Disclaimers: Nope, don't own it. Don't own the song either. That belongs to Loreena McKennitt.

Pairing: 1+2+1, Rx1, 1xSN, 4+5 (blink and miss it)
Rating: PG-13ish
Spoilers: none
Comments: to chibirei @ hotmail.com
Warnings: shounen ai, het, angst, death, bastardized (or should that be bitchified) Relena... it's rather morbid -_-;;
Additional Warning: This is not your average give-everyone-a-happy-ending Caro-chan fic.

// lyrics //

The Bonny Swans
by Caroline

// A farmer there lived in the north country
a hey ho and a bonny o
And he had daughters one, two, three
The swans swim so bonny o //

Once upon a time, for that is how all tales must begin, there lived a kind lord and his gentle lady. Lord Maxwell and his Lady, Helene, lived at the very northern edge of a great kingdom where the land was fertile and bounteous. Peace had reigned in the kingdom for many generations, giving the Maxwell clan a chance to flourish and grow in the years following the last wars. Under Lord Maxwell's watchful eye and Lady Helene's kindly heart, the people and land prospered. No one went hungry. There were very few fears of bandits and thieves. Everyone was content and happy.

Or rather, very nearly everyone. A tale such as this must have a villain. But this villain was not like other fairy tale villains. She was not ugly; on the contrary, she was very beautiful, with deep sapphire eyes and hair that shimmered like spun gold. She did not work magic, nor did she consort with demons to get what she wanted. She was simply a young woman suffering from unrequited love.

Lord Maxwell and Lady Helene had three beautiful children, two lovely girls with blonde hair, and a boy, the youngest and fairest of them all. The three children were the pride and joy of their parents as well as the people of the tiny barony. The servants in the Keep positively doted on them. No one could be sad or angry for very long when those three were around.

Relena was the eldest. Graceful and beautiful, she was a true lady, a peace keeper like her mother. Sylvia was the middle child. She was the shy one, always preferring to spend time in her beloved library than making mischief with her siblings. She was not as beautiful as her sister, but it was her inner beauty, her soul, which set her apart from Relena.

And then there was Duo, the youngest and only boy, and sadly the tragic victim of this little tale. Relena and Sylvia may have been beautiful, but Duo… Duo far surpassed them both. He had long,long chestnut hair which shone with a coppery fire every time the light struck it. His eyes were a peculiar shade of blue-violet that could charm even the most hardhearted of the kitchen staff out of food any time of the day or night. He and Relena were always getting into mischief, but one soulful look from those eyes would stay even hisfather's heavy hand when caught.

The three children grew up happy and loved. They wanted for nothing, and grew up as close as a family could be.

But like the changing of the seasons, nothing stays the same. The children grew up, becoming even more beautiful than they had been in their early childhood. And here is where our tale takes its sad and mournful turn.

When Relena neared her seventeenth year, the High King of the land sent a delegation to negotiate a marriage between his only son and heir, Prince Heero, and one of Lord Maxwell's children. The Lord and Lady were overcome with joy that one of their children would be chosen to reign by the side of the future King. They sent the delegation back to the capital and began preparations for receiving His Royal Highness in one month's time.

For the next month, the Keep bustled with activity. Sylvia, who had just passed her sixteenth year, was put in charge of the actual Keep itself. She directed the maids and chamberlains to prepare the Prince's chambers. Duo and his father were overseeing the lands. But it was Relena who had the most important job. As the eldest, she had the right of marrying the Prince should he so choose. Visions of becoming Queen were already dancing through her head. She and her mother spent her days preparing her trousseau in preparation for the Heir's arrival.

Had Fate and the Gods not stepped in, the visit would have taken an entirely different course, Relena would have been crowned Princess, and that would be the end of this tale. But the course of true love has never run smooth. While Relena was dreaming of her wedding, the Gods above were hatching a different plan.

No one expected a sudden spring storm to ravage the countryside the day of the Prince's arrival. No one knew that while Lord Maxwell and his son raced off to help save a family from a flash flood, the Prince and his entourage would be diverted by a mud slide. No one seemed to notice the extra bodies that had seen the rescuers sandbagging the rapidly rising river and rushed to help. No one took note of the fine clothing the newcomers wore. No one realized just who was working beside them until the last of the bags had been placed and the river was held at bay. No one was looking when dark prussian eyes met blue-violet. No one seemed to care that for two of their number the world had stopped. No one saw two hands reaching for each other, joining at the exact moment the rain stopped.

When the clouds parted and the sun came out, Lord Maxwell looked around for his son, only to find him standing hand-in-hand with the Prince, smiling up at the dark haired young man with a look of utter joy on his face. The Prince had a similar look upon his own face, and Lord Maxwell knew at that moment he would be losing a son come midsummer when the Prince took him as his Consort.

Covered nearly head to toe in mud, the rescue party and the Prince's entourage arrived triumphantly at the Keep later that day. No one seemed particularly surprised over Lord Maxwell's announcement that Prince Heero had chosen Duo to become his consort. After all, true love at first sight is a common thing in these kinds of tales. After watching Heero and Duo together, everyone agreed it was the best possible match. The two were most assuredly In Love. Lady Helene wept at the thought of losing her baby, but like everyone else in the barony, she was overjoyed at the thought of kind, beautiful Duo becoming Consort.

Everyone except Relena of course. She too had fallen in love with the Prince at first sight. How could she not? Prince Heero was handsome, brave, and strong. Even shy Sylvia became flustered around the Heir. But to Relena, he was everything. She was the eldest. It should have been her at Heero's side, gazing adoringly at him like her brother was doing. She had protested, but her parents had told her that ultimately it was the Prince's decision and he had chosen her brother. She fumed, but to no avail. All she could do was watch Heero from a distance as he wooed her brother with smiles and words that should have been meant for *her*.

And as she watched, a seed of hatred was planted in her heart - a seed which grew and grew until there was no room in her soul save one thought.


// His daughters they walked by the river's brim
a hey ho and a bonny o
The eldest pushed the youngest in
The swans swim so bonny o //

Midsummer's day drew ever closer, and with it, the marriage between the Prince and young Duo. The entire kingdom was preparing for the joyous occasion - all save one. Relena's fury at her brother grew a little more with each passing day. But with the excitement of the upcoming blessed event, no one seemed to notice.

The rains continued to fall throughout the spring, causing the river to rise again. Fortunately, even the gods seemed to be moved by the young lovers' happiness, for no one lost their life in the raging waters that season. It was a time of great joy for all. Little did anyone know that their greatest joy would be followed by their greatest sorrow.

Spring gave way to summer as the last of the heavy rains ceased to fall. The sun returned to the land, and the three Maxwell children decided to take advantage of the warm, clear day to picnic along the banks of the swollen river.

The sun was dancing high among the fluffy clouds when Sylvia declared she wanted to take a walk upstream to look for bleeding-hearts and forget-me-nots. Had she but known what was to happen, she might have been able to forestall the tragedy which was about to take place.

Alone with her hated brother, Relena talked Duo into accompanying her to the water's edge. The young Consort-to-be hesitated, not wanting to get too close for the river was still swollen and angry from the spring floods. But Relena begged and pleaded until her too-trusting sibling complied.

As the walked along the river's brim, Relena spotted a polished stone in the water and asked her brother to get it for her. Duo, who adored and loved his older sister, carefully stretched himself out over the water to retrieve the bauble for her. Just as his balanced wavered precariously over the rushing water, Relena leaned forward and, with one mighty shove, pushed her brother into the swirling waters below.

// Oh sister, oh sister, pray lend me your hand
with a hey ho and a bonny o
And I will give you house and land
the swans swim so bonny o //

Duo did not even have time to scream as the cold, icy fingers of the river clutched at his clothing, threatening to drag him down into the dark depths below. The sound of the rushing water was deafening, as though the river were howling in triumph over its unexpected prize. It caught the end of his cloak and pulled. Terrified beyond reason, Duo reached out and grabbed onto a tree branch hanging just over the surface of the raging water.

From the bank, Relena watched her brother struggle with cold, unfeeling eyes. Duo saw her and stretched out his hand to her.

"Dear sister, pray stretch out your hand," he cried, the fingers on his other hand beginning to slip as the waters continued to tear at him.

// I'll give you neither hand nor glove
with a hey ho and a bonny o
Unless you give me your own true love
the swans swim so bonny o //

"Why should I give you my hand?" Relena asked. "What have you ever given me?"

"When Heero and I are wed, I shall give you a fine estate and land enough for you to find a good husband," Duo replied.

"A good husband? I had one and you *stole* him from me!" she cried, the seed of hatred in her heart burning her from within.

"Relena, please! We are siblings. Does that mean nothing to you?"

"Give me what I want and I shall pull you in," the golden-haired girl said.

"What is it you want? If it's within my grasp, I promise you shall have it," Duo replied, fearing he would not be able to hold on much longer.

"Give me Heero. Tell the Prince you cannot marry him."

Duo's blue-violet eyes grew wide as he realized now the fate that would befall him. His fingers were cold and numb and he knew he would not be able to hold on for more than a few more moments. The river roared in triumph as it sensed the young man's struggles growing weaker by the moment. With sad eyes, he looked at the sister he no longer knew and said, "You ask the one thing I cannot give."

"Then I shall take him from you," Relena hissed as the branch holding her brother above water finally snapped, sending him tumbling into the cold, waiting arms of death below. She stood on the bank and watched for as long as she could, but her brother's head ne'er broke the surface again.

// Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam
with a hey ho and a bonny o
Until she came to a miller's dam
the swans swim so bonny o //

Had this not been a tale, the story might have ended here with the tragic death of the Prince's beloved. But tales such as this are bound by fantastic rules. And so the story continues…

While no one on Earth knew of the beautiful boy's death for several hours, there were those beyond it who knew instantly. The sky turned dark as the flaxen-haired god of Love wept shamelessly for His favored mortal. Young Duo had captured the god's attention when he was but a child, captivating the immortal's attention with his stunning countenance and radiant soul. It was He who diverted the Prince and his entourage so the two young men could meet. It was He who set events in motion for Heero and Duo to be together. And it was He who cried aloud for Justice to be served.

He went to His lover, pleading for Justice to make things right. The ebony-haired god shook His head sadly and told His consort that He could not take back that which had already come to pass. But holding the weeping figure tightly to His breast, He made a promise to the Golden One.

"I cannot bring the mortal back. But I can promise Justice for his death. But I shall need Your help."

Love nodded sadly, knowing nothing more could be done. "What shall I do?"

"Send Your swans. I shall take care of the rest."

Love readily agreed. "I shall do what You ask."

Justice kissed His lover's brow. "The world has lost a great shining light this day. Justice *will* answer."

And so, like winged angels from the heavens, a bevy of snow white swans came soaring down from the sky, trumpeting their arrival down to the place where the beautiful young man with the long chestnut hair floated in the river's embrace. Circling his body, the swans became an honor guard, keeping him safe from the perils of the river, and guiding him to the place where the rest of his destiny - and Justice - awaited.

// The miller's daughter, dressed in red
with a hey ho and a bonny o
She went for some water to make some bread
the swans swim so bonny o //

A swan trumpeted their arrival on the green, grassy banks of a nearby mill. A redheaded child, playing downstream, heard the commotion. Though warned by her father not to go near the water, curiosity proved to be too much for the young girl. She ran up the bank, stopping short when she saw the snow-white birds gathered on or near the river. Eyes lighting up with glee, she inched her way forward, not wanting to startle the beautiful creatures. When she was but a few feet away, the swans parted, revealing for the first time their precious burden washed up onto the shore. The little girl gasped, then turned and fled, calling for her father to come quickly.

// Oh father, oh daddy, here swims a swan
with a hey ho and a bonny o
It's very like a gentle woman
the swans swim so bonny o //

"Papa, Papa! Down here, Papa!" the little child cried as she led her ginger-haired father down to the water's edge.

"Marie, I thought I told you not to go near the water," her Papa said, trying his best to sound harsh.

"I didn't mean to but the birds were so pretty. But Papa, I think one of them is hurt. You have to come see. Hurry!"

Never one to deny his little daughter anything, the miller hurried after the child, wondering what on earth could have gotten his daughter so riled up.

As soon as he saw the swans, he knew.

A follower of the Old Ways, the miller knew what - or rather who - the swans represented. He knew he had to proceed with caution, lest he offend the Ones Above.

"Look Papa. Do you see?" the little girl pointed to a white shape laying half-out of the river.

They drew closer, the miller ever wary of the swans' presence. The great white birds seemed to accept him, however, for they pulled away, allowing the miller to get a closer look at what exactly lay on the riverbank - the naked body of a young man. He sucked in his breath and pushed his daughter behind him so she did not have to see.

"What is it, Papa? Is it a swan?"

"No. It's a boy."

"A boy?" A little red head peeked around her father's body. "Is he asleep?"

The miller leaned down to brush long chestnut locks away from an all too pale face. "Yes, honeychild," he answered sadly, "he's in a very deep sleep."

// They laid her on the bank to dry
with a hey ho and a bonny o
There came a harper passing by
the swans swim so bonny o //

The miller sent his child away, not wanting her to see the poor dead boy. After she had gone, and under the watchful eyes of the swans, he carefully plucked the boy from the river, laying him on the grass nearby.

Folding the boy's hands on his chest, he turned to the largest swan and asked, "What do I do with him?"

The snow-white bird looked at him steadily for a moment before turning its head and trumpeting his reply at a stone outcropping a little ways up the bank. Nodding his head in understanding, the miller lifted the boy's too light body and allowed the swans to lead him to where they wanted him to go.

Arriving at their destination, the miller laid the boy on a large, flat rock. He hurried back to his cottage, returning a little while later with several items. Ever mindful of the swans watching his every movement, the miller carefully combed out the long, chestnut hair, spreading it out on the rock like a coppery halo. Next, he arranged the boy's body, arms folded on his chest. He scattered flowers around the boy, in accordance with the Old Ways. Finally, he drew a pure white sheet over the boy, securing it with rocks so it would not blow away.

"I shall tend this site, m'lords," the miller addressed the swans. "Fear not. He will be taken care of, whoever he is."

The largest swan honked once, bowing his head to the miller, then with great fanfare, took off into the bright, blue sky, the rest of the flock following close behind.

The miller watched them go, then turned and placed a hand on the edge of the rock. "May you rest in peace, youngling."


High above, the Golden One turned to His lover and asked, "What now?"

The dark-eyed god held the other close. "Now… We wait."


And wait they did. Time passed quickly as only time can do in tales. Spring and summer passed by in the merest heartbeat. Autumn arrived with its brilliant display of reds and golds that reminded the miller of the beautiful coppery-golden hair of the poor dead boy he had faithfully watched over since coming into his care. Winter was harsher than usual, as if the world was still in mourning for the loss of the young man. Certainly far away, the Prince's heart matched the cold and icy clime. But all things pass. Winter gave birth to spring once more. The world teemed with new life. The spring rains came again, though not nearly as heavy as the year before. The air grew warmer each passing day, until nearly a year had passed since the arrival of the swans and their charge.

A fortnight before the anniversary of the Prince's love's death, a poor, wandering stranger came a-knocking on the miller's door.

"Your pardon, sir," the young traveler began when the miller opened the door. "I'm but a poor minstrel, fallen on hard times. I was wondering if you'd be kind enough to loan me a patch by your hearth for the night, and maybe a bit o' broth for supper."

The miller, being kind of heart, invited the young songster inside immediately. "My name is Treize. Welcome to my home."

"I am called Trowa. And I can't thank you enough," the green-eyed minstrel replied.

After offering the young man some stew (which Treize's daughter served with a blush on her face), the miller pulled up a chair, curious about the newcomer.

"What brings you this far out into the country?"

"I was supposed to play for the Prince's wedding three weeks hence. But I lost all my gear including my precious harp in a fire a month ago. I am traveling to the Maxwell barony to meet up with some old friends who will be at the wedding. Hopefully they will be able to help me out."

"Then I wish you the very best of luck, friend-Trowa. My family and I shall add you to our prayers. You are welcome to stay for while to rest up if you wish. What we cannot provide, may the gods be able to."

Trowa raised his glass. "I'll drink to that."

The next day, Trowa wandered down to the river's edge. He plucked a blade of grass and brought it to his lips. Playing a simple tune on the only instrument he had left to him, he closed his eyes, lost in the music. When he opened them, he was rather startled to see a large white swan staring back at him.

"Welladay, Sir Swan. What can I do for you?" he asked, still somewhat unnerved by the swan's presence.

The bird honked at him once, then quickly waddled up onto shore. When it was halfway up the semi-steep bank, it turned its neck to look back at the harper, as if waiting for him to follow.

Compelled by some strange, unknown desire to follow the bird, Trowa stood and motioned for the swan to lead on.

They came to a sheltered outcropping of rock. Trowa took note of the small shrine laying on the flat stone. Someone - the miller most likely - had been taking very good care of it. A pristine white sheet lay over the rock, covering something beneath. The swan flew up to land above the little shrine. It watched Trowa with unblinking eyes, eyes that told the minstrel what to do.

Without conscious thought, Trowa lifted away the sheet, eyes widening with what he saw beneath. Looking back at the swan he whispered, "Are you sure?"

The bird bowed his head, stared at him for a moment longer, then spread its giant wings and returned to the sky.

Trowa started down at the rock, took a deep breath, then reached for the bones.

// He made harp pins of her fingers fair
with a hey ho and a bonny o
He made harp strings of her golden hair
the swans swim so bonny o //

His hands moved almost without thinking, as if being guided by some unknown force to fashion the bones of the dead youth into the shape he wanted them. He made a frame out of the breast bone and ribs. The tiny bones of the fingers became pins. He lashed it all together with some flowering vines, making sure the structure would hold. When he was finished, he had something that looked vaguely like a harp. But what to string it with?

// He made a harp of her breast bone
with a hey ho and a bonny o
And straight it began to play alone
the swans swim so bonny o //

Looking back down at the remains, the minstrel noticed a long rope of shining copper hair laying next to the bones. Part of it was still attached to the skull. Taking out his knife, he cut the length free. He unbraided the mass, then selected several long strands, weaving them together to form a tight sting. He wrapped the strings around the pins, and carefully strung the grisly instrument with the chestnut hair.

When he was finished, he carefully strummed a few notes, amazed at how perfectly in tune the bone harp was. But as his fingers left the strings, the harp kept playing.

"An enchanted harp," the minstrel whispered in awe, carefully setting the haunted instrument on the ground.

As the harp continued to play, Trowa heard the flapping of wings behind him. Turning, his eyes widened at the sight that lay before him. The ground was covered with hundred of white swans. Not a one made a noise save for the sound of their wings as they landed nearby. All the birds were staring eerily at the harp. Trowa pushed his hair away from his face, not knowing quite what to think. He sat down next to the harp, waiting for whatever was to happen next.

The harp fell silent for a moment. Nothing around it moved or made a sound. Then, with a haunting, sad refrain, it began to play once more. This time, a soft lilting voice emanated from the instrument. It sang of a love deeper than the oceans, and of a betrayal more devastating than death. It sang of family, hope, fleeting happiness, and eternal sadness. It sang of a love won and lost, and an ache that rivaled any in the mortal realm. And when it was done, even the swans wept for the poor lost soul. Trowa could feel the tears slipping from his eyes like a rushing waterfall. When the last notes died away, he knew what he had to do.

// He brought it to her father's hall
with a hey ho and a bonny o
And there was the court, assembled all
the swans swim so bonny o //

The Keep bustled with activity. The marriage feast of Prince Heero and Lord Maxwell's oldest daughter, Relena, was in full swing. The Prince had mourned his lost love for one year; then, conceding to his father's wishes, had taken Duo's sister to be his wife. The blonde woman's beauty rivaled that of the gods, but to Heero, she was a pale imitation of his lost Duo. Still, to honor Duo's family, he had taken her to wife, though he knew he could never love her.

He applauded politely when the juggler performing for the high table finished his act. The hall roared in approval, but Heero barely heard. His thoughts continued to dwell on his lost love. The world held no joy for him any longer.

"My Lord, are you not well?" a quiet voice from his left asked meekly.

Heero turned his head to regard his wife's sister sitting at his left. Sylvia was a timid little thing, but she seemed genuinely concerned for him, something he didn't sense from many people, including his new bride. Sylvia had mourned Duo's passing almost as hard as he had. They had helped each other through their grief. She reminded him so much of her brother. For a fleeting moment, Heero almost wished he'd married her instead of her sister. But having denied Relena the right once before, he found he could not do it again or risk insulting her and her family.

"I am fine, m'lady. Just a touch of fatigue from the day's events."

Sylvia nodded her head. "Please. Do not hesitate to ask me if you need anything."

"I won't. And thank you."

He felt his new wife's hand on his arm. He turned in time to see Relena glare at her sister before pasting a sickly-sweet smile on her face. "Pay attention, darling. A musician will be playing for us next."

Heero sighed, but forced himself to pay attention as a tall, lanky minstrel carrying an unusual harp entered the hall and approached the high table.

// He laid the harp upon a stone
with a hey ho and a bonny o
And straight it began to play alone
the swans swim so bonny o //

"Your Highness, my Lady," the scruffy-looking songster addressed the two newlyweds. "I have traveled far and long to be with you on this day. I bring Your Highness a very special gift, something I know to be dear to your heart."

"And what might that be, harper?" the Prince said, feeling rather irritated at the man for being so presumptuous.

The minstrel hefted the unusual instrument in his arms and set in on the stone floor. "Several weeks ago I lost all that I had in a fire, including my harp. I had thought to travel here to meet up with some friends that I could count on for support in my time of need. On my journey, I stopped to tarry the night at a miller's cottage. The next day I was guided to a small shrine on an outcrop of rock near the river that flows through this barony. There I found the remains of a young man. I received a sign from the Ones Above to take the bones I found and fashion them into a harp." He gestured at the harp at his feet. "'Tis a magic harp, and I brought it here to play for you."

The Prince looked pale but asked, "You mean to play a song from a harp made of bone?"

"No. The harp will play the song. I am but the messenger." He bowed to the Prince and stepped aside.

Not a sound was made for the next moment. The Prince and his wife, the Lord and the Lady, and every guest held his or her breath, staring in rapt attention at the harp made of bone and hair.

And then… the harp began to play.

// There does sit my father the King
with a hey ho and a bonny o
And yonder sits my mother the Queen
the swans swim so bonny o //

The soft yet sweet voice emanating from the harp caused many gathered in the hall to gasp. The harp sang of a happy childhood, parents who loved him, sisters who adored him. It sang of learning to walk, learning to ride and to hunt. It sang of listening to stories while sitting on a father's lap. It sang of a mother who could soothe away hurts with a kiss. It sang of growing up safe and loved and happy.

Lord Maxwell and Lady Helene clutched each other's hands, tears falling silently down their faces as the harp sang on.

// And there does sit my brother Hugh
with a hey ho and a bonny o
And by him William, sweet and true
the swans swim so bonny o //

The harp's tune grew more wistful as it sang of meeting his one true love, of how happy he had been having met the person he was destined to love and cherish for all eternity. It sang of regret over leaving him, sorrow for having only known a few fleeting moments of happiness with his love. But it also sang of not having one regret, of loving him until the day he died and even beyond.

Heero stared at the harp. He too was weeping, something he had not done since putting aside his grief over Duo. He knew who was singing. He would have recognized his lover's spirit anywhere.

Beside him, his new bride seethed.

// And there does sit my false sister, Anne
with a hey ho and a bonny o
Who drowned me for the sake of a man
the swans swim so bonny o //

And then it sang of betrayal. It sang of a sister who had once loved him, a sister he had once adored, a sister he would have done anything for…

A sister who had murdered him and stolen the one he loved.

And with the last angry notes, the harp sang for Justice. For a long, long moment, no one spoke. No one moved. The air in the hall was thick with tensions. Then the silence was broken by one small, soft feminine voice.

"Sister. How *could* you?"

Relena whirled on Sylvia. "I've done nothing wrong! This is a trick! It is some kind of dark magic! Heero - have your guards take the minstrel. He's behind this!" she spat, eyes gleaming in anger.

Heero slowly turned to gaze at his wife. "Did you, Relena? Did you murder your own brother so you could wed me?"

"Don't be ridiculous, husband," she scoffed.

Heero lurched out of his seat and drew his sword. Placing it at his wife's throat, he looked into her eyes, his own blazing with cold hatred. "Tell me true, wife! What did you do?!"

Relena met his gaze with a glare of her own. "I took nothing that did not belong to me! *I* was the eldest. *I* had the right to marry you! He stole you from me! So I took you back!"

Heero pulled Relena out of her chair and flung her to the floor below the high table. "You stole the only person I ever loved," he said, his voice eerily calm. "I cast you aside. I repudiate you. I shall have you locked in the highest tower where you shall be forgotten."

Relena had the audacity to look shocked. "You can't mean that, darling. You love me!"

"I have never loved you. Guards! Take her from my sight!"

The Prince's men moved in. The blonde woman flung herself at her father's feet. "Daddy, you can't mean to let them do this to me? I am the eldest! I am your heir!"

Lord Maxwell stared at his daughter, disgust written across his face. "I have no daughter Relena. You are dead to me. You died when Duo died. Your mother and I want no part of you any longer!"

"No! Mother!"

Lady Helene refused to even look at her daughter, instead concentration on comforting Sylvia.

Relena turned back to Heero. "Please husband! I love you! I did it for you. For us! So we could be together!"

The Prince turned away, disgusted. "Take this… creature from my site!" he growled at his guards.

Relena backed away warily. From side to side she looked, keeping her eyes on all those present. Then her gaze fell to the harp still resting on the ground.

"I shall take you to Hell with me, little brother!" she screeched as she raced for the harp made of bone.

Heero reacted instantly. He grabbed Relena before she could lift the harp to dash it on the ground. Using all of his strength, anger and grief, he flung his wife to the floor, where here head struck the stone with a sickening crunch.

One of the guards hurried forward. He bent to check on the fallen Princess. Straightening, he shook his head. "She is dead, Your Highness."

Heero nodded wearily. Behind him, the remainder of Duo's family grieved together. The wedding guests were still too stunned to make any noise. Heero gently lifted the harp from the stone and cradled it in his arms.

"Duo. I loved you," he whispered against the bone.

The harp began to play again. A love song this time. It loved Heero with every part of his being but urged without words for Heero to move on.

"How can I, without you?"

The harp strummed at him, told him not to be silly. It reassured him that one day, they would be reunited. But until that day, it would always be with him.

"I look forward to that day," Heero replied in turn. "And until then, I shall never let you go."


Life went on as life tends to do. Heero paid the minstrel a hefty sum for delivering the bone harp to him. He observed the customary one-year mourning period for his dead wife. After the year was over, he wedded the last Maxwell child, Sylvia. The bone harp played nothing but happy melodies at their wedding. Afterwards, the Prince, his Princess, and the enchanted harp traveled from Maxwell Keep to Heero's father's castle.

Years passed. Sylvia proved to be a wonderful and loving wife to her husband. And while Heero could never love her the way he had loved her brother, he cared for her a great deal. Sylvia understood this, and was content. She bore Heero three children, two boys and a girl. The bone harp sang them to sleep as children. They grew up to be fine adults with wonderful and loving families of their own.

Heero's father eventually passed on. The Prince became the King; his wife, the Queen. The kingdom continued to live under Heero's peaceful rule for generations.

Then one day, many decades after the events told in this tale, the elderly King Heero died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. The harp on the night stand next to the royal bed played one last mournful lament. When the last notes died away, all the strings on the harp snapped, the bone frame falling to dust. And two spirits, twined together for the first time in many, many years, rose to the heavens, singing a duet. A lifetime apart, they now had eternity together.


The Golden One leaned against His lover and sighed happily.

"Satisfied, Love?" the dark-haired god of Justice asked.

"They are together once more. Justice was served." He stood and placed a tender kiss on His lover's lips. "Come on, My Heart. Let's go greet them."


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