Gundam Wing Fan Fiction ❯ In which Princess Relena is kidnapped ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Searching for the Sun Lands
(rough draft)
A Gundam Wing fanfic by Raberba girl

Summary:  Fantasy AU. « What! » cried the braided mage. « You kidnapped Princess Relena and then lost her to that Winner sultan? What kind of assassin ARE you, Heero? » No slash. Permanently incomplete.

Chapter 1 – In which Princess Relena is kidnapped

« You know, » she said conversationally, « back home I am used to taking my pony out for a ride to get some air before dinner.  Not riding hard for hours and hours without any breaks for food or rest. »

There was no answer, of course.  Relena sighed.  Then, to her surprise, the silent young man sitting in front of her reached down to pull a water skin from one of the saddlebags, and offer it to her over his shoulder.  He did not bother to speak or even turn his head.

Relena sighed again.  « Thank you, » she said politely.  She had been well-brought up, even if she did not always choose to let her behavior match her training.  She took the water and gulped at it gratefully.  Though of course, as soon as her dry mouth was soothed, her stomach began rumbling.

« Any chance of having supper soon? » she suggested.  She glanced over at the sun, burning hugely near the horizon in the dark rays of late afternoon.  « Or are we going to ride through the night like in my romance novels?  I am afraid that would be quite hard on the horse. »

The young assassin wondered if all captives were this annoying.  Maybe it was just because she was a princess.  It would not surprise him if such creatures were prone to excessive talking and the inability to perceive danger to their persons.  Was it possible she did not realize she was being kidnapped?

« Excuse me, Mr. Kidnapper? » she asked, effectively cutting down that theory.  « I admit I have no experience with how these operations usually go, but surely they don’t involve the captive…ehrm…going for so long without…you know. »  When he did not react, she narrowed her eyes and said bluntly, « Or would you like to suddenly be sitting in a puddle of urine? »

He brought the horse to an abrupt halt, dismounted and lifted her off as easily as if she was made of straw.  « One minute, » he told her.

« Excuse me? »  Oh dear.  The stresses of the day had finally caught up to her.  Too late now.  « Maybe you can relieve yourself in one minute, with your useful man-trousers– » she gestured, indicating the easily-laceable front of his garment, « –but I’d like to see you try it with skirts like these, even torn ones!! »

As they stared at each other, Relena felt a blush creeping up her face, as she remembered the way he had ripped away several layers of her clothing earlier that morning.  She understood now that he had simply been reducing her bulk in preparation for the journey (there was no way the two of them would have fit on one horse if she still had all her petticoats on), but it had been an extremely embarrassing moment.  Frightening, too, though he had made no move to touch her inappropriately since then.

To hide her discomfort, she went on heatedly, « And where exactly do you expect me to do my business? »  She waved her arms around at the landscape, featuring prickly grass, spindly trees, and bushes that were certainly not high or thick enough for her purposes.

She was rather gratified to see him close his eyes and rub at his forehead in an exasperated way.  She was actually getting to him.  Was it possible he had feelings after all, locked up somewhere in that rocky exterior?

« I won’t look, » he grumbled, turning his back and walking around to the other side of the horse.  When he heard nothing, he growled out, « If you don’t get moving, I’m putting you back on the horse and we’ll be off again. »  He heard her sigh – again – and move away.  He was not at all afraid that she would try to run; even if she did, it would be an easy matter to catch her, either on foot or horseback.

He was having a bad day.  First that grueling journey, then the encounter with that infuriating fae, then his mission going so wrong, then Wing disappearing on him so that he had to buy a horse on short notice, and now he had to put up with a princess that irritated him to no end…was it all worth it?  There was no way to tell at this point.

« Are you done yet? » he called.

« Almost. »  She came hesitantly back to him, tugging nervously at her ruined skirts.  « Um…what’s your name, by the way? »

« You don’t need to know my name. »  Which was good, since he did not really have one.

« I’ve got to have something to call you. »

« ‘Mr. Kidnapper’ is fine, » he grunted, putting her back on the horse and springing up in front of her.

« No it’s not, » she snapped, then bit her lip.  She did not want him to catch on to her fear.  « How about…Hero?  Do you mind being called that? »

« Call me what you want.  I’m not your hero, though. »

She smiled wryly.  « That’s true.  But it makes me feel better to pretend you are. »  Otherwise this experience would be unbearable.

o.o.o.o.o

To Relena’s acute relief, they did not journey through the night.  The sun was half-swallowed by the horizon by the time Hero stopped near a clump of skinny trees and dismounted.

« What a pleasant campsite, » Relena remarked.

« You see a better one? » he retorted, as he pulled her down and began unloading the horse.  Relena glanced out over the landscape and had to admit he was right.  There wasn’t much out here, except some scrubby vegetation and the Peacemillion Mountains looming in the distance.

She turned back and was just opening her mouth to offer to help, when it occurred to her that she had absolutely no obligation to this young man:  he was committing a crime against her.  She stood there for a while, watching him, testing out the idea that she could simply leave all the work to him and be justified.

Princess Relena, however, was not the kind of person to resort to such pettiness, even if she was entitled to.  She sighed – she seemed to be doing that a lot lately – and started searching for dry sticks they could use for a fire.

Hero emptied out his pack and unfolded it, spreading it between the trees in the hope it would provide some shield from the wind.  When he turned back to see about making a fire, he was surprised to find the princess kneeling on the ground, arranging sticks in a pile.  Then she raised her head and their eyes met.

« Would you lend me your flint? » she asked.

« Do you know how to use it? » he said doubtfully.

Her lips tightened.  « You must think I’m a completely spoiled baby, » she gritted out.  « I have lit one or two lamps in my life, you know. »

He tossed it over, and was unsurprised when her fumbling fingers missed it.

« Don’t nod your head like that!  I’ve caught things before, too. »  There was no answer.  Her face burning, Relena bent over pile and almost cried with humiliation when her shaking fingers couldn’t light a spark.  ‘Oh Relena, just stop pretending,’ she thought angrily at herself.  ‘You are in control of nothing, you are a helpless captive and there’s no point trying to prove you’re a match for him in anything, because you’re not.’

Hero saw the tears sliding down her face and rolled his eyes.  He pushed her out of the way and lit the fire himself, sparking a tuft of dried grass and gradually feeding it small twigs until it was strong enough to take larger pieces of wood.

When he looked up from this fairly lengthy task, he was quite surprised to find that the princess had not only found the food stores, but had laid out servings of bread and cheese for each of them.  She said nothing, however, and did not look at him when he took his share, beginning to eat only after he did.

He was puzzled by a nagging uncomfortable feeling, as if he had done something wrong.  As minutes dragged past the feeling grew, until finally in desperation he said roughly, « I’ll set out snares.  Hopefully by morning we’ll have a rabbit or something for breakfast. »  It was the best he could do for an apology.

« I don’t eat meat, » she lied demurely.

Feeling rather as if she had slapped him (a harmless girly weakling slap, of course), Hero turned away from her and they finished their meal in silence.

Relena grew nervous as she ran out of excuses to delay going to bed.  Even if her kidnapper continued to keep his hands off her, she did not relish the idea of falling asleep and being helpless in his presence.

Eventually, however, it could be put off no longer.  Relena sat leaning against a tree as she tried to stay awake, wrapped in a thin blanket (the only one they had).  Hero sat against another tree on the opposite side of the fire.  She found herself jerking her head up and realizing she had dozed off for a few moments at least.

« You should sleep, » he told her.

« You should sleep too, » she shot back.

« No, » was the simple answer.  Of course he couldn’t sleep; not only did he have to make sure she didn’t sneak off or attempt to kill him or something, but there was no telling what enemies lurked in the darkness of this strange land.

He waited until her head was lolling and she began to make soft snoring noises.  He crept to her side and carefully lay her down, hoping that she would sleep more deeply if she was more comfortable.  Then he settled down again and resumed his watch.

o.o.o.o.o

Relena awakened the next morning, rather unpleasantly, to a strange booming sound and the spine-chilling screams of an animal.  She scrambled up to find that the horse had torn itself free and was bolting in terror.

That held little of her attention, since there was a truly enormous creature looming over her.  The whiteness of its belly was dazzling in the early morning sunlight, the scales of its multi-colored back glittering like jewels, and the wind from its huge wings was throwing the camp into disarray and causing the embers of the fire to glow brightly.

Hero was on his feet, yelling.  « Where have you BEEN? » he shouted up at Wing.  « I had to waste good money on a horse because of you! »

The creature lowered its head very close to Hero’s and grunted, the wind from its nostrils whipping his dark hair into a wilder mess than usual.

« What do you mean you found another one? » he shot back.  « You know there aren’t anymore dragons in the Old World. »

At any other time Relena would have been amused to see her taciturn kidnapper roused to such furious passion.  In this particular case, however, she was much more concerned with panic and terror at the thought of being burned to a crisp and/or eaten by a giant dragon.  « I…I thought those were extinct! » she gasped weakly.

With alarming quickness, the huge emerald eyes shifted in her direction, and that vast head drifted to hover over her.  Relena squeezed her eyes shut, about to faint from terror.  She knew exactly how the horse had felt.

« Don’t hurt her, Wing, » Hero said quickly.  « I went to a lot of trouble to get her.  We have a new mission to take her to the mountains. »

The dragon made a rumbling noise at the bottom of its elongated throat, so low and deep that Relena could feel her very heart throbbing in response.  Slowly, she raised her head, though she was unable to prevent her hands from covering her eyes.  « It…it’s nice to meet you, » she whispered.  She wished she could take back those thoughtless first words that must have angered it.

With a supreme effort, she managed to peek through her fingers just a little, enough for her tiny blue eyes to meet the huge green one that was pinning her with its gaze.  She swallowed, trying to moisten her dry throat.  « My name is Relena Peacecraft, » she managed.  It seemed somehow silly to add her royal title when speaking to such a majestic, dangerous being as this.  « What’s yours? »

For a long moment, the dragon didn’t move.  Then it pulled away and made a strange chuckling noise.

« Wing has decided not to kill you, » Hero told her.  « Now come on, let’s go. »

As he set about gathering up the scattered remains of the camp, Relena forced down a scream at the realization that he was expecting her to ride this terrible creature.  ‘I can’t!  I can’t!  Is he crazy…?’

Relena preferred not to dwell on the experience of either having to approach the terrifying creature to climb onto it, or of its laborious takeoff into the sky.  Her eyes had been closed much of the time, anyway.

The dragon was so massive that there was enough room for the two of them to settle in the dip at the base of its neck, without (much) fear of falling off.  Hero secured their supplies, then stretched out on his back and flopped an arm over his eyes.

« What are you doing? » she asked shakily.  The constant movement of the flying dragon, and the knowledge that they were hundreds of feet in the air, were not doing good things to her stomach.

« Resting.  Don’t bother me. »

So the sleepless night had caught up to him.  Relena smiled a little, then tried to settle her skirts more comfortably under her.  Heat from the dragon’s – Wing’s – body seeped up from its scales, already causing sweat to trickle under her arms and her forehead to feel sticky.

Relena wiped at her face and looked at Hero, this mysterious, close-mouthed young man.  Where had he come from?  Why had he taken her?  How had he been able to get through all the security measures in place to protect her?  And, most importantly, what did he intend to do with her in the mountains?  She knew nothing about him, which was as frustrating for the people-loving princess as it was frightening.

To be continued….

Author’s Notes:  The idea came to me when I was thinking about what it’d be like if Relena was the princess of a peace-promoting kingdom, then attacked by another warmongering kingdom…and I mean, that’s pretty much what happens in the anime, but I suddenly started thinking about it in fantasy terms, and that was it.

In which Captain Noin tries to stay alive