Darkness had fallen by the time the five boys had finished enjoying cake and talking, so they
moved outside to relax in the soft glow of the moon over the ocean.
Laying on the deck and staring up at the stars, Quatre felt unusually at peace knowing that
his friends were all nearby and in the best spirits he'd seen in what felt like a much longer
period of time than it truly was. "I have a question," he finally remarked to no one in particular.
"What is it, Quatre?" Wufei asked from his warm spot nestled on Trowa's lap in the same
over-sized deck chair the pair had sat in their first evening at the coastal home.
"Why is the new base called 'Xanadu'?" Silken blond locks shifted in the darkness as Quatre
shook his head, annoyed with himself. "I just know that my tutors would kill me for asking since
it sounds so damned familiar and all, but for the life of me I can't remember where I've heard
the name before and it's driving me nuts!"
Duo looked over from the blanket he was reclining on next to Heero and snickered softly before
he remarked, "Ya know, Q-Ball, right about now, some people might expect me to make some
smart-ass comment about an egregious old movie by that name. You know, the one with Olivia
Newton-John and Gene Kelly in it with a bunch of roller skating and bad 1980's music? But I
won't burden you with that since it ain't even relevant! Instead, see if this sounds familiar,
The self-proclaimed "street rat from L-2" stopped for effect and then recited dramatically, "'In
Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree. Where Alph, the sacred river ran,
through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile
ground with walls and towers were girdled round.' 'Kubla Khan' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, late
18th century." Without even standing up, he somehow added a bow and a flourish of an
invisible hat with a cocky grin.
"Very nice, Duo," Wufei smiled happily. "I had no idea that you knew the classics."
"Doesn't everyone?" Duo shrugged nonchalantly before getting poked in the ribs by his lover.
Annoyed, he complained, "Geez, Heero, couldn't ya let me at least give them the illusion that I
knew the whole opening stanza?"
Heero snorted softly, then said, "They would've been as impressed as I was that you knew the
opening two lines, baka, you didn't need to go past that."
"Well, I'm suitably impressed, Duo," Quatre remarked easily. "But I still don't see what this has
to do with a home for Gundams and their pilots wandering around in outer space. Wasn't it
supposed to be a paradise of some sort?"
"Yes," Trowa quietly added to the conversation, "It was a floating city or a castle in the air,
according to some interpretations. I think that is a perfect description of what Howard has
designed for us."
Long arms tightened ever so gently around the petite Chinese boy who was now regarding
Trowa with a look of adoration and he added, "Anywhere that I get to live with Fei and the
rest of you sounds like Shangri-La to me. As for it being in space as opposed to it being in the
sky, what difference does that make? It sounds great and I'll be relieved when we get
clearance to transport our suits in."
Quatre tried to pout and failed, "Everyone seems to remember their classical literature better
than me tonight. My family would be so disappointed in me for forgetting all that stuff."
Trowa laughed quietly, "I didn't remember it that way, Quatre. One of my first infiltration
assignments during the war put me in an Alliance facility in Washington, DC, and they had a
painting based on the poem. It was on display outside the offices I was assigned to work in as
a secretary and it caught my eye." The soft chuckle was repeated as he admitted, "But if it'll
make you feel any better, I have absolutely no clue who the artist was, I just remember how
stunning the imagery in it was."
"I had no idea that you liked art, Tro," Wufei remarked quietly, "I do, too. Another thing to
explore together someday, ne?"
"That would be nice, koi. I hope we get a chance to do that someday," the emerald-eyed boy
smiled at him, pleased to hear his beloved speaking of the future so hopefully.
Heero then spoke up, offering, "There's even more to Xanadu's name than that, but frankly, I'd
rather let Howard brag all about it some other time. For now, though, don't let it distract you
too much. Until we all get the green light to relocate there permanently, we're stuck with our
"And what's wrong with that, Heero?" Duo teased, sliding across the blanket and curling close,
"At least our 'lifestyle' right now is a truly deluxe beach house, good company, and another
four days or so with no battles to fight."
Frowning, Heero bit back an acid remark about how terribly difficult the previous three days
there had been and how was Duo so sure that things would be easier now, but he knew that
wasn't what his lover was trying to get at.
With a sigh, the Wing pilot agreed then changed the subject, "Yeah, I see your point, Duo, but
I think I'll change one tiny aspect of that lifestyle you're talking about and suggest that we
head inside." Smirking slightly, he glanced at the violet-eyed boy and said, "I plan to get up
early for the fishing tournament you challenged me to. We might need to, um, 'discuss' the
rules for that a bit before sleeping, don't you think?"
Duo laughed at this and scrambled to his feet, yanking Heero up and almost pushing him to go
back inside the house, all to the amusement of their friends, "'Rules for fishing', my butt, Yuy! I
catch the biggest one, I win. End of rules!"
"Hn," Heero snorted comically, "That's what you think, baka! What about the prize? What's at
stake here, anyway?"
Winking at the other three as he shoved the door open and pushed Heero through, Duo
commented, "The prize is just being able to say I beat you at it fair and square, that's all,
Heero." Once the door was closed, though, Duo's cheerful fašade dropped away and he added,
"But if it distracts us all from some of the hell we've been through lately, I'd consider *that* a
prize worth having, too."
The Japanese teen nodded then reached for his lover's hand and drew Duo close, kissing him
gently before turning to lead him up the stairs.
As they walked down the hallway towards their room, Heero finally commented, "I'd tend to
think that something as silly and unexpected as a fishing contest between the two of us will
do that, but it won't help in the long run. There's too much that needs settling before any of
us can really get back to normal."
"I know," the braided boy nodded as he stepped through the bedroom door. "Granted, things
seemed to be going fairly well tonight, and maybe once we get to Xanadu tracking down
Khushrenada wont be as impossible to accomplish?"
"I damned well hope not," The Wing pilot nearly growled as he stripped off his tank top and
tossed it aside before laying on the bed, arms tucked under his shoulders as he regarded the
Shaking his head with annoyance at himself for bringing up a sore subject, Duo pulled off his
own shirt and lay down beside his lover, draping one arm over Heero's chest and offering, "I'm
sorry I mentioned that, koi. I doubt that Wu's really as strong as he appeared tonight and we
can't go off and track that bastard down just yet, but the whole thing is kinda eating at me."
The American youth sighed deeply in frustration before Heero gathered him into his arms,
warmly embracing the worried boy and reassuring him, "It's okay, Duo, I feel the same way.
These have been the longest three days of my life and I'm as eager to try to set things
straight for our friends as you are, but we've got to be patient, all right?"
"Sure thing," Duo nodded and nuzzled his cheek against Heero's skin, silently apologizing again
for ruining the faint glimmers of good mood they'd been sharing.
Understanding his lover's silent request, Heero smiled and kissed the top of Duo's head while
reaching for the end of the braid and beginning to unravel it. "I think that maybe we need to
stop worrying about the things we're going to need to do in the future and maybe just pay
attention to what we might enjoy in the present." With a very soft growl of desire, he added,
"I've missed having you all to myself, koi."
"Yeah? I've missed you, too," Duo sighed contentedly, drawing little circles on Heero's chest as
he felt the luxurious hair being draped across their bodies. "We can worry about avenging Wu,
helping Tro, and the deal with Xanadu some other time. Right now, I just want to make love
with you and forget about the world, okay?"
A rumbling purr from the boy beneath him answered and Duo lifted his head, violet-indigo eyes
captured in cobalt depths almost immediately.
Gazing deeply into each other's eyes, time seemed to stand still and then ever so slowly their
mouths came together. The kiss began amazingly gently, a mere brush of lips followed by an
almost tentative tracing of a tongue asking for entry answered by a welcoming parting of lips
and a soft warm exhalation of breath. A tender duel began within the moist confines of the
boys' mouths as each sought to taste and discover the other, relearning all that their many
hours spent this way had taught them.
Yet as sweetly as their joining had begun, it quickly changed into one of need and passion. In
a move that surprised the Japanese teen, Duo suddenly pulled away and without warning
flipped both of them over so that he lay on his back looking up at his startled lover.
"Are you going to make me beg for you to do more than kiss me, Heero?" Duo asked in a sultry
voice that left no room for misunderstanding.
"I wasn't planning on it," Heero answered, moving quickly to remove the shorts that both of
them were wearing and then pressing back, full-length on the beautiful boy beneath him. Both
sighed in pleasure as their bodies came together, promising without words that this night at
least they would be joined once more.
Writhing slowly in search of more of the delicious contact, Duo realized that his partner wasn't
reacting the way he might have ordinarily and asked, "Heero? Is something wrong?"
"No, nothing's wrong, Duo. I feel like going slowly tonight, that's all," Heero remarked, an odd
half-smile on his face as he reached out to slide his hands through the loose mass of chestnut
waves that surrounded them on the bed. Lifting a heavy handful of hair to his nose, the
oriental teen inhaled deeply, smiling at the fragrance before caressing the softness against his
cheek, rewarded by a contented sigh from his beloved. "Let me just enjoy you, koi, please? Let
me take my time and show you that I love you?"
Duo nodded indulgently, "If you want to, love, then go ahead. I had no idea you were in such
a romantic mood all of a sudden."
"Arigatou," Heero murmured, then looked deeply into passion-darkened violet eyes and said
quietly, "After what we've learned about our friend's difficult past, I realized that it had been a
long time since you and I took the time to remember how lucky we really are. I want to cherish
you. Show you that I appreciate you. Try to fill your soul as well as your body with love."
"Oh, Heero," the American teen sighed wistfully, an adoring smile on his elfin face, "I know that
you love me, I see it in every little thing that you do. I feel it in every touch. But you're right,
we've been blessed to have each other and to be able to spend our lives together this way."
Moving slightly, he reached up and took his lover's face in both hands and drew him down for
another tender kiss that conveyed all the love that they shared.
Time slipped away from the young men and well into the night, their bodies spoke to one
another on the most intimate levels of trust, respect, unity, and devotion. Challenges awaited
them, yet knowing that they would always have each other, Heero and Duo would find the
strength to face them boldly and without fear.
Unconditional love was something more than one pair of Gundam pilots shared even if this
couple never spoke those exact words to one another, and it would help to strengthen them
during the challenging days ahead.
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.