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fic - kd: the movie 21 - the turnip patch
version 2.0
turnippatch
turnippatch
fic - kd: the movie 21
Series:  Kyuuketsuki Duo
Arc:  The Movie
Title:  Sanguis Draconis
Part:  21



Kyuuketsuki Duo
Sanguis Draconis - Part XXI


She knocked on the wood on the outside of his door frame, waiting for an answer.  There was no audible acknowledgment of her request, but there was nothing unwelcoming coming at her through the door, so she announced her intentions and slid the door open.  The scarce light coming from two lone candles gave her pause, but it passed quickly and she slipped into the room, shutting the door quietly behind her.  "Wufei?"

The figure sitting against the wall in the middle of the bed opened his eyes, and that was all the response she got.

It was enough.  "Wufei, I just... Well, I thought... Do you..."

An eyebrow rose.

She sighed silently to herself, all the rest of her words drying up before they ever made it out.  She didn't know why she had come, only that something big was going to happen tomorrow, and it just seemed wrong to act as if it were nothing special.  But she hadn't come here to say goodbye, or give words of encouragement and support, or go over the plan nervously one more time, or declare her devotion, or anything of the sort.  Wufei would reject all of those things.  She would, too, in his place.  They were all unnecessary.  So what was left to her to say?  "...Do you mind if I just stay here for a little while?"

The other eyebrow rose, and a few anxious seconds later, the man nodded.

Great.  Now where was she going to sit?  The chairs at the table in the center of the room were old and wooden.  They were uncomfortable for any length of time, and had the tendency to creak every time a person moved, so they were out of the question.  She may have requested only a little while, but realistically, she knew that, given a choice, she would stay here till the sun rose and they were ready to depart.  So, the floor, perhaps?  No, it was not her place to be seated by her master's knee like a faithful dog, although really, all she wanted was to be near him, but to sit beside him was a lot to ask.

A few more seconds passed in her hesitance by the door, until finally Wufei moved over a foot in silent invitation.  She blinked, the offer being quite unexpected, and then slowly and just as silently climbed into the vacancy left open to her on the bed by his side, trying to make herself comfortable with as little jostling as possible.

Wufei just closed his eyes again as she settled herself, but she was content.



He knocked on the wood outside of their door frame and stood back to wait for an answer.  Nothing came, but he knew they were in there, so he knocked again.  "Duo?  Can I come in?"

Still no response.  He opened his senses a bit and could taste the edges of Hilde's bright aura, glowing and content, but not so cheerfully satiated that Duo and Heero would have been doing anything that shouldn't have been interrupted.  Besides, she was in the room.  As willing as they might have been to let her lap up the scraps of their reunion, he doubted they would have done anything with her actually present.  They were far too absorbed in each other for that.

He tried once more, making it clear that he wouldn't stop making a nuisance of himself until they acknowledged him.  Everyone had officially retired early to rest up for the next day, but it was still a little bit too early to be sleeping.  "Duo?"

A few seconds later, a voice finally drifted through the door.  "Go ahead."  It was muffled and soft, but it was definitely male, and since it was highly unlikely that Heero would have addressed them, that left only Duo.

Quatre slid the door open and halted before he had even crossed the threshold.  The only illumination in the room was the light spilling in the now open door.  It revealed the table in the middle of the room, along with the faint outline of some chairs, but beyond that, the darkness seemed darker than it ought to have been, given the ambient light, and it yielded nothing to his sight.  "Uh, Duo?"

"Yeah?"

"Er..."

Hilde's throaty laugh rang out from off to the side, startling him.  She must have been perched in the frame of the window, but he could barely make out what he thought was her form.  "I think our guests would appreciate some light, Duo."

"Ah," the guardian answered, amusement leaking through that one uttered syllable.  "My apologies."  Half a dozen witchlights flared into existence along the perimeter of the room.  Duo was lounging on the bed, seated against one of the short walls that made up the little alcove for the inset sleeping area.  Somehow, Heero managed to maintain his record for standing in the presence of others, leaning against the wall next to his partner.  Duo was pressed against the sturdy arm that was beside him, and the hand at the end of that arm fingered the tail of his braid in a subtle, non-attention-grabbing way.  Heero's dark blue eyes were not pointed in the direction of their guests, but their every movement was under his careful scrutiny nevertheless.

Now that he didn't get the feeling that he was about to enter some frightful black hole that would swallow him up and never spit him back out, Quatre stepped into the room, Trowa following unobtrusively behind him.  "I'm sorry, are we interrupting something?"  Despite his earlier conclusion to the contrary, manners dictated that he inquire.

"Not at all," Duo dismissed airily.  "Was there something you wanted?"

The spiritualist took another step into the room.  "Well, nothing in particular, I guess.  I was just thinking that, you know, since we started this whole thing, we haven't really had the opportunity to chat."

"'Chat'?"

He shrugged.  "Yeah, you know.  Just talk about stuff."

"'Stuff'?"

He attempted to wander casually over to lean on the back of one of the chairs.  "I mean, before, you were, you know, um, not feeling very well.  And I get the feeling that after this, you're just going to disappear again, and who knows if we'll ever see each other again.  So I just thought, before that happens, we ought to..."

"...Chat?"

"Yeah.  We should talk.  Catch up."

"On...?  Stuff?"

A growl was successfully suppressed, but he still made an exasperated sound.  The guardian was being far from helpful.  "I thought you said you'd be all better once Heero got back," he complained, all too aware that Duo was enjoying himself.

Duo smirked.  "Oh, I am, Quatre.  I am definitely all better."

"Well, then--"  He stopped and reminded himself that he didn't know anything about Duo, really, how he was or how he acted.  He hadn't seen Duo's mood fluctuate at all since Heero's return.  It had simply stayed at a constant dark humor, so he supposed that was 'better'.  At least he knew what he could expect.  Keeping that in mind, he reframed his thoughts and started over.  "So, uh, well, you never did say how we got all this information from that Shinma.  What did you say his name was?  Trent?"

"Trant."

"That's it.  And do I even want to know why you get such a satisfied look on your face whenever you think about it?"

Indeed, Duo's lips were even now curled up in such an expression.  "Oh, I don't think you'd get the same feeling of delight at thinking about it as I do."

"I'm going to take that as a 'no', then, I guess."

"Suffice it to say, justice has been served, in my humble opinion."

Quatre got the feeling that he ought to be a little more disturbed by that idea.  No doubt it was no justice that any court would have approved of.  But he had seen what had happened to Duo because of Duo's separation from his partner, and if the Shinma had had a part in keeping them apart, he simply couldn't work up the good grace to feel all that sorry for the creature.

So, what else was there to talk about?  Truthfully, Quatre had come here, dragging Trowa along with him for moral support, not because he really had a burning desire to chat with the guardian.  Rather, he'd been getting a little edgy from the wait, and came in search of a little distraction from more pointless dwelling on tomorrow's events.  He'd already gone over all the scenarios in his head, thinking through the possibilities and coming up with the proper responses for each of them.  He was ready, and he had confirmed that Trowa was as well before coming here to calm his nerves and finish the last stage of his preparations.  "So... I guess work must be piling up for you back home, eh?"

Duo blinked at him once, then twice more.  "Well, damn.  I hadn't thought about that."  He said it quite pleasantly, but there was a doozie of a pout in his mental expression.  ::Damn.  There go our vacation plans.::

Heero's face didn't twitch, but his hand did tighten almost imperceptibly around the braid, generating a force just enough for Duo to feel.  ::The strays have waited this long.  They can wait a little longer.::

::Mean it?::  It wasn't often that Heero chose to put off work.

::Of course.  Time off makes a happy hunter, and a happy hunter doesn't have the urge to wreak havoc and destruction for no particular reason.::

::Ah.  Of course.  Well, plenty of havoc to wreak tomorrow in the meantime,:: he responded cheerfully, his mood somewhat buoyed by the prospect, and he decided he had it in him to show a little more interest in his former student.  "And what about you, Quatre?  What is it you actually do?"



There was a long time of silence between them.  To Meiran, it was companionable, but to Wufei, it was filled with more of the dragon's whispers.  Most of Shenlong's tales had been told, most of his knowledge imparted, and now he finished with what there was left that was necessary.  As he did, Wufei felt himself more and more bonded to the power.  When the time came, the power would come to him, and they would act as a single cohesive unit.  He knew its ins and outs, its depth and its limitations, and he was ready.

Shenlong withdrew from him again to that resting state in the back of his mind, silent and lazily alert, and once the dragon's voice had quieted, his attention returned fully to the present, and he was reminded of his companion.

"Meiran..."

It took her a little while to register that she had been spoken to.  "Hm?"

"About tomorrow...," he trailed off, uncertain of quite what he wanted to say, but thinking that there had to be something.

She let the silence sit between them for only a hesitant moment before she calmly broke it.  "Wufei, if what you're about to say sounds anything like good-bye, or even doubt, I'm going to smack you so hard, you won't have to worry about tomorrow."

His lips curved up in a reluctant smile.  Meiran's spirit was as strong as ever.  "So... what do you want to do when this is all over?"

She shifted in surprise.  That was not what she had been expecting to hear, and she was left momentarily without an answer.  "Hmmm.  Maybe pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist for a good, long while.  And then maybe a good, long soak in mundanity.  And of course, back to work.  With a new appreciation for it all, I guess."  She worked with an old Chinese herbalist, who also dealt in old Chinese trinkets and antiquities.  For all that she had studied the lore and been exposed to it through the Chang family legacy, it was now, after this trek through hell and this meeting with demons and dragons, that she truly believed it, understood the depth and breadth of all those things she had learnt.  "And you?  What will you do?"

"I thought we had agreed earlier," he said dryly, bringing up a conversation that they had not discussed after its passing.  "I don't know what I'll do."

"Then now's a perfectly good time to figure it out, wouldn't you say?"

"Hmpf."

Aha, she knew an ungraceful concession when she heard one.  "Start small, and enough small things will turn into a big thing.  So what will you do?"

"What, indeed?"  He would have argued that it was pointless to think about such things, especially now, but he had promised her an after, and thus he would deliver.  Chang Wufei kept his promises.

It was difficult to think on a small scale.  He felt there should be something wild and liberating waiting for him on the other side, but the first thing that came to mind was simply sleep.  He wanted time to rest, to adjust to no longer having a huge responsibility hanging over his head.  It would take time to build the dreams back up, and wash away the nightmares.  That alone would be quite the prize, and so he proposed that as his tentative answer.  "I think... I would like a short while in which to do nothing at all."

"Only a short while," she agreed with feigned seriousness, glad that he had chosen to start with something quite manageable.  "I don't think you'd like having nothing at all to do."  Wufei was a man whose existence had been defined by a purpose for a good many years, certainly since Epyon's release, and perhaps even since the day of his birth.  His entire attitude was geared towards achieving his goals, and so goals would likely be required for his contentment.  "What else?"

Meiran was right.  Idleness went against his grain.  So what to do after he caught his breath?  What could he do?  He was ill-prepared for anything else.  Practically speaking, his life skills were somewhat lacking.  Meiran had a job to go back to, but he lacked the training for any job he could think of.  The idea depressed him.  "I don't know," he said shortly, beginning to regret ever yielding to Meiran's goading.  Life had been simpler before she made him broaden his worldview.  "I don't know how to do anything else but this."

She shook her head chidingly.  He couldn't quit when they'd hardly begun.  Then again, she shouldn't have expected her job to be so easy.  "So learn something else.  Maybe you could go back to school?"

He snorted.  "School?  At my age?"

It wasn't like they were all that old.  Just not fresh out of high school anymore.  "That's hardly an excuse, Wufei.  A scholar like yourself should know very well that learning is a life-long process."

"A scholar?" he repeated musingly, with a hint of scorn.  "Is that what I am?"

He was a scholar at heart, or had been when he was young.  Meiran could find no reason for that to have changed, even with his warrior trappings.  Perhaps he felt he had faithlessly abandoned that path, no matter the necessity, and that a return to its peace and meditation was beyond him.  Well, Meiran would see to it that that was not so.  "You can be whatever you want after this.  That's part of the whole point."

"Hmm," was all he offered as a response.  Her words were inspirational, but her tone was dry and impatient, and that was what kept Wufei open to her.  Had she spoken vacuously, he surely would never have put up with her.

The prospect of learning appealed to something long neglected inside of him, but he wasn't certain where his interests lay anymore.  If there was an after, perhaps he would have an opportunity to rediscover that part of himself.  Yes, it would be a challenge, but Chang Wufei did not back away from a challenge, either.

He spent a long time thinking about it, coming only to some vague conclusions.  All he knew for certain was that he was, to his surprise, looking forward to the after, and he broke the silence to share his revelation with the one that had led him to it.

"Meiran?"  When she didn't respond, he looked over to see that her eyes were closed, her features slack in sleep, and he smiled.  Perhaps he had thought for a little too long.  Sleep sounded like a good idea.  Tomorrow would be a busy day, after all.  It would not be good sleep, however, if they maintained their seated positions.  He reached out a hand to touch her shoulder and give her a little shake.  "Meiran?"

She made a sleepy sound, and when her shifting brought her arm in contact with Wufei's, she adjusted her stance to rest her head against Wufei's shoulder before clearly settling back into slumber.

There was a little bit of surprise to Wufei's expression, mixed with a little bit of chagrin.  He had wanted her to get into a more comfortable position, hadn't he?  Only he had expected it to be somewhere more like in her own bed.  With a soft sigh of resignation that really didn't have too much of reluctance in it, he snagged his pillows without waking his longtime friend, managed to wedge them between himself and the wall in a strategic way designed to minimize discomfort in the morning, and settled back to fall asleep.

He had a few minutes of peace in his mind before Meiran's mere presence started to get to him.  He was not used to having someone so near him for so long.  Her comforting warmth was too keenly felt.  He would not be able to relax enough to sleep with it intruding on his awareness.

Shenlong's power pricked him in mild reprimand, or at least he thought that was what it was.  Perhaps it was some other inner voice.  It could have been deriding the way he let such a simple thing distract him, or it could have been telling him to just get used to it already and go to sleep.  He went with the latter interpretation.

He told himself to accept the unfamiliar sensation.  It was, after all, a not altogether unpleasant thing.  Simply different.  He willed his muscles to relax, his breathing to slow, but his thoughts would not follow suit.

He opened his eyes in mild irritation.  The candles lighting the room were burning low, but it was more than enough for him to look down and study the young woman resting against him.  It took at least a minute for him to give in and touch the side of his head to hers for just an experimental moment, just long enough for him to silently re-affirm his oath to her, and then finally he was able to sleep in peace.



-----
whee, this chapter is so pointless and filler-y.  people were supposed to say interesting things, but alas, no one was feeling very profound.

...i will get this done, i will get this done, i will get this done...

oh yeah.  i sort of left the rest of the guys hanging, didn't i?  well, i suppose i could actually write up some more of their conversation, but then it would be even more filler-y, so yeah, they just talked fluff, and then they went to sleep.




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