Commencement

By Dyna Dee

Warnings: yaoi, mild

One year after The Chrysalid.

Quatre R. Winner reached up to readjust his taller companion's tie.

"It's fine Quatre, just leave it be." Trowa complained quietly. His patience was being tried at his lover's unusual fidgeting.

"Sorry." the blonde apologized, knowing he was irritating the other. "I'm just nervous." He looked around the large room slowly filling with important people from the colonies and Earth. Relena had asked him to host this ball to celebrate the success of the Earth/Space Alliance. The people in this room had worked and fought hard to build a lasting peace and the former Queen of the World thought that they should bond together not only in work, but in a more relaxed arena as friends. What better way to do that than attending large social events a couple of times a year?

This was the second such party the President of the Winner Corporation had hosted. It was a ball with a private, more personal reception before hand for about 200 select friends of the Peacecrafts and Winners. The room was filling up with happy people.

"Everything has been taken care of." Trowa reassured him with a gentle smile lighting his face. "Trust your staff to see that it goes smoothly."

Quatre's hand snaked up and affectionately stroked the back of the black tuxedo his lover wore. "I do, but that's not what I'm worried about."

Trowa's eyebrows rose in question, but over the blonde's head he recognized a newcomer to the reception. "Wufei's here." he announced calmly.

Quatre whipped around with an enormous smile gracing his face. "Wufei!" he called out and waved his arm vigorously signaling the Chinese man over.

The former Sandrock pilot saw Wufei's nod of recognition and the roll of his eyes at his excited outburst in see his friend again. It was always so easy to get a reaction out of Wufei. Quatre watched as he approached them and appreciated the picture Wufei presented. He wore black dress pants and a short silk jacket with a mandarin collar. It was decorated with elaborate black frog closures on the front. His black waist-length braided hair seemed to disappear against the black outfit. He noted once again the 5' 10" height his friend had acquired, the same as Heero. The blonde sighed. He was cursed to be the smallest of the group at 5' 8", and though he had put on some weight since the wars, he was still considered small by the others.

He leaned against Trowa. His lover was the tallest of the former pilots at 6', his body was fit and muscular, much like Heero and Wufei, who worked at keeping their bodies strong. Quatre decided he as just too busy and maybe a tad too lazy to work that hard.

The Chinese man stopped in front of them, greeting then with a simple nod of his head, then looked sternly into the blonde's eyes. "All right, Winner. What was so important that I had to come to this stuffed-shirt party." He demanded to know, though his eyes sparkled with affection for the two he addressed.

"Heero requested we all be here." Quatre answered.

"Heero?" Wufei looked genuinely surprised. "I've hardly seen or heard from him this year, other than our wedding. Even then, it was highly peculiar and notably rude for the best man to excuse himself in the middle of the reception to catch a plane to meet someone, I think he said in Los Angeles. What's he up to?"

Quatre recognized the curious look on both men's faces, and felt smugly satisfied that he knew something they didn't, though it was still very little. "Heero's bringing a date. Someone he's anxious for us to approve of." He paused to let his words sink in, then he dropped the big one. "He's in love."

Wufei looked like he'd swallowed this tongue, and Trowa looked.....shocked.

"Are you sure? When did this happen?" Trowa asked

Quatre nodded, pleased again with his surprise. "Heero came to my office three days ago, before he left for Earth. He asked me to make sure everyone would be here tonight as he was bringing someone special. Of course, I questioned him about who it was, but you know how tight lipped he can be." The other two nodded. Satisfied, he continued. "He didn't exactly tell me, but said he'd met someone a year ago and has been courting....," he eyes twinkled as the other two listening intently raised dubious eyebrows. "Yes, he actually said courting this person since then. This is their public debut."

"Male or female?" Trowa asked.

The blonde shrugged. "He was very careful not to say. He just told me this is the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and he hoped we would be open to accepting this person. Evidently, they are both nervous about our approval."

Wufei frowned. "Why would Heero worry about that? We're an easy going, accepting kind of group."

Trowa snickered. "Which is why we have so many close friends." The four former Gundam pilots worked well the others, but really felt comfortable only around each other. They grudgingly accepted Sally, but she had worked with them during the war and her ability to bring happiness and peace to Wufei had earned her a rare place in the acceptance of her into their odd little family. Now Heero was about to introduce another. Trowa understood his friend's nervousness. If they didn't take to the person he loved,.....it would be difficult.

"We will keep an open mind, right guys? Give this person a fair chance?" Quatre asked, and was pleased to see both men nod their heads in agreement.

"Speaking of friends." Trowa spoke up and turned to face Wufei. "Where's Sally?"

Now it was Wufei's turn to know something the others didn't. "She's at home." he replied.

"She was invited to attend." Quatre said frowning. "She's not put out with us is she?" He worried, having so many sisters, he knew how easily some women could be hurt or take offense.

"No." Wufei scoffed at the idea. "She hasn't been feeling well and I didn't want her to take any chance."

"Chances?" Quatre asked, curiosity piqued.

"She's pregnant." Wufei announced, a sly grin on his face.

Quatre launched himself at his friend, tightly embracing him. "That's wonderful Wufei!" he said with great enthusiasm and pounding his back. When at last he was released, Trowa offered his firm handshake and a broad smile in congratulations.

Just as they were about to get into the when and how-long questions, Trowa alerted them to Heero's entrance into the room.

*********

Heero and David barely made it in time for the reception before the ball. They'd entered the hotel from the private garage, and were directed to the Winner suites. Each having their own room and separating, rushed to dress into the more formal clothing the dressy affair demanded. Heero leaned against the wall opposite David's door, dressed and patiently waiting for David's exit from his room. As the doorknob turned, he straightened in anticipation.

"Do I look ok?" David asked as he emerged from his room and shut the door behind him. He nervously smoothed at non-existent wrinkles from his long jacket. The dark blonde was dressed in perfect fitting, straight leg black pants, and a matching long jacket, both made of the same material. From a distance, the material looked to be that of a glossy black suit, but up close you could see the texture and print, like that of a black reptile. The long-sleeve jacket was fitted to his trim form and fell to his knees. A hint of blue/violet color peeked out from beneath the slight opening at the top of the jacket and matched the tinted, oval-shaped glasses he wore. His dark blonde hair was brushed until it shone and hung thick and straight to just below his shoulders. With the look of uncertainty and vulnerability on his face, Heero found himself nearly breathless with desire. He took David's hands in his and gently squeezed them.

"You look good enough to eat." he teased.

"Hum....".David eyed him suspiciously, humor returning to his worried expression. "Hors d'oeuvre, main course, or dessert?" He quizzed teasingly.

"How about an appetizer to start with?" Heero smiled and moved closer to capture the other's lips. David's mouth softened and opened easily against his persistent lips.

David hummed his pleasure, but brought his hand up against Heero's chest, gently pushing him away. "We're late." he said a bit breathless and with an apologetic grin.

Heero nodded and took his hand. "Then let's get this over with." he said with a comforting smile, knowing that David needed his reassurance.

They walked towards the elevator in relative silence, both young men thinking about how the next few minutes would change their lives. They had spent the last year rebuilding their friendship, and David's trust in Heero. It wasn't an easy task as there were demons from the past to be dealt with, and time was needed to rebuild the fragile beginnings of trust. Heero's love of Duo only increased as he spent time with David. He had voiced his love for him often, only to have David accept it, but hesitant to repeat the words that had, in the past, been the undoing of all he had. He still guarded his heart closely to prevent the pain he had worked so hard to put behind him.

During the last year, Heero had displayed unwavering patience at David's hesitation and fears. Slowly in the last few months, the two merged into an awkward relationship between friendship and being a couple. The held each other, kissed and at times let their hands rove. But David was adamant that they keep their clothes on. He had to be sure before he went to a more physically intimate level in their relationship. Knowing Heero was close to the other former pilots, he was unsure how they would react to him being alive. If they rejected him, what would it mean to Heero? Though Heero had repeatedly expressed his love for him, David couldn't help to wonder at the cost. If Heero lost his close association with the others because of him, would he later be blamed and resented, and left again?

The elevator came to a stop on the main lobby floor and hand in hand, the two wordlessly walked in the direction of the ball room. They stopped at the reception room door, just before the door, and Heero could feel his companion's hand tremble even as it fiercely gripped his. The people behind them passed into the room as the two paused to exchange a worried look.

"It doesn't matter how they react, good or bad, I'll never leave you, David. Never!" Heero's voice was firm, and a look of determination reflected in the lenses of the glasses the other wore.

The blonde nodded and offered him a tremulous smile. Quickly glancing around to make sure no one was watching, Heero impulsively embraced and briefly kissed his love. "Courage. I'm right beside you." he whispered against his lips.

"I'm alright." David whispered back as he gave Heero a quick squeeze back. "If it goes badly, we'll leave, okay?"

Heero nodded. If it didn't go well, it would be his fault. He'd finally convinced David it was time to really put the past behind them and commence with their future. That meant no more hiding. The others needed to know he was alive and once again in Heero's life. "Love you." he said as his arm went around David's small waist and guided him into the room where the others were waiting.

***********

Wufei was entertaining his two friends with earthbound gossip about Zechs and Noin, rumors about Une, and the behind the scene antics of Relena, when Trowa pulled on Quatre's sleeve and nodded towards the entrance of the room.

"Oh my." Quatre said, his eyes widening. Wufei quickly closed the blonde's dropped lower jaw and turned to see what had brought such a reaction. He almost dropped his own jaw as he saw Heero, dressed handsomely in his black tux, enter the reception hall with his arm around the most attractive young man he'd seen in a long while, maybe ever.

"Definitely male." Trowa said admiring the slender figure.

"Damn, what a looker!" Quatre's voice reflected his surprise. "Where'd he find this guy?"

"Got a great sense of style , too." Wufei added, appreciating the black European cut suit not too unlike his dress whites.

"Alright guys." Trowa began, his voice admonishing. "Get a hold of yourselves. We need to meet this important person in Heero's life and not scare him off by drooling all over him."

Quatre looked up into Trowa's face looking a bit hurt. "I am not drooling." he insisted. "Besides," he looked deeply into the other's beautiful green eyes and smiled slightly, taking nothing out of the sincerity he felt. "You're the only one I ever want to drool over."

Trowa smiled as he lifted his hand to touch his lovers upturned face. Wufei rolled his eyes heavenward. "Save it for later fellas." All three turned to watch Heero guide his companion through the crowd, stopping to speak to several people and introducing his guest.

"Looks like you're in luck, Quatre." Wufei elbowed the blonde in the side. "I think this guy is shorter and smaller than you are."

The Arabian's eyes lit up with his own visual confirmation. "Hey, your right!" he beamed. "I like him already."

"Ready to go?" Trowa asked the other two.

"Yes." Quatre answered excitedly. "Just remember to be on your best behavior, for Heero." he reminded them. Taking the lead, the smallest of the three led them through the crowd and approached their target.

Involuntarily, Quatre's hand went to his chest. A familiar but out-of-place memory-sensation ran through him as he approached the two. He could sense the nervous apprehension rolling off both of them. Heero looked up to see them coming and turned to whisper in his companions ear. Then, with a protective arm coming around his shoulders, turned the dark blonde man to face them.

**********

"They're here." Heero whispered into his ear, and David felt the reassuring arm over his shoulder as he was turned to face his past.

His first view of them was Quatre's beaming smile as he lead the other two towards them through the clusters of people. Though shorter than the two behind him, he was still taller than himself. David noted the changes in his former friends. The blonde's face had elongated a bit and had lost some of the boyishness that had endeared him to the group during the war. He was still strikingly handsome, as were they all. Trowa's height surprised him and his hair was cut much shorter to reveal both of his beautiful green eyes and fine, almost delicate bone structure. The former Heavyarm's pilot was as handsome as ever, just older looking with some fine lines by his eyes showing that happiness was a part of his life. Wufei had also grown to be as tall as Heero. There was a sense of calm and even humor that David didn't recognize. He hoped it was because Wufei had finally realized the inner peace he had lacked in his youth.

"Welcome, Heero." Quatre greeted them in his warm, friendly manner. "I was afraid you weren't going to make it in time." He quickly embraced the former Wing pilot in welcome and stepped back in anticipation of an introduction.

"Let me make you acquainted with my guest." Heero said formally. "Quatre Winner, meet David Miller, David, Quatre."

Quatre extended his hand and a warm smile, and almost hesitating, the other put his hand out and wrapped his slender fingers around Quatre's, returning the firm handshake.

"Nice to meet you Quatre." David said, smiling nervously.

Quatre blinked in stunned amazement. There was something so familiar about this guy. "Have we met before?" he asked looking puzzled.

"Quite possibly." the other answered, leaning into Heero's side.

"Hum....David Miller." Quatre murmured, his brows furrowed together in thought. Suddenly his eyes lit up. "David Miller of the Think Tank Five?" he asked, and was pleased to be rewarded with a nod of confirmation. But his eyes narrowed as he scrutinized the other's features. "Your photographs don't do you justice. You look different from the magazine pictures." Quatre observed.

"That's because he uses a double." Heero interjected with a sly grin. "David's a bit of a recluse, and to protect his privacy he uses a decoy to appear in public for him."

Quatre turned a stunned look at Trowa. "That's a great idea, Trowa. Why didn't you, as head of my security, think of that for me?"

The taller of the young men rolled his eyes and sighed. "Because you are too well known, Quatre. People would recognize a double at this point."

"Hum....I suppose you're right. But Heero" he turned back to his Japanese friend accusingly. "You failed to mention this in your surveillance report last year."

"I had my reasons, which I'm sure will come to light tonight." was his cryptic answer.

Quatre huffed, but then turned to pull his companion closer.

Heero continued with the introductions. "David, this is Trowa Barton, head of Winner Security and Quatre's partner."

Trowa stepped forward and extended his long, thin hand. "Welcome to L-4 David." He smiled pleasantly at the handsome young man being quite visibly sheltered by Heero's arm.

"Thank you, Trowa. It's nice to meet you."

Trowa then reached back and pulled Wufei forward.

Heero smiled. "Chang Wufei, David Morris."

"My pleasure." Wufei said quietly while studying the person before him. Something felt odd to him and he couldn't figure it out. Heero was pleasant, but noticeably nervous and so was his companion. There was something familiar about this guy. The voice, his build, his facial features, all called out a feeling of familiarity. He knew his instincts were good, honed during the war and with his work at the Preventers, and those instincts were telling him there was something about this person that set warning alarms off in his head, this person that Heero was obviously smitten with. He wished that he could see behind the tinted glasses to see the color and shape of his eyes. He just hoped he wouldn't recognize a criminal from the Most Wanted List posted at the Preventer's Office.

"Heero tells me you were recently married. Congratulations." David said in an attempt to keep the light conversation going, and hoping Wufei would stop staring at him like he was someone in a criminal line up. "Is your wife here?"

Wufei shook his head, still trying to fit the pieces together.

Quatre spoke up at his friend's hesitation to communicate. "No, she's pregnant and in the throws of morning sickness." he announced happily.

Heero beamed at the news. "Congratulations, Wufei. That's great!" Heero moved forward, releasing his hold on David to enthusiastically embrace the expectant father.

Wufei gladly accepted his friend's solicitations, but his smile faded as he looked over Heero's shoulder to see his companion's face lose it's color and a look of dismay crossed his features. A disquieting sense of de'javu hit Wufei unexpectedly. "David?" he asked concerned for the other. Heero immediately released him and whipped around and went to the smaller blonde's side.

"What's the matter?" He asked anxiously.

*************

Across the room Lady Une accepted a tasty treat from off of a silver tray a handsome young man in a waiter's uniform offered with a smile. She balanced it in one hand, the other held a champagne glass filled with the bubbly concoction for which the glass was named. She had observed, along with almost everyone else in the room, Heero's entrance with his overly handsome guest. Her keen eyes took in everything about the newcomer, his physical characteristics, Heero's possessiveness, and the other former pilots as they approached the two and then their interaction.

"What's so interesting?" Relena's voice cut into her observation.

A wry and knowing smile graced the taller woman's face. "I suspect this evening is going to be very entertaining." She turned to the small blonde woman who looked quite beautiful with her blonde hair brushed up into a french twist and her strapless deep blue gown, showing off to perfection the figure beneath it, and bringing out the brilliance of her blue eyes. Relena raised a curious, perfectly plucked eyebrow in question.

Lady Une nodded to her right. "Heero's brought an interesting date."

Relena casually turned her head and took in the scene as Trowa shook the hand of an extremely good looking dark blonde haired young man. Heero's arm was possessively holding onto the slender shoulders as he was obviously introducing him to his fellow former pilots.

"Boyfriend?" Relena asked.

"Looks like it." Une replied with a knowing smile.

They watched as Heero embraced Wufei and the reaction afterwards.

"Well I'll be, it is him." Une said in an amazed but slightly amused tone. "I wondered if he would ever resurface."

Relena turned to look up, puzzled at her friend. "Who and what are you talking about?" she asked.

Without her gaze moving from the scene unfolding before her, Lady Une answered. "The dead has risen from the grave and will soon knock the former pilots on their collective butts." She had a droll smile on her face.

"What?" Relena's face mirrored her bafflement, then looked at the group in question.

"Keep a secret?" Une smiled conspiratorially. "At least for the moment?"

"Of course. I've got a top security clearance."

Une smiled patronizingly, but drew the former Queen closer to whisper into her diamond studded ear. "Duo Maxwell had risen from the dead."

Relena gasped at the idea and looked shocked at what she had just heard. She turned her wide eyes and focused on Heero as he moved back to check on the now, obviously distressed young man behind him. With Une's information, she could now definitely see the blonde's resemblance to the boy she had remembered from their teens.

"But how? Why?" She asked shocked at the news, then re-evaluated the scene she saw before her. "They don't know, do they?" She asked almost breathless with the realization.

Une shrugged her shoulders. "I think Heero does, but as for the others, I don't think so. Just keep an eye on what's happening. It should prove to be quite entertaining."

**********

"David?" Heero questioned the distress look on his love's pale face. When no response came immediately, Heero reached up and pulled the tinted glasses down just enough to study the wide amethyst eyes. They looked up him with uncertainty.

"Heero?" David's voice answered, and then silently looked for reassurance. Seeing Heero embracing Wufei brought back memories he had conjured up in his mind over the years, and he found himself shaken by it.

Heero's hand soothingly stroked David's back as his cobalt blue eyes radiated his love and concern.

"I....I'm sorry." David managed to say, his voice coming out small and self conscious. "Flashback." he explained simply.

Heero drew him into his side, about as close as he could in public to reassure him. They turned back to the three behind them.

"Sorry." David apologized, and blushing from embarrassment. He pushed his glasses back to their proper position on his face.

"Ah......that's alright." Quatre said a bit nervously, trying to smooth out the awkward moment. "Happens to us all the time, actually." he added honestly.

Trowa smiled slightly and nodded.

It was then that their attention turned to Wufei, looking pale as the color had drained from his face and his facial expression was that of being shocked and deeply shaken.

"Wufei?" Heero asked concerned and gripped David tighter to his side.

"C..C.....Can't be." he stammered, his eyes wide and incredulous at Heero's companion.

"What is it Wufei?" Quatre moved to his friend's side and muttered a command under his breath. "Stop staring at him."

Wufei turned his disbelieving eyes to his long-time, blonde friend. "I...it....it's not possible, is it?" he whispered.

Quatre was now worried, he had never seen Wufei like this before, visibly shaken and unsure, and he turned to his lover for help. "Something's wrong, Trowa." The tall man moved closer to lend his support.

Heero also stepped closer, drawing David with him. "It's all right Wufei." he quietly and knowingly reassured the other, having been in his place a year ago. "I almost passed out when I found out."

Wufei's wide incredulous eyes turned to Heero and then to his companion. "I..I..t..s...It's true? I'm not going crazy?" He asked stunned.

"It's true." Heero confirmed solemnly.

Quatre and Trowa felt definitely out of the loop and watched in further amazement as Wufei fell to his knees in front of Heero's boyfriend and grabbed him around his waist and silently wept into his stomach.

Heero stepped a bit to the side to give them room. He, Quatre, Trowa, and many of those in the immediate vicinity watched as David looked down to study the head buried against his stomach. Slowly, his right hand came up and tenderly stroked the top of the black hair gently, then moved down to finger the single braid that trailed down his back to his waist.

"You let you hair grow Wufei. It looks nice." he said softly, his tone warm.

The Chinese man lifted his face up, his eyes spilling with tears. "I grew it in memory of you." he whispered.

Quatre gasped and clutched wildly at Trowa. Then with unsteady footsteps forward, he approached David. Reaching a trembling hand slowly upward, he cautiously removed the glasses.

"Duo?" Trowa, standing immediately behind his lover, whispered in stunned disbelief.

David nodded. He was immediately embraced by two more pairs of arms in a powerful, awkward embrace. With his glasses removed, his tear-filled eyes, now openly displayed, raised up to meet Heero's equally affected eyes, and gave a relieved smile.

The three hugging and touching him to assure themselves that he was real, murmured their apologies and happy disbelief that he was alive.

"But how? Why?" Quatre asked pulling back slightly and quickly wiping the moisture from off his face. His gaze rested on the amethyst eyes he had never see the equal of.

"I'll tell you anything and everything, but later, alright? Tonight, I just want to know if you can forgive me and accept me back into your lives, as a part of Heero's life."

Quatre reached down and pulled Wufei from the floor to his feet. He then turned back to Duo and putting his hand on his cheek, leaned forward and chastely kissed him on the lips. Pulling back, he gave a sincere smile, silently signaling his acceptance of him in his life. Quatre then turned to tearfully embrace Heero, feeling overjoyed at his friend's happiness and for the end of his years of self-imposed solitude.

Trowa took Quatre's place immediately moving forward to repeat his actions, accepting the smaller man back.

Duo turned to face Wufei who still looked visibly shaken. "Wufei?" he said softly. "Can you forgive me and accept me back?" he asked quietly.

The Chinese man's face was full of emotion. "Only if you first forgive me for my past actions. My dishonor has haunted me all these years."

"Oh, Wufei," David replied with a soft, sad voice as he stretched his hand out to touch the wet cheek. "I forgave you years ago. When I was able to step away from my own anger and pain, I saw the whole situation much more clearly. Heero also told me that your physical relationship with him ended the moment my pain began. He explained a lot of things to me over the last year." Wiping the tears off the other's cheeks, David continued. "I'm glad you found happiness Wufei, truly I am." He then opened his arms and embraced his friend from the past.

The room around them seemed strangely quiet and an old gentleman close by cleared his throat loudly and his aged voice vocalized his thoughts. "They seem to really like young Yuy's friend." A few snickers could be heard immediately following the verbal observation. Then, slowly, the sound of laughter began and erupted around them. The five joined in even as they all wiped at the moisture from their eyes and faces.

They moved to the corner of the room for a little more privacy and caught up on their present lives. Each of their friends saw the happiness that radiated in the eyes of Heero and Duo who had asked them to call him David. Duo, he explained, had died in the war, taking most of the pain and sorrow with him to the grave.

Before they knew it, the room was emptying into the ballroom where the music had just begun to play.

"Well," Trowa began as he saw people filing out. "Do we join your guests, Quatre, or high-tail it out of here?"

"What do you want to do?" Quatre turned to Heero and David.

"I haven't been out dancing since David came to be." the dark blonde said, giving Heero a hopeful look. "We don't have to stay all night." he added as a slight incentive.

Heero smiled. "Then let's go have some fun."

The five followed the mass leaving the reception room, and as a group moved towards the ballroom.

"So, how long have you known?" Trowa asked Heero as they watched the two smaller men several feet in front of them. Quatre had latched onto David's arm and was busy catching him up on things and was probably talking a little business. He had been trying to meet with David Miller of the TTF for the last year. Now they all understood why the other was always reluctant to get together with him.

"About a year now." Heero replied. "I'll always be grateful to Quatre for sending me out to investigate the TTF."

"Did you realize it was him right away? I sure didn't." Trowa looked ahead to the person in question. "There's so much that's similar, but he's disguised himself well."

"I was rather like Wufei," Heero explained. "where I saw pieces that were somehow familiar, and then I over heard him say something alluding to his past, our past. That put it all together. It's taken the whole year for me to earn his trust."

Wufei, flanking Heero's other side looked curiously at his friend. "A year, why didn't you tell us then?"

"David asked me not to. He never expected any of us to ever find him, and when I did, we were both taken aback. I believe he needed to see if we could be friends before he could meet the rest of you again. I think it was also a way for him to test me, to see if I was trustworthy."

Both of his present companions nodded their heads thoughtfully at what he'd said.

"Quatre said you've been "courting" him. What exactly does that mean?" Trowa asked with a sly smile on his face.

Heero returned it, knowing what Trowa was after. "It means I've tried to convince him that I'm worth keeping around in any way I could, other than in physical intimacy."

"So you haven't.......yet?" Wufei's eyes opened wide at the thought of Heero's unusual wait.

Heero shook his head. "I think his meeting you again and your acceptance of him was the last obstacle." he replied and inwardly hoped it was true.

"You must want this badly to have been so patient." Trowa said admiring his friend for his tenacity.

"I want this more than anything I've ever wanted for myself." Heero's voice was a bit wistful as his gaze settled on the object of his desire in front of him.

As if sensing the blue eyes resting on him, David turned his head and flashed his brilliant smile, his eyes sparkling with excitement and happiness.

Quatre turned to look back also, the blue/violet glasses perched on his pert nose. "These are the coolest glasses!" he exclaimed, his astonishment audible and visible. "They're David's invention. The color is on the outside lens, but from the inside, it's not dark, only the bright lights are toned down. Here, try them." he took them off and handed them back. Trowa and Wufei both remarked on the ingenuity as they each peered through the new-patented lenses.

"They'll be on the market in three months." David said in passing. "I'd be happy to send each of you a couple of pairs, that is, if you like them."

They all enthusiastically agreed. Quatre then turned to Duo, his face sobering. "You've done very well for yourself, haven't you David?"

The dark blonde shrugged. "I guess in monetary means, most people would think so. But that wasn't really my goal." He looked up at the four as they had stopped just outside the ballroom door, the music beginning in the background. "My first goal was to become a new person. But I had become so use to being with four others, that I felt uncomfortable being alone for too long. I decided to cultivate a working friendship with boys so different from what we were. At first, our only priorities were getting a good education and to be friends. It helped fill the hole in my life that I created when I was hurt and estranged myself from you. I did make friends, and their families made me a part of them. I think having been a gundam pilot, and working towards completing missions, prepared me for organizing the others and steering them in the direction I wanted them to go. I was lucky it worked and I successfully moved on, but I never really forgot, I just let go. The things we have created is the real reward, the money isn't really that important." He then gave them a cunning smile. "But it sure is nice." They all agreed with good humor.

They talked for a few more moments before they turned to enter the ballroom. Almost immediately, Lady Une approached them. "Sorry to interrupt Quatre, but Relena is waiting for you to the right of the stage to officially welcome everyone." she informed him.

The Winner heir turned back to his friends. "I'll find you after the business is done." he assured them, and then he disappeared into the crowd.

The tall, perfect postured woman turned to the remaining four. "Well, looks like a reunion to me?" she said with a crooked, knowing smile. Since none of the four were inclined to say anything, she extended her hand to the new comer. "Nice to see you, 02, when did you pop out of the grave?"

Four jaws dropped.

"How did you know?" David asked, obviously startled.

"We found the buried corpse near the site where your gundam was detonated and did a DNA test. It proved that it wasn't you, but a soldier from the base you had attacked the day before the destruction of your gundam."

Wufei looked like he was about to explode. "And you never thought to mention this to me?" he asked incredulous, disbelieving his boss at the Preventers would have withheld such important information from him.

"Relena told me Heero's version of what happened, and I assumed if 02 wanted to surface, he would. I've learned over the years that it's best to let dead dogs lie. However, " she continued intensely studying the small blonde man before her. "I would like to hear how this reunion came about, who you are now, and about that dead soldier we found."

"He was a casualty of war, a corpse that Duo used to convince us of his death." Heero interjected in defense of his love. He pulled the other's slender body to fit closely into his side in a protective manner. No one would ever separate them again. "Besides, we were all given immunity after the war, and Duo was given one posthumously."

Lady Une studied them for a moment longer, her eyes taking in every nuance. "Alright, I'll accept that for now." She was about to say more when Quatre's voice spoke through the sound system, welcoming everyone. His welcome was short, polite, and to the point. He then turned it over to Relena who followed his example and wished everyone to have an enjoyable time. Quatre then escorted her from off the stage just as the music began to fill the room. It was dancing music, definitely geared for the younger set.

David's face lit up. "Come on Heero." He pulled the Japanese young man onto the rapidly filling dance floor.

"Feel like dancing?" Wufei asked his boss. The two quickly joined the others. Quatre returned alone and he and Trowa followed. They had all forgotten what a good dancer Duo had been, and they watched in appreciation as he danced for Heero alone as he mouthed the words to the sappy love song that was being sung. It seemed wholly appropriate.

"The daylight fades and slowly, the time with you is standing still.

I'm waiting for you only, the slightest touch and I feel weak.

I cannot lie, from you I cannot hide. I've lost the will to try. Can't hide it. Can't fight it.

So go on, go on, come on leave me breathless.

Tempt me, tease me, till I can't deny this

loving feeling, let me drown in your kiss

Go on, go on, yeah, yeah. Come on."

David unbuttoned his long jacket and peeled it off, revealing a form fitting, though not quite skin tight, amethyst color shirt with long sleeves and a crew neck. The shirt fit neatly into his low on the hip dress pants. The outfit showing off his excellent physical condition.

"Damn!" Quatre muttered to his mate. "I think I'm gonna have to start working out." he declared as David's slender hips moved to the music in an enticing manner. All of the former pilots danced well, but Quatre and Duo had, in the past, been the more showier, sensual dancers. Some things, it seemed, hadn't changed much over the years.

The evening progressed enjoyably. Even Wufei, who hated such affairs, smiled throughout, murmuring occasionally how he wished Sally was present.

Near midnight, Heero began to make their excuses. Quatre asked them to wait a moment and returned with Relena who already knew who David was and welcomed him graciously. She accepted a dance with first he, and then Heero.

In the mean time, Quatre, Wufei and Trowa were taking bets as to whether the two would share a room that night, or if they would even make it that far. None of them had failed to notice Heero's hands were constantly in contact with David's body.

At last they bid goodnight to the two who seemed anxious to retire. Quatre made them promise to meet in his suite for breakfast at 10:00 a.m. David had assured them he would answer any further questions they had at that time.

The Winner suites were on the thirtieth floor of the posh hotel. The elevator that started out rather full, dwindled slowly in the long, constantly interrupted assent. Heero and David were pressed to the back of the elevator, against the wall and Heero's hand gripped David's behind his back. The door finally opened to their floor and Heero led his love out. They walked silently until they stood facing David's door.

Pulling him into his arms, Heero moved slowly forward and kissed him as he had wanted to do all evening. Burying his hand into the thick blonde hair behind his neck, his kissed deepened along with his desire. "I want you David." he said, his voice low and sensual against the other's mouth.

"I want you too, Heero." David replied breathlessly.

Heero drew back to study the beautiful eyes he saw even in his sleep. "I want tonight to begin the rest of our lives together." Heero said with intensity.

David nodded.

Reaching into his pocket, Heero drew out a small case and opened it. A black band embedded with amethyst jewels was displayed. Heero took it out and looked up into David's face. "I'd like you to wear this as a symbol of my love and fidelity. There will be no other for me, David. You have my heart in your hands."

"And mine in yours, I....I love you." David whispered, his eyes wide in awe, and bright with happy tears.

Heero put the ring on his left ring finger. They both jumped fractionally at a slight sound down the hotel hallway. Heero smiled knowingly. "They're watching us." he whispered to David. "Shall we give them something worth remembering?"

Very reminiscent of the boy he had once been, a slightly wicked smile lit on the blonde's face a fraction of a moment before he launched himself onto Heero. Jumping up, his arms circled around the Japanese man's neck and this legs wrapped around Heero's slender hips. They then proceeded to kiss each other for all they were worth, and moved to lean against the door.

Distracted as he was, Heero still managed to fish into David's pocket for the insert key to his room with one hand, while his other rested on David's slender hip. Locating the piece of plastic, he fumbled for a moment to find the slot while being thoroughly engaged in a delicious lip lock. A moment later, the door flew open and they both fell into the room with a dull thud. The door slammed resolutely behind them.

Down the hall, the three former pilots held at an angle the compact cases of pressed powder that Quatre had hastily borrowed from his sisters. The mirrors they provided had allowed them to view the happiest moment in their friends' lives. All three compacts snapped closed with a decided click.

"You can get off the floor now, Quatre." Trowa said with droll amusement, even as he offered him a hand up. With three of them peeking around the corner, there wasn't enough room for them to stand together, so they had to tier their spying. Quatre, being the smallest, had been elected to get the lowest point, being the floor.

He now stood, automatically straightening his jacket, and with a warm dreamy smile on his face he sighed. "I love a happy ending."

"You're so soft, Winner." Wufei snorted, even as he wiped the suspicious moisture from the corner of his eye.



The End