Fate is written in stone, but even the hardest of
stones can break and shatter under the right guiding
Most days, Milliardo slept well past noon since he
spent his nights poring over documents necessary for
running a kingdom. His father, the one who was king
and supposedly responsible for taking care of those
documents, was too old and senile to do anything so it
had fallen to him and Relena to take care of the
kingdom. And with Relena safely out of his way of
ascension to the throne and everyone else in line, he
was effectively in charge of the kingdom. Dorothy's
promise of helping him achieve the throne seemed
unneeded now, but he would not take the chance of
breaking his end of the bargain in fear that she could
prevent him from becoming king. It was a hard
business being a prince, especially today.
The sun was barely up and he had not slept more than
an hour when a guard came into his room to announce in
a tremulous voice that the two prisoners he had
captured for Dorothy and Noin had escaped the
dungeons. There was nothing to do but for him to
order an all out search, as discreetly as possible of
course, and then figure out a way to keep this bit of
bad news from the ladies. Milliardo watched the
guards exit his room with undue haste to carry out his
orders and pondered if he should go with the search
team himself to make sure the job was done right.
However, with the ladies Noin and Dorothy as his
guests in the castle somewhere, it would be very
unseemly to leave. The rules of etiquette held him in
the castle in the end.
When a guard came in several hours later, the news was
not good. It was as if the two had disappeared
completely, like a breeze in a hurricane. No one
could figure out how they had managed to escape from
the dungeons either and the mystery of them deepened.
After hearing the news, Milliardo decided to talk to
the ladies; if they found out on their own later, it
would certainly do him no good.
Formulating a suitably apologetic yet defensive speech
within his mind, Milliardo walked towards the guest
quarters of his lavish palatial castle, each step
echoing off the marble walls in sharp ringing beats.
He had already decided that he would apologize to the
Lady Noin first since it seemed that she was in
charge, then offer a solution of sorts. What
solution, he was yet unsure since it seemed that those
two were completely out of his hands, but he had to
say something or incur their wrath.
Sometime during his long thought processes, he had
reached the large double doors of cedar and gold
leading to the rooms assigned to the ladies. Usually,
the doors did not seem so imposing, but with the news
he had, they looked like the gaping maws of hell to
him. For some reason that even he could not clarify,
he was afraid of the two ladies. They were slight in
stature, willowy and beautiful, exuding grace and
culture unlike any women he had ever met. They should
not have caused him any fear, only appreciation and
perhaps some lust. However, something about the way
they talked, the way they seemed to have knowledge far
beyond the mortal sphere..
Swallowing his fear and reasserting his manliness,
Milliardo knocked on the double doors and awaited
permission to enter.
"She isn't vindictive, Noin. She's just as desperate
as we are."
Snarling, Noin pushed past Dorothy and continued to
stalk around the room like a maddened tiger on a
leash. It was quite unacceptable, no matter what
Dorothy said to excuse Relena's behavior. Just
earlier, not even half and hour of human time ago, her
delinquent sister had woven the threads to let the two
chaotic elements escape from their clutches.
"How dare she do this to us? She wants chaos? She
wants to lose everything to nothingness?"
Dorothy could do nothing as she watched her oldest
sister rant on about the end of the universe. She
might have laughed at the display Noin was putting on
had the situation not been so dire. And honestly, she
had never thought Relena would go that far either.
Yet, Dorothy had to wonder, if the two were really as
bad as Noin thought they were.
"Noin.. if they do manage to escape the Raduleum,
would it be as terrible as you say?"
The thick and tense silence was almost unbearable as
Noin stared unbelievingly at Dorothy. It was enough
that Relena had completely defected from their cause,
but to have Dorothy question her was too much. But
Dorothy had questioned, the one who should have
supported her through the end with the Raduleum. If
she questioned now, what could be in store in the
"Do you even have any idea what you are asking?
Dorothy, two mortals are without destinies. They can
muddle all the other threads! They are like a drop of
water in a still pond, seemingly small and
insignificant until the ripples dance through the
entirety of the pond. They are already damaging
everything! Look what has happened to the threads of
those mortals they've touched already. Nothing is
going the way I planned, the way Relena should have
Dorothy listened to Noin rave on sadly, knowing that
her sister was right about everything but still
feeling that nagging guilt in the back of her mind.
She had not known Heero as well as Noin nor loved him
like Relena, but she had never felt animosity for him.
He had never done anything to her and he was family.
Dorothy could care less for the mortal... they came and
went so frequently that she couldn't really be
bothered to remember. But Noin was talking about
Heero. The one who had been with them since the
beginning, if there had ever been one.
To consider erasing him from existence completely was
somehow unsettling, too close to home. If they could
find a reason to erase Heero, why not another? Then
another? It seemed like a line of immeasurably long
dominoes hovering before her and Heero the first in
line to get tipped. The prospect of Heero's escape
from the Raduleum was horrible, most definitely,
almost as much as the prospect of erasing one of their
own. Now, Dorothy was having doubts about their plan.
"You will not be betraying me too, are you?"
Dorothy turned her head sharply towards Noin who
stared at her with wide eyes. More than the look in
her eyes, it was the tone of betrayal and hurt present
in Noin's voice that put it through to her that her
sister was more fragile than she appeared. Noin may
have been ranting and raving about the order of the
universe and being adamant about Heero's erasure, but
Dorothy suddenly knew that her older sister was not as
gung-ho as she wanted others to believe. Noin was as
uncertain, if not feeling more guilty, about this
"I would never betray you, Noin. But only if Relena
had talked to us before she gave Heero the Pendulum.."
"Love makes all of us do foolish things."
There was nothing truer in the universe than that.
"Enough of this idiocy. We must find Heero."
And the work began again, both Noin and Dorothy
rippling through the threads of mortal fate in an
effort to recapture and put the world back on its
Strands of blond hair floated in the air, wafting
gently to the ground. Quatre stared at his hair which
had been attached to his head only seconds ago as they
danced in the air before him, ignoring the sharp knife
whizzing just beyond his face. He managed to just get
back out of staring at his hair in time to avoid the
backward slash from the same knife and then he shoved
a poniard through his assailant's heart with a
The sun was setting in a splash of oranges and pinks
in the western sky, but no one was watching the lovely
display of nature. In fact, everyone was much too
busy fighting off yet another wave of Milliardo's
recovery squad. They had all met up again without
incident just after the sun rose at the appointed
meeting place, Heero and Duo in one piece as they were
supposed to be. Then soon after, they had found
themselves hiding from the castle squads as they
searched high and low for the missing twosome until
finally, they had broken cover and had run for it.
Now, they were fighting off wave after wave of what
seemed to be an endless group of soldiers, just
fighting to keep their lives.
The one bright spot in this desperate flight was
Relena's presence as she desperately wove and rewove
countless threads to help them out, thwarting her
sisters' plans. Wufei and Sally stood around Relena
as she concentrated on forming the pattern, defending
her body and her concentration. Duo and Heero fought
as one as they always did, each a smooth extension of
the other, moving fluidly and continuously in one
constant body. Quatre, besides losing a bit of his
hair, was doing just fine, but he was distracted ever
so often by Trowa's presence, his resolve to stand his
ground breaking every time the green eyed boy was in
any remote danger. Thankfully, Trowa fought with
caution and expertise, knowing of his blond lover's
After what seemed to be an eternity, the skirmish was
over and they were on the move again. Relena ran
along with them, lifting her silken skirts above her
knees to keep from tripping, keeping pace with the
more experienced crew. When she had suddenly shown up
before Sally and Hilde as they ran around the castle
to help out, it had been a miracle that her sisters
had not pounced as soon as the threads had started
moving again. Then it had been touch and go,
constantly trying to out-think Noin as they ran. It
did help that Duo and Heero were free from Noin's
meddling... what they did, Noin could not control.
More than that, it had helped that they were both very
skillful fighters, able to hold their own against most
The Raduleum.. Relena could only shudder at the
thought of using that against anyone, especially one
of their own. Noin was quite adamant, however, and
Relena had no choice but to go against her. For
better or for worse, Relena could not help her sisters
wreck Heero once again. So she ran desperately
alongside her new group, determined for the first time
in her life to defend something other than herself.
The couple of days ran out for all parties involved in
a haze of battles, hiding and strategizing. Noin and
Dorothy became more overt in their actions, sending
out mortals in a whim to find the errant chaotic
elements, using Milliardo's thread shamelessly in an
effort to recapture Duo and Heero. Relena was no less
unscrupulous, constantly barraging selected mortals
with horrible futures in an attempt to keep them away
from Heero and the group. She personally felt bad for
a couple of the mortals whom she had set off on a path
to a terribly painful death, but it was all for saving
her friend. It had to be worth the suffering others
They only had a few hours left until the Raduleum
would be ineffective and all they had to do was run
until time ran out on them. Once they passed the
appointed time, then the Raduleum would be unusable
for a hundred and some years, enough time for Duo and
Heero to live out their mortal lives in happiness.
Relena wondered even if the Raduleum was not used, if
her sisters would be able to leave the two of them
alone. Noin was not the type to give in easily and
she definitely did not appreciate mortals who warped
the pattern. There were so many things to worry
about, but that would have to wait until after they
were done running from Noin.
Relena looked about her surreptitiously, noting that
her companions were worn and tired, but still
determined to run for all they were worth. She
checked the threads and found that she had given them
all paths of freedom and long lives in her efforts to
help Duo and Heero. There was nothing Noin could do
that could damage the paths she had set out for them
at this point and that made her smile. In the past,
she could have cared less for mortals that she chose
futures for, always looking at the pattern instead of
the individuals. But now, after spending so much time
around this group, she felt like she had done well
with her choosing for them instead of the pattern.
Surely she had sent a few others down treacherous
paths in an effort to secure these friends of hers a
happier future and she had most definitely messed up
the pretty picture of the pattern, but it satisfied
her to know that her friends would not suffer due to
It was worth it, she decided. Even after spending
time on the mortal plane living out mortal lives as
she wished, she had never felt connected to any one
person outside of her family. Even those she was
supposed to consider her mortal family had never
touched her heart in any way, but had only served to
be props in her little play at living like a mortal.
The man who was supposed to be her brother, Milliardo,
merited less care from her than a grasshopper,
especially since his path had shown that Noin had used
him to get her out of the mortal realm. She did not
blame him for killing her, no more than she blamed Duo
for carrying out his orders, but it rankled that
someone who was supposed to be her brother had ordered
her killed for something as paltry as the throne. She
looked at Wufei, noting again that he would never be
able to do that to anyone he considered family. No
path she could have chosen held that type of a future
for him, his thread and personality being devoid of
betrayal of any sort. The same went for Trowa and
Quatre, the two silver threads that she had woven so
finely together as lovers. They also held nothing
that could have turned them against anyone they loved.
Sally and Hilde were also of the same kindred and
nothing she could have chosen from her infinite will
could have turned them into betrayers. She had fallen
in with a most honorable crowd of mortals and she felt
more at home with them than she had with Milliardo.
"You look like you're way too deep in that thought."
Relena swiveled her head towards the amused tenor
voice and saw a smiling face dominated by violet eyes.
As bewildering as it was to her, she had begun to
like Duo Maxwell, seeing finally what Heero had fallen
in love with so completely.
"I'm just trying to sort things out."
"Well," Duo said with a serious face, "if you think
too hard, your head will explode.. but you're a god,
you can put yourself back together pretty fucking
Relena laughed, letting the delighted sound echo
around the small clearing. The others in the group
looked up, puzzled at the strangely merry sound coming
from Relena. She had been so silent in the past
couple of days, always too busy working her Fates mojo
to converse or laugh.
"You still have a mouth that should be cleaned out
with soap and a scrub brush, Duo Maxwell."
"Yeah, but I'd rather Heero do it with his tongue, if
you know what I mean."
Relena rolled her eyes melodramatically, getting in
the rhythm of repartee.
"How can I not know what you mean? It's not even a
single entendre, let alone a double."
"That would be a point to Relena."
Both Relena and Duo cocked their heads towards Heero
in unison, nodding in agreement. Then Duo sauntered
over to Heero, his hips swaying overly indecently, and
gave his lover a sound kiss on the lips.
"One of these days, I will beat her in this game of
"Yes, Duo," Heero replied stoically, but failing to
hide the twinkling smile from his eyes, "you will.
When you have lived as long as she has."
"Are you calling her an old lady?"
Wriggling his eyebrows, Heero turned slowly to face
Relena with Duo still draped around him and gave her
an appraising stare that made her blush faintly.
"Old, yes. Lady, never."
They both heard Relena grumble almost inaudibly.
"Point to Heero.."
"That was a low shot and you know it."
Sally jumped into the fray with professionalism,
picking out her targets and getting set to defend
herself. They all needed this light hearted break
before the pressure mounted again.
"Low, but effective." Wufei replied.
"That's what a man would say."
"Yes," Relena continued when Sally gave her a look to
go with it, "men have absolutely no sense of dignity,
verbally abusing women in such a manner. Are we three
women not delicate creatures, as subtle as the spring
wind, as ethereal as the air?"
"Delicate my ass," said Quatre, "and subtle? Are you
sure you're talking about the three of you, not angel
"Oh, shush, you blond puff."
"Now, Hilde," Sally said in a mock school teacher
tone, "be more creative. Blond puff isn't
"Don't think of anything creative for my sake," Quatre
said before Hilde could get herself together, "because
that effort just may short fry your delicate feminine
brain filled with ethereal air."
"When did Quatre get so good at this, Heero?" Duo
asked, mildly surprised at his blond friend's wit.
"Duo, if you paused enough during the admiration for
your own voice, you might have noticed that other
people can talk as well, if not better, than you."
"Damn," Duo mumbled, "point to Trowa."
And so went the clever game of wits, each contributing
biting remarks and humorous interludes. Relena had
never had so much fun, matching wits with her friends.
Her mortal friends. More than ever, she was
determined to protect this group from her sisters.
She would not allow anything to happen to them and she
would keep vigil over their souls for as long as there