Warnings: Shounen-ai, a shocking amount of OOCness, weirdness and possible insanity.
Disclaimer: I don't own the g-bois, I wish I did, but I don't, and I'm not making any money off of this, so don't sue me! I do, however own Shiakara and the whole idea of the OtherKin. I also own the places mentioned in this fic
Pairings: If I tell you that it'll ruin the whole plot, now won't it?
Author's note: This I started during boring
free-periods when I should have been doing math homework or psyche revision.
I'm not too sure what to think of it just yet. I think it's okay. The story
takes place in the kind of land where you find elves and faeries and other such
magical creatures along with wielders of said magic both human and non-human.
I've yet to figure out if it's anything worthwhile, or if it's a load of
hopeless drivel. That's where you come in. R & R and tell me! :D I'll love
you forever! Really I will!
~ ~ ~
In the deepest parts of the University of Magic on the cliff tops of the highest mountain in the Jy'rakid mountain range on the continent of Nyriad a young mage paced back and fourth, his shadow flickering on the wall in it's dance with the firelight. He paced up and down in the small room, his one and only servant watching him closely.
"It can't be right, Shiakara…" he muttered, halting in his pacing to frown at the star-chart on his massive carved desk and the few scrawling lines of script beside it.
"Why not, Master?" Shiakara asked.
Shiakara was of the OtherKin. Her form was that of a wolf, but two times as large as any wolf ever seen. Her fur was a deep, midnight blue and her eyes, nothing but whiteness with no pupil to break the monotony. From her shoulders sprang a pair of massive bird-like wings, the feathers a slightly lighter blue than that of her fur. Her tongue hung from her muzzle in a playful manner, but the concentration in her features was unmistakable.
"Because it isn't… well… right," he replied in answer to her question, leaning over the star-chart and muttering an incantation under his breath. A few green sparks appeared out of nowhere and landed on the star-chart. The mage frowned and shook his head, wiped the sparks away and tried again with the same result.
"Why isn't it right? Because he or she happens to be different? Master, excuse me if I take offence to that remark!" she said, a glint in her white eyes.
"You are different in more ways than one, Shiakara. This is an altogether different situation to yours. And it's he, by the way."
"Master, I beg forgiveness if I'm overstepping my bounds here, but I must speak!"
"Speak. You have a good brain in that furry head of yours."
"Thank you, Master. I was just going to say that your kind has a bad habit of fearing anything different from it. They won't accept the elves or the dragons and it was so hard for me to get the University to accept me just because I have fur and walk on four legs. The centaurs, too, often voice the want to send their children here to get a better education, yet you won't let them in and then you complain when they make a mess because they don't have the training to control their magical abilities. If this boy has such a powerful Talent, it needs to be harnessed and trained and who better to do it than yourself? He'll relate to you, Master."
Shiakara smiled at the mage and hoped she wasn't going to get killed. He was young for a mage, probably around the age of 17 or 18, but no one was sure exactly how old he was. He'd been left on the doorstep of the University when he was about 2, but of course, there was no way of being sure of his age. Growing up around mages, he'd learnt the craft fast and had enormous Talent to back his training. He'd been the youngest ever full-fledged mage at the age of around 15, but hadn't taken an apprentice. None had presented themselves. Now this one did, and the mage wasn't sure he could accept an elf… However, what Shiakara had said was indeed true.
"So, you're saying it would be for the good of humankind if I accepted the elf?" the mage said, one brow raised and a lopsided half-grin on his face that told Shiakara he was pleased with her.
"That and it would be for your own good, Master," she replied, a mischievous glint in her white eyes.
He laughed softly, instantly picking up on what she meant, and waved at the star-chart with its still-glowing green sparks.
"There's no hint of anything even resembling romance in there, Shiakara."
"There is if you do this."
She padded over to the desk and stood on her hind legs, resting her forepaws on the desk to hold herself upright. She peeled her lips back from her teeth and blew gently on the sparks, her form glowing softly at the use of her Talent. The sparks changed to a soft blue and shifted slightly into a different alignment.
"Shiakara!" the mage cried with another soft laugh.
"See? Here and here and here," she whispered, pointing her paw at a different spark with each repetition of the word 'here'.
"Let me see that!" the mage demanded and shoved her playfully out of the way.
"Afraid, Master…?" she murmured teasingly.
"In that case… I can't accept him. The last thing I need is a relationship with an elf!"
"Oh, Master! You know as well as I that future-sparks are unreliable at best! Take the elf and see what happens. It's about time you had an apprentice anyway. Someone else to push around instead of just your lowly assistant."
"Oh, Shiakara!" The mage mimicked. "You chose to work with me and you know you can leave whenever you want."
She grinned at him, sharp canine teeth flashing in the firelight.
"I know. But I'm quite happy right where I am."
The mage knelt and wrapped his arms around Shiakara's furry neck, hugging her tightly. He ruffled her ears before standing.
"Very well then, Shiakara. We shall go. Come now. We'll use the crystals so we don't have to walk," he said, pretending he hadn't let his professional air slip and had never hugged her.
It was hard for him, Shiakara thought as she followed after the, young man in his sweeping dark green robes. He had to keep on his guard the entire time as most of the other mages didn't trust him to keep a tight leash on his Talent. Because he was so young, many of them were jealous and would do anything to have the right to take away his entitlement to practice magic.
"Come, Shiakara!" he called as she was lagging behind. She hurried to catch up and banished these depressing thoughts from her head. She was sure only good could come from this apprenticeship…
* * *
Deep inside the Trelonian forest, a young elf made his way stealthily through the bushes and trees, stalking his prey. He'd been tailing it now for a long while and he wasn't going to let it get away again. He knew it would stop for something to eat and drink at the stream just through the next thick set of trees, and then he would make his attack.
A smirk played about his lips. He couldn't wait to tell the others about this particular catch. It had been hunted for a while now and none could get close. He was getting closer. He knew its habits and what it would do. He knew how it would react and how to counteract that.
He reached the tree line and slowly lifted his head to peer over the bushes. He'd been right. It had stopped for rest, food and drink. He crouched and readied himself to pounce.
"I know you're there, Duo and I know you've been tailing me since I left the Clan. What I want to know is why."
Duo growled and made his way out of the bushes, plopping down beside his erstwhile prey. He hooked a stray lock of chestnut hair behind a delicately pointed ear and gave the elf beside him an innocent look.
"Tailing you? Now why would I be tailing you, Hilde?" he asked innocently.
"You tell me," she replied, giving Duo a pointed look.
"Err… Well… I… was… err… worried you… might… err… get hurt!" he said rather unconvincingly.
"Oh come on, Duo! I'm a big elfgirl now! I grew up in this forest along with you and I think I know my way around just as well."
Duo tugged on his long braid, trying to think of a convincing lie. He couldn't. He gave up and, with a sigh, told her the truth.
"Well… I was hoping you might… consider perhaps going with me to the spring festival…" he said, turning his violet eyes to the stream and going slightly pink around the pointed tips of his ears. His normal jovial and playful air was gone as he worried what his friends would say if he didn't get what he'd said he'd get.
"It's about time," Hilde stated, throwing a handful of grass in his direction. "I was afraid I'd have to ask you to the festival!" She laughed at the look on his face before standing and vanishing into the trees as silent as the breeze.
By the time Duo had gotten over his shock, the other elf had been gone for a few minutes and he knew it was no good going after her. She was right when she said she knew this forest as well as he and she'd been taught just as well as he how to move silently and swiftly through it's protective embrace. He'd never find her now. He leapt to his feet with whoop of triumph and sped off to find his friends.
* * *
"Ten pieces of gold she says yes." The comment came from the faery of the strange group. He was human-sized, if short, and silver wings sprouted from his back, flittering every so often with a whirring type sound. He idly waved what looked like a willow switch around, the rainbow sparks falling from it showing it wasn't just a willow switch. One leg was crossed daintily over the other under his mid-thigh-length, pale blue tunic. However, all the faery seemed effeminate, so it wasn't strange to see the male of the species with his legs crossed on a frequent basis, and it wasn't automatically assumed he was gay just because he appeared so.
The second member of the group spoke first.
"I don't think either of us are that stupid, Quatre," he said to the faery, shaking his head. It was unsure what species he was. He'd grown up with the elves after they'd found him stranded in the middle of the forest when he was a baby. The pupils in his green eyes were slitted like those of a cat and a pair of tortoise-shell patterned cat-like ears peeked out of his hair. The same tortoise-shell pattern graced a long, sinuous tail, which fell from just below his waist to trail on the ground just a little. He could, the others knew, transform at will into a panther of that tortoise-shell pattern. He was dressed simply in the green shirt and slacks that all the elven kind wore.
The third member of the group snorted.
"Besides that, I do not bet with or on weaklings," he said.
Quatre eyed the centaur disbelievingly. His four legs were folded beneath him and his bronze arms were folded across his bare chest in a comfortable sort of way. His jet-black tail flicked errant flies from his equally jet-black body and he looked altogether content with where he was.
"You're always saying we're weak, Wufei, but you still spend all your time with us instead of with your own kind," Quatre pointed out, much to the amusement of his panther friend.
Wufei snorted again.
"I study your kinds in order to gather information for the time when the weak will be in the minority and the strong will rule the earth with justice!"
Try as he might, Quatre couldn't keep a straight face and he collapsed into helpless giggles, all the while trying to muffle them behind his hand and going bright red with embarrassment at his rudeness.
"He has a point, Wufei…" the other said while Quatre still tried to fight his giggles.
"At least I know who my parents are, Trowa," Wufei said in a voice dripping with false sweetness. His eyes widened almost immediately as he realized what he'd said.
Quatre's laughter halted then and his blue-green eyes flashed at the centaur as Trowa dropped his gaze.
"You!" was all the faery could get out as his fingers tightened spasmodically around his wand.
"I should not have said that. I am sorry," Wufei said, pushing himself up onto his hooves and striding quickly across the distance to Trowa, resting a hand on his shoulder and kneeling again to reach eye-level with him.
Trowa shook his head.
"It doesn't matter."
"It does!" Quatre cried and snapped his wand in Wufei's direction, setting his tail alight.
"WINNER!" Wufei bellowed and leapt to his feet, dashing off to find the nearest lake.
"You didn't need to do that, Quatre," Trowa said, however, his single visible cat-slit green eye showed his mirth at the faery's trick.
"Yes, I did. He shouldn't say things like that. He needs to learn when to stop. I'll apologize later." His mouth quirked in a grin and he waved his wand around just for the sake of it, wings giving an idle buzz.
"She said yes!" cried an unmistakable voice as the fourth member of their assorted group literally fell into the small clearing after tripping over one of the many small boulders strewn around. A chestnut braid flicked out and caught Trowa right across the face, making the panther give a hiss of pain and flinch away.
"How nice for you," came Wufei's sarcastic voice from the trees before he stepped over Duo and settled himself down again where he had been before, smelling distinctly of burnt hair.
Quatre waved his wand in Trowa's direction in an effort to heal the livid red mark already appearing on his face, but the spell went wrong and Trowa ended up with singed – but still gravity-defying – hair. Quatre's eyes widened.
"Oh! I'm so sorry, Trowa!" he cried.
Duo had just climbed to his feet and Trowa's reply was unheard as the elf gave a howl of victory and commenced dancing about the clearing madly, his braid threatening to wound others in it's wild flight.
"Maxwell!" Wufei snarled as he ducked the braid.
"Chang!" Duo returned, leaping onto Wufei's back.
Wufei was on his feet in seconds and he reared onto his hind legs in an effort to rid his back of the unwelcome elf.
"Enough," came a soft, unknown voice and the four were still at the obvious authority in that voice. They turned to find a human in deep green robes regarding them all with intense Prussian blue eyes from under a dark brown fringe. Beside him stood one of the OtherKin and her gaze shot instantly to Trowa.
"What in the gods' names is one of the pantherin doing here?" she cried in surprise, then looked somewhat sheepish as the human glared at her.
As the OtherKin distracted the human, Duo leapt from Wufei's back and pulled his bow out, knocking an arrow and raising it level with the human's heart in one graceful movement.
"The hell are you doing here, human?" he growled, pulling the bowstring taut.
Prussian eyes blinked calmly and a hand rose. The bow flew from Duo's grasp and leapt to the human's hand to the accompaniment of a surprised yelp from Quatre as his wand did the same.
"I'm here for you," the human replied, waving the bow in its owner's direction.
"You will take none of us," Wufei growled, one obsidian hoof pawing at the ground as he readied himself to charge.
The human raised a single brow and dropped the bow and the wand. He lifted both hands to shoulder height and held them palm-down. Wufei gave a snort of anger and lowered his head at exactly the same time as the human pushed his hands down in a swift movement. Wufei was driven to his knees and began gasping for breath as the human clenched one hand into a fist.
"Don't kill him!" Quatre cried, his wings taking him to the centaur's side in seconds.
"He'll be fine… as long as the elf comes with me."
Prussian blue eyes locked with violet as Duo wracked his brains for a way out of this that didn't involve his going with the human. He stared into those blue pools for what seemed like an eternity, but couldn't think of any way out of this. Wufei's struggle to breath prompted him to do something and fast.
"You can't go with him, Duo!" came Quatre's voice from Wufei's side and Duo dragged his eyes from the human's, bringing them around to meet Quatre's.
"There's no other way… But I can take care of myself. No fear," he said softly, turning back to the human.
"Duo…" the human said softly, rolling the name around his mouth as though he liked how it tasted.
"No!" Quatre's fingers clenched as though he was grasping at a non-existent wand and his small body trembled with rage.
"He's right, Quatre," Trowa said, walking over to where the faery stood. "There's no other way."
"Trowa! Can't you…?" He threw a significant glance at Trowa, but the pantherin shook his head.
"I tried. I can't find the Change," he replied.
"That's because my kind cancels out your kind's Change. But… that still leaves the question of what a pantherin is doing here," the OtherKin said, her white eyes showing obvious puzzlement.
"I… grew up here," Trowa said, confusion in his voice.
"But-" the OtherKin's words halted as the human laid a hand on her head. She sighed as she looked up at him, but nodded.
"I have to go with him. Just… just tell Hilde I'm sorry I can't go to the festival with her…" Duo said.
Shiakara was wrong… There's no chance of anything between us… the mage thought to himself at the mention of this 'Hilde'.
"Duo…" Quatre whispered, blue-green eyes filling with tears.
Trowa looped a casual arm around the faery's shoulders, obviously used to dealing with his crying fits. Quatre buried his face in Trowa's chest and sobbed his heart out.
"Let Wu go," Duo said, eyes meeting and catching the human's yet again.
A slight nod and the fist was released, letting Wufei drag in a great gasp of air.
"Come," the human commanded as though Duo were a dog.
Violet eyes flashed angrily, but Duo did as he was told. He was inclined to trust the OtherKin more than the human, so he made sure she was between himself and the human.
"Very well," the human said, laying his hand on Shiakara's head. "Be sure you stay in contact with her at all times, or you might not live through this."
Duo barely had time to grasp a fistful of Shiakara's fur and had no time to ask what he might not live through before the human closed his eyes, whispered a single word and they vanished.
Quatre shoved himself away from Trowa and threw himself at the spot Duo had just vanished from. He fell to his knees and went into another fit of sobs, face buried in his slim hands. One hand suddenly lashed out and took hold of his willow wand just before Trowa had the chance to make another attempt at comforting him. He stood, perfectly calm now.
"Weakling…" Wufei snorted.
"We need to go after him," Quatre said, ignoring Wufei's comment.
"We will be of no help to him… however, the Magicks of my kind may be able to follow the human…" Wufei said, eyes for once sympathetic and soft.
~Then let's go.~ Trowa's voice echoed through their minds and they turned to find him in his tortoise-shell patterned panther form. He bared his teeth at them in his imitation of a grin.
Quatre gave a sharp nod and his wings started up a swift whirring behind him. He lifted from the ground then spoke a little louder than normal so he could be heard above his wings.
"I have to fly above the trees, but I will be following." That said, he darted up and out of site.
Trowa had always likened Quatre's movements to those of a hummingbird. The faery darted everywhere. He gave a feral, feline grin to the point where Quatre had vanished, then turned and followed after Wufei who'd already started on his way.
* * *
It was the fifth time the human had spoken to him like that and Duo had had enough.
"In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not a dog and I won't obey orders like a dog," he snapped and sat himself down in the middle of the crowded corridor where the most people possible could trip over him. "Until you ask me like a civilized being, I'm not movin' an inch."
The mage's eyes widened and he looked helplessly around at the crowd that had begun to gather and whisper about elves and too-young mages. He glared at Duo, but the elf only smirked back, very aware of the stir he was causing.
The mage sighed and his gaze flickered to Shiakara before resting on Duo again. He lifted one hand and hooked a finger, gaining a startled yelp from the elf as he was raised into the air.
"Come…" the mage growled lowly, and walked swiftly off, Duo bobbing in the air behind him in a most undignified way.
When they reached the mage's quarters, he released Duo and the braided elf fell to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs. He muttered a few insults in the elven language as he crawled to his feet, gathered what little dignity he had left around him and stared defiantly at the mage.
"So what now? You punish me?" he spat.
"I don't hold with punishment of apprentices. Unlike some of my… colleagues, I don't agree with it. I think they're trying as hard as they can and it's not fair to punish them for what they don't know… Then again, these circumstances are altogether different and I'll do what I have to do."
"Well, I still trust the OtherKin more than I trust you…"
"Shiakara. Her name is Shiakara."
"Shiakara. I trust her more than some human scumbag."
"And my name is Heero Yuy… Yours is Duo…" Heero raised an eyebrow, inviting Duo to supply his last name.
"Duo… Maxwell," Duo said.
"Duo Maxwell, then. I don't plan to make your life here any more difficult than it has to be, but you're not here just for the sake of it. You're here because you show an enormous amount of Talent and it's my job to bring that Talent out of you and teach you how to use it." He walked the length of the chamber and stood before the empty fireplace. With a snap of his fingers, a roaring fire appeared and began warming the chilled room.
Duo's mouth dropped open and his fingers paused, tangled in his hair where he'd been trying to right his messed braid. He blinked rapidly.
"Whoa…" was all he managed to get out.
Heero smirked, pleased he'd been able to stun the elf.
"Indeed. Now, your attire…"
"My 'attire' is fine, thanks very much," Duo said as he returned to the task of redoing his braid.
"No, it isn't."
Heero waved a hand and Duo suddenly found himself in floor-length crimson robes, his braid perfect and a gold chain threaded in with his hair. Heero frowned slightly and gave a slight shake of his head. Another wave of his hand and the robes matched the color of his own, a deep green. This didn't look right either so he raised his hand for a third time and the robes came up black with silver gilt around the base, neckline and cuffs. Heero smiled.
Duo pulled a face and picked at the robes with two fingers, adamant he wouldn't admit to the mage how much he liked them. He bent over and took hold of the hemline then began to try and inch his way out of the robes.
"Err… Duo… You realize you've probably got basically nothing on under there…" Shiakara said softly, throwing a roguish smirk in Heero's direction, who gave her a death-glare in return.
"I… don't… care… I… want… out… of these things!" came the muffled voice from where Duo's head had disappeared inside the robe.
Heero found his mouth suddenly dry at the thought of seeing this elf all-but-naked and had to force his mind back into submission as it started wondering off on a vivid daydream of its own making.
"Keep the clothes on, elf," Heero said softly, voice menacing.
Duo's face appeared out of one of the sleeves, violet eyes snapping with fury and an enraged look on his face.
"Don't talk to me like I'm beneath you! Just because I have pointed ears doesn't mean I don't have feelings and doesn't mean I don't know anything! I'm not a pet for you to play with and I won't-"
Duo's words cut off in a sharp hiss of pain as Heero made a sharp, sweeping gesture at him. He fell to his knees, the struggle with the robe forgotten, and folded around his abdomen, which he held tightly. His eyes squeezed tight shut and he whimpered.
"You will do what I say when I say… Understand?" Heero said softly.
"I… h-hear… you…" Duo managed to whisper, then gave a sigh of utter relief as the stabbing pain in his abdomen vanished.
Heero waved his hand again and Duo's robes and braid were once again pristine and perfect.
Duo scrambled to his feet and kept his eyes downcast.
Bastard… I hate you. I'll never make this easy for you. Oh I'll be good… for a while. Then, then you'll see just how good Duo Maxwell is at being bad.
~ ~ ~
Author's note: Oo! Interesting at least, and hopefully passable. Again, I'd love to hear what you think of this so I can find out if it's worth continuing with or not. Be nice and feed a poor starved author, na? ^_^