5-19-2001

Title: Of the Sea
Author: NoirAnge
Part: 3/?
Genre: fantasy, multipart
Pairings: 2+1
Rating: pg
Warnings: shounen ai, AU, original characters. and for this part, im afraid that i went ahead and bastardized dorothy >.< well, not completely, she does do something nice for duo in the end of the part, but, well, shes a bitch to him at the beginning.
Spoilers: n/a
Disclaimers: i dont own the idea, i dont own the characters from gundam wing, etc etc..
Notes: i am typing this very fast. i will try to catch as much mistakes as possible, but in order to get this out tonight (as promised) i can guarantee you that there will be some errors. probably more than a few >.<

//blah// indicates thoughts
*blah* indicates emphasis

::end of part 2::
"Why do you have to bring me along?" protested Wufei.

"Why? Because I have no idea what those maps mean! You're gonna have to show me!" Duo replied, thrilled that he was finally going to be able to see the prince again.
::...::

Of the Sea part 3
by NoirAnge

Heero strolled silently along the coastline, gazing out at the sea. He'd been doing it a lot lately. In fact, he had done so almost every day since the morning after the shipwreck. He hadn't known all of the sailors on the ship, but he had known some of them. Very well. He knew that they were good people, better by far than he himself. Every time he looked out over the crashing waves, he wondered how on earth he had managed to survive while they had perished. He was strong, he knew, but they were stronger swimmers.

And every time he looked out over the ocean, he heard a haunting melody that seemed to echo from beneath the waves. Each time, he thought he almost heard a voice, singing quietly along. If he concentrated on it, he could swear he heard snatches of words. Never more than that. It haunted his dreams, sometimes accompanied by a vaguely outlined face that he could never quite see. He could always hear the melody in the background of the dream, but everything else, including the words, was always very vague. He felt like he was looking at something from very far away. The dream ended abruptly each time with a splash, always followed by him bolting upright. It bothered him to no end.

Heero sat down on a rock, close to the tiny waves that came rippling on the shore. For some reason, he felt like he could never get enough of looking at the sea. He hadn't been able to figure out why, but after a while he had stopped wondering. It was just the way it was. The dreams, though, he still wondered about them.

***

Duo looked around, wide-eyed, at the busy scene before him. People were coming in and out of the huge castle that sat next to the river emptying its water into the ocean. Wagons, carriages, the occasional horseback rider and the more common donkey rider, as well as many people on foot were crossing over and back on the bridge leading from the other side of the river into the castle.

Wufei sat beside him, as much amazed as Duo but hiding it a little. He had, on occasion, come to the surface to see humans. It only made sense that, since he studied them, he got to see them once in a while. But he had never seen so many of them all in one place. It was quite amazing.

Duo soon got over his wonder, though, and started surveying the crowd for a head of unruly dark hair and a pair of deep blue eyes. "I don't see him, Wufei," Duo said, disappointed.

"I didn't think you would. Royalty among humans tend to stay in their castles more often than not. You can't see inside the castle, so it's hard to get a glimpse of them. I'm sorry that I can't help you any more."

"That's okay." Duo gazed dejectedly at the mass of people. "Thanks so much for showing me this. I know it probably doesn't sound like I really appreciate it," Duo said, glancing back at Wufei, "but I do." He turned his head to survey the crowd again.

Wufei nodded, more to himself than to Duo since the boy wasn't looking. "I'm glad I could help a little, but I really should get back to the library. I haven't finished my work." He slipped quietly under the water as Duo gazed gratefully after him.

***

Duo found himself swimming along the coastline, rolling around in the waves and lying on his back, gazing at the sky, while he continued to flip his tail. The sky was such a bright blue during the day, nothing like the sky at night. It was dazzlingly brilliant, with the sun shining proudly and the occasional cloud ghosting across the huge expanse. nothing like the sky at night, so quiet, silent, with the stars shining through the deep blue so close to black. The moon shining, but less boasting and more pleasant than the sun. Almost soothing. Duo liked the night sky better, he decided.

He rolled over on his side to survey the shore. //I wonder if people ever walk along there. It's so quiet, with only the waves and the occasional seagull.// He sighed. The prince hadn't been there. No matter what else he tried to think about, he couldn't keep that fact out of his mind for long. And the fact that Wufei said royalty stayed in their castles most of the time was more than disheartening. He had finally figured out where Heero lived, and still the chances of seeing him were almost nothing.

Duo sighed, ready to go back home. There was no point in being here. Then he saw him. Heero, the prince, was right there, sitting on a rock and gazing over the sea at the horizon. Duo was so surprised he immediately ducked under the water. He peaked his head out behind some drifting seaweed. It was really the prince! //I've finally found him.//

***

Heero heard a small splash and looked around, only to see nothing. //Must have been the waves.// Looking at the sun, he realized that he'd been here a lot longer than he had intended. Taking one last look at the ocean, he started the long walk back to the castle.

***

Duo saw Heero get up and begin to leave. Panic took him. What if he never saw him again? //He can't leave! I have to be able to see him, talk to him..// Duo stayed there, floating, as he watched Heero walk away toward the castle. //I don't think I can wait so long again...// As the prince finally disappeared in the distance, Duo ducked his head under the waves and turned home.

***

Duo rolled over again. He couldn't sleep for thinking about the prince. If only... if only he could talk to the boy. See him. But he knew it would be a long time, if ever, before he saw Heero again. He didn't know what to do. There had to be something he could... // Maybe..//

Duo sat up abruptly. Was it worth it? Perhaps. He had wanted to go up on land since he was a kid, and now he had even more reason to do so. The prince. Glancing over at Lylie where she slept, he decided. He could ask. It wasn't so late that... All he had to do was ask, he would be back even before midnight.

He got out of bed and slipped, quietly as he could, out of his room and through the hallways to the garden. From there he left the palace and swam until he reached the small valley he was looking for. Here, this was where the answer to his problem was. He could see the lights through the windows of the small dwelling at the other end of the valley.

As he continued on, the seaweed gave way to ugly plants that seemed to reach out at him. He felt something tugging on his hair and he looked to see one of the plants wrapped around a lock. Wrenching it away from the thing, he swam faster. The plants grabbed one of his arms and then his hair again. Frantically he ripped out of their grasp and swam as fast as he could over to the hut as the plants continued to snatch and pull at him.

He finally reached the clearing in front of the small house, panting. Those.. things.. had scared him to death and he didn't know how he was going to be able to go back through them. As he approached the door, somewhat apprehensively, he heard rich laughter emanating from inside.

"Oh, don't be so scared! My little pets aren't so bad, really, and besides, I don't keep them in the house." This, followed by more laughter. //Pets? Those... things... were her pets??// He shuddered.. Then, taking a deep breath, he entered.

The inside of the little hut was quite a bit more cozy than he'd expected. The mermaid he saw sitting inside, looking for all the world like she had been expecting him, was actually somewhat.. beautiful. Her blond hair was quite long, rivaling his own in length, and her eyes were a pretty but frosty blue. The smirk she had on her face was somewhat discomforting, but what struck him the most were her eyebrows. They were forked.. just like the lightening that had struck the ship. Scary.

"Now, who is this handsome young man here? Oh, is that a cosal shell I see? Why, you must be the prince!" She cocked her head, looking him up and down like she was appraising a tool at the market. It was definitely not making Duo feel any more at ease. "You know," she continued, "I hadn't imagined that you were so handsome. Quite striking, really."

Duo gulped. He didn't know what to say. All he had come here to do was ask her a question and she was admiring him like a prize slave for sale. Not the most encouraging start.

"Hmm, well, I'm guessing that you came here to get something. A love potion? Although, I don't think you'd need one..." she said, eyes glinting. "Or is it something more serious? Somebody getting on your nerves that you want to get rid of? Poison? I have all kinds..." Duo stared at her in disbelief, horrified. "No? Well, spit it out then, I'm not of the mind to play guessing games with you, although it does present the wonderful opportunity of looking at you..."

It was too much. It was just too much. Duo couldn't take having this woman ogle at him, quite obviously, while she asked him, casually, if there was anybody he wanted to kill today? His mind shut off and he could only stare at her in disbelief. This, of course, only caused the witch to laugh at him.

"Oh, I haven't had this much fun antagonizing a customer in a long time. Don't feel so special, I do this to everyone who comes to me. Although, it is much more amusing when the visitor is a pretty one who obviously doesn't have the wits to speak," she announced, looking at Duo with a decidedly sadistic gleam to her eyes.

That one got Duo going. He wasn't one to bake insults lightly, especially not from some pathetic excuse for a sorceress like her.

"Look, lady, I came here to ask you a question and all you've been doing is admiring my pecs and wondering if I wanted to kill anybody-"

"Not so," she replied, shaking her finger. "I asked you what you wanted, you just didn't answer. And besides, my name is Dorothy, not 'lady'. Do you want to answer me now?"

Duo glared at her, and the smirk on her face widened.

"What I wanted to ask you was..." Duo stopped. He wasn't even sure what he had wanted to know, he had just..

"Well, speak up, I can't help you if I can't hear you."

"I.. wanted to know if you could turn me into a human," he finished in a rush.

She raised her eyebrow at that, and he scowled. That had come out before he had had time to complete the though in his head, but.. Duo considered it. //I guess that really is what I wanted.//

"Now, why would a boy like you want that?" the witch asked. "You're royalty, after all, you could have anything you want. Unless... unless you've fallen for one of those human girls? Is that it?"

Duo glared at her, clenching his mouth shut. As satisfactory as it would be to tell her that no, she was wrong, it wasn't one of those human girls, he knew that she would only tease him more if he told her he had fallen for a prince.

"Well, can you? That's all I wanted to know," Duo said, eyes flashing. She was really starting to grate on him.

She chuckled.

"A little upset, are we? Well, I'll tell you now that I can't do it with you glaring at me like that. Now, give me a smile and ask me again and I can give you a sensible answer."

His glare only intensified. Then, resigning himself, he smiled at her quite fakely and asked again.

"That's much better! Oh, and the answer is yes by the way. I'm quite capable of turning you into a human. It will, however, but at a price-"

"Well, that's all I wanted to know, so I'll be leaving now," Duo interrupted, turning toward the door.

"Oh, no you don't," she said, and Duo felt his body go still, not of his own choice. "I have doubts as to whether you really want to leave just yet. You see, I can't do this spell foe you if you go. It doesn't work that way. I will do it on my time and my time is now. So, if you want the spell, you have to stay. Otherwise, well, then you can leave." She twirled her finger and Duo's body spun around to face her.

"What? Why can't you just do it tomorrow? I haven't even said anything to my father or my sister, they won't have any idea where I've gone-"

"That's not my problem," Dorothy interrupted smoothly, "it's yours. If you really want to become a human, then you'll have to make that sacrifice." Duo definitely did not like the grin she was sporting.

"Come on, choose. It's not that hard. I can do it now, or you can go to say goodbye to your family. Of course, that wouldn't made much sense, because you wouldn't be going anywhere."

Duo opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. How could he leave without so much as mentioning anything to his sister *r his father? And yet, how could he bear to stay here, never knowing whether he'd see the prince again or not. It was not an easy decision, but he made one anyhow.

"Alright. I'll do it," Duo announced dejectedly.

"Good," the witch said. "I though that's what you would choose. Now, as for the payment-"

"What?!? You expect me to pay you after forcing me to do this without saying goodbye to my family? How can you do that?!"

Dorothy smirked. "As a matter of fact, I do expect you to pay me. And no, I did not force you, you are doing this by your own choice. You can, after all, still go home. If you do want to stay, though, I promise I'll be more serious so long as you are. This is business, after all."

"Fine then. Agreed. I'll do it." Duo paused, and then went on. "Now what do you want me to pay? I can assure you that I don't have much at all. Not with me, at least."

"Oh, but I can assure you that you do have something worth the price of the spell. I'll tell you, though, this is not some simple trick, and the price is quite high."

"What then?" Duo asked, unconvinced.

"Why, your voice of course," Dorothy stated simply. "It is, after all, the most beautiful voice of all the merfolk."

Duo stared at her in shock.

"I can't give you my voice, how will I talk? How will I tell him..." He gulped. "How will I tell the people who I am, ask them questions?"

"That's not my concern. You will find a way, I'm sure. I'm also sure that you can give me your voice. I told you, this is a difficult spell, and only the most valuable things would be able to suffice. Is not your voice a suitable price?"

"Fine." Duo was getting angry again. "Take my voice. And why don't you take my sight as well? And don't forget my hearing while you're at it! You've already taken away a goodbye to my family, what more do you want?"

"Duo." He looked up, surprised that she knew his name. He hadn't told her it. "I am not doing this solely for my own benefits. Magic is a strange thing, and I cannot employ it at such great levels at any time I choose. That is why it must be done now."

"As for your voice," she continued, noticeably less serious, "I require payment from all of my customers. You happened to choose one of the costiest tasks. It's not my fault."

Duo sighed. He had known that he would eventually agree. Yes, the price was high, but it was not as high as it could have been. He might never see his sister again, or his father, but... he had made his choice.

"Go ahead, then. Get on with the spell," he said.

Dorothy smirked. "You're going to have to cut some of your hair," she said, handing him a small knife. "I need it for the spell. Just one lock."

Duo nodded and, taking some hair that hopefully would not be too noticeable when missing, cut it. It hurt, in an odd sort of way. He had never cut his hair before. She took back the knife and then the lock of hair, disappearing into a back room. As he waited, Duo thought about his sister. He felt.. he felt suddenly like he was betraying her and all the trust she had in him. It was too late to go back now, though, he realized as Dorothy reentered the room.

"Now," the witch started, "you are going to have to follow my directions exactly. The first thing will allow me to take your voice, the second will, of course, turn you into a human." She looked at him closely. Her eyes were hard, like steel. "I want to be sure that this is indeed what you want. If you don't like what you see up there, you won't be able to come back."

Duo swallowed, nodding. He was ready for this, he was.

"Okay then, lets get started. In order to separate your voice from your body, you must be using it. Singing would be best." Duo waited, thinking that more instruction was forthcoming. As it became apparent that it wasn't, he swallowed again, nervous, and began to sing.

As he sang, he noticed Dorothy had started to chant. She was gesturing with her hands as well. Magic. He shuddered inwardly, but continued singing.

The witch looked up at him, and, still chanting, held one hand out to him, palm toward him. His voice reverberated in his ears, and it seemed as if, as if.. it was getting farther away. Like it was no longer coming from his own lips. Then he saw, cupped in her hand, was a small, pulsing light. He gulped. His voice.

She took out a jar and inserted it into it. Then, setting that down, she picked up a vial and brought it over to Duo.

"Drink this." He took it and, throwing his head back, swallowed the whole thing. He could feel it burning down his throat, into his stomach, and the spreading throughout his body. Then, suddenly, his tail began to split. It was as if a razor was cutting up along the tail, into two parts. He felt like he would burst with the pain.

It was then that he noticed that he would no longer breathe. He was choking on the water, vainly attempting to breathe when he knew he could not. He felt, vaguely, someone tugging on his arm, pulling him. He was beginning to see spots and his vision was blacking out at the edges. He could feel his newly made lungs fill with water as he frantically tried to draw a breath.

He felt a puff of air on his face suddenly and started coughing up water as somebody, still holding his arm, kept him afloat. He took a deep breath, and blacked out.

 

TBC

 

what a way to end it.. he does have a tendency to black out, doesnt he? but then, it makes sense, he was lacking in oxygen for long enough.. ehehhe

yes, i know, it is a little late.. just a tad.. but its done. i dont know when the next part will be out, hopefully not as long as it took for this one. of course, i will be gone from thursday to sunday because my band is going to canada, but i still might have time to write while im gone. here's hoping >.<

comments and feedback much appreciated!! i wanna thank again all the people who have replied to previous parts, it really helps me along ^.^

NoirAnge