Born in Chaos Part 20

"Duo! Duo!"

The chestnut haired boy's eyes flew open. "What the hell?" He muttered sitting up and looking around. A room... he was in a bedroom... not on a rocky trail in the mountains... not running for his life, trying to beat time to find some ancient artifact that would save their world.

And the young woman sitting beside him, watching him with violet-blue eyes full of concern, was definitely not a pointy-eared elf. "Hilde,"

"You were having another nightmare," She said softly, reaching for her robe and slipping from the bed. "You were calling out some strange name and thrashing around."

"I woke you?" He asked, still trying the clear the confusion from his mind.

"It's alright." She pulled on her robe and flashed him a smile. "It's time to be getting up anyway. I'll go make us breakfast before you head in to open the shop."

"Okay. I'll be right down." He replied as she leaned over and gave him a quick kiss.

He leaned back and watched Hilde leave the bedroom. A dream? It was all a dream? The search for the guardian, the fighting, the elves... and.... Heero? They were all dreams? He shook his head rapidly, some dream! It was all so vivid!!

Getting out of bed, he dressed quickly and started down the stairs of the little cottage he shared with the black haired girl. Best get the day started, he was thinking as a young voice called out happily behind him.


He turned in time to catch the small boy who jumped into his arms. "Ah, Solo," He ruffled the boy's black hair. "What are you doing up so early?"

The child, no more than three or four years old, pouted and crossed him little arms, glaring at his father. "You promised me you'd take me to the docks this morning! The Lady Hilde is coming in! You told me I could go meet her!!"

"Ah that's right. I did, didn't I? It's a good thing that you reminded me, I almost forgot that she was coming into port today." Duo set his son on the stairs. "Well then, what do you say we go get our breakfast and head on down. I'm anxious to see what she has brought us."

"Me too!!" The boy cried out happily as he ran down the stairs. "Mama! We have to eat now!"

"Oh you do, do you?" Hilde turned and smiled at her son. "And just why is it that you feel that you must?" She tapped her foot as the boy jumped in his chair at the table.

"Because your son and I have very important things to do today," Duo answered sauntering into the room. "A certain ship named after a certain beautiful lady in due in today and we wish to see what treasures she has brought us."

"Well, then, we can't have her waiting can we?" Hilde smiled as she turned back to the stove.

A short time later found Duo walking along the docks behind his excited son as they watched the ships sail out of the gloom beyond and into the torch lit circle of the bay.

"There she is!!" Solo cried out and ran ahead.

"Be careful!" Duo shook his head. The boy had as much energy as he did when he was younger; going non-stop sometimes. Always something to do and in a hurry to do it.

Settling down with Hilde and taking over her father's business had slowed that down some. It had been a lucky stroke for a street orphan like him, that her father would even consider letting his daughter marry him.

He grinned, his violet eyes flashing as he approached the huge trading ship that he'd bought the year his son was born. Feeling the need to expand her father's trading routes, he'd invested one of his cargos in purchasing the Lady Hilde, named appropriately for the woman he had married and had turned his life around. He hadn't been disappointed in either the woman or the ship.

He walked up to the fair haired man that captained the ship and at this moment was carrying and exuberant Solo back to his father. "So, Tein, how'd she do?" He asked taking the boy from the man.

"Beautiful as always," The man pushed the cap that he was wearing. "She brought in a good cargo and safely as always. The men will have it all in the warehouse later this evening."

"Excellent, I'll go collect the paperwork and see that it's taken care of."

"Oh, Mr. Maxwell,"

"Yes," Duo turned back to the man.

"A young woman gave us an unusual chest while were there, asked to have you deliver it to the Queen."

"What's in it?" The chestnut haired man frowned. He didn't like things like this, it usually meant smuggling of some kind and he'd fought hard to make sure his business remained legitimate.

"I don't know she gave us specific instructions that it could only be opened by you or the Queen."

Duo sighed. "Alright, have it delivered to my office."


The next morning Duo sat in his office staring at an ornately carved wooden chest that sat in the middle of his office, a frown on his face. He'd come in that morning intending to check the contents before contacting the palace, but as soon as he touched the intricate swirls on the chest he'd been overcome by a feeling of wrongness. He shouldn't open the chest. His life would never be the same if he did.

"By the light!" He swore as he jumped up from his desk. "I'm getting superstitious!!" He walked over and threw the lid open and stared inside.

Spices... bags and bags of spices, and sitting in the middle of it all was a small golden box. Its glittering surface drew Duo's eyes as he reached down to pick it up. As his fingers came in contact with its gleaming surface the picture of angry cobalt eyes flashed before him causing him to gasp and reel backwards.

"What the hell?" He scowled and slammed the lid closed on the chest.

Whatever was in that box threatened to turn his safe quiet little world upside down. Turning his back on the chest, he sat back down at his desk and grabbed a piece of paper, intending to pen a note to the palace to let them know it was here. He touched the end of his pen to the paper and his eyes strayed back to the chest.

It felt like someone was calling his name.

"Wasn't this what you wanted?"

"What?!" His head snapped around the room. "Who's there?" But nothing greeted him except the sound of the workers in the warehouse beyond.

Jumping up he flipped open the chest again the grabbed the box, tearing it open. Before him, nestled in a bed of black velvet was a shimmering gold torc [1], its center crusted with five jewels, an amethyst, emerald, sapphire, topaz, and turquoise, all circling a single brilliant diamond.

Surely a gift meant for royalty... but if that were so... why did he feel the irresistible urge to place the band around his own neck.

"It was made for you." The strange voice floated around him. "You have to choose though, between the predictability of this life, or the danger of the other."

A pale woman with flowing fire red hair stepped seemingly out of thin air. "You can have either life Duo, with no effect on the other one."

Duo gaped as her form flowed and shifted, revealing what he could only guess as his own son, a few years down the road. "Whichever world you choose, you will simply cease to exist in the other." The young boy said quietly.

He closed his eyes and the image of those cobalt eyes came back to him. Heero!! Heero had been the one he had been losing his heart too... this wasn't real!

"It can be very real,"

"Solo," Duo whispered. "Not my son, but my childhood friend....." He shook his head violently. "This is all wrong! This isn't where I'm needed!" He cried as he reached up and placed the golden torc around his neck.

The room was filled with a blinding light and he felt a gentle hand take his, "You've made your choice Duo, my old friend. There's no turning back now, regardless of the outcome."

"Solo?" He cried as the hand slipped from his. "Solo!!!!!"

"Duo! Watch out!" Quatre's voice hit his ears at the same time the sword pierced his belly.

"AUGH!" The chestnut haired thief cried out as he sent forth a powerful burst of light, driving his attacker away from him. Pain lanced through his body as he staggered backwards and fell.

Heero lunged forward as he saw Duo literally evaporate the man who'd stabbed him and then start to fall himself. Reaching the thief, he caught him, supporting him with his own body while he called out for Quatre.

Trowa, Milliardo and the two elves surged past him as the healer appeared by his side, his voice calm as he bade Heero to lay Duo on the ground. "What the hell just happened?!?" Heero snapped as he knelt, gently lowering the thief to the dirt.

Quatre didn't hear him as his brows came together in concentration and he placed his hands on the wound in Duo's stomach, willing the bleeding to stop and torn flesh to knit back together.

What had just happened? Heero's eyes flashed angrily as he watched the blonde work on the boy. Quatre had raised a cry a few minutes ago that Duo was gone, just vanished. They had come back down the trail to find the violet eyed boy face to face with one of Relena's soldiers, seeming oblivious to the fact that he was even there.

Heero wasn't sure he'd forget the blank staring look in the thief's eyes when they'd come over the hill and seen him. It was like he was lost in his own mind. He knew he wouldn't forget the sudden lurch in his own chest as he saw the soldier thrust his blade into Duo's body. Why the hell did he feel like that when he saw the other boy wounded?

"Heero," Quatre's voice broke into his thoughts. "Look at this."

He frowned at the tone of wonder in the boy's voice and leaned forward to see what was wrong. Around Duo's neck was a glittering, jewel laden torc. He reached around and checked the back of it, feeling the warmth radiating from the metal under his fingers. "How the hell?" He said rocking back and staring at the healer. "I can't even see how to get if off him."

"I don't think you are supposed to." Quatre replied. "I think our child of light has just passed his own test."

Heero jolted and stared at the boy in amazement. "We never even realized what was going on."

"We weren't meant to, obviously." Quatre answered. "He'll be fine now. His wound is healed and he should wake soon."

A shadow fell over them and Quatre glanced up as Trowa knelt beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Amazing," He said softly. "Somehow, he found it."

"I think, given the unusual ancestry that Duo has, that maybe it found him." Trill said as they gathered around the fallen thief.


Sally opened her eyes slowly, wincing at the pounding ache in her head. What the hell happened? She wondered as she tried to sit up.

"There! Don't move," A gentle voice spoke beside her. "You took quite a blow to the head.

She blinked to focus her vision and gasped as he saw a dark haired woman sitting beside her. Are her ears pointed?! "What? Who?"

"I am Miryle. You are in my village. I'm afraid that my daughter scared your horse and it threw you. You hit your head pretty hard but there seems to be no lasting injury."

Sally frowned as stared at the strange looking woman. "Where am I again?"

"Let me get you some hot soup and I'll try to explain, I'm sure this and I look a little strange to you." Miryle said as she stood.

"You could say that." Sally grumbled as she lay back against the bed.

After the woman had brought her a steaming mug of broth, she listened as Miryle explained who she was and where they were. And then Sally explained to her what had brought her through the mountains in the first place.

"If you are feeling up to it in the morning, my brother will take you to the main village. The elders there may know where the people you look for have gone." Miryle said as she stood taking the mug from Sally's hand. "Until then you should get more rest."

"You're awful trusting for a race that hasn't seen a human in a couple hundred years, aren't you?" Sally pointed out as she lay back down.

Miryle smiled, "I know what has been going on here of recent, the other humans that have shown up. We know that they are the only hope we have of restoring the world to what it should be. It's something we've known since the original warriors were created. Better to help you than fight you."

"I see," Sally's eyes started to drift shut as sleep overtook her again. "I wonder what a world with light would be like?" She murmured softly as she drifted off.

"Wondrous," Miryle replied sadly as she watched the human woman sleeping in her bed. "Simply wondrous."



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