This story is dedicated to Lili for her kindness and her wonderful support. Thanks so much, my dear!
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.
Please excuse any mistakes. This chapter is not yet betaed.
A Matter of Good Sense
Chapter Fifteen of Seventeen: Ambush
I'm sorry, I just realized that has suddenly stripped the formatting from all previous chapters so that the sections are running together. Until I can get to this please visit my website for the correct formatting
Warnings for this chapter: violence, gore
Wufei's eyes were closed as he kicked, rolled to the ground and bounced to his feet again. He was exhausted but he was aware of only two things: the dark tide of power flowing through him and Grandmother Long's gravelly voice alternately coaxing and berating him into calling it forth with the unique divination techniques she had taught him. Wufei's hand shot out, and power exploded from his palm.
The small crowd of onlookers gasped as shadows pooled and swirled around them. Wufei opened his eyes and saw the darkened sky and the shadows surging at his feet. He was both repulsed and fascinated by the black writhing mass and he could only imagine what Meiran's clan members thought. Even the little girl, ever the spitfire looked spooked. No matter what anyone thought though, they were sworn to secrecy by Grandmother Long and her word was law. Wufei's secret was safe.
Wufei had been coming to the Dragon Clan's camp after his training sessions with Meiran. Every day his control over his powers grew. Yet, Wufei was all too aware of how much further he still had to go. His power no longer completely overwhelmed him as it had the first time, but its potential for destruction was still far too great for Wufei's comfort. It was a continual struggle to manage the dark tentacles and even the smallest break in his concentration could mean the difference between a safe practice session and someone being seriously hurt, something Duo knew all too well. He accompanied Wufei to the camp but always hung well back once Wufei started training.
Today, Wufei was not going to let his concentration waver. Despite the exhaustion weakening his limbs, he manipulated the shadows, testing their reach and speed then carefully drew them back to him. The wind stilled and the gloom lifted. All was normal again.
"That was amazing, Prince Wufei. No matter how many times I see it I can't believe it," Duo whistled, sauntering over. He handed Wufei a waterskin.
"Thanks." Wufei threw his head back and took a long swig. When he was done he poured a little water on his neck and chest. The cool trickle soothed him and Wufei sighed. His muscles ached. All he needed now was a nice long bath and if he was lucky a massage from Treize. Wufei surprised himself as soon as the thought escaped him. Had he grown so used to Treize's touch already? Only a few moons ago he dreaded it, now it seemed that after night after night in Treize's bed he had come to expect it, and yes, Wufei admitted to himself, to welcome it as well.
While Wufei was contemplating this, Grandmother Long grasped his elbow. "Prince Wufei, I need a word with you. Will you join me in my tent?"
"Ah, of course." Wufei pulled on his tunic and followed the woman he had come to see as his teacher as much as Shinsen O. He ducked into the tent, leaving Duo waiting outside. The four Shenlong warriors who followed Wufei from Eires were prowling the camp, making sure the area was secure.
"Please, have a seat, Prince Wufei." Grandmother Long waved a gnarled hand at the cushions piled on the floor. The old woman was brusque and Wufei knew many in both Eires and Rossetti would find her manner to him disrespectful but Wufei understood that her lack of reverence was not rudeness. The Dragon Clan were a proud people and as nomads they stood firmly by their stance that they owed allegiance to no Lord. Wufei had no problem with a clan with a strong spirit.
"Your concentration is much better," Grandmother long observed. "You are not of our people but truly you have the gift. I have also noticed a change in Meiran. She is more focused because of your training. I've seen the biggest improvement in her temper which can only be a good thing. Our people thank you." The old woman bowed.
"I am humbled," Wufei murmured. "I do not know what I would have done without your guidance and as for Meiran, I have enjoyed teaching her. She will be a force to be reckoned with one day."
"If she is not now," Grandmother Long laughed.
"Indeed." Wufei chuckled.
The old woman was quiet and Wufei sensed she was holding something back. It was odd for her not be forthcoming and Wufei grew uneasy. "Forgive me for asking this, but is everything all right? Meiran is not in danger is she?"
"You are perceptive as always, Prince Wufei. No, Meiran is not in danger but there is another matter I wish to speak with you of."
"I would like to think that you consider me a friend of the Dragon Clan. If there is some way I may be of assistance please tell me."
Grandmother Long approached Wufei. Her eyes pierced him. "There is something you can do. Our clan is leaving Rossetti in nine days and I would like to invite you to come with us."
"What?" Wufei felt like the breath had been knocked out of his lungs. They were leaving? What of Meiran's training? What of his? Once again he was losing his footing just when he thought he had found it. Wufei clenched his fists. Why, why, why? Why was it always like this?
How would he ever master his power with the Dragon Clan gone? He had also grown attached to Meiran and was busy laying out plans for the first Shenlong school in Rossetti with the feisty princess as his best student. He would revive the old ways-reinvigorate the teachings of the Lotus Manual. Now it would never happen. Most of all, here among others who looked like him and shared similar powers to him, Wufei did not feel like the alien thing he grew up believing he was. He did fit somewhere and there were others like him. Now it was all coming crashing down and Wufei did not understand why.
Wufei knew Meiran and her clan would have to leave eventually, but after speaking with the matriarchs he had found out that they usually stayed in one place for one to two years and then moved on. It was not nearly enough time for Wufei's dreams to become reality but it was certainly much more time than this. Wufei could only shake his head in confusion.
"Why? I don't understand. You have only been in Rossetti for a short time. Why must you leave now?"
"Our most important moon cycle is beginning and we must be closer to the tides before it reaches its height. If you accompanied us, it would be a wonderful time for you to test your powers as well."
"Accompanied you? That's impossible. I..."
"Is it? We can give you a home. We understand your powers and Meiran adores you. You would only grow stronger among our people and if in time you chose a mate among us, we would welcome it. You asked me to train you because you were unhappy here. You told me you were stifled in a marriage with a man who only saw you as an instrument. Has that changed?"
Had Treize truly changed? Wufei looked away. "Yes ... no ... it's different now," he muttered.
Grandmother Long stared at him. "I see."
"I'm sorry. I just cannot-"
"No," Grandmother Long interrupted him. "Do not give me your answer now. Our caravans will be waiting at the South Gate in nine days. We will leave at first light. If you are not there, that will be my answer."
Treize had another headache. Groaning, he rubbed his temples. It seemed he suffered one of these almost daily. He could not figure out why and he was considering summoning the healer. He had never been sickly so it was unusual for him to have such a persistent pain.
"Emperor Rossetti, is everything all right? Are the plans for the new marketplace to your liking?" The worried voice of Rossetti's top engineer broke through Treize's thoughts.
Treize blinked and smoothed the parchment out in front of him. Perhaps he needed some rest. "Yes. I like the layout and the positioning of the stalls but I want a bridge built here so our neighbors in Carnaby may easily come to trade their pottery." Treize traced his finger over the parchment, indicating the areas he meant.
The engineer nodded and together he and Treize finished detailing the plans for the marketplace and settled on a cost for labor and materials. Once they were finished, the engineer excused himself and Treize retired to the royal suite. Shrugging out of his clothes, he reclined on the bed and closed his eyes but his head was throbbing so badly he could not sleep. Even the slightest movement seemed to trigger an intense stabbing pain in his skull. A wave of nausea roiled through Treize and his stomach lurched. He hobbled to the bathing chamber, barely making it to the latrine before vomiting.
"Fuck." Treize panted as he leaned against the cool marble seat. Something was very wrong. For long minutes Treize could not move, but the headache gradually eased enough for him to not feel like he was about to lose the contents of his stomach at any moment. Treize rinsed out his mouth and dragged himself back to the bed, too weak to even call for a servant. He lay absolutely still under the covers, wishing for a cool dark place to disappear into. At last, he fell into a fitful sleep.
Treize did not know how long he had slept when he was awakened by the sound of Wufei entering the room.
"Treize? Why are you in bed?" His husband came over and peered at him.
"My head feels like it's about to explode," Treize groaned.
"Another headache?" Wufei frowned. "Have you called the healer?"
"No, I didn't have the energy. Just thinking hurt." Treize turned on his side to look at Wufei. Seeing his husband always brightened his day but Treize was amazed at how much better he seemed to feel as soon as Wufei entered the room. Maybe these headaches were caused by stress after all. Perhaps he needed a break.
"Well, do you want me to call the healer or make you something?"
"Yes some tea may help. It's an Eirean recipe Trowa taught me."
"If you think it will work, by all means. I'd much rather be tended to by you than by the healer."
"I'm not surprised but he will do you more good than I."
"I doubt it."
"Hmph." Wufei rose and gathered the ingredients for the tea. Occasionally, he would glance back at the bed to see how Treize was doing. The older man was swathed in the bedclothes and looked rather ptiful with them drawn up to his chin. It was so unusual that Wufei could not help chuckling to himself. As Wufei cradled Treize's head and brought the steaming cup to his lips he was thinking Treize looked rather adorable like this. Wufei did not even realize he was smiling until Treize shot him a curious look.
"Why didn't you tell me this was all I had to do to get you to be nice to me?" he joked.
"Hush," Wufei scolded him, color rising in his cheeks.
Treize grinned then winced. Then it was Wufei's turn to laugh.
"Serves you right. Now here, drink this." Wufei cradled Treize's head and held the cup to his husband's lips.
"It will take a little while for that to take effect, so you'd better stay put."
"I wouldn't think of going anywhere," Treize murmured, bringing Wufei's hand to his lips. "Thank you for tending to me."
"It is nothing."
"Will you stay with me?"
"For a little while, yes."
"No. Forever." Treize looked up at Wufei in all seriousness. His expression was completely open, vulnerable.
Wufei's heart skipped a beat."Treize..."
"I know. You don't have to say anything. I understand that with everything that's happened it takes time." Treize looked away. "I hope to Gods I still have time to earn your affection, Wufei."
Wufei opened his mouth; closed it again. How could he express what was within him? His feelings for Treize were so complicated. Too complicated. Yet, for the first time Wufei thought that maybe, just maybe he wanted to stay. In just a few days his father's messenger would be waiting for Wufei's command. Wufei did not want war with Rossetti. He would tell his father to send the troops back. Rossetti was not his home but he would try to make it so. As for the Dragon Clan ... staying would be painful but Wufei was starting to believe it was the right thing to do.
Wufei turned Treize's face toward him. He leaned forward and captured his husband's lips. This imperfect, stubborn man was not what he wished for but perhaps he could make it so as well.
Treize awoke with Wufei in his arms. They were naked but had not made love. After bathing together they had tumbled into bed. Treize looked at Wufei's relaxed face and wondered if his husband was finally softening toward him. He wanted to think so but was afraid to even hope t might be true.
Wufei mumbled and smiling, Treize stroked his hair. He would be happy to wake like this every morning. On top of that his headache was gone. Already he could tell the day was off to a better start.
Sunlight streamed in through the curtains and Wufei awoke. He rubbed his eyes. "Mm?"
"Good morning, Kala."
Treize was delighted when Wufei did not pull away and instead shifted to a more comfortable position against him. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yes. What time is it?" Wufei eyed the sun through the window. "I must have been more tired than I thought."
"You have been working hard. The treaty with Carnaby has taken a great deal of your time."
"I guess that's true." Wufei yawned.
"I don't know if I have said it before but I really appreciate your work on the treaty. The text was meticulous. Truthfully, Rossetti's negotiators have a lot to learn from you."
"I am just doing my job," Wufei said gruffly.
"And you do it magnificently."
Wufei made a noncomittal sound, uncomfortable as ever with praise and Treize was once again amazed at the tangle of contradictions the younger man was. Wufei was headstrong and proud and yet curiously humble about his most significant accomplishments. It reminded Treize of how much he still had to learn about his husband. And he wanted to learn everything-the bitter and the sweet-for Wufei would not be who he was without them.
Treize caressed Wufei's back. He is so lovely, he thought. Everything I wanted and even more. And then, with sudden clarity: I'm falling in love with him. No, I Iove him.
The realization was so startling that Treize felt like the wind had been knocked out of him but once he thought it he could not deny his feelings. He had been with many men and they were all special in different ways but not once had Treize ever felt anything close to love for any of those men. Lust, yes; companionship, occasionally-but never love. All this time Treize was convinced it did not exist, just like the magic that surrounded everything in Eires. It did exist and Treize knew now without a doubt that he loved Wufei.
When Treize lifted his head he discovered that Wufei was looking at him with a very odd expression. His cheeks were flushed and his eyes were round.
"What is it, Wufei?"
"You...you said you loved me." The words were almost gasped out.
"I..." Had he said that aloud? Treize flushed. Well there was no going back now. "Yes, I do. I never thought I would say these words to anyone but I love you, Wufei."
Wufei struggled visibly to respond. Treize understood.
"Kala, I know this is a shock. I'm shocked myself," Treize laughed. "You don't need to respond. I would be the happiest man in the world if you loved me but that takes time and with the mistakes I have made it may never happen at all. For now accept my love, Wufei. I won't ask for a thing in exchange. Just know that I love you and I'm here for you if you need me and even if you don't. Is that all right?"
Wufei ducked his head. He nodded.
"Thank you." Treize was relieved. He did not know what he would have done if Wufei had immediately shut him down, or worse, shut him out again.
Treize caught the end of Wufei's braid and brushed it across the back of his hand. He tugged off the bit of twine holding it in place and the entire mass of hair unraveled in his hands, falling in dark silken waves over Wufei's shoulders.
Wufei made an irritated sound between his teeth. "Treize, it's going to get all tangled like that."
"I'll comb it for you." Treize reached for the wooden comb. He pulled Wufei into a sitting position and began dragging the comb through the younger man's hair. He pulled it through carefully, loosening any tangles. Wufei sighed as Treize worked from his scalp down to the hair pooled at his waist and back again and the older man could not help smirking to himself. Wufei was sensitive to even these simplest pleasures.
"What are you smiling at?" Wufei was looking at Treize in the mirror on the opposite wall.
"Oh nothing." Treize grinned.
"Hmph." Wufei let it drop as Treize's fingers brushed the nape of his neck. A breathy sound escaped him and he shivered.
Treize kept moving the comb even after Wufei's hair was perfectly smooth. He was as mesmerized by the hypnotic motion of the comb as Wufei was by his touch. Goosebumps had broken out over the younger man's skin and he was making a soft sound of pleasure. Treize did not stop. He admired the dark sheen of Wufei's hair, amazed at the play of light on the silken strands. The shadows seemed almost alive and Treize had to blink once or twice to shake the impression that they were moving. He wished he could reach for the brush but Wufei was so relaxed against him that he did not want to disturb him or the quiet rhythm of the comb in his hands.
"It's closer to me. I'll get it."
Treize jumped. "Pardon?"
"The brush. Didn't you want it?"
Treize froze. He knew he had not said that aloud. "I did but how did you know?"
"What do you mean how did I know? You said it just now."
"No I didn't."
"Treize are you trying to be funny?" Wufei looked at Treize over his shoulder.
"I'm not joking. Somehow you knew what I was thinking before I said it. In fact, I think the same thing happened when I realized I loved you. I was positive I had not confessed to it but you said I did. Now I do not think so."
Even to Treize's ears what he was saying sounded ridiculous. He struggled to come up with a rational explanation but could not. Was he going crazy? Maybe this was some bizarre side effect of the headaches he kept having. Treize frowned. Come to think of it, those started not long after Wufei moved to Rossetti. Treize stared at Wufei in a mixture of fascination and revulsion. "Is this somehow related to ... your magic?
"My magic? I can't read minds Treize."
"Then how do you explain it?"
"I'm not trying to explain it. You're the one convinced I can hear your thoughts."
"I know how it sounds but there isn't any other explanation."
"Why would I want to read your thoughts? I have enough trouble with my own. Trust me, I would know if I was telepathic."
"Because my power isn't... " Wufei began and then stopped. "Because I just know."
Treize's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What exactly is your power, Wufei? Quatre tried to explain it but I didn't understand it then and I surely don't understand it now."
"Look, Treize you had some really bad headaches in the last few days. We should call the healer."
"I don't have a headache now. I'm thinking more clearly than I have in weeks."
"You call this thinking clearly?"
Wufei made a frustrated sound. "It's absolutely pointless to argue about this."
"Then just tell me what your power is."
"I am not telepathic, Treize. Just leave it at that."
"I said no!" Wufei's voice was agitated, panicked.
"You can't hide something as important as this from me, Wufei. It's not right. I love you but we can't keep on like this. We need to start communicating better. We need to start trusting each other."
Wufei opened his mouth to say something but he turned away, pressing his lips into a grim line. "I'm not telepathic," was all he could say dejectedly.
Treize touched Wufei's shoulder. "Then tell me what you are."
Treize watched the rigid line of Wufei's back. Wufei's head turned slowly toward him and Treize gasped.
"What the fuck?"
Wufei's eyes were glowing silver and the soft silky strands Treize had been brushing just a moment ago were alive, writhing around Wufei's head like a thousand serpents. While they had been talking, the room had darkened. Treize looked at the foot of the bed and recoiled in horror. Streams of shadows were scurrying across the floor, all heading unerringly toward the bed. They licked up the bed post to gather around Wufei so that he was surrounded by a wriggling writhing mass.
Treize slammed back against the headboard. "Wh...what the hell is this?"
"You want to see my power?" Wufei hissed.
"You want to see my power?" Wufei repeated. His voice was thin, unearthly. He lifted his hand.
Then the world went black.
"What by the gods was that?" Treize panted. He was flattened against the pillows, his arms raised defensively.
Wufei raised his palm again. The shadows stilled. There was a moment of resistance before they retreated and Wufei withdrew the black cocoon around them. "You asked what my power was. That's it." Wufei did not bother to wait for Treize to push him away. He rose from the bed.
Treize grabbed his arm. "Wait, where are you going?"
"Treize, I know what you're going to say: it's frightening, disgusting, freakish even. Don't bother. I already know."
"Wufei, I'm shocked ... and yes, alarmed but I'm not going to say any of those things. Why did you tell me nothing about this before? Have you had this ... ability ... since Eires?"
Wufei shook his head.
"It started not long after we arrived in Rossetti. I could not control it but I have been training. It's easier now."
"Training? With whom?"
"Meiran's clan. There are many similarities between me and her people. They are water diviners and have developed some techniques that are surprisingly effective at controlling the shadows. When I first met Grandmother Long, their clan leader she offered to train me in exchange for my teaching Meiran the Shenlong techniques," Wufei explained. He was careful not to mention that they were leaving Rossetti soon and wanted him to come with them. Wufei still needed more time to think that over himself.
"The Dragon Clan," Treize murmured thoughtfully. "So this is where you have been spending most of your evenings?"
"And you think their techniques are helping?"
"Immensely. I don't know what I would have done, otherwise."
"Then I am grateful to them." Treize covered Wufei's hand with his own. "Does anyone else know about this?"
"Yes, Duo and my Shenlong Guard. Duo ... I almost hurt him when I first discovered my power." Wufei's voice was full of regret as he told Treize about that chaotic afternoon. "I don't know what I would have done if he had been seriously injured but thankfully he is all right. He always accompanies me to the Dragon Clan's camp. " Wufei looked up at Treize. "Treize, I am sorry I kept this from you but I did not know how to explain it when I could barely understand it myself. Most of this also happened while we were ... estranged."
"Thank you for telling me. I suppose this is as scary for you as it is for me. Scarier since it's happening to you."
"Did Quatre know this is what your power would be?"
"No, his visions are not that specific. I think he had a general sense but I doubt he could have guessed this."
"Hmm. And you're sure telepathy has no link to your ability to manipulate shadows?"
"Treize!" Wufei made an exasperated sound. "You need to stop with this telepathy thing. I am not reading your mind or anyone else's, okay?"
"All right, all right," Treize laughed, though he still did not appear quite convinced. He became serious.
"No more secrets?" Treize opened his arms to Wufei.
Wufei slipped into Treize's arms and closed his eyes as his husband folded him against his chest. He thought of Grandmother Long's invitation and of his father's messenger waiting for summons of war. Just two more little secrets, Wufei thought to himself as he burrowed closer to Treize. Then everything would be all right.
Treize was going crazy.
He had to be if Wufei was right and his shadow abilities had nothing to do with reading minds. They were in the imperial dining room and Wufei was slightly turned away from him as he reached for one of dishes. Treize watched in fascination as he focused his thoughts on asking Wufei to pass him the roast and his husband turned and offered him the tray with a smile.
"Thank you, Kala," Treize murmured.
He could not count how many times it had happened in the past two days. Treize was as baffled by it as by the sudden disappearance of his headaches. Whenever he tried to mention it to Wufei, the younger man grew irritated but Treize was starting to think it was because he was going about this the wrong way. Maybe this ability had nothing to do with Wufei and everything to do with him. Treize kept remembering a conversation with Trowa long forgotten until now.
What kind of gifted are you?"
"You must be," Trowa insisted, "to be Wufei's mate."
"Every land has its gifted, though they might be called by something else. Sometimes they have no name at all but they live nonetheless." Trowa's gaze pinned Treize in place. "Perhaps Wufei is not the only one guilty of denying his gifts."
Somehow Treize's connection with Wufei must have awakened something in him. He always had an uncanny ability to communicate with others. He was known for his charisma. Perhaps this was an extension of something he only thought of as a talent before. Now he realized there might be more to it than that. The one thing he was sure of was that all of this was linked to Wufei. No matter how hard he tried to send his thoughts to others it did not work. The only one he shared the connection with was his husband. It had to be another facet of their bond. There was no other way Treize could explain what was happening to him.
Now he just had to get Wufei to see it too.
When they finished eating Treize took Wufei's hand. "Kala, I'd like to talk."
Wufei looked up in surprise. "Oh? About what?"
Treize glanced at the servants who were silently clearing the dishes away. "Not here. Shall we go up?"
"All right," Wufei agreed.
"Don't worry, Kala, it's nothing terrible. At least I don't think it is."
"You really know how to reassure a man don't you?"
"I try," Treize chuckled.
Once they got to the royal suite Wufei sat on one of the large pillows at the foot of the bed . He pulled his legs under him. "So? What do you want to talk about?"
"Now before you dismiss it hear me out. I've been accusing you of reading my mind. Well I was wrong. I've been communicating with you."
"Communicating with me how?" Wufei already sounded wary. "Is this about an argument we had in the past?"
"No, not like that. Here, I'll show you." Treize placed his hands on Wufei's shoulders. "Now watch to see if my lips move."
Can you hear me?
"Yes, " Wufei gasped. "How ... how did you do that?" A look of panic crossed his features. "Can you read my thoughts?"
"No, I can't. I can only send my thoughts to you. I knew I wasn't imagining you could hear me but it took me some time to figure out what was happening and why."
"But how? Were you keeping this hidden all this time? Why did you not say something before?" Wufei demanded.
"I did not say anything because I couldn't. This only started a few days ago but since we returned from Eires I kept getting these terrible headaches and I could not understand why. I never guessed they were linked to you."
"I thought you just said this had nothing to do with me."
"It has everything to do with you, Wufei. You awakened this in me. Your brother and Trowa mentioned it long ago in Eires but I did not understand it then. I doubted anything related to magick. I doubted our bond, but not anymore."
"Treize, are you sure about this? I know it's crazy for me of all people to be questioning this but ... you're not from Eires. I've seen all kinds of abilities among Eireans but not here."
"Wufei, Trowa told me that you were gifted and to be your mate, I must be gifted too. At the time I thought his words were laughable. How could I believe him when I'd never noticed anything special about myself? Besides, you were ill at the time and Quatre was convinced I was to blame for awakening your powers. The last thing on my mind was figuring out some cryptic message about my 'gift'." Treize grapsed Wufei's hand. "Your brother was sure my gift would reveal itself in time and so it has."
Wufei was quiet as he mulled this over. He did not speak for so long that Treize grew worried. "Kala?"
"Do it again."
"Do it again. I need to make sure it wasn't a fluke."
"All right." Treize pulled Wufei into his lap and held him close.
I love you, Wufei.
Wufei closed his eyes and rested his head against Treize's chest. So much for things getting less complicated between them.
"We should go out."
"We should? Where?"
"How about a picnic?" Treize suggested over the sheaf of papers he was rifling through. He and Wufei were in the library, reviewing some legal documents.
Wufei removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. After four hours of reading he was ready for a break but today especially he did not want to stray too far from the palace. He was anxious about meeting his father's spy, and afraid Treize would find out. Wufei knew it was wrong to keep this from his husband but things were so peaceful between them that he did not want to upset Treize by revealing the depth of his father's anger. He would meet Magreth and turn him away with Treize none the wiser. Then they could focus on building a future together.
"Hmm? All right, but I need to be back at the palace no later than 3 o' clock. I received word that an old colleague from Eires will be passing through Rossetti on his way to Lysath." It was a lie, but it was as close to the truth as Wufei could get.
"Oh? Then we should invite him to dinner."
"No, no that won't be necessary," Wufei said quickly. "He's not a close friend and will just be stopping briefly to restock his caravan in Rossetti."
"If that is what you wish," Treize said, sounding confused by Wufei's sudden lack of hospitality, especially to a fellow Eirean.
Wufei prayed he would letter the matter drop. He did not want anymore lies between them and inwardly breathed a sigh of relief when Treize nodded.
"Then we shall have you back by three. I'll tell the kitchen to prepare us something special."
"Okay, I'll tell Duo and prepare my Shenlong Guard. Is Heero still busy with his investigation?"
"I'm sure he is but even if he were not I'd not have him accompany us."
"Don't you tire of constantly being followed? We'll be gone a mere hour, a bit longer at most. We'll be back before anyone misses us."
"Treize, I'm not sure that's a good idea. We should be cautious, especially with this situation with the Northern Kingdom."
"Forget Duo. Leave the Shenlong guard. We'll be fine. Think of it as an adventure." Treize kissed Wufei's fingers. "Do you really want an audience while we're making love under the sun?"
"I didn't realize I'd promised any lovemaking." Wufei's voice was wry.
"I'd hoped you could be persuaded."
"Hmph." An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of Wufei's stomach but he squelched it. "I suppose it will be fine."
"Of course it will." Treize captured Wufei's lips. "I'll go prepare the horses."
"You have jam on your chin."
"Where?" Wufei rubbed his face. He and Treize had just finished their picnic and now, thoroughly satisfied, they lazed in the sun. The glen they had chosen was cool, green and secluded enough for lovers wishing to remain out of sight.
"Here, let me." Treize leaned over to wipe off the offending smudge. He licked his fingers then captured Wufei's lips, which to him were far sweeter.
His husband returned the kiss, shyly at first then with increasing pressure. Treize groaned in encouragement, his arms tightening around Wufei. How much more precious Wufei's passion was when it flowed from him freely. Even a few weeks ago Treize could never have hoped for something like this. Knowing that Wufei wanted him without fear or anger made Treize desire the extraordinary man in his arms even more.
Wufei moaned as Treize trailed kisses along his jawline and down his throat. Treize pressed the younger man closer and he could feel the unmistakeable ridge of Wufei's desire. Treize could not believe his husband was so aroused after just a few kisses.
"Gods, Wufei, you're burning me alive."
Treize cradled Wufei's head and began lowering him to the blanket. All he could think about was caressing every inch of Wufei's body and making the younger man call out his name. But before he could even get to his mission, Wufei pushed firmly at his shoulders.
"No," he gasped.
"But I thought-" Treize was stunned when Wufei wriggled from his grasp and pushed him down instead. The younger man straddled him, his cock pressing against Treize's. It took all of Treize's willpower not to thrust upward. "Kala?" he croaked.
"Let me," Wufei murmured, his hands skimming along Treize's sides. He kissed Treize's chest, then began moving down his body.
"Wufei, what are you doing?" Treize could barely get the words out as Wufei's dark head moved ever closer to his groin. Every muscle in his body thrummed with tension. Wufei wasn't... His shy husband couldn't be contemplating what Treize thought he was.
Wufei looked up, his expression a mix of desire and uncertainty. "You don't want me to?" he asked, sounding deflated.
Didn't want him to? Treize stifled a groan. There were no words to describe the depths of his want. "Wufei, I want. Oh gods how I want., but only if it's what you truly desire. Don't feel pressured to do anything you're not ready for."
"No, I want to do this for you. You always pay so much attention to me that I hardly know what you like." Wufei's voice was husky. As he spoke, he undid Treize's breeches and slipped his hand inside.
Treize's hips rose from the blanket as Wufei's fingers closed around his engorged cock. "Fuck!"
Wufei had released him and was eying his cock like it was a wondrous new toy. Treize could see that his breath was coming fast and he was flushed. "You... you're very hard."
"Yes. Do you like that?"
"Mm." Wufei nodded. His pink tongue stole out to lick the very tip of Treize.
Treize's entire body shuddered. "Ungh ... Kala, where did you learn this?"
"From you." Wufei smiled and returned to Treize's cock.
Treize could not think anymore when Wufei started bobbing his head. Certainly, Wufei had not learned that devilish flick of his tongue from him. Wufei was cupping and massaging Treize's balls, caressing him with an instinct that made Treize shout his name. To Treize, it seemed that Wufei only had to touch and his body gave up all its secrets one by one. He could not catch his breath. Not with the way Wufei was expertly working him over, suckling the very tip of him then moving down to trace the thick vein on the underside of his cock. Treize buried his fingers in Wufei's hair. They clenched before he forced himself to relax. He did not want to startle Wufei by pumping into his mouth. He was large and he knew the wrong move could turn Wufei off.
Well, he need not have worried. When Wufei took the entire length of him in, it was over. Treize shouted and spurted into his lover's waiting mouth.
Surprised, Wufei choked a little but he quickly recovered. He swallowed then catlike, licked his lips and his fingers. Just watching him was almost enough to make Treize hard again.
"Gods," he groaned.
"Did you like that?" Wufei asked huskily.
"I did. That was amazing, Kala. Thank you."
Treize saw the hunger in Wufei's expression and fire raced through him. "Do you want me, sweet Wufei?"
"Yes," Wufei whispered.
Treize was so happy he could shout. "Oh, Kala. You are so beautiful. I want to make love to you but not here. Not after what you just did. I don't want to rush this. Let's go back to the castle, you can see your friend off and then I'll make love to you all afternoon and into the night. I'll give you so much pleasure you'll never want to leave the bed. Unless of course, you absolutely can't wait, in which case I'd be more than happy to satisy you right now." Treize grinned.
"No, I think I can manage," Wufei chuckled.
"Good." Treize tilted Wufei's face up and kissed him tenderly. "I love you. Should we head back?"
"Well isn't this cozy."
"Treize!" Wufei said sharply. Seven men were approaching the grove. All were armed.
Treize spun, instinctively shielding Wufei behind him. His husband was no delicate flower of course, and hidden by the folds of their cloaks, Wufei stuck his dagger into Treize's belt. The smaller man was armed but Treize's sword lay discarded on the blanket. Treize inwardly cursed his foolishness. He was grateful for Wufei's quick thinking but it was a meager defense against the men confronting them now.
"What do you want?" Treize demanded.
"Oh, I think you know, Emperor. Your brother would like a word." A warrior with midnight black armor sneered at them. He was flanked on either side by the three other men but it was his sword which made Treize's blood run cold. It was as black as his armor and both seemed to gleam in cruel contrast to his pale hair. There was only one man who carried that sword and his depravity was legend.
Alexei the killer.
The warrior's torture methods were so sick that it was rumored he was not human. Even Treize could not have guessed his brother's hatred ran this deep.
Behind him, Treize, Wufei was tense and the older man knew he too had recognized Alexei.
Wufei, we're going to have to fight. Do you think you can reach my sword? Treize was never more grateful for his new ability as he communicated silently with his husband.
Wufei squeezed his hand once, indicating his agreement. He was so brave and Treize's heart was breaking. They would be lucky to get out of this alive and it was all his fault.
On my count, okay?
The world seemed to contract as Treize ripped the dagger from his belt. From the corner of his eye, he saw Wufei duck and roll toward the blanket. Faster than Treize could think, Wufei had tossed him his sword and was bouncing to his feet. He remembered being amazed at Wufei's speed, and feeling such pride at the fierceness of his spirit.
Then, chaos fell.
Wufei plunged his sword into the warrior's neck and blood sprayed, splattering him in the face. The man gurgled and slumped to the ground, but Wufei barely looked back as he stepped over him. All he could think of was helping Treize. The remaining warriors were all circling his husband. Six to one? What kind of curs were they? Was Mueller really that desperate to kill his brother?
Alexei was bearing down on Treize and the Emperor would normally have held his own if not for the other men on his periphery. None had yet attacked, but it was enough. With Treize unable to give his full attention to the dark knight, Wufei knew it was only a matter of time before Treize faltered. He could not let that happen.
"Come here, you cowards!" Wufei vaulted into the air and took down two of the soldiers with a powerful kick. While they struggled to find their bearings, Wufei quickly dispatched another warrior. To his left, he could see the other two were already struggling to rise.
Wufei lifted his sword and confronted the men who were on their feet again. The larger of the two swung viciously at Wufei but there were advantages to being smaller. Wufei was fast and his low center of gravity made him light on his feet. He easily dodged the brute, spun and jabbed him between the ribs. The warrior crumpled to the ground and his partner's features twisted in shock and rage.
"You little freak!" He lunged but Wufei sidestepped him. The man's anger gave him a beserker's strength but he was still no match for Wufei. Soon, he met the same fate as his comrade.
"Fuck." Wufei was panting. He was covered in gore and the smell of blood was sharp in his nostrils. He had evened the battlefield somewhat but he was also tiring. He was alert but moving more slowly now that his initial burst of adrenaline was beginning to fade.
Across the glen, the air vibrated with the clanging of metal as Treize and Alexei dueled. They were both sweating and each was covered in nicks and cuts but neither had been able to land a definitive blow. And still there was one man zealously tracking them, hovering near Treize as though meaning to join at any second .
Wait, one? Wufei looked around frantically. He counted the bodies in the grass. One ... two ... four... Wufei swore.
One of the men had disappeared.
Just as Wufei tried to locate the missing warrior, the man who had been hovering near Treize jabbed at him. Treize managed to dodge and turn, but that split second was all Alexei needed to wrest the upper hand. He kicked Treize squarely in the abdomen, knocking him to the ground. The Emperor's sword sword flew out of his hand and landed at the enemy warrior's feet.
Alexei's lips curled. "Oh, I'm going to have fun playing with you." He spat on Treize. "I wonder how your little prince will feel about all that lovemaking you promised when you're only half a man." Alexei lifted his sword high, black blade glinting in the sunlight.
"No!" Wufei screamed. He was running but it was like moving through molasses. He knew he would never make it in time.
Nononono! Fear clawed at Wufei's throat, releasing something inside of him. The shadows shot from Wufei's palms, dagger sharp and deadly. Alexei did not even have time to blink before his head was ripped from his neck and thumped to the ground. His underling was speared right through the heart.
Wufei was as stunned as he was sick with relief. He hurried to Treize who was soaked in blood. Suddenly, another kind of fear gripped Wufei as he thought the shadows might have hurt Treize too due to his inability to control them. Wufei patted along Treize's body. "Are you all right? I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No, I'm not hurt," Treize gasped. "A little amazed and a little unnerved by what just happened, but I'm fine. Kala, you saved my life."
"Thank the gods." Wufei flung his arms around Treize. "For a moment I thought-"
"Wufei, look out!"
Treize pushed Wufei to the side, covering him with his body. Too late, Wufei saw the missing warrior. He ran toward them and with a scream lunged forward. The blade connected, lodging in Treize's side. Already the warmth of blood was seeping through Wufei's own tunic.
"No," he whispered, horrified. "No!"
Wufei's cry was one of utter desperation as he sprang to his feet. The sound was so primal that even the warrior seemed stunned. He tried to flee but Wufei was upon him faster than he could draw breath. He cried out as Wufei's sword plunged into him over and over and over again. But it could not undo what had been done.
Tears clouded Wufei's vision as he returned to Treize, but he forced them back, reminding himself that he was their strength now. He needed to stay focused. His husband had managed to turn over and was clutching his side. Pain was stamped into every line of his body. "Treize ... can you speak?" Wufei croaked.
"Yes..." Treize hissed. He coughed, and his lips shone wet with blood.
Wufei trembled. He began ripping large swaths from his tunic. "I have to pull out the sword, Treize. It would be better to leave it in until a healer gets to you but we don't have time. We need to get out of here now. "
Wufei grasped the hilt of the sword. "Are you ready?"
"All right." Wufei paused to kiss Treize. Then, he yanked the sword out.
The older man's scream of agony rent the air. Treize was wan and panting as Wufei tightly bound his side, but to the older man's credit, he did not pass out.
"I'm sorry ... I'm sorry," Wufei whispered.
The ground beneath them was vibrating, faintly at first and then more strongly with each passing second.
Wufei could hear it, he knew Treize could hear it and they both knew what it meant:
Mueller's army was coming.
"Can you ride?" Wufei could barely get the words out.
"You know I can't," Treize coughed.
The tears Wufei had been fighting so hard to suppress broke free and rolled down his cheeks. Treize's large thumb traced and captured them.
"I never thought I'd see you cry over me. Should have thought of this a long time ago," he joked feebly.
"We have to get you out of here," Wufei insisted stubbornly.
"If we can just get to Nataku..."
"Kala, you know that won't work."
"I refuse to just leave you here! We have to try. Put your arm around my neck." Wufei bent and wrapped his arm around Treize's chest.
Grimacing, Treize leaned on Wufei and allowed himself to be hoisted up. Torturous minutes passed as Wufei dragged Treize across the glen but the older man was heavy and his weight threatened to topple them both. Worse, no matter how Wufei tried to summon the shadows in the hopes of using them to assist him, they would not come forth. He could have screamed his frustration. Why didn't he know how to control them yet?
On the horizon, tiny dots of men were speckling the hill. If they left now they could make it back to Rossetti before the army reached the plain but Wufei had only managed to drag Treize a few paces forward.
"Kala, leave me. You must go on ahead."
"You are Rossetti! He has won if he has you!"
"Do you think it would do Rossetti any good to get us both captured?" Treize demanded. "I know Mueller. He won't kill me. Not until he's extracted whatever he wants from Rossetti and what he wants most of all is power. He can't have that without you."
"I don't understand."
"In a way we've alrady won. My brother doesn't want me. He wants you and the power that comes with Eires. That is why those men all targeted me. They were ordered to kill me and bring you back alive."
"But you'll be killed!"
Treize forced a wry grin "Don't worry, I won't be defeated that easily." He sobered. "Besides, we have time. I know my brother. He is too twisted to give me a quick death."
Wufei was horrified. "Treize..."
"I trust you Wufei. if anyone can get us out of this, you can."
Wufei clenched his fists. He hesitated.
Damn it! Why did this have to happen? "Don't you dare die on me," Wufei choked. "I'm coming back for you, no matter what."
Treize's smile was tender. "I'm counting on it."
Beneath them, the ground rumbled with the portent of war. Wufei lingered to give his husband one last look before he turned and sprinted through the glade. He vaulted onto Nataku and rode as if his life depended on it.
And it did.