Author's Notes:  This is my first fic for the series, but I've seen the first season in English and Japanese, my characterizations are from a mix of both.
Category:  Anime, Sorcerer Hunters, TWT, Yaoi
Warnings:  slight angst, slight violence, hints of shonen ai
Pairings:  Gateau+Marron, Tira+Carrot/Chocolate+Carrot
Author:  Arigatomina

Forbidden Magic

Part 1

"I don't get it."  No one groaned this time, but Carrot could tell from their stares that they'd been expecting that.  But still...  "I'm serious.  Why would a sorcerer
hire hunters to kill him?  And if he hasn't hurt anybody, then why would Momma agree?"  Chocolate leaned on his arm, and he blinked at her warily.  He was
never sure if she was planning to hit on him or just hit him.  "Well?"

"Darling, Momma didn't say he wasn't evil.  Just because we don't know what he did, doesn't mean he hasn't done anything."  The teenager frowned at her
and she gave him a suggestive smirk.  "But if he hired us himself, then it shouldn't be a hard assignment.  Meaning we'll have time afterward to..."

"Wait till we get there before you start that, could you?" Gateau asked with a frown.  The girl ignored him, busy holding onto Carrot as the boy had started to
shy away.  Gateau sighed and sent a glance at Tira.  The pink-haired girl's expression was mostly hidden by the large glasses she wore, but he could tell from
her pinched lips and tense shoulders that she was seconds away from jumping in.  At this rate, Carrot would run off again and turn what could be a simple job
into another of his fiascoes.  "Let's get going."

"Right," Tira said sharply, though her voice didn't actually raise much.  Chocolate had Carrot on the ground and she grabbed her sister's shoulder.  "Sister,
control yourself!"  The red-haired girl's head snapped around and Tira gave a quick smile at the raised eyebrow.  Lowering her voice, she leaned over the girl
who continued to straddle the struggling Carrot.  "Momma said the land the sorcerer rules is almost completely abandoned, meaning..."

"No girls!"  Carrot blinked and stayed were he was when she stood suddenly, and Chocolate turned her back on him.  "No reason to stay around *here* when
we should be going," she said with a bright smile.  

"But we didn't get supplies from the village," Carrot argued.  The two girls were already walking down the path with Gateau and he sidled back a quick step.  
They'd tied him up last night so he couldn't go running after the village girls again, but they weren't paying any attention now.  His mouth opened in a wide grin
and he turned to bolt through the woods only to stop, his expression turning into a grimace.

"Nii-san."  Marron stood still for a second, pausing at the edge of the path with his left arm gripping the bag tossed over his shoulder.  His older brother
sweat-dropped, shoulders slumped, then frowned at him in blatant disappointment.

"Where did *you* come from?" Carrot muttered, trudging a few feet ahead of the tall teen.  He could still have run, Marron wasn't the kind to chase after him,
but he knew his brother would tell the girls and he didn't feel like being drug the entire trip.  Tira wouldn't mind, but the last time she hadn't watched out for
rocks and he'd ended up bouncing around behind them.  No, he'd pass this time.  Pale gold eyes flicked to him when Marron stepped past and he made a
face at the boy's calm expression.

"I went to get supplies," Marron said easily, looking away to where Chocolate was shooting glances back.  The girl was probably making certain Carrot hadn't
tried to run off, he could see her and Tira slowing down so they could flank the boy.  "You were asleep when I left."  The dark-haired boy gave another scowl
and Marron shrugged slightly before moving to the side so he could pass the two girls.  He wasn't surprised that Carrot hadn't noticed his absence.  His
brother usually didn't notice anything that wasn't wearing a skirt, except for Chocolate and Tira.  His brother took those two completely for granted, but Marron
knew he enjoyed their attention most of the time.

"What took you?" Gateau asked, turning his head when Marron fell into step beside him.  "Half the day's gone."

"There were some interesting rumors in the village," Marron said, "concerning the sorcerer.  He passed through here three days ago."

"Really?"  The tall blonde frowned, his dark eyebrows drawing together.  "But we were here then, and we didn't hear anything about a sorcerer."

"No.  It seems he asked after us, though.  If I had known, I would have asked Momma how recently this job came in."

The black-haired teen's eyes were narrowed and Gateau's frown darkened.  "You're worried.  Do you think this is a trap?  I mean, it's odd enough already.  
Momma *said* he wanted to hire Sorcerer Hunters because he was losing control of himself.  That *might* explain why he did it, if he heard about our last job."

"There are no good sorcerers, you said that once."  The blonde stopped suddenly, but Marron didn't slow and he heard Gateau catch up with a quick stride.  
"What are the chances that this sorcerer has spent his life without harming anyone, only to suddenly threaten murder on villagers outside of his territory?  
Even if something happened so that he lost control of his magic, that would not explain why he would leave his base.  Momma said he didn't want to be
responsible for his actions and that if Hunters would not come then the deaths would be on our heads.  It makes no sense."

"Why not?" Gateau shrugged.  "Maybe it's like Carrot's Zoanthropy where he changes into something else.  Carrot's still in control then, but couldn't this be a
case where the sorcerer loses control?"  Narrow eyes were focused on him and he smirked.  "What?"

"Maybe.  But that still does not explain why he would spend so much time without harming anyone, or why he would care if he harmed villagers.  He *is* a
sorcerer."  His friend was giving him an odd look and Marron turned, glancing back to where Carrot and the girls were walking behind them.  Chocolate was
nearly hanging on the boy's arm while Tira walked on the other side.  His brother's expression was one of resignation, nothing like the excited joy that would
have spread over his face if he'd been in the middle of any other two girls.

"Marron."  His eyes followed the quick sweep of fine black hair when Marron turned to look at him and he had to shift his focus quickly.  His friend's pale face
was completely devoid of expression, but that was normal for him.  "What's eating you?"

"What?"  Marron blinked for a second, then his lips curved a bit as he understood what the man was asking.  "I was thinking of something you said a while
back.  What makes a sorcerer evil?  You said simply being a sorcerer."

"That was months ago," Gateau frowned, running a hand through his short blonde hair.  "But what about it?"

"What makes a sorcerer?"

Black hair fell forward when Marron looked away and Gateau sighed slowly, shaking his head.  "You're never going to forget that, are you.  Look, Marron, just
because you have magic doesn't mean you're a sorcerer.  I wasn't thinking when I said that.  Sorcerers don't just have magic, they think that *because* they
have magic it makes them better than commoners.  Hell, if magic was all it took, then Momma would be a sorcerer, too, right?"  He saw Marron nod, not raising
his head and he gave another sigh.  "So stop thinking about it."  His friend looked back again and Gateau followed his gaze, rolling his eyes when he saw that
the three had stopped a few yards behind them.  "It never ends.  At least there aren't any girls where we're going."

"Yes," Marron said softly, watching the two females tugging at Carrot, "that's true."

* * *

The cry was so loud the two tall men in front jerked around ready for battle, only to be knocked aside.  The boy barreled between them before shooting
around the corner of the path, his scream still echoing in their ears.

"A girl!!!!"

"Darling!"

"Carrot!"

Gateau jumped back again as the two girls took off after the boy and he groaned, catching Marron's eye.  "Damn.  So much for the girl-free job.  Any chance
he's wrong?"

"He can smell a girl from miles away," Marron said, a small smirk curving his lips.  "I've never known him to be wrong."

"Well, that's just great.  Come on, Marron, let's go see if they killed him."  The black-haired teen nodded and they moved after the other three.  The woods
stopped as soon as they rounded the corner, a few tall trees blocking the way they'd come from sight.  They found themselves standing on a hill, the
downward slope smoothing out for as far as the eye could see.  "Damn, think the sorcerer is off the path?  Or across that..."

"Not sure," Marron murmured, "but Carrot's luck must be excellent.  A girl camping out here, that's odd."

Sure enough, a fire was burning at the base of the hill, two small tents set up to the side of it.  A young black-haired girl was standing near the first tent, a tall
man nearly hiding her.  Carrot lay dazed on the short grass, a dark bruise blooming on his left cheek.

"Darling, how could you?"  The boy's eyes blinked at her glare, and Chocolate jumped onto Carrot's waist, holding him down.  "You leave her alone!"

"I'm so sorry," Tira said quickly, tilting her head back to look up at the furious man.  "Really!"

"Who are you people?" the man asked, brown eyes glaring daggers when Chocolate allowed Carrot to sit up and he noticed the boy still looking at his
daughter.  "You're lucky I didn't hit you harder," he growled.

"Papa, he didn't hurt me."  Big brown eyes peeked around the man's shoulders looking warily from the eager Carrot to Tira.  She smiled at the pink-haired
girl.  "You're the first people we've seen in weeks."

"The first people they see," Gateau said softly, his eyes meeting Marron's, "and they get attacked by a sex-starved teenager."  The black-haired mage sighed
but didn't respond.  He noticed the man's eyes narrowed when they landed on them and he waved a hand quickly.  "No harm intended!  Aside from that one,
we're pretty normal."

"Darling, if I let you up, are you going to behave yourself?"

Carrot nodded quickly, a wide smile spread across his face.  The red-haired girl frowned at him, obviously not believing it for a second but she did get off him.  
Jumping to his feet, he hurried to stand in front of the angry man, his eyes wide.  "I acted horribly, I apologize.  I was so surprised to see her--I mean people
out here."  The man arched a thin eyebrow at him and he gave his most harmless smile, barely keeping his eyes from sneaking a look at the girl.  His best bet
was to get to her through the father, at least for now.

"Does your family live near here?" Marron asked, his eyes sliding from the man to the silent woman standing near him.  "I've heard that this area is
unpopulated."

"We're going to stay with my sister and her husband," the woman said.  Her eyes glinted suddenly and she let out a small laugh.  "Actually, your young friend
there reminds me of her son, the last time I saw him."

"He's much better behaved," the man said, cutting her off.  They looked at each other for a second, then he sighed.  "Well, not *that* much better.  But he
would never jump at a girl from the top of a hill and try to tackle her.  Especially one he'd never met."  Carrot was blinking at him with a small smile and he
raised an eyebrow again before nodding to Gateau.  "I'm Mathew Graham.  This is my wife, Marie, and our daughter, Kendra."  He took a step forward, forcing
Carrot back before letting the girl out from behind him.  She smiled at them.

Chocolate smiled back as they introduced themselves, none of the family realizing how tight her hold on Carrot's arm was.  The boy's smile was strained, but
she had no intention of letting him go one inch closer to the girl.  Tira had taken up position on the other side of them and she exchanged a quick glance with
her sister.  They'd have to watch Carrot extra closely this evening.

* * *

"I don't see why we couldn't camp out in the open," Carrot muttered, glaring at the two girls lying on either side of him.  His nose itched and he turned his head
as much as he could, rubbing it against the rough tree bark behind him.  He'd given up struggling, but his back was already starting to hurt from the tight ropes
wrapped around his arms and waist.  "Then I wouldn't have to sleep sitting up."

"You're not sleeping anywhere near them," Gateau said sharply, his eyes narrow.  "Besides, Mathew made us promise not to let you within twenty feet of them
tonight.  It's your own fault you had to jump them like that."  The boy gave a petulant expression then groaned and wriggled against the tree.  "You never hear
Marron complain about sleeping like that."  The young man in question looked up at the sound of his name then frowned.  It was almost as if he hadn't been
paying any attention, but Gateau doubted it.  Marron noticed everything.

"Just because my weird brother decides to sleep like that doesn't mean I should have to!"  Carrot bit down on his words abruptly when Chocolate's arm slid
onto his thigh, the girl blinking wide eyes up at him.

"Darling, if you want to lie down," Chocolate murmured, running her fingertips over the boy's chest.  "I can tie you to me, tonight."

"Neisan!"  Tira glared behind her glasses, her hands curling into fists as she fought the urge to push her sister off Carrot.  Blue eyes blinked innocently at her
and she scowled.  "Behave."

"All of you behave," Gateau said with a low groan.  "We're leaving first thing in the morning, if you don't stop now we'll be up all night."  The redhead frowned
at him before sliding back into her blankets and pressing close to Carrot's legs.  Tira did the same on the other side of the boy and Gateau collapsed onto his
back with a sigh.  Folding his arms beneath his head, he blinked at the dark canopy of trees before glancing to the side.  Marron was seated a few feet away,
leaning against a tree opposite his older brother.  Dark hair stood out against his white robe where his head was bowed and Gateau leaned back again.  It was
time for him to take his own advice and sleep.  They'd decided the sorcerer was somewhere past the flat land currently visible, meaning they had a very long
trek ahead of them.

* * *

There was no sound, but a sharp light seemed to pass behind Marron's closed eyes and he sat up abruptly.  The feeling was one of foreboding, a familiar
sensation that told him without a doubt that something dangerous was nearby.  Though he didn't know if the enemy was within hearing range, he kept his
voice low, crouching near the tree he'd been sleeping against.  "Mina!  Wake up!"  He heard Gateau move near him and his right hand slipped to where he
kept his wards.  Wide eyes glinted at him as the girls sat up and he glared into a dark shadow just past the tree Carrot was tied to.  The small slip of paper
glowed with a bright white light, then it fell suddenly as something darted through the air.  

"What's going on?" Carrot shook his head, squinting in the dark.  He was still groggy, but he'd seen the magic ward and he didn't understand why it had gone
out.  His brother was a shadowy white shape crouched a few feet away, then the shape wavered and fell.  "Marron...?"

"Tira!"

"Marron!"

Carrot's eyes dropped to where Tira had just been standing and he stared at the girl in confusion.  She seemed to be kneeling, frozen in place by the dark
green light that surrounded her.  Then the hands that had been touching his bindings stopped moving as Chocolate was consumed in the same light.  Her
eyes were still focused on Tira and Carrot turned his head, trying to see behind the tree to their enemy.

Gateau glanced around in time to see the two girls freeze, but he couldn't forget the black-haired mage.  Marron was on his knees, leaning against him as he
gripped his right wrist with a stunned expression.  An arrow was firmly set through his palm, the small head dark with blood against dull wood.  He was torn and
he started to leave the mage in order to face the unseen enemy, pausing when Marron gave a shudder, pale green light changing his skin color for a second
before fading out.  "What..."  His word ended slowly, his eyes locked with Marron's as the mage drew in a swift breath.  Dark green magic raced over him, and
Gateau found himself frozen completely.  His breathing was almost nothing, natural and not under his control.

"Tira?  Chocolate?"  Leaning down as much as he could, Carrot blinked into Chocolate's open eyes as the girl didn't move.  The eyes didn't move either and
his heart rate sped up suddenly.  "Gateau?!  Marron?!"  The blonde man seemed as frozen as the girls, but Carrot let out a sigh when the black-haired mage
shifted slightly.  "What's going on?  Marron?"

His blood was on fire, he could feel it burning through his veins, flowing from the small arrow.  He stared at his hand for what seemed like a year before he
could wake himself.  Then he found a second shock as that magic he'd been born with was somehow gone.  It was Gateau's question that woke his mind and
he knew it was some sort of seal, it had to be.  Then the man froze over him and he could hear his brother's panicked cry.  His magic may have been blocked
for the moment, but other than his hand, he was uninjured.  Marron reminded himself of this when his muscles refused to obey him and he barely managed to
lift his head, his eyes making out Carrot's bound form.  The boy was as defenseless as the others.  "Niisan..."  

"What is it?!"  Carrot jerked when a tall figure suddenly stepped past him, the black cloak hiding it completely and nearly scaring him to death.  He closed his
mouth quickly, then strained his head to the side, barely making out Gateau and Marron.  Dark green light surrounded his brother and he glared, gritting his
teeth.  "Attacking at night!  Coward, try that on me!"  It had to be a sorcerer, probably the one they were after.  All he needed was for the guy to hit him with
that magic.  "Hey!"

Chocolate could feel Carrot moving furiously against the ropes holding him, but she couldn't move.  She could feel her hand on the tight rope holding Carrot,
could see Tira bent beside Carrot's legs, but she couldn't blink or make a sound.  It was inconceivable!  They couldn't die like this, not with Carrot and her
sister so close.  Not when she was powerless to so much as move a muscle.  Carrot gave another angry taunt and she wanted to add her own voice to it.  
Staring at her sister's shadowed hair, she knew Tira felt the same.

His eyes were now focused on Marron's bloody hand.  The mage had shifted, but Gateau could feel that his arm was still supporting Marron's shoulders, he
could feel silky black hair against his palm.  He'd seen the dark green magic that had followed the paler shade, and he knew they'd all been hit.  But not
Carrot.  If it was the sorcerer they were after, then he'd obviously seen their battle with the last sorcerer.  He knew better than to use magic on Carrot.  Staring
at the arrow little more than a foot from his face, he took in the dark shaft.  There was a small section an inch wide that shone even in the dark, the tip small
and rounded to cause minimal damage.  That was planning.  It made him wonder if the girl hadn't been planted merely to ensure that Carrot was restrained
when the sorcerer attacked.  If not, the man had just gotten lucky, very lucky.

Marron saw his older brother's eyes widen, then the view was cut off by a tall black figure.  The magic was strong, but Marron was certain he'd normally have
been able to throw it off.  Now, he couldn't do more than listen to his brother's cries and stare into a shadowed hood that revealed glinting eyes.  The man's
steady gate didn't hesitate at all and he was suddenly able to make out the face.  It was the sorcerer Momma had told them to kill.  Then the sorcerer was too
close for him to see anything more than the dark cloak since he couldn't raise his head or his eyes.  A black-clothed shoulder came into view when the man
knelt in front of him, a dark arm passing before his eyes with a small sparking blade held in a gloved hand.  He felt his injured hand being lifted, and if he'd
been able to close his eyes he would have done so gladly.

"Hey!  What are you doing?!"  Carrot's eyes widened abruptly, locked onto the small dagger.  He didn't believe it.  A sorcerer with the magic to immobilize them
all wouldn't kill them with a blade, surely not.  But the figure was kneeling now and he found himself able to meet Marron's eyes.   He blinked a few times before
he would admit to the emotion he saw there.  His brother didn't fear anything, he was always calm no matter what...

Gateau was almost able to flinch when the blade entered his sight, and his eyes would have narrowed in confusion.  A black-gloved hand circled Marron's pale
wrist, turning it sideways.  Then the sorcerer set the blade down on the white cloth of the mage's arm and it was infuriating that neither of them was able to
shift enough to move the dagger.  The man gripped Marron's wrist again, another gloved hand coming into Gateau's vision and closing around the bloody tip
of the arrow.  It was pulled forward till that shining segment was hidden by pale skin, only the dark wood of the arrow left on either side of Marron's hand.  The
wound was bleeding freely and he could barely make out the blood that landed on his chest, the periphery of his sight blurry at best.  When the blade was
lifted again, Gateau wasn't surprised to see it cut through the wood on either side.  What did surprise him was the white cloth that was wrapped around the
wound enough times to completely stem the bleeding.

Yelling wasn't doing him any good at all and Carrot gave up on that.  His eyes closed as he struggled against the ropes, but he knew it was next to hopeless.  
The girls were used to tying him up, there was no way he'd be able to get free on his own.  Not stilling his efforts, however futile they were, he looked across
the small clearing and met Marron's dark eyes.  They were glazed and he ducked his head, staring at Chocolate for a second before looking again.  His
brother's eyes were brighter and he felt an icy shiver rush over him.  The sorcerer could be killing them and they'd never make a sound, he had no way of
knowing.  If he could just get loose, he'd know, he could help.

Carrot was staring at him with wide eyes and Marron knew his own pain and fear were visible to the boy.  A few deep breaths would have been enough to hide
his feelings, but he couldn't control his breathing any more than he could look away.  He felt something brush a damp spot on his wrist, then a gloved hand
passed in front of his face, a fingertip touching his forehead.  It didn't hurt, but he wanted to shiver suddenly, feeling a symbol being drawn on his skin.  Then
the knife was back, the man straightening so Marron could see the blade slipped into a belt within the black cloak.  Fingers moved toward his eyes and he
barely heard words whispered before they pressed his eyelids down, eliminating his sight.  He didn't even realize it was a spell until his previously frozen body
collapsed suddenly, his own gasp the last thing he heard.

By the time Marron fell back in his arms, Gateau already knew what was happening.  The blood on the mage's pale forehead confused him, but he was not
surprised to feel the sorcerer's arms press against his chest just before the limp body was lifted away.  The man was taking Marron, that much was obvious
and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.  But knowing didn't help him understand why the sorcerer hadn't killed them.  He'd had plenty of
opportunity to, but if he'd wanted them dead he never would have bothered to immobilize them and still leave them alive for as long as he had.  Carrot's
outraged cry echoed in his ear, then he fell forward on the ground, his eyes closing heavily.

"Gateau?!"  The blonde man collapsed and Carrot stared at him for a second before his eyes flew to the dark figure who was kneeling beside Gateau.  Then
the sorcerer stood and his face grew hot with anger, his eyes dark slits.  "Let him go!  Don't touch my brother!"  The man had taken a step away, but he
stopped suddenly and Carrot found himself glaring into bright eyes.  Despite his fury he almost flinched back from the powerful gaze.  

"Brother...?"

He was about to make a cursed retort when his eyes caught on Marron's forehead and he blinked a few times before he realized it wasn't what he'd thought.  
For a second there it looked real, that symbol that was on the forehead of all of the evil sorcerers they'd killed.  But it wasn't real, it had never been there
before.  Besides, Marron wasn't a sorcerer.  "Yes! Damn you!  My brother--"  His words were cut off when a dark gloved hand caught his chin and he glared,
his head tilted back to meet a familiar face.  It *was* the sorcerer, but he looked different now, not calm as he'd been in the picture Momma had shown them.

"He's no brother of yours.  I've seen what you are, what you do."  Voice a quiet growl, the sorcerer released Carrot's chin, striking the boy with the back of his
hand.  It wasn't a hard blow, but it seemed to catch the boy by surprise, judging from those wide eyes when they turned back to him.  "There is no
comparison."  Carrot's mouth opened but he didn't give him a chance, whispering a few words as he glared at the bound Sorcerer Hunter.  The three youths
slumped simultaneously and he turned, disappearing into the forest without looking back.

.-.

PART 2

.-.

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