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06 January 2011 @ 03:12 am
[FIC] The Forsaken 27/??  
OH SHIT SON!! Finally got some more fic done. I blame this new laptop and the fact that I can work on fic pretty much anywhere instead of being chained to my desk. Man, I meant to work on commissions today but ended up doing fic and WoWing instead. I guess that's something? Idk.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy.

Title: The Forsaken

 Author: Link Worshiper

Pairings: 1=2, maybe some others if I feel like it

Rating: PG-13

Stuff:</span> Fantasy AU, fluff, sap, language, adventure, WoW nerdiness

Disclaimer: I own Gundam Wing action figures? Warcraft and its lore belongs to Blizzard Entertainment. Both things are being played with out of fangirl love.

 

Thanks to momentsdrift and natea21 for the once over. Despite the fact this is part of Natea’s birthday present, I still needed her to fill me in on the Alliance history they don’t teach us on Horde, so thanks for that also =P 

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Part 27

Half A Person

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A deep bell tolled across Stormwind in the early hours of morning, just as the first pink and orange tips of sunlight were grazing the edges of the trees and high mountaintops. The city had slept somewhat restlessly the night prior, still unsure what had transpired since the chaos of the last twenty-four hours. The orc that had charged so unexpectedly through the streets had been apprehended, but even after his arrest, there remained a certain air of unease still lingered. It was as if the people of Stormwind could tell that there was something changed in their kingdom, as if they could actually feel the winds of change blowing through the streets.

For some, that was particularly true. There were a few select individuals in the employ of the royal household, whose very job entailed the upkeep and looking after of the crown through divination and other such magical practices. And though even they couldn't exactly be sure what had happened to jar their acute senses, it was unsurprising that something had befallen their temperamental monarch during the Horde infiltration. There were even one or two of this magistrate who insisted that Milliardo's end had been foreseen long before the incident had even occurred: they knew his reign was ending, though it had perhaps been a mystery up until that point just why that was so.

So when a bedraggled-looking rogue and a mysterious, hooded stranger appeared before the castle, Milliardo's lifeless body strung out limply between them, it was hardly unexpected, even for those without the ability to predict it. The moon and the sun were still trading places when they laid the former king's body down upon a spare bed in one of the guest suites, respectfully covering him with a banner emblazoned with the mark of Stormwind. Then the two unheeded visitors were shown to another guest chamber, where a pair beds more comfortable than any either had ever known awaited them. It was the least that could be done for the ones who had rescued the Milliardo's dead body from its unknown resting place, even if their arrival was followed by whispers that they had somehow been a part of the king's undoing.

Later, after the sun had climbed to its zenith, and all of Stormwind had learned what had transpired the night before – or rather, at least as much as the castle's official herald had been permitted to say – the nameless pair was brought for an audience with the royal seers, who sought to find out the truth of matter. Whether their story was true or false, the seers would know, a fact which would determine whether or not they be made scapegoat for the crimes against the throne.

"My name is Heero Yuy," the rogue said when asked. "This is Duo," he went on abruptly, referring to his companion, whose face was still obscured by the hood he kept tightly pulled over his head.

"I am of weak constitution," Duo piped up, answering the unspoken question with more vigour than was probably expected, despite the gnarled, raspy tones of his voice. "The sun burns my skin and obscures my eyes. It is a curse I have lived with since my younger days, and it has left me hideous." He raised a gloved hand to wave away any politeness that was sure to be offered about his so-called 'condition'. "Don't worry about my comfort; it is as much for my own sake as yours that I keep my face hidden."

Incidentally, there was no lie for the seers to pick up on, despite the very misleading presentation Duo had given them. The undeath that the Forsaken suffered was, in a sense, like a rotting disease that simply couldn't kill what was already dead. It was simply a matter of convenience that there were about a thousand other disparaging illnesses and hexes that could leave a man crippled and unfit to be seen in public.

"I see," said the chief seer, a middle-aged man by the name of Barton. "And how is it, exactly, that you came across the corpse of former king, Millardo Wrynn."

"He was washed up from the sewers," said Heero. "We saw his cloak caught up in the grate and went down into the canals to investigate."

"Really, now," said Barton skeptically.

Heero glanced in Duo's direction, his face still blunt and unchanged, despite the secret plea for help. If only their roles were reversed, and Heero could be the one hidden behind the dark cowl; surely Duo would make a far better spokesperson than he could ever hope to be.

The silence that ensued was hardly a few seconds, but it was perhaps just one moment too long as Barton was left waiting for a reply. Fortunately, Duo was quick to pick up the slack, bowing his head as if he were ashamed. "In truth, sir, we saw the skirmish that took the king's life," he rasped, his talent for showmanship radiating in full colour as he spoke. "We heard the clash of swords from the canals and went to see. We saw him fall, and since no one was left to carry his body, we thought we ought to."

Barton seemed to accept this answer and nodded his head, his skepticism wearing off at the telling of this true, but deceptive telling of Milliardo's death. "And the ones that killed him?" he pressed.

"Horde, sir," Duo replied as if the answer was obvious.

Barton hummed and leaned back in his Dantesca chair, fingers laced beneath his nose as if in thought. "Well," he said slowly, "I suppose, then, you two would be heroes for this act." He peered over his knuckles at the ragtag pair sitting opposite him, unsure why he continued to eye them with interest. His powers of foresight were nudging his mind, suggesting that there was still more to them than met the eye, though he couldn't quite discern what it was just yet. He had felt no indication that their story was concocted, but he was hesitant to just pat them on the back and send them away before he'd managed to figure out why they still intrigued him.

He noticed Duo delicately nudging Heero with the tip of one pointed shoe, though Heero didn't seem to even notice the gesture. Clearing his throat, Barton quickly added, "But it is not my place to reward you. If you can spare the time, would you be so good as to wait until we have at least found a reagent to warm the throne? I do not know when we will find an heir and I wish to make sure you are thanked properly for the service you have done Stormwind… and the ghost of Milliardo Wrynn."

Heero opened his mouth to respond, but Duo landed a firm kick to his shins before any words escaped his throat. "We would be honoured," Duo interjected, ignoring the frown Heero was shooting at the side of his head.

"Excellent," said Barton, rising to his feet to indicate that their session was to be adjourned. "You may reside in the castle until Lady Proudmoore arrives to take up that mantle. Then you shall be given your due reward."

Heero and Duo also rose to their feet and bowed low before quickly retreating from the room to their guest chambers. Neither had to verbalize how relieved they were that the interrogation had gone so well, though it was hard to say if that was only an immediate impression. Who knew what secret decisions the seers would come to afterwards.

"But why didn't you say anything?" Duo asked in a low voice as they meandered through the vast castle. "That was your chance to tell them of your blood. He would have known you spoke the truth! That's what seers do!"

"Are you mad, Duo?" Heero hissed back, his tone a bit more acidic than he intended it to be. "That would have been disastrous. How would it look to you if some nobody came to you with the dead body of your king and claimed to be his rightful heir? It would only incriminate us further."

"But we're not incriminated at all," Duo protested. Though his face was hidden, it was easy to imagine what sort of expression his features were contorted into. "He was practically ready to throw us a festival for bringing Wrynn back here."

"Duo, we have to wait until Relena gets here before we breathe a word out of place," Heero said frankly. "She still knows me well and might be able to protect us when she is named reagent. But until then, we are prisoners of this castle. For all we know, they plan to reward us with a hanging noose."

Duo's tone became somber as he said, "You better not be having second thoughts, Heero Yuy. You promised."

The corners of Heero's mouth drooped, his brows knitting in consternation over his nose. "I'm just being practical," he defended resolutely.

Duo said nothing, knowing that Heero was valid in everything he had pointed out. Regardless of Heero's will to see his rightful place as heir to the throne, there were too many other factors standing in the way. As it was, they were scattered from their traveling companions, and though Duo wasn't worried about them, it bothered him that both Trowa and Wufei had vanished like morning mist. Not to mention that Heero still hadn't quite come to terms with his destiny, even though Duo had sworn fealty to him ages ago. Duo couldn't pretend like he truly understood what mental duress Heero was going through at the moment, but he liked to think that his support was enough to keep him steady. Or, at least, so he hoped.

They returned to their chamber at length, neither saying much else for the remainder of their walk. Both were broody, though Heero's particular moroseness came off in a rather abrupt way as he yanked his cloak off and tossed it onto one of the beds with an attitude that clearly conveyed his state of mind. He sat long enough to pull off his boots and gloves, and then stood, heading directly for the small antechamber that housed a bathtub and a faucet with running water. Almost offhandedly, he commented without even a backward glance, "You should really think about drinking that potion soon. They'll start to notice how you reek of death sooner or later."

The words were almost cruel, but Duo hardly took offense, his soul finding other reasons to feel upset at the suggestion. He wanted to tell Heero about why he couldn't do that so easily, but found it harder to confess than it probably should have been. Instead, he remained where he was, silently watching Heero as he shrugged off his tunic and leggings, all the while wondering why it was so difficult.

Heero casually discarded both garments at his feet without a care as to whether Duo or anyone else was looking. Naked, he leaned over the claw-footed bathtub to run the water, a rare commodity he planned to take full advantage of during the length of their stay in Stormwind Keep. He actually wasn't sure when the last time he'd seen a working faucet was, but it certainly wasn't common, even when he had been living in Stormwind before all this adventurous nonsense had befallen him.

Unbeknownst to Heero, his actions were creating a moment so erotic that it didn't even matter that Duo's body was too dead to fully enjoy it: the mere artistry of the way the muscles in his legs tensed as he bent, and the curve of his back, the breadth of his shoulders, was more than enough to tease Duo's mind in ways that went far beyond the physical. The scar where Milliardo's sword had impaled Heero was in full view, the exit wound on his back now a white mass of flesh knit up over the cursed shard that still remained lodged inside his body. Duo wasn't sure if Heero was aware of this fact, or if he'd even noticed, but just as admitting the truth about the potion's fate had presented a challenge, so did trying to bring attention to the nature of Heero's newest feature.

"Duo."

Duo's silence seemed to have done the talking for him. The undead warlock startled at the unexpected repetition of his name, the poetry of the moment upset as Heero turned to stare at Duo over one shoulder. The sternness in his expression had nothing to do with the fact that Duo had very obviously been checking him out from behind, but rather because Duo had neither confirmed or denying anything regarding the life-giving potion.

Even the gash in Duo's cheek and the roughness of his lips couldn't mask how weak the smile he offered back at Heero was. "What?" he said with a hapless shrug. Feigning ignorance had always been one of his best fallback tactics, but he had a feeling that it would be nary more than a courtesy at this point, since Heero wasn't falling for it.

"The potion," Heero said, still glaring over his shoulder, one knee resting on the lip of the bathtub as he waited to hear Duo's response. "What did you do with it?"

"I can't quite imagine where it's gotten to, really," Duo answered slowly, followed by a plasticized laugh as he tried to avoid Heero's intense eyes. By the Light, it was hard to look away from them, though.

"You're a liar," said Heero bluntly.

"Make no mistake about that!" Duo scoffed, not even pretending like he wasn't deflecting the real subject at hand.

Heero only made soft, grunting noise in response and turned around again to climb into the bath. Duo watched as he sunk low into the water, only the tousled tips of his hair still visible over the tub's back lip. Duo lingered where he was as the sound of gently churning water splashed through the air. He knew Heero was annoyed with his handling of the potion, even if he had no idea what had happened, and Duo didn't blame him. That still didn't mean he enjoyed the feeling of Heero being annoyed with him, though.

Deciding that he should rectify the situation before it snowballed back into the tension they had when they'd first reunited, Duo carefully trod into the bath chamber. He let out a stifled gasp when he approached the tub, however, his vision emblazoned with the heady sight of Heero touching himself. Heero seemed ignorant of Duo's voyeurism and continued to masturbate as if he were still alone, mouth slightly ajar as he panted softly, his eyelids heavy over his darkened eyes. Every now and again, the vague resemblance of Duo's name would escape his lips.

"Heero," Duo breathed, his voice startling Heero from his private revelry.

Heero's arms and legs flailed in a most uncharacteristic way as he struggled to catch himself and regain composure without accidentally drowning in the process. Gripping the rim of the tub, his expression betraying nothing, Heero merely stared at Duo until the undead warlock spoke up for himself.

Sitting down on a nearby stool, Duo worried the fabric of his robes as Asahi, his pet roach, scuttled out from the rotted gash in his cheek and pattered around his neck to rest faithfully on his shoulder. Softly, he confessed, "It's not easy for you either, I know."

Heero glanced up, his focus on Duo. He wasn't sure what he was waiting for Duo to say, but it didn't matter. As with everything else regarding Duo, it would stand out to him when it happened.

"I guess I thought it would be far more simple once we got that elixir," Duo continued, oblivious to the attentiveness he commanded in Heero. "Even after I realized that you were you, I thought it would be as simple as restoring things to the way they once were and moving on." He let out a small chuckle, adding, "I guess not."

To the untrained eye, it might have seemed like Heero was staring at Duo in a way that dictated annoyance instead of the intensity with which Heero actually regarded the moment. "I don't know why you would have expected it to be," he commented, gripping the sides of the tub with slightly pruned hands.

"I know," Duo conceded with a sigh, leaning forward so that he might fold his arms atop the edge of the bath. He leaned his head against his bicep, his tangled, grimy hair might tumble over his cheekbone and skim the top of the water. "But I've told you a hundred times that I'd protect you," he went on with a lazy smile. "And I refused to let you take your leave of this world unless I was able to follow right behind you into the dark."

Heero's fingers tightened around the tub's beveled lip, an uneven breath filling his lungs as he realized what Duo was trying to say. He held his tongue, afraid to say anything. He had never been good with words to begin with, but he was sure that even the most eloquent of speakers would be at a loss to describe what Duo had done for him. All he could think of was, "Duo, we all die."

"And am I ever aware of it," Duo said, a touch of laughter there to dilute the gravity of such a notion. "But you…." He trailed off, turning his head slightly so that his eyes were reflected in the bathwater, warbling as the tail of his braid bobbed into the image. "You have a lot to live for, yet. Much more than me," he concluded firmly, nodding to himself.

Heero, too, stared down at Duo's face mirrored in the water, his face betraying nothing of his thoughts. Then, lips barely moving, he murmured, "Then when my soul is ready to embark, make sure I'm not alone."

Duo's immediate reply was merely, "To die by your side would be such a heavenly way to die."

Heero's eyes flicked up in time to catch Duo's as he did the same, their gazes locking for a moment that felt timeless. And even though the glowing soul-light in Duo's eyes sockets was just as riveting as it had been when it had danced in his blue irises so long ago, Heero knew it was hardly the same. The instance faded almost as briefly as it had been birthed, and Heero found himself staring up at the arched ceiling overhead, brutally aware that Duo had affixed his eyes on his soaking form. Unconsciously, Heero covered his stomach with his forearms, a shiver running down the length of his body as his fingers found the proof of everything Duo had said. Idly, he rubbed at the slash of healed flesh that had knit itself over the shard of forged metal that had claimed his life.

"When Relena comes, I'm sure Quatre will be with her," Heero spoke up, suddenly very aware of the way Duo's eyes had also affixed themselves to the entry wound on his torso. "Even with just the brief recipe on the bottle, if anyone could brew a replica of that potion, it's him."

"I'm sure he can," Duo said with an almost dreamy tone in his voice. Clearly worrying about finding a new batch of the elixir wasn't the foremost thought in his mind. "But for now, I like it here." He gave Heero a brief nod, making no implication that he was going to move whether Heero had anything to say about it or not. "As you were."

A flush graced Heero's cheeks as his body stirred at the suggestion. Heero had never been very body shy, and he didn't mind Duo looking at him the way he used to when they had been younger, but the frustration of not being able to share the same sort of intimacy made him feel a little discomfort at the situation. He had been fifteen, clumsy and shy back then, and it was almost embarrassing to realize that he seemed to be no different five years later.

"What's wrong?" Duo chided, noticing Heero's hesitance. "Performance anxiety?"

The redness of Heero's skin only intensified at Duo's suggestive banter. He hated feeling so helpless, even in the most base of ways, and this moment made that fact ever so glaring to him. Everything in his life always seemed to fall so short, no matter how much of himself he gave. Any stability he thought he might have grasped was always shaken with even the lightest of breaths. Dalaran, Stormwind: just what the hell was he doing?

What could he do?

His stomach quaked as he tried to regain his usual calm, but he was finding it far more difficult than he was accustomed to. The leaky faucet dribbling into the bathwater sounded like a faraway echo, his exhalations a hitched, uneven ripple in the air. He could barely stand the sound of it, sinking lower and lower into the water until it had closed over the top of his head. Lying at the bottom of the tub, he peered up through the warbled lens of the water, where he could just make out Duo's uneven shape and the intense glow of his empty eyes. The warlock stood out against the white-walled chamber ever so starkly with his black robes and his mucky hair, just as he always had. Even in their youth, when Duo's hair and skin had been of a more coppery hue, he had. It was nothing particularly new to Heero that Duo was unlike anyone else he had ever known, but the notion had a fresh poignancy in this moment as Heero realized that the strange course of his life had been steered by Duo's haphazard existence.

The tail of Duo's braid bobbed in the water as he stirred above, causing a small current to wash over Heero. It seemed as though Duo's lips were moving, but anything he might have said was muffled by comfortable, submerged silence that filled Heero's ears. Closing his eyes, he tried not to think about what words had been lost between them, internalizing his focus on organizing his head. He knew Duo was probably getting a bit frustrated by his instinct to burrow when things got a bit overwhelming, but he also knew that Duo wasn't the sort to hold it against him. Another current swelled the water, and then a subtle splash that faded into the dreamlike haze that consumed him until his breath exhausted itself. Eyes snapping open, he rocketed back into an upright position, the water sloshing over the edge of the tub as he sucked in a mouthful of blessed air.

Then he realized that he was alone again, even with Asahi left to keep him company.

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Relena couldn't say she had been particularly close to her cousin, Milliardo, but that didn't mean she wasn't emotionally affected when word came to her regarding his untimely death. Despite that, even as she sat garbed in black in front pew of the Stormwind Cathedral with Quatre on one side and Noin, her personal guard, on the other, it seemed as though she was having an out of body experience as she stared at the coffin that stood just in front of the altar. Milliardo's corpse was covered with a decorative shield that bore the city's coat of arms with a matching sword resting beneath it in his folded hands. Milliardo's corpse was covered with a decorative shield that bore the city's coat of arms with a matching sword resting beneath it in his folded hands. A frame of white roses surrounded his body, as pale as his alabaster skin and silvery-gold hair, dull though it had become in death.

Truthfully, Relena was worried about the circumstances of her cousin's passing, and it occupied her mind more than the actual proceedings of the memorial service. She had been told that Milliardo had died defending the city during an unexpected Horde assault, but the details beyond that were sketchy at best. With no hard facts, there was a lot of space for rumour and unsolicited propaganda within both the Alliance and the Horde, a direct conflict with her hopes for peace between the two warring factions. Even when she was named reagent, it would be a delicate matter to address. No one wanted a ruler that imposed his or her beliefs upon the kingdom, especially if that ruler was only a temporary one. She hoped an investigation into what had happened would at least be a step in the right direction.

A nudge from Noin jarred her from thoughts towards the end of the service, surprised that the ornate affair seemed to have passed so quickly. She stood with the rest of the congregation as six men in black tunics and Stormwind tabards approached the funerary bed to lift Milliardo's coffin and bear him on the last parade of his monarchy. She watched the proceedings with listless eyes until she noticed something striking about one of the pallbearers as the procession marched by her pew. Though his eyes were downcast and his shaggy hair hung in his face, there was no mistaking the likeness of Heero Yuy, whose whereabouts had been more than a passing fancy since her days in Dalaran. There was a strange shadow that followed the procession closely – a hooded individual who almost seemed out of place save for the fact he was apparently part of the funerary train. As the pair passed with the coffin, Relena's chest constricted, a mouthful of air stuck in her throat despite the fact that she kept her eyes decidedly forward lest she awkwardly make eye contact with her childhood sweetheart. She knew it was impetuous and immature to still be affected in such a way by Heero's mere presence, but there it was. She wondered what this would mean if Heero was to stay in Stormwind as well.

With such a thought in mind, she tried hard to force herself into the moment at hand as the congregation began to file behind the main procession. The coffin would be borne through the streets so that the citizens of Stormwind might give a last farewell to their king before it was brought to the royal tomb for its final rest. Still, despite her best efforts, everything around her seemed to pass like a blur until pallbearers and Milliardo's closest relations were admitted into the mausoleum for the last rites and burial.

Sealed off inside the tomb, the group circled around the sarcophagus destined for Milliardo's coffin was much smaller than even that which had been admitted to the cathedral for the funeral. As the pallbearers lowered the coffin into the carved marble box, Relena recognized a few familiar faces and wondered at some others. There were some obscure family relatives on Milliardo's side of the family, which had been related to the wife of her and Milliardo's uncle, the former king. There was Tyrande, the high priestess of the night elves, King Bronzebeard of the dwarves and even the prophet, Velen, leader of the estranged draenei clans. The royal seers clustered with the disciplined pallbearers and the mysterious stranger in black, who still hovered at Heero's side with his face obscured by shadow. There was even a strangely familiar elf of Highbourne discent who stood near the back, a quiver of arrows at his hip and a sweep of red hair obscuring half his face. For some reason, he stood out to Relena as being more out of place than even Heero's hooded companion, and her attnetion kept flicking back to the greenish luminosity that tinged even the whites of his eyes. It was only when Highlord Tirion Fordring began the final discourse in Milliardo's honour that she was able to look away, and that was only because she was now distracted by the political benefits of keeping someone like Fordring nearby when she was reagent: she had heard a story that he had defended an orc once, and the prospect greatly intrigued her.

A low whisper from Quatre cut Relena's internal musings short. "Who is that?" he murmured, tilting his head in the direction of the elven archer in the corner. "He keeps casting glances in our direction."

Relena glanced at the elf once more. Aside from his burning eyes and handsome features, he didn't really stand out to her very much. She found the dark stranger next to Heero far more suspicious at any rate. She puffed one cheek and tossed her shoulders before indicating the object of her doubt to Quatre with a similar toss of her head. "That's the one find more unsettling," she answered. "You can't even see his face. He gives off the air of a dark wizard or the like."

"An odd gathering, this," Quatre assessed with a low hum. Such a conclusion was clinched for him as he took notice of Heero standing amongst the pallbearers. Though Heero had been a common sight in Stormwind and a frequent errand boy for Milliardo, this was certainly the last place he expected to see him. He had rather thought of Heero as the sort to keep to himself, not immerse himself in royal politics or public affairs such as this. Maybe Heero would explain himself, maybe not, but Quatre knew the heart of it would come out in time. There were strange workings in the air: he didn't have to be a seer to know it.

He glanced back at the elf, a jolt rushing down his spine when he realized he was staring right at him. At first, Quatre had been sure the elf had his eyes on Relena, since she was the most noteworthy of their party. But upon second look, there was no mistaking the unrelenting grip those eyes had on his soul and no other. There was something about that elf that was incredibly familiar to Quatre, and yet wholly alien. Quatre was sure he'd seen that elf before, but trying to pinpoint exactly where made his temples throb. And his colouring – an elf with such red hair and clothes seemed so out of place. "A Sin'dorei?" he mouthed under his breath. "Here?"

All at once, there was a great swell in his skull, and a sinister voice echoed in his head, like a needle stitching through a length of cloth. In and out, in and out. The clamour that rang in his ears was dull at first, uttering words that didn't even sound like human speech until it rose to a violent crescendo, a loud cry that bombarded his conscious and overpowered his very equilibrium. He didn't even have time to throw a defensive aura around himself before he crumpled to the floor, abruptly disrupting the whole ceremony.

Relena immediately dropped to her knees at his side, but Quatre was only vaguely aware of her presence as the receding hiss continued to reverberate in his brain.

You shall belong to me.

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TBC!!



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If you need to catch up on this story, you can do so on under my name in the fanfiction section.
 
 
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