King Odin sat in his study, staring absently out of the window. His thoughts, as they so often did these days, had turned to his son. It had been so many months since he and Heero had parted, angry words and bad feelings filling the air with an unbearable tension. Now, Odin's only desire was to know that his son was safe and sound, wherever he happened to be.
A knock at the door shook Odin from his reflection. He commanded whoever it was to enter and the door opened to reveal a servant.
"What is it?" Odin asked a bit testily, wanting to be left alone with his thoughts.
"Your majesty, a letter has just come for you." The servant stepped forward, holding several pieces of folded paper in an outstretched hand. "It was sent by a long-distance courier. The courier bore black and amethyst colors. I've never seen their like before."1
Odin took the letter and dismissed the servant. He sat staring down at the paper for a moment without letting his eyes register the words written there. For some reason, the description of the unusual messenger led Odin to suspect...no pray...that the letter contained some news about his absent son.
Finally, Odin gathered himself and opened the wax seal, revealing the first page.
In the past, I know that we have not always seen eye-to-eye, but I would be remiss in my duties as a son if I did not at least write to you and let you know that I am safe. We have found the kingdom of Shi, and no, it is not merely a legend. It is quite real.
I was right about Duo, as well, father. He is no mere commoner, as you mistakenly named him. In fact, he is the Crown Prince of Shi and under Shi law - as Quatre, who has found the castle's main library, has informed us - as soon as he is formally joined with someone, Duo will become a king.
That someone will be me. As Duo and I have both reached our eighteenth year, we may immediately formalize our union. Fortunately, there is no restriction under Shi law that would prevent two men from joining.
I realize that staying with Duo precludes any possibility of my ever producing an heir, but there again Duo has offered the perfect solution. Under Shi law, Duo can name his heir, and as you are aware, if I remain without children, Hane law allows me to do the same.
Hilde and Wufei plan to formally join soon after Duo and I take our vows. Therefore, we both plan to name Hilde and Wufei's first born as our collective heir. Wufei's noble blood should be sufficient to appease you as to my choice and Hilde is the first cousin of a future king and a grand duchess in her own right. Wufei's bravery, strength of character, and unswerving loyalty to me over the years combined with Hilde's intelligence and unbreakable spirit makes Duo's suggestion more than agreeable to me.
I must also inform you that I have no immediate plans to return home. Shi was recently liberated from a terrible curse, courtesy of Duke Dermail. Duo soundly defeated the evil duke, but now finds himself in charge of thousands of frightened souls. Duo is faced with the daunting task of rebuilding the kingdom and I have sworn to help him. Quatre and Trowa, as well as many of the soldiers who came here with us, have also asked to stay.
Father, I love Duo, more than words could possibly express, and will stay by his side for the rest of my life. I will not neglect my duties as the Crown Prince of Hane, but you are still a young man, father, and have no need of me, as yet. When the time comes, Duo and I will split our time between Shi and Hane so that we may fulfill our respective duties and still remain together. I pray that this solution is palatable to you, as nothing else will satisfy me.
I realize that the tone of this missive may be a bit harsh, but you know me, father. You have always complemented me on my honest, forthright nature and I find no reason to change now. But know this, I do love and respect you and I hope that you will not be terribly disappointed by my choices in this matter. Upsetting you is the last thing in the world I would dream of doing. However, my love for Duo is such that living without him would be an inconceivable hell.
Again, I love you, father, and I hopefully remain...
Odin took a deep breath as he re-read Heero's letter a second, then a third time. It was straightforward and to the point but filled with uncharacteristic emotion. 'This must reflect Duo's influence on him,' Odin mused. He found himself wiping away a tear, deeply grateful that things were not unsalvageable between himself and his sole heir.
Odin quickly took some paper from his desk and prepared a quill to write a response. Heero had to know that his father was proud of him and Odin wanted to make certain that his son knew that he would respect his choices.
Hopefully, one day Heero would decide to come home at last and let his father see the impressive man he had become.
One year later
"Who's a good boy, huh? Who's the best little boy in the whole wide world?"
Duo danced his little cousin and heir around his chamber sitting room, singing the infant's praises. He was completely smitten by the beautiful child, as was Heero, although the Hane prince tried to put on a stern front.
Hilde and Wufei had married shortly after Duo and Heero had formalized their pledge to one another. The healthy two-month old, Prince Gregory Damien Chang2, heir to the kingdoms of Shi and Hane, was the joyous result of their union.
"So, tell me again how we ended up watching little Gregory while Hilde and Wufei went off for a romantic weekend in the country?" Duo asked as he waltzed the baby over to a table and expertly changed his diaper.
Relaxing on the sofa in front of the fireplace, Heero smirked indulgently at his lover. "Because you pestered them and badgered them for an entire month until they agreed to let you do it."
Duo smiled at Heero over his shoulder before turning back to the baby. "Oh yeah, that's right. I did, didn't I? Yes I did, yes I did..."
Heero laughed as the baby responded happily to Duo's silly tone of voice. Little Gregory, the very image of his father except for the Hilde-like smile that often flashed across his tiny face, giggled and waved his hands around, trying to capture his beloved cousin's long chestnut braid in his eager little fists. The baby's eyes, as amethyst in hue as Duo's, flashed with pleasure as he finally succeeded.
The little boy's claim to the throne of Shi was proclaimed to the world by his unusual eye color, not to mention the mark of Shi that graced the back child's small shoulder. Duo had teased his cousin that he had won their bet about whether the mark they shared was a tattoo or, in fact, a birthmark.
Hilde had been worried that, by not being Duo's child, Gregory would not be able to fully control the power of the Scepter. Duo had told her not to worry, that his own parents had told him to make Gregory his heir. When Gregory was born, Hilde was relieved that her fears were unfounded. Her son would be a true King of Shi, and as a member of a newer generation, would have powers that eclipsed even Duo's own remarkable abilities.
As Heero watched the baby and the beautiful young man play, he was struck once again by how versatile Duo was. He was equally adept at bouncing a boisterous baby on his knee as he was at negotiating territorial disputes amongst Shi's nobility.
With the resurrection of Shi's populace from Dermail's horrific spell, Duo had quickly become responsible for all of the people of Shi, who had to rebuild their entire lives after eighteen years of imprisonment.
Duo had taken to his kingly duties with ease and aplomb. His naturally outgoing personality had made him immediately accepted by all, as did his resemblance to his father and mother whom the people remembered with love and respect. His natural grace and poise garnered him a firm footing amongst the Shi nobles while his down-to-earth personality and gypsy spirit made the more common folk revere him.
Duo's throne was constantly threatened by cobwebs since it saw as little use as it had under his father's reign. The long-haired king was far more at ease mixing amongst the people than lording over them from atop of the throne.
With Quatre and Heero as his top advisors and Wufei and Trowa efficiently heading a growing contingent guards to protect the populace, Shi was quickly regaining it's former stature. However, Duo insisted that Shi no longer be cut off from the rest of the world. Although he could not remove the forest that surrounded the kingdom, Duo had convinced the forest guardians to be more welcoming of visitors - provided, of course, that they passed the creatures' inspection.
Heero was very proud of how well Duo had adapted and fell more in love with the beautiful young king every day. He only hoped his father would come to appreciate Duo's worth. The letter he had received from his father over a year ago had been encouraging, but Heero would not be completely free of his doubts until he saw his father's reaction to Duo with his own eyes. A trip to Hane was planned for the following week and Heero felt more than a little bit anxious at the prospect of seeing his father again for the first time in well over a year.
A knock on the chamber door interrupted the amethyst-eyed pair's play. Heero answered the summons, opening the door to reveal Helen, Gregory's nursemaid.3 He smiled kindly at the elderly woman and stepped back to let her enter the room.
Duo looked up from where he was attempting to liberate his braid from Gregory's baby-strong grip and smiled at Helen. Then his smile turned to a pouty frown as the reason for her appearance finally occurred to him.
"No! It's not beddy-bye time already, is it?" he whined. Duo blinked his large eyes at the woman beguilingly but she was not swayed.
"Yes, your highness. I'm afraid young Gregory must go to sleep now," she replied calmly.
"Ohhh," Duo protested. Little Gregory squeaked, adding his protest.
"Now, now, young master," Hilde admonished, taking the baby in her arms. "None of that. You don't want your mother and father coming back to find a cranky, sleepy baby, do you?"
At that, Gregory fell silent. He adored his parents, almost as much as he adored Duo, and even at his young age, mention of them brought immediate compliance from the active infant.
Helen clucked at the child in appreciation. Saying good night to the two young men, she left, ignoring the still pouting king.
Duo stared at the closed door for a moment, missing the baby already. But his thoughts were pleasantly interrupted as Heero turned him away from the door and pulled him into a strong embrace.
"I thought she'd never leave," Heero growled sexily, placing a soft but thorough kiss on his lover's now smiling mouth. Duo's pout had filled Heero's head with wicked ideas of how to put those sultry lips to better use.
Duo leaned away, looking into Heero's eyes with uncharacteristically serious eyes. No matter how much Heero might try to pretend otherwise, Duo had seen the concern in the beloved face and could feel the slight tension in Heero's broad shoulders.
"You're nervous about seeing your father again, aren't you?" he queried softly.
Heero blinked at his lover then sighed, realizing that the young man's perceptiveness shouldn't have surprised him.
"A bit, I guess. We didn't part on exactly the best of terms." He looked into Duo's eyes. "What about you?"
"Yes, I'm nervous. But we can't worry about that until we're there." Duo smiled again, but this time, the upturn of his lips took on a naughty cast. "As for now, I think we have better things to do with our time."
Heero chuckled in agreement and leaned forward to capture Duo's lips once more. The kiss started off tender, a gentle reaffirmation of their vows to each other, but when Heero's tongue sought entrance into the warm recesses of Duo's mouth, the kiss suddenly became much more heated.
Lost in the intensity of the moment, Duo barely noticed as Heero quickly removed his tunic. Duo had been unable to accustom himself to the finery he was required to wear as the King of Shi and so, when he was out of the public eye, he regressed to his old attire of tunics and leggings. Heero had adopted his habit of casual dress, so as Heero attacked his neck with hot, open-mouth kisses, Duo returned the favor and yanked Heero's tunic over his head.
Duo knew that, if Heero had his way, Duo's pleasure would always be Heero's sole focus during their frequent love making encounters. So Duo was often forced to resort to dirty tricks to curtail Heero's altruistic behavior.
When Heero's tunic was over his head, but his arms were still imprisoned within the fabric, Duo trapped his lover there and turned his attention to the sexy expanse of chest now bared before him. Heero moaned as Duo's soft mouth made its way from Heero's exposed neck, across his collar bone, dipping briefly into the hollow at the base of his throat, finally moving across well-muscled pecs, and zeroing in on a pebbled nub.
Heero had indeed resolved that Duo would be the center of attention that evening, but his good intentions nearly deserted him as Duo laved his nipples with a clever tongue. Still trapped in the tunic, Heero closed his eyes and abandoned himself to the sensations Duo was creating within him. But when Duo switched to the neglected twin, clearly determined to make Heero abandon his plans altogether, Heero liberated himself from the tunic and tossed it to the ground.
Seeing his quarry freed, Duo sensed Heero regaining some of his considerable control. Pressing his rapidly receding advantage, Duo moved his focus further south and traced a wet path down Heero's taut abdomen. His nimble fingers, so adept at picking locks and pockets and tickling little babies, made short work of the fastener of Heero's breeches. Heero gasped at the feel of Duo's tongue against his lower stomach and moaned again as the long-haired beauty yanked off his breeches and moved even lower.
Duo had almost reached his turgid target when Heero bent over and picked up the long, chestnut plait that lay temptingly against Duo's back. He unraveled it with hasty, trembling hands and let the multitude of silken strands fall across Duo's bared skin. Duo's eyes closed at the incredible feeling of his own hair caressing him and tilted his head back with a soft inhalation of pleasure.
Heero took immediate advantage of Duo's momentary distraction. He pulled the young man to his feet and removed the annoying leggings that stood between him and his beloved.
Duo realized that he had been neatly outmaneuvered as he felt his leggings disappear. Feeling strong arms lift him by the waist, he opened his eyes and looked down into his lover's victorious blue gaze as he was carried into the bed chamber. Duo wrapped his legs around Heero's hips and pulled the Hane prince to him as he was deposited on their large bed.
Heero assailed the young, amethyst-eyed king with his mouth and his hands, leaving no inch of flesh unexplored, until Duo was left gasping and quivering, barely able to remember his own name. Heero imitated Duo's previous journey and, leaving nipples that had been sensitized with meticulous, loving attention, moved to place nibbling kisses on a firm stomach. Duo's moans turned into a helpless cry when Heero, successful where Duo had failed, took a hardened member deep within his eager mouth.
Duo thrust his hips upward in mindless pleasure. He reached down and buried one hand in his lover's thick, dark hair while the other grasped his pillow. Heero pulled away with a hard, slow suck, making Duo's entire body tremble. The young king's cries continued softly as Heero ran a tongue up and down Duo's turgid manhood, copying movements that Duo himself had often subjected the blue-eyed prince to on numerous occasions. Duo's vague feelings of pride in a well-trained pupil were swallowed up in a hot flood of sensation when Heero's mouth abandoned the heated flesh only to surround the warm sacs lying below.
Duo shouted Heero's name, lost in a flood of tortured rapture. Heero winced as Duo's hand tightened reflexively in his hair. He reached up and removed the hand, entangling the long fingers with his own as he continued his assault, his other hand still stroking Duo's rock-hard member.
"Heero... please... ahhhh... by the ancients..."
Heero ignored Duo's sweet begging for a moment, preferring instead to feast on his delicious treats. But his lover's moans were arousing him unbearably, and Heero returned his attention to Duo's rigid shaft, taking it deep within his throat before pulling back slowly. He repeated the motion, gradually increasing his speed as the slender young man beneath him thrashed and shouted.
No thought filled Duo's mind other than the urgent need to reach his completion. Heero skillfully kept him on the brink for what seemed like an eternity, varying his rhythm and the intensity of his caresses. But finally Heero took pity on his lover and increased his pace. Duo nearly ripped into the pillow he was gripping as he came, screaming, into Heero's welcoming mouth.
Heero swallowed and licked up every wonderful drop of Duo's essence before releasing the softening flesh. He climbed up the slender, sweating body beneath him and kissed Duo's gasping mouth. Duo moaned, tasting himself on Heero's tongue. He was incapable of forming a coherent sentence when Heero finally released him.
Not yet finished with his life-mate, Heero raised up with a smile and indicated that Duo should turn over. Duo nodded obediently but felt unable to comply without help since he still hadn't gained control over his thoroughly wrung-out body. Heero chuckled and lended his assistance.
Duo pressed his face into his pillow, unable to conceive of what else Heero could possibly do to him that night. He was soon enlightened.
Heero spread Duo's legs apart and moved between them, leaning over his lover. Duo inhaled sharply as Heero moved his hair to the side and pressed wet kisses to the back of his neck. Heero braced himself with strong arms, barely touching his chest to Duo's back, not wanting to crush the young man lying beneath him. This went on for a few endless moments while Duo not so quietly lost his mind.
Heero abandoned the nape of Duo's neck to escalate the exquisite torture. The gypsy boy raised his head off of the pillow, arching his back, as a warm tongue traced a path down his spine, from the base of his neck to the top of his cleft. Duo released a gypsy epitaph when the inquisitive tongue didn't stop there but continued on its devastating path. Duo muffled a scream in his pillow as Heero flicked over his puckered entrance.
Heero decided that this would be a good place to linger and Duo's screams continued as Heero showered attention on the sensitive little place. Duo's pillow did rip this time when his hands dug helplessly into the down-stuffed mound.
Duo was nearly sobbing, grinding his hips into the mattress, desperately seeking some relief from the permanent ache that had taken up residence in his loins, when Heero finally decided to have pity on him. Heero pulled the shivering young man to his knees and reached over to the bed-side table to remove their favorite scented bath oil.
Duo moaned helplessly as he felt long, well-oiled fingers penetrated him, carefully stretching and preparing him. His voice was almost hoarse from Heero's previous acts of erotic torture but his abused throat issued another cry when the fingers quite deliberately brushed against his center of pleasure.
By now, Heero was painfully hard from Duo's enthusiastic acknowledgement of his skills in the bed chamber. Needing to enter that tight, lithe body, Heero positioned himself behind his lover and pushed himself in with one strong thrust.
Duo arched his head back with a harsh shout as Heero entered and began to move within him. The feeling of being filled by the man he loved had always been an incredible turn-on for the long-haired young man and this time was no different. He was certain life couldn't possibly get any better, but then Heero wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him upright. With Duo sitting on his lap, a heaving back pressed to a strong chest, Duo's legs spread wide on either side of his, Heero thrust upwards.
Duo screamed and yelled and shouted Heero's name as Heero scored a direct hit against that special place that lay within him. Heero was impossibly deep because of their position and each movement brought his impressive member into solid contact with Duo's pleasure center.
Heero's strong hands gripped Duo's hips, allowing him to control Duo's movements. Unable to do anything else, Duo clutched the firm thighs that lay between his own and held on for dear life, his head arched back against Heero's shoulder. He felt like he was dying as Heero kissed his exposed throat and continued to move tirelessly within him, exhibiting an inhuman stamina, and, for the first time since that moment in the tent on the plains outside of Shi, Duo lost control over his power.
Heero first warning of how far Duo was lost to the throes of passion was the slight breeze that suddenly blew across his sweat covered face. The breeze grew stronger until it had become a nearly gale force wind, whipping Duo's hair around them and blowing the bedcovers off of the bed. When several pictures threatened to come off the wall and the candle flames suddenly flared higher, Heero knew that he'd better bring this to an end, before Duo's inadvertently destroyed the entire room.
Duo's power coursed through him, responding to the swell of emotion induced by Heero's exquisite manipulations. Duo felt his power swelling, but was too mindless with pleasure to even consider that he should try to control it. All he knew was that he had to reach that shining place where his completion awaited him.
Heero reached around and took hold Duo's turgid manhood in a firm grasp. He stroked it with long strokes that slowly increased with speed as whispered in his lover's ear.
"Duo, let go. Come for me."
The combination of Heero's strong hand on his heated flesh, the hot shaft filling him, and the husky, sexy voice commanding him to come was too much for Duo's pleasure-soaked mind to handle. He shouted his lover's name and, with a wordless cry that was loud enough to have the servants giggling for months, released into Heero's hand. The feel of Duo pulsing rhythmically around him along with the soul-deep cry pushed Heero over the edge and he groaned against Duo's neck and poured his passion into Duo's warm body.
The magical wind died down as Duo collapsed, completely done in by the power of his climax. Heero held the now motionless young man against him and laid down, still deep within the blissfully tight sheath. They lay for a moment, trying to catch their breaths. Then Duo gathered himself and moved away just enough so he could turn around and take up his favorite sleeping position, one leg and one arm wrapped around his lover, his head resting against a strong shoulder.
Duo snuggled against Heero with a contented smile, listening to Heero's deepening breaths. He chuckled softly, realizing that he and Heero had done a wonderful job of distracting each other from thoughts of the upcoming journey to Hane. But now, as Duo drifted off to sleep, a stubborn worry over King Odin's reaction to him passed fleetingly through his thoughts. However, the niggling concern was quickly banished as Heero murmured sleepily and pulled Duo closer to him.
'Why should I worry?' Duo mused. After all he was the leader of one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world. King Odin could not help but approve since his only complaint against Duo had been his supposedly humble birth. 'No, he'll love me,' Duo thought confidently as he settled against his lover with a smile.
For beyond his title and his kingdom, Duo had Heero, Hilde, and his little heir, and in the end, nothing else really mattered.
1. In my world, and in real life, colors were often used to designate different kingdoms.
2. You will notice that poor Wufei had absolutely nothing to do with the naming of this child. Hilde can be bossy when she wants to be! ^_^
3. Hah! My beta reader is finally appeased by the appearance of Helen in this fic. She wanted Helen to be one of Hilde's and Duo's aunts but, well, it's my story and I can write what I want to! ^_~
A/N: I just want to thank everyone again for sticking with me during this fic. This was my first extended GW story and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. But now, it's finally over. So until next time, ja ne!!