Eventually, to Quatre's delight, Trowa took the initiative and removed them from the party in favor of other celebratory activities.
Once alone, Trowa gently undressed his giggling lover who had enjoyed far too much champagne. He laid him down on the large bed
they shared only infrequently lately as the pain was causing Quatre to have severe difficulty sleeping if Trowa slept beside him. Now,
however, the champagne had successfully eliminated Quatre's realization of pain and left him more like his happy sexually-driven self.
Neither young man wanted to miss an opportunity as rare as this.
Relaxing in the comfort of his bed, Quatre watched his fiancé slowly undress in an excruciating, yet unintentional, strip-tease.
Trowa had worn a full formal suit for the hearing and was not accustomed to getting past all of the extra buttons and fastenings.
Undressing Quatre had been easier since his wardrobe had been carefully modified to deal with his frequent moments of need in
assistance for getting out of his clothing when the pain struck at its worst. Truthfully, the delight on Quatre's face baffled Trowa, but if it
made the blond happy it suited him as well. He continued to struggle with one problem in particular until Quatre, laughing, reached up to
help him, finally leaving him as gloriously naked as his partner. Eventually, the two of them snuggled together and turned off the lights.
In the darkness, gentle lips found each other and bodies were pressed tightly together in the intimate play of lovers who best knew each
other's greatest pleasures and innermost needs. After spending a wonderful amount of time enjoying this, Trowa, realized Quatre was
getting sleepy and finally took steps to gently end their love-play and move onto more direct action before his lover fell asleep. Kissing
Quatre deeply, he silently asked his beloved for what he wanted most, to feel the warmth of being within him.
Tears of joy gathered at the corners of Quatre's eyes as he nodded and moved to make room for Trowa to fulfill both of their desires;
usually Quatre preferred another arrangement, but tonight this seemed spectacularly appealing. Slipping a hand gently down one ivory
thigh, Trowa began to seek his already aroused lover's entrance. Gently and with the greatest care, he began preparing his love to be
taken. Sweetly scented crème applied generously to his fingertips, Trowa bent his mouth to Quatre's once more as the first finger
penetrated the youth's body bringing forth a moan of pleasure which excited both of them. Slowly, gently, lovingly, another finger
entered that welcoming heat and the two fingers began to stretch him yielding even deeper moans and quicker breathing from both.
Quatre, in turn, massaged the crème onto Trowa's straining manhood eliciting another low moan of pleasure. Unwilling to wait any
longer, the blond reached for his emerald-eyed love and pulled him on top of himself, sighing in pleasure as their bodies melded together.
Insistent, the young businessman urged for a total merger more quickly and Trowa lovingly admonished "no business in bed" and pointed
out this was *not* a hostile takeover. Quatre couldn't help but chuckle as his fiancé happily complied, easing himself deep into the body
of the one he loved more than life itself. Feeling himself fully filling his lover, he waited for the other to relax and adjust to him, but
Quatre, impatient, would not tolerate the wait.
In a slight reversal of roles, hands from below took firm hold of hips above and began generating a rhythm of emptying and filling
sensations which brought them both quickly to a feeling near nirvana. Speeding up, the thrusts went deeper more directly contacting the
one point within Quatre which brought forth mews of pleasure. With the softest of touches, Trowa massaged his love's erection, trapped
between their bodies. With this extra sensation, Quatre gasped as he felt a wave of sheer bliss run through his body and he released his
creamy seed, joyfully bringing sudden constrictions around Trowa's own arousal buried within him and he, too, joined in the pleasures of
their shared climax.
After a few moments to catch their breaths, the two lay together with Trowa's long arms cradling his now yawning lover. "Sleep well
now, my love," he whispered into the delicate ear near his lips.
Smiling, Quatre turned his head with only a tiny wince as the pain returned and kissed him. "Thank you, koibito, that was the most
wonderful way to celebrate a wonderful event." He yawned twice, then blinking adorably, he rubbed his head against Trowa's face
before kissing him one last time then falling asleep.
Thoughtfully, Trowa stared into the darkness. Heero was now free. Duo seemed to be improving. Wufei had returned safely. All that
remained was to heal whatever problem had driven away Laurel and they could settle down to a happy family life within a year or so. It
seemed paradise was indeed finally within their grasp.
Yet like the biblical Eden, there was a serpent hiding in their utopia destroying it from within. A serpent named Smith.
At Quatre's constant urging and near nagging, Heero and Duo spent hours together alone talking about the pain they shared, the crises
they had faced, and how best to get on with their life together.
In all honesty, Quatre had feared the worst for his dear friends when Duo had come to him requesting they have separate sleeping
quarters they very next day after Heero's return. The pair had always shared a room even before admitting to the feelings each had for
the other. At first it was perhaps only the lustful curiosity of all teenagers, but it had grown much stronger very quickly. Quatre had often
wondered who had fallen in love first, himself and Trowa or Heero and Duo. Now, it didn't matter, he felt it was critical to get them
back together as quickly as possible.
The two young men who had gotten engaged in an emergency room of all places, often disagreed now, but at least they seemed civil
about it. Both had changed because of their experiences and while neither wanted to be the first to admit that the relationship was
doomed, they could both sense disharmony that had not previously been present. If Duo had been more truthful, however, Heero might
have realized that the distance between them was wider than he knew. It seemed odd that a person who had prided himself on never
lying, was now so convincing at telling mistruths and half-truths, that even he himself sometimes lost the edges of reality between what he
said and what he felt.
One thing they argued about repeatedly was Dr. Zachariah Smith. Heero had grown to despise the self-serving, sniveling psychiatrist yet
Duo defended the man as if he was perfect and flawless in all regards. This infuriated Heero further and he continued to press the issue
thereby only widening the gap between them.
Quatre, still haunted by the severe headaches and other pains suffered in silence as much as possible, not wishing to do anything to
impede the redevelopment of his friends' relationship. Knowing this, as well as knowing how much his fiancé missed a certain little
blue-eyed girl, Trowa was worried deeply. Things had improved so much, yet why did Quatre remain in pain?
One time, during this seemingly peaceful lull, Trowa had asked Quatre how things were going with Laurel's adoption. To his shock and
dismay, Quatre pronounced the plans on permanent "hold" since he would not force the child to return to them against her will. Trowa,
however, could hear the longing and wistfullness in his fiancé's voice whenever he was asked about the bright crayon drawing by his
office desk. The youthful tycoon always stopped to take the time to tell the story of how one little girl had changed so many lives.
Tragically, whenever the inevitable question of what the three figures in the drawing were doing or where they were, the voice would go
cold and Quatre would "conveniently" remember something urgent that needed his attention.
It was this dichotomy of emotions on the part of his beloved that was tearing Trowa himself in half.
Wufei, back on duty at Preventer headquarters, was extremely worried. The woman he loved had been sent with a disaster relief team
to a resource satellite which had experienced a major power disaster resulting in wide-spread damage and numerous casualties.
Shortly thereafter, truly terrifying news had arrived. Sally Po and her team had been reported missing. The region they had been working
in had experienced a bounce-back power grid reaction and the entire area had been effected by an electromagnetic pulse. This in turn
rendered conventional communication impossible and caused the entire colony's power system to shut down, thereby initiating a
countdown until it was no longer capable of supporting life. A colony-wide evacuation was begun but it was doubtful everyone could be
saved in the limited amount of time available.
Wufei and a rescue team had been dispatched immediately, but now they were missing as well. All offers of assistance from the former
Gundam pilots had been turned down and they felt helpless to aid the man who had single-handedly achieved Heero's freedom.
Financial assistance for the colony was gratefully accepted from the Winner Corporation, of course, but it did not meet their objective of
retrieving Wufei and Sally quickly.
Without it ever being spoken, a decision was arrived at amongst this unique family of friends that these missing members would either be
located within a few days or someone from there was going after them and no one cared what Preventers HQ thought about it.
Heero Yuy, once the Perfect Soldier, emotionless in battle, the cold warrior who could handle the almost certain death of saving the
world was a changed man in many ways. The most pronounced change, however, was how much more in touch he was with his own
emotions and his new willingness to follow them. Loneliness was eating at him, all attempts at further intimacy with Duo had been either
ignored or gently but firmly refused and that loss hurt a great deal. He was no longer willing to wait for clarity, though, he needed help
and he needed it fast. Moreover, how was he going to address the fact that his fiancé had become a totally different person?
Heero thought about this a great deal and came to several possible answers.
First, the most obvious option, was that Duo truly was now who he was meant to be all along and his personality throughout the war had
been a façade brought about by the many tragedies of his past. This, however, did not seem right to Heero. Not just because he didn't
*want* this to be right, but also because it was too great a change to explain away so simplistically. Further, he didn't trust Smith any
more than Trowa or Quatre did, yet Duo's faith in the bitter psychiatrist was unwavering. Granted, no one knew Smith himself had
utilized hypnosis to "instruct" his patient to feel that way, but Heero knew when to trust his instincts.
Second, and more plausible in Heero's mind, was that the extreme duress Duo had been under since the fateful day he had proposed
marriage had effected him and it would just take time for his former, happier, more rambunctious personality to revive. Unfortunately,
that could take years and after all the hardships both had faced, Heero was not willing to let the time pass necessary for this option.
Last, most feared and highly likely, the drugs Smith had dosed Duo with so heavily for so long now had somehow corrupted the basic
identity of the man he loved. Why would Heero Yuy fear something as obvious as this? Because he didn't know how to fight back
against it, that's why. He may no longer be a battlefield operative, but he was clearly still a "fighter" at heart. If this wasn't such a key part
of his own true self, how would he ever have survived the prison rape? Granted, he almost didn't survive emotionally, and if it weren't for
the strange dream with the girl in it, he might not have, but he still had to *choose* to fight his way back. And fight he had---*hard*!
Now, of all times, he was not about to forego a battle if it meant saving the one person that meant more to him than the world, Duo
Having decided that the last option was the only one he had a chance to win by approaching head-on, Heero sought assistance from the
only doctor he personally felt comfortable with having beside him for this battle, Gene Starwind.
Yes, even if the incident with the Pseudodreine had turned out badly at the end, it had indeed kept him awake long enough to complete
the mission of delivering the heart to Duo which was all that mattered at the time. And during that long and difficult journey, he and Gene
had become close allies. While he had been in the hospital in a coma, Gene had spent time getting to know Duo and the combination of
knowing both of them from a unique perspective seemed to place the young red-haired maverick doctor in the perfect position to help
Heero found Gene's phone number buried in his stack of things that needed to be entered into his trusty laptop.
He laughed at himself a little at the nick-name. Duo had given it several far less flattering names whenever a mission announcement
would arrive ending an intimate session of love making that hadn't been completed. Repeatedly, the braided pilot had even hidden the
thing trying to break it's seemingly irresistible hold over Heero, but it never worked and usually ended up in the pair arguing over the
Duo did, however, have a good point that any message that could have waited long enough to arrive when the recipient might be out
repairing his Gundam or doing something else to maintain his cover when they were between missions could wait until they were finished
together. But Heero was a different man back then, and since the end of the war the laptop *never* was allowed to come between
them should an opportunity arise.
Sadly for both, there had been no such opportunities other than the one episode and it was killing Heero to know his lover no longer
desired him, yet could not explain why.
If Duo had fallen in love with someone else or changed his mind about Heero entirely, perhaps he would have simply accepted the lack
of intimacy. However, he himself still loved the braided baka, a nick-name which had also resurfaced lately as their minor disagreements
became more frequent and more intense, and he would do whatever it took to get him back. Or, he had promised himself, if it turned
out that Duo was truly better off as he was now, he would force himself to quietly exit the life of the only person he suspected he would
ever love; his devotion was indeed strong enough to make that sacrifice. But *only* after he was sure it was necessary!
Without a moment's hesitation, Heero called Gene and asked him if he could possibly help him with the problem. Gene, always ready to
go where help was needed, immediately agreed and was soon headed towards the Winner estate without a second thought to his own