eyes glinted at him from behind the mask. "I hope, sir, that you don't believe me to be completely oblivious of your true identity."

They kept their voices low, so as to not call unwanted attention.

"I am Heero Yuy, eldest son of Milliard of Sanc."

Duo stopped smiling then, and his mouth was nothing more than a tense line. "No, you are Heero Yuy Lowe, youngest son of Odin Lowe the third, born of his favorite concubine just before her death sixteen and half years ago."

Heero stiffened, subconsciously tightening the arm around Duo's waist. "Tales of your intelligence have not exaggerated, it seems." He continued to twirl the long-haired boy about the room, though the air seemed chilled.

Duo gave another smile, this one true and bright. "Most have abandoned researches and forgotten the past, but I have not. There are documents of your country in an old chest I found only weeks before. When my father first described you to me, it intrigued me. When he told me your name, I was convinced. And when I met you just now, on that platform, I was sure. Everything about you--your manners...your eyes--fit what I have read of."

Heero was quiet. This somehow satisfied Duo, and he continued.

"You were so certain, weren't you? That you would never be found out? Did you honestly think no one would recognize you?"

Evading the question, Heero stared straight at the princess. "Since you know me so well, is it safe to assume that you know my motives for visiting your nation too?"

Duo nodded. The pair suddenly realized that the dance was over, and that just about all the eyes in the room were on them. They had been so intent in their conversation they'd missed the finish, but everyone seemed to have misinterpreted it and the women were whispering something about "young love" and "he's the one!". The king had on such a triumphant expression his son wanted to wipe it off. Nevertheless, Duo blushed until he was practically glowing--the damn mask did nothing to conceal it. How embarrassing!

He pulled Heero out to the garden. But as soon as they were out of sight, he felt a gun against his temple and stiffened.

"You really should think before you act," he heard the prince murmur.

Duo's eyes went a little wild. "If you shoot me, everyone'll hear."

The gun was removed, but he had no time to rejoice, for a moment later, the weapon was returned, this time with a silencer attached.

"I don't think so."

One strong arm gripped his waist until the smallest movement was impossible.

"Someone will see you."

"It's dark out here, and anyone who's watching will think I'm proposing to you, whispering loving nonsense in your ear."

Duo closed his eyes, waiting for his death.


Heero tossed the gun in a bush and released the slender body he held. "What do you want?" he demanded of the flustered maid.

Hilde blushed twenty shades of red, visible in the near pitch-blackness. "Th-the king wants to talk with the princess and prince. G-gomen!" She bowed and walked off, waiting for the couple to follow.

Heero cursed mentally, and with one last look at the bush concealing his gun, walked after the maid, Duo's wrist held firmly in his hand.


^^; Very, very short, ne? Ah well, it'll get longer as it goes. I have a problem with short chapters that I'll try and cure.


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