Author: Aimee
Type: Romance, Angst, Humor, Citrus
Warnings: Yaoi, Language, Citrus
Disclaimer: I wish. *sigh* I REALLY wish...
Notes: Father-son moments ahead...enjoy! ^_^

An Arranged Marriage + Part 7

Duo sighed softly as he gazed out the window. "Four months," he whispered, watching the rain trickle down the thick, foggy pane. "Four months," he repeated. It had been four months since he'd married Wufei... and they were still where they had started, on an uneven footing of hate and lust. Actually... somewhere along the way Wufei had seemed to come to an internal resolution and as a result, he was... kind to Duo. Ever since the first night, Wufei had never said a word about Duo's relationship with Zechs although he knew exactly what went on between the two of them. Ever since then, after every little tiff with Wufei, Duo had gone running straight to Zechs... only to end up in his bed rather than to receive the loving comfort he desperately sought. Duo sighed softly, trying to understand.

He didn't know what he was trying to understand. Everything, he supposed. He didn't understand why he was married to Wufei. He didn't understand Wufei and his attitude towards him. He didn't understand Zechs and their relationship. He didn't even understand himself and why he behaved the way he did. In a very small, indifferent way, Duo was aware of the fact that if he dropped the sarcastic, hateful act he might actually be able to make his marriage work. But he didn't. He was as contradictory as he could be, trying Wufei's and everyone else's patience, reveling in the arguments that always followed his sarcastic remarks and malicious stunts. And through it all... Wufei remained indifferent to him and his attitude. Oh yes, he participated in every disagreement and even on occasion tried to stop Duo from running off to Zechs. But he didn't exert any power over Duo, he let Duo push him away; throw him off... anything. It was as if Wufei had given up on him.

Duo sighed again and pressed his forehead gently against the window as he got to his knees. He was really beginning to doubt this marriage... Wufei no longer seemed to care if it worked or not and he... well Duo hadn't wanted it in the first place. But now... what would he do without Wufei to fall back on? It was on that cold rainy afternoon with the wind beating at the shutters and drowning in his loneliness, that Duo came to his own internal revelation. He'd become used to the substantial support of Wufei in his life. Before he'd always been like rubber ball, bouncing off everything and hurting everyone in the process. But now... he had something stable to hold on to, a lifeline to cling to. And so on he went, doing as he wished and hurting the only one who had ever shown the slightest bit of care for him. Oh, there had always been his parents but they had never cared for him like that. They'd had to love him, he was their son, their only child, their heir... they didn't even know him. Wufei knew him. Wufei even understood him... partially. No one could understand him fully if he didn't even understand himself.

Duo gnashed his teeth violently as he stood up, his poor brain confused and perplexed by all these emotions and thoroughly disappointed in himself for reaching no conclusion. Well, he had in a way.

Duo now knew in a roundabout way that he didn't hate Wufei. He never had. In fact... maybe he even cared for him. But love? Never. Duo sighed piteously as he exited the room. He still had a lot to figure out. But maybe... he could start again with Wufei.

Maybe.

"Hey... where's Wufei?" Duo demanded of a harried looking woman marching past him, the tip of a bright blue just barely visible over the enormous pile of linen she held.

The woman turned and rolled her eyes in exasperation, her every movement suggesting the thought 'you don't know where you own husband is?' "He received a letter from his mother this morning. His father's ill and the Prince has gone home incase-," the woman paused and her face contorted a bit with sorrow. "In case he has to say goodbye."

+

Wufei groaned softly as he leaned his head back against the red velvet of the cushions adorning the inside of the carriage, rattling over uneven ground as he crossed two kingdoms. Every time he closed his eyes, the only image he had was that of his spouse... it was always Duo that sprung to his mind whenever he had a free moment to think of something other than the kingdoms he was quickly learning to rule. And it was always the passionate Duo and their turbulent relationship that came to mind.

A sigh escaped his lips as his eyes closed, ignoring the passing scenery and turning to his own internal images. Violet eyes that glimmered with unshed tears at the end of every lovemaking session, making Wufei fearful he'd hurt Duo only to be shoved away with a harsh hand and brusque word. Chestnut hair that glinted golden, taunting the viewer as it was spread out temptingly only to be snatched away with the strangled cry of 'No one touches my hair but me!' Ivory skin that fairly glowed in the moonlight that cried out to be touched; spots of color burning on high cheekbones while violet eyes snapped with fiery indignation or fury, depending on the sort of argument they were having. Wufei's hands curved into fists and slammed into the thick velvet of the soft cushions surrounding him as he remembered each dispute.

It always ended with a fight. No matter how calm and rational Wufei tried to remain, it always ended like this. Duo could never keep his fiery temper under control for longer than five minutes before he exploded, screaming out his stance while his hands beat down futilely on the nearest available surface-a table, a wall, the bed, Wufei, it didn't matter as long as it was something stable and unmoving for those slender fists to pound upon. And then Wufei... despite his level head in the court, with Duo he couldn't last long, hating to see Duo hate him, hating to see himself add to Duo's vengeance. And then, Wufei would explode in a spurt of white anger, answering every single one of Duo's taunts, rising to the bait, hitting back... but his anger would fade so quickly, just as quickly as it had arisen... but Duo nursed his anger, held it to him long enough to run from Wufei... and straight into Zechs' much too confident arms.

Wufei was unable to keep the scowl of anger from passing over his face as he thought of Zechs. He hated the man. That much was true. Wufei didn't care that there was blood between them, that technically, Zechs was his uncle. The only thing that mattered was that Duo was his and Zechs wanted him!

As the carriage slowly came to a stop, Wufei's eyes opened, startled with the quickness of their journey and the sudden thought that had suddenly sprung into his mind.

What... what if Duo was the one who wanted Zechs?

No, Duo couldn't possibly love that Merquise man.

... Could he?

+

"Wufei!"

Wufei turned, for the first time in his life, grateful to hear his mother's voice. Anything was better than the awkward loneliness he felt in his childhood home. It hadn't taken Wufei longer than all of five minutes to realize the castle was unfamiliar to him, that it no longer seemed warm and comfortable but foreign and strange. Wufei was no longer a part of this bustling life... his life was now intertwined with another's and in his heart of heart's, Wufei knew exactly which life he preferred.

"Hello Mother." Wufei managed a weak smile and greeting at his mother before he was enveloped by a pair of trembling arms that suddenly seemed much less confident and strong. As he was held at arm's length away from his mother, Wufei suddenly realized with acute awareness his mother was becoming old.

"You're too thin," Relena announced critically. "I knew you and Duo should've come here where I could make sure the two of you could eat properly-not that I'm saying Dorothy doesn't watch over you two properly but she's really not quite as concerned with things like health as I. By the way, where is Duo? He did come with you, didn't he? I've been dying to see him, he's so cheerful, I thought it might do Heero some good-not that you won't do more, but I thought that since you're so close to the situation and all you couldn't be cheerful, Heaven knows I can't!"

Wufei stared wordlessly at his mother. Despite the signs of aging and weakening, she was still the same. Content to see only what she wanted, stoutly believing Heero loved her, Wufei was happily married and that she was still the youthful girl she'd been when she'd married. She'd never seen what she hadn't wanted and she wasn't seeing it now. And here she was, babbling away as if nothing had happened, that it was the same as always, only that there was a new family member.

"Duo... he couldn't come," Wufei lied. How could he tell his mother she and Heero had been wrong? That their brilliant match wasn't so brilliant after all? No, it was much better to lie and tell her Duo was too busy to leave the country, Wufei decided. Lying wasn't exactly what he'd call honorable but neither was breaking his mother's heart.

"That's too bad. I was so looking forward to see the two of you together-you had the most beautiful wedding," Relena mused. Her eyes brightened and a wide grin appeared on her face. "Tell me, have you two thought about children? I'd love to see a granddaughter and I know your father would die of delight if you had a little boy!"

Wufei's eyes widened slightly. "Children?" < We're only children ourselves and they want grandchildren? >

Obviously misunderstanding her son's expression, Relena added kindly, "Well you can always adopt, you know. And then, there are always surrogate mothers. I know a few girls who'd die to bear the royal heir!"

"Maybe... one day." Wufei forced a strained smile before asking quickly in the sudden lapse of silence: "Where's Father?"

Sudden tears stung in the Queen's eyes as she said softly, "In his room... with only that dreadful clown as a companion. I don't understand why that clown won't leave! I've never known a jester to have such a devotion to its master before!"

"Maybe," Wufei began quietly. "Maybe Trowa loves him."

"Nonsense. He can't even string together two words let alone comprehend the depth of emotions that come with love," Relena said scornfully. Wufei said nothing, skillfully averting his mother's eyes, only asking instead to be led to his father.

+

The one thing Wufei had always hated most about his childhood home was the dimness. Always it seemed that there was never enough light filtering through the narrow slits of the windows to light up the castle and that the warm glow of the lamps never quite reached far enough to drive away the shadows that always lurked in the corners. It was then, in the late afternoon in his father's room that Wufei hated the shadows the most.

A sober form stood, slowly unbending its long angles from its perch beside Heero's bed. "Hello Prince." Wufei closed his eyes for a swift second as he took in the full view of his father's illicit lover, the seriousness of the situation suddenly thrust upon him. His father had to be dying. Otherwise... otherwise Trowa would never look like this. The gravity-defying bang drooped limply, circles drawn deep beneath his eyes, black smudges in his ivory skin, even paler than Duo's. And his eyes, his mouth, everything about his appearance suggested lovelorn despair from the way his mouth twitched at the sight of Heero's still form to the way his eyes glowed suspiciously bright in the dim afternoon light to the way his whole body appeared broken. "He's been asking for you." Trowa nodded at the fitfully coughing figure and his lips trembled so faintly it would have deceived nearly everyone. Everyone but Heero and his son whose keen eyes saw just as much as his sire's.

Wufei glanced up then and met Trowa's eyes, for the first time seeing the man Heero loved rather than just his father's jester. His lips parted and noiselessly he extended his hand and said softly, "I'm not Prince... " The depths of green softened as Trowa reached out and wordlessly drew him closer to the bed.

Wufei swallowed audibly and said in a weak whisper, "Father?"

Immediately, Heero's eyes flew open. "Wufei!"

"I'm here." Wufei's eyes darted up to meet Trowa's, the plain truth shining in both their eyes, the resigning in Trowa's and the anguished realization in Wufei's. Heero was ill, that much was true. But Wufei had not been told of how pale and translucent the he was, of how his skin was paper-thin, the way his messy strands fell limply over his eyes without the strength to push them away nor of the coughing that racked his body. But as Wufei's eyes flickered back to his father, he saw the strength still lying quietly in the depths of the seemingly mild cobalt eyes. It was then Wufei grew frightened. How could someone with so much spirit and strength lying in quiet wait look so deathly?

"Trowa."

"Heero?"

"Go. I want to talk to my son." So much authority still in that hoarse whisper of a voice!

For the first time, Wufei saw Trowa hesitate to obey before he nodded and slipped out of the door. Heero sighed heavily as the door closed and struggled to push himself up to a sitting position, snapping at Wufei's efforts to help until he managed to pull himself up, unaided. "I'm not senile or paralyzed yet," Heero growled, fixating his eyes on Wufei. In response, Wufei only nodded slightly, unable to gaze directly into at his father, uncomfortably aware of the fact that Heero always saw everything Relena always seemed to overlook.

"I don't know where you got your dark looks from," Heero said abruptly.

"I assume they're from the paternal side but you never know." His train of thought seemed to leap from one topic to another as he added, "You're like me, you know."

"Am I?"

Heero nodded gravely. "You are. The only bits of your mother and her family I see in you are your love of books and your desire to cease arguments. Otherwise, you are like me in every other aspect." Wufei only shook his head slightly, his dark eyes trained on his father's. "You don't believe me?" Heero snorted in contempt. "Don't then, children never value their parents until they're dead."

"Father-,"

"Don't 'father' me," Heero ordered. Again, his mind seemed to jump to the next topic, as he demanded unexpectedly: "Do you love Duo?"

"What?" Wufei looked up in surprise. "Wh-why?"

"Because! I know he's involved with your half-uncle and I want to know if you love him!"

Wufei quickly shifted his gaze from his father's inquiring eyes to the floor. "I... I don't know," he whispered, half-ashamed of his own indecision, half-angry at his father's inquiry.

"What do you mean you don't know? Either you love him or you don't!" Heero cried impatiently, unable to understand the indecision in his son's nature that his own had never experienced.

"I don't! Sometimes, when he smiles and we get along, I think I might be falling for him! And then he turns around and that insufferable streak of his peeks through and we end up arguing and then he runs off to Zechs... and then I think I hate him." Wufei sighed heavily, running his fingers through his hair pensively. "He's never the same and I never know whether to love him or hate him."

"Do you want to hate him?"

"No."

"Do you want to love him?"

"Yes." Wufei smiled half-heartedly as he met his father's gaze. "Yes."

"Than love him," Heero instructed simply.

"It's not that easy... "

"It's easier to love than to hate." Heero seemed to speak from experience as he sighed added, "Much easier. Love his good side and of what he can become and... overlook his faults. Just... try."

Wufei looked up then, surprised by the tone in Heero's voice. He'd never heard his father speak like this before... something was happening and Wufei couldn't grasp hold of it. "But... he hates me. He... I think he loves Zechs."

"But its you he married. No one forced him to say 'I do'. He married you and whether he likes it or not, he's bound to you."

"Father... "

"Make him love you, Wufei. After all, doesn't Duo always come back?"

Wufei said nothing, only nodded slightly before an anxious Trowa slipped into the room, effectively ending the father-son moment.

+

Wu: So do I love him or not?
Duo: You love me! How could ANYONE not love a face like *THIS*? *smiles*
Wu: ...
Duo: YOU HATE ME! *cries*
Wu: 9.9
Wu: Sorry... *pat on back*
Duo: ^_____________^
Er, comments are nice, yeah. ^_^;;;  

[part 6] [part 8] [back to Singles a - k]