"Well, I guess we'll see you when we see you," Duo said with an easy smile, taking Silverwolf's slender hand in a gentle handshake.
The priestess smiled warmly at him. "Hai. Thank you for your help, Duo." She extended the same smile towards the other pilots. "All of you."
They were grouped on the front lawn of Quatre's estate late the next morning, saying their goodbyes before they parted ways.
Raven was grinning at Trinity with an amused look. "What's with the hat?" she teased.
Trinity blushed, reaching up to tug off the silly cone hat Duo had forced him to wear. "Ano... it's my birthday," he mumbled, looking embarrassed. "I'm fourteen today."
"Happy birthday!" half of the wiccans immediately congradulated. Trinity squirmed at the attention, shooting Duo a Look. Duo smirked at him.
"If you ever need us," Ash said to Quatre, "just let us know."
Quatre nodded politely, looking vaguely confused, as if he wasn't sure if he knew the man or not.
The other pilots exchanged a look. Ash hadn't appeared until yesterday... and yesterday was....
When Quatre and Trinity had woken up that morning, they had been acting strangely- more like their old selves. It had taken a little while to pin down what it was.
They didn't remember.
All that had happened the previous day was just a blurred memory- more like a dream -to the both of them. Whatever powers had been resurrected in them seemed to have been hidden once more. The only thing to hint at the horrors and changes they had been through was Trinity's slightly higher level of maturity and the way Quatre would gaze distantly at nothing with a strange look on his face, as if trying to remember something elusive.
The wiccans didn't seem too disturbed or surprised by this fact, and so the other pilots didn't push it. They decided amongst themselves after their initial surprise that it was probably better that they didn't remember quite what had happened that day. And so they were careful not to bring it up.
"So are you going to come with us?" Wufei asked Trinity, turning to the smaller boy.
"You're more than welcome to," Quatre agreed with a sunny smile.
Trinity hesitated, looking over each pilot, and Duo grinned wryly as he thought of what his young friend must be seeing.
Trowa, Wufei, and Quatre were standing together, the blonde's fingers linked through Trowa's while Wufei stood almost close enough to brush shoulders with the solemn clown.
Heero was standing just slightly behind Duo; they weren't touching, and Duo had managed to contain his PDA most of the morning (well not so much inside...), but the closeness between them was obvious to anyone who knew how aloof the perfect soldier usually was.
Trinity smiled. "I wouldn't want to..get in anybody's way," he said carefully, and even Wufei grinned a little at Trinity's keen observations. "And besides, I think I should have some decent training before I get in a Gundam cockpit again."
Quatre opened his mouth to protest, but another voice interrupted smoothly.
"Why don't you stay with us?"
Trinity turned to look at Griffin, blinking in surprise.
Silverwolf was nodding in agreement, letting him do the talking with a small, knowing smile. She and Ash exhanged an amused glance.
The handsome boy brushed wild black hair from his face, offering Trinity the faintest hint of a smile. "Besides, we're close to Relena-dono's place. You could visit her anytime you like."
Duo glanced back at Wufei, recalling that he had commented once on Trinity's sharp mind- how it reminded him of a politician's. Maybe being around Relena was a good idea for him.
Trinity was chewing on the rim of his cone hat in an unconscious nervous gesture, glancing from the rest of Avarion and Earthfire to Griffin. "Well.." he edged.
"I already brought it up with Silverwolf," Griffin assured him, nodding towards her, though his gray eyes- a shade or two darker than the other boy's -stayed on Trinity. "You're welcome to stay with Avarion as long as you like."
Trinity's cheeks turned an adorable shade of pink as he smiled a little shyly at the older boy. "Hai," he said quietly. "Arigato."
Aww how cute. Trinity has a little crush.
Duo glanced back at Trowa, amused. You don't approve?
Trowa glanced away, the closest he would come to rolling his eyes.
Don't tease him.
I wasn't going to! Duo pouted.
"We'll take good care of him," Silverwolf said as Duo turned to her. "We'll be happy to take him in."
"Duo." Heero was glancing at his watch. "We need to go."
"Hai hai, don't rush me," Duo protested. He crooked a finger at Trinity. "C'mere, squirt."
Trinity made a face at the nickname, but walked over.
Duo pulled him close, wrapping his arms around him in a tight, affectionate hug. "See ya, Trin," he murmured. "Take care of yourself."
Trinity hugged him back, burrowing his face into Duo's neck. "I will," he promised quietly. "You'd better visit me or I'm going after you with Thundertalon."
Duo laughed, releasing him and smiling proudly down at him. He ruffled the boy's hair affectionately, ignoring his injured look. "Here's a piece of advice for you before you head out." He glanced towards Heero before smiling down at his childhood friend, his voice gentle. "Some risks are *always* worth taking."
Trinity smiled back at him, nodding.
He shook hands with the rest of the pilots, accepting a quick hug from Quatre and exchanging a wry grin with Wufei, who had grown to respect the young boy he had once looked on with scorn.
"Ja, minna," Duo called cheerfully, waving as he turned with the other pilots and headed towards the Gundams out back. The two covens called their farewells, and Trinity waved wildly from where he was standing beside Griffin.
"You think he'll be OK?" Duo fretted, glancing back several times.
Heero took his shoulder and steered him firmly onwards. "He'll be fine," he said. "He's safe with Avarion."
They went around the back and halted, gazing up at the five Gundams gleaming in the late morning sunlight.
Wufei strode over to lay his hand affectionately against Shenlong's enormous foot, gazing up at the mecha. "Hello, Nataku," he greeted quietly, almost too quietly to hear.
Heero's voice was the curt tone he always used when issuing orders, and got everyone's attention. "Leave one at a time and don't all go the same way." He glanced at his watch. "Meet at the new safehouse no later than 1300."
Duo glanced inconspicuously at his own watch. It was 11:14. He grinned evilly to himself, but managed to keep his tongue in check as Heero made sure everyone had the new location memorized.
Trowa left first, then Wufei a few minutes later. Quatre called a cheerful "see you soon!" to Duo before powering up Sandrock and shooting off in a northward direction shortly after.
Heero glanced at his watch. "I'll go last," he offered. "Go ahead and get Deathscythe ready."
Duo sidled up to the other pilot and wrapped an arm around his neck, grinning at his calm face. "Ne, Heero," he teased, "you sure gave a lot of leeway for a place that can't be more than forty minutes away."
Heero's expression didn't change. "Someone might get lost," he said simply, his voice a monotone even when joking.
Duo laughed and leaned in, capturing the other boy's mouth in a soft kiss.
Heero didn't pull away; he slid a hand around Duo's waist, kissing him back until they both drew back for air.
"Ne," Duo breathed, smiling at him, eyes shining with promise. "Think we can make a little stop on the way there?"
Heero studied him solemnly, mild amusement flickering in the backs of his eyes. "Like where?"
Duo grinned impishly. "I'm sure there's a cheap little hotel on the way there," he said innocently, "that we can take a nap in."
"A nap?" Heero arched a brow at him, as if to say 'bullshit'.
Duo laughed again, rubbing his nose against Heero's. "Well... *you* can take a nap if you want," he purred.
Heero's lips curved in a faint smile.
"I didn't think so," Duo teased, kissing him quickly once more before pulling away. He wiggled his fingers in farewell. "Ja, Heero-kun," he called cheerfully, striding towards Deathscythe. "I'll be at the Wayside Inn if you need to find me~!"
Heero snorted and watched silently as the self-proclaimed Shinigami climbed into Deathscythe's cockpit and powered the big mecha up. Stepping back, he squinted in the sunlight as the Gundam blasted off into the sky, quickly becoming just a dot on the horizon.
He turned to look back at the estate, where he knew the covens were probably still in the front lawn watching the Gundams leave.
All his training as a pilot and a soldier had not prepared him for some of the shit that had happened this week. Least of all the come-ons of a certain braided baka.
He looked upwards at the sky, the clouds moving lazily across the blue backdrop, and took in a deep breath of fresh air.
Was Atreusio with Neo now? Was he happy?
He felt his lips quirk in a small smile.
Atreusio would have another chance in his next life. He and Neo would have another chance.
Just like the chance he was being given right now.
He headed towards Wing, reaching into his back pocket for his map.
He was going to need it if he was going to find the Wayside Inn.
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