"Do ya' have to?" Duo whined at his lover as Heero prepared to release Quatre Raberba Winner, current persona nongratta from his bedroom. "He'll just screw everything up again."
"Baka!" Heero teased fondly, he agreed with the long-haired boy, but there would be no resolution for the five teens at all at this rate. "He's been locked in there all afternoon."
"Who knows," Duo shrugged, "maybe we got lucky and he offed himself while he was in there, ne?"
"Give it up," the Japanese boy laughed as he went to remove the chair from the door, then paused. "Let me go tell Trowa we're doing this. Let's not have any more surprises if we can avoid them."
"Surprises aren't always a bad thing, Heero," a voice answered unbidden.
The Japanese youth turned to see Trowa Barton standing looking at him with a slight smile on his face, once more dressed in jeans but still wearing the t-shirt he had on in bed earlier.
"How's Wufei?" Duo asked, looking as if he intended to go straight in and check on the Chinese boy, but found his way blocked by a long arm as Trowa shook his head in mild negation. "Is he *still* asleep?"
"Fei's doing better. The fever dropped." The tiny smile grew somewhat larger and he glanced over his shoulder adding, "He's not awake and doesn't know about this morning's incident yet, but I'd rather let him rest unless you really need to wake him for some reason."
"Nopers! Not me!" Duo grinned then turned his head with a glare at the offending door. "Well, koi, let's give the trouble-maker a chance to explain himself before I decide to just nail that door shut and to hell with him."
"Hn," Heero snorted and opened the door to reveal one very woebegone blond sitting on his bed with an obviously swollen nose.
"Quatre, think you can behave yourself this time?" Duo asked darkly. He almost hoped the answer was "no" since he felt the Sandrock pilot was overdue for a taste of Shinigami's wrath.
"Yes," Quatre looked at them all sadly and then rose to his feet. "Or I can just stay in here if you'd prefer, but can I at least get some Tylenol or something? Trowa really packs a punch when he wants to."
Duo had the courtesy to snicker at this statement. "Hell yeah he does! And don't you forget it, too! Next time you feel like saying something incredibly insensitive, feel free to say it to *me* and find out if I can hit harder than he can!"
"Enough." Heero sighed, "Come out of there, Winner, we're going to talk and we're going to settle a few things here and now. And no, there isn't any Tylenol, but you can have some ibuprofen if Tro doesn't mind me retrieving it from Wufei's room."
The Wing pilot cast a look at first Trowa and then Quatre and restated pointedly, "If he doesn't mind my getting it from *their* room, that is. Keep *that* in mind before you go spouting off anything *else* about Wufei, got it?"
"I've got it." Quatre's eyes dropped down and even Duo didn't feel like threatening him much more at that point. The sad teen came out of the room and was guarded by Duo and Trowa as Heero quickly went into the other bedroom for the pills that seemed so popular that day.
The Japanese youth was a little slower coming back than Trowa anticipated, though, and the tall teen was about to go check on matters when Heero reappeared, an odd smile on his face.
"What's up, Heero?" Trowa asked in curiosity.
"He's damned cute when he's asleep, you know that?" Heero smirked. He'd been put up to saying this by Duo, yet the taller teen fell for it too easily.
"I know," Trowa had a far away look in his eyes and he smiled more broadly. "Believe me, after these last five days, I *know*!"
Duo chuckled under his breath as he pointed to the kitchen indicating for Quatre to precede them as they moved away from the bedrooms. After a few minutes, the blond had an ice pack for his face, some pain killers in his stomach, and a sandwich with milk since none of them insisted he go hungry.
The four boys sat in tense silence as Quatre ate. When the food was finished, he just sat quietly awaiting the inevitable. The others were so quiet, though, it was unnerving him and he finally opened the issue himself with a sigh. "So, I guess you guys want to know why I did that this morning, don't you?"
"Yes," Heero answered simply then tacked on, "Unless of course you're more suicidal than I thought. Deliberately picking a fight with one of your fellow pilots is not your style, Winner."
The blond winced visibly at the use of his surname. He was not accustomed to being an outsider among friends, he usually tried so hard to make and keep friendships that this was hard for him to adapt to. Finally, he felt the weight of Trowa's emerald stare and he glanced up at the tall teen and said simply, "I thought Trowa needed it. I thought I deserved it. I thought it might balance things out." He looked away sadly, "I thought wrong, didn't I?"
The HeavyArms pilot looked annoyed in the extreme and remarked coldly, "Since when do I need *you* of all people to decide what *I* need, Winner?"
Quatre looked at the boy he had loved at first sight yet who did not love him in return and he just sighed forlornly. "You don't."
"Precisely," Trowa responded as if this solved everything.
"Now just wait a gosh darned minute!" Duo exclaimed in irritation, rising to his feet and pacing as he ranted. "Does everybody here see things a little differently from the common L-2 street rat, or am I behind the curve? I can see where Quatre thinks he needs to get pounded for what he did to Wu, but since when is this so damned cut and dried? We're all in one place because Heero and I think we need to get this little team of ours tied together before hell breaks loose again and you guys sit here acting as if starting a fistfight before lunch is the solution to our problems? I dare say we need a little more communication than *this* if we're supposed to make this work!" He took a breath to continue, but was cut off by Heero.
"Cool it, Duo," the cobalt-eyed boy warned gently. He was pleased to have gotten the confession they did from Quatre and he knew that if Duo kept running off at the mouth, they wouldn't get to the resolution they might arrive at otherwise. "Trowa? What else do you need to hear from him?"
"Not much," Trowa shrugged. "Just an apology *and* a promise to stay out of my personal life are about all I need to hear now."
Duo snorted angrily at this idea. "Shit, Tro, how can any of us stay out of each other's personal life around here? We're all each other has in this life unless you got a family hiding somewhere that we don't know about. We're a team and unless you go off and hide, we're going to be in each other's faces pretty much."
"That's true," Trowa nodded, family was something he had even less of than the others, but now was not the time for that discussion. "How's this then? Quatre, you apologize *and* stay out of my love life at least, and we'll let it go, all right?"
"I understand, Trowa, and I *am* sorry for what I said," Quatre watched to see if this might be accepted or not. "But I really did think it might help for you to get even with me at least a little bit."
Trowa frowned. "I can see that in a very simple world it might work that way, Quatre, but not here, not now, and *not* among us! Don't assume that random violence should be answered with more random violence."
"I know that now," Large aquamarine eyes looked at Trowa filled with painful understanding as Quatre nodded and then said the one thing he hated saying more than anything else. "And I promise to stay out of your way as far as you wanting to be with Wufei, Trowa. If he's who you want to spend your time with, then it's not my place to interfere. And maybe, someday, you'll trust me again and if you two need help, you'll let me at least try."
"We'll see," Trowa answered noncommittally. He couldn't honestly imagine letting the blond anywhere near the injured and ailing Chinese boy at this point much less help them with anything, but he knew better than to rule it out entirely.