I owe Jessy, my beta reader, for the correct spelling and grammar. Come on people, everyone that can bear MY grammar and turn it into something legiable deserves an aplause!

demonlady61636 Thank you for offering, but as you can see, there is no need. I was just fussing about nothing. I do that sometimes ;) I really am grateful though!

Burning Fire

Chapter 8

"How did he respond?" His father questioned, meeting Duo in the hall just outside Duo's bedroom, Heero safely locked inside.

Duo gave his father an icy glare.

"What?" He asked innocently.

"He cried, okay, he cried! He thought I was going to leave him in the desert!" His eyes narrowed as he heard his father snicker. "You bastard! This was your great plan to drive me and Heero further apart, wasn't it!" He demanded.

His father shook his head. "No, that was not my intentions, I wanted to show you a way to make a disobedient slave submit. Make him desperate, it is how your mother finally gave into me."

Duo's eyes widened as he stared a hole into his father forehead. Then, once
he had composed himself he shot daggers at him with his eyes. Almost
screaming, on the verge of tears he confronted his father. "So you never saw her as any more than a slave!"

"Of course not... Once a slave, always a slave. Your mother was once just as hateful as Heero, but that all changed when I took her into the desert."

"You bastard!" Duo lashed out, his fist connecting with the cheek of the older man. The two guards standing in the hallway were unsure of what to do.

The king pretended he didn't even feel his now throbbing cheek and fixed his gaze on his panting son. "How dare you..."

"It'no wonder she died so young, with you messing around with her like that! And here i thought you loved her!"

"Duo, don't be stupid, you can't fall in love with a slave! A slave isn't even a proper human being."

Duo snorted angrily and clenched his fists at his sides. "Why I never killed you in your sleep is beyond me. You didn't deserve her."

His father merely shrugged, not in the least bothered or so it appeared. "You go play with your slave, do as you please. I did once love your mother, or so I thought. But at night she stabbed with me a knife. That's how I got that scar in my chest."

"You said you got that in battle." The amethyst eyed boy charged.

His father laughed. "I've never been to battle! No, it was your mothers doing. And it was then, that I realized something I wanted to make you realize as well, slaves will never return your love and they will never be worth your trust. Besides, you've never met your mother, you don't know what kind of a bitch she was..." With that he strode past his son, head held up high like the proud king he was. He left a fuming Duo behind in the hallway, who watched his leave with a face burning with bordering rage.

Not being able to compose himself enough, he stomped back into his bedroom and disappeared in the bathroom, not even looking up to see Heero's reaction. He opened the faucet and washed his face with cold water. He filled the sink with the cold liquid and almost drowned himself in it, coming up at the very last moment gasping for air. Calmer now he straightened, looking in the mirror he saw, besides his own dripping face, Heero leaning against the doorframe, looking at him with unreadable eyes. Without saying a word he silently left Duo alone, seconds later the prince could hear his slave sitting down on his cushions in front of the fire place.

For a few more moment he stood in front of the sink, leaning on it, his hands powerfully gripping the edges. He was so angry with his father for saying all those things about his mother. He had heard only wonderful things about her from the other servants and slaves, according to them she was nothing short of an angel. And he was more capable at believing them than his traitterous father. It angered him even more that his father didn't even seem to care... He didn't care how much his son hated him, he didn't care how much his wife hated him. That made him a truly heartless man.

Walking back into the room he saw what he expected, Heero sitting on the cushions, staring out of the large windows, past the balcony into the garden. Without speaking he walked over to Heero, who pretended not to know of his presence. He gentle grabbed the black collar around his slave neck and unhooked the leash. He would show his father, Heero could be trusted. Right?

He wanted his father to be wrong so badly, but at the same time he realized very well that Heero could, indeed, never be trusted. The fire burning in his blue eyes reflected his soul that refused to be tamed.

Heero slowly turned to look at him with an empty expression, better than the angry one he had had ever since they came back from that horrid 'trip'.

"Heero, could you please go out to the balcony, I need some... privacy."

A few seconds longer all he received was that empty stare. Then suddenly a curt nod. Heero rose to his feet and walked over to the balcony, opening the large glass door and closing it behind him.

Duo knew that if Heero risked the ten meter drop to the grass below, he wouldn't get far with the many guards in the garden. Certain that Heero wouldn't run off he closed the thin curtains and lay down on the bed on his back, staring up at the decorated ceiling of his room. For a good long few moments his mind was totally blank and it calmed him down.

Turning his head he gazed through the thin curtains to see Heero's silhouette leaning against the thick stone banister of the fairly large balcony, looking far away. He stared as the wind played with the short, dark brown hair, whipping it around a shapely face. He had mixed feelings. Each time he looked at Heero, he felt so blessed to have the boy in his life, but his hope and happiness would always be crushed... by Heero's fist mostly... He hated to admit it, but his father, may God condemn his soul to hell, might just be right. Heero will never be obedient and maybe he was just wasting his time with him...

A knock on the door caused him to sit upright, staring at it for a moment before calling out: "Come in."

His father strode inside, making Duo glare and his heart pound with anger.

"I took the liberty of inviting some old friends..." His father informed.

Duo narrowed his eyes.

"Sir Romefeller, I'm sure you remember him."

Duo almost panicked. "What!" He called, and his father just smirked.

He frowned but then realized his father was doing it on purpose. "Will you never stop? You know Romefeller will raise hell!"

His father shrugged carelessly and fixed his gaze on the boy standing on the balcony, his back still turned towards father and son inside the room. "It was your own mistake to release the bird Romefeller gave to us." He pointed out.

"If you hadn't invited him he would have never found out." Duo snapped back. "This man visits once every twelve years or something. You are risking a war between two nations?

His father shook his head, smiling with a secret wisdom. "No, I'm not. You know Romefeller, an eye for an eye. That bird was very precious to him. Now, he'll want something precious of yours." His father looked outside at Heero again.

Duo followed his gaze and his eyes widened. "This had been the plan from the start, wasn't it? You knew that if you suggested a trip with 'something worth his while' that I'd release the bird!" Duo rose from the bed and stomped past his father.

"Where are you going?" His father asked.

"To tell the guards to catch another eagle."

"You don't have enough time." The king stated simply.

Duo turned on his heels with a suspicious look. "The journey from his palace to ours takes a week..."

"That's why I sent a post dove six days ago... They'll arrive tomorrow."

He stomped back into his room. He knew his father wanted to follow but he slammed the door into his face and locked it. Now he was truly angry. If he wasn’t aware of the fact that the guards had strict order to hang even Duo if he killed the king he would have twisted his fathers neck seventeen times by now. The man was such a...there were no words to describe him. The man would do anything and more to ruin Duo's life, just for the sake of his own sick amusement. And to think he thought his father was ‘quite a cool guy’ no longer than a year ago...unbelievable...

He walked out onto the balcony, his hands in his hair. He leaned his back against the high banister and closed his eyes, feeling Heero's curious looks in the side of his head. "What!" He snapped at the younger man.

Heero didn't respond in any way. He merely continued to stare.

Duo fumed, looking enraged at him. "I should have never listened to you! I should have never released that damn bird!"

Heero didn't seem to understand, but besides a minor change in his expression, he remained unresponsive. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, Heero left him alone on the balcony, lying down on his pillows he closed his eyes. Duo wasn't sure if he really did fall asleep or if he was just pretending, but it didn't matter. If he couldn't find a decent excuse for the visiting king tomorrow he'd lose Heero...

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As he woke, he figured it was morning, but as he opened his eyes he reckoned it was almost noon, he woke to the sound of trumpets and the sound of hooves whispering in the
loose sand. Quickly rising and walking out on the balcony he leaned over the banister to look past the side of the palace. He swallowed loudly as he saw a large horse caravan nearing the palace, many of the guards had red flags in their hands with the symbol of Romefellers kingdom on it. In the middle of the caravan four horses pulled a large, covered, sled that easily slithered through the sand.

He rushed back into his room, his robe flapping behind him. Duo got dressed as quick as humanly possible in the neatest clothing he had. Looking at the ground, Heero seemed to be fast asleep. Even though he didn't want to, he stepped over to him and gently shook him awake. Of course a hand lashed out, hitting him just under the knee. It was only a halfhearted punch, but he got the message.

"Get dressed Heero," he urged, not even bothering to try and call him 'slave', the 'family jewels' weren't safe if he ever attempted that. "We have guests." He explained.

Heero never looked less interested, arching an eyebrow at Duo who was fussing over his looks.

"Get dressed!" Duo called again. Looking at Heero, who refused to move, he sighed dramatically and threw some clothes at the young man. Finally Heero slowly crawled out of his 'bed' groaning and began, slowly, putting on the clothes.

A knock on the door and one of the servants called out their guests had arrived.

"Yes, thank you!" He hastily retorted. Once Heero was done Duo pointed a strict finger at him. "You stay here, okay?" He ordered, not wanting Heero to roam the castle like he did last week.

Heero sighed, "If I have to stay here, why did I had to get dressed?"

"Because I know my father will probably come to get you and I want you to be ready. Stay here and fight my father off as long as you can."

Heero smirked. "With pleasure."

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He strode into the hallway and all but jumped off the grand, swirling staircase, down into the main hall where he ran into his father, also in his fanciest clothing, looking very smug and pleased with himself. As if nothing was wrong between them the blonde king stepped forward and straightened his son's clothing. The gesture had Duo fuming, panting with anger, but he stood still, waiting for the ordeal to end.

"Let's go greet our guest." His father spoke, letting go of him and leading the way out the door. Ten guards guiding them to the end of the path where the caravan had come to a halt.

The caravan consisted only out of black horses. The saddles were made from luxurious leather with red decorations. The flags stood out in the colorless desert. In the centre was the chariot, panted red, black curtains in front of the windows. Duo watched with slight humor, Romefeller always did love the drama of the ordeal of arrival. He dared to bet stepping into the red carpet his own guards had laid out made him feel like the richest man in the world. It was pathetic. If Duo had to point out a man that was even worse than his father, his finger would point in Romefeller's direction. Strangely enough, just like Duo's father, he managed to get a woman pregnant with a normal child. A son that didn't get off on the idea that he could make people do the most disgusting things just because he was their king.

He shot his father a sideways glance as the doors were opened by one of the horsemen, and they watched a black clad leg come out to be planted firmly on the ground.

Duo was surprised to see that the first one to come out was not drama queen Romefeller but his son, Trowa Barton Romefeller. The tall man got out with the grace of a feline. He smiled friendly in Duo’s direction and bowed before Duo's father, then he turned back and reached his hand inside the chariot. "I hope you don't mind." Trowa said, sounding proud and loving, a tone very unusual for the normally stoic young man, "but I brought my
slave."

"Not at all!" Duo's father called out, "I'd be glad to accept a good slave in my palace." He gave his son a venomous glare but he was forced to drop his jaw as the prince's slave got out and was revealed in the bright son.

The first thing Duo noticed was the blonde hair, besides his father he had never met someone in this country with blonde hair, the second thing he noticed were the aqua eyes, another unusual thing in a part of the world which homed brown haired and brown eyed people. Of course that wasn't the first thing his father noticed. Of that, Duo was sure and his face broke into a grin. The first his father would notice would be the pants instead of
skirt, the second thing his father would probably notice would be the flat chest. And Duo dared to bet his father didn't even register the blue eyes or blonde hair. All his father could see, was the face... of a boy.

"This is my, well, I don't like to use the term 'slave'..." Trowa blushed. Very un-like Trowa behaviour, "King Maxwell. Duo," he nodded towards his friend and father, "This is Quatre."

The blonde slave, Quatre, smiled kindly and bowed his head.

"Also, I have to apologize for my father's absence, he couldn't join us due to an illness that struck him."

This was the happiest day of Duo's life, he was sure of it. He watched his father splutter and make all kinds of unmagestic noises as he stared at Trowa and his slave. Duo, however, was happy to break the ice, he stepped forward and shook Trowa's hand. "Glad to see you again, especially in such a happy state. You must be quite the slave to make my monotone friend smile and blush like that."

Quatre's face turned crimson red and he hid his face behind Trowa's shoulder.

Duo thought it was adorable, but at the same time he couldn't help but feel regret, if only Heero made looks like that. He tried to envision it, but found it an impossible picture to summon.

"Yes, Quatre has really enhanced my life." A frown appeared on Trowa's face.
"Where is your father going?"

Duo turned around to see his father quickly walking back into the palace, his entire body tense, his fists clenched at his sides. Duo turned back to his friend, a smile that could split his face in half. "Trowa, my friend, you have no idea just how happy I am to see you."

Trowa frowned. "You look awfully pleased with yourself."

"I'm getting there, I'm getting there."

Trowa suddenly seemed a bit uncomfortable and hemotioned to Quatre and himself. "You are not offended by this?"

"By what?" Duo seemed truly puzzled.

"You know, two guys, my father doesn't really suffer from a virus, he is still trying to get his wits together after I told him I would be keeping Quatre as my personal slave."

If possible, the smile on Duo's face got bigger "Trowa, I would like you to meet someone." He simply stated and then walked back to the palace. Trowa and his slave followed him in.

"I assume you finally found a slave of your own?"

"Uhm... yeah, I guess you could say that. Though I don't like to call him a slave." He answered as they made their way up the stairs.

"I know, me neither, I don't want to offend Quatre."

"Yeah and I don't want to get kicked in the balls." Looking back he saw a deep frown appearing on Trowa's face as the prince followed him to the door to his bedroom. "You might want to leave Quatre outside, it could get dangerous." He said, only half joking.

"Duo, what did you get, a wild animal!"

In mock surprise Duo called: "Who told you? No, but seriously, protect your eyes and everything under the belt." Again, only half was a joke.

Trowa told his slave to wait outside while Duo unlocked the door and invited him in. He was surprised to see that Heero was exactly where he had left him, sitting on his pillows, back towards them.

"Your slave?" Trowa questioned.

"Ha! In his dreams." Heero turned around to face them with his every icy stare. He frowned lightly, seeing the tall son of Romefeller. Obviously Heero had expected an old man and was surprised to see such young meat. Duo had to admit he wasn't all too pleased with the looks Heero was giving his friend.

"Trowa, meet Heero, Heero, this is Trowa, king Romefeller's son."

"Hello Heero."

Duo was all but shocked to see that Trowa walked straight towards the seated boy and reached out his hand. Heero momentarily stared at the hand before raising his own. Duo was about to warn the prince but swallowed his cries as he saw Heero gently grab Trowa’s hand and shake it, introducing himself as Heero Yuy. That reminded Duo of the first time they had 'met'. The only time he had ever heard Heero's full name. To be honest, he had forgotten all about it, even though a last name was very important in this country, it gave you pride, dignity, or shamed you because of something your parents or
grandparents did. Maybe, Heero didn't have a last name to be ashamed of, otherwise, why would he voluntarily give it to a very powerful man who could have him hanged if his name was dirtied.

Apparently Heero liked the whole 'respect' thing Trowa had going on and instead of a kick in the balls, like he would normally give Duo, he friendly shook his head and even though he could not bear a smile, his expression was far from hostile, a little too far.

"Okay, that's enough lovebirds!" Duo smiled, his tone happy and careless, not betraying the jealousy in his heart.

Quatre walked in after Trowa had called him and also shook his hand, this time, Heero didn't say his last name, maybe because Quatre didn't either. Duo then had a very nasty thought that made him feel ashamed of himself and jealous of Trowa and Quatre, it also made him very angry at himself... He had never even shaken Heero's hand. After months of living with him, never further away from each other than the leash allowed, he had yet to shake the slim, long fingered hand. Why? Just because it was the inapropriate thing to do?

He had yet to learn anything about him. All he knew was that he was beautiful and incredibly stubborn. The only thing he could attempt to comfort himself with was that Heero also hadn't made an effort to get to know his master. But then again, why would he, he never chose to be here...

"You okay Duo?" Trowa asked in a hushed tone, his hand landing on Duo's shoulder in a comforting gesture.

Duo looked up from his marble floor and flashed him a grin. "Sure! I was just admiring my reflection!" The comment made Trowa as well as Quatre laugh, but it made Heero look away with a barely audible snort.

... bear with me, I'm doing my best.

C.W. (but you already knew that)