Gundam Wing - Balancing The Scales (Part 2) by Madamhydra
Last revised: 05/04/00
******* WARNING *******
*** extremely alternate universe
*** semi-darkfic, yaoi
Heh. I'm taking a short break from MoC. <hastily dodges rocks, Molotov cocktails, etc.> For those who don't remember, this fic has to do with reincarnation, evil past lives, and revenge. Oh yeah, it has a kick-ass Relena and plenty of hints of angst/torture for Heero, Quatre, Wufei, and especially Trowa. Duo gets off easy... for now! ^_^
If you don't remember who's who, just check out the handy guide at the end. The other parts of this fic can be found at:
As for the magic system I'm using in this AU, it's a crazy hodge-podge of the elemental magic from Sharon Green's "Blending" series, a touch of Mercedes Lackey's "Vanyel" novels, and various other fantasy novels, so bits and pieces of it might sound familiar. FYI, elemental powers and sorcery are two separate and distinct types of magic. <sweatdrop>
Anyway, this is a very rough draft. It undoubtedly need some more smoothing out, so I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions. Yes, a shameless plead for C&C. ^_^;
I apologize beforehand if all the flashbacks to prior lives sprinkled through out the fic makes this part hopelessly confusing. Let me know and I'll try to correct the problem!
BALANCING THE SCALES
A Gundam Wing ALTERNATE-REALITY fic by Madamhydra
Part 2 (rough draft)
Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Gundam Wing copyrighted by their respective creators and all distributors of their work. Used without permission.
~~~~~~~~~ indicates flashbacks
Unsettled by Dorothy's comments, Quatre went looking for Trowa. After nearly searching the entire lodge, he finally located the other teenager in a small study tucked away in a wing of the building. He suppressed a sigh of relief as he observed the Heavyarms pilot tending the fire with a poker. However, Quatre's smile quickly vanished as he watched Trowa crouching perilously close to the blazing logs and prodding at the blazing logs with an obvious air of distraction. The blond grew even more concerned when the green-eyed teenager abruptly dropped the poker on the stone hearth, then reached up and slowly wrapped his arms around himself, as if trying to fend off an ominous chill.
He quickly stepped forward and softly called out, "Trowa?"
The lack of any visible response made the Sandrock pilot's pulse quicken with anxiety. It was unlike Trowa to be so oblivious to his surroundings.
"Trowa? Trowa!" the blond repeated with increasing loudness as he reached out to touch his lover's shoulder.
Trowa's stomach continued to seethe and churn restlessly as he stared blindly into the fire. But the sight of yellow-orange flames harmlessly licking at wooden logs suddenly overlaid with fleeting images of a brass brazier and the bright glow of a red-heat poker nestled amid burning coals. Accompanying those images were sounds -- soft, mewling sobs that served as a constant backdrop to the jangle of steel manacles on stone and the painwracked screams of young and old, male and female. His nose was flooded with the stench of blood, sweat, vomit, and excrement, along with the unmistakable reek of despair and terror.
And he could feel his lips curving upward into a cruel smile of enjoyment as he lifted his head to survey his private little kingdom of pain.
Dropping the poker, he told himself, (No... this isn't REAL.)
The archaic clothes, that torture chamber of dark stone... they all looked like props and scenery from a second rate horror movie about the Dark Ages or the Inquisition.
(But why can't I make myself stop thinking about them? Those scenes... memories... NO! Not memories... never memories! I NEVER did anything like this! This is just some insane nightmare! I NEVER enjoyed making people suffer like that! I... I couldn't....)
His thoughts involuntarily returned to those recent moments in the snow, with Duo writhing underneath him screaming in pain and anguish. And with a sick sense of certainty, he knew exactly what sort of hallucination had provoked such an extreme reaction from the Deathscythe pilot. Because for a brief, nauseating moment, he and Duo had shared the very same hallucination, although from opposite sides.
(Duo thought he was being raped. He thought that *I* was raping him....)
Trowa hunched his shoulders and wrapped his arms around himself, in a futile attempt to block out those sickening images.
(And for an instant, I believed it, too. I saw it... experienced it. I was the person hurting him... I was the person tearing him open... And for that instant, I remembered....)
He closed his eyes, as if in pain. It had felt so damn real. The feel of a struggling body under his fingertips... the pathetic screams for mercy... the heat... the slick wetness... and the obscene pleasure that came with it.
Cringing from that idea, Trowa told himself fiercely, (NO. NEVER. It's an obscenity that I wouldn't inflict on my worst enemy, much less someone who's almost a brother to me. No one should have to endure what I've been through....)
Quatre gently placed his hand on Trowa's shoulder, just as he had done so many occasions, but this time, he was completely unprepared for his lover's reaction. As soon as the blond touched Trowa's arm, the Heavyarms pilot recoiled and struck out wildly. The unmistakable smack of flesh hitting flesh shattered the quietness like a gunshot.
Quatre simply looked stunned, while Trowa's one visible eye widened in horrified disbelief as the two Gundam pilots stared mutely at each other.
Trowa retreated a few steps as he watched Quatre slowly touched his own face. It was just a glancing blow -- more of a backhanded slap than a punch -- but it was more than enough to leave a distinct reddish mark on the blond's left cheek. Simultaneously, they spoke.
They paused, then tried again.
"Why did you...?"
"I didn't mean to...."
Quatre abruptly held up his hand for silence. He frowned slightly when he saw Trowa flinch at the sudden gesture. Taking a deep breath, the Arab pilot said with gentle firmness, "It just stings a bit. But... why did you do that?"
Trowa stared down at his hands with an expression of bewilderment and dismay, almost as if he wasn't entirely sure that they truly belonged to him. Finally, he looked up at the patiently waiting Quatre and whispered, "Duo's... hallucinations triggered some very unpleasant memories for me. When you suddenly touched me, I just... reacted."
Quatre knew some details of the other teenager's unhappy past and could make some reasonably guesses about the type of traumatic memories which could leave the Heavyarms pilot so shaken, even now.
"I didn't realize. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you like that...."
"It's not your fault, Quatre. You had no way of knowing."
As their relationship continued to become closer, Quatre learned to read his lover quite well. Unfortunately, what he sensed now disturbed the Sandrock pilot greatly. Instead of the usual cool, detached calmness in Trowa's green eyes, Quatre now saw something very different. Fear... and mixed with that fear was a distinct sense of guilt.
(What happened out there in the snow, Trowa? What is causing both you and Duo so much suffering?)
Aloud, Quatre said softly, "Perhaps you'll feel better if you got some sleep."
He reached out to touch Trowa, then hesitated, uncertain of the other teenager's response.
Just as Quatre started to retreat and let his arm drop, the Heavyarms pilot abruptly stepped forward and took Quatre's outstretched hand. Fingers lightly intertwined, the two Gundam pilots mutely walked side-by-side in the direction of their bedroom.
After leaving Duo's bedside, Dorothy returned to her room and collapsed wearily onto her bed. Her head still ached from the nasty blow Relena had given her. After spending the last several hours keeping an eye on Duo, she was pretty much exhausted.
(What the hell is going on here!? What could have possibly made Relena attack her 'prince in shining armor', Heero Yuy, of all people? For that matter, what could have possibly made Duo Maxwell snap like that?)
She turned her head and stared out the open window at the opaque whiteness of the snowstorm.
(What could transform a pacifist into a ruthless killer? What could frighten a trained terrorist so much that he would prefer to face sure death in a blizzard rather than stay in this house with his friends?)
And that didn't even begin to scratch the surface of the mystery. There was still the matter of Heero's apparent poisoning and Duo's sudden healing powers.
(Damn it. So many questions and no answers,) she thought with weary irritation as she buried her head in the soft goosedown pillow.
But Dorothy Catalonia's sleep was anything but restful....
She flitted through the royal gardens, giggling softly. Pausing by a small pond, she leaned over to admire her own reflection and make a few last touches to her long blond hair. She ran a glittery, long-nailed finger over one of her exotic eyebrows, a trait she shared with her majestic uncle, Koranth. She smiled in smug satisfaction. No one could match her beauty, not even her uncle's wife, the famous Queen Merielle. With a dainty laugh, she blew her reflection a kiss before running for the secluded gazebo where her newest lover awaited.
Arriving, she threw herself into his strong arms and was rewarded with a hungry passionate kiss. She shivered with sensual delight and returned the kiss enthusiastically. She couldn't help gloating as she ran her fingers through his loose silky black hair. All the ladies in court -- even the Queen herself! -- were absolutely green with envy. And why shouldn't they be? His manners were so charming, so sophisticated... his looks so exotically handsome with that gold-touched skin and high cheekbones.... Just one look from his impossibly dark eyes could leave any woman hot and breathless for his touch....
Without breaking the kiss, he started to unlace her gown. Writhing under his skillful hands, she gasped out his name.
"Oh, Faylin, my love...."
In their bedroom, Trowa stared silently at the ceiling as Quatre slept beside him. The Heavyarms pilot didn't want to sleep. He was desperately afraid that the nightmarish images of that hideous torture chamber would return to haunt him as soon as he closed his eyes. As he lay wide awake, Trowa felt Quatre suddenly twitch in his sleep.
Usually the blond was snuggled up right beside him, but this time, there was a good two foot between their two bodies. Trowa missed the comfort of Quatre's body touching to his, but at the moment, the old painful memories were simply too strong. Sensing his lover's ambivalence, Quatre had given Trowa as much space as the large bed would allow.
Still fast asleep, Quatre again shifted restlessly and made a soft sound of distress.
In the heavily shielded tower room, three of the four surviving Guardians of the kingdom watched as Perane, Guardian of the East, Air adept, paced furiously around the chamber and glared at his fellow Guardians.
"Damn that old man for dying! We haven't finished weakening the spell wards protecting the kingdom's borders yet!" the dark-haired, cobalt-eyed swordsman complained stridently.
The black-haired, black-eyed Faylin, Guardian of the South, also known as the Fire Lord, said smoothly, "No use crying about it. We'll simply have to handle this little problem. All of us have gone too far to back out now."
"What do you mean by 'little' problem!?" Perane retorted, flinging himself down into a convenient chair with a sullen expression on his face. "It took Harrow and Trevi over three months to drive that old man into premature senility so he wouldn't interfere with our plans!"
Harrow, the Earth adept that served as the Guardian of the North, yawned ostentatiously before saying, "A pity all that effort ended up being wasted. I didn't expect the old man to scrape up enough willpower to kill himself."
Perane snapped angrily, "Which now leaves us with a new, healthy and CURIOUS Spirit Guardian to deal with!"
Elegantly swirling the wine around in his glass, Faylin said, "Maybe we could persuade him to join our little conspiracy."
"That reminds me. Do any of you know who's been chosen to become the fifth Guardian?" Harrow inquired, but he only received blank looks from three of his fellow co-conspirators.
The last of the four surviving Guardians finally spoke. In a cool, dispassionate voice, he said, "I know who the replacement is." Glancing at Faylin, he added, "But I seriously doubt we'll be able to bribe or corrupt him into joining us."
Perane demanded, "Well, who is it, Trevi? Who's going to be the new Spirit Guardian?" as he glared at the slender blond water adept who held the position of the Guardian of the West.
Cold blue eyes surveyed the other three nobleman and said simply, "Bryon," as the Water adept gave his fellow Guardians a faint, soulless smile.
The Guardian of the East stared at Trevi for a moment, then turned to
the other two men. The three Guardians looked at each other for a long moment,
then Faylin's lips curved upward into a nasty little smirk while a familiar,
predatory gleam burned in Harrow's green eyes. Perane grinned, then suddenly
burst into loud, sinister laughter.
After leaving Heero with Duo, Wufei made another round of the house, checking for anything suspicious. But with the massive snowstorm howling outside, it seemed physically impossible for anyone -- even someone as insanely determined as Relena -- to reach their location.
He tried his phone again. He managed to get a connection, but the transmission was hopelessly garbled with static. Sighing irritably, he returned to the now deserted great room and threw himself into one of the overstuffed armchairs.
(Great. Now what?)
It didn't help his mood to realize that there wasn't much that any of them could do until the blizzard ended. Fortunately, the mountain lodge was well stocked with food, firewood, and fuel for the generator. Even the addition of two unexpected guests wouldn't come close to putting a dent in their supplies. And with all the snow, water definitely wouldn't be a problem.
(Cabin fever shouldn't be a problem, either. This house is large enough to give everyone ample privacy if they want it.)
With basic human necessities taken care of, that left the problem of Relena and Duo....
(So what do we do about Duo? Do we just wait and hope that he snaps out of his delusional state? And what happens if he doesn't?)
Wufei slouched further down into the armchair. Deep inside, he was somehow certain that Duo's inexplicable ability to heal Heero and his subsequent mental meltdown were intimately connected.
(Hallucinations? No, it's much more than that. Duo's torment is simply too powerful, too REAL to be explained away by simple hallucinations or an overactive imagination!)
Underneath all that annoying chatter and occasional silliness, Duo Maxwell had a better grasp of cold, hard reality than most people, and that included his fellow Gundam pilots. So whatever he was experiencing -- or *thought* he was experiencing -- had to be unbelievably traumatic AND realistic to make Duo react so strongly.
(Damn it. He sounded absolutely terrified of us, like we were his enemies.... No, that's wrong. He acted as if we were persecuting or tormenting him, but he didn't seem to think of us as enemies....)
The distinction was subtle, but it felt oddly important to Wufei. Simply remembering the sheer grief -- the overwhelming sense of heartbreak and anguish -- in Duo's voice and facial expression was enough to cause a painful tightness in Wufei's throat.
Why did Duo's pleas make him feel so uncomfortable?
(And why do I feel so damn guilty!?)
Down in the valley, Vincina paced restlessly around the vacant condo that she had commandeered as her temporary hiding place. Ever so often, she would stop by the large glass windows to stare suspiciously out at the howling blizzard.
(Damn those cunning bastards! They've managed to buy themselves some breathing room with this bloody snowstorm. There's no way I can get close to them under these conditions!)
She wondered which of the traitors conjured up the blizzard. All of them were capable of using sorcery to manipulate the weather, but something like this was probably the work of the Water adept Trevi. She doubted it was Perane. He could have managed it with his elemental air powers, but he was probably too busy trying to heal himself. The bane-tainted cut from her knife would definitely slow him down, but it was unlikely to kill him.
(I should be so lucky.)
Vincina finally gave up on the pacing. It was simply a waste of energy. The storm could last for days and her time would be better spent on formulating a new plan of attack. Even taking Trevi's formidable sorcery skills and elemental powers into account, she was still unpleasantly surprised by the sheer intensity of the blizzard.
(It seems that I'm not the only one who has gained considerably in power
during our travels through the Wylde Ways....)
Frowning, she reluctantly admitted that she needed to know more about the traitors' current reincarnations as possible. To do that, she needed to immerse herself in Relena Peacecraft's memories. However, that procedure was not without its own set of hazards.
The shock of Vincina's awakening had allowed the former Warlord to overwhelm the persona of her present-day incarnation, leaving Vincina in complete control of the girl's body.
(Absolute pacifism. How disgusting. What sort of idiot is this current reincarnation of mine, to think that pacifism is capable of achieving anything except one's own destruction?)
But while Relena's personality was presently dormant, that condition was certainly not permanent -- the deeper Vincina delved into Relena's memories, the greater the chance that Relena's persona would attempt to reassert itself. That was why she had only skimmed the bare minimum of information necessary to function in this world and to locate her targets. However, it was now clear that she needed to gather all the information from Relena's memories that she could, regardless of the risks.
(The last thing I want was to get into a mental wrestling match with that girl. She's stupidly naive, but extremely stubborn. That's some consolation, I suppose, to know that this incarnation of myself is not a weakling like my sister Eleido or my do-nothing brother Chastain.)
For an instant, Vincina found herself hesitating as the old priestess's warning came back to haunt her... of how the Wylde Ways could make people change profoundly....
Even from her superficial skimming of Relena's memories, Vincina knew that Dorothy Catalonia and Milliard Peacecraft were very different from their original selves. No one could consider Dorothy weak-willed like her sister Eleido and Relena's brother Milliard was anything *except* passive and apathetic. The stark contrast between the fiercely dedicated Lady Une and the totally self-absorbed Merielle was mind-boggling, to say nothing about Treize.... Relena had heard many conflicting things about the OZ general, but absolutely NO one had ever described Treize Khushrenada as naive and gullible.
Was it... possible? Could Perane and the other traitors change, as Eleido, Chastain, Koranth, and Merielle had changed? Could the Gundam pilots' sacrifices and selfless acts be genuine and heartfelt, instead of merely being part of a carefully constructed mask?
Vincina abruptly shook her head.
(No. That's impossible. Perhaps my brother and sister, the king and queen have changed. But to be frank, their faults were relatively minor -- more a matter of sheer incompetence and laziness, rather than deliberate evil. Perhaps repeated reincarnations have given them the experience and wisdom to act differently.)
Vincina gritted her teeth angrily.
(But scum like Perane and the other traitors... that's an entirely different story. Some deeds are so reprehensible... sometimes the corruption runs so deep that nothing... absolutely NOTHING can eradicate the stains on their souls. They were monsters and they will always BE monsters, no matter how good they pretend to be. Their present-day personas are nothing more than a facade. Regardless of the pretty packaging, their innermost essence remains the same -- vile, wicked, and evil beyond description.)
As she drifted into a light sleep, Vincina thought, (Perane and his friends are just biding their time, waiting for the right moment to act. Clever, ambitious bastards... imagine how powerful they would be if they combined their elemental powers and sorcery with those Gundams. No one from this world could stop them....)
Vincina stood in the castle doorway, displeased with the world and not afraid to let everyone know it.
"You should be careful, darling. If you keep scowling like that, your face might get permanently stuck in that expression," a familiar slightly nasal male voice said.
She turned to see Perane standing beside her.
"Hn. What a total waste of time."
"Oh, come on, my dear general. It's not that bad. Once Bryon arrives, the greeting ceremony will only take a few minutes. Then you can go back to terrorizing... oops, I mean 'training' your troops."
Glaring at the Air adept, she growled, "It's better than hanging around with all this pompous, useless fools!" waving her gauntlet-covered hand at the colorfully dressed nobles milling around the courtyard. "I bet that if you waved a bared sword in their midst, over half of them would faint on the spot!"
"You're probably right, darling," Perane grinned, his cobalt blue eyes gleaming with wicked humor as he yanked off her gauntlet and kissed her exposed hand.
"Stop that! People are watching!" she hissed at him, snatching her hand away.
"So let them," he retorted, throwing an arm around her shoulders and doing his best to ignore her armor.
Her expression softened just a bit. "At least you know what it's like to fight for your life... to shed blood and suffer in order to carry out your sworn duty. After all, you were the one who single-handedly turned back an entire army of darklings from our eastern border."
Perane's expression turned somber. "Yes, I survived... barely... but over a thousand of my men didn't."
She said curiously, "How did it feel to encounter a Dark Lord?"
With uncharacteristic curtness, Perane said, "Extremely unpleasant." In a much lighter tone, he pointed at an approaching group of horses and said, "There he is. Our new Spirit Guardian."
"What's his name again? Bron? Brennan? Or something like that?"
He snickered and said, "Bryon. His name is Bryon!"
"Didn't you say that you already know him?" she asked.
Perane gave her a sly smirk. "Yes, we were childhood friends. But unfortunately our ways parted when we were twelve years old. He got shipped off to the temple to be trained as a healer. I haven't seen him in... oh, almost eight years."
"Then he's probably changed a great deal."
"If he was chosen as the Spirit Guardian, his healing powers must be extraordinary."
Without taking his eyes off the approaching horses, Perane said, "Bryon's reputed to be the most powerful healer to appear in the last hundred years."
They both watched a lone white horse moved forward into the courtyard and its rider dismounted. From her position, she couldn't quite hear the traditional exchange of words and oaths as King Koranth officially greeted the newly appointed Guardian. However, what she saw didn't particularly impress her. When Perane started to move in Bryon's direction, she followed, muttering to herself, "Goddess! He's got more hair than half the noblewomen at court!"
As Perane and Vincina approached within a few yards, the newly sworn Guardian turned to greet them.
She was struck almost speechless. He was one of the most beautiful people she had ever seen, male OR female, with his stunning violet eyes, exquisite features, and a beguiling, slightly lopsided smile.
The general continued to stare bemusedly at the healer as he and Perane
flung their arms around each other and started chattering nonstop as they
tried to make up for over eight years of separation.
Vincina awoke from her brief nap with a start. Hindsight, it was said, was perfect. Now it was easy for her to see the beginning of Perane's intensely possessive attitude toward Bryon.
(How ironic and perverse that the healer sworn to preserve life at all costs can be reincarnated in this life as a deadly terrorist who likes to call himself 'Shinigami', the God of Death....)
She abruptly sat up on her bed, an odd shiver running down her back.
(The God of Death...,) she repeated slowly to herself.
Most of the Dark Lords who had destroyed her homeland had hideous, unpronounceable names. However, one of the most powerful and most feared of those creatures was known only by its war-name....
....the God of Death.
(Sheer coincidence? I bloody well don't think so!)
Vincina's hands clenched on the sheets as a horrible suspicion dawned on her. She knew that Perane and the other traitors had sacrificed Bryon's life to the Dark Lords in exchange for power. But now she was beginning to wonder if much more than Bryon's *life* had been involved in that diabolical bargain.
Duo slowly awoke to a semi-familiar pressure around his chest. He lifted his head slightly and found himself staring down at a head of dark, unruly hair. He didn't need to see a face to know for certain that it was Heero's head which lay nestled just below his chin. Fast asleep, the Wing pilot had one arm firmly wrapped around Duo's torso, which explained the tightness he felt.
But more importantly, the steady, soothing rhythm of Heero's heartbeat and breathing told him that the Wing pilot was no longer in any danger of dying from his bane-tainted wound.
(Thank god, it worked... whatever I did....)
He tried to lift his hand so he could run his fingers through Heero's hair, but was shocked to realized that his arms were strapped down to the bed.
His movements, however slight, was more than enough to wake up Heero. The Wing pilot stiffened, then suddenly raised his head to look at Duo.
"You feeling okay, Heero?"
The Deathscythe pilot blinked as the Wing pilot gave him an incredulous stare.
"Um.. would you mind taking these damn restraints off?"
When the Wing pilot failed to respond and continued to gaze at the long-haired pilot in astonishment, Duo sighed, then said patiently, "Come on, Heero. Be nice. It's not as if I'm going to run away, you know...."
There was only one thought in Heero's stunned brain as Duo gave him that familiar easy-going smile, his bright violet eyes unshadowed by any ugly memories of a long distant past.
(He... doesn't... remember. He doesn't remember a damn thing!)
(end teaser for Part 2)
Here's the current list of who's who: ^_^
Heero --- Perane (Guardian of the East, Air adept)
Duo ----- Bryon (Spirit Guardian)
Trowa --- Harrow (Guardian of the North, Earth adept)
Quatre -- Trevi (Guardian of the West, Water adept)
Wufei --- Faylin (Guardian of the South, Fire adept)
Treize -- Koranth (King)
Une ----- Merielle (Queen)
Zechs --- Chastain (scholar)
Dorothy - Eleido (noblewoman)
Relena -- Vincina (Warlord)
Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings (w/ Death)
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo (w/ Kitsune)
Keeper of Saitoh's Sex Life ~~~ Saitoh no Koibito
The Full Disclaimer
All rights and privileges to Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing are trademarks and property of Sunrise, Bandai, Sotsu Agency, and associated parties. The characters of these works are used WITHOUT permission for the purpose of entertainment only. This work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.
Original portion of the fiction included here is considered to be the sole property and copyrighted to the author.