IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CHAPTER SIX:(again)
There are two separate versions of this chapter. One of them is a lemon. Here is how this is going to work. I will be posting the non-lemon chapter on I will be posting the lemon chapter on BOTH versions will be posted on my ), with the non-lemon being "chapter six, version 1" and the lemon being "chapter six, version 2" with the difference clearly marked. Dependant upon what you want to read depends on where to read it. I don't personally believe that one version is worse than another, but I wanted to leave the choice to my readers. Other than the lemon portion of the chapter, there are no other differences in the two, and the story ends exactly the same.
Butterfly: To Protect
By: Banshee Puppet
Chapter Six: Before This Love(version 1)
Weeks passed, months. The travel was leisurely and Wufei became more and more accustomed to his new, eccentric friends and the life of a performer.
And also, despite constant bickering, he became more and more attached to Catharine, more and more enamored by her. Even at the expense of his sanity, he couldn't separate himself from her. 'Is this…am I…do I…love her? Is that why I can tolerate all her little annoying habits—her sarcasm, terrible cooking, the way she picks at her nails with her throwing knives…don't these irritating things only endear me to her more? …and she leaves the cap off the toothpaste—that drives me nuts.'
He sighed slightly, leaning against the trailer he was currently sharing with Michael (who snored, by the way). It was little more than a bunk bed and stove, but it was only used for sleeping anyway.
"Wufei," a voice called to him, female, and one he would know anywhere. "We need to talk."
"Is that so?" Wufei didn't feel like talking. He couldn't think of a single thing that needed to be said that they hadn't already hashed out. The reason Sally had come: there could only be one reason she'd come—The Preventers.
"Une and I want to know when you're coming back to work."
"I have no intention of returning. As you can see, I've found a new job."
"It's fine to say that, but aren't you being selfish?"
"How dare you say that!" Wufei barked at her. "Haven't I given you people enough already?!" he demanded.
"…Wufei…" she trailed off.
"I've decided to stop fighting. Why can't you just leave me alone!" he continued angrily. 'Just leave me be,' he thought, 'let me stay here, by her side. That's not selfish, is it? Hah, yeah, it's totally selfish, but I don't care right now.'
"Because you're needed!" Sally snapped back. "Because with or without Nataku," she practically spat out the word, "you are now what you've always been—a Gundam Pilot." 'And because you'll never be happy like this.'
"Come back to work, Wufei. People's lives are at stake. Or has your sense of justice come to mean so little to you?"
She'd pressed the wrong button. "Sally," he growled. She knew she shouldn't have gone there, that Wufie's need for justice was drowning him in guilt as it was, but… 'We're desperate, Wufei. He's a terrorist and he won't agree to speak with anyone but you,' she thought.
"Please think about it. We'll be leaving the colony at 07:15 tomorrow morning." 'Please come back, Wufei. Please.'
"I it," he finally said. "Let me be for now, woman." 'I need to think.'
He'd been fighting with that woman. She was wearing a military uniform, Preventers, if Catharine's memory served her right.
"Excuse me," Catharine asked. "What business do you have with him?"
"He's my partner," Sally answered. "Or used to be. I don't know, maybe he still is," the woman sighed. "That stupid guy hasn't changed at all," she complained. "Sorry, I have to go now."
'Your partner, Wufei, is that all? She seemed…is something more…is she the one you're living for, the one you love? Are you going to leave, now that I've finally decided that I want to keep you here with me, always?'
Wufei looked over the paperwork that Sally had left with him for the tenth time.
"Lin Pao. What are you up to this time?" he wondered. With a disgruntled snort, he put the file absentmindedly into a duffel bag that still lay open. He wasn't going. He wasn't going anywhere—because this is where Catharine was. Sally was wrong; they would be fine on their own, right? Yeah, it would be fine. He didn't have any reason left to fight.
When he looked up, he found Catharine there, looking at him with a concerned expression. "Are you going somewhere, Wufei?"
'Lin is not the type of man to do things halfway. He wouldn't take over a satellite for no reason.'
"No," he replied. "Just packing away some things that I won't be needing anymore."
Relief flooded through Catharine. "That's good. I saw you arguing with a woman today. I thought it might be something important."
"Not really," he answered, but his pitifully tormented eyes told another story as he placed a uniform into the same bag. It was the same as that woman had been wearing, with the Preventers insignia emblazoned on the sleeve.
"You were a Preventer, Wufei?"
He paused at the word—Preventer. Had he ever prevented anything? He didn't know.
Lin was probably angry at the ESUN for its decision not to rebuild L-5. Many people had been upset, but in the end, it simply wasn't sensible to do so. Even Wufei understood that. He'd signed off on the final report himself. If what Lin wanted was revenge, would anyone be save? Would Catharine be safe? There was no telling where she might be when Lin Pao or some other maniac decided to drop a satellite, or start shooting up a marketplace, or…
"…I was different then," he answered finally.
"Well, people change," she said understandingly as she watched him carefully put the uniform away. It was obvious that there was a long memory attached to the stiff cotton for him. "Anyway, dinner is ready now," she said as if it were an offering.
"I'm not very hungry tonight, and I want to finish this, if it's all the same."
"Yeah. Sure. I'll explain to the others."
"… …. … …thank you."
'If Catharine were hurt because I didn't go back…I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for that,' he realized. And so, he prepared to say goodbye to this life. He would leave late that night…
…but first, one last look at Catharine, one last memory of her calming face. She slept peacefully, with a slightly crinkled brow, her lips slightly parted.
His heart pounded in his chest and he couldn't stop his feet from carrying him into the room, looking down at her. 'I love you, and I'm sorry,' he thought as his body, of it's own volition, sat on the edge of her bed, leaned over her.
The shifting of the bed woke the woman. "Wufei?" she asked, blinking up into those long-suffering eyes.
"I am sorry," he whispered before pressing his lips against hers, letting his eyes fall closed. She was surprised at first, but then thrilled. 'He feels the same as I do,' she understood too late, and tangled her arms around his neck. They didn't need words anymore, eyes speaking volumes of longing love to one another. They knew what was coming. It was fast. If looking objectively, it was fast, but it was like they had been waiting all of their lives for something this honest to consume them.
He tilted her chin up and kissed along her jaw, running calloused fingers along the smooth arc of her hip. She felt like she was being worshipped, his every touch a silent prayer. Such slow, burning desire in his eyes, as if he hoped the night would never end, and as he held himself naked over her, she tended to hold the same hope. He was stubborn, obstinate, prideful, but also very gentle, so very loving in this moment as they made love. And he told her he was walking away from the other life, before the circus, before this love. And it was so warm, falling asleep in his strong arms.
It was early when Wufei moved carefully from bed, hardly dawn. "Wufei?" Catharine asked groggily. He leaned over and kissed her temple. "I'm just going to the restroom. Go back to sleep."
"Mnkay. Come back to bed soon."
She let go and the pang in his chest made him lose a breath. She was asleep again almost instantly, curling into her pillow to soak up the missing warmth, and he took his bag from the corner, showered and dressed in a black uniform that he never thought he'd wear again, but which felt strangely natural, like sitting down to a home-cooked meal after living off of soup and instant noodles for a month.
Catharine would be furious, he knew, and it was painful knowing he was going to leave her behind, maybe forever, but there was work to do, and he couldn't run away, for her sake.
Gently, not disturbing the crumpled bed, he placed the butterfly mask on the cooling side of the bed he had occupied the night before. 'This part of me, will always be yours,' he thought. 'Always beside you. But, I am afraid, that is all I have to give.' And he slipped out of the trailer, away from the circus, and to the docking bay where he knew Sally would be waiting.
"Forgive me, Catharine," he whispered, looking over his shoulder only once.
Sally looked surprised to see him, but smiled. "You came back."
"Don't look so surprised. You always knew I would."
"What changed your mind?"
"It's like you said—" he sighed as if it were obvious. "—there are things we want to protect in this world. I'll fight for that."
"Wufei…you've finally found something to…"
"What are our stats?" he asked in his 'strictly business' tone.
'I understand,' Sally thought. 'Let's not talk about it.'
'Yes,' Wufei thought. 'You're right, Sally. I have finally found something to protect, something to love.'
Well, the first fic ends a little sadly, but not in a way that is sad without hope, I think. I think this ending gives the feeling that redemption is possible, that we haven't reached the ending of a love story, but the beginning of one. Anyway, as I've stated, there will be two more fics to follow this one. The next will be entitled "Butterfly: Black Wings". It hasn't been written yet, as that one, unlike this one, has a plot outside of the love stuff, so I need to brainstorm it out a bit. But watch for it!