From Far Away Part 9

"Wufei, do you know that this forest is haunted?" Hilde spoke up. They were riding their horses through the forest.

"I heard the rumor." Wufei shrugged. "We didn't know if it is true or not. Beside this forest is the only way for us to reach Sank without having to break through hundreds of Romefeller's men. Haunted or not, we have to take the risk."

"AAAAAH!!!" Relena's sudden shout startled everyone.

Duo turned to see Relena's horse go berserk. "What the..." He didn't have a chance to finish his sentence as his horse went wild too. One by one, every horse started to buck wildly, trying to throw their riders.

"What's wrong with the horses?" Quatre shouted while trying to calm his horse. He had to grip the horse's grub tightly if he didn't want to be thrown off.

"I don't know." Wufei had managed to calm his horse. He quickly dismounted and helped Relena with her horse.

Heero and Trowa easily managed to tame their horses and went to help Duo and Quatre. Noin and Sally also had tamed their horses and went to help Hilde. Although all the horses had been tamed, the animals refused to walk. So they decided to leave the horse and walk through the forest on foot.

After walking for half an hour inside the forest, Heero and the others came upon the ruins of a church.

"I never thought there was a church here." Noin stepped forward and checked the ruins. The others spread out to check the surroundings, trying to find someone or something.

Duo studied the ruined church. Almost all of the building was black, burned. The sign that let it known that this place was a church was a burned cross among the ruins.

"Find something, Duo?" Duo turned and saw Hilde standing next to him.

"I don't think so, Hilde. How about you?"

Hilde shrugged, "There's nothing here. I guess we have to continue our journey."

Duo nodded and turned to check the others but Hilde stopped him. "Hmm, Duo. Can I ask something personal?"

"Sure. What is it?" Duo wondered why the girl was fidgeting.

"Uhm..." Hilde blushed but she asked anyway. "Do you have a koi?"

"A koi?" Duo raised one eyebrow in wonder. Didn't everyone have a koi? Many koi? "Of course I have a koi, Hilde. Heero is my koi, and so are you, Quatre, Trowa, and the others."

Hilde stared at Duo in surprise. "Duo, do you know what the meaning of koi is?" Hilde had known that Duo was from far away island since she had asked Quatre about him.

"Yeah, Quatre told me. A koi is the one you care for, isn't it? Like he and Trowa? They care for each other." Duo began to feel something was wrong.

Hilde slapped her head. "Quatre, I should've known it. That blondie has too mild language."

"Mild language?"

Hilde looked at Duo intensely. "Duo, a koi is a person you care most, M.O.S.T. about. We only have one koi, no more, no less."

"Only one??" Duo was confused.

"Yes, a koi is the person you want to spend your life with. The person you want to be with you all the time. In other words, a koi is your life mate."

Duo's jaw dropped in surprise and horror as Hilde explained the meaning of koi to him. A koi was a lover! Not a friend. "A koi is......oh God.....and I told Heero he was my koi???" Duo buried his head in his hands.

From the distance, Heero watched as Duo talked with Hilde. He felt jealous at how the girl staring at Duo. After all Duo was his koi, not hers. She shouldn't look at Duo tenderly like that. Then Heero noticed that after Hilde had told something, Duo bowed his head.

Feeling curious, added with jealous, Heero used his Power to control the wind to bring their voices to him.

"What do you mean, Duo? Do you mean to say that Heero is not your koi?" Heero growled as he heard Hilde talking about him. How dare she. Of course Duo was his koi. But then Heero felt like being struck by lightning when Duo spoke up.

"No, Hilde. Heero isn't my koi. When Quatre told me that a koi was a person I care for, I thought a koi was like a friend. Since Heero is my friend, I told him that he was my koi. Oh man, I've screwed up badly. And to add to the situation, I even told Heero that I was his koi....."

Heero cut down his Power. He didn't want to hear about this any longer. Duo didn't think of him as his koi...only as his friend....Heero chuckled bitterly. Of course! Leave it to the braided baka to mess up with words. He had known that Duo had the tendency to misunderstand new vocabularies so he should have been suspicious when Duo brought the new word to him.

But instead of questioning Duo further about the meaning of the word, he accepted what Duo told him and let himself believe that someone finally wanted to be his koi, someone cared for him. Ah, Duo cared for him.....but only as a friend while Heero wanted Duo to be more than just a friend. Heero shook his head. No, he was too greedy for hoping like that. He should have been satisfied that Duo cared for him as a friend. It was more than enough for him.

Heero looked back at Duo who was still talking to Hilde. Well, nothing would change, would it? Duo would still treat him as a friend and he would always protect that braided baka as he had promised the first day he had met him. Heero felt stabs of pain in his heart, but he steeled himself. He was used to the pain. Pain of being rejected, exiled, abandoned, or treated like animal. This was not as bad as those,........ wasn't it?

Hilde was happy. At first, she felt disappointed when Duo said Heero was his koi but then she found it was all a misunderstanding. That meant Duo didn't have a koi and she still had a chance to be the one. Hilde had wanted him when she first laid her eyes on the boy at the arena. Duo was all she dreamed of, handsome, cool, cheerful and affectionate, judging from the way he treated Heero. "So what are you going to do, now Duo?"

Duo looked at Hilde dumbfounded. "What am I going to do?"

"Yeah, shouldn't you tell Heero about this misunderstanding? I know it's hard since he thinks of you as his koi, but you have to tell the truth."

As Hilde spoke, Duo looked like someone who had just been struck by lightning. He just realized that Heero didn't object when he told him about being his koi. //Wait a sec! Heero knew that a koi meant a lover and he didn't mind me being his koi! That meant....he wanted me as his lover too?!// Duo felt delighted at the realization. Here he was worrying about how to tell Heero about his feelings toward the stoic boy and it appeared that he had told it without realizing it.

"Duo? Are you okay? Do you want me to tell Heero about this misunderstanding?" Hilde's voice snapped Duo out of his thoughts.

Tell Heero about this misunderstanding?? No way!! This was what he wanted, why should he tell Heero about the misunderstanding while Heero also wanted him as his koi? Duo couldn't wait to be alone with Heero, to kiss and hug him just like a lover did. "No, Hilde. Don't tell him."

"Why not?"

"Because I care for him, Hilde. I care for him like...." Duo didn't manage to finish his sentence as he saw something emerge from the ruined church, making him shout in surprised. "CHRIST, what is that?"

Heero focused his eyes back to Duo as he heard Duo's shouting. His eyes widened as he saw something black and HUGE emerge from the ruins. It was almost as big as a two story house.

"Duo!!" Heero shouted as he ran toward Duo. As he saw the big black thing approach Duo, Heero tackled Duo, pushing him away from the thing's reach.

"What is that?" Duo gasped, on the ground as Heero pressed above him.

"I don't know. It could be a monster." Heero quickly stood up as the black monster approached them and craned one black arm. Wasting no time, Heero unsheathed his sword and detached the arm from the thing. "Move away, Duo."

Duo quickly complied. He stood up and ran out of the monster's reach, pulling Hilde with him to join Sally and Noin. Then he saw Trowa, who had arrived, followed by Quatre, they examined the chopped part of the creature. Trowa lifted the arm liked thing and it quickly loosened into many black strings. Trowa studied the strings and found out not all them were black. Some of them were brown, red, and also blonde. But the dominant color was black, nonetheless. "This made from humans' hair." Trowa and Quatre looked at each other.

"Damn, this thing is strong!" Wufei, who had arrived, jumped into the battle and tried to chop another arm off, which tried to reach Relena, but his sword stopped half way, making him wonder how strong Heero really was. The stoic boy seemed to cut it without trouble while Wufei had to use all his strength to cut an inch into it.

Meanwhile, Heero was still fighting the creature. It had numorous arms craned over-head and Heero cut every arm, which tried to reach Duo and blow up the other ones who tried to capture him with his Power. The creature seemed to know that Heero was the most dangerous one. It pulled all its arms, which were trying to attack Wufei, Duo and the others and focused them on capturing Heero.

No matter how strong Heero was, he couldn't fight all the arms at one time. One arm managed to capture his waist and it pulled him into the creature. Heero tried to fight but another arm managed to lock his arms, pulling him closer to the black creature. //Damn, this thing is annoying.// Heero growled as he felt another arm encircling his neck. Suddenly he was pulled hard and within a second the creature was all over him.

"Heero!!" Duo watched in horror as Heero disappeared into the big creature. //It engulfed him!// He leapt forward, trying to help Heero, but Trowa stopped him.

"Let me go, Trowa!!!" Duo struggled, but Trowa held him fast.

"Duo calm down. If you go there, you will be engulfed by it too." Quatre spoke up and helped Trowa to restrain Duo.

//Damn it! Heero!!// Duo felt really helpless as he saw the creature engulf Heero completely.


Duo jumped in surprise. He could hear Heero in his mind. {Heero?? Are you okay there?}

{Yeah, I'm still fighting inside here.}

"EEEEKKK!!" Duo turned as he heard Hilde's cry and saw the creature was splitting itself into some parts. The parts started to approach them while the biggest part, where Heero was, stood still where it was.

{The creature sent parts of itself to attack us!!!}

That was the last thought from Duo as Heero felt his connection with Duo cut off. //Run, Duo. Run! All of you are no match for this thing.//

"Everybody, spread! Try to stay in a pair." Wufei shouted. "We have to find its weakness!" As Wufei commanded, they spread out into to groups, trying to evade and find the creature's weakness. Quatre with Trowa, Sally with Noin, Wufei with Relena, and Duo with Hilde.

Duo was trying to evade another arm when he felt his surrounding become blurry. "Hilde?"

"I'm here, Duo." Hilde took Duo's arm and ran, forcing Duo to follow her. "The fog is coming. We have to get out of here or we'll have the same fate as Heero's."

"I won't leave him, Hilde." Duo stopped running and turned to the direction where he came. But Hilde stopped him.

"Duo, there's nothing we can do to save him. The monster is too strong."

Duo shoved Hilde's hands away. "There must be something I can do! Heero is still alive in there!" Duo started running back but suddenly he felt the ground beneath him crumble and he fell down. "AAAHHHHHHH!!"

"Wufei, what was that?" Relena tugged at Wufei's shirt to get his attention. The fog was now so thick that they couldn't see the person in front of them.

"I think it was Duo, Relena." Wufei walked slowly, trying to acknowledge his surroundings but it was useless. They were like blind persons right now.

"I hope he and Hilde are okay."

"We could only hope, Relena. Right now, we have to save ourselves first."

Back to Heero, he was still trying to fight the creature off. Using his Power, he managed to blow the arms that tied to snare him but every time he did that, more arms came and tied to make a grab for him again. //This is useless.....I have to use all the Power inside me to blow the creature entirely.....// Heero closed his eyes. //I have to concentrate....have to control the Power....//

The creature seemed to sense what Heero was going to do. It suddenly tightened its arm around Heero's neck, causing Heero to choke and gasp in surprise. As he opened his mouth, trying to find the air, Heero felt something invading his mouth. To his horror, he realized that it was one of the creature's arms.

Heero choked and tried to push the arm out of his mouth but the arm thrust deeper instead. The size of the arm was very small for the creature but big for Heero because he felt his jaws being forced open even further to accommodate the arm's width. As the arm reached into his throat, Heero felt a strange sensation rush into him. It was the sensation of his past; the past he had tried so hard to forget.


Duo looked at his surrounding. It was dark again. Where was he, now? Was he dreaming again? Duo discovered out that he somehow was restrained by invincible ropes. He couldn't move any muscles, except for his head.

"Mother! Stop!"

The braided boy widened as a scene appeared in front of him. He saw the nine years old boy, from his previous dream, lying on the ground, bare chest. A woman knelt over the boy, one hand strangling the boy's neck while the other hand holding something.

Duo was surprised when he acknowledged it was a knife that the woman held. Before he managed to react, the woman swung the knife slashing the boy's chest. "Monster! You're a monster!"

"Mother! Please stop!!" Duo could see the blood from the boy's chest. And to his horror the woman kept swinging the knife, slashing the same place over and over again. "Monster! Don't call me mother! You are not my son, you are a monster!"

The boy cried in pain. "Mother! Stop it! It hurts!! I'll die!"

"Die? I have tried to kill you for years and yet you live!" The woman stopped the knife and pointed it to the boy. "You're a monster. I have to kill you."

The boy struggled "Mother, please. I am human, not a monster."

"Human? You aren't human!" The woman cried hysterically and buried the knife into the boy's abdomen. The boy cried in pain but the woman pushed the knife till it couldn't go deeper inside the boy. "This is the prove that you aren't human!" To Duo's horror, the woman twisted the knife inside the boy, making the boy howl in pain.

"NO!!!" Suddenly the boy raised his hand and a light emerged from his palm, throwing the woman against an invincible wall.

The woman cried as her back hit the wall. "AAAHHHHHH. It hurt!!! Help!! Save me from this monster!!!"

A man that Duo saw in his previous dream as the boy's father suddenly appeared. "Stop disturbing him." The man helped the woman to stand up.

"Disturbing him??!!!" The woman began to scream again. "He is the one who disturbed me! He always calls me mother!"

"You're his mother." The man tried to calm the hysterical woman.

"I'm not! I'm not a mother of that monster!!!!" The woman cried out. "I have tried to eliminate this monster but he is still alive! No matter how many times I stab him, his wounds always heal almost immediately "

"He has to live, you know it. We have promised to born and raise him in exchange for the wealth of our village."

"I hate him!! I wished I never had to born a monster like him!!" The woman screamed loudly and then ran away, dissolving into darkness.

For some moments, all Duo could hear was his own heart beat and his own breath. He breathed in rage. How could a woman do this cruel thing to her own child? She was the one who deserved to be killed to torture her child like that.

"Da....Dad...." In his rage, almost Duo forgot about the boy. He saw the father turned to see his child. Duo followed the father's look and closed his eyes in reflex as he saw the boy's condition.

" could she do her own child...." Duo opened his eyes again, forcing his eyes to see the boy. The boy was lying in a pool, created from his own blood. His neck was bruised while his chest and stomach were bleeding. The knife was still buried deep inside the boy. The only visible part from the knife was the hilt on the boy's stomach. The boy panted, trying hard to breath. It was clearly that he was hurting and tried to find something to ease the pain.

The man stepped forward but he didn't do anything. He merely looked at the boy and spoke coldly. "Stay away from her."

"Da..." Before the boy managed to finish, the man had walked away and disappeared into the darkness, leaving the boy alone, bleeding and hurting. The boy didn't speak anymore; he just lay there unmoving, except for the rising of his bleeding chest.

Duo cried out in rage. How could they do that?? To their own son!! They left him dying and bleeding there. He struggled against his restraints, trying to free himself and so he comfort the boy. But his effort was futile as the invincible ropes kept him still. Finally exhausted, Duo ceased his struggling and looked at the boy again.

He was surprised when he saw the boy's hand move to the hilt of the knife that was in his stomach. Duo winced as the boy started pulling the knife out of himself, hissing in pain. //How could his parents be so cruel?! Maybe I am lucky to have no parents....//

The sound of a metal clanking to the ground indicated that the boy finally managed to pull the knife all the way out. Duo watched as the boy slowly sat up, then he stared in surprise at the gapping hole in the boy's stomach. And to his further surprise, Duo watched as the gap slowly closed, leaving a thin line on the stomach. Then the line disappeared completely, leaving no trace that the stomach had never been torn by a knife before.

Duo ran his eyes to the boy's chest and found that all the scratches had been healed too. The only sign that the boy had ever been hurt was the bloody chest and stomach. "I am alive...." Duo could hear the boy say the word bitterly. And suddenly he realized that all the ropes had disappeared; he could move freely now.

Quickly, Duo made his way to the boy and knelt beside him. The boy didn't seem to notice Duo. He still bowed his head and looked at his bloody hands. "I am bleeding.......I'm human...right?" Suddenly the boy dropped his hands and chuckled bitterly. "A human would have surely died from the blood loss...."

"No! You're human!" Duo couldn't stand looking the boy hurting himself. He threw his arms around the boy and hugged him tightly. "You're human! It is not your fault that you can heal fast. God, I'm very grateful that you can heal fast or you would've died from that wound." Duo tightened his embrace as if wanting to protect the boy from the cruel world he lived in.

"Duo, wake up!"

Duo blinked.

"Finally, you are awake." A pair of golden eyes greeted him, making him sit up in surprise.

More to his surprise, Duo noticed that the six years old boy with golden eyes was floating. "Who? What? Where?.." Duo was having difficulty clearing his mind after having such intense dream.

"I will answer your questions later. Right now, you better stand up and run." The golden eyed boy looked worried. "It is approaching you."

Duo was confused but he stood up nevertheless. "What do you mean by it?" As if on cue, Duo saw something black moving closer toward him at a rapid speed. "Oh, no!"

"Run, Duo! Follow me!" The floating boy flew in front of Duo and led him in a certain direction.

Deciding to trust the boy, Duo followed him, running as fast as he could to avoid the black creature. He didn't know how long he had ran until suddenly he arrived at an area where the fog didn't reach.

"We are safe here. The creature couldn't go further without the fog." The golden eyed boy stood in front of Duo, still floating low above the ground.

Duo looked at the boy, panting. "It is that black creature, which created this thick fog, isn't it?"

The boy nodded.

"So can you explain to me what this is all about? And how do you know my name?"

"First, let me introduce myself. My name is Solo. I know your name because a girl cried it loudly when you fell from declivity."

"You can see me through the thick fog?" Duo was surprised.

"Yes, the fog had no effect for me."

"You saw me but you didn't help me?"

The boy sighed in regret. "I want to help you, Duo but I can't."

" Why not? You can..." Duo widened his eyes and dropped his jaw as the boy flew through his body. "....You are a ghost?"

"Yeah, you can say that. You have seen the ruined church, haven't you?" As Duo nodded, the boy continued, "The church was used as a orphanage. I was one of the children there. Although we didn't have any parents, we were quite happy to have many friends." The boy gazed far away, drowned in his own memories. "Then on one hot night, the orphanage was on fire. We didn't know where the fire came from but when we woke up, it had surrounded us. We tried hard to break through the fire and escape. I lead the children and made it into the front door when the building collapsed and buried all my friends. I watched in horror as my friends were burned alive. All the children died on that night except me."

"Only you survived?"

Solo nodded. "Not too long though, I died five days after the accident because of the infection from the wounds I got while trying to rescue my friends." The boy pointed the ground beneath him. "My body rested here."

Duo looked at the ground but it didn't show any sign of something being buried.

"The creature you saw, Duo. It was made from the children's lost souls."

Duo stared back at Solo in surprise. "That creature is....a union from the burned children's souls?"

"Yes...They felt angry that their life had been very short. They wanted to live longer, to play longer. It was their rage that caused them the fact they couldn't rest peacefully and turned out to be the awful creature you saw. They attacked every people who came near the church, wanting them have the same fate as them." A tear trailed down on Solo's cheek, then the boy looked at Duo pleadingly. "I need your help, Duo."


Solo nodded. "Only you can help me, Duo."

"How? I don't have any special power."

"But you have a kind heart and the most important that you can see and hear me."

"Can see and hear you? You mean the other people can't see or hear you?"

Solo shook his head. "No. Only you can see me, Duo."

"But why me? Why am I the only one that can see you? And how did you know only I can see you?" Duo was really confused. Of all the great peoples, why only he could see Solo? He didn't have any special abilities to make him able to beat the creature.

Solo smiled sadly. "I am a ghost, Duo. I know about you more than other people know. So believe me, only you can help me."

"What do you mean by 'you know more about me'?"

"You have this ability to see what other people can't see, Duo."

"In other words....I have the ability to see ghosts?"

Solo nodded.


Inside the black creature, Heero had ceased struggling. The creature had the ability to reveal his past and that was exactly what it was doing at the moment. All he could see was blood, his own blood. Heero didn't notice that the creature had its arms on him. His wrists were restrained by some arms and spread apart. One arm encircled his chest and the other encircled his waist. Then more arms appeared and held his legs, spreading them apart too. Heero was now in spread eagle position. But he didn't acknowledge how dangerous his condition was.

His eyes were empty, drowning in his past. He did choke when the arm around his neck tightened but his choke was unnoticeable since his throat had been filled by another arm, stopping all sounds from him.

"I am not the mother of that monster!"

His mother's words echoed inside his mind while the creature pulled his arms even further apart.

"I wish I never had to born a monster like him!!"

The creature spread his legs more widely as if wanted to tear him apart. Heero's body had protested but his mind was too numb to give any reactions. Again, his past invaded his mind. This time he heard his father's voice.

"Stay away from her."

The arm inside his mouth thrust deeper to his throat, trying to get deeper inside Heero's body.

"You are human!"

Heero blinked as he recognized the voice. It was Duo.

"It's not your fault!"

The stoic boy was aware of the pain in his body, the pulling arms on his wrists and legs, and the invading arm inside his mouth.

"I am glad....."

An image of Duo flashed in his mind, shoving his past away. Heero remembered at how worried Duo was when he was hurt and how glad Duo was when he knew Heero was okay. The braided boy had always treated him like a normal human.

Heero felt the arm around his neck tightened even more. He growled and focused his Power. No, he would not die now! Duo still needed him. He had promised to protect Duo. Blue aura surrounded Heero as his Power focused. He had to get back to Duo! With a loud feral growl, Heero released his Power to all directions, blowing the creature up entirely.

"What's that?" Quatre and Trowa heard an explosion near them and headed to the sound's direction. As they walked, they noticed the fog around them become thinner. Quatre could see the ruined church now and there was someone standing near it.

"Heero!" Quatre shouted happily as he recognized the person. "You are safe!"

They quickly approached Heero. Trowa was really curious at how strong Heero was. The boy seemed fine, no scratch or wounds.

Heero saw Quatre and Trowa approaching him, shouting his name but he didn't answer them. He was panting and feeling strange sensation inside his body. This was the first time he ever released his Power with that much strength and the result was deadly. The creature was torn into tiny pieces, which retreated back to the ruined church, not daring to attack him again.

The stoic boy felt his body trembling as the after effect for releasing such strong Power. //I overused my Power.// He panted and hugged himself as he felt his body's cells started to change. //No! Stop it! I don't want to be something that is not me.// Heero collapsed on the ground as every cells of his body throbbed painfully. //Stop it! I don't want to change like they always want me to!!//



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