(First story of the Death and Dragon Arc)

minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, someone waking up from a dream, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts: *Tadah!*
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>

The war was over and the party was in full swing at Quatre's. Everyone was well on their way to being drunk; especially Wufei and Quatre, who almost never drank alcohol, and Duo, who seemed to be trying to out-drink everyone.

When Wufei spilt quite a lot of good whiskey because he couldn't decide which of the two visible glasses he should pour it into, he decided that maybe it was time to take a short break and get a little fresh air; so he wove his way across to the balcony door. On the way there he passed Relena, coaxing a scowling Heero through the steps of a waltz, and Quatre and Trowa swaying gently in each others' arms. The Manganacs were singing in surprisingly good six-part harmony; it was just a pity that the song had nothing in common with the music playing on the stereo system...

He leaned on the balcony railing, gulping in the cool night air, gazing up at the moon as some of the buzz in his head slowly cleared. The party noise was muffled by the closed doors behind him; then the volume rose briefly as another set of doors, a little further along, opened and a figure wobbled out.

"Oh, hey, 'Fei!" Duo's voice burbled happily. "Just the person I was hoping to see. Whatcha doin'?"

"Watching stars. Getting some air," Wufei answered, smiling for no particular reason.

"Yeah, it's really pretty out tonight. Just right for the end of the war, don't ya think?" Duo leaned on the railing next to him, looking up.

Wufei found himself staring at the other boy's profile and blushed in the darkness, looking away. *Maybe I should go back in--*

"Hey, look! Fireworks!" Duo pointed excitedly at the bright flashes and starbursts in the distance.

They spent a few minutes watching, relaxing together in the comparative quiet; then they both turned to say something, and found themselves staring into each others' eyes at extremely short range.

"Ah-- um--" Wufei stuttered, whatever he had been going to say completely forgotten.

Duo stared, drinking in every detail. Wufei's eyes were wide and dark in the moonlight, a faint flush spreading over his cheeks... his mouth slightly open as he fumbled for words...

*Screw it. You never know until you try!* Duo thought with drunken bravado, and leaned in.

Wufei froze as the first tentative touch whispered over his lips. *Duo is kissing me. Duo is kissing me. Duo is kissing-- oh gods I've wanted this!*

Duo squeaked as Wufei clutched him tightly, left arm around his waist, right hand grabbing his braid and winding it tightly into his fist; then he didn't have room to squeak, as the kiss turned into something deep and passionate. He relaxed blissfully into the embrace, hands gripping Wufei's shoulders as he returned the kiss with all the passion he'd been fighting to hide for so long. Judging by Wufei's reaction as Duo's hands began to roam down his back, he'd been hiding a few things as well...

They drew back, breathing heavily, and stared at each other; then Duo's face melted into a wicked grin. "Why, 'Fei," he purred, leaning in again, "I woulda done this a long time ago if I'd known you were such a good kisser."

Their lips had barely touched when the door next to them slammed open. They sprang apart, hearts pounding suddenly with shock and fear instead of lust, then watched incredulously as Quatre barrelled across the balcony, hit the rail between them, and was noisily sick over it into the bushes below.

Duo stared as Trowa followed Quatre out and bent over him, holding his shoulders as he heaved. "It'll be okay in a minute... it's okay... I told you to stay away from those tall blue things Rashid was mixing!"

A semi-coherent moan managed to convey that they hadn't tasted nearly this bad going down. Duo blinked and looked up to see how Wufei was taking this sudden disruption of the mood.

He wasn't there.

Duo jumped to the door and looked wildly around the room, but no sleek black head and white Chinese shirt met his eyes. He sagged, holding onto the doorframe.

*He's... gone? Why? Was he embarrassed? Did he change his mind?* His eyes widened in dismay. *Did he even mean to, or was it the booze? He didn't say anything -- he never showed any signs before -- I mean, I never tried anything before either, but surely...*

Confused and unhappy, he got a fresh glass of wine and went looking for privacy to think things over.


In Quatre's study, away from the sound of the party, Wufei was pacing a furrow into the carpet.

*What was I thinking? I wasn't thinking -- I just let my desires take over. Duo can't have meant it! It was just-- just the drink, surely... I mean, he's never... and he and Heero...* His mind spun in alcohol-dazed circles.

The door opened and Duo walked in.

"Oh! Um, sorry -- I didn't think anyone was in here -- I'll, uh, go somewhere else--" he babbled, brought up short by the sight of Wufei staring wide-eyed at him. *Oh shit, he doesn't look happy to see me!*

"No! No, uh, don't go -- it's okay--" *Gods, don't let him think I blame him!* "I, uh, don't mind if you don't -- I mean, if you want to be alone I'll go--"

"No, um, that's fine--"

They looked away from each other, blushing. Behind Duo, the door swung shut with a loud *click*.

Wufei swallowed. *I have to leave, or I'll do something he might never forgive me for.* "Look, uh, I should... I should go." Determinedly, he made for the door, refusing to look at Duo.

"No!" Duo jumped in front of him and clutched at his shirt. "Don't go! I don't want to be alone!"

Neither of them was sure exactly what or how much Duo meant by that; but, staring into beseeching violet eyes, rational thought short-circuited by alcohol, Wufei decided it was enough.


Wufei suppressed a moan as he opened his eyes. His head was pounding, his mouth was dry, and his stomach was not happy at all. On top of all that, he was cold all down his right side and he couldn't feel his left arm at all. He swallowed, blinking the ceiling into focus, and then wished he hadn't as the headache got worse and the horrible taste in his mouth made itself known.

Squinting against the midday sun streaming in the windows, he raised his head to look at his surroundings, and froze.

He was lying on his back on the wide leather couch in Quatre's study, naked except for his shirt, which was hanging open. That explained why his right side felt cold. The reason why his left side didn't feel cold was cuddled up to him, completely naked except for his unbound hair. Duo's head was resting heavily on the nerve cluster in his shoulder, which explained the lack of feeling in that arm.

Wufei let his head drop back, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling as he desperately tried to remember how he'd got into this situation... and exactly what he'd done.

*Did we-- did I--*

He could remember the balcony.

He remembered kissing Duo passionately, pulling him down on the couch, starting to pull off Duo's clothes as hands worked at the closures on his shirt.

He remembered Duo pulling the band off his hair, and taking that as an invitation for him to undo Duo's braid and run his fingers through the silky waves.

He remembered quite a lot, actually. But he couldn't remember if he'd... taken Duo... the way he knew he'd wanted to.

*What if I did? I don't know how to tell!*

*What if I hurt him?!*

*What if he didn't really want to-- what if it was just the drink?*

*What do I do if he hates me now?!*

Duo stirred against his side, mumbling something incoherent, and Wufei panicked.


The loud *click* as the study door closed woke Duo up; he rolled onto his face, squeezing his eyes shut against the light. "Oooh... never again," he groaned, then shut up because the echoes in his skull were too painful. *Then again, I always say 'never again' when I wake up with a hangover; it's never worked before. Ow. Okay... what happened last night?* He rolled onto his back, one arm thrown over his eyes, and started hunting through hazy memories.

*Rashid singing and mixing tall blue drinks... Relena teaching Heero to dance... watching fireworks on the balcony... Wufei kissing me... Quatre throwing up over the--*

Duo abruptly bolted upright, eyes wide open. *Wufei did WHAT?!* Then he clutched his head and moaned as the room spun around him.

*Okay, think, think... we were kissing, then Quatre interrupted, and Wufei was gone. Then I came in here, and... oh. Oh boy.* Duo blushed bright red and started taking stock. *Well, um, nothing hurts-- he blushed harder --so I don't think we, um... and there's no, uh, evidence... I think we just passed out on the sofa before anything serious happened.*

*So... where's 'Fei?*

There was no sign of the Chinese boy in the room. The only clothing left scattered on the floor was Duo's.

*Oh fuck.*

Duo slowly crumpled in on himself, hiding his face against his knees.

*He left. He woke up and just left. He didn't stay to say anything...*

*It was just the booze. And now he hates me, or he's scared, or...*

*Oh fuck.*


Wufei walked into the huge kitchen, eyes squinted against the light, and discovered a collection of very ill people taking refuge in various hangover cures. Half the Manganacs were wearing sunglasses; the other half were watching Rashid mix up an evil-looking concoction in a large jug, wincing at the noise every time he cracked an egg. Relena and Heero were nowhere to be seen, but Quatre was face-down on the table with Trowa gently massaging his temples.

Trowa glanced over at Wufei out of one bloodshot eye. "Painkillers," he said softly, pointing at several packets on the bench, "and water," he pointed at the large carafe and glasses next to them. "Drink a lot. It helps."

"I'm glad wars don't happen often," Quatre whimpered as Wufei nodded 'thanks'. "Celebrating their end is more dangerous than fighting in them!"

The Manganacs chuckled very quietly.

As Wufei swallowed the last of his water and turned to the sink, Duo peered tentatively around the door. Everybody was too wrapped up in their own pain to notice him pale and swallow as he saw Wufei.

"Uh... hi. Everybody still with the living?"

A chorus of quiet moans answered him. Wufei concentrated very hard on putting his glass down in the sink without making noise. *I can't turn around. I can't face him. I don't want to look in those eyes and see hate, or fear, or-- oh gods, Duo, just go away!*

"Want some painkillers?" Trowa asked.

"No... I'll be fine. I guess I'm not really hungry, though, so..."

Quatre put his hands over his ears. "Oh Allah, don't even mention food!"

Outside in the corridor, Duo leaned briefly against the wall, eyes closed. *I guess that answers that.*


"You're leaving? But, Duo... you know you're welcome to stay with Trowa and I for as long as you want!"

"Or with us," Relena put in.

"'Us'?" Trowa quirked an eyebrow, and she blushed.

"Heero and I are... um..."

"Hey, congratulations, ojousan! Took you long enough!" Duo cheered.

"What will you do?" she asked, concerned.

"Oh, I dunno... travel around, I guess." He shrugged. "There's a lot of places I've never got to see, and a lot more I've only seen while I was stomping 'em flat. I've got plenty of time to decide what I want to do later."

Leaning on the wall next to Wufei, Heero frowned slightly. "The way Duo was talking at the party," he muttered softly, "I thought he was planning to stay here with Quatre and Trowa until he found an apartment, and spend a few years going to school for real... not just as a cover. I wonder what changed his mind?"

Wufei stared resolutely out the window. "Don't ask me," he growled.


Duo said his goodbyes on the porch, duffle bag at his feet. It held everything he owned except his Gundam, safely tucked away in a bunker under one of Quatre's properties; he'd never had the chance to acquire much. Finally, he slung it over his shoulder and turned to Wufei, standing a little away from the rest, arms folded.

"'Fei?" *Ask me to stay. Please, ask me to stay. One word. One look, even -- we can fix this if you're willing to give me a chance, I know we can. Even if I can't have your love, I want your friendship back!*

"Maxwell." Wufei met his eyes, his 'arrogant dragon' mask firmly in place. Behind it, his stomach churned with fear. *Don't go. Oh, god, Duo, don't go-- I've no right to ask you, but please--*

"Chang, then." Duo smiled, a bright false face over his breaking heart. "I lo-- I'll, uh, keep in touch, okay?"

"Do that."

Both of them knew that he wouldn't.




















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