As Duo sat trying to think of how else to address the problems Quatre had caused, the fifth member of the team appeared in the hallway. Tired, sleepy, and feeling more than a little fed up with being at sub-optimal, Wufei leaned against the wall for support as he made his way slowly down the hall toward the voices of the other pilots.
Trowa and Duo were both focused on what else to do about Quatre and Heero was the only one to notice the new arrival.
Quietly rising to his feet, the Japanese teen walked over to his injured friend and simply looped one arm around his waist, helping him to stand a bit more straight and regaining some of the dignity the proud boy seemed to have lost recently. The pair of oriental youths came into the room and Trowa was out of his seat almost immediately, looking a touch guilty for not being the first one at Wufei's side.
"Sit down, Trowa," Heero remarked, "I've got him." He stifled a chuckle as his instructions were summarily ignored and the tall teen put an arm around the injured boy just the same.
"No." Trowa answered smoothly, "Not unless *he* asks me to."
Wufei almost laughed but all that came out was a soft sigh and a gentle smile, "Since when do people fight over *me* of all things?" He asked innocently.
Now supported by a handsome youth on both sides, Wufei found he barely needed to even try to walk and the effort to look dignified was forgotten as he relished the pleasant new feeling of being cared for.
"Since this morning," Duo muttered darkly, but let the issue drop as he kept watch over not only his lover who was getting Wufei settled on the couch next to Trowa but also the boy with the ice pressed against his nose. He still felt that Quatre had gotten off far too easily, but if this was how they as a group chose to cope with the situation, then he wouldn't start any new bloodshed over it.
If Duo could have seen more clearly, he'd have noticed that Quatre was blinking away a tear as the blond finally accepted that he really didn't have a claim on the tall boy's affections and that the boy with loose black hair wisping around his face did. Wufei, however, was confused by not only Duo's statement but also the apparent injury Quatre was trying to cope with.
"What happened to you, Quatre?" the Chinese boy asked with a sigh as he leaned against Trowa for support. He might have added a sarcastic remark under other circumstances, but Wufei was feeling positively content despite the exhaustion and mild pain that clouded his mind. The other pilots were in for any number of surprises as this new gentler version of the ShenLong pilot came to light among them.
"Um, well," Quatre hedged as he looked at the others to see if they even wanted to bring it up to Wufei in the first place. It had seemed as if they were going to great lengths to protect the injured teen and Quatre would not start anything without understanding their intentions fully. He glanced at the others and shrugged, leaving it hanging.
"Well?" Wufei asked in annoyance, "Is this some kind of secret or something? Did you fall on your face or did you get in a fight or what?"
"He got in a fight," Duo finally said with irritation then amended it, "rather, he *started* a fight and Trowa finished it."
Startled, Wufei looked first at the quiet boy beside him then at the blond and then back again. "Nani? That makes no sense. Why would that happen?" He waited a moment and became even more confused. "I thought that the thing with Quatre's sleep deprivation was over and done with. Wasn't it?"
He meant the incident which had begun the entire situation, but he had gotten to the root of the problem more handily than the others might have given him credit for.
"It is now," Trowa remarked with a nod of his head at Heero who looked like he hoped this might give them a chance to clear the air finally. In truth, the Wing pilot was becoming concerned that the five would run out of time before they ran out of trouble, but at least they had another chance at that moment.
Sighing, Wufei pushed some of the loose hair out of his eyes and asked, "Duo? Could you do me a favor? I think I'd better try to drink one of those things Trowa got me. It seems there's something going on here I need to understand and I'm tired of being, well," he paused and added with a weak half-smile, "tired. I'm tired of feeling tired all the time."
"Sure thing!" Duo chuckled and stood fluidly, casting a glance at the two boys snuggled on the couch and smiling again. "Anybody want anything else? Oh, what flavor you want, Wu? Chocolate or vanilla?"
"Um, I think the other choice was 'mocha', Duo," Wufei answered, "and I'll try that kind if you don't mind."
"Nothing for me," Trowa remarked casually, an answer Duo immediately ignored as he went to bring back a can of nutrition drink for both of them as well as sodas for himself and Heero. Quatre was too busy hiding his teary eyes behind the ice to even consider drinking anything at that point.
Trowa glanced at Wufei and asked with quiet surprise, "You remembered what flavors I got for you, Fei?"
A soft chuckle was his answer as well as a slightly too warm body being rested against him, "Why not? You went to some trouble to figure out what my favorites might be, shouldn't I at least have the courtesy to recall what you selected?"
"Well, it was just a guess," Trowa flushed prettily as he took the words as the praise they were. He then looked with a touch of confusion at Duo who handed him the two cans.
Duo put both hands on his hips in his best approximation of Sister Helen's maternal air and scolded, "You need to eat more, Tro! Start with this, and we'll get some dinner sooner or later. You're too damned skinny."
"I agree," Wufei remarked and sipped at the mocha drink innocently.
Trowa pretended to glare at both of them and Heero just snickered, "You guys are not terribly focused here, are you? Duo's trying to be mom as well as match-maker, Trowa is playing coy, and Wufei is the Beaver."
One eyebrow rose as Heero challenged any of them to even point out that humor of this sort was not his usual style. The cobalt-eyed teen had had quite enough of the tension in the room and if an odd remark might break some of it he'd give it a try.
"And *you* watch too much 'Nick at Night'!" Duo teased in return before flopping down onto the floor with a can of Pepsi.
The Deathscythe pilot watched to make sure that the pair on the couch were not insulted by Heero's sudden nonsequitor, then he grinned at himself saying, "Then again, it's better than when you were on that 'Crocodile Hunter' jag! Everything was 'gorgeous'!" He snickered, drawing the word out in his best approximation of Steve Irwin, the show's inimitable host.
Heero glared at his lover silently vowing a bit of gentle retribution later in bed, after all, *he* wasn't the one who was fascinated by reptilians. Then he stopped and looked around the room once more noticing the evidence of two separate incidents of violence and he sobered considerably.
They "weren't out of the woods yet", as the crocodile hunter might say, and there was dangerous territory yet to cover if the Wing pilot still hoped to salvage the team he had sworn to build out of these five very different young men.