Playing With Fire
by Razorqueen

Sleet rattled against cracked windows, cold wind creeping through rattletrap wooden frames. Duo shivered.

Clouds blotted out the stars, and the night waited, cold and hushed, for snow to begin. Treize leaned out of the window, looked over his rose garden where a few canes scraped against walls in the thin wind. He'd left the mountain base shortly after Duo and Heero, distancing himself from the fiasco of the mobile dolls. He returned here, to his estate, but the rooms and gardens seemed colder and emptier than before.

Will everything seem cold and empty from now on?

He shivered and turned away from the open window. A fire glowed on the hearth, and he crossed to it, watching the flames flicker in the cold draft. I ought to shut the window, but it feels appropriate somehow.

Staring into the fire, he thought of the two pilots, wondered where they'd gone. Wondered if he'd ever know their like again. Could he possibly find someone with Duo's passion, Heero's single-mindedness?

He sighed. You're wallowing, and it doesn't become you.

Dead leaves rustled in the wind, scraped across the balcony outside his windows. In the garden, a twig snapped. He straightened, suddenly alert.

"Treize Khushrenada."

Treize turned slowly toward the speaker. The Chinese youth crouched just inside the window, his naked sword a gleaming slash of steel in the firelight.

"I told you I would be back to fight you. I will fight you until I defeat you, or until you kill me. Which will it be?"

Black eyes glittered in a face both delicate and deadly.

"Chang Wufei."

A tiny flicker of warmth blazed up in Treize, kindled by the intensity in the boy's challenge.

And begins.

Back to part ten.