Genre: AU/Fantasy/Drama

Pairings: 1x2, other

Disclaimer: Don't own nothin' but these words

Warnings: Yaoi, lemon, violence, slavery, cruelty, possible OOCness

A/N: Dear god I should be shot. I don't know why I'm doing this, I really don't. Please forgive me. I just can't seem to control it. The voices tell me what to do.

Please don't be put off by the beginning! This is only the prologue. And in this story, pretty much nothing is as it seems.


When Duo Maxwell turned seven, his first magic talented manifested. His parents were heartbroken and horrified, because any born with the spark of magic in them was taken from their family, no matter their station in life, and given over to the Silent Order. What followed after that was a life of enslavement.

The Silent Order was run by sorcerers whose masters were either nobility or royalty. They were the most powerful of their kind, and they routinely checked the lands for new signs of magic talent. No one could hide it from them for long, it was the fate of every magic-user to wind up in their clutches. They raised the children they seized, teaching them to control their talents, teaching them how to use them, and teaching them to accept their roles. That one day, they would be given to another man as slave.

Sorcerers, society screamed, were way too dangerous to leave unattended. That much power in the hands of a human? It would be too easy for them to turn it against their people! Non-magic humans, why, they wouldn't stand a chance! So they created a clever way of controlling them. Each young potential was trained control but carefully isolated from most human contact. They were given no love, no real care except to see to their material needs. Food. Water. Clothing. Shelter. No affection. No praise, no kind words. No play, no friends. When the child was old enough they were fitted with a collar.

The collars were magical in nature. Architected by the leaders of the Silent Order, they were a thin band of colored metal that sparkled madly in the light. The color of the bad indicated the level of a young potential's power. White for low levels. Green for moderately talented. Blue for highly skilled. Red for powerful. Black for dangerous. Blacks were equally feared and reviled, and they were always given to men of the highest position. The collars served to keep a sorcerer's power leashed until his master had need of it. Only the sorcerer's master could allow the sorcerer to use his magic.

Duo's first collar was white. Every newcomer to the Silent Order was given a white collar when they were old enough---usually nine. Duo hated the slim white band, because it made him feel like an animal. When he was ten he was given a yellow collar because his level of talent had grown. In the same year it grew until he was given a green. By the time he was thirteen, his collar was red, and when he turned sixteen it was replaced by black.

It was shortly after they gave him the black collar that the Silent Order decided he was too dangerous not to have a master. So they began priming him. Word was spread that the Silent Order would be open to bids, ready to sell their sorcerers to those they deemed important enough. Word spread like wildfire that they had a Black. Duo heard of nobles coming into the capital from as far as Dobraia, the country far to the south. Blacks were uncommon, and as far as Duo knew there were only three like him in the world.

Among those who were to be sold were eleven Whites, two Yellows, three Greens, and one Blue. Some of them seemed nervous, but many of them, brainwashed by the Order, were relieved to be taken and their power curtailed by a wise master. Duo looked forward to it with seething resentment. He had no desire whatsoever for personal gain, glory, or power. He wanted to be left alone. He knew that many people used their sorcerer slaves in ill ways, including as bed slaves.

The only thing he wished to use his power for was to break the hated collar and disappear. On the day the Order opened their doors, one of the leaders came to Duo's cell (they called them rooms, but Duo knew better).

"You," he said in a scornful tone, "will not go out with the others. We're taking private applications for you, since you're so foul-tempered. We'll have to sell you at a loss for it. If I were a Normal, I'd take you myself and beat you until you submitted. Little bitch."

Equal parts hurt and infuriated, Duo said nothing and watched the door slam. Not for the first time he drew on his own power, taking in as much as he possibly could and funneling it through the collar. Like drops of water breaking over stone, it was. No effect at all. Dropping his head back to rest on the wall, he closed his eyes. Would there be any normal out there at all who would see that he wasn't a threat? That he just wanted his freedom, like any other?

Probably not. It was some time before the door banged open---at least six hours. The man, who was a Green, motioned sharply for Duo to get up and follow him.

"Time to meet your master," he said, and for some reason he sounded angry and jealous.

A wave of despair settled over Duo. This was it. What little control he had over his life was being handed to another.

The office was crowded with all four leaders of the Silent Order and a fifth. Normal. He was very tall, with a lean, well-muscled build and unkempt dark brown hair that looked wind-swept. His eyes were cobalt blue, and his skin had a warm golden hue that led Duo to believe he was from the farther south. Everyone up here in the north was pale and fair. His countenance, however, was icy cold, not a hint of compassion visible. Duo felt like he was shrinking in on himself.

"This is a Black?" the man demanded, sounding both incredulous and disappointed. "He's just a little boy."

"My lord," said one of the four, "he is the most powerful potential we've seen in nearly two centuries. You will not be disappointed. He will be a fine weapon, shield, and servant."

"Indeed?" the cold man said. "And the way he looks at me, as though I am as soulless as Gridanja herself?"

Four sets of angry eyes snapped to Duo.

"Nothing a little punishment won't cure, my lord," they promised.

"What is your name, boy?" the Normal demanded.

Duo willed himself not to shrink away from the icy stare. "Duo Maxwell," he said, lifting his chin a little.

"Not any longer," the man said. "It's Duo al'Yuy." Now to the leader. "Draw up the paperwork. He better be worth the price I'm paying, or I'll tear this place down around your ears."

al'Yuy. That 'al' meant he was property. Yuy's possession. His vision darkened. How he would like to strike the arrogant, cold look off that face! Then he was signing, and Duo caught his full name. Heero Seichiro Yuy.

Duo could have swallowed his tongue. Heero Yuy? The Black Prince of Corai? Dear god, he is said to be so merciless he slaughtered entire villages in Penniar because they would not accept his military's presence! He felt like a noose was tightening around his neck. And I am to be his weapon?

Corai was farther south than even Dobraia. It was a tumultuous land, torn by decades of war and battle. The folk were violent and warlike, and their kings had always been as like to aggravate the strife rather than lay it to rest. The current king, Kazuhiko, was rumored to be a weak-willed man who let his Council of Nine rule him. Not so his son. Heero, the Black Prince, was supposedly poisoning his father to get to the throne faster, and not only had he stifled the civil wars in Corai, but he had taken his war to Penniar, the neighboring country---which was ill-equipped to deal with the violent armies of Corai.

Duo wasn't sure which he wanted to do more. Faint or burst into tears. He did neither as the Silent Order's leaders took the prince's thumb and pricked it. From the small needle they smeared the drops of blood on Duo's collar. For a moment it flashed cobalt blue, the color of Heero's eyes. Then it settled to black. If Duo ever managed to escape from Heero, anyone would be able to tell who his master was, now. Without permission, his eyes slid shut.

"Thank you, my lord," the leader said, bowing deeply. "You have honored us."

"That was not my intent," Heero said in a bored, insulting voice. "My manservant will see you are paid. Duo! Follow. We are leaving this worthless place." And he whirled, stalking out of the room like an arrogant tiger.

Duo looked one last time upon the four. He lingered long enough only to give them all looks of poisonous hatred, because he finally dared. He sincerely hoped all four of them were as miserable for the rest of their lives as he knew himself about to be. Then he hurried to follow the Black Prince. He kept his head high and his eyes clear, though inside he was shaking with something that bordered on panic and terror. His first day in Hell had begun.