By TJ Dragonblade
see chapter 1 for warnings, dislcaimer
Feedback: Greatly appreciated, as always
Notes: I owe San thanks for prodding me along this time. After a *very*
long break, for which I apologize, I am finally posting the final chapter
to this tale.
This picks up at the phone call halfway through chp 8--from Duo's POV
this time--before skipping back to where we left Wufei last time...
& Found + Chapter 9
The hotel room's vidphone was
sounding as Duo came back from a brief jaunt down to the lobby. He'd been
chatting up the concierge, seeking guidance on a really nice place to
take Wufei for dinner tonight, and he had a couple of good ideas to look
into. He frowned at the continued ringing--none of his friends would know
to reach him here, after all--and jogged over to the device, punching
the 'accept call' button. "Hello?"
Wufei's face greeted him, looking slightly distracted.
"Oh, hiya 'Fei! I was wondering who on earth would be calling me here!"
<<Hello, Duo.>> The softest smile drifted into Wufei's eyes,
and Duo melted at the thought that he was the reason for that.
"So what's up, huh?" he asked quickly, pulling himself together so they
wouldn't spend the whole phone call grinning dopily at one another without
saying anything more than 'hello'.
Wufei straightened imperceptibly. <<Things have happened this morning
that have me thinking; I think it would be best if you left town tomorrow
as you had planned. Better yet, leave tonight.>>
Duo felt the color drain from his face, his blood running suddenly cold
at those blunt words. Where in hell had this abrupt change of heart come
from? "But...but...'Fei--" He faltered, stuttering. Had Wufei's love burnt
out so fast?
Wufei reached toward him, touching the screen with two fingers in the
spot that Duo assumed his lips occupied on the other end; he fell silent
as Wufei spoke. << It is not that I no longer wish to be with you,
Duo--far from it. I want you in my life, by my side, for eternity.>>
His hand dropped and his gaze fell from Duo's. <<They asked me to
stay longer than two weeks. I found myself considering.>> His eyes
rose again, a fierceness and near-desperation there that made Duo feel
terribly small for having doubted the strength of Wufei's love. <<I
do not want to stay; but I fear that if you are here with me,
there will be no pressing reason to leave and my sense of duty will have
me acquiescing and I will never be free of this place...>>
"Then I leave tonight," Duo said without hesitation, relief and unhappiness
sweeping through him in equal measure as the full weight of Wufei's words
sank in. "Just bring me your contact info so I can tell you where I end
up. And--" he paused a second, steadying his voice and letting his love
seep into his tone. "Will you take me to the airport, so I can say a proper
<<Of course, Duo. I will meet you back at the hotel when I get off.>>
Wufei's voice sounded suspiciously close to the edge of tears.
Duo made certain that his face showed nothing of the wretchedness within
him. This was clearly a difficult thing for Wufei to ask; he wasn't going
to make it any harder on his lover by expressing his own sorrow. He would
be strong, strong for the both of them. "Alright then."
But he couldn't quite control the slight tremor when he spoke.
<<Thank you, Duo.>> Wufei's voice rang with so much more that
just couldn't be put into words. <<I love you...>>
Duo smiled. "I know. I love you too." He blew a kiss and reached out to
press the disconnect button, then sat for a moment, staring at the blank
screen, Wufei's request echoing in his ears and despondency pouring through
him in waves, strangely at odds with the niggling urge to rejoice that
couldn't quite be quashed.
"Leave tonight, huh?" He stirred finally, shaking his head and addressing
the empty room. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry."
In truth, he wanted to do both. He wanted to shout his elation that Wufei
was his, was leaving this place for him, was willing to sacrifice their
time together now so that they could have the rest of their days to enjoy
each other's company, was making a positive change in his life and finally
leaving the mundane rut he'd been driven into. He wanted to cry at the
thought of two whole weeks away from his lover, his everything, especially
when they had barely found each other again. He didn't want to spend fourteen
days sitting around in some other city biting his nails with the worry
that something would happen to Wufei while they were apart and he'd never
see the Chinese youth again. After all, that was how it had always gone.
He barely remembered his parents' death, but he knew he hadn't been with
them when it happened. Solo had died while he was away. The church had
been attacked while he was off trying to save it. His rational mind could
reassure him all it wanted; but he was always going to hear that tiny
little voice of fear regardless.
The thought of losing Wufei now made him physically ill.
"Calm down, Duo," he told himself firmly aloud, breathing deeply and forcing
the bile that had risen in the back of his throat to retreat. "He's giving
you his number and his email. You c'n call 'im everyday." He managed a
shaky grin at his dim reflection in the vidscreen. "Besides, you can't
keep him with you all the time. This'll just be good practice
for the rest of your time together, ne?" He nodded decisively, blew out
a heavy breath, and forced his mind elsewhere. "Now." He stood and settled
his hands on his hips. "Let's get packing!"
Packing was a brief affair, given the size of his baggage; he spent more
time cleaning up the candles and rose petals from their love-making last
night, reminiscing all the while. He picked up the pillow Wufei had slept
on and brought it to his face, inhaling deeply. Ahh, yes--Wufei's scent,
heady yet subtle; alluring; faintly sweet. Whoever'd invented the shampoo
the boy used ought to be lauded as deity, Duo decided. That was one irresistible
smell. Especially because it was Wufei's. He put the pillow back on the
bed, shaking out the sheets and coverlet and picking out the few remaining
rose petals, by-now wilted but still fragrant.
God, Wufei had looked so unbelievably beautiful last night, laid out among
the scattered remnants of those blossoms with his hair loose on the pillow
and the candlelight glowing warm along his skin--Duo shivered, remembering
the trust that shone in those dark velvet eyes behind the flickering reflections
of a dozen tiny flames as their bodies joined, remembering the way those
slender hands touched him gently, guiding, softly urging him to move,
remembering the helpless rapture that surged through him as he kissed
Wufei tenderly again and again and lost himself in the purity of their
union...he had never felt anything so intense in his life. Making love
to Wufei was the single most incredible experience he had ever known;
what Wufei had given him...it was a gift he could never hope to match.
Duo sighed, happily, and straightened the bedclothes back into their proper
place. He knew that the hotel had staff that were paid to do what he was
doing; but he figured there was no reason he had to leave them a huge
mess just because it was their job. Seemed rude, somehow. Besides, what
he & Wufei had done in this bed last night was sacred; picking up
after it himself made the memory complete in Duo's mind and kept it just
between the two of them, untouched by strangers' hands. Disposing of the
evidence also helped him shift mentally, accepting that yes, he was leaving
this place where he had truly discovered Wufei. He was leaving behind
the room where they'd both confessed their love, leaving behind the couch
where they'd shared their first kiss, leaving behind the bed that had
borne witness to their consummation...
Duo paused in his thoughts, reflecting as he stared once more at that
bed, then laughed out loud.
"I'm acting like a sentimental love-struck fool," he announced to the
furniture, grinning. "Never woulda thought..." He shook his head, still
smiling, and quickly finished tidying the room. He saved one of the roses
to press as a keepsake--after all, there wasn't actually anything wrong
with being a sentimental love-struck fool, he reasoned--and made his way
down to the front desk in plenty of time to check out.
He glanced at his watch as he left the counter. Eleven-thirty--Wufei wouldn't
be off work for another five hours or so. He didn't really feel like sight-seeing
or shopping while he waited, so Duo headed to the gift shop and found
himself something to read. He paid for the book and a souvenir key chain--after
all, this city had been very good to him--and settled into a
plush, comfortable chair in the lobby before glancing at his watch again.
Only ten minutes had passed; he sighed and opened his book.
It was going to be a very long afternoon.
Wufei stood surveying the quarters he'd occupied for the past three months,
packed duffel slung over his shoulder, sheathed sword in hand. Add in
the clothes on his back and the motorcycle in the garage, and all his
worldly possessions were accounted for.
His eyes roamed carelessly over the furniture that remained--all standard
Preventers issue, of course--and the uniforms hanging in the closet, neat
and orderly; he smiled.
He would never wear that uniform again.
He had stormed into his quarters not more than an hour ago, full of both
fury and elation, the latter rapidly overcoming the former. He had finally
snapped, said 'To hell with it all' and followed the dictates of his own
heart for once in his life.
It felt deliriously wonderful.
He had stripped off his uniform and pulled on one of his three casual
shirts and the newer of the two pairs of pants that he owned. The rest
of his clothes, his few books and various toiletries were swiftly packed
into his duffel. And that was that.
It was sad, really, how little he owned; but the life he'd led the last
four years had brought it on. There was no point in owning clothes when
one wore uniforms all day and rarely went out; there was no point in personalizing
or decorating quarters when one was likely to be transferred again in
just a few months.
And Wufei's lack of baggage would certainly serve him well now.
He had thought of calling Duo, letting him know of the abrupt change in
plans; he'd decided it would be more fun to simply show up and surprise
Besides which, he had no phone in his quarters and there was no way
he was going back to his office.
So now here he stood, taking one last look at the life he was leaving
behind. His spirit felt light, resilient, unbound; he could feel the future
stretching vast and bright before him, bathed in the sunshine of Duo's
smile. This place no longer had any hold on him.
He was free.
He turned, flipped off the light switch, and strode out, hardly caring
if the door swung shut or not. Misery lay behind him. Life with Duo lay
Wufei checked his watch as he entered the garage behind the main building.
It was only just past noon; Duo would not be expecting him for hours yet.
And while he planned to show up early, there were a few things he needed
to do first. He strapped his blade and his duffel to his back, tossed
the helmet into place, swung onto his bike, and roared out into the midday
The clerks at the jewelry store looked at him strangely when he came in
wearing a sword; their mistrustful stares quickly turned to smiles, though,
when he pulled out his credit card.
The staff at the motorcycle shop seemed completely unfazed by his blade
and were only too happy to give his bike a thorough tuning-up and sell
him a second helmet and a rear-fender cargo rack...
It was one-thirty when Wufei pulled his bike into a parking space in front
of the hotel, killed the engine, and dismounted. He pulled his helmet
off and dropped it alongside the other on top of the duffel strapped to
his bike, shaking his hair free and running a hand back through it just
for good measure. He wasn't accustomed to wearing it down, but Duo had
expressed a definite preference that way and it felt distinctly liberating
besides. Striding toward the gilded entranceway, he carefully schooled
the happy smile from his face. It wouldn't do to make Duo think he was
up to something right away, after all...never mind the fact that he was
quite early as it was...
He stood a moment just inside the doors, letting his eyes adjust from
the brightness outside before glancing about and spotting his lover in
the lobby. Duo was slouched into a cushy armchair facing the front windows
off to one side of the entry, feet propped on his duffel and crossed at
the ankles, attention buried in the book he held. Pulse quickening just
at the sight of the American, Wufei navigated silently behind him and
slipped both hands quickly over his eyes.
Duo started with a quiet yelp, his own hands flying up to clamp defensively
on Wufei's, tugging, the book tumbling to the floor.
"Guess who," Wufei purred, dropping a quick kiss to the top of that chestnut
head and allowing Duo to pull his hands down, gratified that the tension
seeped instantly from the other boy at the sound of his voice even before
Duo twisted up to see his face. "Fei!" Duo's eyes flicked to his watch
and back in less than a second. "You're early, Babe--what's up? Not that
I'm complaining or anything..." Duo's grin was huge, happy, and all for
him--Wufei couldn't think of anything more beautiful in the entire world.
He stepped around the chair and crouched in front of Duo, who sat up and
"I saw no reason to postpone our departure until this evening," he said
"The sooner I leave, the sooner you can follow, eh?" Duo's expression
registered sadness, understanding and worry all in the same flash, even
as he kept up his cheery smile. His eyes shifted, and he leaned a little
to the side, peering behind Wufei. "Man, airport security is not
gonna let you through with that."
Wufei glanced upward reflexively, as if by doing so he could actually
see the blade still strapped to his back. He'd forgotten he was wearing
it, truthfully; but it had provided the perfect lead-in for his announcement.
He caught Duo's eyes again before replying.
"We are not going to the airport."
One eyebrow lifted; hope sparked somewhere behind that steady lilac gaze.
Wufei shook his head solemnly. "No."
"Soooo..." Duo was very carefully not jumping to any conclusions. "Where
are we going, then?"
The eyebrow rose further; the spark of hope blossomed. "Don'tcha have
to be at work in the morning?"
"No." Wufei could hold his smile back no longer. "I walked off the job
this morning, Duo. You are far more important than any misplaced sense
of loyalty I may have felt to the idiots who run that office."
"Alright!" Elation and joy lit Duo's face; he grabbed Wufei around
the shoulders and crushed him close in a quick, fierce hug of victory.
"Way ta go 'Fei!" He laughed and sat back, eyes sparkling, hands closing
over one of Wufei's in defiance of the space that separated them. "You
don't know how happy that makes me! You are way too good for
that place, and I wish I could've gotten you out sooner."
Wufei couldn't remember when smiling had ever felt so natural, so good,
so right; he returned the warm clasp of Duo's hands and let his
expression turn coy. "So the fact that I am leaving town with you now
has no bearing on your happiness?" He tilted his head the slightest bit
to one side, the flick of his eyelashes lending him a distinctly sultry
air as he gazed up innocently into Duo's face.
"Oh, it has bearing all right. I can't even begin to measure; but if I
unleashed the full force of my exuberance I'd be makin' a real scene and
we'd probably get kicked out of the hotel." Duo shrugged, grinning. "Not
that we weren't leaving already anyway." He stood, pulling Wufei up after
him. "So--we're Vegas-bound!"
"Yes." Wufei stepped back, allowing Duo room to retrieve his duffel from
the ground at their feet.
"What madeja pick Vegas, anyway? Proximity?"
Wufei's pulse was suddenly throbbing in his ears. "That, and I am told
that there are a great many wedding chapels readily available at all hours
of the night and day..."
"Why 'Fei, you sly sexy devil--was that a proposal?"
He had planned his response to be flip, casual, in keeping with the conversation
that led to it; faced with the love shining behind Duo's teasing grin
and those mesmerizing eyes, though, Wufei found himself completely unable
to muster up the necessary rakishness and his reply was quiet, heartfelt,
utterly serious as he pulled a small black box from his pocket.
"Only if you want it to be..."
Duo's breath stilled as he saw what Wufei was holding. Carefully, he took
the box from Wufei's hand--Wufei's trembling hand, he noticed--and
opened it reverently.
Two matching rings sat nestled within, white gold with three round diamonds
set diagonally across each of their faces, simple, beautiful, perfect.
Duo's eyes rose to Wufei's, searching reflexively for any hint of insincerity;
finding none, as he had known beforehand that he would not, he stepped
closer to Wufei, shutting the box and pressing it back into Wufei's hands
so that his own were free to cradle his lover's face.
"There is nothing I want more than to be your husband and for you to be
mine," he said softly, sincerely, lost in the deep warmth of Wufei's eyes
gazing up at him. "If you want to marry me, Chang Wufei, the answer is
yes. Unhesitatingly, whole-heartedly, for-time-and-all-eternity yes."
"Then it is good I bought the rings, no?" Wufei's voice shook, his words
meaningless and swallowed up by Duo's mouth as they came together in a
kiss that swept away all regard for time and place, that sealed their
union more fully than any ceremony could, a kiss slow and tender and aching
with endless possibilities of forever.
There was a low wolf-whistle off to one side; they pulled apart, realizing
too late that they'd gone ahead and made a scene anyway. Glancing quickly
around the lobby in a brief second of surreal detachment, Wufei saw that
most eyes were either on them or averted with expressions varying between
amusement, self-consciousness, or discomfort. One man waiting for the
elevator looked thoroughly disgusted even as he stared. Wufei caught his
eye boldly over Duo's shoulder, staring back; the man flushed, gestured
with his middle finger, and ducked into the arriving elevator before its
occupants had a chance to disembark.
Screw him anyway. Wufei was too happy to care--Duo had just agreed to
marry him. One rude homophobe could not spoil this moment, not when Duo
was wearing that warm, sweet smile that was all for him, was still cupping
his face, was leaning down to kiss him softly again regardless of the
"May as well make it a memorable spectacle, huh?" Duo murmured against
Wufei's lips, then spun to face the majority of the lobby's population,
grabbing his hand--the one that still held the ring box--and lifting it
"Ladies and gentlemen, we're engaged!"
Wufei flushed as applause broke out following Duo's announcement, some
enthusiastic, some merely polite. Even still, he couldn't help smiling
brightly--he was simply too happy. He found it utterly impossible to truly
care that all attention in the room was on them. The girl behind the desk
was grinning like the Cheshire cat, and a little old dark-skinned lady
with grandson in tow dabbed at her eyes, congratulated them, and tottered
off mumbling something wistful about young love.
Duo laughed out loud, the sound of sheer delight as the applause trickled
off. "I love you, 'Fei!" he exclaimed, lifting Wufei in a quick embrace
and spinning him around to the general amusement of the onlookers.
"Duo! Put me down!" But Wufei was laughing as well, even as he was set
back on his feet. He pulled Duo to him and kissed him enthusiastically,
heedless of the renewed applause. "I love you, too, Duo," he murmured
at last, drawing away.
Duo's smile in that moment almost made the last four years of hell worth
Duo picked up his duffel again, took firm hold of Wufei's hand, and flashed
one more grin to their scattered audience; then turned his full attention
back to his fiancé. "Shall we be on our way, then?"
"Yes." Wufei was beginning to wonder if he would ever be able to stop
smiling. "If we leave now, and exercise a careful disregard for posted
speed limits, we should reach our destination by sundown."
"I like the way you think, Babe." Duo tugged him toward the door. "You
wanna drive the first couple hours or you want me to take it?"
"What makes you believe I will let you drive at all, Duo?" Wufei's tone
was innocent, teasing.
"'Cause you love me. And you'll get tired if you drive that long without
a break." Duo batted his eyelashes, oozing infectious charm. "B'sides,
I'm askin' real nice--how can you possibly say no to me?"
"Pretty pouting has never been enough to sway me, Maxwell." Wufei grinned
broadly, still teasing, and let a note of challenge slip into his voice.
"Handling a motorcycle is not for everyone, after all. It takes a certain
amount of skill..."
Duo snorted and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "I can handle
anything you wanna throw at me, Baby. You’d be surprised at all
the things I’ve managed to pick up here & there, motorcycle riding
among them. There’s nothin’ Shinigami can’t do. " He grinned
"But you look so delicate, so effeminate..." Wufei trailed off, a wicked
light in his eye as they came up to his bike in the parking lot.
Duo snorted again, indignantly, and cuffed him lightly on the shoulder.
"Effeminate my ass." He dropped his duffel and lifted his shirt
enough to show off the hard contours of his lean abdomen. "Does this
look delicate to you?" he demanded, running the tips of his fingers across
the flat expanse of skin and muscle.
"Oh no." Wufei stepped closer, lifting his own fingertips to follow the
path of Duo's. "Far from it." He let his hands drift up beneath
the back of Duo's shirt, his expression disarmingly contrite. "I stand
corrected. And having seen the rest of you, I would be forced to admit
to your complete and utter lack of effemininity."
Duo wrinkled his nose. "Is that even a word?"
Wufei shrugged, smiling. "Truthfully? I don't know. I merely wanted an
excuse to touch you."
Duo grinned rakishly in return, shivering minutely as Wufei's fingernails
grazed lightly back down between his shoulder blades. "Aw, 'Fei, you can
touch me anytime you want, excuse or no."
"Thank you." Wufei leaned up to nip quickly at his bottom lip. "But excuses
make it more fun."
Duo buried his hands in the thick black silk at the nape of Wufei's neck
and pulled him back for a deeper kiss. "I love this side of you, 'Fei,"
he murmured softly at last. "And I'm going to spend the rest of my life
finding out how many more facets of your gorgeous self you've kept hidden
away from everyone..."
"My secrets are all yours to explore," Wufei promised, ghosting one last
caress over Duo's spine before stepping back and lifting Duo's duffel.
"Help me strap this down, and we can be on our way."
"Ryoukai." Still grinning, Duo snapped a quick salute and secured his
baggage while Wufei held it in place atop his own. Finished, he tossed
Wufei the old helmet and held up the new one. "For me?"
"Of course. If we are to travel the world--or even just a part of it--by
motorcycle, you need to be properly equipped."
"So we're traveling the world now, are we?"
"Why not? First Vegas, then...wherever we choose." Wufei gestured expansively,
his expression unexpectedly soft. "After all, that is what you
had first set out to do, is it not?"
"Indeed." Duo nodded decisively. "And now I get to chase my dreams alongside
you, and marry you to boot! " He whooped a laugh of unrestrainable joy.
"Life can't possibly get any better!"
"Yes it can, Beautiful." Wufei smiled brightly, the expression never really
having left his face since it first cracked in the lobby, and swung up
onto his bike.
"How? Tell me, how can it possibly get better than this?" Duo
spun in a circle, face tilted up to the blazing sky, arms outstretched,
soaking in the lingering radiance of that smile, unable to help matching
it with his own as he came around to face Wufei again.
Wufei shrugged. "Come with me, and together we can try to find out." He
threw yet another smile over his shoulder as he started the engine, eyelashes
at half-mast, beckoning.
"I'd be a fool to refuse an invitation like that!" Duo plunked the helmet
onto his head and vaulted easily up behind Wufei before adjusting his
braid beneath the rim a little more comfortably.
Wufei donned his own helmet as Duo's arms wound comfortably about his
waist, settling in for the ride; he revved the engine, nudged the kickstand
up with his heel, and steered them quickly out onto the street.
They were off, the future bright and alluring before them, wide-open and
bursting with endless possibilities. And as they hit the on-ramp to the
freeway that would eventually take them out of the city, Wufei could faintly
hear Duo singing over the roar of the traffic around them and the wind
against their helmets:
"We got our motor runnin', we're headin' out on the highway! Lookin' for
adventure, or whatever comes our way..."(1)
And Wufei laughed, pure happiness bubbling up from deep within him, and
surprised himself by joining in a moment later when Duo hit the chorus:
"Born to be wi-i-i-ild!"
Duo's arms squeezed him briefly as their voices joined; the city sped
by and bled into the past, shrinking behind them and taking all the misery
and despair they had ever known with it, swallowed and forgotten by the
desert sands as the winds of promise sped them onward to the horizon...
(1) The band is Steppenwolf, right? Though Duo's adapting the lyrics to
encompass the both of them as he pleases...^_^
[chap. 8] [epilogue]
[back to TJ Dragonblade's fic]