A/N: Here it is, the long promised sequel to "Living Shinigami." This has actually been written since November, but... I kinda lost the notebook in a trunk of books. Yes, I'm just that special. For those who haven't read the aforementioned fic, do. This won't make a lick of sense without it. As always, I don't own either series used here and am only borrowing them. The way I have this fic planned, it will be in two parts, the first largely focusing on characters from the Gundam Wing world, and the second on those in the Yami no Matsuei universe. Depending on the length, it may end up being posted as separate fics. Please note: This fic contains both het and yaoi couplings. Those stated early on will not be changing, so please don't ask. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the fic. A big thanks to the wonderful Tamy, who beta'd this chapter for me. Read and review.
"The Clock Moves Backwards"
A Second Birthday
Tsuzuki Hijiri, once known as Duo Maxwell, issued a contented sigh of relief as he wrote out the last kanji of his essay. One would think that, after fighting in a war, working as a Preventer, dying, and serving part time as a shinigami, he would be done with essays and school work altogether.
But no, Enma had decided that his youngest child needed to have an extensive education, especially in history and the arts. And the version of history his tutors taught was vastly different than the bits and pieces teachers at various schools during the war had managed to teach him before the pilots left the area again.
"Posture, Hijiri-sama," Hina-san, his current tutor, corrected gently, not even appearing to look up from her poetry.
"Bah, I'm finished," he said, flexing his legs beneath him before standing. "Let my father know that I've gone to Ningenkai."
"As you will," she said, lips pursed. "Be sure to take your guardian with you, Hijiri-sama."
"Maa maa," Hijiri said, leaving the realm with a thought. If he had to stop at the Chinese Ministry to pick up Wufei (because Sohryuu got huffy when he had Kurikara guard him in the mortal world), then he wouldn't have time to change before sneaking into the seventieth birthday party of one retired foreign vice minister. He couldn't normally go visiting, hadn't since Wufei's funeral, but he had found her a candle a bit ago, and it was barely more than a few traces of wax and a short wick.
As he burst into the Chinese Judgment Bureau, there was a ripple of activity. Shinigami stood up and bowed before settling back into their desks to watch. Forty years ago, there would have been a lot more exclamations and deeper bows as the claimed son of Enma Daoh made an appearance, but it was a decidedly regular occurrence now that Wufei had been made Meiran's partner to watch over the now once again flourishing L5.
"Oi, Wuffers!" he called, turning down his old comrade's hallway.
Wufei didn't even look up from his desk when the young kami bounced in. "It's Wufei, Hijiri."
"Anyway, grab your jacket. We're going down to Sanq," Wufei said. He sent a grin to the teenage appearing woman sitting at the other desk in the office. "Hello, Meiran. You're looking particularly lively today."
"Hijiri-sama," she acknowledged with a nod and a wry smile. "Try to have him back before tomorrow afternoon. We have a staff meeting."
"Will try," the braided man said with a sharp salute, which looked odd with the formal kimono he always wore in Enma's halls. "I'll have Kaa-chan write him a note if he comes back late."
Settling his coat on his shoulders, Wufei herded his lord toward the door. Shinigami hid their smirks as the odd pair passed them on their way out. As they took flight outside, Wufei decided to satisfy his curiosity. "What's the event?"
"Relena's last birthday," Hijiri said, tucking his tenshi's robe out of sight as they flew. He was going to get enough looks as it was. "The big seven-oh. Man are the others getting old."
"Not all of us stay eternally twenty-five," Wufei said. "Most people grow up. Some even grow old."
"And have grandchildren," the godling added before twitching. "Heero with grandchildren. That's just messed up. Course, Heero with children period is a creepy idea. The perfect soldier changing diapers and playing tea party. Thankfully for the world, War lost his parole hearing and Otou-sama was busy keeping Nami and Nagi from wandering down to earth to murder Lady Une at the time."
Slipping between the worlds, Wufei marveled at the view. Whether from his Gundam or flight, it just never lost any of its magnificence.
"Being dead certainly has its perks, doesn't it?" Hijiri said with a smile. "Remind me that I want to swing by L2 on the way home."
"I thought Solo retired last year," Wufei said.
"He did, but I just wanted to see how the old neighborhood is doing, what with no war and all," the braided man clarified, beginning to drift lower in the sky. Shaking his head but understanding, Wufei followed his lord.
When they'd grown near enough to make out people on the ground, they counted about a dozen already gathered in the mansion garden. Only one looked up, and it was with wide blue eyes. Legs tucked close under him, Hijiri floated eye level with their old comrade. "Hello, Quatre."
Behind him, Wufei landed, remaining in spirit form as he rolled his eyes. Prepositioned since childhood to fly, the kami would just as much rather to than walk. Wufei, born and raised human, remained with his feet mostly planted on the ground.
Quatre could hardly believe his eyes. After forty years, they were here. And, as they had been at Wufei's funeral, appeared unchanged by the years. He couldn't force the sound past his lips as he mouthed their names, trembling.
Sharp immortal eyes caught sight of the tremors immediately, and Quatre found himself instantly lifted off of the ground and into Duo's silk clad arms, their shinigami hugging his aged frame protectively. Unfortunately, the action happened just as Heero glanced his way to ask why he'd suddenly fallen silent from the conversation they'd been having with Millardo.
"I'm not seeing this," the prince said once he'd followed Heero's shocked gaze.
Quatre calmed at the familiar snicker issuing from his 'captor,' though perhaps he should have been more concerned. Duo and snickering generally made for a bad combination, if memory served. Still, it was nice to see that little had changed with the dead man.
The two rivals' relief at seeing Quatre (who to their eyes had been being held up in the air by some invisible entity), released back onto his own two feet was cut short when they were pounced upon by something still unseen. They struggled with it for a moment before Heero gasped at the familiar feeling of a long braid getting caught by his blind grab. "Duo?"