I make no claim to any of the Gundam Wing characters. This story is written for my, and hopefully others' enjoyment and not for monetary profit.

Apple Cider

by Michalyn

The door shut firmly, bringing with it a bit of autumn breeze. Wufei shivered as he unwound his scarf and hung it on the tall rack.

he smiled. It's cold out there. Under his arm was tucked a small sheaf of papers.

Though they could easily live off Treize's sizeable fortune, Wufei worked for a translation company on weekdays and sometimes in the evenings when Treize was away. They both understood that despite their love -- perhaps even because of it -- the younger man needed something to call his own: something to define himself by other than his relationship with the former general. And with Treize's love at his side, it was enough for Wufei if his wealth lay in the simple distillation of words.

That's what Treize had done for him: sifted through the pain, anger and confusion in his life, stripping away the excess until only something pure and shining remained.

As Treize rose and embraced him from behind, a different kind of shiver seized Wufei's body. He felt warm and melting and yearning like all his muddled emotions had boiled to sweet syrup. Wufei sighed. Outside, the leaves danced against the window in vibrant splashes of color.

One particularly golden maple, reminded him of Treize's hair.

It was so cold outside and so cozy inside that they decided to mull some apple cider. Treize added the cider and the cinnamon and Wufei tossed in the cloves and brown sugar. Together, jostling and giggling like schoolboys, they competed to put in the orange slices and the allspice. When they were done they'd used up twice the necessary ingredients -- half of which had gone onto the floor.

As the pot simmered on the stovetop, they cleaned up in companionable silence.

When Wufei grabbed a cushion from the couch and settled in front of the fire, Treize hung back a little. He pretended to fuss with the cupboards and instead admired his lover.

Wufei was wearing a thick russet sweater that was actually Treize's. The rich color complemented his warm complexion and there was a healthy, rosy flush to his cheeks. It seemed to Treize that Wufei was surrounded by a sweet freshness, like a crisp, clean breeze ... and sure enough, Wufei had cleansed his own dark soul.

About a month ago Wufei had decided to let his hair grow out and already it reached past his shoulders. Thick and wavy, it shone darkly in the firelight, soft curls caressing Wufei's chin and cheeks. That gentle curl had surprised them both. It was as if unrestrained by the terrors of war something had bloomed inside of Wufei and unfurled in those smooth, silky tendrils. To Treize it had been like being allowed an intimate glimpse of his lover: something startling and unexpected and beautiful, like falling in love all over again.

Somewhere a bird warbled wooingly to its mate. The trees trembled, shaking their burnished heads.

Gazing at the gentle curve of Wufei' cheek and the swell of even softer lips, desire clamored within Treize.

Treize touched his lover's shoulder. Wordlessly, he caressed Wufei's palm and kissed the reddened tips of his fingers. He found that they still smelled like cloves.

Wufei's dark eyes met his and they undressed each other right there in the golden blaze of the firelight.

When they reached for each other, their hands were both trembling.

Later, Treize and Wufei recalled the forgotten cider. Looking into the pot, they found that it had cooled to a pure golden richness. The color of life itself.