Disclaimer: Don't own any part of Gundam Wing or the characters, more's the pity. This is for fun...no profit involved.
Warnings: AU, yaoi, some OOC, swearing, angst, sickening sappy fluff
Pairings: 3X4, 1X2
A/N: Okay, okay! By popular demand, here's an epilogue. For those of you who felt chapter sixty-two gave closure, you can skip it if you want…but a lot of folks needed a bit more explanation and resolution…so here goes.
THE WEDDING PLANNER
Epilogue: The Perfect Wedding
Heero's Point of View
"Stop fussing!" Wufei said with a scowl. "It's perfectly straight."
Releasing my tie, I shot him a snide look with a raised eyebrow. "Unlike me?"
"Oh, very funny, Yuy. Maxwell's rubbing off on you more every day."
Yeah…Duo…rubbing. That sounded nice. It sounded so nice I was tempted to skip the wedding and go straight to the honeymoon.
'Fei was right. Duo was rubbing off on me. But in the best possible way. I'd been a very serious person most of my life, and learning to lighten up and have fun was both challenging and exhilarating. Of course, with Duo to lead the way, it was also wonderful.
We'd been together for several months, not counting the time he'd spent planning my almost-wedding to Relena. I only thought of us as "together" since I'd moved into the beach house with him.
But in those months, we'd shared a lifetime's worth of catching up. I took him skydiving, and he took me horseback riding. He dragged me away on a camping trip in the mountains, and I insisted on a trip with Wufei to watch a world-class martial arts competition. We had a blast.
I told Duo everything about me that we hadn't had time to cover during our bizarre "courtship." I mean, when we started out as friends, there wasn't a need to reveal every memory and hope and dream. But when we moved from that to being lovers, we both seemed to develop a burning need to "tell all" to each other.
He told me about a childhood on L2 that nearly brought me to tears, and once again I wondered how he'd become such a spirited, eager participant in life after such a deprived upbringing. I could only attribute it to his internal strength and the loyal, determined friends he'd surrounded himself with. God, I loved that man!
Wufei stood back, looking me over critically. "Very nice," he commented with a satisfied nod, shoving me towards a mirror.
I gazed at my reflection, wondering for the millionth time what Duo saw in me. There I was with a faint scowl, a mop of unruly hair trying to obscure my eyes at every turn, and glaring blue eyes. If I met myself on the street, I'd see nothing inviting at all.
So how did Duo find me so intriguing and attractive? I'd just never get over that. He was the most captivating person I'd ever met, and he was marrying me. It defied all logic.
But then, logic had little to do with this and even less to do with Duo. He was very much a person who followed his heart.
He was also the most forgiving person I'd ever met, else we definitely wouldn't be together. After I belted him in the face, he had every reason to hate me. And yet, he still loved me.
Showing up at his beach house with my heart in my hands was probably the smartest thing I'd ever done. It was also the most spontaneous and desperate and terrifying thing I'd ever done.
But it worked.
He told me later, after our precipitous tumble into his bed and the subsequent night of lovemaking on the beach, that between the shock of realizing my presence there wasn't a dream, and the realization that I'd remembered every detail of his "perfect" wedding, he couldn't even imagine turning me down.
So here we were, not quite a year later, making our union official. Not that either of us required a legal document to cement our bond, but it would make a statement to the rest of the world…a statement we wanted to make. Our commitment to one another was something solid and permanent. And perfect.
That's not to say we never fought or disagreed. We did plenty of that. But we always made up afterwards. And then usually one of us brought it up in the counseling sessions we'd started attending together.
Yes, I was still in therapy…still coming to terms with the upheaval that discovering I was homosexual had caused in my life.
Duo had insisted on joining me in those sessions, pointing out that I was probably my own harshest critic and that the counselor needed a second opinion. Have I mentioned how much I love that man?
He was right about one thing; I often had trouble opening up and expressing myself. Having Duo with me in counseling helped a lot. Besides, I think it benefited him as well. With his well-known tendency to "run and hide," it didn't hurt for him to bring up his own issues for examination.
I knew, for instance, that for all his apparent confidence and cockiness, he was terribly insecure about being left behind by those he loved. It was kind of bizarre, actually, since I was afraid he'd realize he was way too good for me and leave, and he was afraid he'd lose me. So we were both a little clingy and painfully insecure at times.
Mostly we were just hopelessly in love and deliriously happy with each other's company.
"Time to go," Wufei said with a nudge, a vague smirk on his lips. "If you want to chicken out, I might be able to stall for you." I favored him with a deadly and completely fake glare, and he laughed in my face. "You're still easy to bait, Yuy. I'm glad Duo hasn't changed that about you."
We started out the door, and I spared him a sideways glance. "So he has changed some things about me, eh?"
"You mean aside from your sexual orientation?"
"Very funny, 'Fei."
"And your tendency to use nicknames."
"At least I've never called you Wuffers."
"And you never will. At least not and survive the attempt."
I chuckled a little at that. "We could settle it in sparring." Yes, Wufei and I had resumed our frequent workouts and sparring sessions. Duo insisted. And, God, that was one of the things I loved most about him. He made sure I took time to do the things I enjoyed.
His work schedule was lighter and more flexible than mine, so he was able to do all the things he liked to do, and he wanted the same for me.
It made it easier that while Wufei and I sparred, Duo often came along to work out as well, or to distract the hell out of me by showing just enough skin to drive me crazy.
And I'd taken to joining Duo, Quatre and Trowa for their monthly movie nights. For that matter, Wufei had become part of the group, and enjoyed the socialization at least as much as I did.
I wasn't sure what I'd done to deserve so much sheer pleasure in my life, but I wasn't about to give it up. Ever.
We'd planned our wedding to be held at a little stone chapel in the mountains. Wufei was in charge of getting me there, and Quatre had whisked Duo away the night before to stay with him, asserting that it wouldn't do for us to see each other before the ceremony.
When I attempted to point out that we'd been living together for months, I was promptly overruled. And so Duo had gone to Quatre's penthouse, and Wufei had come to stay with me the night before the wedding.
"If we go straight up the highway, we should be there with about half an hour to spare," Wufei suggested.
"Fine." I was busy looking out the window at the gloriously brilliant blue sky, thinking that Duo and I could be out sailing right now, if not for the ceremony. I have to admit; I was torn. On the one hand, I wanted our union to be legal and binding in the eyes of the law as well as our own. But on the other, the blue sky and sea were beckoning.
Duo and I had purchased our own sailboat, similar to Howard's—and we kept it next to the porch of the beach house for beautiful days like this.
Yes, Duo had changed me in a lot of ways. I played hooky more often now. Actually, it wasn't so much "playing hooky" as using leave time I'd earned. But in the past, there'd been little motivation to use all my vacation time. Now that Duo was my partner, I looked forward to each and every free day I could finagle from work. The luster hadn't worn off our relationship at all. In fact, if anything, it had intensified.
"Yuy—are you listening?" Wufei asked suddenly, darting me a glare.
"I was—distracted," I admitted.
He shook his head. "You're always distracted," he chided. "Give a man a purpose outside of work, and he becomes useless." His smirk belied his words. "I'm glad to see you've decided there's more to life than computers and work projects."
"Me too." I looked up ahead, noticing an increase in traffic. "Shit. Don't tell me there's a problem," I muttered. "Maybe we should get off the highway and take the back roads."
Wufei nodded. "You have a point—it's a bit busier than usual for a Sunday morning."
We were nearly to our exit, so the distance we'd have to travel in back roads wouldn't be that bad. But I was impatient to get to the chapel and see Duo.
I knew he'd picked up a new outfit for the wedding—a midnight blue silk suit. And I could only imagine how devastatingly handsome he'd look in it. Or out of it. Bad Heero.
"What the fuck?" Wufei hit the brakes hard, as up ahead we saw billows of smoke and the telltale signs of a traffic accident.
We were almost instantly boxed in among bumper to bumper cars, sitting motionless on the highway.
"Shit." I opened my window and craned my neck, trying to see how bad the bottleneck up ahead was, while Wufei fiddled with the radio, tuning in to the emergency channel.
"…just reported a major accident on the interstate," came the staticky announcer's voice. "Emergency vehicles are enroute. Repeat…our 'eye in the sky' copter has just reported a major accident…multiple vehicles involved…at least one in flames…"
I could see the billowing smoke increase, and I leaned back against my seat, trying not to overreact.
"We still have time," Wufei said firmly. "Just call Duo and let him know we've run into a possible delay." He gave a wry smile. "Don't want the poor boy thinking you've run off."
"Worse," I muttered, pulling out my cell phone. "If he hears about an accident, he'll worry that we were in it."
"Oh." Wufei's eyes widened slightly. "Hurry it up then, Yuy."
I had two bars of service on my cell phone, but no matter how many times I dialed Duo's, I got no response. "Fuck. If he's already at the chapel, he won't have any reception," I recalled.
The chapel was up in the mountains, far from the nearest cell tower and clear reception. But they had land lines as well, so I decided to try one of those.
Five tries and fifteen minutes later, I was ready to throw the phone out the window. "Damn it, Wufei, they aren't answering. I just keep getting the answering machine, and a message to call during weekday business hours."
"Well, here come the first emergency vehicles," Wufei pointed out, as a fire truck sailed past us in the breakdown lane, closely followed by police and rescue crews.
I squirmed in the seat, knowing that even with emergency services at the scene, it could take hours for them to clear up the mess and get traffic moving again. "Goddamnit, 'Fei. Duo's gonna go nuts if I'm late. He'll assume the worst."
Wufei nodded, seeing the sense in my statement. We both knew Duo's track record. Having lost two fiancés shortly before the wedding, he wasn't likely to be calm, rational, and reasonable in his assumptions. And if he heard about the accident, he'd be a complete nervous wreck.
"Here. Let me try to get hold of Sally," Wufei suggested, knowing his wife had a cell phone and hoping she wasn't too far out of the service area yet. He opened his cell phone and studied the screen critically. "Crap. No service."
Up ahead the emergency vehicles were starting to clear the accident. But they still weren't allowing any traffic through at all. And the idiot announcer on the radio kept going on about fatalities and multiple vehicles involved in a major wreck. Way to fuel people's fears!
I tried again, unsuccessfully, to get through on my cell phone, sure that Duo would be frantic by now. Goddamnit! If he thought his third fiancé had bitten the dust, I wasn't sure what he might do. "'Fei? Any luck?"
"Still no service," he growled, holding up his cell phone and trying to angle it in any direction he could, hoping to get even a single thread of a connection. I wasn't sure what numbers he was dialing, but he kept at it for close to twenty minutes.
And I all but pulled my hair out by the roots the entire time.
"Duo's going to have heart failure," I muttered, running a hand down my face. "Fuck it, Wufei! He can't take this kind of stress!"
"Neither can you, apparently," came the mildly amused response. "Relax, Yuy. He knows if there was serious trouble, we'd call the people at the chapel."
"We tried calling the people at the chapel! Damn it to hell, why don't they have emergency contact numbers?"
"Well apparently Sally's out of range too," Wufei sighed. "But I did succeed in leaving a message on your answering machine at the beach house. If Duo thinks to try calling there, he could find out about the delay."
"Duo won't think. Period," I said firmly, picturing those gorgeous indigo eyes brimming with tears. I knew Duo would be frantic; there was no way around it by now.
"Look! There's movement!" Wufei yelped, hastily starting up the car and throwing it into gear, easing around a couple of slow-moving vehicles to secure us a place nearer the exit.
When we could actually see the off-ramp, Wufei threw caution to the wind, pulling off the shoulder of the road and bouncing across an open field to the side road, ignoring traffic laws, honking horns, and scolding looks from some of the emergency crews. I loved Wufei at that moment, more than in all our years of friendship.
The moment we reached pavement again, he floored it, sending us hurtling along at just above the speed limit, but barely under the maximum safe speed.
"I'll pay any ticket you might get," I promised vehemently, tightening my grip on the door handle as he swung a corner a bit too fast.
I swear, that ride was the longest of my life. By the time we reached the winding gravel road up to the chapel, we were nearly forty-five minutes late, and there was no way to speed the rest of the way. But by God, Wufei did some pretty fancy driving.
When we screeched to a halt in front of the chapel, Trowa was standing by the walkway watching for us. He heaved a visible sigh of relief and dashed inside to tell everyone we'd arrived.
I'd barely gotten out of the car, and hadn't taken a single step towards the chapel when Duo came hurtling down the walkway and literally threw himself into my arms, sobbing helplessly on my shoulder. I looked past him to see Quatre and Trowa at the doorway, both looking infinitely relieved.
"Shh," I soothed, holding Duo tightly, as Wufei squeezed my shoulder and then went with Trowa and Quatre back into the building to leave us alone. "It's okay, love. I'm here now. I'm fine."
He nodded, clinging even tighter as he struggled to get himself under control.
"I know you were scared," I continued, remembering some of our counseling sessions and Duo's revelation of his insecurities and fears. "You had every reason to be. There was a terrible accident on the highway, and for all you knew we were part of it."
He nodded again, choking back a sob.
"But we weren't. And now I'm here, and I'm perfectly fine. I'll always be here, with you. Nothing's going to take me away—not before I marry you, Duo Maxwell," I told him gently—fervently. "And not for a long, long time after. We'll grow old together—I promise."
He shifted in my arms so that his cheek was pressed against the front of my shirt. "You can't promise that, 'Ro. Nothing's for sure."
"Some things are. It's for sure that I love you more than anything in the world. And it's for damn sure I'm going to marry you in a few minutes…as soon as you're ready." I ran a soothing hand down his back, and kissed the top of his chestnut hair. "Take all the time you need to pull yourself back together."
"I-I'm okay," he murmured, reaching a hand up to wipe at his cheek.
I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and handed it to him. "If you had been late, and I'd heard there was an accident on the highway, I'd have been even worse off than this," I said gently. "I can't imagine losing you, Duo."
He nodded, wiping his eyes, and gradually relaxing. "Trouble is, I can imagine losing you. I've been there before—twice. And I never want to go there again."
"You won't. Even Fate can't be that cruel," I lifted his chin and kissed him deeply, tasting the salty tears on his lips.
We might have stayed like that indefinitely, with me trying to alleviate Duo's fears, and him trying to reassure himself I was real and alive and there in his arms. But the sound of a throat being cleared interrupted our reunion.
"Yuy—Maxwell—the justice of the peace said we should probably move things along; the chapel's booked for another wedding in a few hours."
I opened one eye to look up at Wufei, and reluctantly took my lips from Duo's. "We'll be right in, Chang."
"I'll have everyone in place," he promised, going back inside.
I pulled back just far enough to look down at Duo. "Are you better?" I asked gently.
He nodded, already looking a little sheepish as he finished drying his face and tucked the handkerchief into his pocket. "God, am I an overreactive asshole, or what?"
"I already told you, I'd have been just as bad, or worse," I pointed out. "Shit, Duo—after all you've been through, you have a right. But now that I'm here, and we're both alive and well, it's time to prove that the third time's the charm. Let's go on in there and get married."
He managed a wan smile. "Y'don't think the roof will fall in as we walk inside, do you?"
"Stranger things have happened. But if it does, we'll go together," I said firmly.
Duo's smile widened a little. "I think I'd like that a lot better than having to imagine life without you."
"So it's a deal," I promised. "I won't go without you." I brushed a loose strand of hair from his cheek. "And you can't go without me, either."
"Sounds like a suicide pact, Yuy," Duo snorted, finally regaining his laugh. "Or a murder-suicide thing." He gave me a teasing look. "How about if we just don't go at all? Let's just live forever…y'know that whole 'happily ever after' thing?"
"I could go for that." I smoothed his hair back from his face, straightened his collar and tie a bit, and held out an arm. "Shall we go get married now?"
He slipped an arm through mine, giving me a brilliant smile. "Yeah, I think I'd like that."
And so we did.
The wedding went off without a hitch, now that the crisis was over. Quatre played the violin for our walk up the aisle, and we took our positions in front of the justice of the peace.
Trowa and Quatre must have explained the delay to him, because the man smiled reassuringly before launching into the ceremony.
When it came time for Duo and I to exchange vows, we turned to face each other, and I was once again struck by how lucky I was to have stumbled into love with this man.
Duo, as usual, looked great. Damn, but that man could make shredded jeans and ratty old tee shirts look sexy as hell—put him in a high-end suit, and he was just mouth-watering. His jacket and slacks were midnight blue, which accented the indigo of his eyes and made the gleaming chestnut braid stand out even more. And the small spray of white flowers pinned to his lapel showed up beautifully against the dark background. Woven into his braid was a slender silk ribbon—the one I'd tied the bundle of dune flowers up with. He'd saved it ever since, and insisted it had to be worn at our official wedding.
I was wearing a black suit, but with a blue shirt that matched Duo's outfit, and my boutonnière was made of a tiny cluster of wildflowers, mimicking the ones I'd brought when I proposed to my beloved wedding planner.
Sentimental tripe, really. Duo called it that, but then insisted we do it anyway.
I went first, taking both of Duo's hands in mine, gently caressing the long, slender fingers, feeling the familiar calluses and firm grip. "I give you my life, my heart and my soul, to do with as you will—trusting you to care for them as I care for you. I promise my understanding—to always ask for your side of any story before reacting—and to trust you and trust the strength of our bond. I will share with you all that I can of myself—my attention, my time, and all that I own. I will never judge, condemn, or scorn you—I will never leave you—as long as I live."
He gave me a little smirk, his deep eyes glimmering with warmth, and he tightened the grip of our hands a bit as he said his vows. "I give you my life, my heart and my soul, to do with as you will—trusting you to care for them as I care for you. I promise my fidelity—my unwavering support and steadfast presence at your side. I will never run from you or hide from you, physically or emotionally. I will keep open the lines of communication and tell you how I feel, without fear of anger or censure. I will never judge, condemn, or scorn you—I will never leave you—as long as I live."
The justice of the peace led us in the traditional ring exchange, and then pronounced us married.
I pulled Duo into my arms, and the chapel and all its occupants just faded away as our lips met. It could have been a moment or an eternity; I didn't know or care. All that mattered was that Duo was still with me after months of a relationship—still willing to stay with me forever. I didn't want to dwell on the whys or wherefores. I was more interested in starting that "happily ever after" he'd mentioned.