Chapter 50: "A Celebration"
Quatre smiled wanly as Duo's head popped around the doorway of the Guardians' bed
chambers, complete with shit-eating grin.
"The triumphant returns." Duo strolled in, hands crammed down his back pockets.
Quatre noted the unconscious pose with an inner smile. So far only Heero had been required to
be Wufei's shadow and dress appropriately, but Duo was going to have to say farewell to his
beloved jeans before tonight. They would be more visible from now on, and would be expected
to wear their traditional uniforms.
"So everything went well, I take it?" Duo flopped down onto the nearest bunk,
propping his head on his hand and grinning at his friend. "You and Relena show old stuffy-
pants a thing or two?"
"He was really quite cooperative," Quatre assured him, returning his attention to the
object laid in his lap. He smoothed his hand idly across the worn leather. "He doesn't like
leaving his sister here, but she talked sense into him. He even gave his regrets for L5.
Wufei was right. Milliardo had nothing to do with it."
Duo rolled his eyes. "So he says."
"I believed him, Duo," Quatre said quietly. "And so did Wufei, when I passed on the
message. Don't go looking for enemies; we already have enough potential ones as it
Duo shrugged one shoulder, changing the subject. "Hey, speaking of Wufei, I just saw
him a minute ago. He looked mad enough to kill. Didn't get a chance to speak with him,
though; his grandfather wants him to stay in his room until the party. Doesn't wanna spoil
all the surprises or whatever."
Quatre hesitated, still staring at the weapon in his loose grasp. Duo's own gazy fell
to the sword, then flicked unconsciously across the room towards the locked wardrobe on the
other side of the room. "Already got yours out, huh?"
"We have to wear them with our outfits tonight," Quatre murmured distractedly. He
hesitated, then wrapped his hand around the worn hilt and drew the blade with a quick,
practiced movement. The hiss of the steel against the scabbard was as familiar to him as the
sound of a door being opened. He lifted the simple sword and ran his eyes along its length.
It was scratched, nicked, and older than he cared to think about. It had belonged to
Guardians before him, and it had been given to him as soon as he was strong enough to lift it
as a boy.
"I haven't even taken mine out yet," Duo said, pointedly avoiding looking at the
wardrobe where the Guardians' weapons were stored.
"I didn't want to," Quatre admitted quietly. "A part of me hoped I would never have
to hold it again after we put them aside."
"It's been a long time." Duo rolled into a sitting position, frowning at the ancient
sword. "But you knew you'd have to wear it again someday."
"If we hadn't found Wufei, I never would have had to," Quatre whispered, eyes
flinching, ashamed. "A year or two ago, I would have gladly given up the hope of finding him
just to avoid all of this. Does that make me a bad person?"
Duo hesitated, then shrugged slightly. "I dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. You barely
remembered him anyway. And like it or not, you're your father's son."
"I never asked for this, Duo," Quatre murmured.
"None of us did, Quat," Duo said quietly but firmly. "But if you did have a choice
now, would you give it up? Would you decide not to be a Guardian?"
Quatre's gaze finally shifted towards the other boy. "...No," he finally said.
"Wufei is my friend. I won't leave him with one less person to watch his back." He sheathed
the sword abruptly. "Besides, he's struggling to deal with his own destiny. I accepted mine
a long time ago."
"Doesn't mean any of us have to like it," Duo said with a small grin.
"No. But I won't turn my back on him. If it had ever been my choice to make, I think
I would have ended up right where I am right now anyway."
Duo laughed shortly. "Wufei has that effect on people," he admitted wryly. "He's a
prickly little bastard, but ya can't help but love the guy."
Quatre smiled and rose to his feet, carrying the sword back towards the wardrobe.
"Oh, as for his current bad mood... I'm assuming Heero didn't speak to you yet?"
"Nah, Mingzhu put his butt in a chair in Wufei's room and told him to stay there."
Duo snorted. "She's a crotchety old bat, but I'd rather her be just as paranoid as we are
than as oblivious as Shen can be sometimes. She doesn't want Kushrenada here any more than we
"I ran into them in the hall earlier and Heero spun me up. Evidently the bodyguard
that's been following the General and his daughter around is named Phillips. He's one of the
Suits who was there that night you and Heero got attacked at the hotel. Supposedly he's the
one who put his hands on Wufei and activated his Mark in the first place."
"Really," Duo said, face blank. "That's interesting." He glanced at his watch after
a moment. "Well, I've got shit to do, Q-man. You'd better go find Tro. I'll be back in a
"Trowa?" Quatre hesitated in the act of locking the wardrobe. "Why?"
Duo rolled his eyes, grinning as he headed for the door. "You two have a lot to talk
about." He was gone before Quatre could demand a clearer answer.
Duo was in luck. He caught the tall bodyguard as he was stepping out of Kushrenada's
"Yo." Duo approached him with hand upheld in greeting, a sharp smile on his face.
"You got a sec?"
Phillips paused, hand still on the door handle as he sized the boy up with cool gray
eyes. "You're one of the Guardians. Miss Mariemaia is resting. She doesn't want to be
"I didn't say anything about talking to that little monster," Duo cut him off
cheerfully. "I need to talk to you. So you got a sec or what?"
"I'm busy," Phillips said shortly. "I don't have time for your nonsense."
Duo slapped a hand against the wall, barring the other man's way. He looked up at the
Suit, smile full of teeth. "We can talk right here. It's about Wufei."
Phillips' lip curled. "You mean Chang Fei. I have no intentions of discussing that
boy. It's the General you're looking for."
Duo didn't budge. "Funny, he doesn't look like you, and I'm looking for a guy in a
suit with gray eyes. Bears a striking resemblance to some jackass that tried to kidnap my
friend." He tilted his head. "Seen anyone like that?"
Phillips glared down at him in naked contempt. "I'm not interested in speaking with
colony gutter-trash like you. Now I suggest you remove yourself from my path before I'm
forced to move you myself. I have things to do."
"Mm-hm," Duo nodded agreeably, staring thoughtfully down at his feet. "I see." He
reached out suddenly and seized Phillips by the front of his shirt, slamming him against the
wall. "Fei's tact needs some working on," he admitted, smiling tightly into the older man's
face. "He's still learning how to be all diplomatic and shit. He has to be polite and
careful around people like you and the scumbag you work for." Phillips was fumbling for a
weapon he wasn't wearing, so Duo pulled him away from the wall and slammed him against it
again-- hard. "Luckily, being a Guardian, I'm not expected to tiptoe around little fucks like
you. My job is to threaten, kill, and disable anyone I see as a threat to the one I'm
supposed to be protecting. And guess what? You don't look so non-threatening to me."
Phillips opened his mouth to speak, but Duo's eyes narrowed warningly. "Are you
absolutely sure you want to speak right now?"
Phillips stared back at him, then sulkily kept his silence.
"Good boy." Duo released him and stepped back, stuffing his hands in his pockets. He
stared the Suit down with lidded eyes, all traces of civility banished. "I see you so much as
look at him in a way that seems a little suspicious, and I'm going to have to 'disable'
you. Catch my drift?"
Phillips straightened his suit huffily, expression livid. "You'll pay for this," he
"Hey, just doin' my job," Duo drawled, already walking away.
"This is ridiculous," Wufei muttered irritably, glaring out of the window at the
artificial sunset. "I know there's a party. It's not like it's a big surprise. So why do I
have to stay hidden in here for the next few hours?"
Heero, typically obedient to a fault, was seated in the exact chair Mingzhu had
practically pushed him into, placed against the wall between the door and Wufei's bed. He was
one of the only people on the colony allowed to carry a modern sidearm, and was cleaning it
meticulously. "I think part of it is they don't want you underfoot. Also, they want the
decorations to be a surprise."
"Underfoot?" Wufei repeated, offended. "I'm not a child!"
Heero wisely decided to say nothing and avoid the risk of having his words taken the
Wufei placed his hands on his hips and looked around in disgust. "How do they expect
me to keep myself busy until this foolish get-together? The only books here are either ones
I've read before, or ones I'll never be bored enough to slough through. There's a desk, but
no paper or pens yet, and Hilde's probably too busy fooling around with Maxwell in some dark
corner..." he shuddered at the thought.
"Take a nap," Heero suggested, most of his concentration on the gun.
"I'm not tired."
"Call for the servants to bring tea."
"I'm not thirsty, and if they brought snacks, I wouldn't be able to eat them anyway.
I'll be eating enough in just a couple of hours."
Heero grunted distractedly, clearly out of ideas.
Wufei seated himself on the bed huffily and dragged his battered bag onto his lap. He
began going through its contents, placing the things he would need-- such as his clothes and
toothbrush --on the small elegant table by the bed. He examined what was left, lifting the
frayed blanket to the light and gazing at the faded image of the dragon. After a moment he
carefully rolled it up and set it with his clothes. Maybe later he would pin it on the wall
like he had back on earth. His cellphone was still in there, but it was useless now. Next
came the dirk, but Mingzhu had already provided him with a-- slightly over-decorative --sword.
It was more for show than anything else, but it also meant he wouldn't have a place to wear
the dirk. He placed it back in the bag with a silent promise to ask Duo for a knife to hide
on his person somewhere. Having four Guardians made the point mostly moot, but Wufei didn't
relish the thought of having no way of protecting himself if things got hairy. The sword was
servicable, but he wouldn't be wearing it at all times.
Digging in the bottom of the bag, his fingertips encountered an unfamiliar shape.
Frowning, he pulled it out for inspection, and blinked when he realized what he'd found. Ah..
he'd almost forgotten...
He glanced over his shoulder at where Heero was sitting stubbornly, carefully putting
his gun back together again after its thorough cleaning. After only a moment's hesitation,
Wufei stuffed the bag under the bed and strode across the room.
Heero didn't look up at first, but after a moment realized Wufei was standing in front
of him without speaking. He glanced up through his bangs, eyebrows arching in
"There's always another way to pass the time," Wufei pointed out mildly.
Heero continued to stare at him blankly for a moment, then looked back down at his
gun. "...You want me to show you how to clean a gun?"
Wufei rolled his eyes, amused despite himself. "No, Heero." He held a small squeeze
-tube in front of the other boy's face.
Heero stared at it for a second, uncomprehending. Then he did a double-take, and
recognition settled in. He looked up quickly, eyebrows drawing together in surprise. "Wait-
you want to--"
"We have a couple hours to kill," Wufei reminded him, idly tossing and catching the
tube one-handed as he stared steadily down at the seated Guardian. "God only knows when we'll
get another chance, if ever." His eyes flickered towards the gun, and a smirk tugged at his
lips. "Or are you otherwise occupied?"
Heero hastily put the gun on the floor, but shook his head in regret. "Wufei, you
know we can't. We even said before that it was the only time--"
"Then please explain that little encounter before the Council meeting to me," Wufei
retorted. "If I remember correctly, it was your brilliant idea to get down on your
knees." His cheeks flushed at the words, but luckily Heero was avoiding looking directly at
him. "Think of it as a birthday gift."
Heero snorted, amused, and when he finally looked up, Wufei knew he'd won. He was
being soldier-boy, but his eyes were slightly darker than normal with the beginnings of
restrained want. In the end, however, duty seemed to kick in, and he shook his head again.
"I'm not supposed to get out of this chair."
Wufei thought about that for a few seconds, then seated himself quite abruptly in the
startled boy's lap, straddling him without so much as a moment's hesitation. He rested his
hands on the chair back either side of Heero's head and looked him right in the eye. "Then
Heero's hands grasped Wufei's hips instinctively, but he was still shaking his head.
"Wufei-- be rational. You're engaged. To Relena. This is--"
"Stupid, dangerous, and forbidden, yeah, I've heard." Wufei settled himself a bit
more comfortably, taking care to shift his hips just enough in the motion to draw a sharp
breath out of his lover. "But you know what occurred to me? There might be more
opportunities like this, there might not. So in the end we don't know when we'll have another
chance to do this 'one last time'. So are you really going to pass this up and tell me you
don't want to, or are you going to do something and keep me from embarrassing myself
The hands on his hips jerked him forward suddenly so that he was pressed chest-to-
chest with Heero, and then a rough mouth was on his.
"Hnnf-!" Wufei struggled to get more control over the hungry kiss, then decided
cheating was in order. He tightened his grip on the chair's back and used the leverage to
move against Heero in a quick, hard, rocking motion that ground his hardness against Heero's
own. With his legs spread from his straddling position, the sensation was much more
pronounced, and he echoed the other boy's sudden gasp.
Wufei had changed into a loose robe so that he could avoid wrinkling his outfit for
the evening later, and Heero's calloused hands were already slipping through the half-open
front and running down Wufei's chest.
"Not fair," Wufei protested breathlessly against Heero's mouth, struggling to undo the
pearl buttons on the front of his Primary's shirt.
He felt Heero's lips smirk beneath his. "You started it," he muttered back. Then he
seemed to decide that risking Mingzhu's wrath was a price he was willing to pay. His hands
returned to Wufei's hips in a hard grip, and in one movement he was on his feet, lifting the
other boy with a startling show of strength. Wufei had time for one squawk of indignation--
"Put me down, you muscleheaded--"
And then they were across the room and Wufei's back was hitting the covers on his
generously-sized bed. Wufei rewarded the action with a clout across the head when Heero was
foolish enough to lean in close enough to be in range.
"I'm not a woman, or a ragdoll for that matter, Yuy," he snarled, cheeks flaming in
affront and embarrassment. "Pick me up like that again and I'll--"
"You can beat me up later," Heero promised, hands making dents in the sheets either
side of Wufei's head.
Wufei twisted suddenly, catching him off guard. A moment later Heero lay on his back,
blinking in surprise up at the smug boy pinning him down. "Now here's an interesting turn,"
Heero arched a brow and aborted his initial struggle. "Is this your way of saying
it's your turn?"
"Turn?" Wufei stared, uncomprehending for a moment. "Wait-- what? You mean--? Wait
a minute." He released Heero's wrists hastily and sat up, straddling the other boy once
Heero propped himself up on his elbows, studying his lover's face carefully. "It's
only fair," he pointed out.
Wufei rolled his eyes to hide his embarrassment. Then he forced himself to think
clearly, eyes unconsciously sliding down the length of the clothed body beneath him.
Well... inexperience aside... it did have its merits...
And Heero hadn't known quite what he was doing last time, either.
"Though I'm not sure I'm quite as... flexible as you are," Heero admitted
Wufei laughed shortly, still embarrassed, but amused and suddenly curious as well.
"All right, then..." he scooted back off of the other boy and gestured at his pants
imperiously. Slowly but obediently Heero peeled off the pants and tossed them aside. He
began unbuttoning his shirt, but a little too slowly. Wufei leaned in and claimed Heero's
mouth in a messy but demanding kiss, his own fingers taking over and making short work of the
buttons while a hard hand clasped the back of his skull.
"Now what?" Heero muttered, struggling to catch his breath once Wufei finally released
his mouth to shove the shirt down broad shoulders.
Wufei waited for a moment before responding, watching his hand as it slid slowly down
the well-toned chest laid out for him. He considered the question for a moment, and his
thoughts flickered again to the comics he had found by accident in Hilde's room. He smirked,
hoping he looked a bit more confident than he was, and pushed at Heero's shoulder
It took him a moment to understand, but when he did, Heero only hesitated a moment
before rolling onto his stomach slowly.
Relieved that Heero wouldn't be able to see the nervousness on his face, Wufei fumbled
for the small tube of lube Duo had so thoughtfully provided. It was already half-empty from
last time. Where the hell was he going to find some more, if they ever got a chance to do
this again? He squeezed some of the oily substance onto his fingers and hesitated, gazing
down at the prone body he knelt over. He recognized the slight tension in his friend's
shoulders, and felt a bit better. That night on the shuttle had been a first for both of
them, but then, so was this. He stretched out beside Heero and impulsively placed his mouth
to the exposed throat as he blindly slid his fingers downwards and found the opening he was
Heero shuddered slightly at the touch on his neck, and interested, Wufei moved his
mouth a bit higher, to just below Heero's ear. He heard the other boy's breath hitch, and
used the moment's distraction to carefully force one finger inside, wincing
Heero tensed a bit, but didn't reject the invasion, and Wufei forced himself to relax
a little as he managed to get the finger further in. He tried to mimic what he recalled Heero
doing, forcing another finger in with its brother and beginning to massage the muscles inside
to prepare them to stretch. It was a strange sensation, but not as uncomfortable as it was
for Heero, whose back was knotted in tension. Wufei probed deeper, hoping to find that spot
that had startled him so much, but with no success. He hesitated after a few moments, nervous
all over again. Was he doing this right? What if he messed up, and hurt Heero on accident?
What if Heero didn't enjoy it?
"Maybe we shouldn't do it this way," Wufei muttered, staring at the hairs cropped
short at the back of Heero's neck.
"No." Heero turned his head on the pillow, forcing Wufei to meet his steady gaze.
"This is fine."
Wufei studied his face for a moment, then sighed quietly, gathering his courage, and
shifted into a sitting position. The movement changed the angle of his arm, and accidently
pushing his fingers in further with more force than he'd intended--
Heero jerked, back arching up slightly as he barely managed to strangle a surprised
gasp in time.
Startled, Wufei started to withdraw his hand, then stopped in realization. He grinned
in smug relief, watching as Heero's eyes fought to focus again. "There it is."
"Stop gloating," Heero muttered, glaring at him in mock anger, "and just--"
"You're a bossy bottom," Wufei noted, reaching for the lube again.
"You have no room to talk," Heero retorted, but Wufei was secretly pleased at the
flush on his friend's face.
He untied the front of his robe as he settled over Heero's back, letting it fall open
either side, almost like a modest tent. Nervousness fought with eagerness, and his heart
pounded in his ears as he used more of the lube on himself. He paused, trying to catch a
glimpse of his partner's face. "Ready?"
Heero shot him a quick, impatient glare over his shoulder, and Wufei nodded, taking a
It was more difficult than he'd thought it'd be to get himself inside, and he almost
withdrew before he remembered that it had taken Heero a few moments himself when he'd been in
Wufei's position. Heero's muscles were corded with tension at the slow, painful invasion, but
he didn't make so much as a murmur of protest, so Wufei gritted his teeth and forced himself
to be as careful as humanly possible.
Just when he was beginning to think it was impossible, he slipped past some initial
resistance and gasped at the sensation of being surrounded by tight heat. It took all his
self control to keep still and let Heero adjust rather than let his hips do nature's business,
and his arms shook from where they were propping him up. "Heero..?"
"I'm fine," he grunted after a moment, and Wufei could see him forcing himself to
Wufei nodded, even though Heero couldn't see the motion, and began to move as slowly
and carefully as possible. It was awkward at first, and he still felt a bit lost, but he was
damned if he was going to hurt Heero on accident by going any faster.
Heero's breaths were short and strained, his palms pressed against the mattress so
hard they left deep imprints, but he didn't make so much as a hiss of pain, even though Wufei
recalled with a wince how painful it had been for the first minute or two. It was difficult
to concentrate on Heero's own well-being and ignore the pleasure curling in his own gut,
though because-- this was...
Wufei took in a deep breath, and it rattled strangely in his throat. Slowly,
And suddenly Heero seemed to decide the time for caution was over. He shifted
slightly, and-- clenched--
"Shit!" Wufei hissed, and thrust in harder than he'd meant to. Heero jumped a bit at
the sharp pain, fingers twitching, and Wufei cursed himself mentally. "Sorry--"
"Nevermind," Heero managed to growl. "Just--"
"I know," Wufei panted, steeling himself. And he carefully picked up his speed just a
bit, going just a bit deeper, and...
Just when he was beginning to privately panic and wondering if Heero was going to
enjoy this at all, he shifted his weight on his arms, changing the angle slightly, and Heero
grunted with surprise, hips arching instinctively off the bed.
A grin of relief flashed across Wufei's face, and he tried to stay in the exact same
position as he tried to hit that spot again.
The foreign word tripped out in a strained gasp. "Kuso--" Heero's fingers dug
into the sheets for a moment, face pressed to the pillow as his hips lifted
It got hard to concentrate on anything tangible after that. Wufei's world narrowed
into the steady rhythm of in-- out-- and Heero's responses slowly mounted to something more
carnal as his hands tightened into fists in the blanket, his breathing labored and his hips
arching back to meet each thrust, his eyes squeezed shut and his face flushed.
And faster yet, though-- he should be more careful, but-- Wufei hissed a Mandarin
curse as he struggled for control and failed miserably, the rythm suddenly much faster and
stronger than he'd meant it to be, but--
Heero gave a sudden shout, his arms straining against the bed, shoving him back
against Wufei, hips slamming into Wufei's own. Wufei lost what tenuous grasp on control he'd
had left, and laid out flat against Heero's back, hands gripping Heero's hips hard enough to
bruise. His mouth fell on Heero's throat again, and his hips moved by themselves, but Heero
wasn't complaining, he was rocking back as much as he could from his restrained position, and
his breaths were turning into gasps interspersed with a curse or a groan.
At the last minute Wufei remembered, and slipped his hand underneath Heero, searching
for and finding the other boy's erection. He pulled at it hard, three times, and suddenly
Heero was arching off the bed, lifting Wufei with him as he came with a hoarse shout, head
bowed, fingers clutching frantically at the sheets for purchase.
Muscles that had been loosened suddenly clamped down like a vice, and Wufei cried out
at the sensation. Two more frantic thrusts and his own world exploded in pleasure.
He rode the wave until it was over, then all the strength in his arms vanished and he
collapsed on top of Heero, who grunted at the sudden weight. Slowly he rolled off, still
fighting for breath, and turned his head on the pillow to look his lover over with belated
Heero's face was still pressed against the pillow, body shuddering in the aftermath,
back heaving as he panted, but after a moment he turned his head a bit to meet Wufei's
Wufei felt his mouth twitching into a grin, and reached out lethargically to flip a
lock of hair out of Heero's face to see him better. Heero rolled onto his own side slowly so
they were facing each other, and reached out to snag Wufei's hip, dragging him across the
sheets so they were pressed up against each other again.
"Not bad, I take it?" Wufei murmured against his cheek.
Heero snorted quietly and silenced Wufei's impudence with a kiss. His hand, sliding
down Wufei's back in an unconsciuos carress, slipped across his Mark.
There was no jolt of pleasure, not even a rush of energy like the first time he'd
encountered the Mark. But it grew impossibly hot, and Wufei winced, reaching back and placing
his fingertips over it in an instinctive attempt to cool it. Heero had removed his hand and
was staring blankly at it.
"What?" Wufei blew out a sigh of relief as the burning sensation slowly faded. "What
was that? Did it burn you?"
"...No." Heero was frowning at his fingertips, rubbing them together slowly. "It...
just tingled. Does it hurt?"
Wufei shook his head slightly, dismissing it. His Mark always acted strangely at
another's touch, especially Heero's. Already sleepiness was making it hard to keep his eyes
open. "You should get dressed before Mingzhu comes back," he murmured, tucking one arm under
his head and playing idly with Heero's hair with his free hand. "Before the stupid
"Yeah..." Heero blinked drowsily, resting his hand comfortably on Wufei's hip. "In a
Moments later they were both asleep.
Quatre was struggling into his outfit for the evening when Trowa entered the room on
silent feet. He watched Quatre fumble with the tiny buttons for a moment, then wordlessly
went over to help.
Quatre jumped at the touch on his shoulder, turning in surprise to look up at his
friend. "Trowa--" He stopped, remembering that he was mad at the other boy. He turned away
again, watching his fingers fight with the pearl buttons. "You'd better hurry and get
dressed," he said shortly. "The party's going to start soon."
"I'm glad everything went well," Trowa said quietly.
Quatre's shoulders stiffened, but still he refused to face his friend. "Of course it
did. I told you I could take care of myself."
"I know you can-- Quatre, will you look at me?"
Quatre ignored that. "Where are Heero and Wufei? I just got back from checking the
security at the gates. I hope they're dressed by now."
"Quatre," Trowa said in an undertone. "I wasn't trying to insult you before. I know
Quatre turned on his heel to glare up at the other boy. "Then why are you always
trying to keep me from doing anything too dangerous?" he demanded. "You don't think I'm a
good enough soldier. You don't trust me to do anything risky. Look, Trowa, I know what
everyone thinks of me. They all think I'm just like my father. That I can't fight, or won't.
"Quatre!" Trowa grabbed him by the shoulders, and Quatre shut up, startled. Trowa
hesitated, lips pressed tightly as he fought an internal debate. Abruptly he released his
smaller friend, stepping back in defeat. "You've got it wrong."
Quatre shook his head slowly, staring at him. "I can take care of myself, Trowa," he
whispered. "I'm not a kid anymore. I need you to trust me to do my job. By myself."
Trowa turned away without responding and began to change. Quatre watched him for a
moment, then returned his own attention to his outfit. His eyes were stinging, but he ignored
And where the hell was Heero?
"You had better thank God and little green apples that I'm the one who was sent to
fetch you two idiots."
Wufei jolted awake at the sharp voice, confused for only half a second before horror
slammed down and banished the rest of his drowsiness. Beside him, Heero had sat bolt upright
and was reaching for a gun he'd foolishly left on the other side of the room.
But it was Duo who stood at the foot of their bed, decked out in black traditional
Chinese clothing, hands on his hips and a dark scowl of disapproval on his face.
"Jesus H. Christ," Duo snapped. "Are you insane?? If you morons are gonna do the
horizontal tango, you could at least be a little more sneaky about it. Falling asleep like
that-- what if someone else had come to check on you??"
"Fuuuck." Wufei sat up, rubbing roughly at his face to hide his mingled shame and
staggering relief. A moment later modest embarrassment caught up, and he snatched the sheet
up so it was covering him from the waist down. He glared up at Duo, hating the flicker of
amusement in the other boy's eyes. "All right, all right, I get the point. Now get the fuck
Heero didn't seem bothered in the least by his naked state, and got out of bed,
striding across the room to fetch his clothes. "How long did we sleep?" Wufei's eyes
followed him despite himself, enjoying the view.
Duo shoved up a tightly-clasped sleeve to check his watch. "I have no clue, but I'll
tell you what time it is now. Party time. You'd both better clean up, get dressed, and get
your asses in gear. Everyone's waiting for you. I'll be right outside." He turned and
strode out, shutting the door firmly behind him.
Cursing floridly in Mandarin, Wufei threw off the covers and sprang out of bed,
snatching up his outfit for the evening. "Damn it, I didn't mean to fall asleep-- especially
not for that long."
"This is what I meant," Heero pointed out, dipping a washcloth in a basin of water and
cleaning himself up quickly and efficiently before tossing the rag to Wufei. "This is too
risky. Sooner or later you're going to have to realize that--"
"I don't want to talk about this right now," Wufei cut him off sharply. Don't want to
talk about it ever. He kept that part to himself. "Let's just go to this stupid party and
get this over with."
Heero watched him for a moment, then decided to drop it for now. "Kushrenada will no
doubt come up to you to offer his congratulations. Try to be more polite than you were
Wufei finished with the rag and started dressing hastily. "I know, I fucked up
earlier. I'm not going to make the same mistake again-- especially not in front of everyone."
He hesitated, glancing at the rumpled, messy sheets with a wince. The servants probably
wouldn't ask questions; it was their job to clean, not ask about their next Lord's private
life. If he was lucky, they'd assume he'd been with a woman. Most likely Relena. The
thought made him sick to his stomach.
It took them only a few minutes to get ready, and the rest of the Guardians-- all of
them politely not grinning at them --were waiting outside. Fighting back a blush,
Wufei lifted his chin and marched down the hall with his Guardians around him. They stopped
to pick up Relena and Hilde, and then made their way to the throne room where the party was
Everyone of importance was at the party, and it was an elaborate affair to say the
least. Decorations covered the walls and hung from the ceilings; the cooks had outdone
themselves; everyone was in their best apparel. And every few minutes one or two people would
come up to offer Wufei their best wishes and place a gift in the steadily growing
Wufei was bored out of his mind by the end of the second hour.
After the toasts and the food, there wasn't much more required of him except to sit
beside his grandfather and accept greetings and gifts from the seemingly endless crowd of
attendants. The music was slow, cheerful, and traditional, and some people danced.
Duo hauled a blushing, laughing Hilde onto the floor, and Wufei watched them keenly
for a moment before realizing that Mingzhu was staring at him hard from three seats away. She
moved her eyes towards Jianguo's other side, and Wufei followed her gaze to where Relena was
seated, picking at the remains of her food and watching the dancers with a slightly wistful
Wufei considered pretending not to understand, but he'd told himself he'd be on his
best damned behavior if it killed him. He glanced at Heero, but the other boy either didn't
notice, or was deliberately ignoring him to force him to do what he had to do. Gritting his
teeth, Wufei rose to his feet and walked around his grandfather to where Relena was seated.
Wufei could be the picture of a gentleman when he chose to be; his foster mother had made sure
of that. It was a side of himself he rarely showed, and usually only in brief intervals, but
tonight was in some ways more important to his people than it was to him, and he was going to
act like the leader they were all hoping for, and not the short-tempered teenager from earth.
He bowed to the startled girl and offered a hand silently.
Blushing furiously but unable to hide a happy smile, Relena accepted his hand and rose
to her feet, graceful despite the strange clothing she'd been fitted for, and followed Wufei
demurely onto the floor to a smattering of applause.
It didn't occur to Wufei until he was actually on the floor that he had never danced a
day in his life. He had a brief moment of panic, but Relena saved him. She'd been taught to
dance since she'd been able to walk, and she helped him through the motions, murmuring advice
every now and then through her pleased little smile. Feeling clumsy and exposed, Wufei
followed her guiding hands and was careful not to look in Heero's direction. It wasn't too
difficult to pick up; it was sort of like learning a new kata. Within a minute or two they
were dancing much more gracefully while the onlookers smiled approvingly.
He could feel Heero's eyes burning into him from across the room.
After that thankfully brief dance, it was back to sitting and accepting gifts and
well-wishes, and nothing more exciting happened until Kushrenada approached the table,
Mariemaia at his side.
Wufei refused to let himself tense up or change expression. It was easier to do with
Heero at his side and the other Guardians close by, all of them watching the Kushrenadas with
untrusting eyes and blades at their hips.
Kushrenada's uniform was freshly pressed, his boots shined to mirrors. His medals
bobbed as he stopped before the table and offered a gracious bow. "Chang Fei." He nodded to
his daughter, and Mariemaia, looking like a cute child in a pink dress and not the monster
Wufei knew her to be, stepped forward and smiled charmingly. She bobbed a curtsy and offered
a simply-wrapped box.
"Happy birthday, Fei," she said. "Please accept this small token of appreciation for
all the hospitality you and your people have shown us during our stay. May Yeong thrive and
prosper in the years to come under its new rule." She dimpled and set the box with the
others. Wufei nodded back, face carefully blank. The hairs on the back of his neck were
standing up, but he couldn't decide if it was merely their close proximity or something they'd
said. But they had been very civilized and said nothing out of sorts, so he forced himself to
ignore his anxiety. Heero's hand was resting casually on the hilt of the sword on his belt,
his eyes hard as he watched the two of them like a hawk.
Sometimes Wufei was thankful for his friend's paranoia.
Then they returned to their own seats, and Wufei allowed himself to relax. A few
minutes later Duo dragged a laughing Hilde back out to dance, and Wufei watched them for a
moment. Reluctantly he admitted that he had no say in who Hilde chose to date. Hell, she had
never said a bad word about him being with another man. Besides.... She laughed at something
Duo said, her face glowing as she pressed up close to him. He seemed to make her happy. And
in the midst of all this insanity, Hilde's happiness was important to him. Even if it was a
foul-mouthed smartass of a man who put that smile on her face.
Glancing around he realized in surprise he wasn't the only one observing them. His
grandfather was watching them with sharp eyes, brows pulled sharply together. Mingzhu and
Shen were also staring at Hilde intently, with mixed expressions of disbelief and horror on
their faces. Worry twisted in Wufei's gut, and he looked quickly back at his grandfather.
Jianguo's expression was impossible to discern, but a moment later he caught Wufei
looking at him and smiled at his grandson quickly.
Wufei returned his attention to the dancing couple, frowning to himself. Hilde was an
unexpected guest, and it was obvious that most of Wufei's family held no respect for Duo
whatsoever, but what business was it of theirs if the two of them wanted to have fun together?
He made a mental note to talk to Shen about it later.
Two hours later Wufei was struggling to stay awake and keep the boredom off his face.
But ten minutes before midnight his grandfather rose to his feet, and a hush fell. Sensing
that something important was happening at last, Wufei straightened and gazed up at his
"My grandson is of the proper age to take my place as the Lord of Yeong," Jianguo
said, his strong voice carrying well in the large room. "His training will intensify, and he
will learn all there is to know about ruling with wisdom and fairness. And in just a month's
time, he will fully be a man."
Wufei did a quick mental calculation and realized with a start his grandfather was
referring to the New Year.
Jianguo started to speak again, then paused, covering his mouth to cough. He cleared
his throat, eyes bloodshot, and Wufei wondered if such an old man should be up so late. He
motioned, and both Wufei and Relena got to their feet. Jianguo's face was full of pride as he
placed a hand on each of their shoulders. "He will wed the lovely Relena Peacecraft of earth
and open the doors for peace and unity between our two worlds. And now the most important
event of the evening." He looked first at Relena, then at Wufei, his voice solemn. "You must
take your young bride-to-be to our Eternal Protector and get her blessing."
Wufei knew without having to be told that he was referring to the jade dragon. He
swallowed hard, gaze flickering unconsciously to Heero. Heero was staring straight ahead,
refusing to meet his gaze.
"Go now, Fei, and present your bride," Jianguo said, and Wufei had no choice but to
offer his elbow and lead her out of the room with his grandfather at his back. After a moment
Heero followed more slowly, hand resting on the hilt of his sword. Applause followed them out
of the room, but Wufei was numb and barely noticed. Out of the corner of his eye he caught
Hilde's sympathetic look.
The walk to the dragon's room seemed to last forever, and he watched dully as the
guards there opened the heavy doors, ignoring their smiles of congratulations.
This... couldn't be happening.
His grandfather, coughing, took the lantern waiting for them and led the way into the
room. Heero was not allowed to enter, and stood waiting outside. Wufei glanced at him once
more over his shoulder, then the door was thundering shut.
Once inside, far from the prying eyes of the court, Jianguo stopped and began to cough
without restraint. Wufei looked at him quickly as the violent coughs rocked his grandfather's
"I'm fine, I'm fine," Jianguo insisted, voice a bit strained. He cleared his throat a
few times, blinking hard. "A bit too much wine, that's all." He handed the lantern over
solemnly, nodding to the shadows on the far end of the room. "Go now."
Wufei took the lantern reluctantly, nodding. Relena looked nervous, and her fingers
dug into Wufei's arm as he led the way across the room with lead feet.
Then the lantern light lit upon the jade dragon's fierce features, startling her, and
she gasped, coming to a halt. Wufei stopped as well, staring up at the statue in
He didn't realize he'd said the words out loud until Relena turned her head to look at
him sharply. "I can't do this."
She tugged on his arm gently, trying to get his attention. "Wufei?"
Wufei closed his eyes and tried to swallow past the knot of panic in his throat. If
he did this... it meant no turning back. It meant wedding this girl in a month. Someone he
hadn't even been able to stand until recently. Someone he barely knew.
Someone he could never love.
A sibilant hiss, barely audible and laced with amusement, carressed his ear.
~Inevitability is like a noose about your throat, is it not?~
Startled, Wufei's eyes flew open.
It was like the vision in the infirmary and the hallway. Before him stood a young
Chinese woman he didn't recognize, startling beautiful and dressed in a gorgeous but ancient
traditional gown. Her long ebony hair spilled loose over her shoulders, her full lips curled
in a small, secret smile. As if she was laughing at his expense. When she spoke, her voice
seemed to come from every corner of the room, a strange eerie whisper that made Wufei's hair
stand on end.
~It is a strange favor to ask. Do you really think the debt owed is great enough
to require this of me?~
Confused, Wufei opened his mouth a few times. Words tumbled out of his throat
unbidden. "Who are you?" Something about his voice was off. There was a faint echo, and
he'd had no intention of speaking at all. He tried to back away, but his body felt frozen in
The woman looked even more amused. ~You know who I am.~
"Nezha," Wufei said, the name forcing itself out without his consent.
She laughed, a mix of happiness and something dark and old. ~Is that what you call
me? Very well. I will humor you. It is Nezha, if you wish.~ She gazed at Wufei
intently, all signs of humor gone. ~You ask this of me, but I see no reason to grant your
request. I have fulfilled my debt by watching your people. If you truly wish more of me, you
will return what was stolen from me.~
"Those artifacts are long lost." Wufei was trembling with the desperate struggle to
keep the words inside. "Most likely destroyed."
~No. Not all.~ She eyed him shrewdly. ~There is one that can be recovered.
Retrieve this, and bring it before me, and I will grant you your wish.~
"I may not find it in my lifetime," Wufei-- or the voice inside of him --protested.
"Give me this one favor, and I swear my ancestors will find the item for you."
~No.~ Her voice rang out, hurting Wufei's ears. ~You. You alone will
retrieve this for me and place it at my feet. If not in this lifetime, then in another.
Swear this to me with your blood, and I will give you what you want.~ A smile twisted at
her lips, as if she was laughing at him again. ~But I should warn you, it is useless if
you never meet again. Forever you will be without a part of yourself. Are you willing to
"Yes." The voice that was Wufei's yet not was firm. "I want another chance. I must
have another chance, or..." he hesitated.
~Poor little mortal,~ the beautiful woman purred. ~Already you feel as if a
part of yourself is gone. The hearts of man are so weak and pathetic.~ She held out a
hand abruptly. ~Very well, then, young 'Lord', it is a deal. Make your oath.~
Wufei finally won the struggle and gained control of his voice. "Who are you??" he
burst out furiously, panting with the exertion. "What is this?!"
The woman's eyes shifted just slightly, and it was as if she was truly looking at him
for the first time. ~This is you, little Lord,~ she whispered, smiling secretly.
~And you know who I am.~
Wufei threw all of his strength into his legs, and finally managed to take one
wavering step away from her.
It was as if someone had pulled a shade over his eyes. Everything plunged into
darkness, and he blinked rapidly for a moment before realizing he had control over his body
again. He looked around wildly, his eyes adjusting to the dark, but the strange woman was
gone. The lantern was spinning wildly in his hand, throwing shadows against the wall and the
jade statue before him. Relena was staring at him in surprise.
"Wufei? Are you all right?"
Wufei panted for breath, limbs trembling. "What the hell just happened?" he demanded
Relena hesitated, glancing from him to the statue. "I.. I don't know. You suddenly
went very still and stared at it for a long time. It was like you were in a trance. Are you
Wufei stared at her incredulously. "Didn't I say anything? Didn't you see that
"What? No. What woman?" She gripped his arm anxiously. "Are you feeling all right?
You're white as a sheet!"
"Fei." Jianguo hobbled towards them out of the shadows, coughing and frowning in
displeasure. "What is going on? You have very little time." He motioned to Relena. "Place
one hand on the dragon, and the other on his Mark."
Wufei blinked rapidly, looking first at his grandfather and then at her. "This," he
muttered, reaching back to lift his shirt enough to expose the tattoo. He was moving as if in
a dream, mind still reeling from his encounter with the strange woman.
What had that been about? Who had that woman been? Who had she been speaking to?
Another warped memory the dragon had given him like that vision of the girl in the infirmary
and the man in the hall?
Relena had already placed one hand hesitantly on the foot of the statue, and was shyly
reaching out her other hand towards Wufei. Wufei almost jerked away on reflex, but his
grandfather was watching expectantly. He had a wild moment of indecision, but before he could
pull away, Relena's fingertips were brushing his Mark.
Something shot down his spine like white-hot liquid and exploded out of his Mark in a
Relena shrieked and fell to the floor, cradling her hand to her chest. Wufei stumbled
back, hand flying to his lower back for the pain he expected to strike at any moment.
"What!" Jianguo moved quickly for someone of his age. He knelt beside Relena and
gently took her hand, turning it to stare in disbelief at the angry burn mark there. "Fei!
What happen..." he turned on his heel to glare up at Wufei and fell silent.
Wufei was lowering his hand from his back in surprise. There was no pain, only a
steady throbbing heat. He stared back at his grandfather, stunned and uncomprehending.
Jianguo's expression turned to one of disbelief. He rose slowly to his feet, staring
at his grandson. "What is the meaning of this?" he whispered harshly. He turned his head
quickly to stare up at the statue. "Why would she... what..." he broke off into wracking
coughs once more.
The coughs grew suddenly worse, and Wufei's concern shouldered aside his own
confusion. He hurried to his grandfather's side, holding his arm to support the suddenly
frail man. "Grandfather," he said sharply. "What's wrong? You should lie down--"
Jianguo waved a hand, struggling to speak through his coughs. "Rejected--" he gasped.
"The dragon has-- rejected--" He coughed harder, and Wufei stared in horror at the spatter of
blood on the wrinkled hand. "All is lost," Jianguo whispered, eyes full of despair.
Wufei barely managed to catch him before he collapsed. He knelt on the floor,
clutching the thin body to his chest, and shouted for help at the top of his
Author's Notes: No, you're not really supposed to understand wtf is going on in that
last part ^.^;;;
...Erm...Remember how I said once that this wouldn't be some 60-chapter monstrosity? *wince*
OK, here's the deal... I made a quick list of things that still have to happen and/or be
resolved, and if I struggle to make absolutely sure it never reaches 60 chapters, it will mean
rushed explanations and cutting out some things altogether. So I can either let myself wreck
the ending of the story by limiting it to a set number of chapters, or let the story resolve
itself at its own pace. I'm going with the latter, but this means it will more than likely be
over 60 chapters. The next chapter starts Part 3, which is very short compared to the
previous two parts. There will also be a slight time-skip; you'll see what I mean in the next
chapter. Anyway, it might turn out that I'll finish the story and realize it's only 59
chapters, or 61 or something like that. Then again, it might be 66 o__O;
My point is, I can't tell you exactly how much longer this will be; only that it's winding
towards the end. ^^;; But if you enjoy the story, that might not bother you anyway.
*seizes muses by the hair and drags them away*
Back to GW fanfics