By: TJ Dragonblade
Pairings: 2x5x2; passing mention of past 3x4, current 1+3, 4+Abdul, 6x9, AudaxSally & possibly others...
Rated: R
Warnings: Various spoilers for series, EW, & Preventer 5; language, yaoi citrus, angst & sap...
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is created by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, copyrighted by Sunrise/SOTSU Agency, and distributed by Bandai entertainment. In other words, I am merely playing with the boys for the entertainment of myself and hopefully others; in so doing I mean no disrespect or copyright infringement.
Credits: Inspired by four lines from 'Mary Jane's Last Dance', by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, available on their 1994 Greatest Hits album. Lyrics appear at the beginning of chapters I & II.
Feedback: Greatly appreciated, as always.

Setting: 6 months later/Jan AC202

Notes: At long last, we have reached the end. The epilogue I originally envisioned and began to write ended up moving in a direction more befitting a sidefic/sequel, so...that will be along once it's finished. I set it aside, re-wrote an *epilogue-y* epilogue for this, and...well, here it is. Thanks to everyone for seeing this through to the end!

Lost & Found + Epilogue

"Welp, this looks like the place!"

Duo cut the engine of the rental car and opened the door, stepping out into the gently falling snow, letting the crystalline flakes settle into his bangs as he surveyed the large cabin before him. It was picturesque and cozy, nestled back into the encroaching woods, smoke curling from the chimney and the windows invitingly aglow against the dark and chill of the Swiss night air.

On the other side of the car, Wufei slid out of the passenger seat and stood, stretching his back before moving around the front of the vehicle. "So Quatre holds this reunion every year?" he asked as he came alongside Duo.

"Mmhm. Someplace different each time, too. Last year it was out on his colony. But Switzerland feels more fitting, somehow, huh?"

"The weather enhances the warmth of greeting old friends, perhaps," Wufei agreed, blinking snowflakes out of his eyelashes. "You are certain it's alright for me to come with you uninvited?"

"'Fei, if Q'd known where to find you, you'd've been invited every year, including this one. Trust me, they're all gonna be thrilled to see you again."

Wufei turned to his husband, giving him half a smile. "It seems to me you might have mentioned that you would be bringing me along when you spoke with Quatre last month," he teased gently.

"And spoil the surprise? Ruin the looks of utter shock and delight on their faces when they see you?" Duo shook his head, grinning. "Not for the world, Babe. This is gonna be the best reunion ever! "

Wufei grinned back, unable to help it. Duo's enthusiasm was still so infectious, even after six months of marriage and road trips. Something told him it was always going to be this way, and the thought only made him happier.

"So...shall I come in directly behind you, or hang back to make a grand entrance at your cue?"

"The grand entrance, of course!" Duo took quick stock of the number of cars already parked about and shook his head. "Betcha Une's already in there, which means I owe her dinner again..." He handed the keys to Wufei. "Can you grab the champagne out of the back and lock the car? I'm gonna go announce our arrival..."

Wufei watched Duo skip away up the snow-swept walk with a wistful smile tugging at his mouth, then turned to retrieve the champagne as requested.

It was strange, really, how little apprehension he felt. He was about to walk into a roomful of people he hadn't spoken to in years, people with whom he'd made little real effort to remain in contact, people who by this point had every right to treat him coldly. He should feel nervous, should be worrying about how they would receive him; but he couldn't.

Duo had thoroughly turned his life around. His general outlook was just so much more optimistic because of his husband's influence. Whether the people gathered inside this lodge greeted him warmly or with guarded reserve, he knew in his heart that this is where he belonged. If he had to work to regain their friendship, then so be it. He would gladly prove himself sincere in his desire to return to their fold.

This felt too much like coming home for him to be anything but happy.

From the porch, Duo's chipper voice drifted back, greeting whomever had opened the door.

Wufei straightened up, champagne in hand, absently noting the warm weight of his wedding ring beneath his gloves with a fondness that six months had done nothing to dim, and closed the car door. He dawdled a moment longer before hitting the auto-lock button on the remote keychain and heading for the cabin.

Duo was still in the entryway, shedding his coat and gloves and boots. The smile he flashed his husband was dancing with excitement; he motioned Wufei into one corner of the little foyer where he would remain out of view of the main room. Wufei smiled in return, handing over the champagne and stepping back into the shadows to remove his own coat while Duo made his entrance.

"I have arrived, boys and girls! Let's get this party started! " Duo's voice was jubilant, met by laughter and warmly called greetings. Wufei concentrated on identifying voices.

"Duo!" That was Quatre, and...Relena, from the sound of it.

"Hey, Duo." Calm, cool, yet smiling somehow. Trowa.

"We started without you two hours ago, Baka." The teasing and warmth in that voice gave Wufei a second's pause before he identified it as Heero's.

"You owe me dinner, Mr. Maxwell." That was Une; Duo's response was cheeky.

"Yeah, yeah--put it on my tab, wouldja?"

"Hmph."

"So, Duo--" that was Noin, he recognized "--what have you been up to this year?"

"Anything and everything, Lu. Here, Q-man, I brought some champagne... "

Wufei smiled to himself as Duo started rattling off various places they'd visited in quick succession, warmly content despite the excitement bubbling inside him. Lines from an old song kept repeating in his head, come out of nowhere, strangely apt:

~I once was lost/But now am found...~ (1)

~Yes,~ he thought. ~Found at last, and finally come home...~

This was where he belonged. With Duo, beside Duo, back among the people with whom he had helped to reshape the world that no longer needed his guiding hand so badly...

Zechs' voice cut into his musing, addressing Duo.

"Abdul mentioned you'd brought a friend...?"

"Ah yeah!" Duo's voice rang with barely-suppressed excitement. "You guys'll never guess who I ran into in Phoenix!"

And that was his cue. Gathering his wandering thoughts, Wufei brightened his smile and stepped out into the warm, lighted room.

~Home...~

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Owari

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(1)From 'Amazing Grace', if memory serves...
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Beg: 12/20/01
End: 11/12/03

TJ: Good god! Finally, it's done!
Duo: But...what happened to the party? I wanted to see more of that! I thought we were gonna see everybody's reaction to Fei-fei showing up out of nowhere!!
TJ: That's what the sequel-y sidefic is for. It was growing too long for an epilogue, and it felt odd b'sides to suddenly switch to seeing things more from Quatre's angle when the whole story has been either you or Fei, y'know...
Duo: ...Point, point...okay. But you *are* gonna finish it?
TJ: Yes. It's nearly finished already...
Duo: And still do the wedding sidefic too, right?
TJ: Of course. Y'all two deserve a proper lemon, after all...just hafta beat the muses into submission...
Duo: (beams) I *knew* there was a reason I still hang around you...

[chap. 9 ] [back to TJ Dragonblade's fic]