Protecting the Fox

Pairing: 1x2 (nothings better), 3+4 (nothing explicit), and another favorite 13x6x5 (ah, poor Wufei) but much later, more 6x5 though (I've come too really like that pairing and the angst and drama it brings).

Warning: hopefully I will bring myself to get past a (+ to an X) but I don't know yet. There's action/adventure, romance, drama, angst, humor (I hope), and a past rape that's hinted here and there, don't worry though, I'm not so cruel as to draw it out into one long thing and torture Duo until he cracks (not into that much angst). Set in the Renaissance…sort of.

Disclaimer: In a nutshell don't own, wish I did, have no money, so don't sue.

A/N: I wanted to try a story where a relationship between these two progressed at a much slower rate. That way, it seems more real. So have patients with me and enjoy the other couples until the 1x2 reveals itself. Knowing me it won't be long. Oh and one more thing, I'm an extremely hard core 1x2 fan not a 2x1. So don't be expecting anything there. They will be equal in everything else but that. I just can't bring myself to enjoy a submissive Heero taken it. Just doesn't work for me.

Chapter 4: Dinner Yum!

"Oh, Duo, you look resplendent! And sir Heero, I never knew guards could be so dashing!" Relena was like one of those gushing volcanoes in the south that ruptured in both hot magma and ash, even though from far away it was a beautiful sight. This night I had worn the traditional uniform of white breeches, a white rather billowy shirt with a black satin vest over it. It was unfortunate for whoever invented the damn contraption for I was going to kill him if he was still alive, I was forced to wear a most uncomfortable white scarf that practically cut off circulation and made the vest even tighter then it originally was.

To complete the outfit I wore a black and red dinner jacket with a high collar and a tapered waist. All in all, I hated it, and Relena found it dashing. All seemed right in the world. Heero on the other hand, was wearing the same thing, but in deep blues and blacks, with his sword, which I believe is permanently fused to the man's side. "Now please have a seat. You too Heero. I will not have formality keep you from having a decent meal with the rest of us." Relena had smartly placed Heero on her left and me on her right. That way she could feel powerful at the head of her table, Relena always loved power in all its forms.

"Relena, this all looks great." I smiled as wide as I could, staring at the fare set before me. Her cooks had procured a rack of lamb, which seemed a bit over done, doused in the Peacecraft's famous sweet-apple sauce, with a side of mixed steamed vegetables shining with a sweet sesame glaze, and lemon-buttered noodles. All in all, it wasn't bad…but it was far from being my favorite of meals. All that rich food just didn't sit right.

"Why thank you Duo. Oh, and I hope you don't mind but I also have a few other guests staying here as well. They should be down shortly." I nodded absentmindedly, knowing Relena entertained as many guests at one time as her table would allow. This enabled her to create a higher standing for herself in a noble's world. "Now, Heero, just curious, but how did you come to be Duo's personal guard? I know it's not something a guard would wish for that's for sure." She smirked over at me briefly, before turning back to Heero, picking up her wine glass daintily and barely taking a sip of the ruby liquor. I would love to shove that glass down her pretty little throat.

Heero, who had been thoughtfully chewing on a piece of broccoli, eyes staring down at the table, grunted deeply. He then swallowed eyes coming up to meet mine before gliding over to Relena. "I was asked if I wanted the position and I agreed." Heero picked up his glass and took a sip from it, eyes flickering again to mine. Cute…

"Oh there must be more then that? Did you not ever hear from the other guards how much of a pest our young Duo is?" She fanned herself, giggling in false humor, for my benefit of course.

"I did. It meant nothing. I never turn down a request from my superiors." Heero looked back down to his plate a note of finality at the end of his statement. He would speak no more on the subject.

"Excuse me madam, but your other guests have arrived, Prince Arram Salazisria, Lord Beltan Tortar, and Lady Verila Yu." Pargan bowed low as three regal figures walked through the two arched doorways. Ok, now I know for a fact that Heero's presence was only one of few that could take my breath away from the three strangers that came into the room at that moment were more to add to my now growing collection. Lady Verila Yu was a woman that could rival the goddess of love and purity's beauty ten-fold. Somehow, I didn't see Relena and this swan in human's skin getting along very well. Relena didn't take well to other females surpassing her own mortal good looks.

Lady Verila, bowed low first to her hostess then to me, a minute flash of something shinning in her dove gray depths before she took a seat next to Heero. She smiled broadly at the guard, the look akin to Relena's. Lord Beltan, a rather sturdy and broad set man came second. He had an unruly head of dark brown and a beard of the same rich color. He clasped two strong muscular arms in an elegant bow, one wouldn't think a man of his size could do well at all and then took a seat down next to Lady Verila Yu.

That left Prince Arram Salazisria, the third man in my life to catch my attention. I need help…if I keep getting all hot and bothered by men. I'm in series trouble. The man was in his middle twenties with an air of a god…scarily enough; both Heero and this gorgeous Adonis were equally matched in the mysterious good looks department. It was definitely making me feel body shy. Being in the room with two over scorching men and one goddess made me feel like a rag doll.

Prince Arram bowed slowly at his waist black coarse hair pulled back into a tight pony tail. It almost reminded me of Wufei's hair style. The cheek length bangs fell down over two sparkling forest green eyes I couldn't help but deem passionate. The man was like liquid smoke as he moved around the table to the chair beside me. He then stopped suddenly before sitting, eyes widening on my person. I hate when people do that. It just makes me want to curl up into a tiny ball and hide away like a coward.

"Prince Duo Maxwell? I've heard so much about you. I never expected to meet with you one day." The other prince's cultured voice was by all means a voice that could charm even a rattlesnake into submission and it was working wonders on my own mouth. Finally I was able to close it and regain some semblance of order.

"Well, I'm pleased to meet you. Though I wish to know from which country you reign?" I was confused. Relena never mentioned one of her 'guests' was of royalty. Only someone like her could forget something so important.

"Your highness, we have arrived from Cria of Scanra, our countries to the west. We have come here on a campaign for trade between our country and yours. Lady Peacecraft is the daughter of one of my father's acquaintances. It was only logical to 'stop by' and greet her before going to your capital." During the prince's idiom he had taken a seat, moving his silverware off his napkin and setting it delicately in his lap. "I hope you don't mind us joining you this weekend?"

"No…uh…no, its fine, Prince Arram." Wow, I should ask my father more about the other countries royalty. Yes I knew of the country Scanra but I didn't know of any princes. I returned to my plate, moving around the vegetables and the dripping sweet applesauce together.

"So, now that everyone is present, why don't we have a little chat on what you all want to do tomorrow? I thought we could have a tour of the grand ballroom. Maybe have a little celebration. I know I can get a few more guests and have a smashing ball after the fair I mentioned to you Duo. What do you think Prince Arram?" I smirked over my wine glass, amused at the others stuttered reply. Of course Relena would pull something of this magnitude off when I was over. She knew I detested parties yet insisted on throwing the most lavish affairs money could buy. This including caviar on beluga briskets, with pink gauze draping over every inch of her bone china white ballroom. It was just sickening thinking about it.

"Well my Lady, I'm sure that would be wonderful, but we don't want you to go through all that trouble for just the six of us." Arram glanced over at his companions who also nodded. It seemed not one of them had it in their heads that it was a good idea but Relena hadn't picked up on it, so it seemed.

"You know Relena; I would really love to visit your barracks again. How is your captain by the way? I haven't seen him in a long while?" Of course I hadn't seen him in a long while and that's only because he used to work for my father before he was taken by the witch in pink. Nothing was safe.

Relena sniffed daintily, napkin brushing her now thin lips. "Duo, visiting the barracks is not a refined place for our esteemed guests. I'm sure the ball would be a far better choice. Wouldn't you agree Sir Heero?" Well, excuse me…I didn't realize I was on her hate list all of a sudden. Heero suddenly looked up at me, eyes flashing with something I couldn't identify before spearing the last of his vegetables.

"I believe a visit to the barracks is a smart idea." He then ate thoughtfully, downing the last tidbit with a bit of wine. "I would like to better acquaint myself with your security lady."

"Oh, well then, I guess we can arrange a brief visit in the morning but in the afternoon there will be the fair and the ball. Oh, and Lady Verila Yu, I would love to know how you get your hair so tight. I'm sure the gentlemen can occupy themselves for an hour if need be." An hour…if Relena's talking beauty tips, I'd say around three.

"Ahem. Mrs. Peacecraft?" Relena looked up with a slight frown only to find the butler. "Are you ready for the deserts?"

"Yes, please and arrange for a list of local lady's and lords that can arrive for a small ball tomorrow evening."

"Yes lady."

To let you know before hand. I have a bit of a sweet tooth. So when I saw the arriving chocolate mousse I couldn't help but twiddle my fingers in excitement.

The rest of the evening went without anymore significant problems but none the less I was glad it was over. I kissed Relena's hand goodnight, barely touching the surface of her white dinner gloves. She probably didn't notice anyway. Then I watched as her three guests bid her goodnight as well, waiting for prince Arram who I found oddly…funny, for royalty. I didn't even bother waiting or watching Heero who no doubt had a pink menace attached to his arm, most likely asking for him to walk her to her door.

"Prince Arram, I would like to get know you better since you're staying in our country for a while." We were walking back to my wing, somehow without my knowledge.

"Prince, I don't think we should bother with such formalities. Please just call me Arram. And I would love to tell you more but today has been a long day for us. Perhaps tomorrow morning when we visit the barracks…?" He let the question fall away, waiting for my answer, so I nodded my head politely and headed towards my door.

"Oh, right…" I paused and turned around again, "My name is Duo then…goodnight Arram."

I never did find out what happened to my precious guard for I locked my door and headed for my rooms. I was excited. Finally I found someone that could understand me…I think. He didn't seem stuck up like Relena and all the other forms of royalty I've stumbled upon. Perhaps all my waiting had struck gold.

I undressed as fast as I could, luxuriating in the liberated oxygen. "Air…" I threw the clothes carelessly on a nearby chair and went into the wardrobe, pulling out a simple sleeping shirt and a pair of pants with a robe, nothing fancy, all black and comfortable as hell. Then I went to one of the balconies that I had left open and went out to the world less stuffy then the pink and white doting my accommodations. I swung myself up on the balcony rail, not caring if I'd fall to my death or severe injury. Especially since the wind had picked up and was playing a game of catch the robe and pull Duo off the balcony.

Nothing in the world mattered when I was out here, above the world to view its limitations and its beauty. Did Relena not know what kind of view she had on her hands? She could very easily sell these rooms for half his kingdom…if he was allowed to redecorate and kick her out.

My hands found purchase on either side of me causing me to slouch and I couldn't help but smirk at the image of my teacher and how he would have yelled at how un-princely slouching is. To hell with him. Looking out at the world below me, free and wild…it was just…pure…too pure to taint with thoughts of court etiquette.

Looking down I noticed that the garden was lit. Lights twinkling in the distance. "Stupid Relena. No one wants to go to a ball, especially me. I'm sure Heero will find it stimulating though. Relena always gets her man…" I sighed ready to head back inside and go to bed. I was dead tired, strange as it seemed but the long trek here and the awful evening in her company was just too much. Along with the icy guard that I couldn't get rid of…so much for letting down my guard.

"What does that mean?" The voice behind me was emotionless and so much like gravel grinding together that I almost did fall of the balcony. Turning around I spotted my oh so huggable guard leaning against the wall, eyes focused beyond me at the scenery…or just overlooking any possible escapes that I could use or another could use to get to me. Always the bodyguard.

"How the hell did you get in here? I locked those doors." I swung off the rail and headed back inside, my fingers chilled to a pleasant numbing sensation. I walked up the two step dais and plopped down on the now just white bed, every pink pillow insight thrown in the corner. It was oddly disturbing the way I actually fell down to the bed. I'm just not used to these beds.

"Answer my question." He had come to stand just inside the room, pose almost too stiff in my opinion, as if he was ready for an ambush.

"You know, you're awfully pushy, you know that? I never take this from my guards…never. As much as I hate to use my position as an argument…but you leave me no choice. As prince I demand respect from you." I was hot all over, shaking even and embarrassment seeping into every pore. I had never raised my voice to a guard like this to demand respect. Hell I've never asked anyone respect due my position but this man seemed to have forgotten who I was. And I have to deal with this arrogant fool for as long as my father dearest allows? I'm never going to survive.

At first, he made no move…again doing his wonderful impression of a tree. He does those so well, I've noticed. Then he appeared to have shaken himself and slowly unfolded his arms from about himself. I was entirely too tired to deal with this adrenaline rush this man evoked in me with a single glance of his hard and cold blue eyes. "Just say what you have to say and leave. I'm tired and I want to get up early so as not to disrupt her 'highnesses' grand plans. And if you must accompany me, I'm heading down to the barracks with prince Arram. Just so you know where I am and don't get in a tiff again."

I talk…a lot…when I'm nervous and you'd be as nervous as I was if in Heero, the icicle's, presence. So far, for the past minute now, all he'd been doing was staring at me, hand fused to the sword hilt on his hip and what seemed to be a mouth not taking in any oxygen. How does he breathe…his nose? There's talent, breathing through the nose without making odd noises. Anyway, getting off subject.

"If you're just going to stand there…wait no…never mind. Could you please just leave?" I stood and went towards the door, opening it for the other to leave by. I thought this one would have been different. I thought Roberts would have helped pick someone for me that would have made me happy…finally. I'm just mentally too tired to care anymore, even though my body and my soul won't give up. I'm always tense, I'm always stressed, and I'm always worried that I'll have to be the one to protect myself instead… But I know I can't do that by myself…I know…I've tried and failed.

Once again, Heero roused himself, his movement's liquid like a panther. Great beasts that lived in the jungle or tropical places…places that were warm. Paws with talons as sharp as a sword point, hair matted with blood and foliage from the underbrush and eyes, calculating and cool. They ate meat…bloody, raw meat. They gave no quarter. A truly wild beast…and truly free. I kind of envy him for that.

He had finally arrived at the door, stopping just short of a foot from me. His heat made me cringe, both in fear and awe. I would never have this man's presence…never his power to command attention. Never would I admit to anyone, my growing respect in just those aspects. Not to myself and never out loud. Abruptly the door was torn out of my hands and slammed shut, with a hand on either side of me…trapped.

Shocked I pushed hard on his chest, hands only encountering steel like muscles that would not budge. "What is your problem?! I don't deserve to be treated this way by you…or anyone! Just because my father deems it right to have someone trail me like I'm a pathetic and weak woman doesn't mean I can't take care of myself! Now I told you once…" the last was mumbled, my mouth covered by a hard hand. I glared up at him, nails clawing at the hands restraining me. I would kill this man…surely. My father would know of this and Heero Yuy would be no more. He was just like the rest of them. How could Roberts be tricked?

"Be quiet and listen up…" his voice could make any dame melt, especially if he was practically plastered all over them. For me, it could have been nice…if I wasn't fearing for my life. I was tricked, Roberts was tricked, and my father was tricked. What would this man do now? Did he work for a bitter kingdom that my father got the best of? Was he here to kill me or get back at my father? Why wasn't he saying something…at least then I'd know where my standing was? "Are you listening? I don't think you are?"

I mumbled out what I thought to be 'bastard' but came out sounding, 'bafh…turd', which isn't very threatening. Both his arms occupied, left me with one arm free, so I used it to my convenience. Surprisingly, as I struck out, I hit something solid, like a jaw and the hand holding my right arm to the door loosened enough for me to pull free. Now that I knew I had a chance I took it and brought my knee up.

Hand to hand combat was a specialty of mine. One that I excelled in and one that others never thought me capable of. Including my, oh so harsh Heero Yuy. He hunched over holding onto his lower stomach, a distinct wheeze emanating from his mouth. I used the time to move away from him, behind a chair, near the balcony. I knew he wasn't going to be happy.

The last time I pulled a fast move on one of my guards I think I bruised his ego because the next time I saw him he was bragging to his guard friends on how weak I was that he had to save me from a bandit, giving him a black eye in the process. I believe I was about 15 years old then. Sad guy, no wonder he took it badly but he shouldn't have called me a worthless girly boy. The other guards never let me live down the false lie. Such an embarrassment that was.

"Next time, stay out of my personal space." I meant it to sound threatening but it came out sounding more desperate. I winced when Heero looked up, eyes distant and unreadable. "Look, I'm sorry I hit you but…um. Look, it's been a long day…we'll talk about this incident later ok?" I was desperate, that was for sure. I didn't like the feeling deep in my stomach when I was near him.

Turning around I went to the balcony, closing the doors to the now drafty exterior.

"Unfortunately…we must talk now. Since we will be staying here for a couple of days ground rules must be laid down. I…am sorry that I violated your…personal space but you're quite…aggravating." Heero grunted, stalking over to a chair near the fireplace, which was lit ablaze most likely by the staff to warn against the oncoming chill of the season. "Did your father tell you why I am here to stay?"

"Of course he told me!" I turned around, leaning back against the window pane. "He's tired of replacing 'meaningless' guards." I emphasized meaningless, hoping to get a rise out of the now relaxed guard.

"No…that is not the reason…my prince. Your selfish delusions have gone on long enough. It's clear that no one before me has ever been as direct, but that's about to change. I am not, nor will I ever be your servant my prince. I am your guard; I vowed on my sword and on my life to safe guard yours no matter what. Your track record thus far has been less than satisfactory." He paused, eyes drilling into mine. "That will change. I am not to be bullied. Now, on to business. Tomorrow, when you are accompanying Prince Arram, I will be there. You will behave and respect me as do my position and in return I will do the same. This relationship will be beneficiary to the both of us if we respect each other."

Heero paused, for a breath, eyebrows crinkled in concentration. "Tomorrow afternoon when we are expected by our hostess for the fair and then the ball you will be on your best behavior and give me no trouble so that I can do my job. If you do not agree to the terms I have set then I will have to take drastic measures for your security and notify the king that his son is a flight risk and a danger to himself. You'd be locked away in the castle…for good."

The crackling of the fire magnified in the opulent and overly vast room once Heero finished the longest tirade I've heard from him since we've met. I couldn't believe this…I was actually intimidated. I, Duo Maxwell, was intimidated by a guard. I have to give it to dad for finding this one. He must be sleeping without nightmares now.

"Fine. I'll behave during the trip. So could you please leave now…I'm tired," I couldn't explain it but I just didn't feel comfortable being alone with Heero. Every time I managed to get into this type of situation I tended to focus on the one focal point of my guard I couldn't damn near miss. Those eyes. The most searching look as if he were trying to pinpoint where it all went wrong. I knew he was thinking what the others had…'why the hell am I putting myself through this frustration?'

Those beautiful icy eyes following every thing I do, judging. Those exotic eyes approaching, so close I could see not only eternal blue but something akin to turmoil and chaos, feelings so raw and open I shuddered to think what they might mean. Suddenly they tapered slightly at the corners in sudden concentration. I didn't want to sound like some prepubescent lady or princess who gossiped with her friends about their nightly beau's visit, but…this man completely took my breath away. And then he very well did just that.

I didn't moan and I didn't gasp, but that was only because…he wouldn't let me. His mouth wasn't soft or pliant on mine…it was demanding almost as harsh as his personality. The force in which he took my lips propelled me back a step, surprisingly gentle arms coming around my hips to stop me. Out of my own violation I tilted my head up to accept the meeting, agreeing deep down that I wanted him to do this since the moment he strutted into my personal chambers to be announced as my new body guard.

I've had kisses before…I'm not a virgin ya know, but those kisses were cold, sloppy and entirely all tongue…even Wufei got in a few that were bumbling and childish. But this man didn't press any further then the meeting of our warm lips. He didn't move his hands from their stationary positions on my hips and his chest only lightly flirted against mine. So even though we were barely touching I felt as if the light breeze that had been teasing my exposed face not seconds before had disappeared to be replaced by an all consuming warmth.

As soon as I felt the tip of his tongue touch my bottom lip he was gone, hands sliding slowly away from body, searing me down to my bones. My eyes opened quickly, my mind processing that I had closed them because those damn blue eyes had been looking to deeply into my soul and saw that he had made it to the door, a new swagger to his step.

"Sweet dreams, princling."

A/N: Sorry it's been so long since my last update but I've had a lot of things to do. I haven't written the next chapter but hopefully I'll get there. Thanks for all those who reviewed and I promise I will explain what the fox thing means. Oh, Happy Thanksgiving yal! 