pairings: 1X2
warnings: yaoi, lemon, AU
note: all of the other pilots are dead.

Part 26
by Nazarri


This was a day of celebration and cheer, for peace reigned instead of war. People were free to live their lives as they wished, without fear or retribution

Most people.

But this evening was also about appearances, to please the masses with a show. Tonight, Heero would be expected to dance with Relena, to be her partner. He was a man and she was a woman. It is how society defined love. Being cute and sweet together was decided by looks and gender, not how they truly were to each other. The world was a very sad place and hateful.

So Heero and Duo may have fought for peace and freedom, but it was not something that they were privileged to have.

The irony was not lost on the former pilots.

Even from the Heero's suite at the far end of the palace, the merriment could be heard coming from the gardens, banquet room, and formal ballroom. It was a dull pulsing sound but it served to remind the room's two occupants that obligations still awaited them.

Heero had been ready to go for a while, so this gave him an opportunity to observe Duo from his seat in the large chair.

Not surprisingly, Duo looked extremely good. Formal uniforms were much more colorful than the everyday look. Duo's formal overcoat was a deep purple trimmed with the insignia of his colonel status. His sleek black leggings hugged his muscular thighs. Heero was pleased that the coat was long enough to cover Duo's important parts, the stuff that Heero did not want to share with anyone else.

But those boots, Heero didn't really like Duo wearing something that damned sexy around others. His love already drew more than his share of attention just because of his stunning looks and gorgeous hair, those boots were just too perfect on him. And even though everyone else in uniform would be decked out in the same attire, Heero knew that Duo carried it off better than anyone.

Fantastic looks aside; Heero was rather concerned about Duo. Even though he had made a great effort to get Duo to rest, this did not compensate for the weeks of physical and emotional exhaustion.

It was easy to see the tenseness of his love's body as he finished with the buttons of his military overcoat. It had been a rough day so far and it wouldn't likely get better. He was sure that this line of thinking had Duo feeling edgy.

Heero rose from his seat and walked up behind Duo. He wrapped his arms around him, providing a source of physical and emotional support. "We don't have to go." Heero whispered into his husband's ear.

"No, but we should." Duo answered with a sad smile. "This is a celebration of peace and we are the only pilots left. We should go to honor our friends; for Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei."

Pulling Duo tighter against his body, he asked, "Are you sure?"

Duo snorted. "Considering that the guests include my soon-to-be-x- wife that hates my guts. Not to mention your soon-to-be-x-wife, who has always hated me. Because you are leaving her to come back to me, she now actually has a reason to hate me. Since society hates to see men together in a healthy loving relationship, Relena is your dinner partner and Dorothy is mine. That means that we will be dancing with them and not each other. It will rip my heart out to have to watch you dance with her instead of enjoying the feeling of your arms wrapped around me. No, I don't want to go, but it is the right thing to do. I would much rather be at home, sleeping in and making love to you all day."

Duo swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat and continued. "But I am going to make the best of this night, no matter what crap has been set before us. I am going to start my new job tonight."

"What do you mean?" Heero asked as his eyes narrowed in suspicion.

"Hey, what a better time to hit rich influential people up for money than tonight. I'm going to start making some contacts too! I'll give Dorothy a few dances for good measure. Other than that, I'm working as Colonel Duo Maxwell, Commander of Special Services for HRH Prince Heero. I am going to charm money from rich old ladies just for the pleasure of dancing with me!"

"You wouldn't."

"Just watch me!"

Duo stepped out of Heero's arms and did a dramatic bow before spinning around the room in a mock dance, humming a classical tune.

Heero watched his love move around the room. It pained him to see Duo covering his anguish with comedy, but he loved him dearly for it too. He wanted to make the world right for Duo, but it was beyond his power to do so.

Making his way back to Heero, Duo grinned and settled himself back into those strong arms. "I'm going to make a real difference, Heero, for the orphans. I will make you proud."

"You already do."

And for a moment, they did nothing but hold each other and gaze into each other's eyes. The power of this simple act was stronger than war or anything else that the universe threw at them. Hatred of what Duo and Heero shared simply faded into the nothingness, small and insignificant compared to what they were together. They stood as one against the evil that was so determined to destroy their love.

They pressed into each other, sharing a long soft loving kiss before leaving their bedroom, to face the night.

The outer room was filled with various members of Heero's personal staff and military security. They all turned to look at the two young men standing in the doorway.

Most of them had a sense of comprehension; history stood before them. There was a sense of awe that washed through the room. These were the only two remaining Gundam pilots left alive. Dressed to the tee in their military regalia, it was an impressive sight, the general of the world and his partner, Colonel Maxwell. Their chests were covered with medals awarded to them after the wars. But there wasn't an air of superiority about them; in fact, they seemed sorrowful.

Duo and Heero stepped forward, never leaving each other's side. Heero was immediately informed of various situations including changes in security, seating arrangements, and given a verbal list of requests for a personal audience.

Heero turned to his secretary. "Where you able to change the seating arrangements to allow Colonel Maxwell to be placed beside me?"

The woman shrugged. "I didn't have to. You are already seated next to Colonel Maxwell, the Queen herself made the new arrangements."

Heero slowly turned to see his spouse's response to the news, Duo looked truly pleased for the first time that evening.

on to part 27

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