Author's Note: Well, hello once again. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Kifujin Taka. I will finish it, never fear, but I wanted to get his out of my head and onto 'paper' as soon as possible. There are too many stories buzzing around me as it is. This is one is going to be slightly different from my usually sappy dramas. This one is a romantic tragedy. Which means, you guessed it, there is going to be lots and lots of angst! (And perhaps death, so be prepared.) In case you are thinking this sounds slightly like KT, think again. KT is going to have a wonderfully happy ending, this one…well…you'll just have to wait and see. My main goal with this fic is to write a genre I don't usually write in and to expand my horizons. If you don't get teary-eyed at least once during this story, then I have failed my mission. I'll try not to leave you sobbing on the floor but do ready yourself for some emotional turmoil. I hope you enjoy this story and please feel free to leave me any comments. Thanks! *hugs*
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing, only my own imagination.
FYI: This is set in a different world, time, space, universe, etc. Though I do use the Sanq Kingdom as the name of Relena's homeland. I'm pretty sure nothing else will be the same, though.
Dedicated to FierySable who has always been so supportive of my work. She is a wonderful, talented author and a kind person and you should all go read her fics! Go on, flock to them! tee hee! Here's another AU for ya, Sable, and I'll put in some sap just for you! *hugs*
And Storms May Collide
Chapter One: Rumbles in the Distance
I was always the quiet one.
We all had our stations to fulfill, our roles to play, but mine was always the shy, boyish child that could capture the hearts of ladies with only a single glance of my sea-green eyes framed by locks of platinum blonde hair. The others said I had a youthful quality about myself, an innocence if you will, that made people trust me, believe me when they had no other reason to. I could see it in their eyes, this willingness to trust me. A desire to find freshness in a world that had long since become dark and bleak.
I would sit there, my violin tucked safely under my chin, dripping pure notes from the strings like golden honey, and they would crowd around us, their eyes pleading for a chance to forget, to be lost within our music and never return from the blissfully ignorant illusion we offered them. It was always the same.
Their eyes were always the same.
I am not so foolish as to believe that it was our music they wanted, though it did help our allure. No, we were all good-looking, talented, young men and every woman's husband was off fighting in the war, every maid's crush disappeared into the shadows that inhabited the nearby countries. It made for a very difficult time, especially since we had to pretend to be available to keep our audiences. If we did not even attempt to act interested in the ladies that eventually stated their desires, we would have been wandering the streets, begging for coin. Unhappy patrons do not support starving actors.
All except Heero, of course.
No matter how cold and frigid he acted towards our 'virtuous' audience, the ladies always wanted him. He had this dark, dangerous aura that whispered of mysteries to be revealed. A thing the ladies squealed over behind their lacy fans. He would give them that famous blue-eyed glare of his and we would be propping their fainted bodies up off the floor. Not that he ever cared. He cared for no one, nothing. Perhaps he did have some small concern for us, but that was all. Life held no meaning for him. He would stand before us and sing with the voice of the breaking tides, rumbling like thunder in the distance, and then come back as unchanged as ever. It was his voice that hypnotized, his eyes that turned everything that looked at him to stone.
There were a few time when this got him into trouble. Specifically when a jilted lady made up some attempted rape story to her husband, who then marched down to our concert hall, preparing to display his manliness by flattening Heero's face. Not that that ever happened. Heero would let the 'dishonored' woman's husband rant and rave at him for a few moments, before quietly dispatching the poor soul with a swift punch to the stomach and walking silently away as if the whole thing had never happened. The husband would conclude that he had taught the peasant singer some manners and limp back to his wife, stating that he had taken care of the ruffian with much exaggerating and prolonging of the tale. Heero made no mention of these incidents, drawing his silence around him like a physical cloak. He was our soloist, our main actor, and so entitled to do or not to do whatever he wanted.
As I look back on it now, I can see he was waiting for something. Waiting for the world to show him why he had been born, the purpose for his life. We were all waiting, really. With never an end to the performances and songs that filled our minds everyday. The life of a traveling musician was not grand, and we knew Heero had been born for great things. He carried himself with a quiet self-confidence that spoke of noble blood, though he insisted that he was peasant. Even his dark looks seemed to speak of something other than the ordinary. He had a destiny before him that none of us could know, and I think, if I had know it back them, I would not have stopped him.
We all must live at least once.
That's what Duo used to say, anyway. I can still remember him standing upon the stage in the concert hall, long braid draped over his shoulder, violet eyes twinkling with mirth, one hand extended in a grand gesture, and saying…
* * * *
"We all must live once, and love once, before we've truly lived at all. That is the moral of our story, ladies and gentleman. I hope you have enjoyed the evening. Thank you, thank you!" Duo bowed, his braid brushing the floor as rose petals were flung onto the stage and the audience clapped their approval of the ending. The red velvet curtain drifted gracefully closed before him, the folds swinging together at the last moment as the crowd got to their feet in rustles of silk and lace. In the orchestra pit, Quatre rested his violin against his knees in order to brush beads of sweat from his forehead. The performance had been one of their best, as opening nights usually were, when the adrenaline and excitement were high and the largest crowds came to pay them tribute. A row ahead of him, Trowa gathered his sheet music, having already tucked his flute back in its leather casing. As other musicians moved restlessly, the curtains opened again for role call, revealing Wufei, the stage manager, standing off to the side, his obsidian eyes on the stage. He began to call character names and the actors who portrayed them, slowly working up to the main cast. Scattered applause rippled throughout the theater but most of the patrons were breathlessly awaiting the stars they had come to see.
"Catherine Bloom as Tarith Silversong."
The husky-voice actress curtsied prettily, her silver eyes flashing, her red curls framing her face perfectly. The men gave her catcalls, her flute-playing lover offered only a smile.
She smiled back.
Wufei raised his voice. "And Heero Yuy as Justin Caladrun."
The applause was deafening, but Heero coolly bowed as he always did, dark hair falling into midnight blue eyes. He then linked hands with Catherine and they took another bow to the pinging of gold coins hitting the stage. The curtains drew closed for the last time and the clapping eventually died out as everyone filed out for the reception on the lawn. No one wanted to miss personally meeting Heero Yuy.
Little did they know that he rarely attended the receptions.
Stretching tiredly, Quatre stood from his chair and gathered his instrument, falling in beside Trowa as they made their way backstage to congratulate their friends in another wonderful performance. They had to make way for the crew who were making sure everything was readied for the next night's show, their tempers short after a long night. Dorothy was the first to notice them though she was in a semi-heated conversation with an actress who thought her costume was too big. Quatre watched with a faint smile as she interrupted the girl and coldly told her that if her dress were any tighter she'd die from suffocation and that if she didn't like it she could go naked for all she cared. Trowa coughed politely as the embarrassed actress stormed by and Dorothy came to stand before them, a small smile on her lips.
"Well, how did they look?" It was her usual question. She took all of her costumes seriously. They all embodied a certain part of her own personality.
"They were great." Quatre answered with a smile. It was his usual answer.
Dorothy nodded. She expected nothing less. "Wufei wants to see us after we've made the rounds. Sounds serious."
Quatre frowned and would have replied but Catherine came running over, cheerful after her first performance of "Gone Before Sunrise". She slipped her arm through Trowa's, a smile on her face.
"Was it good?" She breathed, looking at Quatre and Dorothy. She already knew what Trowa would say. "Could you hear me perfectly?"
"You were wonderful." Quatre said warmly, and Dorothy echoed him. Catherine beamed.
"Why thank you!" Duo grinned as he appeared from the stage, making a flourishing bow. "I know I'm great but it never hurts to hear it."
Catherine punched him in the shoulder playfully. "Though I hate to admit it, your death scene was very convincing."
"Of course! I'm not the God of Death Scenes for nothing." He winked. "Where's Heero? It's time for us to go shake some hands and eye the ladies!"
"He's probably disappeared into the shadows already." Trowa said, speaking up for the first time. "You know he hates mingling."
"Well, we'd better find him. Wufei wants to see us after the rounds." Quatre said, looking over his shoulder. "Which we had better get started on or the guests will get anxious."
"Don't worry, Quat-man." Duo said, looping an arm around his friends' shoulders as their small group started towards the reception, except for Dorothy who was too immersed in her costumes. "The girls love it when you make a great entrance."
* * * *
Yes, those were times of laughter…
We were free then, living carelessly from day to day. We were happy being together. The theater was our life and it brought out the best in us, whether we were musician or actor or crew. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to go back to those days of naiveté. Would the hours seem richer with the knowledge that those few days would be the calmest of our lives?
I'm not sure.
I only know that when Wufei told us of the Sanq Kingdom, our lives changed forever…
* * * *
"What?!" Duo exclaimed, his violet eyes wide with shock. "You can't be serious!"
The whole cast and orchestra were gathered in the empty theater, most of them drunk from the festivities earlier. Wufei had gathered them together for a short meeting, saying he had an important announcement to make. Even Heero had shown up, leaning against the stage wall, arms crossed over his chest.
"What part of my expression makes you think I'm kidding, Maxwell?" Black eyes glared at him with no glint of emotion. Duo put an arm behind his head and scratched his neck.
"Well, no part really…But you can't be serious! You're talking about breaking up the act!"
Murmurs spread throughout the artists present and there was some restless shifting before Wufei cleared his throat loudly, bringing attention back to himself. "I'm not breaking up the act. Count Darlian has asked that we perform at the Rosedawn Theater in Sanq on the eve of his daughter's birthday. As you all know, Darlian has been a patron of our group since the beginning and it would be in all of our best interests to go before he decides to take his business elsewhere. We would perform at Rosedawn in a week and then return here to finish up the season." He paused, his eyes scanning worried faces, stopping on the disinterested face of Heero Yuy. "What do you say, Yuy?"
Everyone turned to gaze at the lead actor, realizing that it was up to him if they would go or not. Without him, the play would be nonexistant, there would be no purpose to it if he refused to go.
Without raising his head, Heero spoke clearly, the walls reverbrating with the power of his voice. "We go."
Wufei nodded sharply as everyone relaxed, some even laughing to lighten the tension. Quatre sank down into his seat with a sigh, drawing an amused look from Dorothy.
"Then we go." Wufei said, taking control once again. "We need to start working up an approiate one-act for Dorlain's daughter. From what I hear she has a fair voice and the Count would be pleased if she had some minor role. Quatre, Trowa, get to work on a song for her." The two musicians nodded. "Duo, get to work on the story." Duo saluted jauntily and Wufei narrowed his eyes at the braided man. "And keep it clean, Maxwell. I don't want an offended Count on my hands."
Duo grinned sheepishly.
"The rest of you, start packing. We leave for Sanq tomorrow night."
* * * *
It was such a grand idea then, heading off towards the beautiful Sanq Kingdom to perform for a Count. How could I know that we had agreed to plunge ourselves into the middle of a silent war that would tear us apart?
How could I know that we had agreed to walk straight into hell?
* * * *
Well, interesting? I hope so. One thing I wanted to explain is how this story is going to be written. Basically, it is going to be told by a narrator who is having a series of flashbacks. In case it wasn't clear, the narrator is Quatre. Whenever you see these four stars
* * * *
it either means a flashback from present to past which is easy to identify since it goes from 1st person to 3rd. Or it is a change of scene. (ex. the theater to Relena's kingdom) In which case the POV will stay the same. Got it? If not, don't worry, you'll get used to it. I hope you liked this first part. The fic is going to have some 'Moulin Rouge' influences since I went to see the movie 4 times and I can't help but be influenced (ewan mcgregor is so cute!), but it will definitely still be original. Hope you liked!
Thanks for reading and please review! *hugs*