AN: OMG! IT'S HERE! THE EPILOGUE IN ALL OF ITS GLORY! *Hyperventilating*
Please enjoy, and OMG I'M SO SORRY IT'S TAKEN ME YEARS TO GET THIS OUT~
If I said that everything was perfect after that rainy day, then I would be lying. That isn't to say that things ended in disaster, either. But like most things, life has a funny way of teaching us important lessons before we can really find and have that happiness we're looking for.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to notice that Duo and I were closer than usual, although the nature of our relationship was still slightly ambiguous. We were more than friends, but we both knew that laying down any sort of commitment right away might not be such a good idea until I have some time to get past all that's happened recently. Still, this didn't stop us from cuddling on the couches while watching TV, flirting while making food in the kitchen, and sharing tender kisses throughout the day.
If Heero had any feelings of any sort around Duo and I, he never showed them… at the very least, I'm sure he wasn't surprised after I confessed all to him. In the meantime, Trowa smiled at us and Quatre was ecstatic, even after I had a private conversation with him to get him up to speed. He was confident that Duo and I were meant for each other, which was rather endearing and made Duo beam (unwittingly, he told me later) much to my embarrassment. Truth or no, I'm sure it helped that Quatre was still in the throes of his relationship with Hilde, and seemed to never be anywhere lower than cloud nine. They had been together nearly 6 months now, but it was still was just like their first night at the Christmas party, albeit with significantly less awkwardness.
Heero left shortly thereafter, as he said he would. Still, the reality of it was painful, even with Duo there to support me. When Heero had told me that day that he was planning on leaving, I didn't realize he meant within the next couple of days. Naturally, my brain really liked being in denial, so I was expecting him to leave in a week or two. So imagine my surprise when he knocked on my door to inform me that he was leaving early the next morning. A variety of emotions rose up in me, and I decided to talk to Duo about it.
"Heero's leaving tomorrow morning." I stated, while Duo and I took a night time stroll through the neighborhood. The air was a little nippy, so I took the opportunity to share Duo's pocket with him, our fingers entwined in the thickness of the warm leather coat I got him for Christmas.
A brief flash of something negative flashed across his eyes. Might have been frustration, anger, or pain… or all of the above. Now that we were together of a sort, he didn't hide his emotions as much from me. It was still difficult for him at times to deal with my caring for Heero, but he handled it gracefully as usual.
"I know." He stated. "He told me today as well."
"Do you know where he'll be going?" I asked.
Duo shook his head. "He didn't say. He probably prefers it that way, if I know him at all."
I got the silent hint not to ask when he leaves tomorrow.
The next morning, those of us still staying at the house gathered to see Heero off. We stood on the walkway right outside of the front door, while Heero loaded up his few belongings into his car. I held Casey in my arms, scratching her under her chin absently while she purred and kneaded into my arms. When he was done, everyone began to say their goodbyes. Brief, to the point, but poignant. The goodbyes mostly consisted of hand-shaking and salutes. When he went to shake Duo's hand, Duo pulled him into a big, brief guy hug.
"Good luck with everything, wherever you end up." Duo stated with a smile.
Heero nodded. "Thank you." He said.
When he got to me, Casey mewed at him, and he scratched her briefly behind his ears. "She'll miss you…" I smiled sadly.
"She'll be alright." Heero replied, as he looked up at me.
I gave him a hug, with Casey still in my one arm. My lingering feelings for him started to crawl up, and I felt the urge to give him an brief kiss goodbye, like on the cheek or something… but I knew anything like that would be painful for Duo, whether he was here to see it or not. Yeah… we may not be 'official,' but we might as well be. My loyalty code would settle for nothing less.
"Will we ever see you again?" I asked. With Heero, you can never be too sure.
"Eventually." He said. His tone was matter of fact and simple. It was reassuring.
"Well then," I stated. "I second Duo's comment. Good luck. And may the force be with you."
"Star Wars. Epic Sci-Fi movie trilogy from the 1970s….? Nevermind."
Heero dismissed it, and stepped back. He looked at everyone for a moment, and then said simply, "Goodbye. And thank you. For everything." With that, he got into his car and left while we all waved farewell.
Once he was out of sight, Duo put his arm around my shoulders and I leaned into him as we started to walk back into the house.
"So…" he started. "Star Wars?"
"One of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever created, at least until the horrible prequels came out. Has Jedi, and magic, and Aliens, and Darth Vader!"
"Yep, I have no idea what you're talking about…"
"You wound me." I stated.
Shortly thereafter, Trowa left to return to the circus and to Catherine, and then talk began about what the rest of us were going to do. Quatre planned to return to one of his larger estates, and Hilde was planning on moving in with him, which left Duo and I to figure out what our options were. Quatre extended the offer for us to live with him, but I could tell that Duo was done living under a shared roof, especially off of someone else's charity. He was as independent as any other Gundam pilot, and while he chose to stay in the city to work at the local Preventers headquarters, he cringed at the idea of staying in a large mansion where he'd be faced with Quatre and Hilde smooching before he'd had his coffee every morning.
The part that was more shocking to me was that he wanted me to move in with him.
"I don't know…" I said. "I mean, that's a BIG step."
"I know…" he replied. "And you don't have to if you don't want to. But I thought it might be good for you if you had a place of your own. Okay, yeah so it'd be OUR place of our own, but at least you wouldn't be living off of someone else."
"I'd be living off of you…" I pointed out.
"Not if we both agree to pay for our living expenses. I may be able to pay more right now, because I earn more, but you should pitch in as much as you can too."
I peered into his big violet eyes, and he stared back at me, open as a book.
"Look," he said. "If you're afraid it's too fast, then don't do it. I just thought that it might be easier for you to move on if you're supporting yourself more, and you can do that with me."
Could I? I thought about it. What was I afraid of? It just felt… sudden. But the idea of living with Quatre and Hilde left me feeling desperate to find other options. Sure, I suppose I could room with some total strangers… but why would I do that when I can be with someone who not only am I in love with, but get along great with? Plus the idea of not being under the same roof as Duo made me realize how much time we really did spend together, and how much of that we'd lose if we gave that up. The idea was not a pleasant one. I could barely handle a week or two of us not talking, and although it wouldn't be so extreme, the reality of us not living together left me with an uncomfortably familiar feeling.
"Well…" I began with a smirk on my face. "It's not like we're not already practically living together anyway…"
A true statement. Since Duo and I first got together we've been spending more and more time together. Alone. In our rooms. Most nights we'd end up sleeping in the same bed together, because really… who wants to get up out of bed and walk across the hall to fall asleep in a cold empty bed 20 feet away?
"I was thinking the exact same thing." He grinned, as he pulled me against him for a kiss.
We ended up moving into a small little one bedroom apartment, and from there we began to settle in together. However, Heero never seemed to completely dissipate from my mind like I thought he would. Instead, the memory of him hung around, and occasionally the stoic pilot would show up in my dreams. I became too afraid to tell them to Duo, to open up to him and talk to him about it. So I said nothing, bottling it all up inside, which led to me becoming more and more distant with him. It didn't take long for him to notice something was up, and it typically came up around any sort of intimacy between the two of us. I found myself uncomfortable around him half the time and the other half I felt undeserving, which really didn't leave much room for happiness.
I don't know why I didn't confess to him… I guess I was afraid of losing him. I was afraid of hurting him, and dragging out the process. He seemed so happy with me most of the time, and I had felt that he'd suffered enough around my feelings for Heero.
'Ijustneedmoretime…' I told myself. 'Icanworkthisoutmyself.'
In the meantime, Duo tried to help me feel more comfortable, tried to figure out what was going on with me, figure out what it was that I needed that he could do differently. I gave him other issues that we could work on, other things I'd noticed coming up for me as well. Trusting men was a big one… I noticed that I was great with all the wonderful physical pleasures of being with someone at the beginning of a relationship, but as time progressed I would become nervous, and uncomfortable, and afraid. I knew where it came from… the marks left from my childhood never really healed, so understandably my trust in men and commitment was hopeful at best. And through things like that we did wonderfully. He was always patient, never pushed for anything, and it made me feel even worse.
Finally, the shit hit the fan one chilly night in November. We had been together for half a year, and Duo got the idea to celebrate it by taking me to a ballet show. He knew I loved classical music with the added benefit of dressing up, so he showed up that afternoon from work with tickets and a big smile on his face. I was ecstatic, and soon thereafter we were out the door and on our way.
When we arrived, Duo had the car parked by Valet and he walked me up the wide steps to the concert hall, my hand on his arm. He looked gorgeous in his all black suit and clean-shaven, and I looked like his perfect match in a black glittering dress. We chattered amicably together as we turned in our tickets and made our way through the doors.
All was fine until I saw him.
Heero and Relena were on the opposite side of the room, but I noticed them immediately. Heero was in a classic black suit with a white shirt and black tie underneath, and Relena had her hand on his arm much like I had mine on Duo's, looking radiant in a sky blue gown.
All at once my emotions hit my like a wave, and suddenly I was angry, and exasperated, and deep down, the part of me I hated, filled with longing and a tinge of jealousy. It was all because of this, this one person that I was so torn up inside. I somehow let myself get so wrapped up in him for so long, that disentangling me was so much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. And here I was, supposed to be having a fantastic evening with an amazing man who was everything I ever wanted in a partner, but instead glaring daggers of frustration and longing at a missed opportunity that never existed, all the while hating myself entirely.
And that was it. I knew I was done with this stupid situation that I kept creating for myself. I almost laughed aloud at the ridiculousness of it all. I felt like I'd resisted so much, for so long, kept silly secrets and feelings, and let everything fester in me so much that the past few months had felt like a fog to me. I never regretted my choice to be with Duo, and I still didn't. What I didn't do, however, was give myself a mourning period to be able to move on. I leaped right into a serious relationship because I was afraid of losing Duo, I was afraid to trust that he really did love me enough to wait until I was really ready.
There was a lot I needed to make up for, a lot of things that I needed to explain to him. My realization felt so fast, so instant, but when I turned to Duo to smile at him, I could tell that it wasn't fast enough. The look in his eyes crushed my smile before it ever even made it to my face, and before I could say anything, he stormed out of the concert hall.
"Duo?" I called frantically, as I struggled my best to follow him against the push of people rushing in. But he was faster than I was, and more skilled at disappearing into crowds that it didn't take long for me to lose sight of him. Panic filled me for an instant.
But when I finally emerged onto the steps, there he was, looking down at his feet, his hands clenched into fists.
"Duo…" I breathed. "Duo, I'm so sorry-"
"All this time." He spat. "All this time, and you never told me."
"I know, I know… I just-"Tears were already falling from my cheeks, and I knew there was nothing I could say.
"No, you don't know!" he replied, as he spun to face me. The look he gave me cut through everything I had, everything I was. I looked down at my feet out of fear that I would fall to pieces in an instant if I looked any longer.
"I waited for you. For so long, I waited! I was there for you, every second, of every day. I never lied to you, I never hurt you… yet you still want him. You're still in love with him."
"No!" I shouted. "I'm not-"
"Don't lie to me!" he shouted. "Stop lying to me! Christ, Lynn! How much more do you think you need to hurt me? I get it, okay?" he turned away from me.
I was sobbing now, and I grabbed his arm to keep him from leaving. "Please," I begged. "Listen to me!"
He faced me again, shaking my hand off his arm in the process. If I could just touch him, kiss him, hold him, he'd know…
"No." he replied. His eyes looked as if he were about to cry. "I've given everything I could, but apparently it's not good enough. I'm done."
I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.
"Duo, please don't… you don't have to do this…" I begged.
"Yeah, apparently I do, since you don't have the gall to do it yourself." He spat.
I smacked him across the face.
"How dare you." I whispered. I had so much more to say, but nothing else came from my lips. I was shocked with myself, and shocked at Duo… it felt like the entire past five minutes have been out of some nightmare that just wouldn't end.
His cheek was red, and my hand stung. He stared at me for a moment, just as shocked as I was. Then his face lost all its expression and he turned away.
"Duo, I'm so sorry…" I whispered, as I buried my head in my hands.
He was silent for a moment before he spoke. "Me too." He finally replied. "You should call Quatre and have him pick you up." He started to take a few steps back toward where the valet was.
"I can't believe you're leaving me here…"
His voice came out in a pained croak. "I have to."
And then he left.
Quatre was able to pick me up that horrible night while Hilde tried to call Duo repeatedly, but by the time we got back to the apartment Duo and all of his things were gone. So I fell apart a second time that evening, and after that I wasn't the same. Quatre and Hilde took me in since I couldn't pay the bills at the apartment by myself. I was a zombie through life. I went through the motions but I felt nothing about anything I did, and Duo never, not once, left my mind. Most nights I cried myself to sleep, and most days I replayed good memories and bad memories, and dreams that will never happen. In the meantime, Hilde was angry with me for hurting Duo (rightfully so) and refused to talk to me at all. And honestly, I was fine with that since I had no energy to argue with her. Quatre, on the other hand, was constantly checking in on me, and always gave me a shoulder to cry on (which seemed to happen all the time now).
Days turned to weeks, and weeks began to turn into months, but the loss of Duo never waned. The worst part about the whole thing was that I felt entirely powerless to do anything. I had no idea where he'd disappeared to, and neither did Quatre or even Hilde (who eventually stopped being angry at me due to my heartbrokenness). And without that, I had no hope.
Then, one day, hope came in the form of Heero Yuy, ironically enough. He was in town, and decided to exercise his social skills and pay us a brief visit. I was in my room when I heard a knock on the door.
"Come in…" I answered.
Heero stepped in, and closed the door behind him.
"Oh… hi." I said. It was strange seeing him now… still beautiful of course, but all of the high stress emotions I had around him before weren't there anymore.
"Hello." He replied. "Quatre told me what happened." Ah, Heero, always to the point when he decides to talk.
"Ah. Yeah. That." I commented.
"I just wanted to apologize." He said.
"Apologize? For what?" I asked.
"For being what came between the two of you." He replied.
I smiled a sad smile at him. "Here, sit with me. You don't have to apologize. What came between Duo and I was me making stupid decisions and not being honest with myself or him. You were the topic, but not the cause."
Heero stared at me for a moment while he processed my words. Finally, he asked, "Do you miss him?"
"Every day." I replied. Sadness and longing began to fill me, and I began to speak. The words were private, and before I would have been uncomfortable sharing them. But now none of that mattered anymore, I found it easy to talk to him. He was a man of few words, which meant he was a strong listener.
"I feel like I'm falling, Heero. I'm falling and this time he's not going to be there to catch me. And I'm going to hit the earth and shatter into a million pieces until there's nothing left. But I've already fallen, and broken, but it keeps happening to me, over and over again. I had everything I could ever want and I threw it away because I was too scared."
"What were you scared of?" he asked, after another long silence.
I gave a small laugh and a sigh. "Everything…" I replied. "Scared of hurting him, scared of losing him, scared that I didn't really deserve him… scared of how much he loved me, like I could do no wrong. I felt like I had his heart in my hands and I could just drag it across the floor and he'd let me, and that power scared me.
"But that's exactly what I did… I did all of that, and he didn't deserve it. He was so good to me, Heero… I never meant to hurt him. And I was ready… I saw you and Relena at the ballet that one night, and that was it. I was done feeling this way, done being afraid when I should be happy. And I was going to come clean, to open up and spill everything to him, but it was too late. We argued. He said such terrible things, and I smacked him… and he left."
"Why don't you go after him?" Heero asked.
"If I knew where he was, I would. But when he left, he disappeared. No traces left behind, no note, no phone call, nothing. He just… vanished."
"I can find him." Heero stated.
I looked into Heero's eyes, and my eyes felt hot with unshed tears. "He doesn't want me to find him, Heero. Ever."
"Sometimes what we want isn't always what's best." Heero replied. "Sometimes what we need is more important."
"He doesn't need me, Heero." I stated.
He stared at me for a silent moment. "Perhaps not. But he needs what you're willing to give, and I think he wants it to come from you."
I stared at him, shocked. Finally, my mouth moved. "Since when did you get so perceptive?" I demanded.
"Do you want me to help you or not?" Heero replied.
"Yes. Help me find him."
Duo, as it turns out, returned to the closest place he could call home, L2, working as a car mechanic at some random repair shop. When I informed Quatre and Hilde that I was going after him, they both hugged me and wished me luck. Of course, Hilde threw in an extra batch of "if you hurt him again I'm gonna kill you."
"Do you need any help getting there?" Quatre asked.
"No..." I replied. "I need to do this myself without anyone's help. Well, except for Heero, because he knew how to find Duo."
"How are you going to pay for your shuttle flight?" Quatre asked.
"The upside of being depressed, working, and not paying rent is that I have a lot of unspent money. Of course, I can only afford one way…" I explained.
"When are you leaving?" Hilde asked.
"As soon as possible."
It was the truth. I was able to get a ticket on the next available shuttle flight out of there. I had one single bag on me with a change of clothes, and my purse with my flight information and IDs. Quatre dropped me off at the airport, and soon enough I was through security and boarding a red-eye flight to L2.
My heart was in my throat as I waited impatiently in my seat. I wasn't sure what to expect. This was, of course, my first time going into space. I was filled with disbelief and excitement. Add onto that the terrifying possibility of seeing Duo again, and I was surprised I wasn't practically vibrating.
As the shuttle took off, I gripped the armrests of my seat, as I stared at the window in awe. The ground shrank before me, transforming into a vast stretch of city lights that soon vanished as the shuttle passed the layer of clouds, which glowed a yellow ember from the city below. The starlight was everywhere now, and I watched as we rose higher and higher. Finally, as the dark grey nighttime sky faded to a jet black, the universe seemed to explode before my eyes, and suddenly there were stars everywhere the eye could see, an endless sea of glitter, and I watched as the earth shrank below us, farther and farther. It was overwhelming. So this was what it was like up here. Huge, vast, empty and full at the same time. I felt small and insignificant in this timeless place, yet incredibly precious and unique. For a few moments I forgot about why I was here in the first place. I stared out into space, as my brain grappled with the possibilities. How many of these stars are long since dead, their light still travelling to this point in space? How many new stars are out there that we don't know about yet? How many of those places contain life?
The shock didn't really seem to wear off until we were approaching the colony. Suddenly, the reality of it all hit me again, and I almost felt like fainting from fear. What if he really does hate me? What if he sends me away? What will I do? Will I fall at his feet and beg him to take me back? Will that be it, game over? What if he's already in another relationship with someone else?
That thought alone was enough to make me feel sick.
I waited impatiently and with trepidation as the shuttle got closer and closer to the colony, and finally started to slow as it approached it docking location.
Another thirty minutes, and then I was off the shuttle, feeling slightly nauseated with the knowledge that this place was man-built and floating in space. Go far enough in any direction and you'll end up in an empty, cold, unforgiving vacuum.
I started walking. One foot in front of the other, trying to just focus on getting through each step of this process. Train. I needed to get on a train. I followed the signs towards the pickup locations and public transit, and came out into a bright sunny day on L2. It was incredibly strange and disorienting to see not only a place where the sky stopped, but that the ground in both directions swept up and away as part of the great ring shape that these colonies where designed after.
I held the directions to Duo's shop tightly in my hands, as I looked at the different buses, and boarded the Blue Line towards Easternshire. I looked at the map on the wall of the train as the doors closed and it started to move. Seven stops until my exit.
It seemed both too slow and too fast when my exit finally came up. I stepped off the train, belongings in hand, feeling incredibly winded and tired, considering I hadn't slept at all since yesterday. But still, I moved on. I came out of the subway system at the intersection Kings Road and Green Street. I began to walk.
It wasn't long until Duo's repair shop became visible, and, at first I slowed to almost a stop. Then I forced my feet to move, faster and faster until suddenly – I was there.
The garage door was open, and I saw Duo immediately. Or, at least some of him. He was underneath a car that was elevated only a foot or so off the ground, tinkering away on God knows what, and couldn't see me from his position. My breath hitched in my throat, and there I froze.
"I'll be with you in a moment, ma'am… I'm the only one working here today." I heard his muffled voice call.
He didn't recognize me. This was it. My only chance to walk away. Maybe I should. I could come back tomorrow, when I've had some rest…
A moment later and he was rolling out from under the car, and in that moment he saw me and he froze. He stood up slowly, and stared, his mouth slightly open in shock.
I stared at him, unable to speak as well for a moment. He was more gorgeous than I remembered. His white tank top was filthy with car oil and grease, and his jeans even more so, with tears at the knees. He had a baseball cap on, which his braid was tucked into, I'm assuming to keep from getting it caught in anything. My heart and body ached for him.
"Lynn…" he breathed.
"Hi…" I replied quietly, my voice just above a whisper. So this was it.
"What are you doing here?" The hurt was still there in his eyes, but so was something else. Something important.
"I… I came here looking for you." I explained.
"From where - from Earth?"
"…You came all the way from Earth to find me?" He repeated, completely shocked.
"I did." I replied.
"Why?" he asked, and I could feel his wall start to go up. Tears started to form in my eyes.
"Because…" I started, but couldn't finish.
He frowned. "Lynn, why are you here?" he demanded.
"Oh God, Duo, I don't know… I mean… I do… it's just… you know, I had this whole speech laid out, I knew exactly what I was going to say and how I was going to say it, but now that I'm here… none of that matters." I wiped my eyes and looked at him. "It doesn't matter how I say this, just so long as you hear me."
"Lynn…" Duo started, as a looked at his feet and then down the street. He looked like he was about to leave or have me leave, either way.
"NO!" I shouted. "You will not shut me out this time!" I demanded. "Duo, you left me there! You left me and then you disappeared!" He opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him off. "I know why you did it, and I know that I hurt you. A lot, and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry…" tears started to roll down my cheeks. "If you still don't want to be with me anymore, then that's fine, I'll understand. But fuck, Duo, if we're going to break up let it be for the right reasons!"
"What, you being in love with my best friend while you're in a relationship with me isn't a 'right reason'?" he demanded.
"If that were really the reason then I wouldn't be here." I replied. "Duo, I was in love with Heero. AND I was in love with you too. And I was confused, and I was hurt, and I made a lot of really stupid STUPID choices. There's no excuse for them.
"When things didn't work out between Heero and me, I was in such a painful place, and you were there for me. You took me in, loved me, forgave me, made me feel safe, and I cherished it Duo, I always did. But I felt like all I kept giving you was pain, every time I'd mention him, every time I'd share with you how hard it was for me to let him go still. I could see it in your face every time he came up, and it killed me. So I stopped. I stopped bringing it up, stopped talking about it.
"But that made it worse, because then I wasn't able to heal from it… I went from losing someone I loved to being in a serious relationship with you, when what I really needed was time. I needed time to be pathetic and depressed and hurt over Heero, so that I could then really make a place for you in my heart that was just for you, just for us, and I could be there for you in a way I wasn't able to before."
His expression was pained, but I could tell he was understanding me. "Why didn't you just tell me?"
More tears slipped down my cheeks. "Because I was afraid I'd lose you. I was afraid you wouldn't wait for me. And you'd already waited so long, that it felt unfair to make you wait any longer. I thought I could do it all on my own, so I didn't say anything. And then that night… at the ballet… I saw Heero, and I finally got it… everything finally clicked, and I realized…"
"… What?" Duo prodded. "What did you realize?"
"That I had loved the two of you differently… My love for Heero was like a young girl's fantasy. It was being able to tame the recluse, to have someone so reserved open up, to have someone so strong need me. It was silly, and it wasn't real.
But what I really want… what I've always wanted is to fall in love with someone who is everything thing that you are, Duo. Strong, outgoing, loving, reliable, funny, sexy… my best friend. I want to fall in love with my best friend and get married and have babies and grow old together and have grandchildren…"
I was sobbing now, and I couldn't speak for a minute. I took a few hiccupped breaths, and looked at Duo through my thick curtain of tears.
"I'm so sorry…" I cried. "I never meant to hurt you. And I was going to tell you everything that night, but it all fell apart. And then you left. You just disappeared and I couldn't find you, and every day was like hell for me without you. Every day I replayed the memory of us in my head, and every day it ended the same, and every day I fell apart…"
He was silent for a moment, his expression unreadable, probably because I was too busy bawling. Finally he asked, "Did you really want all those things? The marriage, the kids, the best friend?"
"For fuck's sake, YES Duo!" I nearly shouted. "Why else would I spend all of my money to chase you down in SPACE with nothing more than a change of clothes and zero sleep?" More sobs fell from me, and I couldn't stop them anymore.
The next thing I knew, I was pulled into Duo's arms, and he was kissing me as I sobbed into his warm mouth. His kisses moved from my tear stained lips to my forehead, my eyelids, my cheek, my ear… and then he was hugging me against him while I sobbed into his shoulder, releasing the months of pain that only he could soothe. He stroked my hair as I cried.
"Shhh, shh…" he whispered. "It's okay…"
"You c-can't ever do that to me again…" I cried. "I won't be able to handle it…"
"I know, I know…" he replied. "Oh God, Lynn, I'm so sorry… I would have waited for as long as you needed if you asked me to…"
"Why?" I asked, still keeping myself buried into his shoulder.
"Because you're worth it." He whispered.
"Even after all this?" I asked.
"Especially after all this." He replied. He pulled me away a little so he could look into my eyes. "You came after me this time. It took a while, but it happened. You wouldn't have done it if you weren't certain. I know because I went after you once."
"Well you're worth it." I laughed, as my tears finally started to slow.
"Now I know I am…" he smiled. "Which leads me to my next question…"
I looked at him questioningly. He reached in his back pocket and pulled out a ring. Not just any ring… THE ring. The air left me, and suddenly I felt like the world was spinning.
"Will you marry me?" he asked grinning.
I laughed despite myself. "Have you carried this around all this time?" I asked.
He shrugged. "I'm a hopeless romantic at heart… I figured if you ever did find me, it'd be because you want what I want, and you know I'm a risk taker."
I took the ring from his fingers. "Duo, I… wow…" I whispered.
"It doesn't have to actually happen for a long while… I know there are probably a lot of things we'd want to get situated before we'd take the plunge…" he reassured me. "But I want to ask you now. This is what I want Lynn, and I only want us to be together if we're both certain, if we're both committed to making this work. Of course you can always change your mind-"
I placed my finger over his lips, silencing his rambling. I wanted nothing more than to put it on and say yes, but I hesitated and looked him in the eye first. He smiled at me, a reassuring smile, a promising smile. I smiled back, and slipped the ring on. "Yes." I replied.
His face lit up like it was Christmas. "Oh my God, I love you!" he exclaimed. "Really?"
I laughed and nodded, and he scooped me up off my feet in a big hug, spinning me around.
As he set me down, I reeled on my feet for moment. "People are going think we're nuts…"
"We probably are…" he laughed. "I guess that just means we'll have nutty kids."
I smiled a huge, warm, happy smile. "I look forward to that when it happens. Once, you know… everything else gets settled for us. Like, I have a career that pays more than minimum wage, and stuff. And we have a house. And all the other stuff."
He laughed at me, and pulled me to him again. "I love you."
"I love you too."
AN: Wow! I wasn't expecting THAT ending! I swear the characters just insisted on it!
So, once again, my sincerest apologies for taking forever on getting this out. I've known for forever what this epilogue would be about, but I had the hardest time trying to write it for two major reasons. First off, I've lost my Gundam Wing spark (and anime in general, honestly…). Secondly, I've been in an incredibly successful, wonderful relationship, which then makes writing conflicts very difficult, which, honestly, was the majority of this epilogue, all sticky and uncomfortable. Sooo yeah.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your support, it has kept me going for so long, even through the long gaps (years) of not posting anything. I appreciate every review and note I've gotten to kick me in the butt to get this out, and here it is, thanks to all of you. Wishing you all the best!