8-10-2000

And Never the Twain Shall Meet
Part XV

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I will send transportation for you then. I look forward to seeing you, Catherine... and so does Trowa." Quatre hung up the phone as Trowa entered the dorm room with Heero following close behind. "Are you two almost ready to leave?"

Heero crossed his arms. "I am, but Duo insists on bringing a load of items he isn't going to need and more clothes than he could possibly wear in two weeks."

Trowa smiled. "Heero, there are hiking and biking trails all over the place. The home is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere so I'm almost certain we will be going camping at some point. There is a lake nearby, should we happen to decide to go swimming or fishing. There is a..."

Heero held up his hand. "I get your point. I'll go pack some more... underwear... or something."

Quatre covered his mouth and giggled as Heero smirked and left the room. As soon as he was gone the blonde wrapped his arms around Trowa's waist and pulled him close, laying his cheek against Trowa's chest. "He seems so relaxed - so... normal now."

"He is very fond of Duo and the war is over."

Quatre's eyes went wide for a moment before he allowed them to fall shut. "Tell me again, Trowa. Tell me so I know it's true."

Trowa smiled as he poked at the top of Quatre's head with his nose. "He is very fond of Duo."

Quatre reached down and swatted Trowa on the rear. "You know what I meant."

Trowa lay his cheek on Quatre's head and tightened his hold on the smaller man. "The war is over, love. The war is really over."

Quatre sighed and looked into emerald eyes. He planted a quick, firm kiss on Trowa's lips. "Let's get ready, Rashid is waiting to take us back to the airport."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don't think it would be a good idea for you to come home right now, Kaylin. Mother doesn't understand why you've done this... why you had to do this." Megg's voice trembled on the other end of the phone line. "I understand, little brother."

Kaylin was so confused. First, his father's life had been taken by Kaylin's own hand. Now, his own Mother wouldn't even speak with him and wanted to have nothing to do with him.

"Kaylin," Megg continued, "I know you think it is important that you be here to lay Papa to rest... but it isn't. As far as I'm concerned he died a long time ago. Mom will get over this. I will explain things to her once the shock of this whole situation wears off."

"Megg, I... I'm so lost right now. Dad's dead. My own Mother hates me..."

"Kaylin, stop it! She does not hate you! She is confused and lost right now too. She is angry about losing the man she adored. She is taking it out on you because she is blinded by grief." Megg sighed heavily from the effort of keeping her own emotions corralled. "I know you hurt too, Kaylin. This has to be more difficult for you than it is for either of us." Megg's voice softened. "Don't torture yourself further by coming here."

Kaylin swallowed hard and blinked back his tears. "I love you, Megg," he said in a small, shaky voice.

"I love you too, Kaylin... and so does mom. I will come to see you in a couple of days."

"Ok... no, wait. I won't be here."

"Oh? Where are you going?"

"I've been invited to go to Montgomery for a couple of weeks. I was going to come home for a few days and then go there. I guess I may as well go now."

"Who are you going with?"

Kaylin couldn't help but smile a bit at the question posed by his over-protective sister. "Duo, Heero, and a few others."

"Oh! Duo and Heero? Weren't they at the peace talks, too? Aren't they the Gundam pilots? Are you sure it's safe to be hanging around with them?"

Kaylin actually managed to muster up a chuckle. "Slow down, sis. I'll be fine. I trust them... with my life."

Megg said nothing for a moment. "Ok, then... but be careful... and call me when you get back."

"I will. Could you do me a favor? Tell mom... I love her."

"I will, Kaylin. Rest assured... I will."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heero watched with amusement as Duo continued to try to shove more items into his second, already overstuffed duffel bag. He grabbed Duo's arm when he saw the next item Duo was planning to take. "Why are you taking that?"

"My physics book? Because I have a test when we get back."

"Leave it. We will be coming back the weekend before classes start again. You can study then."

Duo's jaw hung open in surprise. "You are telling me to not study?!" He gave Heero a playfully suspicious look. "Are you sure you're feeling OK, Heero?" Duo placed the back of his hand on Heero's forehead.

Heero swatted the hand away. "I'm fine. Did you pack any other school books?"

"Well... I was planning on taking my literature book. I thought we might go over..."

"Leave it."

"What?! Why?!"

Heero turned his back so Duo couldn't see the grin that was about to curl his lips. He shoved a pair of swimming trunks into his own duffel bag as his smile broadened. "Believe me, Duo, you are not going to have time to study. I intend to see to it... personally."

Duo stood gaping yet again. "My, my, my... you are just full of surprises, aren't you?!"

Heero zipped his duffel closed and whirled to face Duo, snatching the braided beauty closer. "Yes, I am." Heero's voice was rough and sensually icy. "For the next two weeks I will occupy your every waking moment. There will be no studying. Do we understand each other?"

Duo gulped, his eyes sparkling with astonishment and mischief. This was a side of Heero of which he had only seen glimpses. Now that he was faced with it in full, he decided he liked it. Oh, he most definitely liked it. His voice failing him, all he could do was smile like a fool and nod.

"Good. You are finished packing. Let's go." Heero released him, hoisted his bag over his shoulder, and exited the room.

As his paralysis dissolved and his body managed to start moving again, Duo had but one thought... Whoa!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kaylin almost panicked when he knocked on Wufei's door and there was no response. Did they leave already?! However, a familiar cackle from the room a couple of doors away told him that he hadn't missed them after all.

The door to Quatre and Trowa's room suddenly flew open and Duo burst into the hall. Duo stopped short at the sight of Kaylin. "Need a ride to the airport or sumthin', Kaylin?"

"Actually... am I still invited to come with you guys?" he asked as the others piled into the hallway.

Quatre could tell from the look on the other blonde's face that something was wrong. He tactfully avoided asking questions as he locked the door behind him. "You are more than welcome to come with us, Kaylin. Did you bring everything you need? We're not coming back until a week from Friday."

"I think so... as long as there is someplace for me to do laundry."

Duo snorted. "You won't be doing any laundry since Quatre won't allow you to lift a finger while you are there. He'll have a whole army of servants to tend to your every need."

"Servants? That really isn't necessary, Quatre."

Duo grinned. "Don't fight it, man. I guarantee... you'll lose. Heero here found that out the hard way." Duo nudged the blue-eyed young man with his elbow. "Right, Heero?"

Heero smiled at the memory of Quatre raising holy hell with him once for doing the dishes. "You can't win, Kaylin. I speak from experience."

Trowa looked at Kaylin with a rueful smile. "I suggest you listen to them."

Wufei nodded solemnly.

Quatre just smiled sweetly.

Kaylin's mouth and eyes suddenly grew round. "Wait a minute! Winner?! Your last name is Winner! You're the Winner heir?! As in... Winner?!" Another piece of the puzzle had just clicked into place for Kaylin.

Duo shook his head and laughed as he and the others filed past Kaylin. "Bingo! Man, you catch on quick, don't you?"

Kaylin's glare bore into the back of Duo's head. "Well... I didn't know!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As the six men left the air-conditioned plane, it seemed as though every molecule of moisture in the air was vying for space on their skin. It was humid. It was hotter than hell... or so Duo would have everyone believe.

"It's hotter than hell!"

Quatre gave Duo a sideways glance. "Welcome to Montgomery in the Fall."

Heero, who had been walking alongside Trowa, stopped and grabbed one of Duo's duffel bags, adding it to his own burden. "I wouldn't want you to over exert yourself in this heat," he teased.

Duo fanned himself with his now free hand and gave Heero a crooked smile. "I'll make it up to you... later."

Heero just smirked and rejoined Trowa, continuing their journey toward the car that would take them to the house.

Quatre and Duo were giggling as they followed several feet behind Heero and Trowa. A couple of cocktails during their flight had made the two giddy.

Duo pointed at Heero and whispered to Quatre. "I've never noticed Heero's butt wiggle like that when he walks. He's soooo friggin sexy."

Quatre blushed deeply and laughed. "Look at that one next to him. Can I get some fries with that shake?"

Duo sputtered and started giggling uncontrollably, throwing his arm around Quatre's shoulders. "I'd say we're both pretty damn lucky, wouldn't you?"

Trowa grinned and looked at Heero out of the corner of his eye. "Lucky?! They have no idea."

Heero shook his head and discretely smiled. "Not a clue."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The ride to the house was just a little... cramped. Duo, of course, couldn't help but verbalize his discomfort.

"Ouch! Heero, get your butt off my braid!"

"Sorry."

Duo leaned forward and poked Quatre in the back of the head with one long finger. "Quatre, I thought you had bigger cars than this."

"So did I. Rashid?"

"I apologize, Master Quatre. The other car... in this heat... she just went... kaput!"

Wufei, of all people, couldn't help but chuckle at Rashid's summary of events. This, of course, sent the others who were so inclined into a fit of the giggles.

"I have had the worst luck with transportation with you guys." Kaylin managed a smile. He looked awfully uncomfortable with his neck bent like that.

"Having flashbacks of your little sojourn in Deathscythe's hands?" Duo asked.

Kaylin nodded. "It was... an experience."

"Hey, Quatre, you look awfully tall from back here. Did you grow a few inches during the flight?"

Quatre rolled his eyes. "No, Duo. I got the hump."

Trowa's head flew around at that explanation. That was when Rashid started chuckling and there was barely controlled laughter coming from the back seat.

"I mean I'm on the hump!" Quatre tried to explain.

This only served to cause everyone in the cramped space to roar with laughter.

Quatre buried his reddening face in his hands. "I'm just going to keep my mouth shut 'til we get to the house."

In the next moment, Duo found his watering eyes drawn to his lover's profile. "Heero, move over a little bit."

"Duo, if I move over anymore, I'll be sitting in Kaylin's lap."

Duo tucked a stray lock of hair behind Heero's ear. "Not that way, you fool."

Heero smiled shyly and scooted a little closer to Duo.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Quatre, this place is gorgeous!" Kaylin was in awe of the surrounding beauty as he walked up the driveway with Trowa and Quatre.

"My father bought this property about a year before he died. One of my sisters told me that he said that it was one of the few impractical things he ever bought."

"Impractical?"

Quatre nodded. "He purchased it to use very strictly as a vacation home." He looked sullen for a moment. "He never got to use it."

Kaylin had to forcibly divert his thoughts from his own loss. It never occurred to him that Quatre had also lost his father during the war. "The place is huge. How many bedrooms does it have?"

"Six upstairs - although we only need four... three if your lucky."

"If I'm lu..." Kaylin goggled at the smaller blonde as the implication hit him. "Quatre!!" Kaylin's ears were turning red from the insinuation.

Quatre laughed at Kaylin's expression. He glanced over his shoulder to see what happened to Wufei and the others... and stopped. He turned where he stood and placed his hands on his hips, a scowl etched into his features. "Wufei! Heero!"

Heero, Wufei, Duo, and Rashid froze where they were busily pulling luggage from the trunk of the car. Rashid looked at the other three and smiled. "I told you."

The three young men reluctantly left Rashid to tend to their luggage.

Quatre looked at them sternly as they approached. "You guys know better."

"We were just trying to help." Duo offered.

Quatre huffed and rubbed his forehead with the tips of his fingers. "OK... I know this is difficult to grasp and it's in everyone's nature to want to help out... but Rashid and the others... they get paid to wait on us hand and foot - very handsomely, I might add." Quatre turned and started walking again. "Not only that... it is mildly insulting to them."

"Insulting?" asked everyone, with the exception of Trowa.

Quatre nodded. "Look at it like this. How would you feel if you had a job that you took a great deal of pride in - a job you could do with your eyes closed - and everyone kept trying to help you?"

"Like I wasn't doing my job," said Wufei as he nodded his understanding.

"Exactly. So, I want everyone to relax. Let Rashid and the others do their thing. We..." Quatre grinned broadly, "... are on vacation."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Duo gasped as they were shown into their room. "Heero, look at that bed!" He walked over and threw himself face-first into the comfortable looking oversized bed. The thick down comforter gave the illusion that Duo had sunk several inches into the mattress. "Oh! It's so comfy. I can't wait to use it."

Heero snorted as he began unpacking his things. "I'll bet."

Duo suddenly rolled over and sat up. "I mean to sleep in... for a change."

"Oh." Heero sounded mildly disappointed.

There was a light rap on the door.

"Come in!" Duo sang.

Quatre poked his head in. "Are you guys getting settled in OK? Do you need anything?"

Duo raised an eyebrow. "Shouldn't the servants be asking that question?"

Quatre frowned. "Touché, Duo. Dinner's in an hour."

"What are we havin'?" Duo asked excitedly.

Quatre's frown deepened. "I don't know. They wouldn't allow me near the kitchen. They said it was a surprise and shooed me away." Quatre's perplexed countenance disappeared as the door closed.

Duo threw himself back into the exquisite comfort. "Hey, Heero, wanna go for a walk before dinner?"

Heero looked to where his mate lay sprawled out. He knew exactly what was going to happen, but he agreed to Duo's request anyway. "Sure, as soon as I'm finished unpacking."

Ten minutes later, Heero had all of his things put away... and he lay himself down next to a beautifully slumbering Duo.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wufei had one thing on his mind as he continued to unpack.

Kaylin.

He had no idea what he was going to do. Kaylin had just suffered a tragic loss. He feared that any advances he made toward Kaylin might be misunderstood. He didn't want to appear to be insensitive and certainly had no intention of taking advantage of the man's emotional state.

I've only known him for... what? Two days? For some reason I already find that I worry over him. He has been too silent. Why did he not go home as he said he was going to do? Why is he even here at all? Is it because Duo is his friend, or is he here for me? I suppose I will simply have to wait to find out. He is not shy in the least. He will make his intentions known... when he is ready. Yes... I will wait.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heero awoke to the sound of ringing in his ears. He was already sitting up before he realized the phone on the nightstand was jangling off the hook.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Heero, this is Quatre. I think you better find Duo and come down here. We may have a problem."

Why did it sound to Heero like Quatre was being facetious? "Duo is right here. What's wrong, Quatre?"

"Waaaay too much food!"

Heero looked to where Duo was just beginning to stir. "Thus, the need for Duo. We will be down shortly." Heero grinned as he hung up.

Duo rolled over and wrapped his arm around Heero's waist. "Need for Duo... what?" Duo asked groggily.

"Your presence is requested for the purpose of consuming large quantities of meat, fish, vegetables, bread, and after-dinner sweets."

Duo unraveled his arm from around Heero and rolled onto his back, looking up into the blue, amazing depths of Heero's merry eyes. All at once, Duo felt as though he were really seeing Heero for the first time. "How about an appetizer first?"

Heero did not hesitate in the least. He leaned down and slowly took Duo's lips with his own.

Duo felt as though his body had sunk another six inches into the comfort and warmth of the bed. It was such a gentle, painfully slow kiss, but Duo found that it still left him breathless.

Heero eased out of the kiss as slowly as he had initiated it. He smiled down at Duo. "We'd better go eat. I wouldn't want to... ruin your appetite."

Duo sat up next to the Japanese man and considered him at length before speaking. "Not a chance of that happening, Heero... not a chance."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wufei stopped short as he stepped into the doorway of the dining room and saw the amount of food that was laid out. The only problem was that the rug he had stopped on decided to keep moving over the smoothness of the highly polished wooden floor. Wufei quickly reached out to grab the door frame to keep himself from falling... and missed. Fortunately, and unbeknownst to him, Duo was right behind him to catch him.

Duo peered cautiously into the dining room where Quatre, Kaylin, and Trowa sat with shocked expressions on their faces, staring at Wufei. "Wu, I know that's a lot of food, but aren't you overreacting a bit?"

"Damn it, Maxwell! Either stand me up or put me down!."

So, Duo dropped him.

Wufei lay with a stunned expression on his face as he looked up at a maniacally grinning Duo Maxwell.

"Oops... must've... slipped."

Now, Wufei could have thrown an overhead kick and doubled Duo over, or he could have swept Duo's legs causing Duo to suffer a fate similar to the one that had just befallen him. Instead, Wufei did exactly what he had been wanting to do for a very long time... he laughed his ass off.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Once everyone recovered from the shock of the fall and the ensuing laughter, and having disposed of the offending rug, they all found themselves seated at the table.

Wufei winced a bit as he shifted in his seat.

Kaylin leaned closer to the Chinese man. "Are you sure you're OK?"

"I am fine, although it feels as though I may have pulled a muscle in my extreme lower back."

Duo laughed as he piled several slices of roast beef onto his plate. "That's because you landed on your 'extreme lower back'." Duo moved on to the turkey, the lamb, the ham, skipped the fish, managed a couple of parsled potatoes, a spoonful of fresh baby sweet peas, drowned everything in rich brown gravy, and topped his whole plate off with two dinner rolls. Duo smiled at his plate and looked around at everyone as if coming out of a daze. They all sat there waiting patiently so they could start eating. "Sorry, guys. I'm hungry."

"Can you really eat all that, Duo?" Kaylin asked.

"Hmph. That is but his first helping, Kaylin," Trowa explained.

Duo tried his best to sound like an announcer at a freak show... whatever that sounds like. "Watch as the amazing Maxwell consumes inhumanly large quantities of beef, poultry, and, yes, even veggies are not exempt from the massacre you are about to behold. Never again will you bare witness to such a display of disappearing delicacies, such a frenzy of feeding, such monstrous mouthfuls, such..."

"Duo?" Heero called from his side.

"Huh?"

Heero simply signaled to the other four.

"Shut up!" they called out in unison.

So, Duo decided to do the only other thing he could think of without getting into more trouble. He ate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Everyone sat in companionable conversation after the feast. Duo's head bobbed up and down as he chattered quietly with Kaylin and Wufei. Trowa and Quatre were engaged in some conversation that had Quatre fighting a fit of the giggles as Trowa's brow furrowed in consternation.

Heero looked around the table and decided he would do something he had rarely done before. He got to his feet and held out his glass. "I would like to propose a toast."

Everyone gave Heero a curious look as they rose to their feet, sporting glasses of the finest champagne.

Heero looked to where Kaylin still sat. "Kaylin, you are a part of this too."

Kaylin stood with glass in hand as well.

"As I look around the table, I find myself fortunate to be in everyone's company. Truth be told, none of us should be here. We have all peered down the maw of the beast and lived to tell about it. We have all laughed in the face of death... no disrespect intended, Duo," he added to lighten things up a bit. Everyone chuckled quietly. "Life..." Heero paused and gazed into the sparkling amber liquid in his glass, twirling the stem between his fingers, "... I am more frightened now than I have ever been." It was a painful admission for him. He was stunned when he looked up from his glass to find everyone nodding in agreement and understanding. "Then I would like to form a pact. No matter what happens... no matter how good or bad things get... we stick together."

One by one, each of the young men nodded their agreement.

Heero held his glass out and the others did likewise, their glasses chinking melodically as they met in the middle. "We are bound by the bitterest blood of all... the blood of others... but, we are bound by it, just the same. My family stands in this room." Heero raised his glass a little higher. "To family."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quatre and Trowa stepped onto the front porch to behold a sight they rarely had time to appreciate. A sunset.

Movement drew Quatre's eyes to where Duo and Heero occupied the front porch swing. Duo lay there with his head in Heero's lap as the dark haired man gently brushed his fingers over Duo's bangs and forehead.

Duo stopped chewing on the end of his braid long enough to shake it at the other couple.

Quatre raised his eyebrows and turned to Trowa. "I wonder if that meant 'hello' or 'get lost'."

Trowa waved to Duo and smiled as he wrapped his arm around the blonde's shoulders. "Both... I think. Let's get lost."

They were starting to move from the front porch when Heero stopped them. "Actually, we were planning on going for a walk, if you would like to use the swing. Right, Duo?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah! The walk, I almost forgot about the walk." Duo jumped up and bounded down the stairs were he waited with his hands in his pockets for Heero to follow. Duo was full of nervous energy as he shifted from foot to foot. "Come on, Heero!"

Heero held up his hand as he moved past Quatre and Trowa. "I'm coming, Duo. Remember, this is called a 'walk', not a 'run'."

Quatre and Trowa watched the other two walk for a bit as the sun began to kiss the horizon. They took their places in the swing as they watched Heero follow Duo up a particularly steep hill before they disappeared behind a line of trees.

"Sure didn't take 'em long to find that spot, did it?"

Trowa shook his head. "Nope, not long at all."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Duo and Heero sat against a lone tree in the middle of the hilltop clearing. The encircling trees had been conveniently cut away in the direction of their view, probably for the purpose of doing exactly what they were doing.

"Looks like orange sherbet... melting, doesn't it, Heero?"

Heero snorted. "Leave it to you to think of food..."

"... at a moment like this?"

Heero's head snapped around, a startled look on his face. "I... I wasn't going to say that!"

Duo smiled coyly. "I know you weren't. That's why I said it for you."

Heero had just been read like a book. He was going to say it - he wanted to say it... but he still wouldn't. Heero blinked and realized he was still sitting there with his mouth hanging open. He promptly clamped it shut.

Duo just smiled and looked back to the setting sun. "What does it look like to you, Heero?"

The first thing Heero thought of was the first thing out of his mouth. "An atomic blast."

Duo gaped at him. "An atomic blast?! Leave it to you to think of an atomic blast..."

"... at a moment like this?"

Duo stopped dead in his tracks.

Heero smugly crossed his arms over his chest while wearing an equally smug grin on his face. "Do I get another chance?"

Duo just nodded.

Heero settled into Duo's hold on him. "This may take a minute."

Duo smiled and rubbed Heero's arm.

Heero closed his eyes and cleared his mind. Many of his walls were still firmly in place, but he found that if he made the effort, he could now control the height of some of them. When he opened his eyes again, it was as though he were seeing the scene anew. I can't even think straight right now. Duo. The sunset. It's all a bit... overwhelming. I would never have imagined I could have "a moment like this" in my entire life. I don't deserve it. Whoops... wall. I do deserve it. I gave up my childhood... for "a moment like this". Maybe... maybe there is a God. Who else could paint a sky like this... shades of Duo's eyes.

Heero cleared his throat.

Duo sat forward, watching him in anticipation.

"It looks like God closing his eyes for the night."

Duo fell over... literally. He was so stunned by Heero's words that he thrust himself backwards... but missed the tree. He just lay there admiring the first stars that he could see through the branches. "Wow."

Heero looked up. "What?"

Duo shook his head. "What you just said... just... wow!"

"I did well... I assume."

"Heero! I... I don't know what to say." So, Duo started giggling.

Heero furrowed his brow. "I did poorly, I assume."

Duo suddenly sat up, giving Heero a suspicious look. "You read that somewhere."

Heero was injured by that statement. "I am not inclined to plagiarize, Duo."

Duo immediately felt like a jerk. He moved closer and wrapped his arm around Heero's shoulders again. "Sorry, Heero. I guess I should expect surprises like that... but then if I expect them... they're not surprises. I like surprises, so I hope you'll forgive me for being surprised by you sometimes..."

"Duo..."

Duo went silent and pulled his lips into a thin line. "I know... shut up."

Heero shook his head. "No, talk all you want... but watch the sunset."

Duo reached across and stroked Heero's cheek with the back one finger. You do it... and you don't even realize it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kaylin sat on the edge of his bed and watched as the day gave way to night. God, help me get through this. Quatre said it was destiny that brought me there... to the peace talks. He even hinted that I might not like what I had to do. Well... that was an understatement my blonde little friend. Why the hell didn't you stop me if you knew something bad was going to happen... and Trowa, why the hell didn't you shoot him? Why the fuck did it have to be me?!"

Kaylin rested his forehead in his hand.

Listen to yourself, Kaylin... blaming them for something that was out of their control. Anything to take the guilt away, right? But... the sadness is still there. I can't give that away... so I'm stuck with it. I can deal with that... but the other? I definitely need to talk to someone. A psychiatrist? They would probably stick me in a hospital somewhere and feed me orange jello with every meal... but, I definitely need to talk to someone.

Kaylin rose from his bed and walked to the window, leaning on the sill. The sun was at its halfway mark on the horizon. It seemed to wiggle as the thick atmosphere distorted the image. "Hah! Looks like orange jello!" Kaylin actually pointed at the sun... and started laughing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It's like a healing wound."

Trowa reached up and ran his fingers through the hair on the back of Quatre's head. "Then, hopefully, as each day ends, many more wounds will be healed."

Quatre smiled and snuggled a little closer to Trowa. "Wufei is missing this. Maybe I should..."

"I am here." Wufei's voice came from just inside the front door.

"Well, come out here," Quatre insisted.

"I will... in a moment."

The last angry red sliver of the sun was about to disappear below the horizon. "Rose petal," Wufei said softly.

At that moment, two loud bangs and a sizzling sound could be heard, accompanied by bright flashes of light.

Wufei threw himself from the front door and lunged down the stairs in one leap. He landed in the yard in a crouching position, craning his neck to look up.

Quatre and Trowa where just managing to untangle themselves when Wufei stood up, still looking toward the sky. "Plasmaworks."

"Plasma-what?" Quatre asked from the edge of the porch.

"Plasmaworks. Lasers are used to charge small, successive pockets of air in rapid sequence. It's akin to ball lightning, though much weaker. Last year was the first time any of the colonies could legally have a fireworks display."

Trowa had a very worried look on his face. "Where did they come from?"

No sooner did Trowa finish his question, than the heavens opened up. It seemed as though the stars themselves were showering down on them.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As soon as the sun disappeared, Duo slid away from the tree and lay down in the grass. "Quite a show, huh, Heero?"

Heero's face appeared above him for a moment. "It isn't over yet." He lay down next to Duo just as two bright flashes occurred overhead.

"Ooooooo!" Duo exclaimed as he watched two gleaming mecha streak away. They were high enough that the sun reflected brightly off of there shiny surfaces. Against the darkened sky, they looked like falling stars as they chased the daylight.

Heero lay on his back and watched as the tendrils of light fanned outward.

"That's it?" Duo asked, sounding disappointed.

"Just wait a moment."

Duo did.

The sky came to life as thousands of mecha flew over at a fairly high altitude. Suddenly there was every color of light possible as they gave the people of the world a light show they would not soon forget.

Relena had told Heero about this, but he had no idea it would be this spectacular. "Wow," he said raising both eyebrows.

"Yeah... wow," Duo said quietly. He rolled onto his side and looked down at Heero, laying his arm across Heero's chest.

The dark haired young man looked up at him. "What?"

Duo shook head. "You know damn well 'what', Heero. I'm crazy about you. I love you."

Heero took a deep breath.

Duo looked down at him hopefully.

Heero glanced behind Duo's head and frowned. "Perhaps you should watch the plasmaworks, Duo."

Duo flung himself to the ground in disappointment. In the following moment he let lose with a shrieking gasp. "Heero!"

There, written in the sky in large shimmering letters, were the words 'I love you Duo'.

Duo threw himself on top of Heero and proceeded to consume him from the top of his head to the tip of his chin. He stopped briefly and looked down at Heero. "Heero, you are so fucking awesome."

"But, Duo, I didn't..." Heero's sentence was cut short as Duo finally found his mouth. Relena had told him about the skywriting as well. Heero had glared at her when she suggested it. He thought that it would be enough to dissuade her from doing this. Apparently, it was not.

Thank you, Relena... you saw right through me. After all... I didn't actually say 'no'.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wufei watched as Quatre and Trowa walked slowly down the driveway holding hands. Although he was not terribly susceptible to that 'warm fuzzy feeling', he did feel touched by the scene. They will be together the rest of their lives. I have no doubts about it.

The two sat on the hood of the car in which they had arrived. Wufei could barely hear Quatre's voice as the blonde squealed excitedly and pointed overhead.

Wufei looked up to see the scintillating words hanging in the air. Heero Yuy... you have definitely gone over the top. He shook his head. "I am going to have to have a talk with that boy." Wufei lowered his gaze and quietly walked around to stand in the darkness offered on the grounds at the side of the house. He looked up again and watched as the mobile suits - thousands of tiny points of reflected light - followed the terminator into night as it slowly crept westward.

As he stood there gazing into the darkening sky, he couldn't shake the feeling that, even though the war was over, he should be doing something... or something still wasn't quite right... or something was missing. There was some piece of unfinished business that gnawed at the edge of his consciousness - something he couldn't quite put his finger on.

Wufei shook his head as he continued to marvel at the light show. "One day of peace... and already I am restless."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kaylin flinched when the first two flashes lit the quickly darkening surroundings. "What the hell was that?!" He cautiously moved his face closer to his bedroom window, trying to see what was going on overhead. Suddenly, the stars that could be seen seemed to shift and explode as the breathtaking display began.

"Cool," Kaylin said softly. "Very cool."

As he stood there admiring the electrotechnics, a movement at the bottom of his field of vision drew his attention. A white clad figure stood below his window gazing stoically into the night sky.

"Wufei..."

Kaylin moved from his window, hesitating only briefly, before heading downstairs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wufei could hear heavy footfalls approaching from behind. He didn't look around to see who it was. He already knew.

Kaylin quietly approached and stood beside him for several long moments before speaking. "Beautiful, isn't it?"

Wufei nodded. "Most impressive." He quickly appraised Kaylin with a sideways look. "Are... are you well, Kaylin?"

The taller man gave a burdened sigh. "I'm getting there. It will take time."

Wufei was startled to suddenly find Kaylin's arm draped around his shoulders. He looked up at the larger man with questioning eyes. Kaylin was smiling down at him.

"Do you believe in destiny, Wufei?"

Wufei looked from one of Kaylin's sparkling eyes to the other. In them he could see hope, self-loathing, innocence, confusion, fire, need... so many emotions conveyed. Wufei was momentarily overwhelmed and his arm involuntarily snaked around Kaylin's waist. "Yes, I... I believe I do."

Their gaze lingered before Kaylin gave a contented sigh and turned his attention back to the skies, pulling Wufei just a bit closer.

Nothing more needed to be said at the moment. For now, the two young men cast aside their doubts and basked in the glory of peace and one anothers' company.