She'd gotten him slumped into his guest bed and was trying to shove him the rest of the way on when she heard his voice say amusedly in her ear
"My, you do move fast."
Sally looked up at him in surprise.
"Oh, you're awake!" she said. Then she tried to turn brisk and business-like to check him over; she was not a woman now, she was a doctor. "Are you in any pain? Can you focus your eyes?"
Sally brought out a flashlight from Wufei's pack and tried to shine it in his eyes in preparation for a quick examination, but he shot her an irritated glare and batted her hand away.
"Yes I'm fine, and that was a dirty trick."
"You started it," she said softly. She didn't like the tremor in her voice. So he'd kissed her…and she'd liked it. And she'd wanted more. Would the man truly sink to such level just to win a fight? And why?
"You kissed me," she said quietly, turning around and pretending to fuss with her wrap so that he wouldn't see the tears shimmering in her eyes. The only romantic gesture he'd ever made towards her was merely to catch her off guard so that he could win a fight. That hurt.
"Yes," he said quietly. "I'm…sorry. I shouldn't have. I had no right to. I'm sorry Sally."
It was one of those pincher moments, Sally had the chance right at this very moment to change their future forever or to take the cowardly way out and keep up the charade for a while longer. She found she couldn't breathe… when she bent her head forward a tiny drop of moisture fell from her eyes glittering in the air for a moment before spattering into her leg causing a dark spot of moisture on her crimson fighting silks. She was glad that her hair and her back hid her face so he wouldn't see the tears she despised so much.
"The only thing I've been fighting for for as long as I can remember has been freedom; my freedom and China's freedom and even freedom for my family," her voice was trembling with emotions. "And I… And I…I've never wanted to give it all up so badly before."
"Sally, I shouldn't have fought you today," he said seriously. The words came slowly to him but struggled on trying to explain. "When I went to sleep last night, I had every intention of not fighting you, and when I woke up I still wanted to let you win so that you could have your freedom… But then I saw you this morning and it was like I was seeing you for the first time; or that time when you walked straight into the fire for me without blinking. You weren't afraid because you fight with your heart and I suddenly just… didn't want to give you up."
"I would still have come with you into the Outlands, Wufei. We're partners," she said, trying to straighten herself so that she could turn back around and face him.
"I know. But…" he searched for the words.
"But I… That kiss wasn't about me trying to win a fight. Nothing with you is ever simple, Sally. You're my partner, and we often work closely together. We're a team, you and I, and you're probably the single person in all the world now who understands me."
"I appreciate the sentiment Wufei, but what are you trying to say?"
"You're the other half of my life Sally. I've never felt for anyone the way I feel for you. When I saw you this morning in your wedding robes it occurred to me that I could take the easy way out and not have to ask… I don't know if I was too proud or if I was simply too scared. I was genuinely curious to see how good you were too, but that wasn't why I fought you."
"So why?" Sally was holding her breath, hoping… sending a quick prayer to her ancestors that he was saying what she'd been wanting him to say for such a long time. For someone who had waited as long as she had, the wait for what he would say next seemed interminable.
"I wanted…want to be with you," he said. "If I had won the fight we would have been married and I wouldn't have had to ask. But, I know that having to be your keeper instead of your husband would have made you resent me and I can't stand that thought. So… now I'm asking. Will you? Will you join me willingly, stay by my side of your own will?"
"Tell me why you kissed me."
Wufei coughed a little in embarrassment.
"When I fight, I'm far more professional, but I saw… You were right there in my arms and weren't able to go anywhere, I was staring at your lips. And I just… couldn't resist," he admitted. "I really should work on strengthening my will. You may feel free to slap me now for taking liberties if you wish."
"I thought you'd never ask," Sally said turning around to face him at last. She saw him bracing himself for the blow.
"Not that you silly man," she said laughing in amusement. "I mean, I've been in love with you for so long and you've just been completely oblivious; well not that I've gone out of my way to display it but… Well anyway."
"You mean you-" it would have taken a person as deaf as Beethoven and as blind as Stevie Wonder not to hear the joy rising in his voice and the hope dawning on his face.
"Yes. I do and yes I will," she said. Then they both simply fell into each others arms holding each other close, reveling in the feeling of mutual acceptance from the person they had come to regard as their other half. After a moment they went still, the air grew thick as they slipped closer to exchange their first real kiss as lovers when-
"It is most unsettling to find two people who only moments before were trying to pound each other into the ground, embracing and confessing their undying love," said a voice from the doorway. Both of their heads snapped up and over, to see Sally's old sensei standing in the doorway looking amused.
"Well you know I've always been a contrary one sensei," said Sally.
"The very imp of perversity, daughter of my heart," the old man replied.
"Well father should be pleased, for once. Or perhaps not; as I do intend that the ceremony take place in the Outlands. It simply wouldn't be a wedding without my friends," she said. "I have absolutely no desire to see those damned robes ever again. I've had more than my fill of them, give them to my sisters as part of their dowry, burn them if you like, though that would be a terrible waste. I'm getting married in my Preventors uniform."
"You look better in green anyway," said Wufei amiably. "And I must say I'm relieved to get out of the whole pomp and ceremony of a Clan marriage of state or what have you."
"There is one further thing I'm worried about," said Sally. "My sisters. I've sent them each enough in secret to make them sizable dowries, but I do not want them married off on my fathers whims for profitable alliances. I want a way to protect them without me having to take leave every time father gets a good offer so that I can beat the stuffing out of their suitors."
"That's easily remedied," said Sensei. "Sai-Li, do you not recall what you read in that old scroll all those years ago concerning oaths of family and blood-kin in the case of marriages outside to another clan?"
"Oh yes! That's right!" she exclaimed. She turned to her partner, now her fiancée, to explain. "We could swear them as part of Dragon Clan now that I have said I will marry you. All it takes is a sacred relic, three council men, a venerable elder, and you and me. They are already related to me by blood, it is possible that they can take their own dowries if they wanted to, and begin building on the ancient Clan Ground of Dragon Clan. With houses of their own they can decide to marry, or not as they choose."
"Sounds good, we'll work out the details later. Dirhann-Sensei, thank you for your assistance," said Wufei. "Your pupil is one of a kind."
Dirhann hid a quick look of amusement for that was a dismissal if he'd ever heard one.
"She is at that and I wonder of you truly have any idea what you're getting yourself into. Well, I think I will now go and attend to these details so that they do not manifest themselves as problems when it is most inconvenient," with a small knowing smile he left the new couple in peace.
As soon as he was gone Wufei leaned in to begin where they had left off but Sally stopped him with
"Are you sure you want to do this? I mean I'm not exactly what you would call Susie Homebaker, well I mean I have all the skills to run a household because I had to raise my siblings when I was a girl so I know how to do things but-"
Wufei ceased her babbling with a finger over her lips.
"I'm sure about this, so what's actually bothering you?"
"Well I… It's just that, I'm not… Well…" she trailed off helplessly gesturing at herself. Wufei's brow knitted in puzzlement.
"I'm not quiet or demure like Ming is, I'm sure she'd make a far better wife than I would. She's small and pretty and can pour tea and-"
"What do her tea-pouring abilities have to do with anything? Do you think I'd marry someone based on how well they pour tea?"
"Well, I was left on the doorstep and I'm only a halfblood and I know that's not a good reason but it's awful hard to shed the things that everyone's been telling me all my life. And I'm babbling again aren't I?"
"Yes," he said with a chuckle. "And I assume you've figured out that none of this matters to me. Halfblood or full or even not blooded at all, it doesn't matter. I know that your own Clan has probably been trying to tell you that your value as a person is less because you're only half Chinese, and up to this point you've probably fought them on that one alone; but you won't have to anymore. Your younger sister is a very sweet girl," he said choosing his words with care for he sensed that Sally was the kind who was quite protective of her circle of loved ones. "She's very sweet but she isn't the kind of woman I want for my wife. Besides, Dragon Clan, even if it is traditionalist, was less rigid than the ones that remained in China."
"But I thought that warriors were always so wrapped up in the ancient traditional ways of doing things. I would have thought that the warriors would be the last to change. They usually are, at least from a historical perspective."
"The move to space changed that. Dragon Clan was forced to adapt to new ways in order to remain prosperous. Besides, the Clan starts anew with us. We can make it whatever we want it to be. Tradition is truly a fine thing, for it gives a person roots and gives large groups of people a sense of their culture, but too much tradition can stifle the growth of a person and make that same group stagnate as a people."
"That's quite true, I know this from personal experience. People men or women should be able to do what their natures best suit them for," she said with a real smile.
"I have a feeling that our natures are best suited for each other," he said with an answering smile as he wrapped her up in his arms and brought her closer.
This time when he leaned closer to kiss her she met him. Sally felt that drowning sensation again, the rushing in her ears, the hammering in of her heart, but when his arms closed around her she didn't feel imprisoned; she felt free, protected, loved. It was a new feeling for her and the intensity of the emotions overtaking her senses surprised even scared her for a moment, but she then remembered who it was she felt them for her and all of the fear sluiced off from her.
Wufei for his part, had stopped trying to control the tide of his feelings where Sally was concerned. Some things in the world just were, and there was no getting around that. He had no inclination to make himself utterly miserable by trying to control every aspect of his life. For one thing, unexpected things could, would and did happen and it was up to the wise person to adapt to the changes in his life and profit by them. Love was one of those unexpected forces in the universe, it came (or did not come) where it would and didn't answer to class, sense or common logic. He'd never really been in love before, the time he'd been married had been short, he'd just come back from boarding school and hadn't had time to do more than learn the name of the girl he would be marrying before the ceremony took place. Sally was a different case entirely. When had she come to mean so much to him? Well, things like that tended to sneak up on a person he supposed. He already knew he had no intention of letting her go. She was his, and he was hers and that was that.
"Shall we leave this place for the Outlands now?" he queried. "Before your father thinks of some other kind of mischief. We still have the rest of our leave time together."
"Yes," she said simply taking his arm and walking out with him at his side. Whatever the future held for them now they would face it together, no chains, no fetters and no more fears.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing. The characters and contents are the creative property of Bandai, Sunrise and Sotsu Agency as well as its creators Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Matate.
Authors note: Hey gang, sorry I waited so long to post this. I just started a job and I have very little free time, I wake up go to work, work 8 hours then come home exhausted, choke down some food then sleep. I'm starting college classes this Tuesday and work tomorrow. I've been keeping track of the reviews thanks to all who reviewed, I love you guys. If you review this chapter and ask for an epilog I'll find time (somehow) to write one. It just feels a little incomplete. I hope you guys liked my story and if you want to put it on one of your homepages or somesuch contact me at Lyta22@hotmail.com. Hugs, Nightheart.