The Blood of Peace
First Movement, the Eleventh Part: A Fugue if you will…
"Are you certain? There is no mistake?"
Relena had to make sure. Surely, there had to be a miscommunication problem somewhere. This news was just too much to bear.
"Yes, Your Majesty. I'm certain. My informant is excellent at uncovering agendas. I am positive that this is the correct information."
Dorothy did look certain. Her light blue eyes were clear, her long blond hair neat and pulled back, her dress starched and crisp. Everything about her, all her words and actions, they spoke in one unified language: she was absolutely certain. And Relena could only despair that the certainty was correct.
"Dorothy, how could it be correct? Why would Oz want to attack us? We're a small country of pacifists! What danger could we possibly pose to them?"
Ever since that morning, when her Spymaster Dorothy Catalonia came with the news that Oz was preparing to invade Sanque, Relena had been at her wit's end. The last war which ended nearly sixteen years ago had almost obliterated the Sanque kingdom. Now that they were finally prosperous, Oz wanted to attack them and demolish everything that Relena and her brother had accomplished. So why? Why Sanque? Why was she worrying about war in the middle of the night in a country filled with pacifists?
"Relena, calm down and think this through. Dorothy did mention that Treize was on a time table."
Milliardo's calming voice did little to settle her down. All she could think was that her people were once again on the verge of annihilation by the powers of war. And as a pacifist, she could not retaliate in kind. What was she to do? Milliardo saw that his sister would not be calmed with words alone. He went up to her and gently shook her by her shoulders.
"Relena, this is not a good time to lose your composure. Now calm yourself or I'll be forced to slap you silly."
That brought Relena out of her near hysteria. Her brother, as much as he loved her, would do such a thing if he thought it was good for her. And she refused to be embarrassed like that in front of her advisors.
"I'm fine, Milli. I'm sorry." She kindly shook of his hands and walked over to the table where the map of Space was drawn. She looked at the three kingdoms upon it and once again wondered why Oz would target Sanque. Her mind was geared for diplomacy and political alliances. She had no idea about wars. Her brother was her General, but their army was basically a civil services unit that acted as police most of the times. Sanque had never prepared for war. Her advisors watched as she outlined the borders of Sanque with her fingertips.
Dorothy was fairly certain that her young queen had no idea what to do in the event of a war. While she admired Relena for her total conviction to pacifism, she doubted that her queen was capable of running a war campaign. Since it looked like there would be a war, Dorothy would have to suggest at some point that Relena abandon her idealism for realism. Tactfully, of course. But anyone who knew Dorothy knew tact was a concept as foreign to her as humility.
Beside Dorothy, Lieutenant Noin looked at Relena with concern. Relena was like her little sister in so many ways, since she and Milliardo had basically raised her after her and his parents died. It made her sad that Relena was suffering, but a ruler of a country could not ask for pity or compassion. Relena had to prove that she was made of sterner stuff than the ordinary person and commit herself to defending her people and kingdom from Oz. But that meant that Relena had to give up everything she held dear. Unless…
While her two most trusted advisors Dorothy and Noin contemplated possible alternatives, Relena came to a decision. She had to be strong. A ruler could not crumble in the face of sudden adversity, and she would protect her people. Her decision would not please anyone in this room, but it would save her kingdom and preserve her ideals of pacifism.
"Milli, Noin, Dorothy, I have come to a decision. I will require your supports in this matter, even if you do not agree with me."
All three nodded their heads without hesitation. Whatever Relena decided, they would make sure that it was fulfilled. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, Relena laid down the law.
"Milliardo, I will need to you to go to Oz as a peace emissary and try to convince Treize that a war cannot be in anyone's best interest. I need you to leave as soon as you can."
Milliardo looked at his sister. She was very determined on this course of action. And he would not disappoint.
"Of course, Relena. I will leave as soon as I'm done packing. I will need to take the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He knows more about Oz than I do and I will need his advice while I'm there."
"Yes, please do, Milli. I will write out a command to Minister Darlian that he is to accompany you to Oz. Please, don't be there for too long. If there has to be a war for some reason, I will need you here."
Milliardo saw his sister's eyes pool with tears and decided to prevent them. It would not do to have the queen weep at this point in time.
"I will come back before the three months deadline. Don't worry Relena. I have never failed you in anything, have I?"
And with those parting words, Milliardo Peacecraft left the room to pack and to give Treize Kushrenada hell.
When the door clicked shut, Relena turned to Dorothy and commanded her to continue her probing into this matter. If Oz wanted Sanque, she would make sure that she knew all their weaknesses before Oz knew of theirs. She wondered how effective that was since Oz had the biggest army on the continent and she had nothing of the sort. But she had to do something! And Dorothy must have agreed with her because she only nodded in assent before she left the room. If Dorothy had not agreed with this part of her plan or anything else, she would have been extremely vocal about it before agreeing to it. So, that was two, and only one more part was left.
"Noin, I need you to take a letter to Earthian."
That puzzled Noin. Carrier hawks were faster than horses, especially since the road to Earthian was through some treacherous paths in the mountains. Her puzzlement must have shown because Relena clarified further.
"I realize there are faster methods for sending letters, Noin. But I need you to personally deliver this letter to King Odin and prince Heero. And I need you to stay there as long as you need to convince them."
Finally, Noin had to speak. Relena was speaking in riddles, it seemed.
"Relena, what am I supposed to convince them of?"
"To defend Sanque and Earthian from Oz. I need Earthian to be the army. I have to ask them to spill their blood in the defense of mine. May the gods forgive me."
To the west, in a small room in the West Tower in Earthian, Duo lay on top of Heero with a deadly weapon between their bodies. They were not thinking about war or Relena or the gods. They were too absorbed with each other to notice that there were other things in the world besides them. Heero laid still, staring into Duo's eyes and feeling the body on top of his. He felt Duo's braid resting on his left arm, he smelled the light sweat and musk of Duo's body, he felt the vibrations from the thumping of Duo's heart. And he also felt the coldness which was still lying against his neck.
"Duo, how long are you going to try to slit my throat?"
That seemed to have startled Duo because he suddenly got up and sat on his bed. Heero, smothering the disappointment caused by Duo's sudden departure, raised himself onto his elbows and looked at the beautiful boy he had fallen in love with. He was more beautiful than when they had met, and he captivated him completely. And now, Heero was finally at peace with his feelings. After the confusion, denial and suffering passed through, there was only love left in his heart. All for Duo, from Duo, of Duo. Then Heero realized that Duo hadn't said anything and it made him feel uneasy.
Duo just sat on his bed trying to get his heart rate down to a normal pace. He had felt so much in such little time that he was reeling in sensations. Eyes wide and lips slightly parted, he breathed and counted backwards to get his hormones and emotions back to controllable levels. It was very, very hard with Heero staring at him with that look in his eyes. They had to settle this somehow. Duo licked his lips and decided to speak. After all, that was what he did best.
"Hey, Heero, sorry about that. Didn't mean to try to kill you or anything, you just caught me by total surprise which is amazing in itself since no one has ever been able to do that and boy, you just snuck up on me and that's pretty good, but I still had you there and you were-"
Heero cut off Duo's nervous flow of words with a chuckle. Duo sat there blinking at him. Then he started to laugh with Heero. 'Shit,' thought Duo, 'I must have sounded more idiotic than usual.'
"So, Duo, what are you doing up at this hour?"
Duo stopped his laughing and looked at Heero. What was he supposed to tell him, that he was up every night at this hour thinking about him?
"Well, uh, you know, Heero, it's a pretty night. Sometimes you just have to enjoy nights like this. So I was. Enjoying the night, I mean."
Silence fell upon them like a heavy blanket. It was slightly uncomfortable but familiar. Whenever Heero and Duo found themselves alone, they tended to have these lapses of vocal communication. Tonight was no different. Neither boy knew where or how to begin to say anything. They had no planned words, just feelings that seemed to flow between them in an overwhelming swell. So they looked at each other and let the emotions vibrate in the space between them.
Quatre woke up suddenly to find himself surrounded by curious feelings. He then became conscious of what these feelings were. Love, desire, passion, caring, lust, joy, contentment. They were all rolled into one massive feeling and pulsating like a living thing.
He stretched his mind to see where these intense feelings were coming from and felt its source in the room next to his. Duo's room. Quatre frowned and thought 'I swear, if Duo is having one of THOSE dreams again and waking me up with his dream feelings, I'm going to kick him in the shins.' Then he realized that there were TWO people in Duo's room. One was Duo, and the other was Heero. Heero? In Duo's room? In the middle of the night? With these emotions running rampant between them? What the hell were they doing in there? When an answer hit him, Quatre blushed at the thought. Could they be doing THAT in the room right now?
One thought led to another and Quatre found all the blood supply in his body in one place – his face (AN: I know what you are thinking!). If he blushed any harder, he was in danger of losing consciousness from the lack of blood to the brain. Therefore, the logical conclusion was that he had to get away from his room before anything permanent happened to him. But where could he go in the middle of the night? WuFei's room was the furthest from Duo's room, but Quatre doubted that WuFei would take it well if he burst into his room right now. Trowa was a possibility, but with these feelings stirring him up as well as those two next door, that could lead to something entirely too much. Quatre felt trapped. Then the feelings next door intensified and Quatre just couldn't take it. He fled. WuFei's ranting was better than this!
Whatever Quatre thought Duo and Heero were doing was not exactly the scene in Duo's room. They were still staring at each other across the room, neither having moved a single muscle. But as always, the silence wore on Duo and he had to make some noise.
"So, Heero, are you going to lie there all night?"
"Maybe. I haven't thought about it."
Pause. More silence. Then.
"Duo, where did you put Deathscythe? I saw it, didn't I?"
Damn, that's right. Heero had seen his weapon, something only the dead saw. That gave Duo a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Heero had seen something that no one living had a right to see. He had to make light of this situation somehow.
"Nah, Heero, you think I'd threaten someone with Deathscythe? I only use that when I mean to kill."
There was a flaw in his logic which Heero latched onto like a dog on a bone.
"You meant to kill me before you recognized me, Duo. I saw it in your eyes. So, tell me the truth. You said you never lie."
Even before Heero stopped speaking, Duo felt the doors to the trap shut, a trap which his mouth had made. Had Heero not distracted him by being there, Duo would have come up with an airtight story even an ant could not squeeze out of. But it was too late now.
"So I don't lie. But that's really beside the point. I told you Heero, only the dead see Deathscythe. So, by logic, which is your forte and sometime god, you did not see Deathscythe."
Duo was really proud of that one. Although logic was more Heero's domain than his, he figured that Heero would have to work hard to get around his point. Boy, sometimes he was so good that it was unbelievable. Duo's self congratulations and gloating came to an abrupt end when Heero up the ante.
"Logic be damned, Duo. Tell me why you won't show it to any of us. Tell me the reason behind your reasons. Tell me something about yourself, goddamn it."
The words were harmless enough, but the tone was frustrated, longing and pleading. The combination was entirely too much for Duo since Heero never, ever used any voice but the commander and the soldier. Heero had never used such naked emotional tone before.
"Heero, why the fuck do you want to know anyway? Remember the rule? We only tell each other what we want to? We don't force each other to tell things? Remember?"
Yeah, I remember. But.
"I want to know anyway, Duo. In three months, I know less about you than any of the others and you talk the most. I don't want to hear empty words from you anymore. Tell me, Duo. Anything. Just tell me."
"Is that why you came here tonight, Heero? To pry some info out of me? Well, maybe you should've sent Trowa! He's the goddamn infiltrator and spy, isn't he?"
Frustrated and angry, Heero stood up from the floor and walked over to Duo. He grabbed Duo by his arms and looked into his eyes. Duo nearly flinched at the intensity.
"Stop it. Just stop it. Why are you so defensive about who you are? I just want to know you Duo. I want to know the person who is in love with me."
The words shook Duo to the core. He had guessed that Heero knew about his love, but to hear him say it was unexpected. But he was no coward. He would throw the words back into Heero's face.
"Yeah, fine. So I am in love with you. But no more than you are in love with me."
Duo had not expected the admission. He had not thought Heero would admit it so readily, without regret or thought. All the fight drained out of Duo and he slumped into Heero, his head resting against Heero's chest.
"It's okay, Duo. We've been in love with each other for some time now, right? And finally, we seem to be at peace with it. Right?"
Heero forced the desperation out of his voice. He hadn't really been too sure that Duo was in love with him, but he had taken a gamble. And it paid off, just not in the way he had expected. They were in love. Now what were they to do?
"Heero, you're thinking too hard. I can feel you tense up, so stop thinking. Just stop thinking for a while."
Duo's tone was uncharacteristically quiet and somber. So Heero did what Duo asked and made his brain stop in its tracks. Then he moved his arms around Duo and held him for a while. It was the first time that they had done anything but look at each other. It felt wondrous and sad at the same time for the both of them. Slowly, Duo raised his head and moved slightly out of Heero's arms to look into his eyes. They were flashing in myriad of colors, swirling like a thousand stars on the water. And Duo started to tell a story.
"Only the dead see Deathscythe because only Shinigami can wield its power. I am Shinigami when I kill. I don't ever want to be Shinigami to you, Heero. I don't want you to see the God of Death – it is a face I wear only for my enemies. One cannot see Deathscythe without Shinigami and vice versa. So, I never want to show you or the others Deathscythe. Seeing it would mean your death. By my hands, by Shinigami's hands, whatever. I'm sorry you saw the face of Shinigami and its power tonight, Heero. You glimpsed death in its purest form, you saw it as I see it for a moment. And you are alive. You may not have a second chance."
Duo's reasoning reverberated in Heero's head. He spoke in metaphors, in half hidden riddles and puzzles. But somehow, Heero understood. Deathscythe was intensely personal and extremely integral to the person Duo was. Maybe that was all he needed to know for now. Heero looked down at Duo and tightened his hold around him. There were still more questions than answers, but it didn't matter. As the moon waxed and waned in the sky, Heero and Duo drew closer together until there was no space between their lips. And they kissed, quietly, softly, tenderly. During this moment, the prince and the assassin finally realized with every particle of their bodies, that they were one in heart and soul. And so, without regret or remorse, they continued to kiss and hold each other, not caring that the morning was coming.