6-9-2001

9-5-2001 (revised)

TITLE: Its a Kinda Magic
PART: Chapter Three
AUTHOR: AJ from NZ
E-MAIL: firemooncatblue@hotmail.com
ARCHIVES:
Liz http://www.geocities.com/liz_shinigami/ajfromnz.htm
Shinigami’s Demon http://www.geocities.com/shinigami_demon/archives.html
Celestial Chronicles http://celestialchronicles.50megs.com/
DHML http://kikotei_dhml.tripod.com

GENRE: fantasy, AU
RATING: PG
PAIRINGS: 1x2, 3+4, 5x Sally & Meiran, Cathy & Hilde,
WARNINGS: OOC, angst, villianous parents & double dealing Duos
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own GundamWing and am using the characters from that anime series without permission - all other characters and locations are the intellectual copyright of this author.
AUTHOR’S NOTES:

Special Thanks To: Liz, Tenshi-chan, Deborah, Hana-chan, Misuzu, ld, Stormy, Christie, Ashkara and Walking Terror for their continuing support.

===========================================

CHAPTER THREE

 

It was several hours before Quatre regained consciousness. For a moment he stared up at the ceiling, not knowing where he was or why he was there. A familiar pair of green eyes entered his gaze and he managed a feeble smile. “Trowa? Where am I?”

“You’re in my room.” The Semahti youth smiled back. “Sal thought it best that I stay with you here while she and the others stay with Duo in your room.”

“How’s he?”

“Unconscious.” Trowa answered tersely. “The Academy healers had a look at the pair of you and said that while you were merely,” he sniffed disparagingly, “overtired, Duo had suffered from severe blood loss, thanks to that bitch!”

“He’s going to be all right though, isn’t he?” Quatre tried to get up but was restrained by a well-placed hand, and a shake of Trowa’s head.

“Don’t try moving… not until we’ve had one of the healers, or Sally, look you over. You getting ill won’t help anyone.” Trowa relented somewhat when he saw the anxious look in Quatre’s pale eyes. “They think he’ll wake up some time this evening or tomorrow morning. Heero’s sitting vigil with him – hell! Heero hasn’t budged an inch from Duo’s side since the fracas this morning.”

“You’re dodging the question,” noted Quatre astutely. “Is Duo all right?”

Trowa managed a small smile, despite his own anxiety. “You really are related to Duo… neither of you miss a trick. The healers are worried about the amount of blood he lost, and the side effects of the spell that Relena hit him with. Duo doesn’t react well to some spells… healing ones especially if they’ve been corrupted are liable to mess him up rather a lot.”

“What about her?” Quatre frowned. “What’s be done to her and her cronies?”

A frown crossed Trowa’s face. “Nothing.”

“NOTHING!” Quatre nearly levitated off the bed in his anger. “They’re just gonna get away with what they did?”

“Influence buys a lot of tolerance I’ve found,” remarked Wufei from the doorway. “And you don’t get more influential than Relena’s family. They buy off any trouble she gets into. In fact they’ve lodged a complaint about what you did – reversing the non-healing spell.”

“WHAT?!” Trowa’s voice joined Quatre’s in an indignant squawk. “How can they?”

Wufei sighed, the signs of his own fury kept under very poor control. “Quite easily unfortunately. You did know that they are a minor branch of the royal family?”

“Really?” Trowa shook his head in denial. “She doesn’t act it.”

“Actually I find that only too easy to believe,” murmured Quatre. “My family’s royalty… and they all act like spoilt children when it comes to getting their own way. Always the big I am…” he sighed.

“What does Arch-mage Mathias say?” queried Trowa. “Surely he’ll support Duo?”

“Why? He never has before,” Wufei spat bitterly. “As far as he’s concerned Duo deserved everything that happened to him for, and I quote the man himself, ‘provoking the Princess beyond the bonds of patience’.”

Quatre clenched his fists; not believing that Mathias could be so pig-headed. “I thought he was different from my father but he’s just the same!”

“Bastard!” Trowa looked ready to hit something, then he turned slowly, a look of dawning consternation upon his face. “What does Heero think of this?”

“I haven’t told him yet,” admitted Wufei.

“Why not?”

“Would you like to be the one to tell Heero that? You know how he’ll react.” Wufei clenched his fists, trying to control his temper. “I only just heard it myself – Mathias called me into his office to explain the... er… reasons behind his son’s cowardly attack on the Princess Relena.” He drew in a deep breath, hoping to calm himself somewhat; the interview had not been easy. “As far as he is concerned Duo is to blame and shall be punished accordingly, as will we as his accomplices.”

The air in the room crackled with tension as his listeners took in the completely unfair decree. While Quatre was angry pure and simple, the other two were both furious and apprehensive – Heero’s reaction to the news wasn’t going be pleasant to see, especially if Duo, the only person who could calm him down, was unconscious.

“This is gonna be messy,” remarked Trowa after a few minutes silence. “If you feel up to moving Quatre, we’ll go and see Duo… and work out what in we’re gonna do about this.”

At Quatre’s emphatic nod the other two helped him across the hallway to the other room. Before he’d even entered the room he could feel the tension within. “Um… I hate to say it, but I think Heero’s found out somehow… he feels like he’s about to explode.” The anger he was picking up was making Quatre nauseous.

“Oh tutai.” Trowa swore. “How did he find out?”

“I think I know,” groused Wufei pointing at the figure that emerged from the doorway. “Trieze! What are you doing here?”

The smirk that crossed the older boy’s face made the three friends want to hit him. “I just thought someone ought to inform you heathens about your punishment for your unprovoked attack on us this morning. Heero seemed rather… peeved.” He turned on his heel and pushed his way past, smirking broadly. “Enjoy your punishment!”

“I swear I’m gonna kill him one day!” Wufei glared after the departing youth, murder in his eyes.

“Later,” cautioned Trowa. “We’ve got to deal with Heero. That’s gonna take all our strength, especially if Duo’s not recovered.”

“True.” Wufei grunted then, squared his shoulders and pushed the door open, the other two following him apprehensively.

The sight that greeted them was in no way reassuring. Heero was stalking to and fro across the room, pausing every now and then to swear under his breath and look at the still figure that lay unheeding on the bed. On either side of Duo sat Sally and Meiran, anxiously splitting their attention between him and Heero.

Quatre keep his eyes fixed on his cousin’s still form as he made his shaky way to the bed. “Has he woken yet?” he asked Sal softly.

“No,” she replied, glancing once again at the pacing Heero. “I wish he would… only he is capable of calming Heero down… when he’s in this kind of mood.”

“Not that I blame him,” snarled Mei, her delicate face creasing in an expression of pure hatred. “That bitch Relena… she’s been out to get Duo since he turned her down… and of course his idiot father prefers currying favour with the nobs than bothering about his own son.”

Quatre snorted. “He’s just like my father. I actually thought he was different…” he shook his blonde head sadly. “But he’s just the same.”

Sal nodded absently, watching Duo beginning to whimper. “Heero! Get your arse over here! He’s waking!”

Heero stopped his angry pacing and raced across to the bed. “Are you sure-”he began before seeing for himself that Duo was definitely rousing from his stupor. “Duo, come to me my aroha… wake to me… I need you Duo!” he entreated.

“Heero…?” Duo’s eyes fluttered open and then shut again, as if the effort had been too much for him.

“Yes my aroha, I’m here.” Heero took one of Duo’s limp hands in his, cradling it to his chest. “I’m here and I’m not going to leave. Not for anyone… not even your father.” The last came out in a venomous tone.

Duo frowned as he opened his eyes again. “My father? Wha…what's he done now?”

Heero winced, wishing Mathias to the furthest hell. “He’s blaming us for what happened this morning.”

“Huh?” For a moment Duo didn’t understand, then realisation dawned. “Ah… Relena again wins the round.” He struggled up from the pillows only to be stopped by gentle hands.

“Wait a moment Duo,” cautioned Sally. “Just keep flat for now.” She gently pushed him flat again. “I’m gonna get the healers in here again to check you over.”

Before she could rise to her feet a sharp rap at the door startled the little group gathered around Duo’s bed. As they looked up in confusion Mathias appeared in the doorway flanked by a couple of the Academy proctors.

Duo turned his head to see what had startled his friends. Seeing his father he rolled his eyes. “Hello father. Come to see the wounded have you?”

“No,” replied Mathias coldly. “I’ve come to oversee the proctors remove you to the cells for your confinement.”

“Confinement?” asked Heero in a dangerously quiet voice. “Why? He’s injured, or can’t you see that?”

“His injuries are his own fault for constantly provoking the other students, and none of my concern.” Mathias snapped, his expression closed. “I can no longer stand by and watch as he constantly misbehaves and drags the reputation of this Academy into the mud. He must take responsibility for his actions and cease hiding behind his friends. If he’s willing to break the rules he must be willing to suffer the consequences.”

“How can you say that?” fumed Heero, after several seconds of stunned silence. “He’s your son for the gods’ sake! Don’t you have any family feeling for him?”

“Heero…” murmured Duo, struggling to make himself heard. “Don’t get yourself in trouble because of me… Father has to maintain his distance in situations like this… or his patronage from the royal family will cease, and he will no longer be a loyal royal lapdog. Will you Father dear?” he mocked.

Ignoring his son’s mocking and Heero’s anger, Mathias summoned the proctors closer. “Take him to the cells. Lock the door behind him then return here and remove all and I mean all of his belongings. He is to have no contact with any of the students in this room. In fact he is to have no contact with any one for the duration of his punishment.”

Despite their own curiosity as to what had forced the Arch-mage to act like this to his own son, the proctors obeyed and lifted Duo from the bed. When his friends tried to interfere they hesitated.

“Do it!” snapped Mathias, his mask of indifference cracking a little. “If any one here interferes they will be dismissed from this Academy after first having their magic removed.”

At this pronouncement all eyes turned incredulously to Mathias. To have their magic removed was the worst form of punishment that a mage could suffer… more often than not it would drive the mage mad. It was usually used only as a measure of last resort.To have it thus threatened now was enough to make even Heero subside momentarily.

Duo glared angrily at his father. “You wouldn’t!”

“Try me!” Mathias was in no mood for any more bantering. “Bring him along and now!” He motioned for the proctors to move, and silently watched them carry his injured and extremely angry son out of the room before turning to the remaining six students. “I will not stand for any more nonsense – from any of you! You have all been warned, and from now on will be kept under close scrutiny. Any further infractions will see not only the miscreant but each and everyone of you punished.”

With that he turned on his heel and left the room. Behind him the six students exchanged looks of shock, anger and confusion. Mathias was known to be strict, especially towards his son but this was totally over the top, even for him… what was going on?

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Duo struggled in the proctors’ grasp. “Let go of me!” he howled, kicking out. No way was he going passively to this unfair punishment. When his struggles had no effect he decided on another course of action.

“AHHHHHH!” screamed one of the proctors suddenly. “The little bastard bit me!”

“Bite him back,” suggested Mathias’ cold voice from behind him. “Can’t you control a skinny brat like that?”

The cold contempt in the Arch-mages’ voice stung the proctor. “He’s your brat, you bite him!”

Despite his predicament Duo sniggered, earning himself black looks from all three men. Taking advantage of the lapse of attention he again tried to break free of the proctors’ grip. “Let go of me you morons!”

“Oh for the sake of the martyrs,” snarled Mathias exasperated beyond limit. He rapped Duo smartly over the head with the ceremonial staff he’d snatched off the bitten proctor. As his son lapsed momentarily into unconsciousness, he glared at the two men. “That’s how you take care of someone like that!”

“Y’s’r,” mumbled the two men, privately appalled at the Arch-mages callous behaviour. The boy was his son – didn’t he have any family feeling? They didn’t dare voice their complaints aloud – they didn’t want to lose their jobs.

In an uneasy silence the small group continued their short journey to the confinement cells. The cells were only rarely used… mostly as drying out cells for senior students who’d indulged a little too much in the amber fluid during one of their free evenings. It was rare that the Academy had need to use them in any other fashion.

In an atmosphere of painful silence the proctors drew to a halt outside of the nearest cell. Duo dangled limply between them, face pale and breathing laboured. His father barely spared him a glance as he unlocked the heavy door. “Toss him in there.”

“But sir,” ventured the unbitten proctor, “there’s nothing for him to lie upon and he’s sick.”

“So?” Mathias’ face was a cold mask. “He caused his own injury and now he must pay the price. He will not be favoured just because he is my son. Accidents of birth have no standing in the manner which I treat students in this Academy.” He gestured impatiently.

“As you wish,” muttered both proctors. Neither man was particularly happy with this situation. Duo was popular with a lot of the staff, and despite the fight he’d put up, both men thought that he’d been treated unfairly. They laid him down on the cell’s floor with surprising gentleness. “Shall we get him a blanket?”

“A blanket? This is punishment, not a holiday!” scoffed the Arch-mage. “He’ll have to suffer the cold. You are dismissed. Go!”

Both men quickly took themselves off; neither wanted to remain anywhere near the seemingly insane mage.

After watching the proctors till they were out of sight Mathias turned back to the open cell. His son, pale and ill, lay silent and still in the centre of the cell, his long hair escaping from this braid. Rubbing a hand against his tired head Mathias sighed. “Why must you always be such trouble Duo? Why couldn’t you behave?”

He moved to his son’s side and quickly fastened a heavy bracelet around on thin wrist. “That’ll control you, I only wish I needn’t do this.” With another sigh Mathias closed and locked the cell door. Without a backward glance he strode towards his rooms and the unwelcome silver-eyed guest therein.

He never noticed a stirring in the shadows outside the cell as a long-haired figure emerged from his hiding place and stared silently after him. “Father, why did you do that?” Duo shrugged, and stealthily made his way back to his rooms.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Fei shook his head, trying to deny the truth of what had happened. He knew Mathias was often annoyed with Duo but he’d never thought the Arch-mage would go this far. In fact he could have sworn that Mathias wouldn’t be the sort… something felt off about the entire business. Even Relena’s family wouldn’t demand this kind of retaliation. He frowned, something nagging at him.

“We’ve got to do something!” Sal cried, echoed by her sister. “Duo’s in no fit state to be moved… surely that man could see that? What's with him?”

“With him… him…” Wufei continued to frown.

“We don’t need an echo around here Wufei,” snarled Heero, his fear for his lover making him shorter tempered than usual. “If you can’t say something worth while why don’t you just shut up!”

Trowa shock his head at Heero. “I know you’re worried about Duo, hell we all are, but don’t take it out on us!”

Looking across at the Senrocian, Quat could see that Wufei was worrying something over in his mind. “Wufei… what is it?”

“He, Mathias, didn’t want to do that… he was being forced to do that… something… no… someone was making him do that to Duo.” Fei’s eyes flew open. “Shit! I knew something was off about him… he was lying all the time…”

“Lying?” Quatre frowned. “Are you sure? He sounded sincere.”

“Trust me, he was lying… I can tell… notice how he never came very near to Duo… he didn’t want to be affected by Duo’s little gift for forcing people to tell the truth. He’s got something planned for Duo… something bad…” He let his voice fade away.

“Are you sure?” Heero’s face was grim and set. “If someone means to harm my Duo… I’ll kill them.”

Quatre shivered at the barely concealed rage evident in Heero’s low voice. He understood why the others didn’t want to deal with him without Duo’s calming influence around. “Is there anything we can do?”

“The soul bond!” burst out Mei suddenly. “Can you contact Duo through that Heero?”

“Yes!” Heero frowned at his forgetfulness. Then he frowned again, concentrating. “He’s not responding… I think he’s unconscious… hold on… yes!” His face suddenly lightened, almost smiled. “He’s awake again… oh…” to the surprise of the others in the room he suddenly laughed. “I didn’t think his father’d be so stupid as to forget that!”

“Forget what?” Quatre queried curiously. “What's happened?”

“You remember what happened when you left Mathias’ office yesterday?” Heero asked, his eyes glinting with mischief with further confused his friends.

“When we left the office?” repeated Quatre feeling stupid… then he too grinned. “Oh my… he didn’t?”

“He did too,” rejoined Heero with a wide grin, ignoring the growls of irritation from the other four.

“He did what!” demanded Fei, Meiran and Sal in a ragged chorus. “What did Duo do?”

“I didn’t like the new accommodations, so I split!” Duo’s grin was wide, but his face was pale and he was sweating.

“You split.” Wufei frowned, not understanding. “You… split…”

Mei and Sally rolled their eyes in exasperation at Fei’s denseness. “Fei! Remember Duo’s little trick? The doppelganger?”

Comprehension dawned in Wufei’s eyes and he joined the laughter. “Your father forgot about that trick of yours?”

“Well, as far as he was concerned I was unconscious… he’d knocked me on the head pretty hard.” Duo swayed for a moment, his head hurt – thought he’d never lost consciousness due to the padding of his hair, he’d been pretty close to it. “While he was seeing the proctors off I seized the opportunity to get out of there.”

Heero caught Duo in his arms and eased the longhaired boy down on one of the beds. He beckoned Sally over to look at his bond-mate. “I’m surprised he didn’t think of that, even if you were supposed to be unconscious. I mean, what would stop you from doing that as soon as you recovered?”

“The constraining bracelet he’d locked around my wrist,” answered Duo in a faint voice.

This revelation was met by an outcry from his friends. “He put one of those on you?!”

Quatre looked confused. “What's a constraining bracelet?”

“A nasty little piece of jewellery that locks all a mage’s powers into him… and prevents him from using any of them.” Trowa explained, a look of horror on his face. “Its painful… very very painful.”

Heero wrapped his arms around Duo’s semiconscious body, holding him tightly. “Damn the man… I think we’d better get out of here my beloved.”

“We?” Duo tried to lift himself off the bed but was restrained by the gentle hands of both Sally and Heero. “I’m the one in my father’s bad books.”

“As are we by association,” interrupted Quatre. “There’s no way that I’m letting you out of my sight from now on, and I’m sure the others feel the same.” He moved to the side of the bed and looked down at his cousin. “Hells bells Duo, your father seems as mad as mine was… and there’s no way I’m gonna see you go through what I did.”

Heero nodded at the smaller boy. “He’s telling the truth Duo… no one here will be safe from your father’s madness. We’re your friends and we don’t want you to be hurt any further.”

Duo looked from the three by his bed to the others and sighed. “I can’t talk any of you out of this can I?”

“Not a chance Duo, not a chance.” Fei grinned at the tired looking boy. “What we’ve got to do now is find a way to get out of here and find a place to stay that would be safe.”

Sally removed her hand from Duo’s forehead. “That should do it for now Duo. If you have any further pain tell me immediately.”

“I’ll see that he does,” affirmed Heero, his eyes never leaving Duo’s white face. “You go and sleep now… we’ll work something out.”

“What about the proctors? If they come here for my stuff and find me here… things will be blown to pieces.” Duo whispered, exhaustedly.

“They’ve already been through and picked up everything that we’d carted over from Zech’s room.” Trowa smirked. “The poor little prince will have to cope without all his fancy duds for a little while.”

Duo shook his head carefully. “Trowa, sometimes I underestimate your ability to create mayhem. I’m impressed.”

“Don’t thank me,” grinned Trowa. “It was Quatre’s idea.”

“Quatre?” Duo looked at his blushing cousin. “You’ve only been here one day and already you’re stealing other students belongings, fighting, defying the Arch-mage…” He gave the blonde a fond smile. “Damn I’ve taught you well!”

 

INTERLUDE 2

Mathias strode angrily along the passages, his mind roiling with thoughts of his encounter with Duo and his friends. They’d have to be brought under control, and quickly before they did any further damage. Once Duo was off the premises it’d be easier to accomplish – while his son remained in the Academy Mathias knew that the other Outlanders would do their damnedest to free him. “Why me?”

“Because you are a spineless little worm whose own son defies him,” answered a cold voice beside him.

Mathias gasped in surprise and not a little fear as he saw the silver eyes of his unwelcome guest glaring at him from the shadows. “My Lord Magan, I didn’t think you’d return so soon…”

“You mean you delayed again and weren’t ready for me,” sneered Magan, silver eyes accusing. “Is the boy confined?”

“Y-yes milord,” faltered Mathias. He swallowed nervously. “He’s in one of the cells now… he’s unconscious – as you predicted.”

“He’s unconscious because you hit him. Have you no feelings what so ever for you own son?” Magan asked. “He is, after all your own flesh and blood.”

“No I don’t!” snapped Mathias, anger overcoming his customary fear of the other man. “Duo’s been nothing but trouble since he was brought here… nothing but trouble since his conception! I never wanted a child in the first place… and well you knew it!”

Magan chuckled eerily. “No, you didn’t want a child… but you wanted the prestige that I could guarantee you through our promise, and you wanted the money that I paid you for that promise.” He frowned. “You just didn’t want to do any work for that promise.”

“I kept my promise – the boy’s here and you can have and welcome to him!” Mathias was fed up with the mind games that Magan enjoyed. “In fact I’d rather you’d taken him years ago when he’d first arrived.”

Magan rolled his eyes in exasperation; did the man learn nothing? “I didn’t take Duo then because the time wasn’t right, nor was the boy… at that stage. Now he’s of age, awakened, and ready for the ceremony. If you’d done your work properly he’d have been looking forward to this; instead I’ll have to force him to complete the ritual and that will adversely effect the results. You are a fool!”

The Arch-mage cringed, and hated himself for doing so. “I’m sorry Milord… I’m sorry…”

“You’re sorry?” asked Magan in disbelief. “I’m the one that’s sorry, you little maggot! Your callous disregard for orders and your constant shirking of your responsibilities have placed us in a pretty quandary. If we are lucky we can salvage this situation. If we can’t… then your soul will suffer for a millennium!”

Mathias wished fervently that he’d never met Magan. The man terrified him more than anyone he’d ever met in his entire life. Why he’d thought it a good idea to fall in with the court’s only death-mage he could no longer remember… he had a horrible feeling that he’d been coerced… and probably not all that unwillingly.

“Take me to the boy,’ commanded the other mage imperiously. “I want to make sure that you didn’t do too much damage. He needs to be mentally and physically aware of what is going to happen to him for it to do any good.” A cold smile lingered on his thin lips and he spoke almost dreamily. “The beauty of the whole exercise is when they realise that nothing can help them: when they lose their spirit and stop resisting the call of my Master… it’s so beautiful to see them then. And with someone as spirited as your sweet son… this will be fun indeed.”

As he heard Magan detail part of what would happen to Duo, Mathias shivered. Despite the fact that he barely tolerated his own son, Mathias didn’t want to hear what the other man had planned for the boy. “The cells are this way Milord.”