Author: Sunhawk
Warnings: Supernatural AU, 13+6, mentions of 6+5, and 1+2, OOC, angst, mention of character death. Epilogue of sorts to 'Taste of Memory'.

Apologies for all butchering of the supernatural genre.


Vintage + (Taste of Memory Epilogue)

It was a moonlit night, and the man sitting alone on the balcony thought that didn't seem right. Thought it improper and wished the moon away. The moon, of course, did not heed, but only shone on, the clouds not even making a token effort to cloak her face.

The mother moon, the man thought, looking down on her many children of the night.

'Fitting; don't you think?' a voice said as another man stepped out to join the first.

'I do not,' he was told, the tone dark. Angry.

'You have heard then?' asked the new-comer, though he hardly needed to.

'Of course I know,' the man at the table snapped, a twitch of a shoulder dislodging a fall of white-blond hair. 'I knew the moment it happened. I know how and I know where and I know who.'

'So angry, my dear Zechs,' the other said, tone chiding.

There was a long moment before an answer came. 'Please, Treize... do not call me that tonight.'

'I'm sorry. Milliardo, then. May I sit?'

There was a snort of derision and a sharp wave of a hand. 'Like I could forbid you.'

Treize pulled out the second chair and sat, placing a bottle and two glasses on the table. 'So it's true; Chang Wufei finally fell. And fell to the likes of Yuy... a veritable youngster.'

'He didn't manage it alone,' Milliardo said, not looking at his companion.

There was a grunt of surprise. 'Yuy finally found his mate, after all these years?'

'Yes,' the reply was a hiss of anger.

'Milliardo,' Treize scolded, his tone one of disappointment. 'You can hardly blame them for defending themselves against... the monster Wufei had become.'

When the arm lashed out, Treize was quick enough to save the bottle, but not the glasses. Milliardo threw himself to his feet and stalked to the railing. 'The hell I can't!'

There was silence then into which a servant dared insert himself. 'Leave the mess, but replace the glasses,' Treize commanded and they were silent a bit longer, waiting for the orders to be carried out.

'Don't call him that,' Milliardo murmured, voice much calmer, once the servant had come and gone.

'The truth, was it not? By the end?'

Blue eyes didn't look down from the moon. Broad shoulders tensed and relaxed. 'But he wasn't... once.'

'No,' Treize agreed, voice gone gentle again. 'He was a man of great honor. A strong, and just man.'

Milliardo nodded and sighed. Was quiet a very long time. 'It's... why I loved him.'

'I know.'

'Yuy was a strong and honorable man once,' Milliardo ventured after a time. 'Why...'

'Because Yuy's strength comes from his flexibility. His adaptability,' Treize sighed. 'Your Dragon's honor was too rigid to bear... what you brought him to.'

There was a sound almost like a moan, but not. 'I couldn't lose him.'

'But you did.'

'I know.'

'Sit with me,' Treize asked, opening the rescued bottle. 'I've brought blood-brandy for the occasion.'

There was a tired sigh as the last remaining Peacecraft turned and regarded the bottle. 'That, perhaps, is more fitting than the damn full moon.'

'Very much so,' the taller man smiled, pouring the rich amber-red liquid into the waiting glasses. 'Make a toast, my friend.'

Milliardo took the offered glass and held it up to gaze through, turning the moon to a bloody red. Still disdained to sit. 'I... can not.'

'Then I shall,' his companion said, raising his own glass to play with the light. 'To the peace of Chang Wufei... may he finally find his rest.'

Milliardo cried out, arm falling, letting the glass fall with it. Treize was there in an instant... catching the snifter before it could spill. 'Yes, Zechs,' he said firmly, standing close, holding the glass near to pale lips. 'Drink to an end to it.'

'I don't want it to end... not like this.'

The only response was the press of the glass. Milliardo swallowed reflexively, his eyes widening. 'This is...'

'Yes.'

'Dear God... how?' Eyes squeezed tight to hold in only the pain.

'It doesn't matter,' Treize whispered. 'Drink your fill and let it go. Let him go.'

'Are you asking me to forgive the ones who took my Dragon?'

'I'm asking you to forgive yourself.'

Ice blue eyes opened and they stared at one another for a long moment. 'I can't.'

'You loved him for his honor,' Treize breathed, brushing his lips over Milliardo's, sharing the taste of the blood and brandy. 'That honor demands you let it end here. Leave them their peace; they paid for it a thousand fold. Don't blame them for what wasn't of their making. Don't blame them for what you set in motion.'

There is a sound that vampires make when they remember what it was to weep.

Lips brushed again and Treize turned away. 'Grieve for him,' he said, taking his glass but leaving the bottle. 'Then come and find me. Let me forgive you.'

Treize was out of sight before Zechs murmured to the moon, 'I only wanted to keep him by my side.'

'I know,' a whisper near his ear soothed.

'I am... sorry.'

'I know.'

End

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