Tangled Tales

This Life to Live

Entrance | Livejournal

{"Please, please, don't let them take me, Duo! Help me, please. Whatever I did, I'm sorry. Please, forgive me, Duoooooo….."}

Duo Maxwell came awake with a start. Sweat soaked his light blue pajamas and his harsh breathing was overly loud in the dark bedroom. He shakily pushed back the covers and stumbled down the hallway to his kitchen. He grabbed a glass and filled it with water from the tap. He gulped it down thirstily then sat the glass on the counter with a clank.

The dreams were getting worse and more frequent. They had progressed from faint unease and swirls of color to terror and full color pictures. He barely made it through a night without them. He had to talk to someone. He returned to his room but didn't even try to sleep. He just watched the room brighten and tried to make sense of what was happening to him.

It was Saturday and he didn't have to work so he decided to window shop. He had bought quite a few things he didn't need when he came upon a non descript little shop with a sign that read, "Follow Your Dreams." He stopped and stared almost unwillingly going into the shop. It was dim inside as he stepped through a twinkling curtain. He heard laughter in the back then footsteps.

A slight blond man dressed casually in khakis and a white T-shirt appeared. Duo raised an eyebrow. That was not what he expected.

The man extended his hand," My name is Quatre Raberba and welcome to my shop. Please, sit." He pointed to a round wooden table.

Duo shook the offered hand and took a seat opposite him. He fidgeted nervously. The blue eyed man looked sympathetic.

"Your dreams are bothering you?'

Duo cleared his throat," Well, yeah, but I don't know how this will help but I'm going crazy and willing to give anything a try."

Quatre smiled," Most people are skeptical. I'll try my best to help you and at the least you will have a willing ear. Please, tell me what you are seeing in your dreams."

"Well, the dreams started about two weeks ago around the first of March. I've never liked that month. They started out as swirls of color with negative vibes. Then they-"

"Wait, let's take this a bit at a time." The blond leaned forward. " What kinds of colors are they?"

"There's always a lot of black, shot through with red. I keep, I don't know, digging through them looking for white, but I never find it. Yet, I know it's there." Duo waited for Quatre to say something.

"Colors signify a lot of things in dreams. Let's see, red symbolizes anger, conflict, aggression, blood, and war when coupled with negative vibes. Black is the color of rage, mourning, and hopelessness. You say you feel as though you are digging. Digging is often an act of trying to recover something lost or retrieving a treasure. White, which you say you're trying to find stands for purity, innocence, virginity, hope."

Duo nodded," That sounds familiar as the dreams progress the white becomes a person."

"What do you mean a person?"

Duo blushed," I dream of a boy and he's always surrounded by white, wearing white. I know that he is what I'm looking for, but then people come and take him from me and he pleads for my help and begs my forgiveness. When I next see him, he is clothed in red" Duo looked down," and he doesn't know me."

"Hmm," Quatre shifted," when he reappears is he the same age or has time passed?"

"He's a young man, no longer a child when he reappears. Years older."

Quatre nodded again." How do you feel about the boy and why does he want your forgiveness? Does he do something bad?"

Duo's eyes took on a strange glow," I love him, I think and that's what frustrates me. I don't know why he's pleading with me and why I can't help him."

"Can you figure out a time period?"

'That's another, kicker. The dreams take place in several different eras, but the scene is always basically the same. He is beholden to me in some way, then taken, and I can't stop it from happening.

They sat in silence for a moment. Then Quatre spoke.

"It sounds like you have had previous lives. The same situation but changing times with the same unresolved issue. You've always felt uneasy in the month of March and the dreams are becoming more vivid." He steepled his hands. "Mr. Maxwell, has this dream already began to play out? Do you remember anyone being torn away from you in your childhood?"

Duo gaped at him," Are you trying to tell me that I've been reincarnated not once but several times? And I'm supposed to believe this? Thanks, but no thanks, man." He stood and pulled out a few bills.

Quatre accepted them without comment, but as Duo gathered his bags and turned to leave, he called out," Feel free to visit me again at any time. I live here. Think about it, Mr. Maxwell, are you playing out the same scene?"

Duo left without replying. It had been entertaining but he didn't really subscribe to such things. He made his way to the house, suddenly exhausted. He was definitely gonna call it an early night.

{ "Duo, can I tell you a secret?"

Duo turned to his best friend since Pre School. His chocolate brown eyes were wide and hopeful. Duo, as seriously as a second grader could mange, said," Sure, you can tell me anything, Wuffers."

The Asian boy punched him in the arm for calling him out of his name but shifted closer anyway.

"You know the karate teacher, Mr. K?"

Duo nodded. He and Wufei took karate at the same place. Mr. K was sort of creepy but a good teacher.

"Well, he touched me, yesterday."

Duo sat up straighter. Touched him? He remembered that Fei had to stay after class and wait for his Mom to get off work. Duo had asked his parents to let him come to the house but they had said it was bad enough he played with the Chinese boy. So Wufei stayed with Mr. K. until his ride came.

"What do you mean he touched you?"

Wufei leaned closer," You promise not to tell?" Duos nodded long braid bouncing.

"Well, he took me in the back where the swords are and he-," Wufei stopped and looked down.

"He what?"

"He took "it" out."


The slight boy nodded," And he told me to touch it and I did.

The violet-eyed boy made a face, "Yuck!"

"I didn't want to get in trouble, so I did, but then he told me to suck it and I said no, but he made me. He said he would stab me with one of the long pointy things he always has."

The braided boy was visibly upset," You have to tell someone, Wu. My Mom said no one should touch you like that because you're a child."

The other boy looked frantic," Duo, you promised not to tell. No one would believe me anyway. Besides, its not like he hurt me…it was just gross."

Duo nodded and upheld his uneasy promise. The next week everything in his small life changed.

Class was over and most everybody had left but he had forgotten his book bag and he had homework. His Mom drove him back and he ran in to get it when noises from the back caught his attention. It sounded like scuffling and hiccups. He tiptoed to the door and pushed it open slightly. He gasped.

Mr. K. was bent over Wufei's back grunting and Fei was crying and struggling. The slight boy looked up and saw him there. He stopped struggling and held his finger to his mouth for silence. Duo let the door go quickly and ran out the building leaving his things. His mother tried to ask him what was wrong but he was too upset.}

Duo sat up in bed. He shuddered. I t had been years since he had thought of Wufei. He supposed he had blocked the whole torrid event from his mind. After all, it had been such an ugly situation and he hadn't been able to handle it at such a young age. He moved to the edge of the bed and swung his feet to the floor. He thought about his dream, memory really, since it had happened.

The next week he had tried to talk to Wufei about what he had seen but he refused. Terrified for his friend he had told his parents. They confronted Mr. Kushrenada, who denied everything. He was a happily married man with a daughter. Hardly the type to molest a child. The boys were just concocting wild stories. It was the bad influence of that immigrant boy on Duo. The community believed him, blaming Fei.

The last time Fei spoke to him had been to accuse him of ruining his life and to tell him he should have stayed quiet. Then he had moved away and Duo had never seen him again. Duo shook his head. Quatre was right he was already well on his way to repeating history and he didn't like it. He got up and threw on some clothes. He had to stop this. He couldn't go through it again. It hurt too badly in the end. At 2:13 a.m. Quatre opened the door to a frantic Duo.

He blinked sleepily," Wha-"

Duo pushed into the dark shop," You have to help me. I had another dream about the boy and you're right. I did know him when I was younger. I had this friend and he and I and he-"

Quatre put a finger to Duo's mouth to halt the flow of words," Shh, my boyfriend's asleep."

"Not anymore, who is this Quat?"

Duo turned around to find a tall muscular man with strange hair standing there. He took in his half-naked state. Quatre had excellent taste.

Quatre closed the door and locked it," Trowa, you remember the guy I was telling you about, Mr. Maxwell. This is he."

Duo lifted a hand," Please, call me Duo." Trowa nodded at him. Quatre ushered him into what looked like a living room. The couple sat on a couch; Duo sat across from them in an armchair.

Quatre pulled at his pajama top," Now, tell me about your dream and this boy."

Duo took a deep breath," Well, I had a friend when I was younger that was being molested by one of our teachers. He told me about it and made me promise not to tell, but I had to because it was getting worse and he was suffering. No one believed his story and when they asked me to confirm it. I denied it because of pressure from my family and friends. His family moved away after the fall out. " Duo looked down and away," He was my best friend…more…than that I loved him."

Quatre nodded while Trowa looked on with interest," Now, in your dreams about how many years pass before you see him again?"

Duo thought," About fifteen years and then we run into each other by some kind of accident."

Trowa asked, " What happens when you meet again?"

Duo frowned," I don't know, I can't see that far I the dreams. I just know that we meet again."

"Well, I think that the only way to change these events is to meet him on purpose before the pre destined accidental meeting. Don't you think, Trowa?"

"I agree, "the green eyed man concurred. Quatre shot him a loving look.

"In fact, Trowa may be able to help you. He's a private investigator, the best."

Duo faltered," No, I couldn't ask you to get involved."

"He doesn't mind. Do you, baby?"

Trowa's lips quirked with amusement," If Q, says I don't mind, I don't. Tell me what you remember about your friend."

"Well, his name is Chang Wufei. Chang is his family name. His family was very traditional. That was part of the reason no one believed him. Prejudice. He was small boned, slanted brown eyes, jet black shoulder length hair. He wore it down until Mr. K. told him he liked it that way. Then he started wearing it in a tight ponytail."

Trowa cocked his head to the side," That's pretty generic, any distinguishing marks?"

Duo's eyes darkened," Yeah, a scar."

Quatre leaned forward," What's so special about a scar?"

"It's a cursive K on his right shoulder."

Quatre gasped," And they still didn't believe him? What were they blind and stupid?"

Duo growled," They didn't want to believe a pillar of the community was raping a seven year old." His hands clenched," And Wufei wouldn't show anybody the scar. He felt that if his word wasn't good enough, they wouldn't believe he cut him."

Trowa pulled Quatre closer. He knew his darling had a fragile heart and adored children above all. He wouldn't be surprised if he had his own nightmare's tonight.

Duo stood wearily," Well, I guess, I'd better get back to the house. Sorry for disturbing your rest."

The couple walked him to the door. The moment the door shut, Quatre started crying clutching his chest. Trowa pulled him close," It's him then," he whispered. Quatre nodded shakily.

"Yeah, this is the last time you know. They have to make it right or it will never be."

Trowa rubbed his back," They have our help now and our knowledge. We'll fix it together."

Quatre pulled back, looking up at his life partner of many many lives," You know I still remember the first time Duo lost Wufei. Do you?" Trowa nodded. Quatre continued," His parents have always been such cruel people. Selling Fei to that wretched man. They knew what he wanted him for, everyone did. All because Duo had gotten too close to a slave. He cried for weeks, you know. I tried my best to comfort him to no avail. It was years before we saw Fei again. We were in the market place and he was there," Quatre shuddered, "Wearing one of those…one of those collars, dressed in those rags men put on whores. He looked right through us like he didn't know us. He refused to talk to Duo but later I talked to him. He was a completely different person. Angry, jaded, and used. Oh, Trowa, why can't we ever stop the pain he has to go through each and every time?"

Trowa stroked the still damp cheek," We can only deal with the present and if this is the last chance he is to be given, then we have to make it count. We're here now."

Quatre nodded. Things were different. This was the first time he had been an equal to Duo able to talk to him and Trowa, his strength, was with him. They would be all right.

"Let's go to bed. Tomorrow's a new day. The day we start our search for Chang Wufei."

Duo stayed in bed much of the following day. He only left it to eat or use the bathroom. He was missing something and he knew it. The dreams were vivid and full of detail, but they never seemed to come to a real end. They just seemed to cut off at a certain point, hiding the ending of the play they were caught in. His night was fitful as usual. Trowa had called earlier to get his contact numbers. When Duo had expressed surprise at him having his number, Trowa had laughed and said," It's what I do."

He was in his office at work when Trowa called him with the news. He took the phone from his assistant.

"Duo Maxwell."

"Duo, this is Trowa. I found something interesting. It would be best if we brought the info to your house. It is quite a lot," he waited.

"Sure, then, I'll be home at 6:30, come at 7. I assume you know where I live?"

Trowa laughed and hung up.

Duo lowered the phone slowly. He fairly thrummed with excitement. They had already found him. God, Trowa worked fast. The rest of the day passed in a blur. He couldn't concentrate on anything else. He drove to the house out of pure habit. He watched the clock tensely as 7 crept closer, but started when the doorbell rang. He rushed to open the door.

Trowa had a large packet under one arm and a wide-eyed Quatre under the other. Duo let them in.

"Wow, this is nice, Duo. You must have a good job."

Duo let out a self conscience laugh," I own a business."

Trowa nodded," Do you have a VCR or DVD player here?"

Duo led them to his den," I have them both, take your pick." He was curious as to why he needed them.

Trowa pulled out a VHS tape,"It seems your Chang Wufei has a rather high profile. I don't suppose you're still a fan of the martial arts?"

Duo shook his head," After the whole incident I dropped out of classes and stayed as far away as possible."

"Wufei took a different route then. He is a champion martial arts fighter or he was. He retired at the age of 22. Said there was no point in continuing to fight since no one could touch him." He shook the tape at him. "I found an interview and several tapes of him fighting. The interview in particular is interesting. Check this out." Trowa put in the tape and they pushed play. They all stood back to watch it.

The screen showed a teen variety show with the usual bouncing blonde host. Duo raised an eyebrow.

"This is when he was 17. He just won the Junior Championship Title," Trowa informed him.

The host turned to the camera and smiled, "Hello, again, today we have with us the new Junior Martial Arts Champion. Please, help me welcome Chang Wufei,"

The studio erupted into applause as a slender well-built Chinese man walked on stage, hair pulled into a tight ponytail, dressed in all black.

Duo sighed. He was every bit as handsome as in his dreams. Trowa glanced at him and leaned forward to push a button on the player. Duo grabbed his arm.

"What are you doing?" he hissed not wanting to stop looking at the tape.

Trowa looked almost amused," I'm just going to fast forward to the important part. I'll leave you the tape so that you can watch it all later, I promise."

Duo let him go and Quatre smiled at him. "Here it is," Trowa pushed play.

The blond girl batted her eyelashes and leaned toward the Chinese boy," Wufei, several of your fans have asked about the K on your shoulder. Can you tell us what it stands for? Is there a girlfriend hidden somewhere?" She waited for an answer.

Wufei smiled slightly, a bitter looking smile, and replied," It is the mark of the man who made me what I am today."

Trowa pushed stop and ejected the tape. He reached down to pick up the package," In here are articles and tapes that mention Wufei. In the green file is his current address."

Duo reached out and took the packet solemnly. Quatre who had been silent during the tape, reached out," Remember, if you need any help or advice, we're here for you. Trowa and I will show ourselves out. We know you have a lot to think about." They turned to leave.

"Thank you. I don't know why y'all are being so helpful, but thank you."

Quatre just smiled and they left.

Duo sat down and went through every piece of paper, tabloids, magazine articles, newspapers, everything. He watched every single tape. Cheering even though he knew the outcome. Wufei was driven and focused. You could almost feel the rage. At 6 in the morning, he picked up the phone.

"Hello, Trinity Travel Agency."

"Yes, this is Duo Maxwell and I need a one way ticket to Phoenix, Arizona."

"When do you need to leave, Sir?"


Duo looked up at the large brick house, the intense sunlight momentarily blinding him. Yep, this was definitely the address and the house fit the description that Trowa had given him. He got out of the black car he had rented at the airport and walked up to the door. He rang the doorbell and waited. A frazzled young woman answered the door.

"Yes?" She waited impatiently.

Duo cleared his throat," Does a Chang Wufei live here?" He hoped that Wufei hadn't ran off and got married or something.

The woman's brown eyes narrowed," This is the Chang residence and if you're a salesman, Mr. Chang doesn't need a thing." She went to close the door.

Duo put his foot in the way," Wait! I'm not a salesman. My name is Duo Maxwell and I'm an old friend of Wufei's." Duo waited as she eyed him suspiciously.

She said, " Hold on," and closed the door in his face anyway. Duo sighed. He hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come. God, it was hot in Arizona.

The maid made her way through the darkened halls slowly. Mr. Chang did not like people and generally didn't have visitors. She knocked lightly on the study door.

"Must you always bother me, woman! Come in, damn it!"

She pushed the door open and stood hesitantly before him. Ice cold eyes stared at her," Well, what was so important that you had to disturb my solitude?"

"There is a Mr. Maxwell to see you, Sir. He claims to be an old friend." She studied his face and thought she saw a flicker of something then it was gone.

"I know of no Maxwell. Tell him to leave. I don't want to be bothered again."

She bowed and quickly left the room. She hurried to the front door and wrenched it open," He said that he doesn't know you." Before she could close the door, Duo yanked her out side.

"You go back in there and tell Wufei to let me in or I will tell the world what that K stands for. Do It Now." Duo watched as she flew back inside. He hated having to resort to threats, but it was hot and he was desperate.

Wufei looked up at the sound of the door opening again. He stared at his maid amazed that she dared to disturb him again, " What the hell do you want now?"

She visibly flinched, but stood her ground," Sir, he said to tell you to let him in or he would tell the world what your K stands for." Her knees shook as a look of pure hate crossed Wufei's face. Just as quickly he was without emotion.

"Please, show Mr. Maxwell in. I'll be there shortly."

She nodded. She hoped this Maxwell fellow knew what he was doing. It was never a good idea to enrage someone who could kill you with his bare hands. She went to the door for the third time," Please, come in, Mr. Maxwell." She showed him to the living room and hurriedly left.

Duo sat on the plush couch and took in the décor. It was largely black and white, contemporary, and expensive. There were no personal items like family photos.

"So, you finally decided to blackmail me. What took you so long?"

Duo's eyes snapped to the source of that rich voice. His breath caught in his throat. Stunning. There was no other word to describe Chang Wufei. He looked like a wild predator, all gold and black, sleek lines. Duo just stared not processing the words.

Wufei felt anger pulse through him at the lust apparent in those violet eyes. Was that all he was good for, fucking? " I trust you like what you see."

Duo snapped back to reality at the biting words. He saw the fury rolling in black ice. Damn, this was not going to be easy. He smiled," I must admit, I do. You look good, Wuffers. How's life been treating you?"

"Don't call me that. What are you here for so that we can dispense with the nonsense? An exclusive interview, money, autographs, a photo op? Tell me so you can go back to whatever hole you crawled out of."

Duo managed to maintain his smile and patted the couch he was seated on, " I came to see how you were doing Fei, not black mail you or anything of that nature. I just said that to get to see you man. Sit, talk to me."

Wufei did move, but to sit-down in a chair opposite Duo not on the couch. He maintained the pissed off look, " You expect me to believe you blackmailed your way into my home to inquire of my well being?"

"That's exactly what I expect you to believe because it's true." Duo leaned back, relaxing, letting his legs spread slightly. He noted the flick of Fei's eyes over him. Interesting. Yes, interesting. " So, tell me what you've been doing with yourself, old friend."

Wufei frowned, "You are not my friend; you never were. You came to me, tell me what you have done with your life."

Duo smiled, " Whatever, you desire, oh taskmaster, Wu. I went to college as Nebraska University and studied business. Now, I'm the proud owner of Shinigami Advertising."

Wufei blinked. Duo owned Shinigami Advertising. That was one of the largest companies in the States. He guessed all that creativeness he remembered had to go somewhere.

"Now tell me about you, Wu."

Wufei narrowed his eyes," My name is Wufei and I believe I want to retire now. Amanda will show you out." He stood and turned to leave.

Duo shot up and grabbed his arm, " Hey, wait-"

Wufei turned to him slowly," Take your hands off of me now." Duo let him go. He wasn't stupid, he knew not to push his luck at the moment. When Fei rounded the corner the young maid reappeared. " This way, Sir," she began to lead him to the door. At the door, Duo once again took her hand.

He flashed her his most charming smile," Amanda, is it?" She nodded; a bit stunned by the impact f his good looks turned full force on her. " Amanda, I need your help. You see, it's like this. I need to talk to Mr. Chang, but I doubt I'm allowed back in this house. I want you to call me whenever he leaves the house, okay. Grocery shopping, the movies, walking, anything." He pressed a piece of paper into her hand then kissed it. " I'll make it worth your while, I promise." The maid nodded shakily, clutching her hand to her bosom.

Duo walked back to his car, whistling, braid swinging over his ass. At least he had got to see him. He was still a long way from being able to declare love. He was unaware of the eyes watching him drive away. Eyes filled with pain and torment.

{ "Please, why am I here? I want to go home," the small boy whimpered.

A low laugh reached his ears and a large hand tipped his face upwards. He stared up into blue eyes, " Child, this is your home and it's past time you learned your place here."

Wufei struggled as experience hands stripped him and groped. All the while low laughter rang in his ear.}

Wufei jerked awake, hair flying everywhere. It was a few moments before he realized he was at home in bed and not impaled under some large man. He cursed. It wasn't enough that he had to relive the rape at the hands of Kushrenada, but now he was dreaming of being raped over and over, life after life. What was he, cursed?

He got up and stalked to the room where he kept his trophies. They always managed to make him feel worth something. He was the best and that bastard couldn't take that from him. He moved to touch one of his Championship belts. Yeah, maybe a little practice would calm him down or at least make him to tired to dream.

Wufei dragged himself down the stairs, grabbing the juice Amanda always had ready for him in the morning, " I'm going for a walk. If anyone important calls, tell them the same thing you would tell an unimportant person."

"Yes, Sir," she said picking up the empty glass, will you be walking in your usual place?"

Wufei looked at her strangely," Yes, Amanda." He finished tying his sneakers and left.

Amanda waited a few minutes until she was sure he was not going to return and ran to the phone. She dialed the number Duo had given her.



"Yeah, is this Amanda?" He sounded excited.

"Yes, Wufei is out walking. He walks at Encanto Park on trail nine. Hurry, if you want to catch him."

Duo was already scrambling," Thanks, Amanda, I owe you." He hung up.

On the other end, Amanda sighed. Duo Maxwell was one hot guy. She wondered what he could want with her grouch of a boss.

Duo parked his car as quickly as possible and jumped out scanning the crowds. He found him like he had on a tracking beacon. His hackles rose. He was talking to another man. From where Duo stood, an extremely attractive other man. He started to stalk over and punch him, but then he remembered he had no claim on the Chinese man. So he ambled over coolly.

" Why, Wufei, fancy meeting you here."

Wufei tensed and turned to him looking like he was about to bite him. And not in a good way. The man with him turned too, treating Duo to the rare sight of an Asian with what appeared to be real blue eyes.

He raised an eyebrow," Wu, aren't you going to introduce me? I'm hurt."

Wufei snarled but breeding won out," Duo Maxwell this is Heero Yuy, an associate. Heero, this is Duo, someone I used to know a long time ago."

Heero shook the hand of the person who dared to call Wufei out of his name. He noticed the curious purple eyes were looking him up and down as though to see if he was a threat. He smirked. So Wufei had a suitor. How, what's the word, quaint.

"Nice to meet you, Duo. Wufei, I'm going to head on out. Zechs is waiting for me." Wufei nodded. "Goodbye, Duo." Ad good luck he wished mentally.

Duo threw up a hand at the departing guy, his attention already on Wufei who stalked off in the direction of several numbered trails.

Duo paced after him, " So, where are you headed because that's where I'm headed too."

Wufei ignored him and continued to walk toward trail nine. Duo followed right along with him.

"So, who was that guy, really?"

Wufei was so angry, he didn't grasp the question, " What guy?"

Duo exhaled noisily" Heero, the blue-eyed Asian with the messy brow hair."

"Heero is just someone I know. No concern of yours."

"Is he your boyfriend?"

Wufei stumbled, righted himself, then rounded on Duo," Why are you fucking here, Maxwell? Was my life not messed up enough for you? So you had to come ruin it again for old times sake?" His voice rose with each word.

Duo waited until he was finished and answered him quite seriously," I never, ever meant to hurt you, Wufei. I just wanted to make it stop."

Wufei stared at him breathing hard. Then he turned and walked off again. Duo fell in step beside him. He wasn't the head of a corporation for anything. He did not give up easily.

" So, I take it he's not your boyfriend."

" No, he is not my boyfriend. He is happily screwing some blonde underwear model."

Duo whistled," Lucky him, but you know, I don't really go for blondes. I like my men dark and dangerous." He glanced over at his companion and was rewarded with a faint flush. Now, if he could just be sure it wasn't from anger or exertion.

They walked the trail in silence after that. Both lost in their own thoughts. When they got back to the park, Duo turned to him," Wufei, you know I'm not going to stop bothering you until you either forgive me or kill me. And I would like to think you're still too honorable to kill an innocent man."

Wufei snorted," Innocent? What would I know of innocence? You and I both know I lost my innocence and honor on a hard floor, under a man old enough to be my father. So, you better watch out, you may end up dead." With these words, he walked off. This time Duo did not follow.

"Oh, Fei Fei," He whispered. The pain in the other's voice had stabbed him to the quick. He walked to his car and wondered why everything looked fuzzy. It wasn't until he turned the key did he notice the tears falling.

{ " You know you're my best student, don't you, Wufei?" Fingers slid through his unbound hair, playing with it. He stood very still trying his best to ignore them. Maybe if he pretended it wasn't happening he would go away. He was not so lucky.

The hands left his hair and pulled him back against hard legs for a second. Then he heard the rustle of clothing. He shivered his clothes had long since been removed. The hands returned pushing him to his knees, positioning him, pulling his legs apart. The tears began to fall.

"Oh, my little dragon, how you tempt me. All tight little muscles, fire and ice. You know you drive me to this. You beg for it with every breath. Every breath."

He thrust and a scream echoed through the back room. Wufei wanted to stop breathing.}

A scream echoed through the dark room. Wufei was startled out of his imaginary fight by falling on his ass out of the bed. He stared blindly at the wall for several long minutes until his heartbeat slowed. He blinked back tears. Really, was there no gods and if so, where his?

He stood shakily and walked to his closet. He stood on tiptoe and pulled down the black box that held his familial sword. He settled himself in the bottom of the closet and closed the door. He didn't turn on the light because he didn't have to. He had done this so many times over the years he could do it blind. He opened the case and pushed aside the velvet fabrics. The blade called to him whispered that it could stop the pain and halt the dreams. If only he would let it. Take what it offered.

He reverently removed it from its cage. This blade had seen the lives of his ancestors and it too knew him. He lightly placed the tip to the bend of his elbow and pressed down. He felt the puncture and imagined the red lines running in the black darkness. The thought of what others might think never crossed his mind. No one cared about one more scar on an already marked body housing a dirty soul. He pulled the razor sharp tip downward toward his wrist This pain he could deal with without tears. He stayed in that closet a long time, staring dry eyed into the darkness.

{ " Please, please, Wufei talk to me. Tell me where you've been all these years. How come I haven't seen you around?" Duo pleaded not caring that the other elite were whispering loudly about his talking to another man's property.

Curiously empty eyes stared back at him with no recognition. Duo tugged him closer with the hand he held. He reached up to touch long black strands gently. Wufei never blinked just stood there and suffered his touch without comment. Suddenly a voice rang out.

" Sir Maxwell, whatever are you doing to my little pet? Surely, you know it is rude to play with another man's toys?"

A well-dressed ginger haired man walked toward them. He leisurely looked Duo up and down. He smiled, " Little Duo Maxwell, my, how you have grown. I see you are trying to get reacquainted with your old buddy here." He smirked," I'm not averse to sharing my toys. Ask any of my friends. Heck, ask your father. He seems to enjoy playing with this delicacy as much as I, maybe more."

Duo's mouth dropped. His father? His father knew of these atrocities? Even participated in them? He looked back at his old friend. Wu's face was lowered, but he could see the shiny glint of tears. Oh, God it was true!

Treize laughed," Come, whore, we must be going." He turned to leave, Wufei trailing behind. Duo stood there frozen with shock and disgust.}

"Oh, my sweet Jesus," Duo climbed out of the stuffy hotel bed and sprinted to the phone. He punched in a few quick numbers. The phone rang several times.

"Hmmm, hello," a drowsy voice mumbled softly.

"Quatre, this is Duo. I'm sorry it's so late, but I had to ask you something." He waited for a response from the blonde.

"Go ahead, I'm ready," a more alert Quatre came across the line.

Duo sighed and screwed up his courage," Quatre, does the exact same things happen in every past life?" He held his breath.

" No, the souls trapped in limbo are often born over again to different parent souls. So circumstances and people around them can change for the better or worse. Although, you have always been born to rather nasty souls. I have won-"

"Wait!" Duo interrupted Quatre, " what do you mean I have always had bad parents. I never mentioned any parents in my dreams. How do you know that?" He clutched the receiver harder. He heard a sigh.

"I don't think we should discuss this over the phone, Duo," Quatre finally replied.

"Well, when exactly do you expect us to discuss it?" He demanded.

"Later. Remember, I'm here for you, Duo," the line went dead.

"Well, shit." Duo stared at the phone. Something was definitely not right with those two. No one in their right mind offered to help a total stranger over and over for no cost and no reason. He put the phone down. He had enough on his hands with just getting through to Fei.

He remembered his dream and shuddered. Poor Wufei condemned to life after life of pain and humiliation. He wondered what was holding them to this unending cycle. Unrequited love, unrequited hate, suicide? He shook his head. He wasn't suicidal, at least not while Wu was still alive. As long as he lived there was hope. And he didn't seem suicidal to Duo. So it must be Duo's unrequited love and Wufei's extreme hate.

He glanced in the mirror," Damn, I look bad." He looked at his alarm clock, 6:30 a.m. He headed to the shower. He wasn't going to get any sleep anyway. He made sure the water was extra hot to chase away the chills.

Trowa pulled Quatre into his embrace," What's wrong, love?"

Quatre snuggled closer," He suspects something."

"Don't worry about it now. The time to disclose secrets will come. It always does, wanted or not."

Amanda looked at Wufei and frowned. It had been days since he had left the house. He just sat around dressed the house dressed in long sleeve shirts even though the temperature was in the 100s outside. He tensed with every ring of the phone or doorbell and refused to see or talk to anyone.

She ventured, " Are you all right , Sir?" Blood shot eyes met hers and stayed there piercing her to the soul. She shivered.

Wufei smiled at her discomfort, " I am fine, Amanda. Just not sleeping well." The doorbell rang and Wufei turned his attention back to the book before him. The sounds of a heated argument and slight scuffle reached him only moments before Duo burst into the room.

"Where the hell have you been, Wufei?" Duo shouted looking highly upset for no reason that Wufei could fathom. Amanda was pulling in his arm trying to wrestle him back to the door. Duo shook her off irritably. He strode over and grabbed the book from Wufei's hands and threw it to the floor. That action snapped him out of his stupor. He jumped to his feet, " Who the hell do you think you are, Maxwell? Barging into my home acting like a caveman? I should beat you like the scum you are!"

Duo stared back at him, surprisingly calm in the face of what should have been a fearsome threat. He picked up the poor book, dusted it off, and placed it on the table. "There, no reason to get your panties in a wad. Come on let's go somewhere and eat. Amanda take the day off."

Wufei stood mouth open. First this…this fool, stormed into his house uninvited and threw one of his most prized possessions. Then he insulted his underwear and gave his maid, his maid, mind you, the day off. And to top it off he had the nerve to think he would go anywhere with him. It was enough to boggle the mind. The doorbell rang again. Wufei's mouth snapped shut. This was not his day. Amanda looked to him for direction. He waved his hand in the general direction of the door. She scurried to answer it not wanting to get caught up in any conflict that might occur. Wufei continued to stare at Duo; who stared back calmly.

"Heero, you didn't tell me that Wufei had a boyfriend."

Both men turned to the source of that husky voice. Wufei immediately threw up his hands and started muttering about curses and hellfire. Duo surveyed the newcomer and decided this must be Heero's blonde model.

"Introduce me, Heero."

Heero obligingly tugged the blond forward toward Duo, "Zechs, this is Duo Maxwell, someone Wufei used to know."

The beautiful blond extended a manicured hand, " Heero, I told you to stop calling me that horrid nickname. My name is Milliardo Peacecraft," he said with a decided flourish and waited.

Duo briefly shook the pale hand, " Nice to meet you," he said absently, eyes tracking Wufei as he walked to his bar.

Milliardo looked affronted by the lack of attention. Heero's eyes gleamed with amusement. He looked at Wufei also, Zechs and I were going out to dinner and we thought to invite you."

Wufei grimaced, "Thanks, but I-"

"already had plans, " Duo cut in smoothly. "but I am perfectly willing to make it a double date." he turned away from the heat of Fei's glare.

Heero smirked, " It's settled then. We'll take my car." He glanced at Wufei's clothing. " You have 15 minutes to change. Zechs and I will wait in the car." He turned to walkout.

"In the backseat of the car," Wufei growled under his breath.

"I heard that," Heero remarked not breaking stride, " Not a bad idea. Come on Zechs." The two walked out with Milliardo grumbling about stupid nicknames.

Duo turned back to Wufei watching him finish his drink, " That's some associate you got there. Just how do you know Heero?

Wufei poured himself another drink, "We used to train together. He's the only person that can challenge me."

"Ah, it's reassuring to know that not only can you kick my ass, but your best friend can kick it also. Peachy."

Wufei choked slightly on a snicker before he caught himself. Duo grinned, "I do believe you've had enough to drink. Go upstairs and change. Time's running out and you can always drink more at dinner."

Wufei got up and headed for his bedroom. He wouldn't put it past either Heero or Duo to try to drag him out the house, dressed or not. It was better to cooperate rather than let the two of them gang up on him. Plus his arm was still sore. He reached in his closet and pulled out a long sleeved black shirt and black pants. The black was a comfort to him, an outward display of emotion. He quickly put on socks and shoes and went back to the living room. Duo was still waiting and gave him a frankly approving look and warm smile. He walked past him, ignoring the tingles his obvious lust produced in his stomach. He reminded himself that he wanted nothing to do with Duo Maxwell.

"Amanda, you may take the rest off the day off." The maid blinked but said nothing as she collected her stuff. Duo smiled to himself. They walked out to find the other couple climbing out of the back of the car. Wufei snorted. Typical. He got in behind the driver's seat and Duo got in the opposite side. He really didn't feel that well. The late nights and nightmares were getting to him. It was not 10 minutes into the drive before Wufei fell asleep. Heero watched in amusement through the rearview mirror as Duo coaxed him into laying across his lap. Zechs rolled his eyes. He didn't know what anyone could see in Wufei. He was mean, antisocial, and did not appreciate beauty like his.

Duo gazed down at the head cushioned in his lap and suppressed a smile. Wufei really was too cute. He reached to play with the tight ponytail. His stomach muscles clenched as the strands glided across his fingers. God, that would feel good feathering along his body. He played with it a little longer then traced the curve of one perfect ear. Wufei murmured and snuggled deeper into his lap. Duo's breath caught and he shifted uncomfortably. He tried to push down the lust and concentrate on the love. Telling himself he was here to comfort Wufei not fuck him. His body refused to listen. Insisting on producing a raging hard on. Great, just great.

Heero pulled into a large parking lot belonging to what appeared to be an obscenely expensive restaurant. He parked and turned to Duo, " We're here," He said unnecessarily, grinning. Duo glared at him and shook Wufei's shoulder gently, " Wake up, Wu. We're here."

Wufei stirred slowly and sat up halfway blinking fitfully, looking like a disturbed kitten. He blinked at Duo and leaned closer, nose almost touching his, " Duo? Wha-"

He was cut off as Duo gave up trying to control his wayward body and kissed him. Duo moaned and pulled the sleep pliant man closer. He flicked his tongue against coral lips and they parted for him. He deepened the kiss and tried to explore every nook and cranny. He wanted to cry as lack of oxygen forced him to draw back.

Wufei stared into glazed violet eyes, hands still clenched broad shoulders. He was at a loss as to how he had went from staring out the window tiredly to kissing the man who had betrayed his confidence and ruined his youth. A man who he should hate. A man who he wanted to kiss again, desperately. The thought brought him into wakefulness abruptly. He shoved back and away. He heard Duo sigh and Zechs laugh. He turned to find Heero staring at him considering. He blushed a deep red and Heero smiled at him.

"Welcome back, Wufei, we're here."

Wufei nodded shakily and hurriedly opened the door and got out. He recognized the place, Avanti's. Heero ate here often and raved about the food. The four walked silently to the door where they were met by a well dressed man.

"Do you have reservations, Sirs?" he raised an impervious eyebrow.

"Heero Yuy."

The man flipped through a small black book, "Ahh, yes, this way, Sirs."

They were led through tastefully lavish décor to a private corner table for four. They settled in and were presented with elegant menus. Zechs and Heero talked back and forth amongst themselves. Heero finally taking the menu from Zechs and saying he would order for him. Duo looked over his menu at Wufei who was unfortunately hidden behind his. Duo sighed again. He thought back to the kiss in the car. The hot rightness of it, right up until the moment Wufei woke up. Damn.

The waiter came and orders were placed. The drinks were returned almost instantly. Wufei took a swallow of his wine. Duo sipped his sweet iced tea. Alcohol made him careless and he couldn't afford to make any mistakes.

"Tell me, Duo, how do you know Wufei?" Heero asked.

"We grew up together."

"And you just decided to look him up after all these years. How quaint.' Zechs drawled looking bored.

Duo smiled and Zech's breath caught, " Actually, Wufei invaded my dreams with his perfection and I had to find him to see if he was really that beautiful. I must say the dreams were a disappointment when compared with reality."

Wufei blushed and took another drink of his wine. Well on his way to being wasted having drunk so much on an empty stomach. He was also more than a little confused about he wanted. Dinner passed in a lively manner. The food was delicious and Heero and Duo really hit it off much to Wufei's and Zech's disgust. They were laughing it up like old friends before dessert was served. Wufei declined dessert but Duo ordered the sinfully sweet Brownie ala Mode, a warm fudge brownie topped with French vanilla ice cream smothered in hot chocolate sauce, sprinkled with walnuts. He took a bite and closed his eyes. Oh, that was good. His eyelids fluttered open to catch Fei staring at him, mouth slightly opened and flushed. Duo smiled slowly and spooned up another bite.

"Here, taste it, Fei," he offered the loaded spoon. Wufei leaned forward caught up in Duo's hypnotic gaze. He accepted the offer, savoring the richness. The two never broke eye contact. Heero and Zechs shifted as the practically palpable heat flew around the table. Heero cleared his throat. The spell was broken and Wufei sat back. Dessert was resumed with a new urgency for both couples.

The waiter returned with the check which Heero graciously paid over Duo's protests. They all stood to go and made it about three steps before Wufei swayed and almost fell down. Both Duo and Heero lunged for him but Duo was closer. He stumbled a bit under the impact of Wufei's heavily muscled body. Heero steadied him for a moment then moved back to Zechs' side.

Duo smiled into hazy brown eyes turned up at him, " Oh, my tipsy kitten. Whatever shall I do with you? Come on, time to go home."

Wufei blinked owlishly then pulled himself into a more upright not to mention closer position. He blew in Duo's ear, "Yes, Duo, let's go home…home like we used to before…" Duo shuddered, but wrapped his arm around the tiny waist and valiantly helped him outside to the car while trying to ignore the pointy white teeth tugging at his earlobe.

The ride back was hellish. Wufei was all over him, stroking and teasing. Duo tried to survive without embarrassing himself more than he already was. He was very aware of the dark blue eyes watching him in the mirror. They made it to Wufei's without serious incident. Duo jumped out and went around to get Fei out. He opened the door and pulled the vixen out. Wufei immediately snuggled against him, face pressed into his neck. Heero got out also. He stood in front of Duo and gave him a hard measuring look.

"Listen, I like you and you seem like an okay guy, but if you take advantage of Wufei or hurt him in any way, I will kill you."

Duo nodded, " I like you too. Good to know Wu has such a fine friend."

Heero smiled and got back into the car. Duo watched them drive off. Well, hell. He helped the weaving man into the house and up the stairs. He went to the only closed door and opened it. Bingo. He eased Wufei onto the bed and set about removing his shoes and socks. He felt a tug on his braid and looked up. Wufei pulled him closer with his captive braid and with his free hand traced his nose following the upward tilt with delight. The questing fingers fell to his full bow lips and lingered.

"Don't mind Heero…he never understood about us…about how it wasn't your fault. There was nothing you could have done."

Duo's mouth dropped open in shock as confusion pulsed into his brain. Heero never understood. Was Wufei talking about this life or another? Wufei took advantage of his parted lips to dip his fingertips inside his mouth. Duo tasted the invading digits and watched heat flare up in dark eyes as Wufei leaned in and kissed him softly. He returned the kiss, pushing his questions aside, not trying to deepen it or take over.

Wufei pulled back and smiled, " I wish all my dreams were as beautiful as you are." Then he passed out, finally surrendering to the alcohol. Duo blinked once and then laughed.

"Well, that was more than worth the trouble it took to push all my meetings back." he rose over the knocked out man and unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned and unzipped his pants and pulled them off without to much difficulty. He then turned to the long sleeved shirt. He quickly undid it and started to ease it off. When he got to the left arm Wufei twitched and moaned in what sounded like pain. Duo frowned and squinted in the darkness. He wasn't sure but it looked like the beginning of several cuts. He carefully removed the sleeve and lightly brushed his fingers from elbow to wrist. Definitely scabs.

He cursed and jumped up to turn on the light . His eyes teared up at the first full sight of Fei's inner arm. It was littered with many shallow cuts that had to be self inflicted. He leaned down to lightly kiss the wounds before removing most of his own clothing. He turned out the light and got into bed. Wufei rolled toward him and he obligingly held him close. It was a long time before he slept. Unpleasant thoughts chasing each other through his mind.

{ Wufei lay there in the filth they had left him in. He felt every bruise, every cut and laceration. He was also acutely aware of the flow of fluid out of his abused body. The disturbing pink mixture of semen and blood was not new to him.

He lay there and thought about his life and what had bought him to this low point. His mind flashed through scenes of him and Duo as children, sweet innocent children. Playing in the forests, swimming in the lake, Duo helping him complete his daily chores, even though his father had told him such work was beneath him. And that day, that fateful day that had changed everything.

He and Duo had retired to his room in the servants quarters. Duo wanted to play with his hair and he had let him. Duo loved his hair and told him it was beautiful often. Then Duo had kissed him, a light peck on the cheek. He had asked for an explanation and Duo told him people who loved one another kissed. He had been pleased; Duo loved him. Duo had kissed again on the mouth and he had closed his eyes. Neither heard the door open until it was too late and all hell broke loose.

Wufei shifted painfully on the cold hard floor. He thought of the grown up Duo he had met in the market place. He remembered the burning shame he had felt when the still so innocent young man had looked at him, spoke to him, touched him. Duo was still fascinated by his hair it seemed. Then Treize had come and told Duo exactly what he had become, a whore, a rich man's toy that he shared with friends, even Duo's own father. Duo had been disgusted and he had cried and followed his tormentor home like the chattel he was.

Wufei sat up slowly levering himself up off the floor. Everything in him protested the move. His body just wanted to stay on the floor and die. Wufei's mind agreed but he knew that as much as hurt at the moment he had survived worse. He had to help his body die because he couldn't live another day with the knowledge that Duo knew what he was and hated him for it. His eyes lit upon Treize's sword collection. Treize loved swords and played with them for hours. Sometimes making shallow cuts and designs on him. He crawled over to the far wall and pulled himself up. He swayed dizzily but managed to get the blade closest to him. A katana, if he remembered correctly. He grasped the hilt as firmly as possible in his condition and cut into the wrist on his hand. The pain didn't even register as he dropped to his knees, he cut other. Finally, he was free. }

{ Duo rushed from his house hand clutching a bag loaded with a small fortune in coins and jewels. He had to save Wufei from Kushrenada even if it meant spending his last coin. He jumped into his carriage and told his man to take him to Treize's manor post haste. A small voice inside his head urged him to go faster time was running out. As the monstrosity the older man called a house came into view Duo's heart beat faster. Today, Fei was coming home with him, where he belonged.

Duo jumped out the carriage and rushed up the stone steps and banged the knocker. A rather satisfied Treize came to the door.

"Ah, little Maxwell, how nice to see you here. A surprise, but nice. Do come in." He motioned the braided boy in. Duo steeped agitatedly into the large foyer.

"I've come to see Wufei," he stated as soon as the door was shut. Treize laughed, " I figured as much. You are a tad late though. We just finished playing with my pet. I suspect he doesn't feel up to company right at the moment."

"Duo raised his chin, " I'm not here to fuck him. I want to buy him back."

Treize gave him a measuring look and waved him to a chair, " Such language, young Maxwell, and why ever would you want to buy someone else's used goods when you could buy yourself a fresh toy."

Duo glared, " I'm not looking for a whore or planning to make one. I just want Fei back where he belongs with me."

"You love him then. Yes, of course. When your father sold him to me, he said it was to stop you from doing something that could ruin the family name. So how much is your "love" worth to you?"

Duo tossed the bag on the table and Treize emptied it, surveying its contents.

"He means quite a lot to you, I see. Come, I will take you to him."

They walked in silence to a back room. The door swung open and time stopped for Duo.

There on the floor lay his love, black hair a tragic fan in an ever widening pool of blood. Duo walked silently over and picked up the gleaming blade still grasped in Wufei's palm. With deadly accuracy, he thrust the blade through his abdomen and joined his beauty in freedom. }

Two different screams with the same pained tone split the dark of night.

Wufei snapped out of it first, surprised by the sheer novelty of the fact that there was someone else in his bed screaming like a lunatic. "Duo, stop, wake up," he shook the other man. Duo stopped screaming abruptly, teary amethyst eyes flickering open. Wufei was startled when the braided man launched himself into his arms and promptly resumed crying hysterically. Wufei just went with flow and held him until he calmed down. It was kind of nice to know that he wasn't the only one having hellish nightmares.

Duo sniffed and drew back, large eyes searching his own. He wiped his cheeks and sat back. Wufei let him go instantly, "Are you alright?" he asked quietly. Duo nodded shakily and whispered, "I'm sorry for waking you up."

Wufei nodded abruptly, sweeping his apology away with a wave of his arm. The movement caught Duo's eye and he grabbed his arm, turning the injured side up. Wufei went rigid, eyes flat and shiny. Duo traced the cuts gently, "What happened, Wu?"

Wufei snapped out of immobility and jerked his arm away. "None of your damn business, and if you're quite done crying like a bitch, maybe you could leave."

Duo didn't even blink, "You know I'll never judge you and find you lacking ,don't you Wufei? You can confide in me."

Wufei snarled," Yes, I know exactly where confiding in you will get me. I want you to leave now." Wufei exited the bed and marched to the door, opening it. Duo slid slowly out of the bed, moving slowly to gather his clothes. Wufei felt his gaze skip unwilling over the perfect pale skin lying over toned muscles. Perversely the unblemished beauty made him seethe with anger. How dare someone who knew absolutely nothing of what he had been through, what he was going through judge him at all?

Duo walked over to the door stopping in front of the tightly held man. He looked down into angry black eyes, but only saw the pain that had taken up permanent residence in Wufei's soul. He lifted his hand and watched as Wufei fought not to move away. He touched the smooth curve of Fei's cheek, "I would show you love Fei, I would love you…"

Wufei gazed up into solemn pools of violet; how easily he lost himself, drowned in them. It was dangerous…dangerous to let anyone get too close, especially one that knew…knew how dirty he was. He forced himself to stand still as Duo touched his face, never show fear. To do so invites the predator to make a move. Show him love? Show him love…he didn't want to be shown love. He knew what love entailed and it was painful. He had loved before, his parents, his books….Duo. He did not need to be shown anything, especially by the man who had betrayed him. So why did he not step back as Duo leaned down to kiss him? Maybe because he knew that this might be the last time, the last time he experienced what it was like to want to be touched.

Duo leaned down slowly, giving Fei every chance to protest, but he stood there still, except for the monumental war flashing in his eyes. Pain, want, mistrust, sadness, self preservation, hope…. What won, he couldn't know, he only knew that Wufei tasted sweeter than before, sweeter than anyone he had kissed before. The soft lips parted almost immediately, inviting him into the slick darkness that lay inside. He sipped slowly, savoring the nectar of this rare flower. Almost absently, he noticed the transfer of Fei's hands from the door, to his shoulders. Duo pulled him closer, stroking his back soothingly as he tensed at the bodily contact.

How could he make him feel this way? He had been kissed before, numerous times before he had become fed up with trying to force himself to appear normal. Not one of those kisses compared to kissing Duo. Duo made him feel…feel good. Which in and of itself was a miracle. He placed his hands lightly on Duo's shoulders and Duo pulled him closer. A faint swirl of panic tingled through him and the hold on him loosened and a hand rubbed lightly down his back, conveying that he was not in any danger. He relaxed slightly, then it was over and he was being released slowly. When his eyes opened they met Duo's intent ones.

"I know you want me, Fei. No matter how much you try to deny it, but I understand not being able to trust easily. You can trust me Fei, I loved you then and couldn't help you. I love you now and you won't let me help you. If you need me, I left all my contact numbers with Amanda." Duo stepped back and turned to go. Wufei followed him to the staircase. Duo had walked down about two steps when he stopped and turned back to look at Fei, "I came for you, you know. After, I saw you in the market place. I gathered everything of worth that I had and took it to Lord Treize, but I….I was too late and when I got there you were already gone. I couldn't live without you, then'

Wufei gasped. He could not be talking about what he thought he was talking about. Could he?

‘and I will not live without you now." With that Duo turned and walked down the stairs and out of the house.

Wufei sat at the top of the staircase and stared sightless into the space Duo had vacated. Surely, he couldn't mean what he thought he did? Surely, not, but he had spoken with so much conviction about things no one knew of, his dreams. There was no way… unless he had been talking in his sleep. But Duo had been caught up in his own nightmare. His own…nightmare. Their …nightmare…

Amanda moved quietly around the house, moving carefully so as not to disturb Master Chang. Wufei had been in the most pensive of moods for several days now. Deep in thought and staring of into space for hours at a time, only taking breaks from his trance like state to eat and use the restroom. Mr. Maxwell, Duo, had not been back since he had given her the day off and kidnapped Wufei with Heero’s help. Ah, Duo, she really missed seeing the handsome young man, even though she had only seen him a couple of times, he had made quite the impression. She had a feeling that Master Chang was missing him too.

Duo paced back and forth in the suite he was staying in. It had been days and still no word from Wufei. He had to resist the temptation hourly to call Amanda and check up on him and see how he was doing. He was rich, yes, but he couldn’t stay away from his company for much longer. His various business partners and associates were getting antsy. His cat had to be hating him and the pet care takers he had left him with. He really hadn’t thought he would be gone so long. Damn it. Call, Wufei, call.

What time was it? Wufei looked at the clock opposite the couch he was sitting on. 8. 8 p.m. Just fifteen minutes later than it had been the last time he glanced at the clock. What was he waiting for. Divine inspiration? A message from God? He had long ago decided that there could not be a divine being or else he was just one cursed bastard and going straight to hell. Because no God could love him and condemn him to such pain. What was he waiting for? For it to be safe and pain free to reach out to somebody, to love somebody? That time would never come. He could sit here staring at the clock until time stopped and the sun died and still that time would not arrive. Duo seemed so sincere. Sooo….so what? He didn’t exactly know, but he did know that when he looked into those bright eyes he saw possibilities. Possibilities that had long before seemed closed to him. He almost could believe that there was hope for him and his tarnished soul and tortured body. He could almost believe that Duo could love him for what he was and not hold his past against him. The light in Duo’s eyes burned so brightly that it seemed it could chase away the darkness that Wufei had been living in for most of his life. But appearances could be deceiving. He glanced at the clock again. 8:15.

The phone! The phone! Where was the damn phone? Duo hurriedly unearthed the phone from beneath some shirt he had carelessly thrown on the table. The clock beside the phone caught his eye. 8:18.


"Tell me."

Duo’s breath caught and his heart shuddered, "Tell you what?"

"Tell me about the times you loved me before."

Duo slowly sat down on the edge of the bed. "I remember you back at the very beginning. Back when we were both so little. I remember the day my father bought you. You were huddled in a corner, all by yourself away from the other slaves. Some were fearful, some wanted to be purchased. You…you just sat there in the corner. Beautiful dark eyes, clear and bright. I knew then, I knew I had to have you. I knew you were special. I pulled on my father’s arm and I told him that I wanted you. I remember now that he looked you over and complimented me on my taste, but I didn’t know what he meant so I shrugged away his compliment. We were five years old."

"I remember the time I saw you first in the woods and thought you were a fairy. You were playing among the flowers, lost in your own world. Hair free and blowing in the wind…so very beautiful, so very beautiful. I came closer quietly, but a branch snapped underneath my foot and you stilled, eyes wide and wary. When I called out to you, you ran. So quickly, so full of grace. I remember going back home brimming with excitement. Telling everyone that would listen that I had happened upon a mystical creature while out in the forest. They all laughed, but I knew it was the truth. I returned time after time to watch you and eventually, you allowed me to touch you, to talk to you. I remember I touched your hair first. Never had I seen hair so straight and so black. It ran through my fingers liked the finest silk and you stood there ready to bolt at my slightest wrong move."

Duo stopped as he heard sobs come over the line. He waited until the other man had composed himself somewhat, "All those times, all those memories and still the clearest memory is of how right it was to hold you…and how wrong it was to be without you."

"Duo….you said, you said.."


"You said that you loved me then and you still love me now. Did you mean it?"

"Wufei, centuries have passed and I have yet to meet someone that hold’s a candle to your smile. That makes my hands itch to touch their hair. Yes, I meant it when I said I still love you and I always will."

"I think…I think I’m ready to try to believe you."

"I’ve been ready to convince you to believe me."

Wufei inhaled shakily, "It’s nice to know that you remember the good times. I hardly remember them at all. Mostly all I remember is him and them…the people he let use me like I was a toy he was graciously sharing with friends."

"I can’t even begin to say that I know how you feel or that I understand your pain, because I don’t. I only understand my pain, the pain of losing you again and again. The pain of knowing that you were suffering and I never knew about it. But I’m here for you now and whatever you want, however you want to go about it, I’m willing. I just want to be close to you; I just want to love you."

"I…I’m not sure…I’m ready for a real, ummm, relationship. I don’t thin…uh"

"That’s okay, baby. I know what you’re trying to say. That’s alright. We can take it as slowly as you want to. Okay, no pressure, no rush." There was a sigh of relief on the other end of the line.

"Would you like to come over? I mean-"

"I’ll be there in twenty minutes."

Wufei hung up the phone slowly. He had invited Duo over. He had invited Duo over. Some how that phone call had gotten a little more serious than he had planned for it to get. He had only wanted to hear Duo’s smooth voice to luxuriate in its rich cadence, but no he had asked him to tell him, to talk to him about love…and Duo had. He had talked with such certainty with such reverence of the times past that he remembered. Wufei wished that he remembered more of the good times, the times before the pain, but he didn’t. He really only fuzzily remembered the first time he had met Duo. The time when he had been a slave bought to be a companion to a young lonely rich boy. A boy that had turned out to be so much more to him than he had ever expected. So much more…

Duo drove carefully. Fully aware that the pulsing, drumming excitement running through his veins had the potential to make him careless and he had come to far to die in a car accident when his goal was almost within reach and clearly within sight. He grinned. All his waiting, all his patience had finally began to pay off. Good things were in his future, good things.

The door bell rang. Amanda paused. Who could be visiting at this late hour? It was almost time for her to go home. She dried her hands on the front of the apron she was wearing after carefully putting the delicate dish Wufei had eaten off of down. She made her way briskly to the front door. When it swung open she found herself blinking up into happy violet eyes. Mr. Maxwell.

"Oh, do come in, Sir. Do come in. Master Chang is upstairs in the study."

Duo thanked the blushing maid, assured her that he could find the study on his own, and headed up the stairs to do just that. He found it relatively easily and stepped quietly into the slightly ajar door. He glanced at the man standing with his back to him looking out of the window at the twinkling stars. He walked over to him and lightly placed his hand on his rigidly held back. Wufei sighed and relaxed slightly into his touch. Duo took this as encouragement and stepped closer until he was pressed up against Wufei’s length. He made soothing hushed noises when Wufei went to pull away and the golden skinned man fell still once more. They both stood there looking out at the millions of stars shining brightly above them and wondered just how many times they had loved and lived under them and eventually passed away. Wondered if these very same stars had witnessed each life time each new beginning and each tragic end.

Finally, Wufei stirred, turning in the circle of Duo’s arms and gazing up into his shadowed eyes. Duo gazed back watching the emotions flit and flutter across the chocolate landscape that was Wufei’s eyes. Duo leaned down as if drawn by some magnetic force and who was to say that it wasn’t true? He kiss whispered softly against silken eyelids and flirted with moist lips. Not wanting to add anymore stress to an already stressful night he pulled back before Wufei became frightened or he pushed too far too fast. They moved to sit on the brown leather sofa that graced the study.

Duo broke the fragile silence, "Wufei… come with me. Come with me back home."

"What? Duo, you can not expect me to just pick up and follow you around the world. I live here and I’m happy here. Why can you not stay here with me for a while? I don‘t want to go to the city," Wufei’s eyes flashed fire.

"Are you happy here? That doesn’t seem to be the case to me, but that is not the point. Wufei, I have to go home and check on Shinigami. I have already been gone too long as it is. Please, baby, I’ll only need to stay in town for about a week and then we’ll go somewhere isolated just the two of us. To heal and to learn each about the people we have become. Wufei, please."

"I will think about it. That is all I can promise."

Duo nodded, tonight was not the time to fight or even argue. Not when they had taken such a big step in the right direction. He reached for Wufei’s hands, rubbing lightly over the smooth skin.

"Fei, I just want you to know how much I love you, how much I have always loved you. When we were little, I thought of you as a child does. As a best friend and playmate, but as I grew up, my love for you changed. It became tinged with desi-"

A gasp from the open door of the study interrupted Duo, and both men turned to stare at a blushing Amanda. Wufei quickly jerked his hands away from Duo and Duo sighed at the untimely invasion of privacy.

"I’m so sorry, Sirs. I just wanted to let you know that I was leaving for the night."

Duo nodded, "Thank you, Amanda." Amanda turned and walked out of the study filled with disappointment at the realization that she would never grace Mr. Maxwell’s bed. Such a waste of fineness.

Duo tipped up Wufei’s still heated face and frowned. "You’re not ashamed of me, are you? Wufei shook his head slightly, eyes lowered. "Good, because being with you only brings me joy and I hope to make you feel the same way about me. He bent to kiss the soft lips and Fei leaned into him, eager for the reassuring contact. After the kiss broke, Fei nestled his head into Duo’s neck.

"Stay. Stay with me tonight, to keep the nightmares away, or at the very least so that we can comfort each other in our terror with hope for the future."

"Of course, I’ll stay." And together they made their way to Fei’s room and slid into bed with each other with a shyness borne from uncertainty of the future, but certainty of the present.

{ "You like this, don’t you brat? You wish my boy that you were so infatuated with was giving it to you right now, huh?" Wufei cried out as a large hand roughly pulled his hair, making his whole body arch backwards. "Duo will never do this to you. He will never love you, he will grow up and marry some simpering, rich virgin and further our family’s name and fortune. He might take someone like this, some beautiful boy in the dark, but it will never be you." Wufei whimpered as the words pierced his heart more surely than any physical violation.}

"Wufei! Wufei, wake up!"

Wufei came to with the realization that someone was shaking him roughly. He stared up into concerned violet eyes. "Duo", he croaked. "why are you trying to shake my brainstem free?" Duo gave a small smile, the concern receding but not disappearing completely.

"You were having a nightmare, Fei. I was trying to shake your demons free."

Wufei closed his eyes and whispered, "It’s going to take much more than shaking to rid me of my demons." Duo pulled him close and whispered back, "Whatever it takes." They settled back down and sleep came slowly but held on until the sun brought the morning with it.

Wufei contemplated the man before. The man that had consumed his thoughts over the long years that had separated them and knew. Knew him for what he was, his soul mate, his path back to salvation and happiness. The road would be long, but the prize worth it. Duo did not know it yet, but his choice had been made. He would follow him, one more time. If they could chase each other through a dozen lifetimes, going to New York with him was no big deal. His breath caught as sleepy violet eyes opened to gaze back at him. He lifted a shaky hand to push back wild curling tendrils from the face of his love.

"I will go with you."

He watched joy illuminate the round, expressive eyes and when he was crushed to his strong chest, he felt no fear. He felt freedom.


In a place far, far away, a blonde angel let out a sigh of relief and his green eyed lover stroked his tension away. Finally, it was over.