Under Evil Stars

Part One: Gemini

© 2000 by Sofía 'Toffee' Francisco

This page was last modified: 2000/11/14


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"In an ultimate sense I cannot know what
I do in this place - yet I do ultimate things.
Essentially I cannot know what I do - yet I
do essential things."

- "Equus" by Peter Shaffer -

Being ignored was nothing knew, it had never been. Not because he was troublesome, but because he was sedate enough not to incite the rage of any adult against him. He could pass by unnoticed... or at least he could have done it. But he chose to be noticed often, he chose to be in trouble.

It was often like that.

He himself might be calm and careful, but his twin brother was a constant twist of fate; nothing and no one escaped his natural ability to set things amiss. This of course, surprised no one; wasn't it obvious, that if you had twins, one would be better than the other?

Yet, the term 'better' was highly subjective and Kanon was never quite sure whether he like it or not.

They had been abandoned at the steps of a church when they were too young to remember, and they had been forever on the move since they had been able to walk. Few people could manage Saga for long, so it was better to move on.

Often.

Until there came a point where there could be no more running.

When he looked back, he realised that his reasons for coming to Sanctuary were nothing short of stupid... or completely unexpected. Both him and Saga had been wandering the streets of Athens, looking for something to eat. And then his playful brother had spotted something he thought might prove of use.

It was a trio, that stood near a small café.

There was something odd about them... something that called Saga's attention, pulling the well known strings of mischief in his childish soul. Two of the three were drawing, the third simply sat on a chair, immobile as the two artists immortalised him in their drawings. They were close enough to see that their work was very good.

"If we could get our hands on those drawings... we might sell them." Saga murmured. Kanon sighed, feeling danger in his bones but, as usual, unable to tame his brother into being sensible.

"They look dangerous..." And, despite the apparent ease of their situation, they did. There was something about them...

The two that held sketchbooks were the first to call his attention. One was a petite girl, with flowing black hair and porcelain complexion, yet there was something that suggested an ancient kind of wisdom about her. Perhaps they way she held herself, or how she corrected the other painter, beside her.

This one was a tall man, his skin a warm caramel shade, and his hair - so striking! - was as pale as snow, and just as brilliant. The third person was a handsome man, possibly in his mid thirties, with long dark purple hair and dark skin. Nothing that lovely could be safe or friendly.

"They look very dangerous." He repeated, hoping his brother would feel the unease that gripped him at the thought of offending the strangers.

"They look distracted and pretty." Saga countered with a shrug. "I can steal those books in a second."

Kanon shook his head and sighed, defeated by his brother's easy nature, and decided to do as he always did: watch his back in the case - which was always so - that trouble came up.

And, just as had been expected, they were caught.

The tall silver haired man turned violently, just as Saga was reaching out to one of the sketchbooks on the table, and held him up by the arm. The small thief was clearly taken aback by the explosive reaction. So was Kanon, though he had been expecting it.

He dashed out of his hiding place and tried to kick the tall stranger, only to get grabbed by him too.

Held at arm's length, and a bit to high to be of his taste, Kanon felt a vibration of fear go through him. So he was understandably surprised when he heard a warm laugh behind him.

"Ganymede, let those poor kids go!" The firm grip on their arms loosened and they were set on the ground.

"They are thieves, teacher." The grey eyed man protested even as he let them go completely. Obeying the young girl that was - apparently - his teacher.

"They are kids. They were probably looking for a way to buy food, weren't you?" The girl turned to them, a soft wise smile lighting up her pale lilac eyes from within. Saga nodded emphatically, drawing another bubbly laugh from the girl.

Only then did they third stranger speak up. "Is it just me or are you giving in to your motherly instincts, Dana?" He inquired, brushing a hand through his long straight purple mane almost absently.

The girl turned to him, and Kanon saw the man's eyes were golden, like sunlight. "Oh, please! I just thought it would be good to keep them!" She replied, and Kanon felt suddenly very uneasy. The woman's tone of voice implied something altogether alien to him.

"Keep them?" The youth with the silver hair exclaimed, a evidently upset. "Teacher! What for!?"

Again that sweet laugh, and a smile. Such a charming girl..."Don't worry Ganymede, I won't keep them, but maybe Claroscuro might."

"Are you implying what I think you are implying?" The dark man demanded, a look of surprise passing over the golden orbs of his eyes.

"Why...certainly! I am almost done with Ganymede, and Morgana will become the Chameleon Saint in not time! Isn't it time you started considering passing your techniques onto another?" She asked, batting her eyelashes coyly.

"Which reminds me... who IS Morgana's teacher?" The purple haired man asked, raising an eyebrow quizzically. Dana shrugged conspiratorially and smiled innocently.

"That is not something I can reveal." She answered, dodging the question. But there was a steely sheen in her gaze as she said this that cut off any possibilities of raising the subject again. Once again all eyes centred on the pair of twins.

"And their parents?" Claroscuro asked, a bit dubious.

"They were abandoned, so don't worry." Kanon felt his jaw drop as he realised that the woman had known something very personal, without their telling her. He looked at Saga, who seemed to be just as amazed.

"And they...?" The youth - Ganymede - waved his hand vaguely. The girl nodded.

"They have lots of potential. What do you say, Claroscuro? Are you tempted?" She smiled winningly.

"Maybe... but, they are twins." He protested vaguely.

"More to choose from." The pretty girl chirped happily. "After all, only one of them was born under evil stars. The other, is quite clean!"

And that was it.

* * *

Of course, things were not as simple from then on. Claroscuro was not cruel, but he was indeed fiercely demanding. But that made life no less enjoyable. For two stray children to find a place where they could possibly belong was more than they could have asked for. So they both did their best... though not for the same reasons. As time passed by it was clear to Kanon that his brother lusted for the power and strength Claroscuro possessed; and even though he pretended to be angelic and faithful, something darker hid beneath.

But that was not his main concern. Kanon soon learned to like this way of life, such as the simple comforts and tough trials that made him feel proud whenever he made it trough another ordeal; the noble and courageous nature of his teacher and those he surrounded himself with.

All of it... and the purpose that was given, appealed to him more than he could say.

To defend this earth, farfetched as it may sound, seemed to him as something he had always wanted. To have a place... to be a part of something.

Saga was another matter entirely. His determination to be stronger was born out of a need to be superior... and nothing could stand in his way. Kanon let it pass, though, seeing it as nothing more than a further manifestation of his eternally rebellious nature.

But Claroscuro saw all of this, and the scales were tipped in Kanon's direction very soon. The tall noble man saw in the quieter twin a more stable heir to his title.

"Gemini is a complicated cloth... because of what it represents, the cost is very high. The bearer must be completely in control of himself." He had once said, as he helped Kanon tend to the various wounds he had suffered during training that day.

Claroscuro was rough and unforgiving in his lessons, but after they were done he never saw anything wrong in helping his charges with their hurts. He was not a cruel man, only very strict. And for that, Kanon grew to love him dearly.

"Being a dual symbol...shouldn't there be two cloths?" Saga asked, already bandaged and jumping around.

Claroscuro laughed heartily at that. "And have thirteen Gold cloths? No...that would have been very upsetting. The constellations are twelve, to have thirteen cloths to represent them would have created a dissonance in their harmony. The sign's duality is manifested through different ways."

"What ways?" Saga had asked, his eyes narrowing in what Kanon knew to be his 'more-curious-than-is-advisable' expression. But their teacher only smiled enigmatically and shrugged, which reminded Kanon of the girl they had met, only a few months ago, on that café. Saga huffed in exasperation and strode out of the room, leaving his brother to tend his wounds with his teacher. Both heard the sound of the door slamming shut a few minutes later.

"Your brother's moods are indomitable." The older man remarked, smiling patiently. Kanon winced as his tutor's deft fingers found a bruise he had not felt up to then.

"He is always like that. He wouldn't be Saga is he was more...moderate." He replied, smiling a bit at his brother's brashness.

"He should learn to control that...or he will not be fit for any cloth...at least not in my opinion." Claroscuro felt the boy tense under his hands, and rubbed the small shoulders. "Don't get too worked up over it. He still has time to grow."

"Teacher...may I ask you something?" The child inquired, feeling strangely relaxed with this man. Almost safe... perhaps this was what having a father felt like?

"If I can answer it, I will." Kanon knew of course that his teacher often knew all the answers to what he asked, but only sometimes saw fit to give them. Still, he continued.

"How can Dana train Ganymede to be the Aquarius saint, when she is not even a Gold saint herself?" The woman, who looked to be twelve but was evidently a lot older, came often with her pupil to Sanctuary, and almost always paid Gemini Claroscuro a visit or two. The tall man sighed and shifted on the bed they sat, so he was leaning against the wall.

"Well, sometimes you can train a child for a cloth not your own, if the knowledge is related. Though, I must admit, I don't see how Aquarius is related to Dana's cloth." Kanon turned to face his teacher then, caught by surprise.

"Dana is a saint then? But she doesn't wear a mask like all the other girls!" Claroscuro's expression darkened.

"Yes, Dana is a saint. She is the Silver Pictor saint. That is all that I know, she has never revealed anything else. I also know that she is much older than she looks... perhaps even older than me. As for her mask...well, no one has ever seen her with her cloth on, and she looks so young and frail most people take her for a wandering artist." He shrugged again.

"But... how can she not use a mask here in Sanctuary?" That still didn't make sense.

"You may not realise it, but few people know of Dana's existence. She is only spotted when she wants to be seen, so only those she trusts in know her." So the Pictor saint defied the rules, but was never caught? It sounded possible... but, how could Aquarius be related to Pictor?

"And the relation between the cloths?" He saw Claroscuro puzzle over it, and finally sigh in defeat.

"Honestly, I have no idea. She has never shown her techniques, and what she teaches Ganymede is clearly only theory. Though I don't know where she got the knowledge from either. She is... a mystery." Those few times Kanon had seen Dana there had always been something odd about her, a strange sadness behind her eyes that made her look aeons old, despite her childlike countenance. It was unsettling.

"Like Morgana." He commented, and felt Claroscuro smile slightly.

"Yes... she is a puzzle too. And such a strange cosmo... or lack of. It's like the complete opposite! I wish I knew who trained her... but that is only known by Morgana herself and... Dana, who won't tell." Both teacher and pupil stared at each other, having reached a closed circle in their conversation, and laughed softly. "Ah well, at least she will make a great Chameleon Saint."

Kanon smiled vaguely and called up the image of the tall, shapely woman. He often wondered if she was not related to Ganymede, due to their moonshine hair. And then he also remembered something else he had wanted to ask.

"Who is that boy that is always with Ganymede and Morgana? The one with the red hair?" He had often seen him, an always wondered.

"The one with the straight crimson hair? That's Blood, the - hopefully - future Scorpio Saint." The boy shuddered as he heard the strange name... who could have called a child that? Then maybe, it was self imposed. He knew for a fact that Claroscuro was only a pseudonym.

Suddenly, Kanon felt strong hands press him down on the bed, and watched in silence as his teacher got up and left the room. Claroscuro was often like that, he left when he thought it was time to end a conversation, but Kanon didn't mind.

An hour or so later Saga came back, only then did Kanon manage to fall asleep.

* * *

Still, life had always been complicated, it was foolish of him to lower his guard on destiny. Kanon knew this, but he did it nonetheless. Because it all was so simple, and so clear, he erroneously believe things would stay like that.

He should have seen it coming.

"Don't you think this is all too much like a utopia?" Saga has asked one morning, as they walked to the training grounds.

"Not really. There is nothing sweet or perfect about this way of life." Kanon answered, used to hearing his brother utter such questions. They had been in training for almost a whole year now, and felt completely at ease.

"I didn't mean that. What I'm saying is that the whole concept of protecting a Goddess that will save the world is a bit too...cliché. It sounds too good to be true. What if she was really the evil one, and we were helping her take over 'peacefully'?" The young boy jumped beside his tranquil brother in agitated enthusiasm.

"Wouldn't somebody have found out by now? I think you are just looking for an excuse to break more rules, it's in your blood to be that way." He had answered, not really looking at his brother.

"But that is the point. Humans live of chaos, and we need to find our own order. One that is imposed by a Goddess would be too unnatural. Unless she is a Goddess of something that we venerate more than life itself." Saga leaped in front of his brother's path and smiled slyly. " And what does humanity favour before the right to live?"

"The right to fight?" Kanon sighed, sensing his brother's unruly mood all to well.

"Exactly! Athena is a Goddess of war, and we are helping her spread it, and our strength only ads to up to her destructive capability. But then, she is also a Goddess of 'just' war, which is probably why she was so many rules and impositions. So, if she was defeated, humanity would have to fair on its own. How can you say we are fighting for the good of humanity, when we are enforcing its slavery?" Saga smirked, knowing exactly how to irritate his brother.

"Do you think a reign of humanity would be better?" He asked.

"At least it would be our own reign." The jittery boy answered after a few minutes.

"Anyway, this may very well be only a stupid theory, based on your need for mischief." He mumbled a bit annoyed, then smiled. "And Claroscuro will kill us if he realises we are delaying our training like this."

"Yeah...well, at least it was an interesting thought." Saga stopped leaping about and walked beside his brother.

"You should be a writer, you know that?"

* * *

"Are you sure there is no other way?" Dana shook her head and sighed sadly. "It's just so..."

"Unfair? Life seldom is the way we want it to be." The tall man regarded the youthful features of the woman in front of him. "Is it because of Ganymede?"

"He loves Blood... he will not admit it, not ever, but I know it is so. Blood sees him as his closest friend... but if she..." The raven haired child breathed in deeply and continued. "...if Morgana leaves, Blood will probably turn to Ganymede with other intentions... as long as Blood and Morgana are together Ganymede can't get his hopes up..."

"You are getting soft Dana. But you are right too, so we will give them all a chance." Dana looked up at him, her lilac eyes widening slowly as she understood what he was saying.

"Chrono... you don't mean...?" Her voice was no more than a whisper. The man knelt before her and took her face in his hands, planting a light kiss on her lips.

"Morgana will have one chance - and only one - to convince Blood to go with her. If he values her more than his duty, for he will be a saint by then, he will go. Ganymede will be safe from them both. If Blood chooses that which he was trained for...then so be it." Dana covered the long slender fingers that rested on her cheeks with her own childlike hands.

"There is no other way... is there?" At her question he shook his head softly. "It's just so... I mean, every time, it's the same. Love is what we protect, but it's also our damnation. Blood and Morgana and Ganymede, neither one of them will be able to love the way they should. None will ever be happy again, once this starts."

"No... but that is the way it must go. My pupil will never become the Chameleon saint, she has other roles to play in this cycle. Just like the young child Claroscuro has put his faith in." At this, Dana's head snapped up.

"Kanon?" She murmured softly.

"I sent you to bring those children for a reason. They are twins, and thus their destiny is intertwined. Saga is destined to become the Gemini saint, even though the cloth is expecting Kanon." Chrono let go of the girl's face and smiled sadly.

"But... if the cloth is expecting Kanon... the cloth's duality will be made to fit an extremely stable mind! If Saga wears it, being the havoc he is..." She gasped as the implications sunk in.

"The cloth manifests a 'presence' of sorts, that is actually the cloth's will. This presence is the contrary of what the designated bearer holds in his heart. Thus the sign's duality is manifested. Saga's mind will not be able to win over the presence the cloth designed for Kanon, in other words, he will turn to evil for good. A merging of his own darker impulses and the cloth's evil manifestation will drive him off the path. He will be the one to initiate this cycle." He looked away when Dana's eyes pierced his own.

"You knew all along... Kanon and Morgana will be the ones to lead this the way it must go..." She laughed bitterly. "Morgana's power is the contrary of cosmo, and Kanon was born with a twin brother... basically, destiny cannot hold them; Morgana because of her opposing strength, and Kanon because in the wheel of destiny he and Saga are one and the same; fate did not account for two."

"Yes. This has been our duty for aeons, my lovely Dana, and it will continue to be so for a long time still. Athena must learn the truth for herself, as humanity must learn it alone too. When they can truly understand the meaning of their existence, only then will this end." He wiped a tear from the child's huge eyes.

"I know, Chrono... it's just that sometimes... it all seems so futile..." He nodded, and kissed her again, this time more deeply, as her small arms snaked around his neck to hold him closer.

"Soon... it will start again. For now let's pretend we have all the time in the world." She laughed and pressed her head to his shoulder, not letting go of his neck.

* * *

"Kanon? What are you doing?" Saga walked up to his brother, a frown gracing his young features.

"I had never realised... what do you think that thing is?" The young child pointed at the tall tower that loomed above most of Sanctuary, casting a long shadow on the training grounds.

"I heard a few kids call it the 'fireclock', but I don't see anything fiery or time-telling about it." Saga shrugged. His brother tended to let his attention fall on unexplainable things. It was as if Kanon always wanted to be in control of a situation, and so needed to know everything around him.

"And it's not a sundial... well, it obviously has something to do with the zodiac...but what?" Kanon bit his lip thoughtfully as he studied the tall structure with a critical eyes.

"Oh... forget it! it's probably some ancient relic or something. Let's go and find the other kids." Kanon shook his head. He didn't like the other children here, they were too violent and unintelligent. He much preferred seeing if he could find his teacher and talk to him... or maybe study some of the older saints.

Saga gave him and exasperated look and ran off to the lower levels.

Kanon sighed almost theatrically and made his way to the training grounds where the older kids worked out, fighting each other. It gave him something to do, and time to analyse his problem.

The clock represented the 12 constellations... and it was higher than any other building... it HAD to be something important... maybe there was an entrance? But what would be inside then? Some kind of saint maybe... but what kind? It would have to be something that was related to all the Gold cloths at the same time... what kind of cloth would that be...?

He walked distractedly, lost in his thoughts, and almost jumped in surprise when he realised that he had walked off the traditional path and was now standing in the middle of a flowering plain, hidden among some crushed hills and fallen pillars. He would have headed off back to the path had he not heard a soft laugh. His curiosity getting the best of him, he stuck to the shadows and followed the melodious sound.

"I'm starting to act too much like my brother..." He mumbled to himself under his breath.

As he came closer to the source of noise he saw the plain grow slightly wider, surrounding a large rock that stood in the centre.

"It looks like a grave..." He didn't know why he thought this, but the tall stone, and the flowers surrounding it... somehow, there was a sense of imminent death there. But he was distracted by the voices again.

"Why are you so obsessed with this place?" A girl... he knew that voice.

"This is where I finally made up my mind and confessed to you! Is it so strange I like it that much? This is where I became the happiest man alive!" He knew that voice too, it was the red-head... Blood?

He inched closer and saw that he was sitting on a small flat space on the stone, holding a girl's hands in his own. It was Morgana. She laughed again and leaned on his knees, that were at the same level as her waist from where he sat.

"Oh Blood! You are too romantic for your own good!" She laughed and shook her head in mock exasperation. Blood smiled and tossed his straight crimson mane distractedly.

"All I'm trying to do is to get you to confess to me." He murmured facing her, his fingers touching the smooth mask. She drew away, slipping out of his grasp. "Oh please, Morgana... I'm not hurrying you or anything... it's just..."

"Blood, you know I won't answer that question, not yet." She shook her head and turned her back on him, her head held high nonetheless. He slid off the rock and placed both hands on her shoulders.

"I know... I just want to know why." He told her, his voice even and controlled, despite the tension his anxious posture betrayed.

"I have to be sure of what you said. You are too flirtatious and fey; despite the depth of love you proclaim, I cannot give myself to you until I am sure... sure that you will love only me." Kanon knew he shouldn't be spying on them, but there was something in this conversation that drew him to stay. Like a clue to a puzzle that would never be solved.

"But I love you, Morgana..." Blood whispered. "All I want is to see your face."

Her fingers twined with his, and she turned to look at him. "And what then? Will you be mine forever?"

"Forever... is an awfully long time..." He mumbled, smiling a bit. She shook her head sadly.

"I will have nothing less than that. When I know that it will be only me... and me forever...then I'll let you see me. When I know that you love me enough." She ran a hand down his cheek, smiling. "And I won't confess while you are so intent on making love to me."

Blood had the decency to blush and bow his head. "I love you more than I have loved anyone." He whispered, his fingers going through her silvery mane.

"That is not the same as loving me more than anything." She countered, a smile could be heard in her voice.

"No... it's not."

He left them then, it was not right to hear any more of that, and if they saw him they would kill him for sure after having intruded on such an intimate conversation. Walking back down he realised that he was in the tower's shadow once again, seeing the seemingly timeless structure reach the skies.

Timeless?

He pressed a hand to his forehead, trying to follow that thought. There was something about that... the concept of time, and the tower... he didn't know why but he knew that they were linked. Yet the thought eluded him and soon he was left where he had started.

* * *

"Love? Well, yes... it is sort of taboo... but not completely." Claroscuro replied in answer to Saga's soft question. "Some kinds of warriors can use it as a reason to gain power... but very often that is also their greatest weakness. Personally I would rather not love anyone."

"But why?... wouldn't it be beautiful?" Saga wondered, glancing at Kanon who was sewing his clothes near the window of their house.

"Yes... but think about it... what if, you were forced or induced to do something terrible. How could you tell her what you did? Admit it, even though your Goddess asked you... Could you?" As usual Claroscuro was one step ahead of them; he smiled.

"I would prefer to die than hurt someone I love like that... I guess, I would want her to love me for what I was... but if I love that person, and cannot show her who I am truly because it would hurt her..." He trailed off, trying to organise his thoughts. " I would rather let her go, than hurt her by showing her what I did."

"Pride comes before the fall, I guess..." Claroscuro commented.

"That is horribly selfish..." Kanon protested. "Why not find out if she loves you despite all of that?" The images of the conversation he had overhead a few days ago came back to Kanon, even as he spoke.

"Dear Goddess!" Claroscuro exclaimed half smiling. "You two are too young to be discussing such things... you still have time!"

Both children looked at each other, and smiled at their teacher with huge faked innocent eyes. Claroscuro smiled and rolled his eyes. He liked the children, but Saga worried him. He was sure by now that in the end Kanon would be the Gemini saint, for the cloth seemed to like him already... but what would become of Saga? Whenever he thought of the jumpy child a strange pain grew in his chest. He didn't know why, but sometimes, when he looked at the two young boys he felt like crying. They were innocent in their hearts, and too intelligent for ones so young. And yet, the years would destroy that youthful joy they both still held in their eyes... and probably only one of them would live.

"Teacher?" He was drawn out of his reverie by Kanon's soft querying voice. "What is that tower in the centre of Sanctuary?"

"It's the Fireclock... it marks the passage of time an enemy has to pass through the temples... or so said Libra Dohko when I asked him once, long ago." Claroscuro narrowed his golden eyes and raised a brow.

Kanon blushed under the scrutinising gaze, and concentrated on his clothes.

"And that is all? It looks like it should be more important..." Saga jumped onto his bed and tucked his legs under himself.

"That is all I know." And seemingly ready to end the exchange there, Claroscuro got up and left the room in two measured strides.

* * *

"Watch closely... this is the most important day of his life." The tall Gemini saint put a hand on each of his pupil's shoulders as they watched in reverent silence how the sparkling gold cloth flew to cover the body of the newly designated Scorpio saint. Kanon did not know the name of Blood's teacher, so he didn't even bother to mourn him.

Scorpio Blood looked around himself, at the crowded arena, and smiled. Cheers rose from the crowd as the test ended, and the new saint was confirmed.

A shadow began to walk down the stairs, covered in long heavy dark blue robes, and wearing a strange dragon helmet.

"Who is that?" Saga's voice sounded almost... afraid.

"That, Saga, is the Kyoko. Athena's high priest and main advisor." Claroscuro replied, bowing shortly as the tall robed figure passed by them.

"Is he strong?" The child asked, not taking his eyes from the majestic being, as he came to a stop in front of Scorpio Blood and congratulated him.

"Very." Claroscuro smiled, his eyes going distant as he remembered the day he had won is cloth... the pride and honour... the knowledge of a task well completed...

"I'd like to fight him." Saga's short statement drew a small gasp from his teacher's lips. Kanon turned to stare at his brother, eyes wide and fearful.

"Are you out of your mind!?" He demanded, but before Saga could answer Claroscuro's hand descended on his cheek, slapping him so brutally he fell to the ground.

"Never say that again!" Claroscuro's rough whisper sounded so angered it froze Kanon where he stood. Saga held his cheek and glared back at his teacher, his eyes glinting with defiance as he smiled wickedly and got up in one smooth motion. Claroscuro swore softly under his breath.

Kanon gripped his brother's arm harshly, forcing him to look. "You can be as wild and rebellious as you want, but not here and now!" He whispered urgently.

It must have been the fear and worry in his twin's eyes, but Saga nodded and settled down his mood. Yet his teacher's eyes did not leave him during the rest of the day.

* * *

"It has only been a week since he won the cloth... and two weeks since Ganymede won his... it's too soon!" Dana crouched beside her lover and hid her face in his chest.

"We have no time... things must happen at a certain moment, not before and not later. I, more than anyone else, know this perfectly." He stroked her ebony hair softly, running his fingers through the heavy silk.

"I know... it's just... painful." She drew a ragged breath and held him tighter. "Sometimes it all seems so futile... " He hushed her by placing to gentle fingers on her small lips.

"Someday, they'll understand. Until then we must go on... but surely it isn't so bad, is it? After all, we will always have each other." He laughed softly, and Dana simply nodded against his chest.

"That is more than all the others can even dream of." She whispered, feeling tears well up in her eyes.

"We can't change what is written, we can only play upon it and hope for the best."

* * *

"Well, they has already been training for a year and half... and clearly, the choice has already been made, by the cloth, I mean." Kanon heard his teacher's voice near the place he was practising, and piqued his ears in honest curiosity. He was talking about him and Saga?

"So... you think the unruly one won't make it?" That voice...? It was Scorpio Blood.

"I know so. Saga..." He moved closer, just in time to see his teacher close his eyes sadly. "... Saga will die for sure. He is too cruel and rash to become a Gold saint. After that Kanon will no longer carry his weight on his shoulders."

Kanon felt his blood run cold as his teacher's words made sense to him. Saga... dead?

Saga dead!?

No! It couldn't be!

His young mind struggled with the very concept of his brother not being beside him. They had always been together, like two halves of one entity. Saga's brashness and uncontrollable personality was a balance to his own calmness and tempered attitude. An life without his brother could not be a life!

"Are you sure?" Blood's voice sounded faraway and unimportant in Kanon's ears...

How he had grown to love Claroscuro! Finding out that he planned on Saga's death hurt him so deeply it was hard to breathe.

"Yes... Saga is the 'evil one', let us say. As you know, there will always be a 'good' and a 'bad' twin. In this case it's not hard to see who is who. Due to this, only Kanon will make it. It hurts me... but I cannot allow the wrong person to be Gemini... the cloth is already too hard to bear." Sadness tinged Claroscuro's voice, making him sound almost lost in the enormity of what he said.

No teacher liked to admit he would have to kill one of his pupils, much less let them kill each other...

Kanon shook his head in anger and despair, leaving the two men to speak as he ran down to where his brother was.

Saga...

* * *

"Hey! Kanon! Where have you been!" Saga jumped up from where he sat and hugged Kanon tightly, trying to strangle him playfully. "Do you want to hear our new plan?"

His brother had been playing pranks lately, together with a few other kids Kanon had no interest in meeting.

"No... not really. Saga..." He paused, not knowing what to say or how. "Can I talk to you for a while?"

"Sure! What's up with that long face!?" Saga jumped about him, his eyes wide and cheerfully mischievous, but there was no real evil there...was there?

He was only a child, trapped in a world that did not want him simply because he was too fond of his freedom and his prankster nature. But evil? No, not evil at all.

"It's just..." He wanted to tell him about Claroscuro's decision, about his own fear, about the danger that would threaten them, about his death; but nothing came. There was only one thing to say. "...just...be careful, I wouldn't know what to do if you were hurt."

Or dead.

"Kanon? You really are acting weird today..." Saga patted his brother's shoulder affectionately. "Don't worry brother... I'll take care. For you and for me!"

And then, as if the momentary slip of emotion had vanished, Saga turned on his heels and ran off to find the other children he would wreak havoc with.

* * *

Only silence followed, and a deep seated ache in his chest that made his breathing difficult, and his eyes sting. Kanon wandered aimlessly through the ragged cliffs and hills, the sky darkening slowly as night crept closer. But he didn't want to go back, not yet. He didn't think he could face Claroscuro without making it evident that he had heard this conversation. So he just walked on, until it was late at night and he knew it was time to get back, lest he was charged with trying to run away.

He made his way down a side road on a cliff, and stopped only briefly to look at the ascending mount atop which the twelve temples stood. The cold pillars, the barren ground and cracked marble stairs; it all seemed so empty. And near the base of this great shrine of war, stood the towering fireclock, marking nonexistent seconds by its very existance. Nonexistent seconds... that were time nonetheless.

He didn't know why, but such a strange thought made sense all of a sudden. There was something about that place... that was both eternal and finite, a palace of flowing time and things unchanged...

Kanon shook his head confusedly, trying to figure out where the thoughts had come from, but all he could come up with was the moonlit image of the tower, and the feeling that it was something important.

Perhaps more important than Athena herself.

"And then again... nothing ever seemes to make sense over here."

A sanctuary of war, where innocent children would be murdered just for being normal, a place where peace was forged with the blood of countless humans, manyof them trapped by a circle that remained eternally unbroken.

Circle...? Yes, like time... like a clock...

The young boy shook his head and bit his lip. There was no denying it, for some reason, he had to go there, to the fireclock. He had to find out what it meant. With a swift sidestep he plunged down the steep hill at a furious pace and came to a stop a few metres away from the high structure. It seemed to be made of pillars, but the tighteness with which they were built suggested there might be something inside. He walked closer, hearing the oddly loud sound of his leather sandals scraping over the dust and stones that littered the floor .

"And here I am... " he spoke to himself, needing to hear something other than the heavy silence that hung around the place. "Standing here like a fool."

He walked a bit closer, and pressed a hand to the cold marble of the tower's base, upon which the pillars had been placed in a most meticulous fashion. It felt cold... and strangely electric.

And soon, before he knew what was happening it also began to feel unreal.

* * *

"Now?"

"Yes, let him in."

"Chrono..."

"There is no other way. You know there isn't."

"I... I know."

* * *

There was a flash of light, and a strange watery feeling around him as the marble wall became insubstancial, and he fell through into the other side. For a moment there was only darkness, but gradually things came into focus, lightening as his vision grew acustomed to the soft illumination. It was like candlelight, only and paler blue-tinted.

"Where...?"

He got up on his feet, looking around in utter confusion. The space seemed like a black void... or not quite. He was in a corridor, books strewn over both walls, and a soft light shone at the far end of the passage. He walked ahead, following the glow until he came into an even larger room. It was a library, with books stretching across every wall. The room itself was circular, rising up until it disappeared like a giant pillar. Things floated around; wisps of light, stray books.

It was also, noticeably bigger than the clock looked from the outside. To be accurate... there was no way this could fit inside the fireclock, or even in one of the twelve temples. He blinked as he saw the ample room branch out into another corridor, but his attention was seized by a glimmer coming from the centre of the room. He turned slowly, and raised a brow. Right in the middle there was a small pond, and it glowed with a strange iridescent light. Kanon walked up to it, and looked in. At the bottom of the pond there was a perfect replica of the fireclock's twelve stages, each sign depicted in gold over a smooth silver surface. The large plate was set into the ground with a glass barrier around the edges to keep the small layer of water from pouring over the sides.

"Where am I?" he whispered, seeing his wavering reflection in the water.

"Inside the fireclock. The place where all time is static."

He turned around abruptly, falling into a combat stance without even thinking it over, but there was no enemy there to greet him.

"Dana?" he mumbled in awe.

The soft laugh that followed was all the answer he needed. She stood there, clad in a strange cloth that seemed to be made of a pearly material. It was rather nondescript for a cloth, with no sharp angles of prominent edges, but it stood out all the more for its simplicity. Yet even more striking, were the designs it bore.

Kanon had seen other cloths, and had been able to pinpoint in all of them one or more glyphs that - no doubt - were related to their making and their power. The Gold cloths had quite a number of them, and very notoriously placed. But no cloth he had ever seen had more intricate drawings than this.

It was scrawled all over, with patterns of bronze, silver and gold that shifted in and out of focus every time she moved, each symbol seemed to have life of its own. The headpiece was a simple pearly white coronet that circled her forehead, and he hair fell over her shoulders like bright raven wings that fluttered as she laughed.

"Yes, it's me little one." Which were strange words coming from the mouth of one who looked to be only a year older, if. But then... her eyes spoke differently, as did the fact that she wore a cloth, and had a pupil.

"Where are we?" he repeated himself, staring around the place in utter amazement.

"I told you already, inside the fireclock." A pause, then a smile. "You came here to find the answers to your questions, did you not?"

"I... I- er no... I came here, because... I had to." It was a lame excuse, and he felt his cheeks burn in shame as he said it, but it was the truth.

"The heart knows what the mind does not. You came here for answers, but you must ask the questions first."

"I have no questions," Kanon replied, unblinking. Yet this new facet of Dana's unnerved him horribly.

"Not even about Saga?"

Silence followed that remark, and Kanon glowered at her, his eyes narrowing dangerously.

"What about Saga?"

"Exactly... what about Saga?" She smiled vaguely, licking her lips.

"Stop talking me into circles!" he cried, balling his fists in anger.

"Then tell us what you want to know."

That stopped him. "Us?"

It was only then that he noticed the other figure in the room.

* * *

"Claroscuro!" hearing his name, the tall saint turned.

"Blood? Thank Athena! Have you seen Kanon?" Blood gave him a worried look and shook his head.

"No... I was going to ask you if you has seen Morgana..." he spoke softly and smoothly, but Claroscuro could taste the fear in his voice. It was one of the few abilities he had gained after mastering his cloth, to recognise other people's feelings.

"Can't you search out her cosmo...? Oh... yes..." Blood gave him a dark look and raised a brow. "I'm sorry, I forgot about that."

"I hate it when she does that, she knows she can't be found through cosmo because she is a blank spot or nullifies us," the frustration in his voice was evident.

"What happened?" Claroscuro raised a fine purple eyebrow at his fellow saint. Blood sighed and frowned.

"Nothing new, she just got angry cause I tried to kiss her."

"I'm assuming you tried to take off her mask."

"Er... yes," he had the decency to blush, and Claroscuro shook his head and heaved a great sigh.

"Nice one, Blood. Keep that up and one of these days she'll run away from you."

"No she won't," the clear blue eyes softened somewhat. "Because she loves me."

"And do you love her?" the Gemini saint extended his aura slightly, hoping to find signs of his missing pupil this time.

"I... I care a lot." A typical Scorpio answer, Claroscuro thought, they never open themselves enough to reveal their true feelings. Or even know them themselves.

"Anyway... you haven't seen Kanon?"

"No... he run off?"

"I don't think so... but it's late and he hasn't come back..."

The wind licked at them coldly, a few clouds moving in the dark skies overhead. Both looked at each other silently, knowing that something was amiss. It was not a strange happening, but there was something strange in the air. Though neither, said anything.

* * *

If Dana's cloth was striking because of its uniformity and lack of angles, this one was all the more noticeable because of the amount of them it had. It was a silvery blue colour, with the same pearly shine as Dana's. The shoulder plates were a mass of sharp cut angles, like many overlapping plates that joined at the base of the shoulder. The breastplate was smooth, but the arm and leg protections were just as raggedly cut as the shoulder; the headpiece was - once again - a rather simple coronet, but this one had sharp patterns that protruded harmoniously. Yes... despite the jutting design there was an appealing symmetry to the cloth, and it was pleasantly free of glyphs, save for the one on the breastplate.

A replica of the Fireclock... the astrological wheel.

Sharp blue eyes regarded him sadly, half hidden by the fall of straight lilac hair, so pale it was practically white. But perhaps the most striking thing of all was that beside this man, stood Morgana.

"Who are you?" Kanon whispered, fear gripping his heart and clenching it in his chest.

The deep blue eyes did not move away from him, as the man walked closer, his arm around Morgana's shoulders. He lifted his chin slightly, and gave him an appraising look.

"Very good indeed... you will certainly live up to your expectations."

"Who are you!?" Kanon cried, taking a step back.

"Pardon me, child. I am the Horologium Silver saint, Chrono."

"Who...?" he had never heard of such a saint, but it made sense. It was obvious that no one knew of this place... inside the fireclock.

"The master of Time and Destiny." Morgana spoke up, her silver mask shining harshly in the vague light of the room. "Also, my teacher."

I looked at her, not understanding why she was saying this to me, or the feeling that somehow, these people knew I would come here. Dana turned to them, her violet eyes softening tellingly at the tall man - lovers?

"Are you done there?" she inquired, her childlike voice breaking the silence of the room.

"Yes," the strange man replied, and nudged her pupil forward. Morgana swivelled and faced him, her shoulders taut, but all of a sudden she slumped and nodded.

"Morgana... you know the truth of his feelings, don't you?" it was Dana who spoke, a sad tinge in her high timbre.

"I...yes. But... it doesn't mean anything if I don't come first."

Kanon understood nothing of this exchange, and decided to hold his tongue in case he said something inappropriate. The silver hared woman turned to him suddenly, and regarded him for a long while.

"He is the other one?" she asked, her voice tight and oddly rough.

"Yes," Chrono nodded, a sad look coming over his features as he took them both in, the tall ghostly beauty and the small confused child. It was interesting to note -- he thought -- that though the child was feeling very out of place there was not the slightest trace of fear in him now.

"Very well... I will ask him. I will see for myself... the truth." And having said that she bowed to both saints and walked by Kanon, towards the exit.

"You have time to consider it, and when you decide... we'll be here still," Chrono moved closer to the shimmering pond, and bowed his head. A few minutes later Morgana disappeared through the wall at the end of the passage.

"What is going on here!?" Kanon glared at the tall man, balling his small fists menacingly. Dana gave him a blank look and went to sit down on a large armchair that stood close to one of the walls. Without much ceremony she fished out a thin sketchbook and a pencil from under the chair and began to draw. Her nonchalance dumbfounded him, as did the image of this prepubescent girl in a cloth, curled up and drawing on a simple armchair.

"You are here to ask. Is that your fist question?" she inquired, not looking up from her drawing. Chrono remained where he was, staring into the glowing depths of the pool.

"Yes."

"You were... let us say destined, to come here, we have been waiting," she answered calmly, her small arm drawing wide arcs over the paper.

"What do you mean 'let us say destined'?" he demanded, taking a step forwards. She looked up, her violet gaze like sharp cut glass.

"In essence, you have no destiny. It is always like that with twins, but even those that are left out of the wheel must fill in their place. This is where you will learn."

"Learn what?"

"Your place in this cycle. There is a task that needs to be done, and you will fulfil it," this time it was Chrono who spoke, still staring into the watery brilliance.

"I will become a saint of Athena, the Gemini saint!" Kanon exclaimed, not liking the turn the conversation was taking.

"Ah... so you will. And what of your brother?" the venomous tone was entirely unlike the angelic visage Dana posed. But the blow was dealt swiftly and accurately, Kanon started and frowned. "You don't know what will happen to him?"

"He... Saga will..."

"Die," Chrono finished for him, his voice emotionless.

Kanon fell silent after that, staring at them miserably.

"Yes," Dana murmured. "He will die, Kanon. But you will be Gemini. But know this now... the day you become a Gold saint is the day Saga will carve his own pit in the Hades." The certainty in her voice chilled him, the words opening an icy pit at the centre of his heart.

"What do you mean?"

"There can only be one Gemini saint. Destiny has a space for only one of you. If you become Gemini you will -- no doubt -- be the greatest one so far. But your brother will become evil beyond imagining, and he will eventually die a painful death," Chrono's voice echoed softly in the spacious room.

"How can you know this?"

"Because I have seen it," he answered. "And also, if this were to happen, the cycle would run uncontrolled."

"Why is it so important to keep it tightly watched?" there was anger and pain in the young boy's voice, and Dana hid a wince.

"Less deaths, less pain, less destruction. The few cycles that have run their course without the... tethers to order them, have been a feast of blood and war," she whispered, sadness weighing on her.

"But how is this related to me and Saga?"

"There is always one or two like you, Kanon. Children held by now destiny... I think the term would be 'wildcards'. They are the ones who must... put some order into this endless war. Now, though you and Saga are twins, you must know that only one of you... was born under good stars."

"Why am I the one without destiny, and not Saga?" this made no sense to him, tried though he would to understand it.

"Technically, there is a potential destiny that will take in only one of you two. The other becomes an inert figure in the terms of fate, but because he is unaccounted for he is the only one that can 'change' things. The other's actions are, after all, a part of their fate," Dana drew a long line across the page and sighed, looking at her work in a most displeased fashion.

"Why then, are you trying to push me out of my 'fate'?" Or Saga for that matter. Kanon sighed softly, forcing his muddled brain to concentrate, every instinct screaming at him that this was crucial.

Chrono answered, kneeling in front of the pool and putting his fingers into it. "Fate decrees that one of you must become Gemini. If it is you, Saga will die a painful death, but his sins will follow him into the underworld. He will never be forgiven, thus he will never rest in peace."

Kanon felt his heard drop. No... it couldn't be true... Saga was not evil... "Saga is not evil!"

"No, he is not, and neither are you. But he was born under evil stars. Fate does not care of there is good or an evil Gemini... but remember this: the wildcard will always be stronger than the pawn."

"W-what if Saga became Gemini?" there was a clear waver in Kanon's voice, though he tried to contain it.

"Saga will still turn to evil," the Horologium saint held up his hand, to stop the child from interrupting him now. "But he will be forgiven. I do not know all that will happen but I can tell you this: he will live and die many times... but his soul will be forgiven. At some point, he will find peace."

"Dead or alive?" bitterness shrouded every word Kanon spoke.

"We cannot tell you that, because we can't see that far into the future. I am not omniscient boy, I see snatches of possibilities, and choose the best one for all of us."

"And why do you choose for all the world?" Kanon cried, his eyes glimmering. Dana answered for her lover.

"Because someone has to do it."

"What about Saga then?" he whispered, bowing his head.

"You are much more stable and pure than him. It is better for him to take his part in your shared fate, for it will limit the power he can attain. The Gemini saint was destined to be only so strong... but there will be no limits for you." Dana closed her sketchbook all of a sudden and stood up.

"But... if I became your... ally in this... I would be betraying Athena...?"

"That is entirely subjective. You would be going against her orders, and joining her enemies... but your actions would give her another chance to understand the reason behind the cycles. In truth, you would be her ally." Chrono's explanation was short and swift, but it did not hide the pain that this onerous task had brought him.

"And Saga... would be all right?"

"In the end, yes. There will be pain and death no matter what you do, it is an irrevocable part of all cycles, but by becoming the evil one in everyone's eyes -- though in fact you will be quite the opposite -- will gain your brother's peace, and eventual happiness."

Kanon stared at them, his breath fast and ragged as he fought to control his feelings and lost, his eyes glimmering with tears of confusion and impotence.

"What will I have to do?" the child aired the dreaded question, his voice striking a bolt of cold silence through the room.

"Become evil... truly evil in the face of the world. Fight in this cycle against Athena and her saints... and of course, refuse the Gemini cloth." Dana whispered, her voice a mere thin line. Kanon closed his eyes and shuddered, the weight of the world seeming to pound onto his shoulders.

"No..."

"There is... no other way... but the choice is yours."

Kanon looked up, his eyes aflame with a passion and hatred unknown to him. "And if I say no?"

Chrono sighed and rose to his feet, flicking the drops of water from his hand. "Your brother will be damned for all eternity...if there is such a thing."

The small boy gritted his teeth, his fisting his hands so hard his nails dug into the tender flesh and blood flowed between his fingers. "There is no choice... is there?"

"Only you can decide that," the tall man replied softly. "You'll have time to think."

"How long?"

"You will know when the time is up, and you will come... and tell us what you have decided."

"You are asking me to help destroy this world... to save my brother...?"

Dana got up and walked up to him, her hands closing in his shoulders and forcing him to look up into her lovely face. "No... we are asking you to help us save this world, and your brother... and the expense of your own happiness."

"Let him go, Dana," she did so reluctantly. " You have time to consider it, and when you decide... we'll be here still..."

"We always are," she whispered and turned her back on him.

* * *

"Kanon! Where have you been!?" Claroscuro rushed up to his pupil, touching his arms and ribs in search of any injury. The young boy waved them off, his head bowed.

"I'm all right, teacher. I... got lost."

Had Kanon known that Claroscuro could feel his emotions, he might have come up with a better excuse, but he didn't; just as the Gemini saint did not know why all of a sudden he wanted to cry. Something had been lost that day, he knew it... but he could not for the life of him understand what.

When they arrived back at their cottage Saga rushed out the front door and hugged his brother, true to his effusive and uncontrolled nature. Kanon wrapped his arms around him and breathed in deeply, to hold back his tears.

"I was worried about you," Saga confided to him, his voice soft and caring.

But Kanon couldn't say anything, or he would have cried. He just tightened his hold on his twin and buried his face in the blue hair.

In the end there was no choice to make, Kanon realised, because no matter what the cost he simply could not have done otherwise. Fate thrust itself upon them without asking when or how, all he could do was fight back.

* * *

"He will be back... won't he?"

"Yes."

"Chrono..."

"Don't think about it now... we didn't have a choice either."

"...I love you."

"I know."

End of Part One: "Gemini" - Continued in Part 2: Morgana


Toffeerambles:

Well, this story is considerably weirder then the previous ones, and more centred on the plot than the rest of what I have written. I hope it passes anyway... and no one screws their eyes reading it!

Anyway, this is dedicated to Pollux, whom I really really adore and I hope she is happy with how I turned her dear Kanon's life into a toss-salad! *toffeehugsqueeze*


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