Itooshi Hito No Tameni Part 11

Duo was kind of stiff, Heero noted as the other king practically collapsed onto the chair across the table from him. He nodded politely and his former concubine returned it wearily.

"I see it has been hard on you," Heero commented as a maid poured their wine.


"The trip," he clarified, taking a small sip.

Duo smiled weakly and reached for his own goblet. His eyes widened when he sniffed at the liquor. "This is..."

"Yes, that rose-grape you grew."

After Duo had been officially made Favorite concubine, he'd insisted on growing grapes to make special wine for Heero alone. But unfourtunately, his spider rose patch[1] was too near to the grapes and they somehow interbred. The result was the regular flavored wine with the scent of roses.

Duo blushed at the memory of his mistake. It wasn't an unpleasant one, but it certainly had not been intended. Heero's expression was one of amusement.

"I had the palace gardeners copy what had happened." His eyes froze over and he reached across the table to clasp one of Duo's cold hands. "I decided that if I couldn't have you with me, I could at least have something that would remind me of you."

While the longhaired king stared stunned at him, Heero pulled back and called to the servants to bring up the dishes.

Duo chattered all through the meal while Heero basked in the comforting familiarity of the situation. Him, with his lover surrounding them with a flurry of words, telling him all about his day and asking questions without giving him a chance to answer. He should have known it wouldn't last forever.

After dinner, they were both startled when Kisha suddenly entered the chamber in thin, see-through veils. Several other of Heero's favored concubines were behind her, clad in similar style outfits although not as provacative.

"Your Majesties," she bowed demurely, "The ladies and I have prepared a welcome dance for your enjoyment." She smiled sweetly at Duo, although the kind expression did not reach her eyes.

This did not go by Duo unnoticed.

They played, sang, danced, and threw off the veils one by one. The performance had a storyline--the tale of a fallen prince who betrayed his people to become a whore for an enemy emperor but was cast away.

As soon as Duo realized just what it was, he began to shake violently. Finally he couldn't take it anymore and nearly ran out to the palace garden. The dance did not stop, much to the joy of Mueller and the other advisors present.

"Ch'kuso!" Duo rasped as soon as the chords and words of the dancers' song were out of hearing range. He punched the tree nearest to him and the leaves shivered slightly in agitation. He sank to his knees by the shoreline of the lake where he once tried to take his own life.

That damned woman! Such audaucity...He was too angry to even order her execution. She must be extremely confident that Heero would not allow her death to even THINK of doing such a thing. She was not a stupid person, Duo knew that much from his previous encounters and confrontations with her. //She probably means more to him than I ever did.//

"Ch'kuso," he repeated weakly, wrapping his arms around himself and beginning to rock back and forth.

A powerful but elegant hand appeared out of nowhere to pick up his own and stroke the bleeding skin at the knuckles where the unforgiving bark of the tree had broken it. Duo didn't move.

"You still let her get to you," Heero commented softly, pulling out a hankerchief to wrap around the injured member of his former lover.

"It was deliberate humiliation," Duo replied quietly. He suddenly let out a humorless laugh. "Well it worked."

"Why do you let it?"

He sighed. "Sometimes you just can't help but feel hurt. But you wouldn't know. You've never been insulted, have you? What am I talking about--of course you haven't."

Heero suddenly chuckled. "Oh yes I have. Do you remember when you first arrived here? What were the first things you said to me, hmm?"

Duo grinned slightly. "Well, other than that. But I don't think it meant anything to you."

Heero laid back onto the grass and pulled the other ruler on top of him, closing his eyes when Duo tucked his head under his chin. "As if being called a womanizing bastard by the jewel of the three worlds[2] didn't mean anything," he snorted, petting the long braid of silk.

Duo giggled and propped himself up to cluck his tongue at the man beneath him. "And you're still womanizing."

Heero raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Are you a woman?" Duoizing was more like it.

Silvery laughter rolled over him like a wave, followed by silence as they just lay there on the grass and enjoyed each other's warmth.

"Heero?" Duo whispered.


"I still love you."

Heero nuzzled his lover's fragrant hair. "I know."

Duo closed his eyes. "But we can't be together like this."

The taller emperor frowned. "Why?"

"Not with possible war in the horizon."

Heero flipped them so Duo was now pinned under his body. "But OZ isn't stupid enough to try and take BOTH our kingdoms. If we join that is."

The violet eyes were earnst yet sad. "You know there's nothing I want more, Heero. But Eltwo still harbors ill feelings toward you, and the wants of the people out-weigh my own."

Heero groaned. "Oh yes, that could be a problem. But can't you sway their opinions?"

Duo sighed. "What else did you think I've been trying to do during the past few years? They're beginning to improve, but not quickly enough that they'd willingly join forces with Elwon in time to prepare for OZ."

"What if I, well..." He shifted uncomfortably. "Apologize?"

Duo made a face at him. "See? You're not even happy about the IDEA, much less doing it."

"But I can," the other insisted stubbornly.

The king regarded him carefully. "Then it may just be possible."


A treaty was signed seven months later and the capitals of the two kingdoms became one: right at the border between Elwon and Eltwo.


See? I told you I'd get more out soon now that camp is over. ^_~

[1] A flower I invented. A kind of rose with spidery roots instead of a bulb.


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