Trowa stepped purposefully into the midst of the other three pilots without apology for carrying the fifth member of the team.
The HeavyArms pilot wore his usual jeans and a forest green turtleneck, but the boy in his arms was wearing far less typical clothing. Wufei's usual outfit was torn and stained after the attack and Duo was forced to discard it but he had given Trowa some sweat shorts and t-shirts for Wufei for the time being.
For all their experience with injured teammates, none of the teens found changing each other's clothes while they were unconscious very easy and so Wufei had remained in the loose fitting casual clothes. He looked far more like a sick child instead of a trained killer as Trowa sat down on the couch keeping him protectively on his lap the whole time.
"You can put me down now," Wufei hissed as he flushed pink with embarrassment as Heero openly smirked at the two of them.
"Nope. You promised," Trowa answered without apology, keeping his arms in place until Duo handed the pair a cozy cotton blanket he had grabbed when he realized how skimpily dressed Wufei was compared to the rest of them. Besides, it was chilly, or at least that was an excuse he had ready if his intentions had been questioned.
As Trowa moved to wrap the blanket around the boy in his lap, Wufei saw a brief chance to move if his pride really demanded it, but he clamped down on his training and stayed right where he was, happily ensconced in warmth and love.
Once the cotton throw was wrapped around him, Wufei allowed his eyes to focus on the blond who was trying desperately not to stare at the couple on the couch. He thought Quatre seemed far more nervous than he himself felt, but then again, the Chinese boy knew he had immediate backup and the blond did not.
After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, Heero cleared his voice and asked, "So, Wufei, feeling better?"
"Yes, Heero, I am," Wufei glanced at the boy and realized Heero was watching Quatre like a hawk might watch a rodent it was considering killing. He immediately wondered what had occurred between them, never once considering the tension in the air could be out of concern for himself.
Duo looked agitated and was about to try to bring things to a head when Quatre spoke softly, "Wufei? Um, it's good to see you again." He tried to hold his head up, but just couldn't and dropped his eyes.
"Quatre," Wufei answered simply. He wanted to be stronger and even take the youth to task for his dishonorable attack as well as other points his upbringing told him the blond should be corrected for, but he simply didn't feel like it. Instead he asked gently, "I hear you spent the last few days with Iria. Do *you* feel better now, too?"
"What?" Startled, Quatre forgot to be embarrassed or to act afraid of this boy and his protector, as he blinked in confusion asking, "Why do you even care? I hurt you, and I haven't even told you how sorry I am and here you are asking if *I'm* doing better?!" With a near sob, he asked, "How can you be so kind to me? After what I did to you?"
Wufei shook his head tiredly and leaned against Trowa, a small smile on his lips and forgiveness in his eyes. "Quatre, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm just too tired to give you a justice rant right now, okay?" He paused as the other four teens stared at him with various looks of disbelief. "What happened was a mistake, yes?"
The other boy nodded vigorously and wiped a tear away with one hand.
"And you *are* sorry, right?"
"Don't interrupt. You were mistaken and now you regret it, but there isn't any way to change the past so we have to make do. You don't plan to try anything violent against me right now do you?" Growing tired, Wufei finally stopped and waited for an answer but Quatre had been stunned into silence.
"Well?" Duo asked, a mild level of threat in his voice.
"Of course *not*!" the blond hair shook as Quatre tried to show how sincere he was about not doing anything else of a questionable nature.
"Good," Wufei yawned then sighed and leaned back to close his eyes as another wave of dizziness hit him. A tiny moan tried to escape but he hid it as he concluded, "So, how are you feeling?"
"I'm okay, I guess." Quatre looked at the smaller boy, worried once more. The answer Wufei had given Heero indicated he felt "better", but the Arab had no idea how that compared with feeling perfectly well, something the Chinese boy obviously was not.
The Arabian teen made a mental note to ask Duo why they hadn't gotten a doctor to look at Wufei, it was all too clear that the Chinese boy was in worse condition than he had expected.
Now more confident, Quatre went on to address Wufei's question. "Actually, I felt pretty out of it for a few days, but after I slept for about twenty hours straight, I started feeling better. Then I remembered some of what I'd done to you and I felt horrible all over again."
"Good," Duo snarled then got a warning look from both Trowa and Heero. They knew how to tell if the Sandrock pilot was being genuine and he was, so why badger the boy at this point?
"It's good, I mean," violet eyes glared at emerald and cobalt, "that you recognize you made a mistake and that it won't happen again, right?"
"Right, Duo," Quatre agreed, nodding and trying to defuse the situation by turning it back to the dark-eyed boy who was now yawning. "Um, Wufei? I'd really like to find out more about how you're doing, too, but I can see you're tired. Want to talk more in the morning?"
Wufei opened his mouth to insist he wasn't too tired to talk right then, but he just yawned again and Trowa chuckled softly, answering for him, "Sure, Quatre, I think we *both* want to talk to you, but it would seem that we have worn someone out."
Yawning, Wufei complained, "Don't talk about me," yawn "as if I'm not" yawn "even here," Wufei barely got out as he let Trowa lift the now empty drink can from his hand. Duo stood up to take the can and to move the blanket out of the way, but Wufei kept a hand on it since he was cold and it felt good wrapped around him.
"Gomenasai, Fei-kun," Trowa murmured fondly as he rose to his feet keeping Wufei right where he had been, snuggled against his chest once more.
The slender teen glanced at the other three to see Duo's bright smile, Heero's indulgent smirk, and Quatre's open-mouthed astonishment at this unexpected display of affection.
"If you'll excuse us, it's been an eventful day and we *both* need some sleep. Good night," Trowa strode easily back to their bedroom, closing the door firmly behind him to indicate he had no intention of giving up his self-assigned position that night at least.
"Um, well, that was unusual," Quatre remarked, watching as Trowa carried Wufei back to their bedroom. He was still unsure why he had not gotten anything more direct than the back of Trowa's hand earlier in the day for his previous actions and this just confused him further. If Trowa had declared his love for the smaller boy, why hadn't he reacted more strongly to Quatre's return?
"Nah, not really," Duo grinned. "Wait 'til you see the two of them in bed together!"
"In *bed* together?!?" Quatre squawked, shocked all over again by the explicit images his brain offered all too readily.
"Not like *that*, ya' hentai!" The braided boy snickered until Heero smacked the back of his leg gently for thinking the same things all of a sudden.
"I meant, you should see the way Tro has been hovering over Wu lately. Granted," Duo stopped joking and frowned as he realized something more important, "Wu just woke up for real this morning in the first place. He may have been trying to do too much the first day here. Hope this doesn't mess anything up."
"It won't," Heero stated flatly with infinite certainty as he rose to begin pulling Duo off to their bedroom.
"Wufei's got one hell of a good reason to get well, and Trowa is going to see to it that it happens. However," he added darkly as he paused to glare once more at Quatre, "don't assume this is over yet, Winner. Trowa's right. You, he, and Wufei need to talk this out. We're all here for a reason and you may have set that back quite a bit if not actually jeopardizing it entirely. I'd suggest you think about *that* for awhile before you go to sleep. Something *else* you need to do."
Quatre nodded. "I think I understand, Heero, and I *will* think about it." He stood and went to lock the front door before turning out a few of the lights. When he turned back around, he frowned as he realized he was alone once more. "Oh well," he commented to the darkness almost cheerfully, "now I don't have to share dessert!"
As the wealthiest Gundam pilot indulged his secret obsession for cheap Neapolitan ice cream, Duo and Heero celebrated the surprisingly successful day in their usual joyfully noisy way and Trowa just lay in bed and happily held onto the boy he loved while Wufei slept.
Eventually, the blond found his way back to the bedroom that now seemed far too large for just himself. He tossed and turned in his lonely bed and found himself wishing Gundam pilots could have a pet just so he'd have someone to talk to now that Trowa was no longer with him.
Now, in an effort to acknowledge and thank the marvelous folks who took the time to let me know they read some of the last seven parts of this epic, allow me to pull out the extra-bright string of lights for my "Hall of Fame"!! Despite having a sick Chibi at home all day, the Llama got at least *some* of the e-mail read and now Wufei and Enigma wish to salute:
Jana, Chauni, Starlight, Trixie, Danielle, Eos (Sugoi! 'Tis the Goddess of Dawn!), Dan, Nazarri, Rubious, Jay, Kryspen, hyuy, DragonMage, Oni-chan, Alirra, Mizuno, rfox22, and Lani!!