~10 Years Later ~
Andreas looked up from his desk and saw Leto leaning in the door frame of his clinic office, grinning. “I’m sorry, Love,” Andreas smiled weakly. “You know how busy the clinic gets around this time of year.”
“It’s quite alright, Amatus,” Leto said, sauntering over to his husband. “I’m just here to pick you up for our special dinner tonight.”
“Oh that’s tonight!? I…I completely forgot!” Andreas stammered, blushing “I am so sorry, Love. Give me one more moment and I’ll be ready to go.”
As Andreas organized his paperwork for the next day, Leto gazed at him lovingly. His hair was now streaked with some strands of grey, and he had cut in a short, professional style. He looked more mature now, serious. He held the weight of the world on his shoulders, on an endless campaign to help everyone less fortunate than he was. They had been so very fortunate, more so than most. The past twenty years seemed to have gone by so fast.
One comfort was that, if they had remained in Thedas, Andreas may have had to heed his Calling by now while here they could still look forward to a few more decades of marital bliss. Tonight was their tenth wedding anniversary and Leto had promised a romantic dinner out for his overworked husband. What he hadn’t told him was that he’d planned a surprise gathering of all their old friends, including Henry, Miranda, Casey, Madelyn and of course David Gaider.
Leto’s self-defense studio franchise was still doing very well, with nearly 300 locations open now across the United States and Canada. Andreas had completed his medical residency seven years ago and opened a new, larger, privately funded free clinic next to the mission.
It had been so successful that he turned to Leto’s business expertise to open additional clinics across Denver. By being privately funded, they weren’t restricted by a number of government regulations that weighed down the public clinics. The concept worked so well that philanthropists across the country approached Andreas to open similar clinics in other cities. There were now nearly fifty, all branded under a foundation that Leto and Henry helped Andreas found, called the Bauermann Free Clinic Foundation.
Leto couldn’t have been more proud of his husband when Andreas was honored a couple of years ago by the mayor of Denver for his selfless and tireless efforts to help the poor and homeless. Leto knew it made Andreas feel better about himself and his past choices, by making a real difference in people’s lives.
“Alright, all done!” Andreas said cheerfully. “So where are you taking me tonight, Love? Maybe that new sushi place downtown that just opened?” he asked hopefully.
Leto chuckled. Andreas had been begging him for weeks to go, knowing that Leto still disliked fish, raw or otherwise.
“You’ll see,” Leto huffed. “Now come along, husband.”
“Yes, husband,” Andreas replied with a twinkle in his eye, taking Leto’s hand in his as they walked out towards Leto’s car. Leto had finally, about five years’ prior, gotten over his terror of cars and learned how to drive one himself. It was either that or hiring a personal driver because he could never rely on the public taxi services or public transportation to get him where he needed to go in time. Leto was far too frugal to pay for a personal driver so he finally relented into getting a driver’s license. Leto was an overly cautious driver and driving still made him nervous, but he couldn’t deny the convenience of being able to get around the city by himself.
They headed downtown and parked in one of the many parking structures in LoDo. Walking hand-in-hand Leto led Andreas to one of their favorite restaurants. Not the new sushi place Andreas had been hoping for, because try as he might, Leto could not get a reservation for the large group at the popular new restaurant.
Normally Leto insisted on a quiet, romantic, dinner for two on their anniversary. However, Andreas had always been more gregarious than he was and he loved being surrounded by friends, so to mark this milestone anniversary Leto decided to surprise him with an anniversary party with their friends instead.
As they entered the establishment Leto couldn’t see their friends, but he didn’t worry as he knew they were seated in a private room he had reserved for the occasion. He whispered into the ear of the hostess who led them back to where their friends were waiting.
As they were led past their usual table, Andreas squeezed Leto’s hand. “Where is she taking us? That’s our table…”
Leto squeezed back. “You’ll see. Patience Amatus.”
As they approached the private room, the hostess opened the curtained French doors to reveal a large table surrounded by their friends. In one corner there was a crackling fireplace, adding ambiance to the room.
Andreas was stunned by the surprise. “Happy Tenth Anniversary, Amatus,” Leto said before kissing Andreas soundly. When they broke the kiss their friends all let out a cheer and Andreas blushed.
“Wow, this is wonderful, Love,” Andreas grinned and then went around the room greeting everyone. They still saw Henry regularly but the rest they didn’t have as much time to visit with. Finally, he came to David and he pulled him into an embrace. “You’re looking good, oh great and powerful Maker,” Andreas teased him. They hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, although they kept in touch via email and social media.
David smiled. “I am so proud of both of you. You’ve accomplished so much and gone so much farther than I could ever have imagined when I first started writing your characters. Happy Anniversary.”
The rest of the evening was a blur of catching up with old friends between bites of good food and even better wine.
Henry’s daughter was now in high school and making her papa very proud. Madelyn was doing research into making holograms more solid, so that perhaps one day the denizens of her A.I. enhanced Dragon Age could actually physically interact in our world, not unlike the concept of the Holodeck on Star Trek. Also she had transferred the game, her A.I. mod and it’s denizens to a secure server farm so that their world would remain safe.
Miranda had retired from her position as CEO from the non-profit that had helped Andreas and Leto get on their own two feet so many years ago, and was enjoying living in a quiet town up in the mountains in a small cabin she’d purchased. Casey had also retired from working at the Mission, letting someone younger take over the reins while he went on extended fishing trips. David had also long since retired, although he still was a prolific writer, mostly writing original works of fiction and having become a well-known author in his own right.
Later that night as Andreas and Leto lay curled up in bed together, cuddling with a loudly purring Prince Purrs-a-Lot curled up between them, Andreas pulled Leto close, causing the cat to make an annoyed mrrp before leaving the bed. Leto wrapped his arms around his lover and noticed that Andreas was shaking. When he looked up, he realized Andreas was crying.
“What’s wrong Amatus?” Leto asked, sitting up and cupping Andreas face with his hands, thumbs wiping away the tears.
“I…was just thinking,” Andreas said softly, “How quickly time has passed since we first arrived here. It’s been twenty years. Imagine…twenty years! It all still seems like yesterday. How much more quickly will the next twenty years pass? How much time do we still have left?”
Leto looked at him affectionately. “Perhaps fearing our inevitable end, we should just make the most of each and every day we have together, yes?”
Andreas nodded. “Maybe…maybe I could hire a personal assistant, someone who could help me so I don’t have to work so many hours. Then I could have more time to spend with you.”
Leto grinned at that. “I’d like that Amatus. I’d like that very much. You always put everyone else before yourself. After so many years, it’s time you put yourself first. You’ve done so much good, and you deserve some good in return. I’ll spoil you rotten if you start spending more time with me. You’ll have anything you want.
“I already have the best thing ever,” Andreas said looking at Leto with so much love and affection it caused Leto’s breath to catch. “I have you.”
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