Author: Aimee
Type: Romance, Angst, Humor, Lemon/Lime, Yaoi, Death, AU
Warnings: Yaoi, Lemon/Lime, Language, Death
Disclaimer: They're not mine although I'd certainly like them so if you big shots in Japan wanna sell them, look thisaway!
Notes: IT'S DONE! HAHAHA I FINALLY FINISHED IT! scream of joy rings throughout the house followed by a few cartwheels and flips After like months of GW-writer's-block...I finished the fic! Yeeess! cheers After so long a wait, I wanted this to be a spectacular ending but this only appears to be a mediocre one... whatever... it's DONE!

An Arranged Marriage + Part 9

It was raining, Wufei realized idly. How perfectly clichéd. His father was dead. His spouse was openly having an affair with his half-uncle. And it was raining. Wufei wanted to laugh. Laugh until he was shaking, until tears streamed down his face and until he was exhausted.

"'Fei?"

Someone was saying his name. Wufei had a vague memory of someone calling him that, a long time ago, when he was a child. Who had it been? Wufei's face contorted as he struggled to remember who'd used the affectionate nickname.

His father had.

Wufei's throat constricted painfully as he remembered it now. He'd been very young, still a toddler and he'd fallen down the long flight of stairs leading up from the main entranceway. He'd hit his head on the corner of the banister, cutting himself and his mother had promptly fainted at the sight of blood marring the white marble and sticking his black hair to his forehead. Heero had rolled his eyes, stepped over her and lifted his son up, telling him soothingly, "It'll be all right. 'Fei, you didn't get hurt very much at all, just a tiny cut, so stop crying now."

That was the only time Wufei could remember his father showing such open affection towards his son.

"Wufei! Are you all right?" Duo's tone was anxious, his hands nervously tender as he swept dark strands out of Wufei's face and gazed desperately into blank eyes. "Please, Wufei, answer me!" No response and out of ideas, Duo pressed frantic lips to Wufei's cold, unresponsive ones.

Wufei was vaguely aware of a pair of lips, warmed with salty tears pressed against his. But whose were they? Somewhere, Wufei was aware of a presence, the presence of someone he loved. But he couldn't see them; all's he could see was the image of his father. Wufei hadn't realized it, but he had loved his father. Had. Past tense. Heero was gone. The only man, Wufei realized now, that had really understood him, that had really been his friend, loved him...was gone.

"Please... answer," Duo whispered, embracing Wufei as well he could from their awkward angle and resting his head on top of Wufei's. The Asian youth in his arms jolted and he batted Duo away from him.

"Duo!"

"Yes?" Duo's voice was half relieved, and still half sorrowful as he gazed at Wufei.

"I need to be alone," Wufei informed him roughly.

"Are you sure?" Duo replied doubtfully, gazing worriedly at the dry-eyed, strangely calm youth.

"Positive. I need to think about this a little."

"Okay. I'll be with my parents if you need me." Duo sighed and bent, pressing a chaste kiss to Wufei's forehead, squeezing his hand lightly as he turned to go.

Wufei sighed and closed his eyes as he slumped back in his chair, the last lines of his mother's letter ringing throughout his mind...

The king is dead. Long live the king!

Wufei shuddered as he whispered to himself, "Long live the king. But... " Wufei sighed again, his eyes slowly drifting open. "... but what if the king doesn't want to be king?"

+

"Duo? What's wrong?"

Duo smiled wearily at his father as Quatre sat down quietly beside his son. As the older man turned worried eyes upon him, Duo was suddenly struck by how much he cared about his father. If it had been him in Wufei's stead... Duo closed his eyes briefly, chasing away the unwanted thought. "Duo. Tell me if something's bothering you." Quatre place a serious hand on Duo's shoulder, forcing his son to look at him, the same shape and mood of his eyes reflected in Duo's. Briefly, Quatre wondered how a child with two blue-eyed blondes for parents had ended up with violet eyes and chestnut locks. Duo smiled wanly at him, and Quatre's wondering of Dorothy's chastity was driven away. That sad smile was too much like his own for anyone to doubt Duo's parentage.

"Wufei's father died," Duo answered softly.

"Heero... oh no... I'm so sorry." Quatre looked stunned, his hand automatically reaching up to stroke Duo's hair, a comforting gesture he hadn't used on the boy since he was six years old and screamed angrily at the world 'boys don't cry! They just don't!'

"Don't tell me that. Tell Wufei... " Duo's voice trailed off and his eyes blurred with tears suddenly, much to the surprise of his father. "Dad, when did you know you loved Mom?"

If Quatre was startled by the unexpectedness and absurdity of Duo's question, he didn't show it. Instead, he gazed calmly at his son, clearly thinking. "I don't know, Duo. When we were first married, I can safely say I didn't even like her. She seemed so different from me... nothing about her seemed to make sense... but the days wore into months and in that first year, we both changed and adjusted ourselves to the new roles we possessed. She still shocks me, almost daily... but I've become used to her mannerisms and the way she lives her life... and I find it appealing now, something I like."

"But when did you know?" Duo pressed on.

Quatre smiled, his eyes soft as he gazed down at Duo. "When you were born, Duo. She handed you over to me with a sort of tenderness and pride I'd never seen in her. I asked what your name was and when she told me... I knew that I loved her. It seemed so perfect and natural, I wondered why I'd never seen it before." Quatre's smile softened, and slowly disappeared. "Duo... is there something going on between you and Wufei?"

"His father is dead," Duo cried. "I can't just say anything to him, he'll think it's pity!"

"Do you love him?"

"I don't know!" Duo let out a strangled sigh, burying his face in his hands as he bowed his head. "I really don't know... sometimes I think I do. Sometimes I want to tell him. But then... I remember what it's been like the past few months. And I don't want to tell him anymore, and I don't think I love him anyway."

"Maybe you're just afraid," Quatre said gently, his hand still stroking Duo's hair lightly in the comforting gesture of old. "Look who you've had for role models. Heero and Relena who never got along, Heero had an illicit lover. And then your mother and I... although we do love each other, we're always at odds about something." He sighed, reaching out to gently cup Duo's face in his hands, turning Duo to look at him. "The question is Duo... do you think you could even possibly try to live without him beside you? Everyday for the rest of what is sure to be a long life, to wake up and see... maybe a cool blonde. But to never see a raven-haired boy who awakens things in you that you thought never existed?"

"How'd you learn so much?" Duo sniffed out, his eyes wide with the effort not to cry.

Quatre's smile returned as he released Duo, leaning back quietly. "I'm not just your father, Duo. I'm a king... king see and learn things no one else in their right mind knows."

"That sounds threatening," Duo replied, his eyes taking on the impish glint of old.

"It is. And promising," Quatre assured him.

"Oh God... Dad... " Duo's eyes widened. "With Heero dead... Wufei is king!"

+

Wufei's eyes narrowed as he stared at the document before him, his fingers lightly ghosting over the upraised, flowing text. Slowly, he followed the words of the document with his index finger, pausing now and then to read what might prove to be a crucial point out loud. His eyes glimmered as he found what he was looking for. "I see it. The way out."

Quietly, Wufei read out loud to himself the passage that proposed a way of escape:

"The future king of ---- is hereby pledged to the future king of ---- in marriage contract that shall prove to be fully legal and binding... "

Wufei sighed as his eyes skimmed the rest of the document. Not once did it mention his name, Duo's, or the fact that they were the sons of either party. It simply referred to them as 'future king'. And if one of them gave up the throne... the marriage contract would no longer be 'fully legal and binding... ' No, it wouldn't count for anything. It would be annulled. And that meant...

Wufei swallowed harshly, dropping the document and making his way over to the window. Catching the folds of the heavy fabric of the curtains in his fingers, he drew them away to peer down at the scene below him. From where he was, he could see Duo talking energetically with his father, throwing his arms out to make his point. Duo didn't want him; he could go on perfectly fine without him.

The thought weighed heavily on Wufei as he reluctantly let the curtains slip from his fingers and close the view. Stepping away from the window, Wufei resolutely picked up a pen and clean sheet of paper, pausing to blink away tears as he made in a singular, painful thought the decision that would change his life... and Duo's. Forever.

The tears gone and his hands no longer shaking with pent-up emotion, Wufei reached out with his pen and wrote determinedly in the smooth, flowing script years of penmanship had taught.

I, Chang Wufei, present king of --- do hereby give up all claims and rights to the throne, on this day...

+

"Wufei? Are you all right?" Duo's voice was low and faintly surprised as Wufei entered their room, closely the door swiftly behind him, a piece of paper grasped firmly in his hand.

"I'm fine," Wufei responded. Quickly. Too quickly for Duo. The violet-eyed man took in his spouse's form, his eyes deliberately traveling to the paper and back to Wufei's flushed, agitated face.

"What is that?"

Wordlessly, Wufei thrust the paper at Duo, retreating as soon as Duo's fingers closed around the document. Raising an eyebrow at Wufei, Duo slowly unfolded the paper. "I, Chang Wufei... " Duo began in a quiet voice, his tone dropping until he wasn't reading aloud altogether. His expression changed violently, from one of curious skepticism to one of shocked furious anger. "In favor of Zechs Merquise? Wufei, dammit how could you DO this? Tell me you haven't shown anyone else this document!"

Wufei's expression was surprisingly calm as he glanced at Duo for a long moment with solemn, slightly sad eyes. Duo's expression didn't change and finally, Wufei spoke in a quiet, collected tone. "Duo... you don't love me. You didn't want this marriage anymore than I did. You've already made it more than clear that you'd rather be with a man like Zechs Merquise than me. And dammit Duo... I'm tired of pretending! I don't want to be trapped into this marriage if I don't have to be... and I don't! With my father dead, there is no one to enforce my half of the marriage and it is perfectly legal to give up the throne... " Wufei's eyes darkened as he burst out with, "And if Zechs accepts the throne, he'll be king and your rightful partner and our marriage will be annulled! Isn't that what you wanted Duo?"

"No! Wufei don't-" Duo's words were caught off abruptly as Wufei suddenly turned away from his advancing figure and darted from the room, slamming the door behind him.

"DAMN!" Duo shrieked at the closed door, throwing the paper Wufei had handed him on the floor. "How could you DO that to yourself and your kingdom?" Duo raged at the door, as if Wufei were there to hear him. "Your kingdom will be RUINED under a tyrant like Zechs! And you... you love it, it'll kill you to watch it go to ruins. And... "

Duo let out an irrepressible sob as he crumpled to the ground besides his chair, burying his face in the chair and crying out into it, the sounds of his voice and tears muffled by the thick fabric. "Wufei... I don't want to be married to Zechs. Wufei... I want to be married to YOU!"

Duo let out another sob, lifting his head to breathe deeply as he gazed at the room with hazy, tear-filled eyes. "What have I done?" Duo's voice was a whispered cry as he gazed at the place where Wufei had been standing not even ten minutes beforehand. "I love you."

The words seemed so natural, to be spilling from his lips to the image of Wufei his ready mind cast before him. "I love you. I love you. I love you... "

+

Wufei stood as if frozen in the middle of the bedroom he shared with Duo, simply staring at the bed. His body trembled violently suddenly as he was thrown into a whirlwind of memories. "Duo." Wufei's lips formed the name tremulously, but no sound escaped them as his eyes closed and his mind traveled back in time.

Duo. Their first night together, an angry night full of undeniable passion and their unmistakable hating fear of one another. The times afterwards when they'd danced precariously on that thin line between affection and dislike. How every time they'd made love, it felt as if a piece of him were being fulfilled in Duo. How the sight of Duo made his whole day better. Wufei let out a whimper, wrapping his arms around himself to keep from shaking as he forced himself to continue remembering. The angry words they'd thrown at each other, words they hadn't really meant when they thought about it, but words they'd meant in that time of anger. How often Duo had been able to hurt him and still, how easily Duo had been taken away that same hurt. How...

"Damn," Wufei whispered, taking a few stumbling steps until he was besides the bed. Wearily, he flung himself on top of it, fumbling around until he found Duo's pillow and cradled it against him, inhaling deeply the scent of Duo that clung to the pillow and ignoring the few tears that trickled down his face.

"I love him," Wufei whispered, pressing his face into the pillow. "I want him to be happy... I love him. But why... damn it why can't I let him go?"

"It's really for the best," Wufei told himself. "He doesn't love you, doesn't need you for much more than sex and Zechs can take care of that desire quite easily."

But then... why was Wufei remembering the hurt, betrayed look in Duo's eyes when he told him he didn't want to stay married to him?

+

"No," Duo whispered. For the past hour, perhaps, he'd been sitting there, simply staring at the hated piece of paper that was going to take Wufei away from him. "I won't let him do this," Duo went on, reaching out and grasping the document firmly between his hands.

Closing his eyes, he ripped the document down the middle, Quatre's words ringing in his mind.

'... Do you think you could even possibly try to live without him beside you? Everyday for the rest of what is sure to be a long life, to wake up and see... maybe a cool blonde. But to never see a raven-haired boy who awakens things in you that you thought never existed?'

"No Dad," Duo whispered as he ripped the halves into fourths. "I can't try. I don't want to try." His eyes opening, he discarded the threatening torn document to the side.

"I have to ask him," he said quietly. "I have to ask him if he truly wants to leave. If he loves me or not. And if he does want to leave... " Duo swallowed audibly, tears blurring his vision once more. "I guess I have to let him. But... " Duo's jaw set determinedly. "Damn it, I'm not letting Wufei go without him knowing! I won't let him leave without that much!"

+

Duo's heart pounded almost audibly as he slipped into his and Wufei's bedroom. It was dark and no candles were lit, the dim moonlight filtering into the bedroom making it almost possible to see. Finally, deciding to brave it, Duo called out, "Wufei? Are you there?"

Out of seemingly nowhere, a candle flickered to life and with the scent of drifting smoke, Duo saw Wufei sitting stolidly in an armchair, his expression strikingly like Heero's. Only... only Duo had never seen the remnants of tears streaking Heero's face. "What is it?" Even Wufei's tone was like his father's; hard, emotionless, and devoid of any change.

"I ripped up that stupid document you wrote," Duo said finally.

"I'll write it again then."

"No!" Duo's eyes widened. "Wufei... please don't write that declaration again. There's absolutely no reason to sacrifice yourself and your kingdom like that."

"But there is." Suddenly, the Heero-like behavior gave away until there was nothing left but pure Wufei. "Duo, you love him! You don't need me and I don't want to be like my parents... shunted to the side, only by your side for social obligations where everyone openly insults me to my face about him. But it'll be worse, because love doesn't make me deaf and blind as it does for my mother. Duo, I know everything about your and Zech's relationship and I'll always know. Duo, I can't live with that... and you can't either, I'd make you miserable."

"Is that what this is about?" Duo whispered, reaching out and brushing a loose strand of hair away from Wufei. Wufei stiffened, but didn't recoil and Duo continued his gentle ministrations. "Wufei... do you think we'll end up like your parents?"

"I know." Wufei sighed heavily and removed Duo's hand from his face, clasping it tightly. "Duo... I know you can't live like that. You've always wanted all of something... not just a bit of it. And if I were preventing you from having all of Zechs... you'd hate me."

Duo shook his head, "No! Wufei, I've been stupid... immature... and I've said things like that. But, I swear, Wufei I've grown up a lot... Wufei, I couldn't hate you!"

"Not now. Maybe not even a year or so. But by the time we're your parents ages... you'd wish I were dead," Wufei stated matter-of-factly.

"No!" Duo repeated his protest, his fingers clinging tightly to Wufei's. "Wufei, I'd never hate you... not even if you left me... Wufei... " Suddenly, Duo's tone changed and he knelt in front of Wufei, his eyes a dark, almost black whirlwind of emotion, glints of violet reflected in the candlelight. "Do you love me?"

"No."

"Liar." Duo frowned and reached up, cupping his hands around Wufei's face. His tone was a low, rough sound and his eyes pleading as he searched Wufei's face, his breathing coming out in ragged hoarse sighs. "Look me in the eye, Wufei." Wufei did so. "Now tell me you don't love me."

Wufei's composure broke and he let out a wretched sob, reaching out and wrapping his arms around Duo's body with a bruising force. "Don't make me answer," he begged, burying his face in Duo's hair, his tears glistening on the chestnut strands turned almost copper in the candlelight.

"I need to know."

"No you don't. You already have Zechs' heart, why do you need mine too?" Wufei demanded, stopping any answer Duo could have come up with by pressing his lips swiftly to Duo's.

Duo melted into the kiss, his mind spinning from Wufei's wordless admittance of love and the sheer hot intensity of Wufei's lips. "Oh God," he gasped once his lips were free. "Why? Wufei, I... " Once again, his lips were otherwise occupied as Wufei pulled the smaller youth up onto his lap, his lips already claiming Duo's.

"Don't answer," Wufei begged. "I don't want to hear anything tonight."

"You have to hear me," Duo cried, pushing himself away from Wufei. "Stop!"

Wufei froze, his hands falling away from Duo, his eyes hollow and his face twisted by what Duo could only describe as grief. "Go on," Wufei prompted, his voice listless. "Tell me. Tell me what I already know!"

"Wufei, I... " Duo's eyes closed as he pressed on. "I don't want to be married to anyone but you." Tears formed and his eyes flew open as he whispered in a unpremeditated rush, "I love you!"

Wufei froze, his eyes wide and shocked. "Say it again," he demanded.

"Wufei, I love you."

"Again."

Duo managed a weak smile, "Wufei... I love you. Your father was absolutely right, we were born for each other and just too stupid to see it... 'Fei, I love you. I don't want you to abdicate the throne in Zechs' favor. I want you to stay right here with me, or maybe I'll go there with you, just as long as we're together and we'll rule your father's kingdom and eventually my father's and then maybe one day... there'll be children to teach how to rule... would you like that Wufei? Maybe a little boy with your eyes or maybe a little girl with my mother's mouth? Wufei, I never thought of it before, but I'm thinking of it now... I want to have children with you, we should look into those surrogate mothers your mom was talking about-!" Duo was cut off abruptly as very gently, Wufei leaned forward and brushed Duo's lips with his own.

"Has anyone... ever told you that... you talk too much?" Wufei inquired, his eyes bright with affection and love for the silent Duo on his lap.

"Actually... yes," Duo admitted. He was quiet for a moment as Wufei drew him into his arms but before long, he was fidgeting again. "Wufei, it's your turn."

"For what?" Wufei murmured absentmindedly, twirling a strand of chestnut hair around his finger.

"For you to babble out a confession of love."

Wufei smiled. "Duo, I love you. I agree with everything you mentioned before with a small suggestion."

"What's that?"

"We make Trowa an honorary grandfather if we ever have children."

Duo started, his eyes wide. Slowly, a smile appeared on his lips. "I think Heero would like that."

"Me too."

"I'm sorry that he's gone," Duo added.

"So am I. But... " Wufei smiled faintly as he wrapped his arms around Duo once more, drawing the younger youth in for a kiss. "Then again, I'm not."

"Why's that?"

"Because... if he hadn't died, I wouldn't have written that abdication. And you would've never told me."

"I think I would've. It just would've been awhile longer in coming." Duo grinned at Wufei suddenly, his eyes lighting up. "But he'll never be able to gloat at us."

"He was gloating the whole time," Wufei assured Duo. "My father always knew when he did a good thing."

"He did?"

Wufei nodded. "And... my father did an excellent thing in bringing us together."

"Agreed," Duo whispered softly as Wufei's lips captured his own once more. "A very excellent thing indeed!"

::End::

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