2-19-2001

Testament (5/?)
A 'Gundam Wing'/'Rurouni Kenshin' fusion
Persephone_Elysian

Yep, it's time another chapter. Sorry it's taking me so long to put this story out.

Typical Disclaimer:

Special thanks to Hazard Blue and Naraku for beta-ing this for me!

This story is a Rurouni Kenshin/Gundam Wing fusion. It's going to be an Alternate Universe fic and will definitely have a 1x2 pairing--I just have to slog through the set up of the story to get to that (Which will be the first couple of chapters). ^_^

Rurouni Kenshin is the property of Nobuhiro Watsuki and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing belongs to Bandai. I'm borrowing the characters and situations purely for entertainment purposes, not to make any money.

Warnings: Blushing Heero and plotting senators.

<Heero: I do not blush!> <Duo ruffles Heero's head:
Yes, you do and you're so cute while doing it!>
<Heero: ...>

'...' and *...*--denotes thoughts

Feedback craved and adored.

***

Chapter Five

"This is not a good idea," Marshall Noventa hissed, trying to catch up to his compatriot. The elderly Senator was forced to lift his robes and hurry along at a most undignified pace just to keep up with the other man.

Quinze tracked his progress out of the corner of his eye with a silent sigh. Why was he forced to suffer fools like Noventa? ‘Because right now, fools such as Noventa are the only ones who will support you,' he answered his own question. ‘Everyone else is too terrified of either Dermail or that upstart Kushrenada.'

He should have been Kushrenada, should have had his supporters. It wasn't like the man had anything new to say; why, Quinze himself had been trying for years to use the populace as his own lever for power. However, whereas Quinze failed to gain popular support, people flocked to Kushrenada! People stopped and listened to him. It was intolerable.

Once he had conceived of a possible alliance between the two of them; Treize could draw their support while Quinze would work in the background, dealing with the day to day aspects of power. But, no, Treize was far too ... independent to ever allow such an arrangement. Moreover, where Quinze believed in giving the commons a limited voice in the power structure, Treize wanted to hand the whole system over to them on a platter. As if those ignorant, boorish peasants could shoulder the responsibilities of governmental decisions. A step like that would cause the country to collapse.

He might have forced himself to moderate his policies back towards the aristocracy if it hadn't been for one thing: Dermail As long as Dermail was in power, he would never throw his support to the nobles. Their long-standing rivalry went back to the days when they were junior senators together and it had only worsened over time.

So he found himself in the midst of the power struggle between Treize and Dermail, alone and ignored with a limited support base. And frustrated. Very, very frustrated.

Now there was this new threat, this killer slinking amidst their ranks, picking them off. And it was more than likely the work of either Dermail or Treize, their power play reaching a violent crescendo. True, Dermail had lost Tubarov and a number of his allies in the last few weeks, but Quinze wouldn't put it past him to take his own people, especially in an attempt to frighten or incriminate Treize. It was equally likely that this was Kushrenada's doing, an attempt to remove the competition or perhaps to frighten his rival.

Plots upon plots and they were being played like pawns in a game between these two titans. Quinze's lips thinned into a sneer. ‘I've had enough of being moved about. It's time to play a game of my own.'

After all, this was all a matter of survival and he had just as much right to survive as Treize or Dermail. If they wanted to take their little rivalry to bloodshed, that was fine. Involving the rest of the Senatorial class... That was another matter entirely. Despite what men like Treize and Dermail thought, they were not sheep--he was not a sheep. He followed when it suited his purpose.

And he would follow no longer.

"And what is a good idea?" Quinze spoke at last. "To quake in our beds? To die with our heads rolling across the floor? Are those good ideas?"

"It's just--" Noventa hesitated. "If we get caught..."

Quinze stopped short. "If we get caught what? This is a pre-emptive strike, man! We have to get them before they get us. You know as well as I do that there are only two people with motive enough for these hideous crimes."

"I know that but--"

"But what? We should just roll over because Dermail says so? Because Treize says so?" Quinze hissed. "We should die for them? Is that what you're saying?"

"No, I--"

"I need to know that you're with me on this, Noventa. If we Senators band together, we can protect ourselves. We can end this meaningless bloodshed and restore peace and honor to the Senate. But only if we get rid of Dermail and Treize."

"I--it's just such a big step," Noventa looked at him pleadingly.

‘God, why did I saddle myself with this weak-willed idiot,' Quinze gritted his teeth. No amount of money or supporters is worth his lack of a spine. "Would you rather it were us? Because if so, I'll stop here and we can take a chance and see who's next."

Noventa's round face whitened and his head should have rattled at the violence with which he shook it. "No. No. You're right. Of course you are. It's just... I've never been involved in anything like this before."

‘Probably because you're such a coward,' Quinze thought. Outwardly he smiled though, "I understand, my friend. That's why you have to leave everything to me. I'll take care of things, I'll take care of everything. Now, come along, we need meet with the others and finalize our plans. I promise you this, my friend, in a week or less, Trieze and Dermail will no longer be a problem for any of us ever again."

***

Pre-dawn had always been a quiet, unmoving time for him. Night had not yet been completely banished nor had day been welcomed. The world hung in between shifts, a moment frozen in gray amber where time had no meaning. The silence fell heavy on the ears and Heero longed to make a sound, any sound, to shatter the stillness yet found himself unable to do so. It seemed like profaning a shrine or something; you just didn't do it regardless of whatever stray impulses might strike you.

He crept along one of the alcoves, headed for the outer gardens and feeling dwarfed by the ancient vaulted ceilings over his head as he passed in and out of buildings. Some of the buildings in the Imperial city dated back hundreds upon hundreds of years, their forbidding sentinel statues glaring at him as he entered their domain. Aurelia had an exotic, occasionally violent past that had withstood invading armies and domestic conflicts. The city had been larger once, its massive bronze gates extending out into the reaches of what was now the commons area of the capital, but time and a several fires had caused its imperial residents to scale back due to lack of funds. There was no use in repairing a city that was too costly to upkeep anyway. Only an allowance from the Senate preserved what was left of the city although it remained empty most of the time save for a skeleton crew of domestics and grounds keepers. A ghost of a more autocratic past, as much a relic these days as the family it was supposed to belong to.

It was earlier than he liked to be up, by a good two hours at the very least. He hadn't slept well or perhaps, he should say, he had slept too well, dreaming of violet eyes and brown turned red hair. And skin that he knew would be soft and lips so sweet... He slowed, leaning against one of the alcove columns, trying to arrange his thoughts. He had to stop this, he had to stop thinking about Duo Maxwell or he'd drive himself mad. He had to stop thinking of a past that wasn't real. Reality was this stone beneath his hand, or the ground beneath his feet. It wasn't in dreams. Dreams were crutches for those who couldn't deal with cold, hard facts. Until Kaoru, until Kenshin, he hadn't dreamed in years, at least not truly. His guardians had squashed that weakness out of him as a child. Or so he'd thought.

He didn't want to dream. Dreams were something he should be able to control but couldn't. Not anymore. He didn't want these tantalizing flashes and the longing they brought with them. He didn't want to care or find himself in love with a fragment of thought. He liked his world the way it was. Organized. Ordered. Controllable. And this situation was spiraling rapidly beyond all semblance of control.

Pushing himself off the garden, he started sprinting away from the buildings, towards the gardens, wishing with each step he could banish that name and with each step hearing it again and again. Kenshin. Kenshin. Kenshin. Kenshin. Kenshin. And then in rapid succession a reply of Duo. Duo. Duo. Duo. Duo. Duo. Over and over again until he knew it as well as his heartbeat, until it became the air in his lungs, and the sound of the blood rushing in his veins. He picked up the pace until he was no longer jogging--he was running headlong and blindly through courtyards and around the outer lying shrubs and bushes of the gardens. He ran harder, his legs burning with the sudden jolt of exertion though his respiration remained steady. His body warmed in spite of the damp chill, in spite of the icy dew soaking the legs of his sweat pants and his socks. He ran and he ran until he no longer knew why he was running, he just was.

He skidded to a halt near a small pond in the garden, slipping to the ground really. He fell, felt the world fly away from him as he landed hard on his back with a grunt he was barely aware of making. Light blues and grays filled his vision as he stared into the early skies, feeling his muscles quiver with the strain and the dampness soaking past the cloth into his skin. He stared and the sky grew darker...No, a shadow had fallen over him and he raised his eyes just an inch higher in automatic response.

Amethyst-colored eyes stared back, a braid dangling just in Heero's line of site. Duo Maxwell.

They stared at one another, neither shattering the silence surrounding them. Heero could barely make out Maxwell's features in the dimness. Not that he needed to; no, they'd become etched on the back of his eyelids in the short time he'd known the other. All he could really see were those eyes, filling his vision the way the did in his dreams. They were filled with shadows and glints of emotions he didn't understand. And he wanted to. He found himself desperately wanting to understand--all of it, any of it.

Duo reached out, the move causing Heero to tense until he realized that the other man was holding out a hand to him. He blinked at it, then gripped it, pulling himself up with it. There was strength in that long, delicate-fingered grip and he was loathe to let go of their clasp.

"That was some fall," Duo spoke his voice hushed, "Are you all right?"

Heero felt an unaccustomed flush of embarrassment rise up the back of his neck. "Uh, yeah, guess I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."

"You looked like you were running away from something," Duo commented, his eyes rolling over Heero and making the other's skin prickle with the sensation.

‘I was,' Heero thought. ‘ You. I was running away from you.' Outwardly, he shrugged or tried to as he realized he was still clutching Duo's hand in a death grip. He yanked his hand back, using it to rub the back of his neck, feeling his embarrassment increase and the feeling of his flush spread.

"I was just jogging," Heero muttered, shifting his gaze to somewhere over Maxwell's head.

"Ah," Duo replied wisely. His solemn face split into an easy grin. "You're up early, Yuy-san."

"Heero."

Duo appeared a bit taken aback by the abruptness of the reply. Heero didn't blame him. He hadn't even registered the words coming out of his mouth until he said them. Gritting his teeth, he clarified, "Heero. You can call me Heero."

"Okay, Heero," Duo's voice tasted his name, said it like no one else ever had. Heero longed for him to say it again, so he could watch those lips form the words and the syllables take to the air...

‘What is wrong with me?!' He screamed silently. ‘Why do I care how he says my name or that he calls me Heero or anything? It SHOULDN'T matter!'

Duo touched his arm, face creased with concern, "Are you sure you're all right? You fell pretty hard--"

Heero jerked away, appalled at how right his hand had felt, appalled that he had, for all of a split second, leaned into it--into him. "Don't," he snapped, "I mean, I-I'm wet and I'll get you wet."

Duo laughed "No worries there. I've been out here for some time now, I'm already soaked. See?"

It was true; Duo's black riding pants were slick with grass trimmings and wet earth. Heero felt his face heat up as he noticed the way the fabric clung to Duo's lower body, almost stretched taunt, revealing the flex and play of his leg muscles as he shifted from foot to foot. ‘Look elsewhere,' he growled at his wandering eyes. Lifting his gaze upward was no help either; that just got him trapped by a pair of twilight eyes.

"Yeah," Heero muttered, wondering what deity he'd pissed off to get this personal space in Hell.

Duo cocked his head to the side, studying him in such a way that began to make Heero nervous after the first minute or two. There was something too piercing, too measuring about that stare. Heero glared down at his hands which had, without knowledge or consent, started plucking at the fabric of his shirt. Those nervous twitches stopped, but his mind was unsettled, uneasy,...uncertain? Yes, for the first time in his life, Heero Yuy felt uncertain about something, about everything. The world had turned on its axis and had neglected to warn him to get off at the last off-ramp.

The long-haired boy stirred at last, "You don't talk much, do you?"

"Hn."

"It's only," Duo continued, his voice picking up a hurried note, as if he feared he'd given offense. " 'S only that you act like you have no idea how to carry on a conversation. Like each word has to be thought and rethought out."

"I don't have time for idle chit-chat in my work," Heero snapped.

Duo blinked, then if anything his grin got bigger, as if he knew something Heero didn't. "Geez, Heero, calm down. It wasn't a knock against you or anything. Just a general observation."

"Well, keep your observations to yourself," Heero replied coldly. "I have work to do."

‘What are you doing?' He felt Kaoru scream at him. ‘Are you insane? He'll hate us, he'll leave, and we'll be alone again. ‘

Crossing his arms, Duo shrugged, "I'm not stopping you."

No, Heero realized, he wasn't. Not in the most literal and physical sense of the words. Duo Maxwell was not barring his way or stopping him from doing anything or going anywhere. No, it was something else inside him, that little phantom of melded dream and forgotten memory that held him rooted to the spot. That phantom that wanted to believe that his dreams were real and that Duo was Kenshin.

Heero had been alone his whole life. People surrounded him but they never touched him, they never got close and he had never regretted that decision. He had never had the overwhelming urge to bridge the distance and let himself be held. Until now. It was maddening. It was frightening.

"You're an annoying baka."

"I thought you were leaving," Duo teased, one hand stroking his braid, the other resting lightly atop his sheathed weapon.

"I am," he ground out, "I have things to do."

"So you've said." There it was again, that irritating, damn near irresistible grin. Heero stared, noticing how the corners of Duo's mouth just called out for kisses to be placed there. His body tingled at the thought. It wouldn't take much, just reaching over and jerking the baka forward and...

‘He's flirting with us,' Kaoru thought excitedly, breaking that train of thought before it could go any further. The girl's excitement became his own, making it harder to stay where he was. Two thoughts ran through his head. One was to lean forward and take the idiot right now, wet grass and any onlookers be damned. And the other was to run like hell, do not stop go or collect two hundred dollars, and get out of here before something did happen.

Like any good cop, he made a decision based on years of insight and wisdom: he ran like hell was chasing him.

***

Duo watched the young Preventer's retreating back as it disappeared around the edge of the corner, then dropped to sit beside the pond with a sigh. He let his eyes drift over the clear water as the sashaying fins of goldfish broke the surface. Their red and orange sunrise colors stood in sharp contrast to the wan early morning sky. They were lucky, he thought. All they had to do was swim around in their pond, eat when they were fed, and die when they were supposed to. They didn't play games, not the kind that hurt people, and they didn't have to lie while he who had once made the claim to never lie, had been doing more than his fair share of it lately.

He tightened his grip on the sword resting across his lap. Things would be so much easier if he could just do his job and have done with it. No complications, no lies, and certainly no games like the one he had just played. ‘Treize should have asked someone else to do this,' he thought bleakly. ‘I hate this. It's not like executing those people. That was for the Cause, for the future. This was war and soldiers did things in war, murder among them but this... This...this was just wrong.' No one had the right to play with another's heart. ‘It's for the future,' he argued with himself. ‘Treize is right; if he isn't stopped, Heero might put two and two together, if he hadn't already and... They were just too far along now to give up. At least I don't have to kill him.'

No, I just have to lie to him, Duo thought bitterly. Just like Treize said, 'Tell him a lie and make him believe it. Damn it, damn it, damn it.'

If he could just make himself not care, if he could just shut off his emotions and play the part Treize wanted him to play... He reached out, skimming the surface of the water and watching the fish scatter then return to nip at his fingertips. So simple. So pure. He would sit, watching them wriggle for hours with a feeling of contentment if allowed. He watched as one fish, this one pure white with a scarlet-streaked back brushed against his submerged hand. It reminded him of Heero's flush. Duo felt a grin tug at his thoughts. Heero did blush rather prettily and his discomfort had been nothing short of adorable. ‘Adorable?' Duo brought himself up short. He considered it, rolling the image around in his mind. Yes, while he might be loathed to be a party to this whole mess, he was forced to admit that Heero was cute. And not just because he was so amusingly easy to bait and tease. Heero was quite attractive now that he thought about it. That wild fly-away hair and those impossibly blue eyes wrapped in a nicely built package. Those eyes spoke to him some how, as if pleading with him. ‘ Pleading for what?' Duo snorted. ‘Sex?' Well, if that was all he wanted, then this task would be easy. It was the thought that those eyes were asking for something more than just simple seduction that made Duo's blood run cold.

He thought back to the first day he'd met Heero Yuy. Duo recalled how the young Preventer had stared at him, eyes tracing every curve as if trying to convince himself that Duo was real. He'd kept that expression the entire time Treize had babbled away at him. No one had ever looked at him like that. Lust wasn't anything new to him; he'd been approached by too many people in the past taken with his 'beauty'. Duo snorted. He'd never had any inclination to accept any of their invitations. Not with the memory of Sister Helen's battered, half-naked body still etched so strongly in his mind. Had he stayed on the streets, he might have been raped, too. Treize had saved him from that. He owed Treize. He would fulfill his mission for the man who had treated him with such kindness.

That didn't mean he had to like it.

It might have been easier if he hadn't found himself liking Heero. It surprised him to find out how much. After all, short of their brief introduction, this was the first real conversation he'd had with the man. Duo had been watching him though, trying to puzzle out what his angle was, how he thought. It would help him stay one step ahead of the officer, and might prove invaluable if it came down to blood between them.

His chest tightened at the thought. He thought of all those he killed and then superimposed Heero's face over them. There it was again. That strange pain that made his breath catch and his heart clench. He didn't want to hurt Heero. He didn't want to be the cause of his death. He wanted...

‘Your wants are irrelevant,' he chastised himself. ‘You have a job to do. You do it and you don't let anyone or anything stop you.'

Realistically, if Heero got in his way, he would have to remove him. Better to try things Treize's way for a while. Heero would be hurt but at least he'd be alive and for some reason, that was more important to Duo than anything else, although sparing Heero's feelings came a close second.

"What's happening to me?" Duo broke the air with the words, giving voice to the confusion he felt. Why was Heero affecting him like this? Why was something about the quiet Preventer that called to him? Why were his eyes disquietingly familiar? They had nothing to do with the task at hand. So why was he allowing himself to be distracted?

"Heero's right," he chuckled sadly, "You are a baka, Maxwell."

***end of Chapter Five

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