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[ 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. ]

A GW fan fic: Once Upon A Time…

By Stargem

Author's notes: Definitely OOC ^^;;; My slightly off-center attempt at a fairy tale *coughs*

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Once upon a time, there lived a Prince in a faraway kingdom where the people were happy and good and Fortune smiled on the land. The King and Queen, being very, very busy monarchs, had indulged in their only son's every whim and allowed him freedom to do whatever he wished in place of parental love and affection. They named him Heero.

Prince Heero grew up to be a most unusual Prince. He was handsome, as all fairytale princes should be, but that was where the resemblance to an everyday prince ended. Prince Heero was antisocial, psychopathic and took an unhealthy degree of delight in the destruction of anything or anyone. He hunted down the best teachers in physical combat and all forms of destructive devices and had them teach him everything they knew. By age sixteen, he was an accomplished swordsman, assassin, hunter and more. He hunted the animals in the forest to extinction and vanquished every warrior there was in the kingdom. That done and over with, he turned his attention to the demolition business. His parents were starting to worry that their son would end up blowing up the entire kingdom from sheer boredom.

Prince Heero had no interest in girls, art or any other occupation suggested by his parents. He was starting to bomb the palace with increasing numbers of destructive devices. The King's near-heart attacks greatly increased when he read the repair bill at the end of each week.

One day, a proposal of marriage came from the neighbouring kingdom, offering the hand of their Princess Relena as a gesture of goodwill. The harried King and Queen immediately accepted, thankful that their son would be destroying someone else's palace for a change.

"You must go and marry the Princess," the old King ordered firmly.

Prince Heero merely shrugged and accepted. There wasn't anything in particular that he was doing anyway.

The Princess Relena immediately fell head over heels for the frosty-eyed, shut off Prince who resisted her every attempt to draw him into a relationship. She vowed that by the end of the year, she would have him at the altar as her groom. Prince Heero was less than happy with his fiancée, finding her to be entirely too touchy-feely, possessing very little brains and an irritating, high-pitched shrill for a voice.

The frustrated Princess decided to seek the help of the Magi, a man of power who could grant wishes. She set off for the desert and rode her white palfrey through miles of golden sand until she reached the oasis wherein the Magi lived. She found a golden-haired young man seated by the pool playing sweet but sorrowful music on his violin.

"Sir, are you the great Magi who has the power to grant wishes?" Princess Relena asked him.

The youth opened his brilliant blue eyes and set down his instrument, turning to the Princess with a gentle smile. "So I am."

The Princess Relena was delighted. "Oh please, kind and powerful Magi, grant me a wish. Let it be that Prince Heero will love me forever and ever."

The Magi tilted his head and pondered her request. After a moment, he spoke in a voice that was soft but filled with power, like the sands that shift in the wind. "Your wish I cannot grant for it is not right to compel the will and feelings of a human to something that he does not want."

Cried the Princess in dismay, "But you must help me!"

"Fair Princess, I could not help you even if I wished to, for my power is halved and of no use to you."

Said the Princess Relena, "How can this be so?"

"Ah," said the Magi, "that is because my soul is incomplete without my beloved, the Nameless Wanderer. We were split apart many years ago by a great Magic and I have been bound here, unable to go and search for my beloved. The Nameless Wanderer shall seek for but never find me unless another were to lead him here."

In desperation, the Princess asked, "If I bring her to you, will you grant my wish?"

The Magi smiled and corrected softly, "He is the missing half of my heart, and I will gladly do all I can to help you should you be able to reunite us."

At this, the Princess Relena blushed and stammered, "Then I shall find her- him and bring him back to you. But you must promise to help me."

The Magi inclined his head gravely, "I shall."

So the Princess set off and rode back to the kingdom and asked around until she was told of a nameless young man who wandered unhappily from town to town, searching for a golden-haired angel. With all haste, the Princess hunted him down and told him of the Magi and gave him a horse to get there by. She led him across the desert, back to the Magi's oasis.

When he heard the strains of violin floating mournfully on the air, the Nameless Wanderer immediately recognised his beloved's music and took out his flute to play in answer. The harmonious song turned to a joyous note as the two ran to each other.

With his arms around his beloved, the Magi addressed the Princess once more, "You have brought my soulmate back to me and for that you have my eternal gratitude. I shall aid you as best as I can in your pursuit of the Prince, but I do not promise his heart."

***

"Tell me then, what must I do?" Princess Relena asked.

The Magi looked thoughtful. "I do not rightly know. I advise you to try the Shadow man. He may have the answer."

The Princess Relena did not stop to thank the Magi - not that he would have listened anyway being too busy fussing over his beloved - and rode off to the dark lands of the Shadow man.

Timidly, she knocked on the great doors of the forbidding castle that was his dwelling and bravely kept from screaming as the Shadow man himself came down to greet her.

"Princess, what brings you to my door?" A voice as cold and dead as ice spoke into her ear.

"Master Shadow, I am in need of help. Tell me what is the key to Prince Heero's heart."

The Shadow man laughed a chilling laugh and asked, "Oho, so this is your wish? Well, you are right to come to me, for I alone possess the one thing that could unlock the Prince's heart."

Eagerly the Princess said, "Master Shadow, would you be willing to give it to me?"

The Shadow man laughed again. "Ask it yourself, Princess."

The door slammed shut and a mass of black was flung down from the tower, yelling all the way. A chestnut-haired youth landed at the Princess's feet, shrieking curses at the Shadow man, tugging agitatedly on his braid. He blinked up at the astonished Princess and pasted on a grin that was more of a grimace.

"Princess, how may I be of service? Since the old geezer kicked me out, I've no place to stay, so perhaps you would be kind enough to take me home in exchange for a year of my servitude? I'm good with children if you have any and a great conversationalist. Perhaps if you had a banquet, I could help keep the party going! Yessir, there isn't any finer servant to be found than Duo in the kingdom."

The Princess was dazed by the rapid spiel, but managed a vague nod in answer, without really digesting his words. Duo leapt up and brushed himself off, attaching himself to her side but mindful not to get too close.

"Great! Let's get going now, shall we, Princess? I'm sure it'll be a long and boring ride to the palace, so why don't I tell you a story of the Djinn of the desert? Do you like stories?"

And so it came to pass that the Princess was forced to bring home the ever-chattering, cheerful and bouncy Duo as her servant. She was vexed, as she could not fathom how the boy could possibly be the key to the cold Prince Heero's heart. Still, she knew the Magi would not have steered her wrong and was certain the Shadow man had not lied.

Upon meeting, Prince Heero and Duo were off to a rather rocky start as friends as the hyperactive braided boy attempted to pierce through the Prince's mask of cold unfeeling and was pushed away time and again. Eventually, the determined Duo battered down the Prince's hostile defenses and captured his heart. The Princess Relena was furious at this turn of events and stormed off to the Shadow man.

The Princess shouted up at the castle, "Shadow man, you lied to me! The 'key' you have given me has seduced my Prince and made him love me not at all!"

Dryly, the Shadow man replied, "Princess, you only asked to be given the key to the Prince's heart, not his love. That boy is the key, for he is the missing piece of Prince Heero's soul. They are destined for each other."

At this, the Princess Relena threw an enormous tantrum and made all haste to the Magi's oasis.

"Magi, you promised to help me!" Princess Relena said angrily.

"So I did," blinked the golden-haired youth, snuggled in the arms of the taller, silent boy, named the Magi's Beloved. "What is it that you wish?"

"I wish for ten thousand evils to befall the demon in disguise, Duo! Let it be so that he shall suffer great pains till it becomes his death."

The Magi arched a brow. "I cannot condone such an act."

Princess Relena stomped her foot petulantly. "Then at least give me a curse that I may lay on him, even if I have to do so myself! You cannot break your promise to me."

"That is true," murmured the Magi, troubled. "Very well. However, this is the last thing you shall ever ask of me."

The Magi gave the Princess a tiny packet of powder, telling her to go forth and sprinkle it in the drink of her rival so her evil would come to pass. Eagerly, Princess Relena hurried back and did as told, leaving the cursed brew in Duo's chamber. Alas, it was Heero who took the vile potion as he came to his beloved's chamber that night, thinking it was left for him. Immediately he was stricken blind and dumb and horrible pain cramped every nerve in his body. Such was the curse Relena had wished to fall on Duo.

The Princess was aghast to find that it was her Prince who had been victim to her mischief and wailed in grief. She balked at touching him, for in such a state the Prince's beauty was masked and he sparked not the slightest desire within her. Duo was panic-stricken to find his love in such pain and made swiftly for the Magi's oasis.

Bursting in on the surprised Magi and his companion he cried, "A great wrong has been done to the Prince for he has been cursed with blindness, dumbness and immeasurable pain. Tell me, Magi, is there a way I may cure him?"

"Calm yourself. I shall tell you what needs to be done. The curse placed upon the Prince is strong for it is a death-curse. It can only be countered by the heart-blood of one who truly loves him. Take this potion and mix it with your heart's blood, then give it to the Prince to drink and he will be well once more."

With all haste, Duo did as he was bid and pierced his own heart with the Prince's blade, spilling his life-blood into the cup. The cure was forced past Prince Heero's slack lips with his last, dying strength before he allowed a deep swoon to claim him, sprawling in a bloody heap on the cold stone floor.

After a time, the Prince regained his senses and was filled with anguish as he beheld the still body lying at his feet, blood seeping from a deep cut to his heart. He cried out in denial and made to take Duo into his arms when the door was flung open by his guards, accompanied by Princess Relena.

"See, see!" Princess Relena proclaimed. "The Devil himself has played his tricks on the Prince and would devour his soul. Even now the Prince has been claimed by its spell, but he is not yet lost."

And the guards believed the Princess's treachery and hauled the unmoving Duo's body out of the room to deposit into the cold, murky depths of the moat. "Be gone then, foul demon!" And they spat and made signs to ward off the evil.

The Prince was locked into his chambers, raging ineffectually for he was still weak. Princess Relena made sweet entreaties for him to cease his madness and marry her but gained only threats and harsh words. The kingdom pitied her and murmured at her steadfast loyalty. Surely the Prince was a fool to refuse the sweet and merciful princess that promised him release?

But all the Prince could think of was the bright-eyed, laughing youth who had, despite his impenetrable coldness, loved him so fiercely that he had no choice but to return it. Violet eyes and a lop-sided grin haunted his every waking moment while a braided shadow embraced him in his dreams.

Finally, Prince Heero gave vent his torment, "Why, why do the fates choose to be so cruel? My love - he should not have died for me…"

And far away, the Magi heard him and was sorry for him. The golden-haired youth appeared before Prince Heero in his gilded cage and spoke gently to the grieving prince.

"Do not grieve, Prince Heero for I have come over many miles to grant you a wish, a single request. The one you mourn is not lost to you - he is waiting for the time that you will call him back to your arms. Do you wish that he be restored to you?"

The Prince's eyes glittered. "Yes."

"Then let it be so." The Magi made a gesture and a great wind blew through the room as happy laughter trickled in, followed up by a thrumming hum that resolved in a fantastic whirl of shadow.

And out of the ferocious storm emerged a blinking, braided figure, shrugging off the darkness that clutched at him with greedy fingers and grinned broadly. The Magi made another gesture and he was gone, back to his loved one, waiting patiently for his return.

"Duo," the Prince murmured in astonishment. "You are alive. You are here… with me."

And gravely, the braided youth shushed him, twining his body around him. "Shh, I am here. I have returned to you, and I shall never leave you again."

Then the Princess was accused of witchcraft and her treachery exposed, and she was flung screaming into the darkest, tiniest cell available in the dungeons and quickly forgotten. Duo's name was cleared and there was a great celebration as he was announced as the Prince's chosen mate. Come spring there was a grand wedding where all the people cheered as vows were taken and sealed with a kiss under the benevolent eyes of the King and Queen. And they all lived happily ever after.

~ Owari

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(© May 2000 by Stargem)

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