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Author: Ashkara

Rating: R / NC-17

Pairings: 1+2, 3+4, 5+13, 6+D

Warnings: AU, fantasy, yaoi, and more, lemon, possible Relena squick, sap, angst

Disclaimer: As much as I wish I did, I don't own the G-boys. Gundam Wing is the property of Bandai, Sunrise et al. These stories are written for entertainment only- no money has been made, or is ever expected, though it would be nice... Ahem. Well... So don't sue me- I just got out of college and I don't have anything worth suing for, anyway!

Darkness at Dawn Part 1

He was only a lesser angel, so he was even more aware of the great honour he was being given. Heero showed great daring as he straightened from his bow and asked "What is your bidding, Lord?"

Prussian blue eyes locked with in intense green stare that had seen everything since the Dawntime. The green eyes glowed with love for the Lord's servant. "Do you read the signs, my child?"

Heero nodded, his blue gaze quickly becoming troubled. "Yes, Lord. An ancient evil rising again in the Lower Realm..."

The green eyes glinted proudly down at the angel. "Indeed! An ancient evil that nearly destroyed my Dawnchildren, though it was a mess of their own making. You, my son- you shall be my hands, my champion, in this affair."

Heero felt his heart swell in his breast and he averted his joyous eyes. My Lord believes me worthy... "I am yours to command, Lord. I hope I will not fail you."

The great face smiled. "You could never fail me, child. But neither will you be as you now are. You shall be given a mortal's body, much though it be enhanced to handle an angel's soul. And you must be careful!"

"I understand, Lord."

The bright eyes glowed with love. "Seek out the four Chosen Elementals. And now you must leave, with my blessing." The Lord kissed his angel gently on the forehead, and Heero nearly cried out as he felt his entire being changing- not just as his body faded to a mortal shell, but as raw power flowed through him from the Lord, searing him as it passed.

He opened his eyes again- he was no longer in Heaven. Vast rolling plains surrounded him, so he was caught in an ocean of green as far as the eye could see. His eyes drifted up towards the sky and he gave a small smile. "As it must be, Lord."

~*~

"Do you understand your mission?" Lady Relena asked, staring intently at the girl in front of her.

Hilde nodded to the Princess. "Yes, my Lady. I will be your eyes and ears at King Quatre's court."

Relena's feral smile chilled the girl. "Good. Do not fail me, girl. I hope I won't have to remind you of what happens to those who displease me?"

Hilde paled visibly. "No, My Lady. I do indeed remember."

"Good, then leave."

~*~

Heero grumbled to himself as he trudged along through heavy rain. Not only was he soaked and freezing, but the sensation of clothing stuck to his body as it was, was completely new and wholly uncomfortable. On top of that, he could feel his mortal muscles getting tired, so that taking one step after another became more difficult as time went on... Raising his eyes, he could make out a town in the distance. Thank Goodness! I hope there's a decent inn there- a fire and a meal would be paradise right about now.

He smiled at that. As someone who knew precisely what paradise was...

The guards barely spared him a look as he walked through the gates. He considered this- Heero supposed he looked fairly harmless, despite the sword and long dagger at his side. Piercing blue eyes in a well-chiselled face, framed by a mop of unruly dark brown hair that was currently plastered to his head with water- he wasn't all that tall, either, though well-muscled. It was the way with angels- no one knew how strong and fearsome they were until they acted.

He was in Duke Dermail's city- the Lord's crest was everywhere, a crown on a field of black with three gold stars arrayed around it. Heero didn't understand why the symbol bothered him.

At that moment, he didn't much care, either. He just wanted to get someplace warm and dry.

He found a moderately-priced inn and gratefully paid a couple of silvers for a room. Finally in a private place, Heero threw his head back- a bright glow surrounded his body for only a moment. He opened his eyes again and smiled- he was dry once more.

He looked around his room curiously. Dermail's city was none too rich- the fiefdom was too small for anything to come out of it, really. His room was sparsely furnished, but that didn't bother Heero at all.

He looked out the small window and was once again struck by the strange uneasiness. He took the time to truly see now, though-

Corruption. It was so pervasive that it almost sickened him. It manifested to his sight everywhere- dirt, smoke, rats, insects, spiders and, worst of all, blood. Old blood. Heero shivered violently as he leapt back from the window, disgusted by his vision.

He splashed water on his face before looking up into a dusty, distorted mirror. Problems, yes- you could say this place has more than its share of those. Nothing has ever affected me like that before.

Heero locked the door behind him before heading down to the tavern, housed beneath the guest rooms of the small inn. It was fascinating- just the smell of cooking meat made his stomach rumble and his mouth water in anticipation. Was this what hunger felt like?

"Need food, lad? I daresay you do- too thin, if you asks me, but it's really none of my business..." He was kindly shoved down into a chair. The innkeeper, a stout, dark-haired woman, pressed a tankard into his hands before bustling out towards the kitchens. Heero sat back with a sigh.

Looking around, he noted that many people were staring at him curiously, quite a few with open hostility. But then, judging from the size of this town, it was probably rare for an outsider like himself to pass through. Dermail's capitol city, Jirol, was but a small place, nestled in the Southern hills.

As the innkeeper came back, Heero asked, "Is it rare for foreigners like myself to come here? I've noticed that some people seem not to trust me..." He gave her a special smile and felt a funny satisfaction as her eyes went wide- she would tell him what he needed to know.

She smiled at him. "It is dangerous not to question the purposes of outsiders, lad- they have brought us pain in the past. But here, you seem a good sort..." She set a dinner trencher down in front of him with a sigh as her voice sank down to a low whisper. "I don't know why I'm saying this- I shouldn't, but you're bound to find out sooner or later. The Duke's Lady, Relena of Sank, is treacherous. Ever since their wedding, there have been troubles."

Heero's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Why did the Duke marry such a Lady?"

"Oh, she's beautiful, is Relena. And sweet and charming when she must be." The woman looked startled that she was saying so much to a stranger. "Eat, lad! No more talking for you!"

Heero watched the people around him as he ate- the storm had brought many people into the tavern. He supposed that everyone had decided he was harmless since they were ignoring him for the most part. In fact, only two men were looking in his direction at all.

The taller of the two had short, ginger-coloured hair and bright blue eyes, and looked to be a nice sort of person, though undoubtedly dangerous as well. His companion was slightly shorter and of smaller stature, with gleaming green eyes and long bangs that partially obscured his face. The two looked to be close to his physical age and, by their clothing, travellers like himself.

Heero waved the innkeeper over. "My pardon, but who are those two by the far window?"

She looked up and clucked. "Them? We don't rightly know, but they come through here often enough, so their money's good. The taller one is fair spoken, though his friend never says much." She wandered off, and Heero looked back over at the two.

~*~

The green-eyed boy turned to his companion. "It seems he's remarked us as well, Treize."

The taller of the two smiled. "So it would seem. Well, the only polite thing to do would be to introduce ourselves, then! Come on, brother!"

The two stood and made their way over. Neither understood it, but they had been drawn to this stranger from the moment he set foot in the room. They now observed him openly as they approached. Not as tall as either of them, he was still physically impressive, with a look of strength to his wiry form that was unmistakable. And the soulful look in those foreign-shaped, prussian blue eyes...

Treize smiled warily as the face turned to meet them with a questioning, if polite look. "Greetings, foreigner! Would you mind if my brother and I joined you?"

Heero looked the two over carefully- every instinct he possessed, both divine and human, told him to trust them... Brothers... from the North, but not related by blood... But what brought them here? Dear Father... their families murdered before their eyes... such pain... He shook his head to return to reality and nodded, indicating the free seats with a sweep of his hand.

Heero's voice was low and melodious. "What can I do for you two?"

Strangely, if was the green-eyed one who responded to his question. "In truth... we wondered if we might help you."

Heero raised an eyebrow in response.

Treize smiled. "My pardon, but Trowa here has no manners." He neatly avoided the elbow aimed for his mid-section. "My name is Treize Kushrenada and this is my brother, Trowa."

He had heard those names somewhere before. He smiled. "I am Heero Yuy. My pleasure."

He simply watched as Treize waved the innkeeper over and ordered another round of drinks for them. As three large mugs came down, Treize pinned him with a look. "Well then Heero, I guess you're wondering what sort of help Trowa was offering," he began. "In truth, it is but a warning."

Heero shot the brothers a quizzical look. "Oh?"

Trowa leaned in closer and spoke in a low voice. "People who ask too many questions about her Ladyship tend to encounter... mishaps."

Heero sat back suspiciously. "And why would you possibly risk your personal safety to tell me this?"

Treize blushed uncomfortably and took his time in replying, "I'll be honest with you. I don't know."

The brothers both froze as Heero looked up and pinned them in his stare. His mind pried them open- Trowa... I've seldom ever felt such strength of the mind! And such deep care for the world... strength of the Mountain... Treize- your honour runs as deep as the very oceans... Earth and Water? Is it possible?

Heero released the two minds and felt vaguely guilty as he saw fear in the brothers' faces- yes, it was probably rather strange to suddenly find someone else skimming through their minds. "Please," he said, distress clear on his face as he saw Treize making as though to stand, "don't. I meant no offence, but I must know. Have you... have you had any strange dreams lately?"

Both young men frankly stared this time. "How did you know that?" Treize asked worriedly.

How, indeed? The sign of the four Elementals, so He told me. But what exactly did they see? Do they know about me? "I, too, have had strange dreams. I saw destruction and pain. And I saw four others."

Trowa nodded calmly. "I saw similar things, Heero Yuy. What could it mean? I don't believe in coincidences."

Heero was considering his choices. He couldn't just blurt it out- Hello, I was sent to Earth on a quest for the Almighty, and you are two of my Chosen Companions... Wouldn't that sound intelligent!

In the end, he didn't have to worry. A boy ran through the tavern doorway, out of breath and white as a sheet. "The Wardens!" he gasped. "They make the Lady's rounds!"

"Silence, boy!" The child flew forward as he was roughly shoved from behind.

Heero wasn't aware that he had moved until he set the child down safely, turning to face the Wardens with a glare. "No reason to harm an innocent boy!"

The leader snarled back, "Perhaps we should try you, then, lad. Grab him!"

Everyone stared, amazed, as three men rushed the small stranger and he stood perfectly still. And the moved-

Trowa's eyes went wide as he watched Heero move. Each movement was perfect and skilled, each blow pulled just enough to cause no permanent damage. All three guardsmen were down in under a minute.

Heero turned expressionless eyes on the leader. "You were saying?"

The man left as quickly as he could, and heavy silence descended on the room, broken only by low moans from the men on the floor.

The innkeeper grabbed Heero's arm and dragged him from the silent room. She wrung her apron in her hands as she spoke. "Now, no offence meant- we've all wanted to see the bastards get what they deserve- but I want you to leave. Wardens will return and you cannot be here when they do."

"I understand," Heero sighed. "I suppose that wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done."

"Ha! Perhaps not," she laughed, "But noble. Remember this, lad- even if the law is after you, you will have friends here."

Heero smiled. He would not endanger these people any longer than he had to. "Bless you," he whispered, and disappeared up the stairs.

~*~

The prussian-eyed boy quickly pulled his gear from where he had stowed it and silently began to repack his pack.

"So what will you do now?" Heero wasn't surprised to hear Trowa's voice in his room.

He didn't turn. "Leave town before I do something stupid again."

"I should think- someone with your abilities would be able to hide himself quite well."

Heero finally turned to face his visitor. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said in a voice completely lacking in inflection.

Trowa's single visible eye gleamed in amusement. "Truly? And yet I'm sure, if you wanted to, you could make certain that I had no memory of ever meeting you. Just as you invaded my mind before."

Heero finally smiled- this boy was decidedly bright, beneath his silence. "So I could. Why should you help me, though?"

Trowa matched the small smile. "Call it intuition, Heero."

"And your brother?"

The smile softened somewhat. "Treize will understand, I assure you." As I thought, then. Silent until he has something to say, and then everyone listens. Strength of the Mountain indeed!

Heero nodded. "Very well, then. What do you think I should do?"

Trowa gave a rare full smile- this somehow felt very right. "Come with me, for now."

~*~

Idiot! How many people will suffer tonight because of that little stunt of yours?! You are not the avenging angel here anymore... Heero was so busy berating himself that he didn't realise the two brothers were speaking to him.

"Heero, are you alright?"

Prussian blue eyes blinked rapidly before meeting the cornflower blue gaze of the older one, Treize. "Y-yes, I'm fine, my thanks. What did you ask?"

"I was wondering what brought you to Jirol," the blue-eyed man repeated.

Heero thought for a moment. "My master sent me to help settle disputes here on... Hn. I am... scouting out the participants to see who deserves his help and who deserves it not."

Trowa's visible eyebrow arched sharply at the evasive language. "And your conclusion about Duke Dermail?"

Heero smiled outright, but it was not a pleasant look by any stretch of the imagination. "I've never set foot in such a corrupt place as this, his city. Disgusting..."

Treize snorted. "Aye- that's her ladyship's touch you feel. It is rumoured that she has made a cuckold of her husband with none other than General Tsubarov, his military chief..."

"And any other interesting 'specimen' that comes her way," Trowa interjected.

Treize threw his brother a look. "She wants nothing more than to revenge herself on her brother, Zechs of Sank, for marrying her into this fiefdom- but she won't stop there!"

Trowa looked sad where he sat. "No- she sets her sights to the East, as well." - where young Quatre Raberba is still mourning the death of the King, his father...

Heero shot a piercing look at the two. "And people are allowed to talk about her Ladyship like this? I should think that to be illegal."

Trowa fell silent- Treize replied, "To make it illegal would be to legitimise the rumours. Instead, the Wardens terrorise the townspeople and make arrests for no reason. Fear keeps tongues from wagging."

Heero didn't reply.

Treize cleared his throat. "So... not to intrude, but what is a sorcerer as powerful as yourself doing alone on the roads?"

Heero's head came up, his eyes wide, as the word 'sorcerer.' It's safer for them to assume that than to know the truth. "I've already told you- I'm on an errand."

But Treize was not to be put off. "Yes. Who is your Lord and where do you hail from?"

Heero's eyes darkened. They cannot know- not yet! "It is a great kingdom- if you go far enough in any direction, you will find it."

"I don't like circular answers, my friend," Treize responded with an arched eyebrow.

Heero's face was blank as he stared back fearlessly into the other's eyes. "I'm sorry- I am not as liberty to tell you any more at this time."

"Hush!" Treize and Heero both turned to face Trowa, who was peering out through the curtains suspiciously.

They waited for him to speak again. "That's Lady Hilde- one of Relena's spies. Where could she be off to at this time of night, and in this weather?"

Treize snorted. "On a new mission for Lady Relena, no doubt. Come on!"

The three stealthily made their way out into the rain-washed, silent street. There was no moon whatsoever, penetrating the heavy, angry clouds- they could barely make out the small figure of the Lady, flitting along ahead of them.

Hilde moved silently through the darkness to East Gate, where her guard and horse waited. Heero could just make out the man's words- "... must be very careful! The Sank Kingdom will be attacked first, but she will not wait long and we won't matter..."

Hilde's voice broke from the shadows of her hood. "We can't just run! You know what she will do..."

The escort's voice came back, "Yes, damn her! May God forgive us for this!"

They heard the horses leave with a jingle of tack. The spies were gone.

The three made their way back to their inn in shocked silence, no one truly wanted to consider what they had just heard. Relena will attack her own brother... as soon as she can manufacture a reason for it. And this Lady Hilde is probably headed to Quatre's court...

Trowa's bright eyes flared angrily as the door closed safely behind them! "Demon of a woman! Lord Zechs will never expect this- they will be slaughtered!"

Treize had gone straight to a padlocked chest, unlocked and opened it and was pulling gear out of it now. He stopped and turned towards Heero. "Trowa and I will leave for Sank at dawn. We could use your assistance, Heero Yuy."

And so it begins. "It will be yours, then."

TBC...

 

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