Author's Notes: inspired by the book/movie The Last Unicorn, deviating greatly from both.
Category: Yaoi, anime, Gundam Wing, AU
The Last Unicorn
He'd been alone for far too long. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he had a vague recollection of his father having been with him as well as many others.
Time had passed slowly since then and somehow he'd learned to survive. Not that it was difficult in the enchanted forest in which he lived, but by the time he
reached the age of fifteen, he began to feel restless. And lonely. His loneliness was growing until finally it became a driving force in his life. He had no idea
that as far as the rest of the world was concerned his kind no longer existed. When he left his forest to search for the others, he didn't know that he was the
last, the last unicorn.
* * *
It was a small camp, tattered in appearance with a large rickety old wagon set off to the side and three covered cages positioned around the too small fire.
None of this mattered to Trowa, however, as he was willing to work for little at any job required. Entering the camp, he went directly to the young woman who
was standing next to the fire, stirring a large kettle that hung over it. Walking loudly enough so as not to startle her, he waited for her to look up. Noticing him,
she paused in her stirring, arched brows lowering as she looked him over.
"Have you come to see a show?" she asked, eyes narrow as she took in his less than wealthy appearance. "Ten gil."
"No," Trowa said slowly, stopping when a growl emanated from the cage beside him. Looking from the tarp thrown over it to the woman, he wondered if he
wasn't wasting his time. "I'm looking for work. I have a way with animals."
"Is that so?" At his expressionless nod, her eyes narrowed. "I tell you what boy, you stick around here tonight and tomorrow I'll see if there isn't something I
can use you for. Until then I guess you can acquaint yourself with the animals." Pointing to the covered cages, she spoke. "That's Fang there, he's a vicious
one so watch your hands. Over here we got the weird one, I don't got a name for him yet. And that there is my newest addition. Whitey I call him, and he's
about as rare a creature as you'll find. If you can get him to eat, I might have a job for you. As it is I'm set to scrap the thing and stuff it before he wastes
away. Well, go ahead boy. But don't go gettin' yourself into trouble or I'll set Fang on you. He's a right good guard if you catch my drift."
Trowa nodded, and watched as she turned back to her kettle, stirring slowly. Looking toward the tarp under which the growling 'Fang' was, he decided against
bothering the creature. He'd seen shows like this before and if the creature followed the woman's orders, he was more of a guard than an actual exhibit.
Instead, he moved to the tarp with the unnamed creature in it, listening to the silence for a moment before carefully undoing the curtain and holding it aside.
Trowa's eyes widened at the large ugly creature. Glancing at the woman, he swore under his breath. Only a fool would dare to capture a troll and expect to
get away with it. From the way this young one grinned at him, Trowa knew it would be in his best interests *not* to stay here tonight. Despite their taste for
human flesh, trolls were very protective of their children and would definitely be coming for this one. And they would not be the least bit lenient on any
creature they found when they did come.
With this in mind, he let the tarp fall and moved to the last cage. The woman he could abandon easily since he cared nothing for other people. Innocent
animals were another matter. Lifting the tarp, he had another shock and knelt quickly to look at the creature. As the woman had claimed, he was indeed a
very rare creature. And she was even more the fool to have perpetrated such a sacrilege as to lock up a unicorn.
Although he couldn't remember his parents, he'd always had a bond with animals. Since he excelled at it, he'd spent time listening to the stories of old about
the many creatures that had once roamed the world. He'd even had the pleasure of rescuing a dragon kit when he was ten despite the many claims that
dragons were among the extinct races. The mother of the kit would have had argued with these claims. Obviously, there were more creatures that had
survived time than people knew about. There had to have been, if a unicorn had survived.
A creature of old, unicorns were said to have had magic that centered around the long sharp horn that protruded from their foreheads. Some rumors had it
that they could change shapes, others that they could speak to any creature in any language. On one point the rumors agreed. This was that unicorns had
the ability to heal life threatening wounds and that they could purify both water and land. It was said that the disappearance of the unicorns was the reason
the land had died in certain regions.
Looking at the dirty creature that lay, legs folded beneath him, head curled around his knees, Trowa swallowed roughly. Compassion was not an emotion he
felt often, but it was there now, as was rage at the treatment of such a pure creature. As dirty as it was, mane and tail matted, he might have doubted that it
really was a unicorn had it not been for the long horn that shone even in the dark, light glinting in its clear crystal depths. Glancing at the woman who was
sprinkling herbs into the pot, muttering to herself, Trowa looked over the lock of the cage.
He wasn't a thief by nature, but there were certain skills that had to be learned if one was going to live alone and take care of one's self. As he'd expected, the
lock was as simple as the woman who'd purchased it, making him even angrier to think that *she'd* been able to catch a unicorn. This brought him to the
creature itself. It hadn't looked up when Trowa'd opened the tarp and he wasn't sure it would be able to make an escape even if he were to release it. With
this in mind, Trowa reached a hand through the bars of the cage and lightly touched the unicorn's neck. The reaction proved that while the unicorn was weak
it still had lightening reflexes.
With it's head lowered so the deadly horn was pointed at Trowa's outstretched hand, the unicorn stumbled to its feet, moving against the back of the cage.
Despite the fact that Trowa had made no move to withdraw his hand, the unicorn did not attack, confirming his thought that they were basically passive
creatures not prone to injuring unnecessarily. Holding very still, Trowa waited for the unicorn to look up at him, eyes never leaving it's lowered lashes. Finally,
it did and he found himself looking into deep orbs that seemed to show a different world. It was as if there was a forest from a dream residing in its eyes or its
soul as the eyes were said to be the window to the soul.
Staring into it's pale blue-green eyes, Trowa smiled a small yet gentle smile. "Hello there," he whispered. The unicorn jerked its head back for a second, then
blinked its eyes, tilting its head to the side as it looked from Trowa's outstretched hand to his face. "I won't hurt you."
Turning, it looked at the woman's back, eyes wide, then back to Trowa. Slowly, it stretched its neck toward the outstretched hand, not touching or smelling it
as Trowa had expected, but looking at it from all angles before inching closer to look at his face again. Blinking, it looked down at his clothing and feet, then
looked back up again, meeting his green eyes with a penetrating gaze. Ever so slowly, it lowered its head until the tip of the long horn touched Trowa's palm
//Help me...? Please let me out.//
Eyes widening abruptly, Trowa stared, hand twitching when the horn moved away, bright eyes blinking at him. "Oh my God...I didn't know you could talk. I
thought...I thought it was just a rumor."
//Please? I'll die in here.//
"You," Trowa glanced over his shoulder, making sure the woman wasn't paying them any attention, then looked back, leaning forward. "You're talking in my
//I...can't breathe in here...// Lowering his head, the unicorn slowly sank to the bottom of the cage again.
"Oh! Can you run? If I get you out she'll set that monster of hers after us. She could catch you again."
//No. I...I didn't know she'd hurt me. Get me out and nothing will catch us. I promise.//
"Alright." It didn't take long to pick the lock. Opening the door was another matter. As rusty as it was, it was guaranteed to make a lot of noise. The unicorn
climbed to its feet again, stretching one leg at a time and slowly moving its neck. Finally, it looked Trowa in the eye and nodded.
//As soon as I'm out, climb on my back. Can you ride?//
"Ride," Trowa said slowly, looking uncertain, "Ride a unicorn?"
//I don't mind. Can you?// At Trowa's nod, the unicorn lowered its head, muscles tensing. Then the door was jerked open and he lept out, pausing long
enough for Trowa to swing himself onto his back, hands buried in the long white mane. Rearing slightly, the unicorn bolted, not sparing a backward glance at
the woman's cry of fury or the roar of the creature inside the cage as she hurried to loose it. //Hold on very tight and let me know if you slip.// Feeling a
stronger pull on its mane, the unicorn sped up until the trees of the woods passed in a blur.
Breath coming in gasps, Trowa squinted against the wind in his eyes, marveling at the speed of the creature and the powerful muscles propelling them
forward. As much as he hated the thought that he might hurt the creature, he gripped the whipping mane tight, leaning forward when a backward glance
showed no sign of pursuers. After an unknown amount of time, he spotted something shining in the distance and felt the unicorn slow slightly. By the time
they reached a walk, Trowa saw that it was a river. He didn't recognize it, but he couldn't be sure how far they'd come.
Releasing his grip on the unicorn's mane, Trowa met it's gaze as it looked over it's shoulder at him. //I'm filthy. Would you mind if I wash?//
"Of course not," Trowa said quickly, sliding off it's back.
//Thank you for saving me. My name is Quatre...what's yours?//
A minute passed as they looked at each other, then Quatre lowered his eyes. //Trowa...do you think you could help me some more? I...I don't know this
world. I don't know who I can trust.//
"Help with what?"
//I'm alone. I've been alone for years. I wanted to find the others. The other unicorns.//
"Quatre," averting his eyes, Trowa sighed. "I don't think there are any left. You might be the last."
//No. I can't believe that. I have to keep hoping.//
"I'll help you find out for certain," Trowa said. "I know someone who might know if you can communicate with her. But we'll have to be careful. Everyone who
sees you will try to catch you."
Trowa smiled slightly. "Because you're a unicorn."
//Hmm. I'd really like a bath. I've never been so filthy.//
With a light chuckle, Trowa waved him toward the water. "Go ahead. I'll be here."
Looking at the water, the unicorn slowly made its way through the shallows until its back was covered. Rearing on his hind feet, he kicked his front feet in the
water, splashing his front and neck. Then, ducking his head, he rolled under the water. After minutes of profuse splashing, he made his way back to the
shallows and inspected his work. Looking up at Trowa's laugh, he looked back down at himself. Now he was dirty *and* wet. Looking miserably at Trowa, his
eyes suddenly widened and he turned abruptly, moving back into the deep part of the water.
Stifling his sudden laughter, Trowa frowned in remorse when the unicorn headed back into the water. Then he leapt to his feet as it reared on its hind legs
and the long horn suddenly glowed a blinding white. Shielding his eyes with his hand, Trowa turned his head until the light disappeared. Looking back, Trowa
scanned the water frantically seeing no sign of Quatre. Then his eyes widened in disbelief as he spotted the back of a *human* head. //Changing shapes,//
he thought with awe as hands reached the pale yellow hair and the figure slipped beneath the water again. //It was true.//
Satisfied that he'd finally gotten the dirt off, Quatre turned toward Trowa, smiling as he saw the boy's shock. "I'll attract less notice like this, right?" Blinking at
hearing his voice for the first time, he didn't notice when Trowa's mouth dropped open slightly.
//He...// Breath caught in his throat as he looked at the boy, eyes moving over his beautiful face then lower over his pale chest. Swallowing, he couldn't move,
couldn't look away when Quatre suddenly started walking again, the water covering less with each step he took. //Oh my God...//
Marveling at the way the water and air felt against his skin, Quatre smiled again and looked at Trowa. Seeing his expression, Quatre's brows narrowed in
concern. "Trowa?" The tall boy flinched as if struck and his wide green eyes met Quatre's for a moment before he jerked and turned his back abruptly.
Stopping, Quatre frowned in confusion as his eyes burned. Looking at Trowa's stiff back, he shook his head. "What did I do?" he asked, voice strained.
"Trowa. What did I do wrong?" Stepping out of the water, he flinched as his tender feet touched the sharp rocks. "Please tell me?"
Hearing the hurt in the boy's voice, Trowa turned, forcing his eyes to go no lower than Quatre's pale blue-green ones. "Nothing," he said quickly, jerking his
pack off his back and rummaging through it until he found some clothing for the beautiful boy who was starting to shiver from the air on his wet skin. Taking
the clothes and pulling off his cloak, he moved to Quatre, wrapping the cloak around his shoulders and rubbing his thick blonde hair dry. "You didn't do
anything. I was just...surprised."
Biting his lip uncertainly, Quatre looked over his face. "I just thought if I looked like you I wouldn't get us in trouble. I should have warned you."
"It's fine," Trowa said, pulling the cloak closed around the boy. "Here, put these on." Handing Quatre the clothing, Trowa started to turn around when his arm
Eyes widening, Trowa choked. Taking a deep breath, he swallowed painfully. //I can do this. I know I can. Oh my God I can't do this...// Turning, he looked
into Quatre's wide eyes.
"Did I do something wrong again? I'm sorry, Trowa, I don't mean to be trouble. I should go. I've been alone my whole life...I just don't know how to act."
Staring at the boy's hopeless expression, Trowa swore silently at his behavior. //He's not even human. He's young and innocent and I have no right to keep
hurting him like this. So he's perfect and I'm attracted to him. That doesn't mean I can't help him. He won't know I'm attracted and as long as I don't do
anything, I won't hurt him.// "No," he said softly, nudging the boy's chin up with his knuckles so he met his eyes. "I'm not used to being around people either.
I'm sorry. Now, let's get you dressed, it's too cold to go around without any clothes on."
Sighing, Quatre smiled tentatively and nodded quickly. "I *am* cold."
Steeling himself, Trowa knelt and set the clothing down. Picking up the under shorts, he pushed the cloak aside. "Hold onto my shoulder and lift your leg," he
said, determined to think of the boy as a child. Eyes on the clothing only, he quickly dressed him, answering Quatre's questions and showing him how to
fasten the pants and shirt. Wrapping the cloak around him again, Trowa gestured for him to sit against a tree near the water as he started a fire. Laying out
his blankets, he called Quatre over and wrapped him up, bidding him goodnight.
* * *
Trowa was leaning against the tree, dozing, when he heard Quatre's sharp cry. Looking up, he saw the boy was sitting up, close to the fire, one hand held to
his mouth as tears trailed down his cheeks. Getting up, Trowa was at his side in seconds, kneeling beside him when he looked up with pain-filled and shocked
Still looking confused, Quatre swiped the tears from his eyes and pulled his fingers out of his mouth, showing them to Trowa. "I...hurt myself." Pointing to the
fire, he looked at Trowa, "I didn't realize it was so hot. I was trying to get warm." Looking at his burnt fingers, he frowned at them for a moment before looking
slightly abashed. "I'm sorry I woke you up."
"Let me see." Taking his hand, Trowa turned it, looking at the burns. "It's not so bad," he said softly.
"I know," Quatre said, pulling his hand back and looking embarrassed. "I'm just not used to pain. Or that."
"Fire," Trowa offered.
Accepting the word, Quatre nodded. "There wasn't any fire in the forest where I lived. I'm okay, you can go back to sleep."
Looking at him, Trowa frowned and reached out to touch his cheek. It was cold. //Of course it is,// Trowa thought angrily, //He's not used to only having skin
for warmth, and the clothes and blankets aren't that thick. It's no wonder he tried to get closer to the fire. He's lucky he didn't catch the blankets on fire.//
Eyes widening at that thought, Trowa cursed himself for not having thought of the danger.
"You shouldn't get so close to the fire, cloth burns."
Staring at the fire as if it would attack him, Quatre skooted back quickly, giving a shiver as he moved away from the heat. "I didn't know." Moving to his side,
Trowa undid the blankets he had wrapped around him. "Oh, please don't!" Quatre cried as the night air hit him full force. "It's so cold..."
"Shhh, I know. You'll stay warmer this way." Spreading the blankets on the ground a safe distance from the fire, he lay down on them, motioning for Quatre to
lie with him. Pulling the boy close, Trowa wrapped the blankets around them then wrapped his arms around Quatre. "Is this okay?"
Moving closer to the warmth that radiated from Trowa, Quatre smiled. "Oh thank you, you're so warm." Hiding his face against Trowa's chest so he was
completely under the covers, Quatre sighed and was asleep almost immediately.
Using every ounce of control he had, Trowa didn't move as the boy burrowed against him. Finally, he began to relax despite the way Quatre's breath affected
him. Closing his eyes, he ordered himself to stop thinking about how good the boy felt in his arms. Although it wasn't a complete success, he eventually fell
* * *
Quatre ran down the moonlit beach, his hooves silent as they struck sand. Not daring to look behind him, he ran faster, his breath coming in pants, yet he
could hear the pounding beats behind him getting closer. Suddenly he stumbled, falling to the sand. With a terrified whinny, he stared in horror as the blazing
red bull bore down on him. Certain he was seeing his death, he froze unable to move.
Just as it was almost to him, the bull let out a roar of fury and whirled. Looking up, Quatre saw a small blade protruding from its side and followed its gaze to
see Trowa standing down the beach. Not sparing Quatre another glance, the bull was running, closing the distance between him and the boy. Stumbling to
his feet, Quatre ran towards Trowa. He was still far away when the bull reached Trowa, horns lowered to ram him. Quatre screamed.
* * *
Shaking the boy awake, Trowa pulled him close, not asking any questions when Quatre wrapped his arms around his waist and cried himself to sleep.
* * *
Checking the pot he had heating over the fire, Trowa frowned as he looked at Quatre for the eighth time that morning. The small boy was still wrapped up in
the blankets a couple of feet from the fire. At first, Trowa had worried, but when he knelt beside the boy and pulled the blanket back so he could see Quatre's
face, he'd found that the boy was just sleeping. Not waking him, Trowa'd caught some fish in the river, cooking them over the fire. Fairly sure Quatre wouldn't
eat meat, he'd eaten and stowed the leftovers for later. As the sun reached the top of the sky, Trowa sighed and went to kneel beside Quatre again.
Shaking the boy's shoulder lightly, he waited, smiling a bit when Quatre's face screwed up and he let out a mewl of protest. Looking highly irritated, he finally
cracked open an eye, blinking at the brightness for a second before he groaned and jerked the cover over his head again. Laughing sharply, Trowa shook
him again. "Hey, wake up. The day's half over." When the only response he got was another groan and a stubborn, 'no', he smirked and whipped the covers
Quatre's eyes snapped open and he glared at Trowa for a minute before yawning widely and looking around. Seeing that it was indeed late in the day, he
looked back to Trowa, eyes wide in evident surprise. Rubbing his eyes, he slowly sat up, stretching his arms over his head, pausing to look at one of them
before smiling sweetly at Trowa. "I'm awake."
With another quick laugh, Trowa went back to the fire, glancing over his shoulder at the boy. "Not a morning person, are you."
Blinking as he looked down and thought about it, Quatre finally shrugged. "I don't know. I think I am...I haven't gotten much sleep lately," he said finally.
Stretching his legs, he slowly got to his feet and moved to join Trowa. "Usually I just wake up whenever I wake up."
"If you're really that tired, I guess it wouldn't hurt anything if you went back to sleep," Trowa said slowly, watching as Quatre smothered another yawn with the
back of his hand. Licking his lips, the pale boy shook his head.
"No. Just let me get a drink and I'll be fine." Leaning a bit closer to Trowa, he looked into the pan, not getting too close to the fire. "What's that?" he asked,
curiosity sounding in his voice as he breathed in deeply, smiling at the pleasant odor. "It smells nice."
Taking the pot carefully so as not to get burned, Trowa set it down on a rock he'd found, gesturing for Quatre to join him. "I know you haven't been around
humans before, but have you been around other animals?"
Raising his eyebrows, Quatre tilted his head. "Of course. There are lots of animals in my forest. They just don't talk." Smiling sadly, Quatre shook his head.
"They're not very smart."
"Do any of them eat meat?" Taking a deep breath, Trowa stilled himself on the chance that Quatre would react badly to what he was about to say. "I know the
unicorns of legend were against the taking of a life, so I'll ask now. Is it going to bother you if I hunt animals? Humans eat meat, especially here where there
isn't enough edible plants."
Staring at him, Quatre frowned for a minute, then his eyes widened. "You kill...animals? Which ones?"
"Does it matter?" Trowa asked, brows drawing together. "Well, generally any ones I can catch, so long as they're edible."
Eyes widening even more, Quatre swallowed hard. "If...if you caught a unicorn..."
"No!" Grabbing Quatre's shoulder, Trowa shook his head quickly. "Humans don't eat exotic animals, or intelligent ones. We eat..." Looking around the
clearing, he pointed upward suddenly. "See that bird?" Following his direction, Quatre nodded. "That's a duck. They aren't smart at all. If I caught that, I'd
cook it and eat it. And those," pointing to the water, Trowa caught Quatre's eyes. "Fish. We eat water creatures too, they're easier to catch." Looking at the
boy, Trowa decided that he was going to give up eating deer, because there was no way he would tell the boy that they were animals he ate. They resembled
an equine too closely.
"So..." Slowly recovering from his shock, Quatre forced himself to be reasonable. "You eat...dumb animals? But not all dumb animals. You said you eat the
ones that are edible...you mean there are animals that you can't eat?"
Giving a relieved sigh, Trowa nodded. "There are many creatures that we couldn't eat, even if we wanted to. And there are so few plants that we can eat that
we *have* to eat animals. If I could go without meat, I would. There simply aren't enough edible plants."
Blinking in surprise, Trowa looked over Quatre's face, eyes widening when he saw a small smile. "What about you? Aren't there plants *you* can't eat?"
Smile widening a bit, Quatre turned to look around him. "No. Any plants that might be harmful, or that might upset my stomach, are easily fixed." Looking
back at Trowa, Quatre grinned. "Did you mean it when you said you'd stop killing animals if you had enough edible plants to eat?" At Trowa's wary nod, he
laughed. "Well, I can find more than enough plants." Watching the green-eyed boy, Quatre waited to see if he would actually give up what was obviously the
majority of what humans ate. Give it up just to make *him* happy.
"You can change plants?" Trowa asked, surprised at how little the thought of giving up meat bothered him. "Enough so that I could eat them and stay
"Yes, but even if I couldn't, I'm sure I could find enough plants that you can eat without changing."
Shaking his head slowly, Quatre blinked at him and smiled. "You'd do this for me..."
Taken back, Trowa quickly averted his eyes. "Sure. After all, it'll only be for a while. Until we can find your family." Feeling depressed at the thought, he
decided he didn't want to think about that. Turning back to the pale boy, he looked down at the pan. "So, if you can eat plants, do you think you could drink
Looking to the liquid emitting the nice smells, Quatre shrugged. "I don't know. It smells really nice, though, I'd like to try it."
"What if it were bad for you," Trowa said, "Would you get sick?"
Shaking his head again, Quatre smiled. "I don't think I could poison myself if I tried. If I ate something that my body didn't like..." Quatre blushed a bit, but
didn't look away. "It wouldn't stay down."
Eyeing the blush, Trowa raised an eyebrow. "You sound like you've tried."
Giggling, Quatre nodded. "Yeah. Well, once I left my forest, I didn't recognize things anymore. So I had to experiment a bit before I found out how to change
plants to ones I could eat. Now it's easier and I know that my stomach won't take anything it doesn't like." Looking at the liquid, Quatre's eyes shined. "What
do you think? Can I try it?"
"If you're willing to take the chance of being sick first thing in the morning, go for it." Smirking, Trowa took the mug out of his sack and filled it before handing it
to Quatre. "It's tea. I use some roots I know of and some other stuff to make it. It's drinkable for *me*..."
Accepting the mug, Quatre brought it to his lips, taking a small drink. Eyes wide, he stared at the pan of liquid for a second than quickly gave the mug back to
"Quatre? Are you alright?" Seeing the boy's wide eyes, he looked at him anxiously. "Are you going to be sick?"
Blinking, the blonde boy looked at him in surprise. "Oh no," he said quickly before looking back at the liquid. "It was delicious."
Small smile twitching the corner of his lips, Trowa followed the boy's gaze. "Would you like some more?"
"Is there enough?" Quatre asked, his eagerness making the tall boy smile.
"Sure. I have plenty of the ingredients and can always find more. And as much water as there is, I can make as much as I want." His smile almost became a
grin when Quatre's eyes lit up. Handing the mug back, he laughed when the boy drank the tea happily. "You really like that, don't you."
Nodding, Quatre finished the tea, handing the cup back. "It's so good. And it's warm. I don't think I've ever drank anything but water." Folding his legs
beneath him, he watched as Trowa filled the mug again. "So, what are we going to do?"
Taking a drink before handing the mug back to Quatre, Trowa smirked. "I thought about taking you to see an acquaintance of mine, but as late as it is, I don't
know how far we'd get before dark. I'm still not exactly sure where we are, but I know it'll take a while to get there. Especially through the woods."
"Do you know the direction?"
"Yes. And once we get within a reasonable distance, we'll be able to see where we need to go. I guess we could make some progress today. Then we could
be there by tomorrow."
"Why walk?" Quatre asked, shaking his head and smiling when Trowa's green eyes widened abruptly. "I can always change and carry you. I am fast, aren't I?"
Nodding, the tall boy frowned. "Yes, but...I just don't feel right about making you carry me." The boy was so small as a human, he couldn't help but wonder if
he was fully grown as a unicorn. Although he was big enough to carry him, Trowa wasn't sure if he was too young to be bearing a weight as far as they
needed to go.
"Don't be silly," Quatre said, smiling. "I used to run all the time, nothing else to do. And I know from last night that my back's strong enough. Besides, I'll have
to change anyway. These two legs aren't strong enough to carry me for more than an hour or two."
Realizing he was right, especially about his human form, Trowa sighed. "I guess you're right. We'll go in a little while. But I want you to promise you'll tell me if
I get too heavy."
"I will," Quatre promised. "This'll be fun. It was nice not having to run alone. Besides, I like you riding me." Blinking in surprise when Trowa promptly turned
red and started choking, Quatre leaned close. "Trowa? Are you okay?"
Nodding as he coughed. Trowa couldn't meet the boy's eyes. "Yeah," he said finally, voice forced. "I'm fine."
* * *
It was much easier when the boy wasn't in his human form, much easier to think of riding him in purely technical terms. Trowa wasn't used to being shocked so
many times in so few days and if it had been anyone else, he would have suspected him of doing it on purpose. Quatre was simply too innocent for that.
Knowing this, and being prepared for the suggestive yet completely innocent things he might say didn't prepare him enough. Especially since Quatre's human
form was delectable to say the least.
Deep in his thoughts, Trowa didn't notice the silence since he was so accustomed to being alone. Quatre had a way of stepping so lightly that his hoof-beats
sounded like whispers. Having lost track of their location during the run the night before, Trowa wasn't sure how long it would take them to get to their
destination. He'd simply pointed them to the west and let Quatre pick his own pace. He was such a sweet creature and Trowa wasn't looking forward to seeing
him disappointed if his suspicions were confirmed and there were no remaining unicorns.
Hearing the soft voice in his mind, Trowa frowned and laid a light hand on the unicorn's neck. "You're not alone," he said slowly. "I'm here."
//But you aren't talking to me.//
"Oh. I'm sorry, Quatre. I really don't say much. It's a habit I've gotten into."
//I don't like that habit.//
Laughing softly at the sad tone, Trowa shook his head. "Alright. What do you want to talk about?"
"There isn't much to me. I'm withdrawn; I don't like to be around people. I have a way with strange creatures," Trowa smiled at the soft laughter in his mind.
"Well, not just you. I...I'm not much of a conversationalist." Pausing, he sighed. "Let's talk about you instead. I don't know what to say about myself."
//Alright, what do you want to know?//
//Everything.// Shaking his head, Trowa thought about it. "What are your earliest memories?" he asked finally. "Do you remember a time when there were
others of your kind?" Waiting for an answer, Trowa could have sworn he felt the other's sadness.
//I don't remember them at all. I've been alone for as long as I can remember. That's why I left.// Bowing his head, Quatre paused. //I didn't want to be alone
Eyes widening, Trowa suddenly wished the unicorn was human so he could draw him into his arms and make his sadness go away. Instead, he slid off
Quatre's back, moving to stand beside him, and hesitantly wrapped his arms around the unicorn's soft neck. Trying to give what little comfort he could, Trowa
frowned as the pain in his mind didn't diminish. Then he let out a soft cry of surprise when Quatre pulled away from him and, rearing with that blinding light
from before, rapidly changed forms. Not giving the tall boy a chance to so much as move, Quatre rushed forward, wrapping his arms around Trowa's waist.
Too overwhelmed by the boy's head nestled against him to think about what he was doing, Trowa quickly moved his arms so he could hold him. Rubbing
Quatre's back softly, he closed his eyes as he tried to make the boy's sadness leave. Letting him know that he *wasn't* alone. Minutes passed as he held the
boy close, then he felt Quatre's head move away from his chest.
Looking up with a tentative smile as he met Trowa's gaze, Quatre sighed. "You are so...nice to me," he said softly, his arms tightening around the tall boy's
Blinking in surprise, Trowa shook his head. "I..." Unable to think of a response, Trowa bent slightly so he could place a gentle kiss on the boy's forehead,
smiling when Quatre blinked rapidly then smiled widely.
"What was that?" Quatre asked, eyes shining with pleasure.
Opening his mouth, Trowa wasn't sure if he should say anything. Just thinking of the word reminded him that the boy in his arms had absolutely no clothing
on. He didn't realize how long he'd been silent until Quatre frowned and stood on his tiptoes to place a light kiss on his cheek. Looking at the blonde boy's
small smile, Trowa sighed.
"Are you feeling better now?"
Still smiling, Quatre gave the tall boy another squeeze and rubbed his cheek against his warm chest. "Yes," he sighed. "I feel wonderful."
"Good." Glancing up at the sky, Trowa frowned. "It's late enough. Do you want to set up camp now?"
Nodding, the small boy took a step back, releasing his hold. "Yes. I don't like the night, it's so dark."
"And cold," Trowa said, turning his back on the boy as he took his bag off his shoulder and dug for the boy's clothing. "You really can't keep changing like
"What? Why not?"
Not glancing at the boy, Trowa found his clothing and turned, keeping his eyes on Quatre's pale blue-green ones. "People don't really...that is, they don't
generally let others see them without clothes on."
"Is that why you don't take off your clothes?" Quatre asked, frowning at him curiously.
Nodding, Trowa stepped to him, handing him the clothing. "Do you remember how to put these on?"
"Yes, but why do people hide their bodies? I don't understand." Accepting the pile of clothes, Quatre waited, eyes wide.
"It's just that...their bodies are personal. They don't want other people to see them."
"I don't mind," Quatre said slowly as he looked down at himself. "I like this body. Why would I care if someone else saw it? Is there something wrong with it?"
Biting his lips as he blushed, Trowa looked away abruptly. "No, that isn't it."
"It's because I'm not tall like you, isn't it. Because I don't have muscles in my arms like you do?" Frowning, Quatre moved to touch Trowa's arm, holding his
own up for comparison. "I don't know how to change myself. When I switch forms I just...switch. I don't decide what the form will look like."
"There's nothing wrong with you, Quatre. But you can't let people look at you without clothes on. I don't want people to see you like that." Nudging the
downcast boy's chin up, Trowa managed a forced smile. "It has consequences that you aren't aware of," he said softly as he looked deep into those wide
"Are you worried about me?" Quatre asked in surprise. "I know it's colder without the clothes, and if people don't go without them then I'll wear them. I just
don't understand why they have to hide themselves. Shouldn't they be proud of what they look like? I like the way I look."
"That's good," Trowa said, "You should be proud of your appearance. It's just the way people are, Quatre. They feel insecure about their bodies and they
have to be careful who they show themselves to. They could get hurt."
"I wouldn't hurt you," Quatre said quickly, smiling at the tall boy in reassurance when his green eyes widened. "You don't have to worry about showing yourself
to me. I like the way you look." Nodding so the stunned boy knew he was serious, the blonde boy knelt down as he unfolded the clothing and began dressing.
Tearing his eyes away from the boy, Trowa turned his back quickly as he set about fixing camp. As much as he tried not to, he felt a small smile coming to his
lips as he again saw Quatre looking down at himself, his sweet voice saying that he liked his body. //And mine too...// Smothering a chuckle, Trowa stopped
himself from glancing back at the boy. //He's so damn cute. Maybe if I keep thinking of him as a child I'll be alright.//
* * *
Trowa woke abruptly, realizing he was alone. Sitting up, his eyes moved around the fire, searching the dimly lit clearing and standing quickly when he didn't
see Quatre. Clenching his fists, he turned, scanning the forest as he searched for the boy. His breath sped up and he realized he was panicking. Closing his
eyes for a minute as he forced himself to calm down, he turned to look again.
"Quatre?" he called, hoping that the boy had just gone to relieve himself. Wondering which direction to look in, he called louder. Then he froze as he heard a
rustling to his left, turning quickly, eyes widening as he saw nothing. Then he looked up. "What are you doing up there?!" he cried as he spotted the boy
clinging to a limb nearly seven feet above his head. Terrified that he was about to fall, Trowa started to climb up after him when he saw the boy smile, placing
a hand over his mouth as he shook his head at Trowa. Completely confused, Trowa halted, staring up at the boy.
Quatre pointed his hand to his right, and Trowa followed his gaze, eyes narrowing suddenly as he spotted something large trying to hide in the bushes across
from them. Grabbing his knife, he stiffened and put himself between the creature and the tree. Then it stood and Trowa stifled a groan, recognizing it as the
young troll he'd seen when he first met Quatre. Wondering furiously if the parent was going to attack as well, he hoped Quatre was prepared to see him kill.
Grinning, the ugly thing suddenly charged forward and Trowa crouched, letting out a curse as it suddenly veered to the side and scurried, if something so
large can scurry, up a tree. Disbelief warring with fear, he watched it climb up to Quatre's level, swiping a clumsy hand at the boy perched across from him
and letting out a thick cry when it brushed the boy's shoulder. Eyes bright, Quatre giggled and slowly started to climb down. Still staring in shock since he
hadn't known trolls could climb, it took a moment before Trowa realized Quatre wasn't afraid. Then the troll began to climb down too and he watched as it
grinned at him again. Glancing down in confusion at the blonde boy who moved to stand beside him, still laughing quietly, Trowa frowned.
"Isn't he fun?" Quatre asked, looking up at Trowa before turning back to the ugly creature. "Him and his momma live over there," he said, pointing vaguely to
the right. "He was going to get her so they could eat us but he recognized me. He wanted to play, and I didn't mind." Smiling, Quatre shrugged his
shoulders. Then he laughed when the troll stepped up to him.
It was young, Trowa knew, but it was still as tall as Quatre and much stronger with its bulky muscles. Forcing himself to stay calm, he nevertheless winced
when it grabbed Quatre and picked him up, wide grin curving its mouth and showing large yellowed teeth as it made a harsh noise that was something akin to
laughter. Listening to the pale boy's giggles as he was swung in a circle, Trowa slowly calmed. "So you are friends," he said slowly, meeting the creature's
gaze evenly when it set the small boy down and looked at him. "Does that mean he and his...momma...aren't going to eat us?"
Blinking in surprise, Quatre looked at the troll who turned to grin at him. "No, they won't. She thinks he's silly to want to play with his food, but he says she
didn't argue too much. He's her only son," Quatre said, meeting Trowa's shell-shocked gaze. "He said no momma would eat her only son's friends."
"That's good to hear," Trowa said slowly. "So...are you hungry, Quatre? I'll make us some breakfast."
Wincing at the carefree way the boy imparted that news, Trowa looked at the grinning troll warily. Then it shoved Quatre toward Trowa in a powerful push that
was it's way of showing affection before turning and stomping away, Quatre recovering his balance as he waved after the creature. "He's nice," Quatre said,
glancing up at Trowa who was staring after the creature. "But he's not sure about you. I told him you wouldn't hurt him, but his momma doesn't want him
playing with strangers and he doesn't know you."
Realizing Quatre thought his feelings were hurt by the abrupt treatment, Trowa smiled at him. "That's fine. His momma's right. You shouldn't play with
strangers either. But you knew him so I guess it's okay. Quatre, just be careful who you trust, alright? I know you and he were friends, but his momma might
have decided to eat you anyway, you can't be sure about things like that."
"Not *his* momma," Quatre said stubbornly before smiling a bit and shrugging his shoulders. "But the others would have. He said we shouldn't stay here
longer than today since his momma couldn't get them to promise to let us by for more than a day. They won't follow us, but if we're still here tomorrow
"Yes, I see. Well, we'll be gone in an hour, so let's eat." Not wanting to frighten the boy with specifics, Trowa quickly turned the conversation away from trolls.
The thought of this being their territory had him very uneasy, but he could understand how Quatre's sweet nature could gain even a troll to his side.
"Oh," Quatre said, eyes wide as he remembered something. Smiling proudly, he hurried over to the tree he'd been playing in, bending and grabbing
something off the ground behind it and carrying it back to Trowa. "Here, he says they're...yummy?...and I can eat them so they should be good for you too."
Seeing the fruit the boy had, Trowa nodded quickly. "Yes, and I can cook them so they're easier to eat. You think they're good now? Wait until I've roasted
them." Waving the boy to the fire, he set about making breakfast, shoving all thoughts of trolls to the back of his mind.
* * *
As much as he hated the thought of pushing the boy, Trowa was glad Quatre was a fast runner. Despite the promise of safe passage, he didn't want to stay in
that area for longer than absolutely necessary. So, when Quatre said he felt great, Trowa encouraged him to run. And run he did, taking no heed to
whatever might be lying in their path as he jumped streams and bushes, dodging trees happily. He reminded Trowa of a deer the way he cleared obstacles,
never once breaking stride, but he could tell the pace wasn't good for him, and asked him to slow once they were out of the area. At a more sedate jog, Trowa
let Quatre pick the way as he scanned the trees, looking for a familiar sight. Then they broke into a clearing and he saw what he'd been looking for.
Even if he hadn't recognized the bluff, Quatre's reaction clued him in as the unicorn suddenly stiffened, body shaking as he slowly lowered his horn in a
//Trowa! We can't be here! It's...dangerous.//
Feeling the body beneath him tremble, Trowa quickly slid off him, facing the dark hole in the cliff with an earnest expression before turning to Quatre. "Hey, it's
all right. She's a friend of mine. I promise, she won't hurt you."
//She'll eat me!//
Head still lowered, he took a step back, still shaking in terror as he smelled the air, eyes impossibly wide. A low rumbling emanated from the cave, and the
ground shook lightly as a large dark green head slowly appeared at the cave, yellow eyes glaring in the darkness. With a moan, Quatre leapt in front of Trowa
who showed no signs of running, and lowered his horn, his only defense. Somehow, he knew it was useless against the huge creature that was slowly making
it's way toward them, it's bulk as it rose on it's haunches blocking out the sun.
Shocked at the absolute terror that filled his mind, Trowa moved to Quatre's side, stumbling back when the unicorn pivoted to put himself between him and the
dragon that watched them, mouth open showing teeth as long as Quatre's legs. "Quatre! Listen to me!" he cried, touching the shaking back. "She *won't*
hurt you. She is my *friend*."
The unicorn didn't seem to hear him as he waited for the creature to attack.
--I won't hurt him, but he knows I could-- Drawing in a deep breath through its nostrils, the dragon slowly lowered herself, neck curving as she eyed the white
unicorn. --I haven't seen any of your kind in eons-- Inhaling the scent again, she moved her head closer. --It looks like he missed one--
--Boy, I haven't seen you in years, you keep odd friends--
Trying to calm Quatre who seemed not to hear him, Trowa managed a slight nod. "Quatre, listen to me." He kept his voice soft as he laid a hand on the
unicorn's shoulder, but again he was almost knocked over when the creature shoved him back. "Can't you hear me?!"
--Probably not, boy, instinct is strong in the eternals-- Blinking glowing eyes that changed color at random, the dragon didn't move. --Like when I saw you first
with my babe in your arms, my first thought was to kill you. Remember how long it took? But he is young and strange to me; he does not run as is his kind's
"What can I do?" Trowa asked, hands curling into fists as he stared at Quatre who continued to ignore him. "How can I get though to him?"
Eyes huge, Trowa jerked and looked up, letting out a surprised cry as long claws wrapped around his waist and he was lifted into the air. "Doonal?!" Gasping
as he clutched the claws that held him carefully, Trowa stared up at the golden eyes so close to his as the small dragon's curved neck brought it's triangular
head within view. Hearing a piercing scream from below, Trowa choked and looked down, cursing harshly. "Doonal, put me down, quickly."
--Trowa! It's been so long! I missed you-- Holding the tall boy to his chest, the light green dragon made a spiral with it's long wings, crooning a low, throaty
Dizzy from the circling, it took a moment before he could find Quatre and his breath stopped. "No!"
Rearing on his hind legs, Quatre screamed again, forelegs waving as his eyes blazed as white as his coat. He'd no sooner touched ground than he launched
himself at the huge dragon, skidding to a halt when she lifted with a powerful downward sweep of her wings. With no enemy, he seemed lost for a moment
before his neck curved and he looked up.
He looked so small from above, and his voice was a tiny whispered breath in Trowa's mind. "Quatre! It's all right. Can you hear me?! Quatre?" As much as
he hated to see Quatre's confusion, he understood Muave's methods. As he'd done with her, she'd taken away the unicorn's enemy and left him without a
target. Now it was a matter of waiting until his instinct gave way to his intelligence. "Quatre?"
//Trowa no. No.// Running in a tight circle, he reared and screamed a challenge. //No. No.//
"Quatre! Please, Quatre..." The white animal was running in strange non-concentric circles as if he'd gone crazy. "My God..."
Halting and rearing so suddenly that he nearly pitched over backwards, Quatre was consumed in a familiar light, but when it dissipated, Trowa couldn't find
him. Then the large dragon let out a roar and moved in front of Trowa. Something white showed to the side of her as Muave darted her head and Trowa
screamed. "This isn't happening!"
Moving with surprising speed, she blocked the progress of the small dragon that was trying so diligently to get past her. --I don't believe this! Boy! This is
Staring in horror and fascination as the small white dragon darted away from Muave's head, Trowa dug his hands into Doonal's clawed feet. "Drop me!
Muave, tell him to drop me!" Despite the fact that the order was his, he let out a sharp cry as he was released and the ground rushed up at him. Then he was
caught and he started to feel relief, then he realized it was Muave and not Quatre. "What are you doing?!"
--What you did with me, remember boy?--
He did remember, but that didn't help when he was pressed to the dirt beneath Muave's huge paw, claws preventing him from moving even if he'd wanted to.
He could barely raise his head, but he could hear the beat of wings as Quatre landed, following the bait without fail. When the threats came, he couldn't
believe Muave's memory as they were almost the same as the one's he'd used so long ago.
--Stop there or he dies. Don't make me hurt him, that's not what you want. Think, don't kill him-- Eyes blazing gold, Muave watched the white dragon as she
admired the form. For a shape-shifted unicorn, he made a beautiful dragon.
Glaring at her, the dragon's forehead glowed in a diamond shape before the unicorn returned in a flash, screaming at her.
--Fine, then, he dies-- Lowering her head, Muave's mouth opened and she paused over Trowa, her eyes holding Quatre who had frozen.
//No!// Shuddering, Quatre stepped toward her, head hung low rather than threatening and he stopped mere feet from where she waited, poised above
Heart jumping to his throat in relief, he watched as Quatre slowly sank to his knees and stretched his neck toward him. "Quatre," he whispered, pain filling him
as he suddenly felt the unicorn again. "Quatre..."
Curving his neck so his chin touched his chest, he touched the tip of his long horn to the ground. //Don't...please? Not Trowa...//
--If I let him go, you'll control yourself, understand?-- The unicorn nodded slightly, horn making marks on the ground. --Fine--
Breathing easier as the claws were gone, Trowa pushed himself shakily to his feet and moved to kneel beside Quatre, wrapping his arms around the unicorn's
neck. "Quatre, are you all right?"
//I'm sorry Trowa. I couldn't protect you...//
"She's my friend, Quatre. Do you understand?"
//Trowa...I'm sorry. I have to go.// Pulling away, Quatre stumbled to his feet. //I'll wait for you, but I can't stay here.// Turning, he bolted toward the safety of
//Talk to your friend...I'll wait for you...//
"Quatre!" Standing quickly, Trowa started to go after him.
--Boy!-- Halting, he turned back to where Muave was watching him, eyes glinting as Doonal landed beside her. --You came for a reason, what is it? Why did
you come here bringing the dread enemy of my kind?--
Eyes widening as he glanced in the direction Quatre had gone, he stared up at her. "Enemy? Quatre?!"
--Unicorns, boy. The only creature able to imitate our form and thereby have the strength to defeat us. Had he been grown it would have been a fight to the
"No...I didn't know. Quatre would never do that..."
--You speak of the creature that dared to face me even though he is younger than my babe, the instincts of eternals such as he and I are very strong, boy.
Had I not known you I would have killed him the second I recognized his scent--
"I'm sorry." Torn between his reason for coming and the need to find Quatre, Trowa finally gave in. "I need to ask you something, but knowing that you are an
enemy to unicorns, I don't think you'd tell me."
--I owe you, boy-- Muave answered, brushing her cheek against the small dragon near her. --Ask your question and I will answer--
"I want to know if there are other unicorns," Trowa said, "I want to find them."
--They are gone. Taken by the red bull who once scoured the land and captured every one. If he still lives, it would be near the sea. Go south, boy, till the
"Muave, I make you a promise. If I find them, I won't free them till they agree to leave your kind alone."
--You can't promise that-- Muave said, eyes glinting with humor. --We are mortal enemies, boy, we were made to fight each other. Otherwise, dragons die out
as there is not enough food to survive. We kill each other off. Better that we fight a unicorn than each other. If you find them, if they live, free them that
nature may take its course--
"But there are so few of you," Trowa whispered, imagining Quatre fighting against her. His blood ran cold. "Surely there are not so many as to necessitate
--There are more than you know. They sleep, waiting for the balance to return. Give us back our competition and they shall rise. Our race will not die out
with my son--
"Doonal...surely there is another way."
--No. This is life. Only an eternal is meant to kill another eternal. When one is lost the other flourishes until it turns upon itself in an attempt to right the
balance. Don't argue with life, boy. Help your friend. He is defenseless without the others. I am not the only dragon alive in this time. The next will kill first
and not think for years. He'll die--
* * *
Stepping into the forest where Quatre had disappeared, Trowa looked around anxiously. He knew the unicorn had promised to wait for him, but he was
terrified that he wouldn't. He'd had no idea unicorns and dragons were enemies and he understood why Quatre had been unwilling to stay in Muave's
presence. She was so big and Trowa knew how dangerous she could be. It hadn't been too many years since he'd rescued the baby Doonal and he'd never
forget how enraged she was when he tried to return the small cub. It wasn't until he'd threatened the baby that she'd calmed enough to listen to him.
Not bothering to hide his sigh of relief, he walked forward quickly when Quatre stepped out from behind some tall bushes. "Are you all right? I'm so sorry,
Quatre. I had no idea what a horrible mistake I was making."
//No.// Rubbing his velvety cheek against the tall boy's chest, Quatre sighed. //I don't know why I reacted so badly. I just...I couldn't think. All I knew was that
she was dangerous. And then you were taken and I--I was so scared.//
"You were right to be," Trowa said slowly, stroking the unicorn's neck. "It seems unicorns and dragons are mortal enemies. I'm sorry, I really had no idea."
Pulling away, Quatre's eyes flashed toward the direction of the cave and he shivered lightly. //Can we go? Please?//
"I learned something," Trowa said, remembering what he'd been told.
//Tell me on the way? I really don't want to stay here.// Lowering his head, Quatre looked away. //It just feels wrong for me to be here.//
"Of course." Swinging onto the unicorn's back, Trowa gripped his mane tightly as Quatre ran. "We need to go to the left," he called, noting that Quatre's ears
flicked back a bit as they turned. "She said the unicorns were all rounded up and taken by something, a red bull. We have to go to where the land ends."
//The beach?!// Not slowing as he put more distance behind them, Quatre remembered his dream. //Yes, we'll find the bull on the beach. I dreamt that.//
Trowa also recalled the boy's nightmare as he'd been affected by Quatre's anguished scream. He hadn't questioned him at the time, but that was because
the boy had obviously been very upset. Now, he wondered exactly what Quatre's dream had been about. Again, though, he didn't ask since the young
unicorn had received enough upset for one day. Instead, they traveled in silence until the sun began to set.
* * *
"Quatre. Wake up." Shaking the boy roughly, Trowa sighed when he finally opened his eyes. He'd been awakened by the desperate cries for help and it had
taken minutes for him to wake the boy. "What happened?" he asked softly, stroking Quatre's pale blonde hair as the boy continued to cry against his chest.
"I...don't know," the boy whispered. "I couldn't move and something bad was happening. And you weren't there." Shaking his head, his arms tightened
around Trowa's waist. "I've never had dreams before, but it was so scary."
"It's all right," Trowa said, trying to soothe the boy as he laid them down and pulled the cover up again. "It was a nightmare. People have them sometimes. I
guess unicorns don't unless they're in a human body." Closing his eyes, he hoped Quatre couldn't tell how shaken he was. The boy's cries had been bad
enough, but he'd nearly panicked when he hadn't been able to waken him. It was that much more evidence of how attached he was growing to the boy and he
reminded himself that he'd lose him when they found the other unicorns. "Go back to sleep."
Trowa's voice sounded odd to him, a bit rough and forced, but Quatre sighed as he was held firmly and he went to sleep.
* * *
They moved quickly, Quatre obviously well rested despite his interrupted sleep, and they could soon smell the salt in the air. Trowa had never been to the
sea, but he'd heard of it, so he thought he was well enough prepared. He wasn't. Halting as they broke the edge of the forest, both stared at the endless
expanse of water spread out before them, both caught by the movement of small waves rolling over the surface.
//This is it,// Quatre said, awe in his voice although Trowa felt the emotion rather than heard it. //And this is where she said to go?//
"Yes." Glancing up and down the pale, sparkling sand, Trowa tensed as he spotted something that glinted in the distance. "Quatre, let's go towards that. But
stay near the forest, okay?"
Rather than answer, the unicorn broke into a trot, and he was surprised at the way the sand closed over his hooves. He couldn't imagine being able to run
over it as he had in his dream as it wasn't a steady surface at all. Still, he could move quickly enough as it was better than the rocky bank of the river they'd
found before. Looking to what was soon visible as some sort of building, Quatre began to feel anticipation as he realized the person who lived there might
know of his family.
"Quatre, stop." Sliding off, Trowa eyed the castle in the distance. He'd heard of such edifices, but they were said to belong only to nobles and people with
wealth. For one to be on an empty beach was suspicious to him. Gesturing to the woods, he followed Quatre until they were hidden by the trees. "You'll have
to change back, now," he said quickly, kneeling as he got the boy's clothing. "I don't know who lives there, but you can't let them know you're a unicorn."
Changing quickly, Quatre dressed. "Are you worried, Trowa?"
"Just being cautious. If anyone asks about you and your past just say you don't remember." The pale boy frowned at this, but Trowa nodded sharply. "I'm
sure you don't want to lie, but it's necessary. If you have to, say your past is painful and you don't want to talk about it."
"That's true," Quatre said, smiling with relief. "It *was* painful to be alone."
"All right then." Slinging his pack over a shoulder, Trowa took a deep breath. "There's no reason to postpone this. Let's go."
They were still a good distance from the castle, and both were a bit cowed by how large it was once they got close. Making certain Quatre stayed next to him,
Trowa moved around it to the large gates that faced the sea. He would have preferred to go alone and not risk Quatre's safety, but he didn't want the boy by
himself. That would be just as dangerous. Pounding hard on the thick wood, he waited to see who would greet them. He wasn't too surprised when the gates
were thrown open almost immediately.
He'd assumed they would be watched once they got close, but he was taken back by how young the man who answered it was. He looked to be in his
mid-twenties at most and he wasn't much taller than Trowa. With pale blue eyes and very short blonde hair, he wasn't the least bit sinister-looking and only
the faded scar on one cheek marred his features. Then the young man smiled as his eyes moved over each boy.
"Hello. I can't say I've had many visitors in the last couple of years." Still smiling, he extended his hand to Trowa who stood a bit in front of Quatre. "My name
is Robert Brayton."
Shaking hands with the man, Trowa introduced them, hiding his frown when the man shook Quatre's hand. He didn't hold it any longer than he had Trowa's,
but he found he didn't want anybody touching the boy. "We're looking for legends about a creature. An acquaintance of mine is interested in many creatures
that used to roam the land and we heard this was where the Red Bull resided." The story sounded very weak and phony in his ears, but the man nodded
quickly, his eyes wide.
"You've come to the right place. Why don't you come inside and I'll tell you what I know over tea. I really don't get many visitors so it would be a pleasure to
have the two of you."
Knowing their appearances were poor in comparison to the man's rich coat, Trowa couldn't refuse without a good reason. It would seem suspicious and he
might miss the chance to learn about the bull and the missing unicorns. "Thank you," he said, expression clear as he gave no hint of his apprehension.
Following the man, the two boys looked over the courtyard, taking in how barren it was. Even when they were inside the castle, they saw no signs of other
people. Trowa was careful not to ask about it as he knew that would give the man a reason to ask personal questions in return. He stayed close to Quatre
and let his eyes find the quickest route out of the castle as he memorized the halls they walked down.
The man didn't speak as he led them, and he only paused when he pushed open a pair of tall doors. "Come in," he said, smiling again as he gestured toward
a small table.
Since the boy had never seen a chair, Trowa pulled one out for Quatre and was relieved when the boy sat in it with a small smile. Taking the seat beside him,
Trowa watched the man make some tea, making sure he had no chance to do any thing to it. It wasn't that he expected to be drugged, but he wasn't taking
any chances, especially with Quatre there. Then the man pulled three mugs from a counter against the wall and rinsed them with water from a pitcher. Trowa
was calmed by the action since the cups couldn't have been doctored before time if he rinsed them out.
Sitting across from the boys, Robert took the lid off a small jar on the side of the table, using a long-handled spoon to scoop up some of the light brown
grains. "This is sugar," he said, eyes glinting as he smiled. "I'm afraid I have quite a sweet tooth so I tend to spoil myself. You should try some though, I bet
you've never had *brown* sugar."
He knew Quatre would love to have his tea sweetened, so Trowa tasted a bit of the sugar and nodded to the man. "It's very good."
Watching as the boys stirred some into their tea, Robert sighed. "A trader got shipwrecked here a while back and he had bags of it. I just *had* to clean him
out. After all, what's the good with having money if you can't spoil yourself?" Laughing when Quatre smiled, he leaned forward a bit. "I'd say you like it, yes?"
The blonde boy smiled sweetly and nodded. "It's nice, thank you."
Not liking the way the man was smiling at Quatre, Trowa set down his cup. "What have you heard about the Red Bull? Not many people know anything about
With a knowing nod, the man sighed. "The few people who have heard won't come near this place and I can't help but warn the ones who don't know. The
legend usually ends up chasing them away but I just can't hide it from them." Putting his cup down, he shook his head slowly. "It was years ago, but the
legend has it that a huge bull with a blazing red coat used to rule this beach. Though no one knows why, he hated unicorns and he hunted them, driving them
into the ocean one-by-one."
Wincing when Quatre gasped in horror, Trowa held the boy's hand under the table as he judged the man's expression. He was looking at the blonde boy with
a sad expression.
"Horrible, isn't it? But he drowned them all then disappeared. No one has seen him since, but people still avoid this area, afraid that he might return." He
seemed surprised when tears suddenly slipped from Quatre's eyes and he shook his head again. "I'm sorry. I guess you weren't expecting to hear something
this bad." He stood and gave the two boys a sad smile. "I tell you what, why don't you stay here tonight. There's plenty of room and you know I don't mind the
He needed to get Quatre alone so he could comfort the boy, so Trowa nodded and stood. "Thank you." Helping Quatre out of the chair, he put an arm
around the weeping boy's shoulder, grateful when the man wasted no time finding them two rooms next to each other. With a parting invitation to dinner, he
left them, giving Trowa an understanding look before turning away.
Once inside the first room, Trowa pulled the blonde boy into his arms, holding him as the boy sobbed roughly, no longer trying to hold back his grief. "Oh
Quatre, I'm so sorry."
* * *
Waking abruptly, Trowa sat up as he looked to the door and he sighed as he spotted Quatre's form. He hadn't wanted to leave the boy alone in the other
room, but the blonde had insisted that he needed to think. Now, he blinked as Quatre crossed the room and climbed onto the bed, kneeling beside him. "Is
"I'm okay...I guess," Quatre whispered, pale blue-green eyes bright in the light from the open window. "I just couldn't sleep." Smiling a sheepish smile, he
looked at Trowa. "I'm so used to you being there with me. Could I sleep with you?"
"Of course, Quatre." Lifting the cover, he watched the boy slip beneath it, wrapping his arms around him as he snuggled close. He had to admit that it had
been odd and wrong; sleeping without the boy's warmth against him. Closing his eyes, he suddenly flinched when Quatre ran a hand over his chest.
Smiling, the blonde boy caressed the bare skin lightly. "You're so pretty in the moonlight." He'd pushed himself up a bit, but he lowered his head as he
rubbed his cheek against Trowa's chest before kissing it lightly.
"Don't..." Trowa gritted his teeth as he felt the boy's soft lips on him and he shook his head. "Quatre, don't do that."
"But I like it," the pale boy whispered, raising as he brushed his lips over Trowa's, causing the tall boy to stiffen.
Pushing him back, Trowa sat up. "Quatre, you don't know what you're doing. I can't...that is you..." The boy kissed him again and he flinched as he felt
Quatre's moist tongue on his lips. "Stop." As much as his body and heart wanted the boy to continue, he couldn't take advantage of his innocence.
"But why?" Frowning in obvious confusion, the blonde boy sat up. "I want--"
"Quatre..." He didn't know what to say. It would be so easy to simply let the boy do whatever he wanted, but he knew what *he* would do if Quatre continued
to kiss him like that. "You just can't do that." He was surprised when the boy got off the bed quickly and he nearly followed him as Quatre left the room,
shutting the door firmly behind him. //Damnit! He wanted me...and I threw him away. Why couldn't I just...// He remembered how the boy would curl up
against him, trusting him implicitly and he knew he couldn't give in to his own needs. //He's so sweet, but he doesn't love me.//
* * *
"Perfect." Leaning over the bowl of water, the man watched the tall boy's lips moving in the dream he'd induced, smirking when Trowa stretched a hand out.
"You fool. I knew you wouldn't take what he offered. You'd never harm your precious unicorn. Even in your dreams. It would be simple to kill you, but this is
much more entertaining."
Black eyes glinting with a faint red glow, he moved to the door, pausing beside a tall mirror. With a few murmured words, he found himself looking at the bed
where the blonde boy slept peacefully. "You know, I never thought I might have missed one. I've never seen a unicorn in human form before. Very pretty, I
just might keep you for a while." Laughing darkly, he began to work his spell.
* * *
He was wary, and he stood in the doorway for minutes as he worried how the boy would greet him. Quatre was seated alone at the long table they'd eaten
from the day before, and Trowa couldn't help but be surprised by the pale boy's slight smile. The fact that he hadn't so much as glanced up, however, didn't
help his worry. Finally he just made himself step forward.
"Good morning, Trowa," Quatre smiled, nodding to the tall boy. "It looks like my search is over, doesn't it?" He sighed and dropped his eyes to the table, his
hands curled around his mug. "Thank you for helping me, Trowa."
"What..." Trowa swallowed sharply, his mouth suddenly dry as he realized Quatre was saying good-bye to him. In the back of his mind he wondered if things
would have been different if he'd given in to him the night before. "What are you going to do now?"
"Hm, I think I'm going to stay here." The tall boy's mouth fell open, and Quatre stood suddenly, turning so his back was to him. "I like it here, and Robert said I
can stay for as long as I want."
"But you don't even *know* him," Trowa cried, standing as well. Although he hadn't expected the boy to stay with him, the thought of him living with a complete
stranger made his hackles rise. "Quatre, there are so many places you could go. Why would you want to stay here with someone you know nothing about?"
"Oh, I know Robert." Turning slightly, Quatre stared at the tall boy, his pale eyes narrowed slightly in a way that Trowa had never seen before. "I know that he
wants me to stay, and he likes me. You may not want me to touch you, Trowa," the tall boy's eyes widened and Quatre turned again, stepping to the door,
"but he likes it when I touch him. And last night he showed me what it's like to be with someone who enjoys touching."
"The *hell* he did!" Trowa lunged forward, and he stopped short as Quatre slipped out the door, shutting it in his face. He couldn't think, couldn't breathe as
simple fury coursed through him, the door wavering before his eyes. Then he slammed his palms into it, shoving it out of his way as he stalked into the hall. //I
am going to tear him apart with my bare hands...//
* * *
His legs stretched too far, passing over a step, but he didn't notice and his gait didn't falter as he simply landed a bit harder. Nothing mattered anymore, and
his sight was blurred by wetness, the walls seeming darker and he barely realized it when he was no longer descending the curved stairs. He didn't blink when
his hand reached out in front of him of its own accord, pulling open the door. Even if he'd tried, he couldn't see the empty hall, the vision of what he'd seen
emblazoned on his eyes.
A slow shuffle brought him across the wide floor, and he finally blinked, angry trails imprinted down his cheeks. It hurt too much and if he'd been able to think
he would have wondered when he lost his heart to the boy. The boy who was currently up those stairs, in a room on the right side of a long hallway, in the
arms of a man he'd just met; a boy who was currently engaged in a kiss such as Trowa had barely allowed himself to dream of. Thought had ended, and he
left it to his legs to take him away as if distance would lessen the pain.
* * *
The pain woke him, sharp and sudden and he felt the ache on the back of his head before anything else. His instinct was to blink, to look around in confusion
and he was startled when he couldn't seem to open his eyes. Then memory woke as well and he realized his arms were moving. He pulled them down, his
fingers feeling silky cloth yet they wouldn't obey him, curving upward of their own accord. It wasn't until he felt something wet on his mouth that he truly
realized his dream was real, and he cried out as loudly as he could, wanting to moan when his voice gave a soft sigh, a sound completely opposite of what
he'd expected. Then something moved into his open mouth and he cringed inward, straining to pull away. //What is it? Why?//
His back was squeezed, what felt like fingers pressing hard against him, and he panicked suddenly. //It's just like my dream! I can't move, and Trowa...he's
not here.// The wetness left him and his mind grew very alert as he listened carefully, heavy breathing reaching his ear. Then someone was speaking.
"You'd ask, wouldn't you, if you could. Why? That's what you'd ask." The man shook his head, running his fingers through the blonde's soft hair as his lips
curved into a smile. "But you can't. Maybe I was wrong, to get rid of them all. I never dreamed of this, not once. And you, Quatre, you could live for so long,
your kind does live for so very long in captivity."
//Robert?! But why? I don't understand...and how is he...doing whatever this is? Trowa...Where are you, Trowa? You wouldn't let anyone hurt me, so why
aren't you here?// He couldn't speak, so he knew crying out would be impossible. //But he heard me before, if only I wasn't in this body, how can Robert *do*
this? Trowa, where did you go? Did you leave me? Is...is this another dream?//
* * *
"Qua...Quatre...?" He stopped walking. Even if he'd wanted to keep moving, he simply couldn't. For a moment, he'd heard something, felt something and he
froze as his entire body grew tense, waiting. //You fool. Why would he call you? You rejected him and he's found someone else. Just go, go now before you
die from this.// His throat clenched painfully, but he swallowed and forced his legs to move, lifting and falling, two steps. Then he froze again.
//Please, Trowa. Please? Trowa, Trowa...wake me up, Trowa. Please, he's scaring me...Trowa?//
Choking, he turned suddenly, his damp eyes moving across the hall to the door he'd passed through as he blinked sharply. The boy was speaking to him, no
doubt, but it made no sense. Quatre sounded frightened, hurt, yet he'd seen the boy, he'd seen it with his own eyes, the way those slender arms wrapped
around Robert's waist, hands holding him close. Then he shivered as a fear that wasn't his own filled him and suddenly he was running, his feet barely
touching the smooth floor. //I'm coming, Quatre.//
The room was the same as before, the door left open a few inches, just enough for him to see the two of them. But this time, he had no intention of turning
away in agony, and Quatre's voice sounded in his mind as he shoved forward. The door made no sound as it gave beneath his heavy push, and he nearly
flew across the soft carpet, his hands curling into fists. The man never so much as straightened, and Trowa caught him from behind, hitting him over the head
with his balled fists. Then he grabbed Robert's shoulders and jerked the now limp man off of Quatre, not calming at all as the blonde boy lay still on the sofa,
his eyes closed.
"Quatre!" His heart clenched tightly, and he flinched, hearing a slight movement from the man he'd thrown to the floor. While he fully intended to kill him, he
felt a twinge of something, a coldness that screamed for him to run; to take Quatre and get him as far away as possible. Then the still boy twitched, just a bit
and he bent, lifting the light form in his arms as he listened to his instinct. He held him close, taking the stairs at a full out run. It wasn't until he finally made it
outside the castle that his burden finally moved, pale blue-green eyes slowly opening to gaze at him.
"Trowa," Quatre whispered, blinking slowly as he could move. Whatever had controlled him before seemed gone, and he held the tall boy tight, burying his
face in Trowa's neck. "Thank you, Trowa. I don't know what happened." The arms around him tightened, but Trowa didn't slow and he blinked suddenly,
turning to stare around him. "Trowa...why are you running? What's happening?"
"I don't know."
His eyes very wide, Quatre was about to say something when a scream sounded and he shuddered in reaction. It was low, guttural yet piercing somehow and
he cringed, his body swamped with a harsh pain. Then he screamed, his own voice cracking and Trowa dropped him onto the sand.
He tried to hold on, he'd have given his life to be able to hold onto the boy, but Quatre had become blazing hot, a white fire circling his form. Trowa felt himself
fighting an instinct to cringe, then he let out a sharp cry as the pale boy changed forms suddenly, his clothing shreds on the sand. The form was infinitely
familiar, yet he found himself in shock as Quatre kneeled on the sand, his long neck curved downward. The unicorn was shuddering, but he lifted his head
suddenly as that inhuman scream sounded again, pale eyes very wide. Turning to follow his gaze, Trowa's heart stopped. It was a bull, a huge red bull that
blazed with a bloody light. And it was standing mere yards away. Then it moved.
Quatre trembled, his body still recovering from the forced transformation, but he knew what he had to do. The bull was pawing at the sand, its large nostrils
letting out steam as the sun seemed to have disappeared. //Has time moved faster...? The sun...where did it go...//
//Move! Run, damnit! Run!//
He jerked, his ears flattening backwards as his eyes flew around. The scream had sounded in his mind and for a moment he thought it might have been
Trowa. Then the bull was running forward and he listened to the command, shoving himself to his feet and dodging away from the tall boy. His dream was
right there, in the back of his mind, but a backwards glance at Trowa showed the boy had no knife in his hand, nothing he could throw to turn the bull's
attention to him. //It won't happen that way!//
His hooves seemed to fly over the sand, and he was reminded of how difficult it had been to jog the day before. But he couldn't think about it, he had to run.
//What can I do? If he kills me...he'll kill Trowa next!//
//Run. Run till you reach the water, then turn.//
Again, he wanted to turn, to seek out whoever was there. This voice was different, calmer somehow, but he could hear pounding behind him, he couldn't
hesitate. //I'll falter if I don't pay attention. I'll fall, and then...then Trowa turns him and he dies!// Even as he thought it, his front legs slid, hooves buried too
deep for traction. //No! No!//
Trowa gasped, breathing fast, and he was grateful for his boots as they let him run faster. He'd started to run the moment Quatre had bolted from him, and
his hand worked its way into his belt, reaching for the only weapon he had. His original flight had been so sudden he'd never thought to get his bag, and the
knife, while tiny, it was all he had. But it was nothing, and he nearly fell when Quatre did, his heart stopping again. They were so far away, the unicorn so
small where he lay crumpled on the sand and the red bull bearing down on him. Not slowing, he ran, his grip turning as he put his strength behind the throw.
//He did it...// Quatre moaned, wanting to bury his head in the sand as a bright blade glinted through the suddenly dark air. But he didn't, knowing in his heart
that he'd play the dream out the way he'd seen it, even if it was for nothing. //Trowa...//
//Run *faster*. Cut him off and then you do it. Turn and lower your head, do it...Quatre.//
//Do I...know you...// It was as if his mental voice was as affected by his panting breaths as his real one would have been. But he didn't wait for an answer, he
was running already, as fast as he could, yet he was supposed to go faster. //How?// The bull was closing the distance, Trowa not running away as the tall
boy stood still, arms at his sides. Suddenly, his heart blazed in his chest, and he screamed a challenge, racing across the sand.
Trowa waited, his body seemingly frozen, and he knew he was watching a red death rush toward him. But he also knew he'd never be able to run away from it,
no human could. //And it's going to kill Quatre. If the unicorns couldn't stand against him, what hope is there?// He never saw the white flash, and he was on
his back before he even realized that Quatre had reached him, the unicorn's shoulder shoving him down. Terrified, he pushed himself up onto his elbows.
"No! Quatre!" The unicorn's back was to him, the long white tail nearly touching his legs as Quatre seemed to crouch. He watched, frozen.
Lowering his head, Quatre stilled his shoulders, his breath pouring into him and he braced himself for the impact, closing his eyes as bright red eyes blazed at
him. Then his head jerked, and he moaned at the tearing pain in his forehead, the hot liquid that dampened it pouring into his eyes and mingling with tears.
//My horn...// He knew the bull would tear him apart, but suddenly he didn't care, and he moaned again, knowing Trowa was next. Then he sank down on his
knees, his head pulled by something heavy and strong.
//You did well.//
Trowa shook his head, eyes very wide as he heard a voice in his mind that wasn't Quatre's. He knew it must be aimed at the unicorn, and he slowly got to his
knees, crawling to the white form. His palm burned from the hot blood, and he ripped his shirt off, wiping the unicorn's eyes before shoving against the bull. It
was impaled on that long, crystalline horn, and he pushed desperately, groaning when he couldn't budge it. Then red eyes blinked at him, blazing with hate
and he gritted his teeth, expecting it to recover. And it disappeared, and he was thrown back across the sand. White pain shot through his closed eyes, the
insides of his eyelids blazing with red sparks, and he barely registered a heavy something nearly lying on top of him.
Quatre didn't understand, but he too had been thrown back, and he almost collapsed on Trowa as he tried in vain to protect the boy. His head burned, his
gaze blurry, but he could hear and see the waves that rose up high above the sand. It was as if the ocean was rushing toward them, and the white against the
black of the sky was horrible to look upon. Then, just as he was about to duck his head, something glinted in that white wave and he gasped, blinking quickly
and shaking his head. It wasn't water that flowed towards them in a rising and falling wave, but unicorns, so many they were as if a sea themselves. The
ocean behind them was stirred by their running bodies, but Quatre gave a glad cry and stood steadier, trying to hide how badly his legs were shaking.
The weight was gone, and Trowa opened his eyes, blinking as his vision was filled with white glare, then slowly, the darkness of the sky was visible. His body
hurt, but he sat up and his muscles clenched. Quatre was standing a few feet in front of him, and Trowa watched as too many unicorns to count ran past
them, the multitude separating to make a path around them, parting like fluid water. They seemed to run by for hours, but mere minutes passed and finally,
only two stood still on the beach. His heart dropped as Quatre took slow steps toward the pair and he slowly recognized that the two were about the same size
as the one he loved. //Brothers? Friends? ...family...//
Quatre shook a bit as he stared at the two unicorns who stood so close to him, the thrill of them so very wonderful. Then the one on the right gave a sharp
nod, pale horn glinting slightly.
//You did well.//
He blinked at the sheer coldness of the voice, and wondered what he'd done wrong. But the other unicorn was kinder, and it strode forward, rubbing cheeks
with him quickly. //I...//
//Thank you, Quatre. You've made us all very proud of you. But we have to go now. Live a good life.//
Quatre stared as the unicorn took a long step back, and he shook his head. //But I'm going with you//, he said quickly, his eyes very wide. //Why are you
saying good-bye to me?//
//You aren't a unicorn.//
Trowa's jaw tightened as that cold voice reached his mind, and he lunged to his feet. Regardless of any danger he might be putting himself in, he moved to
Quatre's side. "How can you say that?" he demanded, his narrowed green eyes nearly sparking with his anger. "He *saved* you, freed you."
//He'd be worthless as a unicorn, he has no place with us.// The unicorn stared at him for a moment, then slowly walked around them, not glancing back.
//You wouldn't be happy, Quatre. You're in love with a human, we all felt it. If you went home, you'd be heartbroken. There is nothing worse than a
The creature seemed to smile, and Quatre ducked his head as it brushed cheeks with him again. Then he turned, watching as it ran after the other one,
nipping its shoulder lightly when it caught up. The two promptly began running and they soon disappeared. Quatre sighed slowly, shaking his head before
turning to glance at Trowa. The tall boy was staring at him, those green eyes so very bright. //Trowa?//
"What they said...was it true? You love me?" Trowa stood, his back stiff as he waited. Then he looked away sharply, his heart leaping as Quatre transformed.
"Of course," Quatre whispered, shaking his head as the boy slowly turned to face him. It only took him three steps to reach Trowa, and he tentatively wrapped
his arms around the boy's waist. He was confused by the boy's gaze, and he wondered how Trowa could possibly doubt his word. "Trowa?"
"You love me, and...you're going to stay with *me*? You wanted to find your kind so badly..." His voice trailed off, and he didn't want to remind the boy, eager
to embrace the decision that had been made.
"I was lonely, Trowa. I didn't want to be alone anymore and with you...I wouldn't *be* alone, would I?" The tall boy shook his head, and Quatre's eyes
suddenly sparkled. Without warning, he stretched upwards and placed soft kisses over the boy's surprised face, smiling the entire time. "Trowa! You want
me to stay with you, right?"
"Yes," Trowa said quickly, his voice a bit strained as his throat closed. The boy's smile made him want to kiss him, and he found himself bending slightly
without even thinking about it. "I love you, Quatre, I do." Then he was touching his lips to soft ones, and he sighed, feeling Quatre's smile. "I love you so
much," he whispered, and he pulled the boy closer as he kissed him again, neither noticing the gentle water that lapped over their ankles, the salty breeze
ruffling their hair. They were oblivious to everything but each other.