Born in Chaos Part 5
Quatre walked slowly down the stone stairs leading to the cells underneath the castle, his sapphire eyes scanning the shadows around him. They had followed the Queen's guardsman far enough to see that he was escorting the other young boy to the cells under the building.
After speaking to Relena, Milliardo had instructed the young blonde to speak to the boy held in the cell and he would talk to her guard. So, here he was... these places, seething in their darkness, always made Quatre uncomfortable. He sought sources of light as much as he could.
Suppressing a shudder, he approached the small room containing the chestnut-haired boy. As he stopped in front of the iron bars, Duo looked up at him.
"You don't look much like a jailor." He quipped
"Excuse me?" Quatre replied, a bit startled.
The other boy gestured at his robe. "You look like a mage, not a jailor."
Quatre bowed his head slightly. "I study the arts, yes."
Duo jumped to his feet. "I'll tell you right now... you'll have a fight on your hands! I may not have anyone, but that doesn't give anyone the right to use me as practice!" His violet-eyes flashed dangerously. "And somehow, I can't see the Queen agreeing to something like this, it's not her way."
Quatre studied the boy carefully, not at all surprised at his reaction. It was well known that those who studied dark arts, like to pick young people off the street, to use in their experiments. The boy had every right to be cautious.
He appeared to Quatre to be healthy, despite his dubious lifestyle. He had managed not to fall into the state a lot of the homeless did... selling their bodies to earn enough coins to buy a few crusts of bread, barely staying ahead of disease and starvation.
"Do I truly appear to be a dark mage to you?" Quatre asked with a gentle smile.
"Appearances can be deceiving."
Quatre nodded in understanding and lifted his hand, holding it palm up. He closed eyes and murmured a few words. Within a few seconds his hand began to glow softly, casting a white light throughout the dark room. As the far corners lit up, the blonde heard a scuffling sound and realized that the shadows had been observing one of them.
Fortunately for them, no minor creature of the dark could stand the presence of pure light.
Duo's eyes widened as he watched Quatre move his hand to the side and the glow stayed where it had been, no longer connected to the boy, but illuminating the entire dungeon. "I guess you aren't a dark mage. Not a one of them could command that much light."
"You are right." Quatre replied.
"So... why are you here?"
The blonde smiled and sat on the floor in front of the cell. "Tell me, are you wearing an amber pendant beneath your shirt?"
Milliardo, on the other hand, had run into a solid wall of refusal. Heero flat ignored anything that the man had to say to him. He was the Queen's personal guard, he was not going to go running off on any ridiculous journeys, chasing rumors.
Finally, Relena called both of them before her and requested that he undertake this task as a representative of the crown. Heero had crossed his arms, cobalt eyes flashing, and reluctantly agreed, pointing out that he felt this was a waste of time.
They left her chambers and before going to gather his things for the journey, Heero turned to Milliardo. "My first duty is to protect her... if at anytime I think that she is in danger, I will abandon this foolish quest or yours and return here."
"Tell me, Yuy. Who set you to this duty?" Milliardo asked quietly.
Heero glared at him.
"I thought so." Milliardo turned away. "She's my sister... don't you think I want to see her safe? The trials that she's going to face, none of us can protect her from. And I can tell you that she's not the female that you were born to help."
"We'll see." Heero replied as he walked away.
Milliardo raised his head to see his young pupil walking towards him, the chestnut haired boy following close behind. "Ah, Quatre. I see you were successful."
Duo looked the taller man over. "I don't know if I actually believe any of this, but what the hell... it gets me out of this town."
"I guess it's a start." The platinum haired man answered. "I have our other reluctant companion gathering his things."
"Then we leave soon." Quatre said.
"Yes. Why don't you take this one into town and purchase him some clothes and whatever else he needs."
"I don't need anything from you!" Duo protested.
Quatre turned to him, laying a hand on his shoulder. "We are going to be heading north... we're not sure how far. You are going to at least need some warmer things."
"I'll get them myself."
"No." Milliardo spoke sharply. "From this point forward, while you are in our company, you will stop stealing. The things you require will be provided for you."
"Duo." Quatre said gently.
His violet eyes met Quatre's calm sapphire ones and he sighed in defeat. "Alright."
About an hour later, the group was assembled by the outer gates. Relena moved from one to the other, speaking softly to each one... offering encouragement and her prayers. After talking to her brother, she turned to Heero, who kept his mount away from the rest of the group.
"Heero." She stopped by him, laying a hand on his leg. "I know you don't agree to going on this and I know you are even angrier about the thief. Please... try to understand. He bears the symbol... he has to go."
He glared at her silently.
"Be careful, Heero, and come back to me soon." She whispered quietly before turning away.
Heero frowned at her words... she wouldn't give up her foolish infatuation. Maybe his being away from the castle would maker her realize that it was completely inappropriate.
"Well... this is a sudden turn, isn't it?" Duo said cheerfully, guiding his horse over to the grim boy.
Heero turned his cobalt eyes on the other youth. "Just because I'm going, doesn't mean I intend to be friendly with you. I prefer not to associate with people such as you." He said coldly.
Duo watched him ride off with the others. "Ouch. That's a little harsh, even to a thief." He murmured as he urged his mount forward.
They weren't very far from the city when Quatre reigned in his horse and looked around him.
"What is it?" His teacher asked, turning him mount around and riding back to him.
"Someone is trying to catch up to us." The blonde answered the older man. "It feels like another, except..."
"I don't know. Something just doesn't feel right." Quatre replied as a figure on horseback appeared, racing across the distance between them.
The four waited until he reached them, reigning in his mount. "I am Wufei Chang." The black-haired boy told them. "I'm here to join you."
"For what reason?" Milliardo asked.
The boy reached beneath the neck of his shirt and withdrew a pendant of amber, drawing a startled gasp from Quatre. The amber was dulled... lifeless, unlike the rich orange glow that the rest of them carried, and it contained no symbol. Quatre's sense kept telling him that he was indeed one of the five though.
Milliardo flashed him a look that said he saw also and to just let it be for right now. "You are welcome among us, young traveler." He said in his low voice. "That means that we only have one more to find."
"It seems that we are all drawn to each other." Quatre spoke up. "We should be able to locate the fifth on our travels."
Milliardo didn't respond as they started moving again. Four of the five... plus myself, but why is his pendant different? It's almost as if it's been shrouded in shadows.
When they finally decided to stop for the night at the edge of a dense forest, Duo wasn't too sure he'd be able to peel himself from the saddle. "This wasn't the best idea for someone not used to riding." He grumbled after he'd managed to dismount and stood there, rubbing his behind.
Quatre chuckled. "You'll adjust soon enough."
Heero just snorted as he led his horse past them.
"Quatre, would you see if you could gather some wood for a fire?" Milliardo said as Wufei and he started to pull the packs off their horses. "Duo, there's a river just over that hill," The platinum haired man pointed off to the left of them. "Take a couple skins and get some water. The rest of us will settle the horses and set up camp."
Duo nodded and grabbed the skins, heading towards the river and Quatre walked into the nearby woods to gather wood to start a fire with. He returned quickly with an armload of smaller branches and told Milliardo that he was going to see if he could find some bigger stuff to burn over the night.
His teacher nodded and handed him a large bag that could be filled and dragged along the ground. "You can make less trips this way."
Quatre smiled and disappeared into the woods again. He had wandered a fair distance from the camp, in his gathering, when he heard the sounds of fighting nearby. Setting his load aside, he moved towards the sounds... suddenly struck with a sense of who would be there. The last warrior...
He broke into a small clearing, dagger in hand, to see a young, brown haired boy, surrounded by four wraiths, beings who had given themselves to the dark and were now nothing but living shadows. Deadly and hard to destroy.
As he swung his sword in an arc through the air, Quatre caught sight of a piece of amber, glowing brilliantly in the dimness. He sheathed his own dagger... weapons of metal wouldn't help against the creatures.
Stepping forward, the blonde held his hands, palms out towards the creatures, calling on the light. A bright glow filled the clearing and within the white brilliance, he could hear the agonized cries of the beings. He could drive them away, but only one with the natural power of light could destroy them... he'd have to settle for scaring them off.
Trowa lowered his hand, that he'd been shielding his eyes with, as the light started to fade around him. As his vision cleared, he saw a young boy standing at the edge of the forest, the residual effects of his spell making his slim form glow softly.
"Are you alright?" Quatre asked, his voice falling like music on Trowa's ears.
The tall boy nodded silently, ignoring the weakness in his body. "Who are you?" He asked.
"You already know who I am." The blonde answered as he came to stop in front of Trowa, his sapphire eyes peering into eyes of leaf green.
"I do?" Trowa murmured as his legs gave out.
Quatre jumped forward, catching the boy and gently lowered him to the ground. Kneeling beside him, his eyes swept over his form... slender and perfectly muscled, a shock of brunette hair fell forward, concealing half of his face, but not hiding the strong, well-defined features.
The healer found a long gash along the boy's side, not bleeding, but emitting a terrifying cold. A wound caused by the sharp claws of a wraith. If not treated, he'd either die or become a creature such as those, very quickly.
Wasting no time, Quatre removed his shirt, laying him back down among the needles carpeting the forest floor. "I'm sorry." He whispered as he closed his eyes and lay his hands over the wound, gasping as the chill struck him to his soul.
A warm golden glow started at the blonde's hands and slowly crept over both of their bodies, Quatre's gentle features contorting into an expression of pain as he closed the wound and set about removing the taint of the shadow's servants from the boy's blood.
The effects of the wound had moved very quickly and the healer sensed the retreat of the other boy's spirit. Struggling to breathe, he opened his mind and explored Trowa's memories.
"Trowa..." He cried softly in his head. "You must come back... there is so much left to do and so much here for you, child of the light."
Within his trance, he could see the dim form of Trowa's spirit. Holding out his hand, he smiled gently. "Come, Trowa."
The boy raised his head, his sad eyes meeting Quatre's. He wrapped his arms around himself, shivering violently. "It's... so... cold...."
"I know, but I have warmth and light enough for both of us. You have nothing to fear. Return to yourself." Quatre's melodious voice soothed over him.
The boy's spirit hesitated and then slowly reached out, his fingers entwining with Quatre's. As Quatre pulled him back, the blonde's body cried out as he was assailed with the pain and despair of Trowa's memories.
In the physical world, the healing light began to fade as Trowa's eyes started to slide open. Quatre snapped his head up, his blue eyes anguished. "So much pain..." He whispered as he broke contact and was thrown backwards onto the ground.
Wufei and Heero broke into the clearing to see Trowa cradling an unconscious Quatre in his arms. He looked up at them as they approached, weapons drawn.
"What have you done to him?" Wufei demanded.
"He healed me..." Trowa said in a quiet, bewildered voice.
Milliardo entered the clearing and seeing the scene, stepped forward. "Bring him to the camp... he's exhausted himself." He looked to Heero and Wufei. "It's alright, look."
He gestured to the amber pendant that Trowa wore, as the boy stood and then lifted Quatre in his arms, cradling him gently against his chest. The put their weapons away and Heero stepped forward the take the blonde from him.
"No." Trowa said flatly. "I'll carry him."
Heero nodded and stepped back, letting the green-eyed boy carry the healer past them to follow Milliardo back to the camp. As they walked, Milliardo looked sideways at the quiet boy. "What happened?"
"Were you wounded by them?"
Trowa nodded. "He's more than just exhausted, isn't he?"
"Yes, but he will be alright, for the most part. Do you have a name?"
"Well then, Trowa Barton, welcome to our group."
"What makes you think I'm going to join you?" The brunette asked as they came out of the woods.
"You will." Milliardo replied. "He's not given you much choice in the matter."
They lay Quatre on the pallet, that had been made for him, pulling a blanket over him. Milliardo instructed Duo to keep him warm and then led Trowa away from the others.
"Do you know what you are?" He asked.
"I didn't, but somehow I do now. I don't know how though."
Milliardo sat on a fallen tree and studied the boy. "A wound from a wraith is very hard to heal." He began as Trowa sat beside him. "Even for a born healer, like Quatre, it's dangerous. As soon as you lose consciousness, your spirit retreats... attempting to flee the wounded body and the bitter cold that comes with the wound. Once the physical body is healed, the healer must then open himself up to call back the spirit... or the victim would be a empty shell. Alive but trapped in between living and death."
He brushed a strand of long, platinum hair from his face. "It's difficult and very dangerous for both the victim and the healer. He could have ended up trapped there... you both could have died. Most times, a healer won't try it... it's just too risky. The thing is, in the process, you absorbed some of his memories. Mainly his knowledge of what your pendant meant."
"No... you don't. He more than likely experienced all of yours."
Trowa started and looked at the man. "He knows..."
"Everything about you. At least on an emotional level, not solid memories... but feelings... emotions. That could make it hard for both of you. Every time he touches you... he'll feel those emotions again... it's like an open channel."
"We'll work it out. I can't really see any reason for him to touch me again."
"Then you will join us?"
Trowa glanced to where Duo was tending the young healer. "Yeah."
He was intrigued.... he wanted to know more about the gentle, blonde that has helped him, at the risk of his own life.
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