My computer's A: drive suddenly stopped working, and its internet is all messed up. But I had no way of getting this to my dad's comp. ;_; So I had to retype everything. I was pissed and panicked at the same time, so I may have typos in here. If so, could you tell me so I can fix it?

Itooshi Hito No Tameni Part 9

Three months since the ceremony~

Hilde ran to the Throne Room. When she reached it, however, two huge guards stopped her.

"Hanase!" She struggled, though she knew it was useless. But she had an idea. "Heika!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. "It's Duo-sama! I can't find him anywhere!"

Almost immediately, the door burst open and the emperor himself stood wide-eyed and stiff before her.

Heero grabbed her roughly by the shoulders. "What are you saying?" he demanded, giving her a hard shake.

Hilde tried to catch her breath. "This morning he said he wasn't feeling well and that he would keep to his chambers. But I looked for him everywhere. Oh Heika, I'm afraid something might have happened to him!"

As Heero took off, Trowa ordered the rest of the advisors to return to their chambers while Quatre tried to get more information out of the stricken maid. But Hilde couldn't say much more.

Trowa followed the path which his emperor had taken, calling over his shoulder, "Take the girl back, Quatre. I'm going after His Majesty."


The entire palace was in up-roar, as it was not often that the king was seen in a near-panic state. He stopped several people to inquire after his concubine. Only one was of any help.

The tiny man blinked...was it really the EMPEROR talking to HIM? "Uh, I believe he ran towards the direction of the lake, sire. He was carrying something that had a curved blade-"

"!!! See me later today and I will give you your reward."


Duo paused at the waterbank, DeathScythe in one hand and his free one tensed in a first. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way...

Firming his jaw, he held the legendary weapon at his wrist, and cut a long slit in the flesh there. Strange, so little pain.

He took a few more steps into the water, feeing a little weaker with each one. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way! He should've been getting revenge instead of escaping his miserable failure.

He slipped on an unseen rock and stumbled.


Heero approached the lake just in time to see Duo disappear beneath the ripples. He cursed and discarded his cape, plunging in the water without a second thought. It was murky, and he couldn't see anything at first. But as his eyes grew accustomed to his surroundings, he saw something a little ways ahead of him.

He grabbed the rope trailing from the figure, and was both horrified and delighted to feel that it was hair-Duo's braid. From it he was able to find Duo's waist and began to drag him to the surface. His upward progress was halted, however, when some underwater plant tangled around his leg.

Just when Heero was to give up, his limb was miraculously released and he stroved once more for the surface. He sucked in a lungful of fresh air, immediately feeling re-energized. Careful to keep his precious burden's head above water level, he began the long, tedious journey to shore.

His breathing was hard by the time he fell onto the sand beside his concubine. He tried to check his pulse, and was shocked to find a long slit on the slender wrist.

"Better get him to the doctor, Majesty."

For the first time, Heero noticed his advisor, every bit as soaked and worn out as he was but still calm. Had it not been such a distressing situation, Heero might have taken time to stare at Trowa's bangs. It hadn't moved a bit!

Instead, he nodded, scooping up the limp, barely alive body and began running up the shoreline, his advisor a little ways behind.


Sally Po sighed, gently stroking the damp bangs of the young man who'd barely survived. She looked at Heero.

"Fever, blood loss. For some reason or other, it appears that he tried to kill himself."

The emperor looked confused.

The palace doctor continued. "Has he been acting strange lately?"

Heero started to shake his head, but stopped. "Ever since last week, he's been talking and shivering in his sleep. I think he said once something about revenge, though I couldn't really understand.

"Nightmares of the invasion, do you think?"


"Your Majesty, Doctor." Trowa entered the room, a covered tray in hand. He set it down on the table next to the bed which Duo was now on. "I think you would be interested in seeing what I found in Duo's bedchamber."

He uncovered the tray, and Sally gasped. On a silver plate laid five needles. The strange thing was that the silver beneath the tips were almost pure black.[1]

Heero took everything in with an emotionless expression.

Sally finally found her voice. "Sire, I think I had better analyze this."

As soon as she picked up the tray, Heero's monotone growled, "Out. Get out, all of you."

Trowa, Sally, and everyone else backed out hastily.


The first thing Duo was aware of was a now familiar hand stroking his cheek. The second thing was that he was alive.

He tried to sit up, but found himself pushed back down, head swimming.

"Stay still," a nasal voice commanded him.

"'Eeewo..." he said weakly.

"You tried to kill yourself."

Duo squeezed his eyes shut even tighter.

There was silence, then Heero spoke again. "Tell me later."


One week in bed had Duo well enough to talk again without feeling nauseated. But his energy was gone.

Heero came to see him every night, and he did so now. He sat facing his concubine on the canopied bed, and Duo gave a small smile.

"Are you well enough to tell me why, now?"

The tentative grin disappeared, the gloomy face returning. "I suppose so."

"The why?"

"Because I love you."

Heero blinked. "What?"

Duo sighed, violet eyes watering a little. "I love you, Heero. I don't know how and I don't know when it started. But I do."

"That's not all." It wasn't a question.

Duo winced slightly at the tone. "No, it's not. I wanted to kill you. You took everything of mine. My family, my kingdom, my pride, my body. I knew that if I killed you, I'd be next in line for the throne.[2] I'd have my revenge as well as my kingdom back."

Heero found his concubine clinging to him.

"But I can't. I can't kill you, Heero! What kind of crown prince am I?! If I can't even vanquish an enemy???"

For once, Heero didn't return Duo's embrace. He sat there stiffly with no readable expression on his face as the other cried into his tunic.

"Is that all?" he asked quietly. "Is that why you seemed to forgive me so easily?"

A small nod.

Heero stood up, leaving his concubine dazed and off-balance.


Duo stared at him blankly, uncomprehending. "Where?"

"The punishment for even thinking to murder the emperor is death. But I won't kill you. Go back to your kingdom. It's yours." The cobalt eyes were mirrorlike and icy as he finished quietly. "The only reason I attacked was because of you."

He walked out of the room.


Hilde watched from the shadows as Duo slowly made his way to the emperor's chamber, barely able to contain the flow of tears that threatened to spill despite her defenses. Duo-sama had been such a delight to serve, so unlike those other prissy, power-hungry concubines. And he was leaving today.

He paused in front of the large, imposing door and exchanged a few lethargic words with the large, imposing guards, who just sneered at him, not budging. Quatre, whom Duo had come to become friends with, happened to walk by and ordered the men to open the door.

They hesitated, but when the little blonde squared his shoulders and threatened to send them to an executioner, they immediately bowed and moved away. Sometimes it was truly amazing how Quatre seemed to be able to move a mountain by will alone.


Duo stopped before the emperor's document chamber. Heero ignored him. He spoke anyway.

"I am leaving, Your Majesty."

Heero looked up at the formal title, one that Duo had never used seriously.

"My maid suggested that I come and see you while the coach master prepares." He bowed deeply and turned back to the door. "Sayonara, Heika."

As he disappeared behind the wooden panel, Heero couldn't shake the feeling of dread.

Why did letting Duo go seem like the biggest mistake he'd ever made?


>_< AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There! I scared myself.

Well? How was it? It took a long time, yes. But I've been working my fingers off on a very long one-shot and just got the idea for another one.

[1] Pure silver turns black when touched my poison. Now you know why royalty always use silver utensils.

[2] Yup, it's true. The Favorite Concubine is second in rank only to the emperor himself. Unless, of course, that emperor has an a)emperess and/or crown prince. Hee-chan has neither.


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