Everything must go to chaos for that is where
Prince Milliardo poured two glasses of vintage red
wine into crystal glasses, being careful not to splash
any onto his white jacket and shirt. His guest sat
quietly by the table three feet beyond the bar,
demurely tucking her legs underneath the full skirt of
her blue and silver dress. He watched her through the
reflection upon the wine glasses, assessing her short
bluish black hair, clear blue eyes and full red lips
without betraying his perusal. She was a beautiful
lady, all poise and culture, exuding nobility as if it
was a subtle perfume.
She had shown up when he had notified the right
parties that Dorothy's quarries had been captured,
telling him under no uncertain terms that she was the
one in charge of the situation. Apparently, this lady
outranked Dorothy and had more authority to help him
to the throne. He would tread carefully around this
beautiful woman; as his father had said so long ago,
beauty blinded a man to the true dangers of a woman.
Turning with two glasses held in his gloved hands,
Milliardo smiled politely and made the short walk to
the lady to offer her one of the glasses. She took it
in her soft but firm hands, nodding at him as if he
were a servant. However, Milliardo did not show his
irritation at her condescension. It was time for
diplomacy, not rank throwing.
"My lady, may I say you are the most elegant creature
I have ever seen."
The first rule to dealing with a high born lady was
the flattery. No matter how hard or calculating a
woman was, compliments always broke the ice nicely.
"Do not patronize me, my young prince."
This time, Milliardo did grimace a little. She was
not open to his friendly overtures at all, even
disdaining the much oft used charm of his.
"I apologize, my lady, but you are stunning. But we
are here for business, not flattery."
"Yes," the lady said, "I'm here to get the two you
have captured. Please, would you escort them to this
"Of course, my lady. But before I do, may I please
have the wondrous pleasure of knowing your name?"
A short laugh taunted his most charming request and
set Milliardo further on edge. He did not like being
laughed at, even by ladies as beautiful as this one
"Call me Noin."
"Lady Noin," Milliardo said keeping his voice calm and
smooth, "it is with pleasure that I present you with
He signaled the guard at the door to his room, giving
him a silent command to bring the two boys to the
room. The guard left quickly, leaving him and the
lady Noin alone in silence. Milliardo sipped his wine
to give himself something to do. It seemed that the
lady was not fond of small talk, or any kind of
conversation for that matter.
When the two captured boys arrived bound in chains, it
was with some relief that Milliardo greeted them. He
had never been at a loss for words, especially when
dealing with the fairer sex and they provided some
release from the silent tension.
"Welcome to my sitting room, gentlemen."
Duo snorted at the urbane greeting, letting Milliardo
know exactly what he thought about the whole
situation. Heero, on the other hand, had been alive
far longer and knew how to deal with shallow civility
when the situation called for it.
"Well," Heero drawled out in thinly veiled sarcasm
that made Duo proud, "we're more of the prisoner types
than actual gentlemen. And, we're not sitting. And
we're not welcome."
Heero whipped his head to the lady who sat and watched
them with a hint of amusement and fury lighting her
blue eyes. Recognition was instantaneous.
"Noin. It has been.. ages."
Noin stood and walked up to Heero, completely ignoring
the other mortals in the room with a contempt that was
no longer veiled. The closer she got to Heero, the
more she could feel her rage at the whole mess at
hand. When she was no more than an arm's length from
Heero, she stopped to calm the fury in her heart.
"Heero.. you certainly.. don't look different, do
"Mortality isn't as much of a burden as you thought,
The two of them stared at each other like mortal
enemies, their eyes shooting off sparks that could
have set the room on fire. Duo watched warily, never
having seen Heero so viciously antagonistic of anyone.
Milliardo could only frown at his lady guest and his
unusual prisoner in curiosity and confusion, knowing
that there was a history between the two that ran
deeper than oceans.
"You just had to cause all this trouble, didn't you.
Couldn"t let things be."
"I did what needed to be done."
"Oh really," Noin said with deep disdain, "you thought
it fair to trade the order and well being of the
entire universe for your little mortal. I always knew
you were selfish, but this goes beyond selfish."
"Look, lady," Duo broke in, not able to keep his mouth
shut at Noin's insulting comments, "if you have ever
been in love, you would understand."
The icy look that Noin threw at Duo would have made
lesser mortals quail in their dirty boots, but Duo
faced off against her like an equal. It only
infuriated her more.
"Love.. what a trite little emotion. An excuse to
act the fool, an emotion to sow discord, a feeling to
As if wanting to get a foul taste out of her mouth,
Noin swallowed the wine in her glass in one large
gulp, foregoing the ladylike sipping in which she
usually indulged. She stared hard at this mortal
Heero had chosen in disgust, wanting nothing more than
to make him suffer for the chaos he had caused within
the pattern. But she could not do anything to him
yet. The time was not right, he was free from her and
she could not strangle him with her hands.
"Foolish mortal, foolish Heero.. In three days, you
two will cease to exist. I will be rid of you two."
"You are welcome to try, but you will not succeed. Do
you think I'll lose Duo after finding him, after all
that we've been through?"
"Heero, when did you become so.. melodramatic? After
all you've been through? It has been less than five
months since you used the Pendulum! A sliver of time!
You have become a mortal completely, haven't you. I
do pity you."
The glower that Heero graced upon Noin did not phase
her one bit and she brushed it off before turning on
her heels, facing away from him. With sardonic
amusement marring her smooth voice, she continued to
"After your first folly at loving a mortal, I thought
you knew better. After all that trouble we went
through to free you from that mortal, you still
couldn't let go. Now, you're mired so deep in this
mortal that you can't even think like one of us
anymore. It's sad, Heero, truly sad to see one of my
family fallen so low."
"Shut up, Noin. Don't you ever talk about.."
Duo glanced at Heero's face and saw the lines of pain
and rage that he had not seen since the first moments
of their meeting. Something Noin had said must have
set him off, made him remember something so unpleasant
that the pain he had banished was coming back. But
before Duo could yell at Noin for her insensitivity or
question Heero about it, Noin signaled to Milliardo to
take them away.
The dungeon was like any other dank, musky hole in the
ground, bad odors permeating every last damp brick.
Duo sat against the wall facing the bars, his head
resting on Heero's shoulder and his hand rubbing lazy
circles around Heero's tense thigh. He was replaying
the conversation that Heero had with Noin in his mind,
dissecting and piecing together various pieces of
information that he had gathered along with what he
remembered of his past life. He could feel the memory
tickling him in the back of his mind, dancing and
lurking for him to bring it to light.
"Duo, what are you thinking of?"
The gentle touch of Heero's hand against his face did
not stop his trains of thought ,but it did distract
him for a moment. Shrugging his shoulders, Duo let
out a noncommittal sound that could have meant
"You're okay? Not nervous about tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow?" Duo said absently.
"Yes, remember tomorrow? We're getting out of this
dungeon as per the plan?"
"Oh yeah. No. Not nervous."
Heero watched his lover answer him in short phrases,
not even brothering to hide that his thoughts were far
away. His eyes were distant, looking past the dungeon
and the bars, seeing things that were not before them.
"Heero.. something.. I know there is something I
have to remember.."
Tightening his arm around Duo's waist, Heero asked him
without words what it was that had him so troubled.
"Something happened to you and your past lover..
something that really hurt you and made me resent you.
I keep seeing the cave, lit in rose colors and..
you, I see you with sorrow etched onto your face. Why
is that? What happened?"
Heero was silent, his face grim and thoughtful. He
had thought that Duo's soul had forgotten about that
experience, that it would never have to be mentioned
again. But Noin had to jog his memory as well as give
Duo a hint to the past that should not be recalled.
Heero looked at his lover askance, debating whether or
not to refresh his lover's past self's recollection of
that final moment in the cave. If told wrongly, it
could be very damaging to their relationship now,
something that he could not allow.
"Must you know, Duo?"
"I want to," Duo replied quietly, "but you don't have
to tell me if it's that bad. Maybe some things are
best left alone."
Heero could tell that Duo wanted to know badly, that
he wanted to hear what had happened. As much as Duo
told him over and over that the past did not matter,
that he was not that person from fifteen hundred years
ago, he wanted to know everything about him. To Duo,
anything that had to do with Heero was worth knowing,
whether it was bad or good. Sighing in defeat, Heero
decided that Duo had a right to know, perhaps even a
right to hate him.
"The cave.. was where my past lover died."
Although Duo had suspected as much, it was still a
shock to hear Heero say it with such regret and loss
in his voice. It was as if it had happened yesterday,
not all those years ago from the amount of pain in
Heero's tone. It bothered Duo that someone else had
mattered so much to Heero, even if he had been dead
for a long time and the soul within him was the same
as the past incarnation. It was petty, Duo knew, but
he could not help the little bit of jealousy that
welled up every time that Heero talked of the past
"Did he die hating you?"
Duo waited for Heero to continue. It was a long while
before Heero could put words to the events from that
"We.." Heero cleared his throat and began again, this
time in a stronger voice devoid of any emotions.
"We were just having fun, he and I. Then we went to
that cave.. he wanted to see the rose quartz in
there, how the lights played off the rocks to make
this beautiful light show. But, when we went in, Noin
was waiting for us."
Duo could almost see it in his mind. The joyously
innocent redhead bouncing into the cave with Heero in
tow only to be stopped dead by the cold blue eyes of
the woman they had encountered in Milliardo's room.
"She was there to tell me that I had to choose.
Relena had fated him to die that very day, but Noin
had made it worse. Noin gave the choice of death to
me. She said that he would die that day no matter
what, but it would be up to me to choose how he would
die. There were so many possibilities, each death
seemingly more painful than the last. I pleaded with
her, begged her, yelled at her, but nothing would sway
her. He would die and it was only out of familial
ties that Noin would let me choose his death."
Heero felt Duo grip his hand tightly, crushing the
bones of his hands together and cutting off the
circulation to his fingers. He did not know whether
Duo was giving him support or just expressing his
anger, but he could not stop now.
"So I chose to let him die in the least painful way
possible, for him to just slip away. Just like
sleeping. But he could not understand why I could not
save him, why I could not just whisk him away from the
terrible fate before him. He.. he could not forgive
me for giving into Noin. For letting him die. He
really did hate me before he died, I think. He
thought I chose the Fate's will before him. And you
know, I did choose Noin's ultimatum. I didn't try
hard enough to keep him alive. So, I couldn't forgive
myself either. I never have."
The words faded and Heero looked down onto his lap,
waiting for Duo's reaction. What would he do? What
would he say? He could not raise his head to meet
Duo's eyes. He was too afraid to see condemnation in
his beautiful violet eyes. When Duo said nothing for
a long time, Heero closed his eyes and waited for the
inevitable. Then he felt Duo put his arms around his
shoulders and draw him close. In shock, Heero laid
his head against Duo's chest and listened to his
lover's voice rumbling in his chest.
"Heero.. Heero.. I never imagined.. I.. how can I
deserve you after that? How could my past idiot self
not understand your pain, your heart?"
It was shocking to Heero that Duo was not blaming him
for his past actions, that he was not even considering
being angry with him for choosing his death for his
past self. Did he not say that he felt the resentment
deep within his soul? Wasn't that what had made Duo
hate him at first, that and the fact that he could not
"Are.. are you forgiving me, Duo?"
"You idiot," Duo replied, burying his head deeper into
Heero's hair, "you total fucking idiot.. there is
nothing to forgive. The Fates really fucked you over,
like they did me. Even though you weren't in their
control, they played with you and made you suffer.
It's unforgivable. What they made you do.. I don't
even have the words to tell you how sorry I am that my
past self caused you so much pain."
Heero tightened his hold on Duo and felt his lover
doing the same. They clung to each other in a
desperate attempt to erase the sorrow of the past.
"I love you so, Duo Maxwell. More than that, I
finally understand what it is to love you."
Smiling, Duo responded by placing a small kiss on
"Love you too, Heero. More than I wanted to, less
than I should."
As they held each other and whispered words of love to
each other, they finally buried the past in the
darkness of the dungeon, letting go of the painful
past and opening themselves up fully to the
possibilities of the future.
"Noin, I never realized that you were so unkind. How
could you say that to Heero? How can you be thinking
about using the Raduleum on him?"
Relena paced up and down Milliardo's sitting room, her
agitation showing too clearly in her aggravated
movements. Her sister merely sat and watched her as
she moved about, showing that she did not care much
for Relena's opinions.
"I never even considered that you would use the
Raduleum. It was forbidden to even us by the family!
It's not right and you know it, Noin."
A bored and feigned yawn was the only response Relena
received from her older sister and it infuriated her
even more. The level of her anger was so high that
she could not even speak, but just stare maliciously
at her sister.
"Relena, my dear," Noin said when it was clear Relena
could not continue, "you are not looking at the bigger
picture. Again. This is for the universal order. I
did not decide this casually, but with much regret and
hesitation. I will not enjoy this, but some things
must be done."
"Get off your high horse, Noin. You are just doing
this to salvage your pride! You just can't let it go,
"My pride? Mine? What of yours when you gave Heero
the Pendulum? And what of Heero's when he just
decided to use it for the love of a foolish mortal?
How dare you speak to me of pride when it was you and
Heero who began this mess!"
For once, Relena surprised Noin by stalking up to her
and physically grabbing her by the shoulders and
giving her a rough shake. Relena had never resorted
to violence of any sort and Noin had never been
treated so badly. In fact, Noin was one of the very
few gods who had never been killed.
"Shut up, Noin! We began this by killing Heero's
lover! We made this happen. I set the path to his
death out of jealousy and you made Heero choose out of
vanity. We are the ones to blame. Heero and Duo..
they are just victims to our pride."
"How prettily you argue, Relena. But none of that
really matters now. The tapestry must be brought to
order. They must be erased. It isn't about vengeance
or pride anymore, Relena, but about the world."
"I don't care!" Relena spat heatedly, "and I will do
everything I can to stand in your way, dear sister.
Know this, Noin and don't forget to inform Dorothy. I
am against you. I will not allow you to harm Heero or
Duo. I will make sure the Raduleum fails."
Relena did not bother to stay to hear her sister's
reply to her threatening promise and stomped out of
Milliardo's sitting room. Noin sat in her chair and
watched her sister go in anger and determination, her
face twisted in disappointment. It would not do to
have in fighting at this stage of the mess, but that
was exactly what she had. In frustration, Noin threw
her empty wine glass onto the floor, letting the
delicate crystal shatter into a myriad of pieces on
"Damn it. Damn it all."
Having had enough frustration for one day, Noin
shimmered out of the room in a display of her godly
powers and into her own sanctuary deep in the
mountains of an unknown country. She had to make the
Raduleum work. Nothing could go wrong.
With that in mind, Noin busily set the threads of fate
spinning, trying to outmaneuver her own sister's
chosen paths. She would make sure that all mortals
affected by the chaos of Heero and his mortal dance
the tune she set.
Furtive movements within the shadow failed to register
in the hopelessly tired minds of the palace guards and
two assassins slipped through the outer layer of
security of the castle. Sally maneuvered her body
between the shadows, flitting in and out of darkness
with practiced ease while Hilde followed at a much
more sedate pace. They had to be in position before
daybreak for as soon as the sun broke over the
horizon, Heero and Duo would be freed from their
Once again, Sally ran the logistics of the castle
grounds through her mind, letting the training she
received from the guild wash through her. She and the
others had all pooled their collective knowledge about
Milliardo's castles, memorizing each layout and
planning routes for them. This castle that Heero and
Duo had been brought to was one of the ones they had
not fully known about and Sally did not know exactly
where the dungeons were. The plan was getting hazier
by the moment, but it was too soon to give up in
A short pause brought Hilde back on pace with Sally
and they moved together to yet another dark shadow
within the courtyard. Their black clothes covered
them perfectly in this dark and moonless night, but
the total lack of light from the sky was limiting
their vision. Torch lights were too bright and
inconsistent, giving everything a rusty and rough
look. This was no good. They had very little vision,
a sketchy at best idea of the castle and daybreak was
fast approaching. And still, they were nowhere near
Signaling to Sally, Hilde moved ahead of her, using
her smaller and more agile body to slip into a crack
between the walls to reach the other side of the
courtyard. Sally waited tensely for Hilde's return,
standing very still in the dark while her partner
scouted the other side. When it seemed that time was
running short, Hilde returned and shook her head in a
sad negative way, telling her that she had not found a
way into the dungeons from the other side.
Stifling a sigh of frustration, Sally motioned to
Hilde to follow and then they were off again, making
their way across the castle grounds, looking for a way
into the castle without giving off an alarm. No
matter what, they would not fail Heero and Duo.