The End of Innocence Epilogue
Quatre handed his horse over to one of the stable boys and turned to find him self crushed in a hug.
"Quatre! I'm so happy you finally made it!"
Trowa chuckled as he dismounted. "Duo, if you don't let go of him, I'm afraid he'll suffocate."
Duo laughed and released his cousin. Quatre took a deep breath, his sapphire eyes dancing. "Is good to see you too, cousin."
"Aye! And you!" Duo replied, his voice still laughing. "And Trowa, you look fit."
"Aye, Quatre makes sure I take care of myself." The Viscount replied. "And he sees to my exercise pers..."
"TROWA!!!" Quatre turned bright red as he nodded wide-eyed at the other member of their group.
"Uncle, if you don't think I haven't figured it out by now, you're sadly disillusioned." Said the young boy from his horse, his dark-blue eyes sparkling.
Quatre made a strange sound as Duo looked up at him. "Such serious talk for someone so young, Bryce."
The boy jumped down, hugging Duo tightly.
"I swear you look more like my sister every time I see you." Duo exclaimed.
"I wish I'd known her, and father too."
Duo nodded sadly. Bryce had only been three when Hilde and her husband were killed. These last seven years Trowa and Quatre had raised the boy and... "Where's Wynne?"
"My sister is in the stables. She might come out to see you, if we're lucky." Bryce said dryly.
Duo turned to Trowa. "Are you sure she's my sister's child? You didn't end up with one of Sally's, did you?"
Trowa laughed. "We've wondered at times but, she's definitely of your family. At eight, she's already as stubborn as you are!"
"I'll go find her and meet you inside." Quatre spoke up.
"Nay, let me." Trowa replied. "You take Bryce and go visit with your cousin."
Quatre nodded and turned to follow Duo to the hall. Inside, Duo called for refreshments to be brought as he settled the two in the solar.
"Where's 'Meia?" Quatre asked as he was handed a cup.
"She either up on the battlements or in her chamber sulking."
"May I go look for her?"
Duo and Quatre nodded and the boy bolted from the room, happy to escape the company of the adults for a while.
"Finally!" Duo remarked. "He showed some signs of being ten years old."
"Wynne's worse. They both carry the loss of their parents heavily. Bryce is determined to grow up to be something that he thinks his father would be proud of. And on top of it, he takes his being next in line for Trowa's title very seriously."
"But, Wynne? She was barely a year old... how could she know?"
"I don't know. But, she knows. She dreams and she asks where the scars came from. We never tell her much, but she still knows. She remembers being the only one to survive that accident." Quatre set his cup aside. "What's this about 'Meia?"
Duo sighed. "What? She's headstrong, wild, refuses to listen to any of us if she's made up her mind..."
"She sounds like Heero."
Duo snorted. "She's mad because we wouldn't let her accompany Heero to escort the Peacecrafts here."
"I take it she's agreeable to the plans?"
"Oh yes, no argument from her or Kyle."
"At least that much is good."
"Aye. We decided to have this wedding now, instead of waiting another year. They are so agreeable that Heero and Lord Peacecraft are afraid the next heir will come before the marriage."
Quatre chuckled as the door opened and Trowa strode in, followed by a small girl. She quickly slipped past her foster-father and went to hug Duo.
Duo lifted her up to sit on his lap, peering into her violet eyes. How his half-sister managed to have a daughter that looked so much like him... he'd never know. "So, you like the stables, eh, little one?"
Wynne nodded silently as she tucked a strand of chestnut hair behind her ear.
"I have a friend that will like you a lot."
She just nodded and slipped out of his lap to go curl up with Trowa in his chair.
Quatre smiled at the pair, she was like a shadow to the tall, green-eyed man most of the time. Meanwhile... Bryce was more his child.
The girl fixed her gaze on Duo. "Is it Sally?"
"Yes. Sally Chang."
"She used to run our stables, Wynne." Quatre told her.
She looked over at Quatre and then up at Trowa, who nodded at her.
Duo got up and crossed the floor. "Come. Let's get you all settled in rooms before the others arrive."
Three days after, dawned sunny and warm. Just as an August day should. Family and friends all gathered in the main hall, filling it almost to bursting.
Trowa sat near the front, Wynne snuggled up against one side of him, while Quatre leaned on his other shoulder. Looking down at the bright golden head, his green eyes softened. The love he felt now burned just as brightly as when Quatre had stolen his heart almost eleven years ago.
When Quatre and he had taken in Hilde's two children, one barely an infant, and struggled to raise them as their own, he discovered that his heart had a lot of room. He thought of them as his children now and he knew that Quatre felt the same. They loved them as fiercely as they did each other.
Across from them, Wufei sat with his wife and their children. After having three daughters, Sally had put her foot down on the fourth. No more after that. Lucky for Wufei... the youngest was a son. Each child was a mixture of both parents, except the oldest, she was all Wufei, much to Sally's amusement. You could hear the two of them yelling at each other all over their home sometimes.
Over the top of his daughter's head, Wufei studied his wife's profile. He still remembered the night that Heero had accepted his title and Sally had whispered in his ear that she was carrying their child. His first reaction had been panic, especially when he realized that she had been conceived before they wed. Then... all he had felt was awe. This glorious woman, although exasperating, was going to give him a child. Despite all his ranting about a son, the moment he laid eyes on his daughter, he lost his heart. It had been the same with each child after that.
Sally turned her head and smiled, her blue eyes sending a silent message. Wufei bowed his head slightly to her, he understood.
Who would have ever thought that when he left his homeland to follow and repay a debt to a landless warrior, he'd find his destiny on this foreign shore.
Duo peered out from behind the curtain, separating this part of the main hall from the rest of the building. His concentration on the people out there, he almost yelled when strong hands grabbed him from behind. Catching himself, he leaned back as Heero wrapped his arms around his waist.
"Is she ready?"
"Aye." Heero murmured kissing his ear.
"Just think... tomorrow morning, she and Kyle will be off and we'll be alone again."
Heero chuckled and nipped at his ear. "Aye. And I know several rooms the need to be re-explored." Turning the violet-eyed man around, he lowered his head and gently kissed him. "Might build a couple of new ones... just for the occasion."
"HEERO! That was not what I meant!"
"Wasn't it?" His cobalt eyes sparkled as he pushed Duo against a wall. Pressing up against him, he kissed him again... this time with much more passion.
As the kiss broke, Duo glared at him. "If you keep this up, I'll be in no condition to go out there."
Heero smiled and lazily kissed him again. He knew Duo could control his body's reactions, just as well as he could. One learned such things when there was a very curious child living with them.
"Can't the two of you keep your hands off of each other for one day?"
Heero released his lover and turned to face the girl.
Mariemeia stood in the doorway leading outside, one delicate flame-red eyebrow arched over a brilliant blue eye. Standing in front of them in her cream colored and pale blue velvet wedding gown, he flame-hued locks pulled high on her head, falling in shining waves around her shoulders, to Duo, she practically glowed. He felt a rush of pride at the sixteen-year-old girl, this was their child... raised and taught by Heero and himself.
With a low laugh, Duo went to hug her, whispering in her ear at the same time. "Not anymore than you and Kyle can."
Mariemeia flushed pink and her eyes promised revenge on her fathers at a later time. "Has Kyle gotten here yet?"
"Aye," Heero replied. "I saw him, Bryce and his father heading this way, when I was on my way over."
Duo peered back out the curtain, standing at the front of the room was his young nephew, who had been asked by the Peacecraft's son to stand with him. Lord Peacecraft stood a little off to the side, talking quietly to a slender young man, who at first glance appeared to be his exact image. A closer look revealed that instead of his father's ice-blue eyes, he had his mother's dark purple eyes.
Bryce looked up and Duo gestured to him. And as Milliardo sat down, Duo and Heero walked Mariemeia out to stand beside Kyle, giving protection of their daughter to the young man.
The pair sat beside Milliardo and his wife and watched as Kyle and Mariemeia signed the papers that bound them together.
A new life had started for them... a new generation was growing up to take their places in the world. The hope of everyone watching was only that these children, so lovingly watched over; Hilde's, Sally and Wufei's, and Treize's daughter, would never know the pain and struggles that their families had known.
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