The Story Chapter 23

Chapter 23

 

He couldn’t breathe. Every time he struggled to bring in the much needed oxygen his chest burned. Outside of his struggle he could hear someone talking. It was his physician, Edmund, who was speaking to someone else. The words filtered passed the wheezing of his struggle, “He has severe pneumonia. I fear there is nothing to be done for him. I cannot cure this.”

A feminine voice asked, “How are we to save him? He is our king!” It sounded like Morgana, but Arthur had never heard her so stressed before. He tried to open his eyes, but his body was not cooperating with him. Just breathing continued to be the only thing he could do. He had never been so weak before.

 

His first knight spoke then, bringing the count of people in the room to four at least, “We sought out a physician within a group that was in the forest and they said that the only one who could possibly save the king’s life is a man named Emrys.” Arthur didn’t remember ever leaving Merlin, let alone coming across anyone in the forest on their way back. A lot of his memory is fog and he wondered whether he was dreaming now. He felt he must be back into the castle again. A sharp hit of thunder outside of his window also alerted to him that the storm was still raging as well.

They had failed and it sounded like he was dying. Their voices filtered in and out as they discussed finding this man who could save him. Leon must have ran out to follow an order of something by Morgana. The physician then gave his own leave.

He struggled some more with opening his eyes when he heard another shift of fabric. Morgana must have still been in the room with him. He couldn’t even groan to let her know he was awake. Then she started to talk as if to herself, “Oh Arthur. What have you gotten yourself into this time? I wonder if you had been lying to me all of this time. Did you know that the peasant had the use of magic to his ability? How could he have stand to hear every one of his kind being burned, beheaded and hanged outside of his window time and time again? I wept, you know? I wept with every death your father cast down from on his balcony. You stood there like a good child and watched each one later. I even begged for their lives at times, too. He would have nothing of it, though. I had hoped you would have been different, but I know you are not. You are just like your father before you.” She sighed and they were in silence so long he had come to think she had left again. “Emrys…” she said suddenly in a way that brought him to think she was contemplating something horrible. “I wonder if he is the one who could stop this storm, as well? I need to go, my dear king, and find this man. He sounds awfully powerful.” Her skirts rustled and her heels clicked against the stone flooring as she left the chamber.

Arthur was once again alone struggling to breath. Inside, though, he wondered why he felt horror at Morgana finding this Emrys. If she found the great sorcerer quick enough then he would survive… right?

~*~*~ Tzuzuku~*~*~

 

 

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The Storm Chapter 22

Disclaimer: I do not own BBC Merlin nor Disney’s Frozen. I am making no money off of this story.

Chapter 22

It was cold. The air was damp and chilly against his skin. He felt his body shiver before his left hand dropped from where it had been draped against his chest. The splash and sudden plunge of his arm into icy cold water jolted him awake. He gasped as he brought the dripping appendage back up and against him.

Slowly he sat up on what he found to be a stone slab bed. It had hay, wet and cold, to make it softer to lay on. Above him was a small window, too small to climb out of. It was dripping down the wall and onto the stone floor below. All around him was a good depth of water gathered. Across from him were bars. He was in dungeons.

‘Camelot’s?’, he wondered. Probably. Arthur must have come back or sent his knights to take him.

He wondered and worried for his dragon. He hoped the beast was alright. He wondered how many of the knights were also injured during the fight. He was sure there would be many casualties.

He needed to get out; he needed to escape again. He gathered courage and put his boots into the water. It sloshed and soaked over the top to his toes inside. He bit his lower lip to stop himself from screaming out. It was like a frozen lake had broke free and surrounded his legs. He started to slowly breathe in and out again. His breath having hitched in his attempt to not yell.

Now that the shock of the cold water was done, he scooted over to the bars. The water was deep even there. It seemed the castle was flooding. He noticed that he was in the upper dungeons. His memory of the layout of the castle served him, still. The lower levels must have been completely under the water. He was hoping someone had had the forethought to pull the prisoners from those depths before the water had drowned them. He pushed away those thoughts as they caused him to tremble more.

He brought his hands up to grasp the freezing cold bars of his cell. His long sleeves moved up on his arms and he saw something odd around his wrists. He hadn’t noticed them before. Two, one for each side, shackles were locked around him. ‘Probably to chain me later,’ he reasoned.

He pushed out slightly with his magic hoping to unlock the dungeon door. Nothing happened. He shook his head and concentrated again. Inside he tried to find that sense to use that always just was his magic. This time, instead of nothing happening, a jolt of pain shot from his wrists to his chest. He let go of the bars to stumble back and grab the front of his shirt.

He decided to shuffle back to the bench and pull his soaked feet from the water. Breathing was difficult at first for him, but soon everything subsided. The pain ceased and his vision once again cleared.

The shackles. They weren’t there to chain him up. They were enchanted to suppress his magic. The chaotic magic had never been controlled like this before. His blue eyes glared at them in anger.

As he fumed at being trapped again, he heard a noise coming down the halls. Someone was entering the dungeons and sloshing through the flood. Two red cloaked guards shown and opened the cell door. It didn’t take them much to pull the struggling warlock from his new cage.

“Let me go!” Merlin yelled. His demands fell on deaf ears.

He was dragged up the stairs to the throne room. Inside the large room where he had been first sentenced to his solitary years with the court physician sat Arthur’s uncle and Morgana. Beside the dark haired woman was a boy in knights clothes who glared back at Merlin with hostility.

“Sorcerer,” Agrevaine ground out, “stop this storm immediately.”

Merlin glared back, but inside he trembled, “I can’t. I don’t know how I started it.”

Morgana pleaded with him, “You must stop it. People are dying. Don’t you care about people?”

Merlin nodded, “I do care, but I don’t know how!”

The king’s uncle stood from his throne, “Then I have no choice. I sentence you to hang in the morning. May your death end this plague on Albion.”

The guards took a now frightened and screaming Merlin away from the acting monarch, “Please! No! I didn’t mean to do it! Please!!” His screams could be heard for ten minutes until they had securely brought him back to the upper dungeons.

~*~Ma~*~

Outside of the outer walls of Camelot stood Gwen, the men, and Arthur in Percival’s arms. They scrambled for the sanctuary of the city inside. Leon took the king from the burly man and rushed for the inner castle. They needed to find Emrys and soon.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Twenty-Four

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing… *sniffles*

Chapter Twenty -Four

Duo was making himself a tuna and celery sandwich when the others came into the break room. He generously gestured to his food asking if they’d like one, but they all declined in their own ways. Shrugging his shoulders he sat down with them at a large circular table. “The last of the antidote left the tarmac about fifteen minutes ago,” Quatre informed them all.

“We found enough antidote to convict the priest,” Wufei said in answer. Duo snorted and swallowed his large bite, “FAKE priest.” Wufei waved his hand and nodded to concede the man had definitely been an imposter. “We can only link Alecia Grahm into all of this because she confessed, but now she is going against what she said. She has also lawyered up, and they are pressing for confession under duress.” All of them made a small noise to show what they thought of that idea.

“We are making what we need of the antidote now that we have a sample batch to compare it to, as well,” Trowa said after a moment of silence. Duo took another large bite of his sandwich and mumbled something.

“Oh for the love of the Earth, chew and swallow before talking, Maxwell!” Wufei yelled as he turned away from the burnet. Duo started to choke and cough and finally was able to get down what he had taken.

“I said, I’m glad I finally had it figured out… What was the casualty count?” he turned to Heero.

The Japanese boy said in a quiet, but still firm voice, “There were almost 500 dead last we checked. This is all in the British region, though. Here in the United States we haven’t lost anyone.” The unsaid ‘yet’ hung in the air as they knew the first batch of antidote went straight to Britain to stop the dying children from continuing. Their new batches would be ready soon, but they didn’t know how fast the disease could spread in some people and it was a give and take on how long the fever rose to kill certain kids.

“Do you have all of your memories back?” Quatre asked after they were brooding for a while on the innocent children. Duo had taken another bite of his meal so he started off with nodding, and then decided to shake his head, and then rock it side to side and finally just level it all off with an indecisive shrug.

“That was an interesting display of charades,” Wufei said.

“Very expressive,” Trowa added. Heero finished it all off with, “And he still answered.” Quatre laughed as Duo finished the last of his food and stuck his tongue out at them all like a little child.

“I have a lot of them back,” Duo finally said. He used a napkin to wipe his hands and face. They all stared at him, “You want me to elaborate?”

“We want to know where you were before you lost your memories,” Wufei informed him.

“It would be helpful to know how you came across Brennon and Grahm,” Heero added.

Duo sat for a minute and studied the grains in the wood table. “After the party settled down I went to Spain for a few weeks. It’s a large Catholic area, and I thought I could blend in there well and maybe get into one of the churches. It wasn’t so easy, though. After almost three weeks I came to this area. I went to the Cathedral and met with Father O’Neil. He was a bit on the older side, and he at first mistook me for being a kid, but I convinced him I wasn’t and we got along great. I worked in the church doing things that would usually cost money to get done. In repayment I was given a small room up in the Priest’s house on the grounds in the backyard. Many nights Father O’Neil would sleep in his office in the Cathedral, so when he didn’t come home I didn’t panic.

“One day, though, while I was setting up for morning Mass another priest came in to help me. He was surprised to see me, and when I asked where Father O’Neil was, he told me that O’Neil had been sent to another church during the night due to an illness of another priest. It was almost a good lie, and at first I was inclined to believe it, until about three days later during Latin Mass he mispronounced a ton of words. The congregation didn’t catch it, but we’re all very fluent in many languages and a good priest knows his Latin.”

“You figured he wasn’t a real priest when he didn’t speak Latin?” Quatre asked.

“It’s like if an Imam didn’t know Arabic, Q-man,” Duo shrugged. “Anyway, I decided to do some snooping around to figure out what was going on. He hadn’t been there for a month before I found the information on his computer about the virus and the antidote. At first I was confused about it all. I was starting to get worried for Father O’Neil not showing back up, and everything was clicking into the wrong places in my brain. It was another week before I went down to the basement and saw the completed antidote in crates and Brennon and Alecia having a chat over the boxes.

I ran back to my room to pack my things so I could find you guys or just get to a Preventer station as fast as possible. I never made it out of the room. I don’t know what they got me with, but it must have been the same stuff they shot me with later when they had grabbed Sam. Waking up hurt like a… uh, female dog,” he shifted his gaze to Quatre’s and continued, “and I realized I was being tortured by Alecia and some wonderful henchmen. I think they could have been the same guys that hurt Sam, but it’s all still a bit foggy.

I don’t know how long they held me, but at one point they frantically tried to get me moved to another location. The back door, though, wasn’t locked and I was able to shimmy my way from my ropes. I remember thinking that the ground was going to hurt as I went out head first, but I don’t remember the pain.” He sat back and looked up at the ceiling. “Father O’Neil is dead, huh?”

Wufei nodded, “We found him behind the crates in the basement. He was released to the church for a proper burial.”

“Why did you stop taking the pills?” Heero asked after a short silence in honor of the priest.

Duo sighed, “I took them for the first four months I was there, but when Brennon showed up he took me as a kid. I knew something was off with him, so to keep myself from getting bigger as fast as the pills were working, I just stopped taking them. I was going to continue after I reported Brennon for being a fake, but… well, it’s difficult to take something like that when you don’t even remember you need them.” He rolled his eyes and then looked over at the machines before getting up to get a cola from one of them. “Being an adult, though, means I can’t be told to not drink or eat shit foods!”

“Duo!” Quatre scolded. The burnet shrunk his head down into his shoulders.

“It’s not a bad word, Q! I swear it is useful!” Duo defended himself as he sat down with his caffeine and sugar filled drink. Wufei made a face at his selection and the American stuck his tongue out at his friend.

“Cussing is for the uneducated and inarticulate. You are far from being either of those,” Quatre said as he also stood up to get a water from a machine.

“He certainly doesn’t ever shut up,” Wufei added.

“Shove it, Wuffles,” Duo said before drinking a swig. He then looked over at his blond friend, “Can we throw a party?”

“His A.D.D. has returned,” Trowa said in his calm voice. Heero shook his head and gave a small smile to show his amusement. Duo ignored them and waited for Quatre’s answer.

“Sure. I think we deserve to have a party,” Quatre said before taking a drink of his water and smiling at Duo who was showing his excitement by hooting and hollering while throwing his arms around in the air.

~*~Ma~*~

There was cakes, soda machines, water coolers, a fruit bar, and meat and cheese plates. All around Duo was a beautiful display of food and delights. He held back, though, as guests arrived through the doors to the mansion that Quatre had officially given to him just the day before. Duo had argued about it, of course. He wanted to pay for the place or maybe just rent it from his friend, but Quatre insisted and in the end Duo’s arguments didn’t hold water. (“Did Quatre just out-talk Duo?” Trowa asked. Wufei answered, “We are in a lot of trouble.”)

Duo greeted everyone as they came in and he felt his heart fill with a joy he had lost when he had had to leave each of these people for the next foster home. Mrs. Snow showed up first and Duo had hugged her without thinking about it. As more and more people showed up he felt overwhelmed a bit, but happy inside.

“I’m glad you know who you are now,” Mama Snow said as they were talking over a fruit kabob.

“Can I still… uh, can I still have you as, well…” Duo didn’t know how to phrase it without sounding like a creepy guy.

“Duo, I would very much still want you for a son,” Mrs. Snow pulled the boy into a hug. “And at least with you being seventeen, you can drive to see me!” He laughed against her shoulder.

“The scary thought is someone gave him that license,” Wufei said from behind them.

“Don’t mind him, Mama Snow, he has ring-worm and it’s really itchy,” Duo informed his foster mother.

“Are you ever going to grow up, Maxwell?” Wufei asked as he crossed his arms in irritation.

Duo put a finger against his chin and looked up in mock contemplation. “Nope! This is my Neverland and I will never grow up!” he declared. He ran from a now seething Wufei Chang and went to hide in the corner by the soda machines. He looked around as he sipped on a glass of coke-a-cola. Jenna, Starr and Bob were talking with Mama Snow and Quatre. Kennan, Kenre, Rosemary and Ashley were all bent over a table while Heero showed them something on his computer to get a formula for something Duo wasn’t caring about at the moment. Jessi and Lep were trying to convince Trowa to kidnap them into the circus. Wufei was eating from the fruit bar on the other side of the room and eyeing the braided teen back.

As Duo was about to join one of the groups chatting when a woman came through the front door looking hesitant. It was Sam’s mom and Duo felt his heart drop at the sight of her. She had bags under her eyes and her hair was a bit stringy from lack of care. She had done a good job putting on make-up to hide it all, but even her shoulders drooped a bit low. It was hard to see for him, but he had invited them to the party because Sam was still a great friend to him. He walked up to her and looked down at the floor, “I’m so sorry I put him in danger like that.”

She grabbed him into a fierce hug, “You all saved him!” She breathed in trying to hold her tears back. “He will be released from the hospital next month. The doctors say he is doing wonderful and he loves that you call him every day.” She pulled back and smiled at him. He smiled back and brought her around the room to introduce her to everyone.

As everyone was having a lot of fun and enjoying the party, Duo turned to the door as another person, the final person, arrived. “Chia!” he yelled out and ran toward the young child being wheeled in by his new social worker. The little boy smiled brightly and waved one of his hands. Duo stopped in front of the wheel chair and lowered himself down to about eye level, “How are you holding up, little buddy?”

“I wish I could play soccer again,” Chia admitted. He blushed a bit and turned to look at his hands and away from the violet eyes.

“We’ll get right on that, then!” Duo said as he gave the boy’s shoulder a light squeeze. He then stood up and faced the lady, “Thanks Melissa.”

“You take good care of him, Mr. Maxwell, or I’ll flog you myself,” Melissa pushed a strand of hair back behind her ear and the rest of her high blond ponytail shook a bit with action. It was such an innocent gesture that Duo didn’t doubt the lady would whip him if something happened to one of her charges. No one was that innocent, and the gesture reminded him a bit of Releena Peacecraft.

“I wouldn’t hurt him,” Duo promised.

Chia looked up at the lady still holding the handles to his chair, “When are you going to come and get me?” Duo looked down at him and then back at the state’s lady.

“You didn’t tell him?” he asked with shock.

“I thought it best that you told him,” she smiled and walked away leaving a confused Chia.

“Chia, bud, this is your home now! We’ll be brothers forever now!” Duo said happily. Chia’s face brightened fast and a brilliant smile over took him. The other people in the room couldn’t help but smile and some even giggled a bit at the excitement that the little boy shown. Duo grabbed onto the wheel chair and brought the boy around to mingle with all of their friends.

After the whole afternoon slipped by people started to leave and promised to not stay away for long. Mama Snow hugged Duo and then hugged Chia and promised to be back later in the week to play with them both. Mall trips, circus trips, and study dates were all promised. When everyone was gone except for the pilots and their new little brother, Duo disappeared into one of the many doors. He returned with a broom handle duct taped to a child sized cleat shoe.

“What is that?” Wufei ask as Duo handed the handle to the little one in the chair.

“His foot to play soccer with!” Duo said happily. “I made it last night. The basketball court is going to be converted tomorrow with new lines for goals. We’re getting an electric chair tomorrow too. Now we have an even amount of players, we are so going to play soccer next weekend!”

Chia started sobbing and Duo leaned down quickly to embrace him into a hug. “What’s the matter?” Duo asked.

“I don’t know,” the little boy cried, “I’ve never been this happy before, but I can’t stop crying.”

Quatre came forward to hug him as well, “Tears of joy. That is what they are called.” They held the little Chinese boy until all of his tears were spent. Then they set about cheering him up.

“I don’t play soccer,” Wufei said sternly as he crossed his arms when they started picking teams. Quatre gave a disapproving look and Trowa pointed to the boy stuck in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. Heero didn’t seem to change his demeanor at all, but Wufei knew he was also siding with the others.

Chia smiled brightly, though, “Duo, I have an idea!” He motioned for Duo to come over to him and started to whisper into his ear. As he was told the idea, Duo’s face turned into a mischievous grin and then he locked eyes with Wufei. He pulled away from his little brother and said, “That is brilliant!”

Wufei paled, “Oh no, we have two of them!”

~*~KANZEN’NA~*~

Finish dedication to my sister Kier (1987-2009). She was always there to cheer me on when I told her stories and wanted nothing more than to see me succeed as an author. This is the first story I have finished since her death.

Blank Slate Chapter Twenty-Three

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing and I have NOTHING against the Catholic church or religion (and I am also not Catholic myself, so I’m sorry if I offended anyone.)

Chapter Twenty-three

He woke up to a sudden pain in his lower arm. “OW! What the hell!?” he yelled as he pulled his arm to his chest to rub the assaulted area.

“He’s awake and responsive,” he heard in almost a monotone voice. He then heard Quatre start to giggle next to his head. All around him were the four other pilots and Une all sitting on the floor. His first thought was that they all must have been very worried for him as Quatre’s laughter subsided.

“That was cruel and unusual punishment, Trowa!” Duo said as Heero started to help him sit up. He looked around more and saw that he was still in the office. “How long was I out?”

“About twenty minutes,” Heero said. They held him to a sitting position and didn’t let him move any further off the cold tiles.

“What happened Maxwell?” Wufei demanded as he crossed his arms over his Preventers uniform.

Duo rubbed his head for a second and thought back to his dream. What had happened? “The cross…” he mumbled and his hand came around the cross still dangling from his neck. Quickly he undid the chain and held it out to Wufei. “This is what happened! It’s on here! The formula for the antidote!” he yelled. He scrambled to his feet even with the protests coming from Quatre. He rushed over to the tablet sitting on top of Une’s desk and pushed the button to turn it on.

“That’s locked!” Une yelled as she went to get to his side. He smirked and held up an unlocked screen to show her it wasn’t locked anymore. “Why am I not surprised?” she asked herself as she threw her hands into the air. “Fine, show us how this works,” she crossed her arms in a good imitation of her senior agent, Chang.

Quickly Duo started to slide his fingers across the screen and downloaded a program into the memory. “C’mon,” he said impatiently as it finally started up and a blank white screen was presented. He took the cross and laid it directly into the center of the tablet. Then carefully he tapped into the right corner of the screen and the display started to form words, formulas, and pictures. “I stole this information from the real bad guy, and I was trying to get it here to you all before they rolled it out,” he said as it continued to scroll. “Alecia isn’t our main dude. She is a lacky and a horrible person, but we have a bigger fish,” he snickered here, “to fry.” Everyone gave him a confused and slightly concerned look. “Oh never mind. It’s Catholic humor. You’ll understand soon enough.” As soon as the download was finished he started to tap above the cross in a rhythm the others couldn’t comprehend. “There, now it’s all saved onto the tablet,” he brought his head up and smiled at his audience.

With a large grin he pulled the cross off and put it back around his neck. He handed the tablet over to Lady Une, “Just use your regular word processor to open the files. You can also email them to every scientist who wants a hand in saving the world.”

Then he turned to everyone else, “Today’s Sunday. We are so being blasphemous right now. We need to go and repent. I have the perfect place!”

~*~Ma~*~

“Take this left coming up at the light and it’s on the right side,” Duo directed Wufei down the street passed the busy traffic. They stopped in front of a large cathedral made of brick. High on top was a large cross that looked like the gold one his mirror boy dream. “And this looks like the right place. Everyone ready to hear some confessions?”

“I thought we’re supposed to give the confessions, Maxwell,” Wufei said as they all left the small car.

Duo shook his head, “Oh, usually, but we have to catch the bad guy first… anyone bring Hell fire with them?” The other four stopped to stare at him again and Quatre giggled. “Okay, fine! Did everyone bring their weapons and badges?” Quatre couldn’t hold it anymore as the other three seemed to be losing patience with their friend. He burst out laughing and pulled Duo up the steps to the front two story large double doors.

“I think Duo would be the first one to burn up out of all of us,” Heero said in his monotone way. Trowa laughed and Duo joined Quatre is his own gaffaws. They were all seemingly in light spirits as they entered the large prayer room. Duo didn’t seem to be on guard and this relaxed the others. The ceiling was covered in a beautiful mural of pictures depicting scenes from the Holy Bible. It was five stories tall and large stained glass windows with the saints shone the sunlight through to create wonderful light patterns around the multi-pathed pews that were made out of a nice wood. Kneeling on the top step in front of an altar with a smaller replica of the large cross outside was the old gray haired priest in prayer.

“Father Brennon,” Duo called out. “You are under arrest for connection to terrorism.” The old man stood up from his spot and turned around to face them all.

“You have your memories back… or did Alecia finally give in to whatever sick thing you Gundam pilots call justice?” the dark brown eyes of the man were weathered, but still held steel as he marched down the pulpet to the face them square. “Suffer the little children…” he started to say before Duo cut him off.

“The parable holds that only the poor can enter heaven freely due to not having envy and the poor children are allowed to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven because they are pure. You need to brush up on your Bible, sir,” Duo grabbed the man’s robed arm and turned him around as Heero pulled out the cuffs. “And your Latin sucks, by the way!”

Duo stood in the center of the cathedral as Heero and Trowa brought the priest out of the front double doors to the waiting preventer’s cop car that had shown up behind their own civilian one. Quatre and Wufei watched as Duo turned back toward the altar. “Wufei, there are boxes of the antidote down in the basement. The door to access it is on the left behind the pulpit.”

He then knelt down onto the carpet and bowed his head. Wufei went down a line of pews to get to the outside of the church wall so as not to interrupt Duo in his place of worship. Quatre put a hand onto the smaller boy’s back in support and then left also through the front doors of the church.

Alone in the chapel Duo whispered, “Forgive me Father…”

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

The Storm Chapter Twenty-One

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.

Chapter Twenty-One

Gwaine, with a bit of drink now coursing through him, was more amiable than before. They sat the night away underneath Gwen’s coverings, but they wouldn’t be able to stay longer. The sun would come up and they would need to move forward to somewhere else. One thing they all knew, though, was that they hadn’t been able to stop the sorcerer. Arthur wasn’t able to convince the boy to cease the torrent raging around them. Flashes of lightning happened during the night and through its light they could all see that the king was very severely injured.

They took turns watching over their small camp during the night, though no one truly slept much. The wind began at some point before dawn and it shoved the rain further into drenching them. Guinevere shivered against the storm and also her own dark thoughts. The king had been gasping for each breath since the beginning of the side-ways rain. It seemed to have been entering into each intake and she feared it had entered his lungs. They had all seen pneumonia before and they had all seen what happens when it cannot be treated.

It was Gwaine, surprisingly, who came up with the solutions as soon as they saw that dawn had reached them. “The druids could probably heal him,” he muttered. He still seemed sore that he had been helping the king, but he was also not going to grudgingly allow the man to die a horrible death such as this illness was giving him. “They will probably do it,” he sighed, “even if they know he would kill them for their ways.”

Everyone didn’t comment on the last bit. They all knew that Arthur was the king of a kingdom that banned sorcery of all types and that the Druids were the most known to practice the rites. Instead Leon asked, “Will we be able to find them?” The part left unsaid was could they find one of the peaceful nomadic tribes before Arthur succumbed to the fluid building in his lungs?

Gwaine shrugged, “Dunno, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least walk until we hope to?” It wasn’t a suggestion as much as a question. He wasn’t a leader. That had been Arthur even if they all didn’t want to admit that. At first they all thought they followed him because he knew who had started the storm, but now the group knew that he had just given off the aura of a leader.

They packed up their crude camp and had started walking south away from the clearing where the sorcerer had been and back toward a path they had known existed. Their feet carried them, once again taking turns to carry the very hurt king, and their way didn’t last long before something shifted in the trees among them. The rain still pelted down as four green robed people melted from the protection of the forest.

The sudden appearance of the group of strangers had everyone on instant alert. It was as if the people had used magic to come from the trunks of the trees and the ferns themselves. Lancelot and Gwaine were the first to stop being tense as they all slowly came to the realization that it was Druids that now surrounded them. The same people who they had hoped to find were the ones to find them first.

One of the men, for that is what these robed people were, walked forward and lowered his hood. His eyes were a light blue and his hair had gone into the deep dark gray of an elder. “My name is Isalder,” he told them. “We mean you no harm.”

“We, as well, do not mean to wish any harm onto your people,” Lancelot told the man as he bowed slightly in a friendly greeting. “We need help. Our friend was hurt in a fight with someone and we think his lungs have filled with sickness.”

Isalder waved to one of the other men who walked forward as Elyan helped to bring Arthur down from Leon’s back. The king’s breath shuddered as the new Druid began to examine his patient laying on the forest mud. The physician, because that is what they assumed he must be, looked up into his leaders eyes for a bit and then back down to the blond.

“We cannot help King Arthur,” Isalder declared to the group.

They gasped as they heard that they hadn’t deceived the Druids. They had thought that if they had kept the man’s true name and status hidden than maybe the nomadic magical people would be more willing to help.

“Please?” Guinevere begged. Tears formed in her eyes as she watched the man next to Arthur shake his head and walk back toward his original tree.

“It isn’t that we are not willing,” Isalder informed them. “We do not have the ability to clear this illness from the Once and Future King.” The group became confused from the use of the odd title as he continued, “This storm is powerful and only Emrys can force it to end. He is the one who is destined to walk with Arthur and he is the only one who can end Arthur’s torment. If he does not, then all will be lost to the darkness that looms in the edges of the future.”

“Who is this Emrys? Where can we find him?” Leon demanded. The Druids stood still. When they didn’t seem to want to divulge any more information Elyan tried, “How can we save Arthur if we cannot find this person you’re speaking of?”

“Emrys is a powerful sorcerer. Go to Camelot and he will be there,” Isalder and the rest of the Druids melted back into the forest as fast as they had emerged.

They didn’t stay long as Leon bent down to allow Lancelot and Elyan to put the king onto his back. They had a long journey and they could now only wish to the gods they made it in time to find this Emrys. ‘But why is a powerful sorcerer in Camelot?’ They all thought to themselves as their feet once again pushed into the mud.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Two

“Tell me where the antidote is!” Duo yelled as he slammed his hands down in front of Alecia. The table rattled with her chains holding her onto it. “Tell me!”

“Oh, poor Duo. No memories and now all of those babies are dying. Didn’t you learn anything in foster care? Poor people are scum who prey on the weak. I am doing everyone a favor,” Alecia smiled in a sweet way with her perfect teeth shinning. Duo lost it inside. His hand went back and he ruined that perfect smile with a right hook. The woman fell from her chair and her arms were stretched to the max against her cuffs. She gasped as the room echoed with the crack as one of her wrists broke or was dislocated. Duo didn’t care which one it was. He was seething and his control was slipping. He felt the urge to jump and finish the job of detaching her hand from her arm. Just as he thought maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to do, arms came around him from behind strongly.

“Maxwell!” he heard Wufei yell. The rumble from the chest behind him broke through his bloodlust and snapped him back into reality.

Alecia was being helped back into a sitting position on the chair by Heero as Trowa uncuffed her to check the damage done. She at first hissed as he poked it, but then an insane laughter built up from the woman. “No wonder we couldn’t break you! You’re insane!” she laughed.

A hand came out of nowhere and grabbed the front of her prison outfit to pull her on top of her injured hand. Quatre held her nose to nose and said in a very threatening voice that made shivers go down Duo’s back, “He isn’t the insane one.” He let go of her and marched back out of the room leaving a very stunned bad person behind. Wufei guided Duo out after Quatre as Heero and Trowa were left to continue to treat the prisoner.

“We can never leave you alone with a prisoner again!” Wufei yelled once the door was shut and they continued their walk toward Une’s office. The Chinese man didn’t even knock before bursting in and shoving the American through. Quatre followed more sedately and almost giddily behind them.

“He did it,” Quatre informed Une as they shut the door to give them privacy.

“Did what?” Wufei and Duo asked at the same time. They looked at each other and then over at Quatre and Une who were both now behind the desk.

“You know the answer to the antidote, Duo. She said so while you were screaming at her. Hitting her…” Quatre said.

“Hitting her?!” Une interrupted, but Quatre continued as if no one had talked.

“…was probably not needed, though.” Quatre shrugged.

Duo rubbed his hand where his knuckles stung a bit from the force of the punch. He then started to rub against his cross, the bad habit continued even though some of his memories were returning slowly. He had it in his brain and now he needed to pull it out? He had tried for months to get his memories back. The adrenaline was started to wane from his system a small headache was pulling from the back of his head. He shook his head and looked down at his tennis shoes.

“He can’t remember,” Wufei stated to everyone, “We need to find it another way.” Duo continued to shake his head as his headache continued to rise.

“Duo?”

“Maxwell?”

The world spun. He could hear them, but suddenly his voice was gone. ‘This is going to hurt,’ he thought as his vision blacked out and he felt his body crumple to the floor. Arms had tried to steady him, but his weight overwhelmed them too suddenly. ‘Really hurt,’ was his last thought as his world turned into a massive exploding headache and then blank.

~*~Ma~*~

He looked around at the field he was suddenly standing in. “Where am I?” he asked as the wind blew gently against his body. His hair was loose and brushing along his shoulders.

“It doesn’t matter,” his own voice came to his ears, but he hadn’t spoken them. He turned around to see a version of himself standing against the wind. His hair was braided in its long pleat and was waving around. In the other self’s hands were two crosses and around his shoulders was a brown cloak that was torn and ratted. It was whipped around as the wind grew against them both.

“What does matter?” he asked the cloaked mirror.

“The crosses,” the boy said gently as he smiled brightly and then it shifted into a manic smirk. “All that matters is the crosses.”

The wind continued to beat against them both as the mirrored boy disappeared by melting down into the field of flowers. “My brain is freaky,” Duo decided right then and there. He sat down against the ground and decided that now was probably a good time to wake up. He really needed Quatre’s brain on this one. He was pretty sure Quatre would tell him it meant something significant and it wasn’t just that he had finally gone insane.

The sky went black, the wind stopped and Duo felt his body start to float once again into a nothingness.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Twenty-One

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I just torture the characters.

Chapter Twenty-One

Long brown hair shimmered underneath the glaring florescent light. Lady Une was a beautiful woman, no one could deny that, but she was strict. Duo stood up from the chair as she spoke to them, “We have been able to quarantine those who have been vaccinated. Unfortunately the number will still be staggering in the deaths, and we don’t know if the volunteer doctors will be able to not contract the illness either. We need the cure, Maxwell.” He nodded and looked down at the tiles.

“Can I hit her?” Duo asked. Everyone shook their head and he sighed. “Just a little hit. Something to make her fear me.” Une told him under no circumstance could he hit their prisoner. He rolled his eyes as he stomped off from their group. He heard shoes coming up from behind him, but he kept going at his slow pace toward their break room. He needed a coffee or soda and he wasn’t going to wait for whomever to catch up.

As he popped open the top of his bottle of cola, the other person sat down in front of him with a tea for themselves. Quatre’s blue eyes bore into Duo’s violet ones for a long while before Duo rolled his eyes again and said, “I’m fine!”

Quatre smiled a bit, “Am I mother henning you?”

“A bit,” Duo answered before taking a swig of his soda. “Look, Cat, I love ya, but I’m fine.” Quatre nodded and sipped his own tea as Duo continued, “I just wanna smack that… uh… crap, I can’t think of a work appropriate word since cussing has been banned from here!”

Quatre giggled a bit and shook his head. He offered, “Female dog?”

“Oh, yeah, good, we’ll use the dictionary definitions…

“I just wanna smack that female dog for what she did to Sam and the other kids. I mean, why target kids?! What is killing off a bunch of kids going to prove?” He threw his hands into the air and smacked them down onto the table. They sat in silence for a minute while Quatre allowed Duo to gather his thoughts together and calm his temper, “How many?”

“Excuse me?” Quatre asked. He searched Duo’s face for a second and saw the tears gathering in the bottom of his eyes. He was glad suddenly that they were alone in the break room, because Duo needed to let the feelings out now instead of in the field later.

“How many are infected? Do we have a count?” Duo repeated. He looked down at the table as if to hide the unshed water gathering.

“Our latest count was just over twenty thousand exposed and quarantined,” Quatre sadly reported. Duo cussed under his breath and let his head go down onto the table. He curled his arms around and his shoulders shook. “It’ll be okay Duo. My company is working with top medical industries to come up with a cure as quick as possible.” The smaller boy continued to silently sob into the top of the wood as Quatre rubbed his back from across him.

In the doorway Trowa appeared silently. He looked at them and Quatre shook his head in a silent plea to not step into the room. The taller boy nodded and walked away as if on air. Duo cried for almost ten minutes before uncurling and mumbling something about needing a napkin. Grinding the chair’s legs against the flooring, Quatre got up to get a handful of the abrasive paper products from near the vending machines. He returned and handed them to his friend.

Duo blew his nose and used a new one to wipe away his eyes. He then smacked his face a few times to get his complextion back and stated, “Alright. Let’s go save these babies. I don’t care what Une says, I’m going to get answers from that piece of poop in the interrogation room. I will…” Duo’s eyes flashed with what Quatre and the others had deemed a long time ago the spirit of the God of Death.

“Duo,” he said quietly, “We need answers and not another death.” Duo unclenched his fists, stood up, and nodded. They both walked out of the break room and Duo made a bee-line for the room where Alecia was being held. He wasn’t going to kill her, but he certainly wasn’t going to make her life easier from this day forth. “I’ll have Trowa ready to resuscitate her for you,” Quatre smiled, but his eyes also turned to steel as they split from each other.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty

Duo sat in the exam bed with his feet swinging off the sides while he waited for the doctor to come in and release him. At least, he hoped he’d be released. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance as a precautionary action. They had taken Sam first, though, and he was in extremely bad shape. Duo let anger build up inside instead of the sorrow, because at that moment he didn’t need to cry.

The doctor came in and gave him a discharge paper. He warned him of possible side effects from lack of oxygen, such as dizziness, and not to over exert himself. Duo almost laughed, but instead he thanked the doctor and ran out as fast as he could.

Outside of the room stood the four other Gundam pilots silently. They all were deep in thought, but Duo couldn’t stand the silence for long, “Who’s funeral?” They all looked up at him.

“What?” Quatre and Wufei said at the same time. Duo smiled a bit and repeated, “Who died?”

Quatre smiled brightly, “No one.”

“Exactly!” Duo said loudly as he grabbed onto Trowa and Quatre’s shoulders to start guiding them out of the hospital, “And we’re not going to let anyone die. C’mon guys! We have a bad virus to go and get rid of!” Quatre laughed as they walked through the sliding automatic doors away from the emergency room.

~*~Ma~*~

Purple eyes bore into the blue ones of the lady underneath the bright light. “Tell me what I need to know,” he said slowly in a deep tone. It wasn’t a look or voice she had ever seen from him before. Alecia only smiled, though. She wasn’t going to talk.

Duo knew that outside of the interrogation room of Preventers, the others were making phone calls across the nation to stop the vaccination process of the children. They had brought in every agent they could and Quatre had brought in office people from his company as well. The lady in front of him wasn’t going to get away with harming the poor people of this country, and if Quatre and Preventers were fast enough, any other country. Britain area was under quarantine as they had already been vaccinated two days before.

“Which agencies have the antidote,” Duo asked his enemy.

“They’ll start coughing first,” she said suddenly. It almost made Duo jump because he wasn’t expecting her to say anything. “The cough will be mild, but effective. They are contagious as soon as they start coughing. Two or three days later the fever will take hold. It’s a horrible fever. The coughing will start to sound like a pack of seals, but it’s the fever that is the killer.” Duo’s eyes widened. “Oh, and we couldn’t find anything known to lower the horrible heat coming off of our test subjects.” She smiled wider and sat back against her chair. She shrugged as if he said something but didn’t continue.

He stood up and ran from the room. “Wufei!” he called as he made his way passed the phone lines. He stopped in front of the Chinese man who was about to eat a large bowl of noodles.

“What’s the matter, Maxwell?” he asked the boy panting in front of him. “You’re out of shape.”

“Shove it,” Duo said finally. “We need to quarantine all who have been vaccinated immediately. Coughing spreads it to non-vaccinated. The fever is what kills them, though.” Wufei shoved his chair back loudly and ran for the Preventer Supervisor’s office.

Duo leaned down to put his head onto the table and let his legs come to crash against the tile flooring. His brain was racing as his body tried again to grab oxygen. The doctor had told him not to overdo it since his body had gone through such a shock before, but he had forgotten in his haste to save lives. He shut his eyes as his vision wavered in front of him and the tiles turned into black spots.

A hand came down gently and slowly onto his left shoulder, “Are you alright, Duo?” He nodded against the table as he gasped again. “Still not responding well?” Heero asked. Duo’s head bobbed a bit. A few seconds passed and Duo could feel his body panic as he couldn’t seem to gather the much needed air.

“Duo, you need to measure your breathing,” Trowa’s voice cut in. He started a cadence of “Breath in… and out… and in…” Duo matched his words and slowly the world started to come back into focus again. With everything becoming stable again, he was surprised by the strong arms now pulling him to standing.

“It’s cool, guys. I think I’ll be okay now,” he answered as he wavered in Trowa and Heero’s arms. They kept him steady as his vision again went spotty and cleared. “Woah, head rush,” he joked, “Who needs alcohol when you can just deprive your body of necessities?” His audience didn’t chuckle or respond as they moved him to sit in the chair Wufei had vacated. “Thanks,” he mumbled.

“Sorry I’m a bit weak,” he said after a while of silence. Trowa shook his head a bit and Heero gave his most convincing grunt. Duo translated it in his head to them saying it wasn’t his fault. He chuckled and looked up as Lady Une and Wufei came from her office with grave faces.

~*~ Tsuzuku ~*~

The Storm Chapter Twenty

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.

Chapter Twenty

She couldn’t stop worrying as they took turns carrying the golden haired knight, no king is what the sorcerer called him, out of the bundle of underbrush. No matter how gentle they tried to get him to safety they could all see that he was struggling. His pain had to have been high as he slightly coughed and groaned through their journey. As soon as they made it out of the sorcerer’s protective gathering of trees she hurried over to create something that would block the downpour. Using vines and weaving techniques she usually reserved for making baskets and feet mats, she tied together branches of trees and ferns. It wasn’t going to be a perfect covering, but she needed something to lay the man under.

Arthur’s breathing had started to come in short bursts by the time they could hide him under her small roof. Leon looked to her in fear for the man’s life and hope that maybe she could do something.

“I can’t,” she whispered back. The others were in varying states of shock, wonder, and even anger. Elyan was worried for his sister mostly, but worried what would happen if she couldn’t save the king’s life. Percival was tired, since he did most of the carrying of the man, and Lancelot was still in a bit of shock of discovering who this man really was. The ire was coming off of Gwaine, who was now pacing in the pouring rain and stomping into the mud fiercely.

“Bloody king, of all things,” he muttered loudly after a large crack of thunder split the now darkening day. “Had to be helping a blasted noble!”

Leon went to stand up and confront the rogue, but Lancelot placed a well-meaning hand onto the knight’s bicep. He shook his head and stood for the Camelotian.

Lancelot wasn’t afraid of the dark haired man, but he certainly wasn’t stupid. The drunk had thrown himself into a state. “Need a drink?” he asked as he approached like coming upon a wild animal. Gwaine stopped pacing and eyed him suspiciously.

“We have been together on this journey for about two weeks now, and suddenly you have a pint?” The man’s anger was thrown into his words. It spoke volumes of warning and Lancelot understood the threat. Out of the corner of both of their eyes they saw Percival shift slightly. He was getting ready to break up the fight.

“I’ve been keeping it for special occasions. I had thought we would all like a bit after we stopped the storm, but now I think you need it now,” he kept his voice level.

The men all eyed each other as the storm continued to fall down. The only break to their silence was a wheezing cough emitted by the king who still hadn’t regained consciousness.

~*~Ma~*~

When the dragon awoke a bit later to the dry sun baking against his scales, he felt peace inside. Merlin opened his eyes as well and they both just enjoyed the peace away from the storm in silence. The sun was dropping beyond the far off gray clouds and they both knew night would be on them soon. Merlin wanted to sleep in his fern bed inside and not on the now dry ground, but he didn’t want to leave yet.

“How do you know me?” he asked suddenly to the dragon. He shifted as the dragon carefully raised his head to regard the small sorcerer beside him. Well, the young man was small to the enormous dragon, at least.

“Your father before you was a Dragon Lord and since his death has come it was passed to you. I have been waiting for you to call me,” a toothy grin was given, “Though I didn’t think it would take you going against the king to do so.”

“I’m sorry. He wants to kill me because I caused this storm,” Merlin stood up and then looked away as the dragon tilted his head in confusion.

“I do not think he would kill you, Merlin. The king needs you,” the dragon felt through the small bond they have that the black haired boy wasn’t ready for this conversation quite yet.

Kilgharrah saw the boy shake his head suddenly as he imagined the thoughts running through it were immense. The child did not understand that his purpose was to be near the king. The dragon held his thoughts to himself, though. “Young warlock,” he called out to gain the dragon lord’s attention.

“What is a warlock?” Merlin asked suddenly. He still didn’t look up. A shiver caught suddenly and he wrapped his arms around himself. He was unsure and scared.

The little bit of advice that Kilgharrah was going to bestow onto the young man was drowned even further back into the dragon’s brain. This boy wasn’t the knowledgeable young man that Gaius had promised would be there to call him when he was able to. This was a terrified child hidden within the confines of an adult body. This boy had the magic only others could dream of, but without the teacher to show how to use it.

Merlin never found out the answer to his innocent question as the trees burst suddenly spewing out fifty soldiers. The dragon reared up to defend his master as Merlin went to hide inside the house. The warlock never made it into the confines of the tree fort. The dragon was so distracted by the swords, spears, and arrows that he didn’t even notice when the young magic user snuck upon the dragon lord. Merlin only saw a sudden sight of green to gold before his own world turned black.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I think I forgot to say that last chapter. Don’t sue me! I don’t have enough lint for a lint ball!

Warnings: I tried to not type out the torture that was done, but there is violence in this chapter. I had six paragraphs of graphic torture and deleted it all telling myself this is rated T.

The screams finally silenced as their echoes disappeared against the walls. Daniel’s sobs, though, didn’t stop. “I really don’t know,” he continued to cry as he watched the henchmen check the pulse of the younger boy. Daniel couldn’t recognize him any longer and he knew that the poor child would have nightmares for years to come from this. If Daniel could give them the information before they were both killed, that is. “Please, leave him alone. Come after me! Leave him alone!” his last words were screamed in anger at the woman he had been relying on for the last year.

“Awe, darling, I couldn’t do that. You were trained to withstand such torture. We have tried that before,” she said as she sauntered up to his bound chair. “I was hoping we could get you to talk with just torturing your innocent friend, but I guess we’ll have to put him out of his misery.”

Daniel thought fast to try and delay them in killing Sam, “Before?” It worked as Alecia turned back around from where she had been about to give the order to kill his best friend.

“Oh, right, amnesia… I’ll play along.

Yes, ‘before’. After you stole from us we found you in your hide out and flushed you out. We then did everything we could to gather the information from you. We would have just killed you, except you kept saying it would be found if you die. As we were transporting you to another place, because Preventers had been tipped off somehow, you escaped. Brian forgot to put the child lock on the back doors of the car. He won’t be making that mistake, or any more mistakes, again,” she smiled at him with full teeth. It was a smile Daniel had thought once to be kind, but now wondered if this was her version of a shark grin.

“My day job allowed me to get close to you when we found out you had been saved from death. I was weary at first that you’d recognize me, but you didn’t. I kept moving you to different places, horrible ones when I had the chance, to try and get you to remember something,” she sighed. “I don’t want to have to kill your friend. He really didn’t even know he was making friends with a terrorist and thief.”

Daniel asked, “What did I steal?” She needed to be talking to delay the inevitable. He didn’t know why but he was sure that he just had to buy them time. “Maybe I’ll remember if I knew what I took.”

She stopped for a minute. A complete stillness came over her as she studied his purple eyes. She finally spoke, “Our plans for spreading a disease using foster care children. It is a brilliant plan, really. At first I thought you were pretending amnesia to get into the system to learn more about what you had stolen… anyway, long story short, it’s already begun. We started in Britain yesterday and today millions of foster care kids are getting vaccinated against a new disease that we have let the media suppose was running rampant through the country. Just like bird flu and swine flu, it is said to originate through cows and their meat. In all meat eating countries it was perfect.”

Daniel tried to wrack his brain to remember if he’d seen any news reports like it. He hadn’t, but really it was because the other pilots had cut his cable off in his room. They had numerous times tried to get him to sit with them for the evening news in the main living room of the mansion, but he had refused. For a week now he had missed this vital information spreading across the airwaves because he had been depressed.

Anger shot through him. His arms tightened against their bindings and he felt the rope dig into his wrists. It wasn’t long before the tickle of the blood pooling from his wounds came down his fingers. His violet eyes turned dark as he stared at this horrible woman in front of him.

She didn’t seem to notice the sudden burst of strength from her captive, “Of course we do have a counter virus. We have inoculated the higher ups with it. The rich have requested the ‘vaccine’ as well and have received the true vaccine. The poor are a leech on our system and the foster care kids go to the poor who abuse it. They get medical free and food free. These people take and take and take. We’re doing everyone a favor by ridding the obsolete from this world.”

As she talked flashes of memories came to Daniel’s mind- No, not Daniel, Duo’s mind. Solo dying as he coughed from a plague that took out the entire gang of friends, family, he had when he was just a small child. Dead bodies everywhere and hunger pains attacking his body as he was afraid to leave them alone. For some reason, though, he didn’t get sick. The plague had taken out most of the poorest populations on L2 and he had survived. He was Duo, named after his older brother Solo.

He pulled harder on his ropes and felt them begin to snap. His body had been dormant for a year, and he had eaten well but not what he would normally eat to keep up strength. He didn’t care as he heard Sam start to come back to the world on consciousness. He needed to get out of here, find where he had hidden the information he stole, and get Sam to safety.

Alecia stepped back as the bindings broke and he stood up. He didn’t give her time as he lunged forward to get her into his bloody hands. She stepped back and away as her five goons jumped into action to save their leader. He was punched in the face before her broke the first goons neck. He tripped the second one, but everything stopped when the windows above them burst out. Yelling came from all around them.

Alecia, the men that were still alive, and Duo all raised their hands in surrender to black clad, gun toting, and armor wearing army that stormed the building.

“Duo!” he heard from behind the army as a blond head came rushing through to grab onto him in a hug. “You’re safe!”

He almost laughed, but instead he pulled the Sandrock pilot away from him, “No. There’s a virus out there spreading right this minute. We need to stop it!” He looked over as Trowa and ambulance crews were tending to Sam. “And he needs his mom.” Quatre nodded and pulled Duo away from the arresting of Alecia.

“Tell me everything,” Quatre said in a commanding voice as they rushed out into the sun filled area of a shipping yard.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~