Sadly, Quatre was not surprised in the least when he returned an hour later
to find Duo still glued to the laptop and Wufei apparently locked up in his
room again. With a resigned sigh, he put the groceries away and then went to
knock on Wufei's door.
Quatre was startled by the fact that the bathroom door swung open instead,
revealing a Chinese teen dressed in only a towel and blinking water out of
his eyes as damp black hair blocked his vision. As he moved to go to his
room, Wufei quite literally bumped into Quatre who had failed to move out of
"Nani?!?" The smaller teen exclaimed as the loose towel slid a little lower
on his hips, then he backed away from the blond and apologized, "Gomen,
Quatre, but why are you just standing here in the hallway?"
"Um," Quatre blushed as Wufei unselfconsciously adjusted the towel back into
place, "I was looking for you, Wufei." He finished with his best
Ignoring the other teen's discomfort since he simply didn't notice it, Wufei
answered with a shrug, "Obviously, you have found me. How can I be of
"Well, uh," Quatre stammered as he realized that he had rushed in yet again
without a fully formed plan in mind, "I thought maybe we could talk or
something." He shrugged helplessly and assumed he would be told to go away,
but Wufei surprised him again.
"Certainly," Wufei nodded, "that is probably a very good idea for both of us.
We can talk in my room if you like." The Chinese boy didn't wait for an
answer as he casually went about the task of getting dressed, once more
unaware of the discomfort this brought to the other person in the room.
As Quatre frantically looked for something else to occupy his eyes instead of
the vision of way too much casually exposed bronze skin in front of him, he
noticed the novel that Trowa had gotten for Wufei sitting on the bed. He
picked it up and glanced at the description on the back.
"Is this book any good, Wufei?" He asked innocently as he turned it in his
"Yes, it is an interesting set of conjectures about what *might* have caused
a war in a time period that pre-dated the Gundams as well as the concerns
humanity faces today." 
The Chinese teen looked at the other boy and noticed the extreme effort
Quatre was making to avoid looking at him while he spoke, then smiled a
little as he handed the blond an Ace bandage. Now safely dressed in a pair of
jeans at least, Wufei asked, "Could you help me wrap my ribs please, Quatre?
I still can not seem to get it to remain in place no matter how the
manufacturer changes the clip design."
Quatre glanced at him in astonishment. The very idea that Wufei trusted him
enough to help care for the injuries that he himself caused amazed him.
Wordlessly, the Arabian teen wrapped the bandage with expert hands and Wufei
gave him a silent nod of thanks as he turned to pull on one of Duo's
loose-fitting t-shirts with a soft grunt of pain.
Now dressed, Wufei gestured to the bed and the pair sat down to talk in
As Quatre returned the book to its owner, he noted the slight softening of
Wufei's eyes as Trowa's OZ identification card fell from it only to be swept
up possessively by the Chinese boy.
"That really is an unusually nice photo of Trowa, isn't it?" Quatre asked
with a smile.
"Yes, it is," Wufei smiled back, not a trace of hostility on either boy's
face. "How can someone as handsome as he is have such difficulty getting a
good photo of himself?"
Quatre shrugged, "That's beyond me! We tried any number of times to get
decent ones last time we were at my family's Egyptian estate and never had
any luck. Heero thought we should get good shots of all of us for
identification purposes so we kept trying, but it became rather the joke of
the week that all of Trowa's were atrocious!" He giggled a little as he
thought of the one where *neither* of Trowa's eyes showed at all due to the
omnipresent bangs. As he tried to stop laughing, though, he noticed that his
companion was not only not smiling but actually looking rather depressed
again. "Um, Wufei? What's wrong?"
"Nothing, really, Quatre," Wufei shook his head, "It is just that I was never
asked to provide such a thing and I certainly was not invited to that
particular get together. I guess now that I am with you and the others more,
I realize how much I have missed out on by being kept apart from the four of
you most of the war."
"Ah, right." Quatre looked at him apologetically as he added, "I'm sorry,
Wufei, but I always thought you stayed away because you didn't want to be
with us in the first place. I guess that's why it never even occurred to me
to invite you to the estate."
"I know. Never mind," Wufei tried to smile once more, but the effort wasn't
worth it as he added, "time passes and we can not change the past no matter
how much we might like to. So, that said, how do we address the future?"
Quatre paused, more than a little confused. "'Address the future', Wufei?
What do you mean?"
"How are you and I going to get past whatever differences remain between us,
Quatre? How are we to become friends? I would prefer to move away from any
enmity that might remain if possible."
"'Friends', Wufei? Us?" Quatre asked, stunned. "You really want the two of us
to try to be friends after all that's happened?"
Wufei sighed. "This is getting redundant. How many times must I urge everyone
to simply forget what happened and move past it? We are adults, are we not?
Can we not act like adults and just acknowledge the errors that occurred and
proceed from there?"
A slight chuckle escaped Quatre's lips as he remarked, "Well, I kinda doubt
that we are technically adults at the age of 16, but we function like them."
He sobered as he continued, "You're right, of course, that would be how we'd
handle it if we were perfect, but it's hard to try to forget it when I just
finished bandaging your ribs *and* I can see the line of stitches across your
cheek. That's an awful lot of hard evidence to ignore."
A deep sigh and a glance away told Quatre that Wufei was all too aware of how
his present appearance came across as well as how much he disliked the
situation. Feeling a bit humbled, the blond teen offered, "Look, I'll try to
get past it if you'll try to remember we aren't going to be able to pretend
it never happened, okay?"
"All right," Wufei agreed. "So, how *do* we find a way to communicate better,
you and I? After all, if Heero is right, as I believe that he is, we face
challenging changes soon and the five of us need to be able to rely on one
"Hmm," a frown marred the blond boy's forehead as he considered this, then he
"First up, I guess, we can agree on a few things, right?" Wufei looked at him
inquisitively and Quatre continued. "We agree that all five Gundams need to
be used in a more unified manner, as well as all five pilots learning to be a
team, right? Then, we can agree that no matter what we face, it's going to be
worse than anything that's happened so far or Heero wouldn't be so worried
over it, I think."
"Last," the blond boy smiled warmly to make it clear where his feelings lay,
"we *both* think Trowa should be happy, no matter who he's with."
Wufei snorted, "Hmph! Put into perspective, our personal lives do indeed seem
a bit trivial compared to world peace, but, yes, we can agree on all of those
things. But what *I* need to know is this: Are you now convinced that Trowa
owes *neither* of us his attentions? He is a free man and can come and go as
he wishes." With a sad shrug he added, "For that matter, he may decide he is
not interested in me either at some point, but it is *his* life."
"Fat chance!" Quatre retorted. "Trowa's head over heels for you, Wufei! I can
*not* imagine him dumping you any time soon if ever at all! Can't you see
A slight blush stained bronze cheeks a rosy hue as Wufei nodded a little yet
answered with a hint of hidden sadness, "Perhaps. But perhaps not. Times
change, people change, and if he should decide that he wishes to move on
whether to someone else, or to you as you had once hoped, or to simply being
alone, Trowa has every right and we have a duty to not get in his way if he
Aquamarine eyes rolled dramatically as Quatre expressed his disbelief, "As
if! He'd have to lose his memory or something before he'd leave you, Wufei!
But if you want to be so damned noble about it, I won't disagree with you. Of
*course* he has that right and so do you!"
"But I don't want to leave him," Wufei remarked in confusion, "Why would I
want to do that?"
"You *wouldn't*, silly!" Quatre exclaimed in exasperation, "That's my point!
He's not going to want to leave you any more than you're going to want to
leave him, so I'm not going to try to think of ways to convince you that I'll
understand if he does. Frankly, if he *does* decide to leave you, he's a
bigger fool than even *I* am! Now that I'm getting to know you better, you're
an all right guy, Wufei."
Frowning, Wufei accepted the backwards compliment as graciously as he could,
"Thank you, I think, Quatre. However, when all is said and done, our ultimate
responsibility remains to the war effort and we must not neglect our duty."
Shaking his head at the fact that Wufei simply could not focus on personal
matters even when that was what he had wanted to discuss, Quatre stood to
leave the room. Before departing, though, he turned and asked one last time,
"So, does this settle the questions about possible friendship and our ability
to fight alongside each other, Wufei?"
After plucking the book back up from where it was laying, the Chinese teen
regarded him evenly. "I should think so, Quatre. As far as I am concerned, we
agree on what matters and as long as we keep moving forward things should
work out in an acceptable fashion."
"Whatever!" Quatre exclaimed in frustration as he gave up entirely and he
walked off to start cooking dinner.
When he finally ended up at the sink peeling potatoes, Quatre groused to
himself, "Wufei's gonna be noble about everything even if it kills him!
Honestly, how can he *not* see what the rest of us see? Trowa's totally lost
on him. Well, I was wondering if I could ever truly accept the fact that
Trowa's not interested in me and I guess the answer is 'yes'. And as soon as
he gets in tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to have a talk with *both* of
them and make them both see that skating around each other like they were
doing yesterday is a *big* mistake!"
Firmly convinced that he could spare his friends some heartache, Quatre
turned his energies fully to cooking once again. Granted, by the time dinner
was ready no one in the apartment had any idea what they would do with 10
pounds of cleaned potatoes, but it was good stress relief for Quatre to have
peeled the entire bag.
 This is a short summary of the excellent novel "Red Storm Rising" by Tom
Clancy. If you enjoy the convoluted warfare in Gundam Wing, you just might
enjoy this novel as well. After all, if Wufei likes it then it must be good,
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.
End Notes for Parts 11 and 12:
Dedications: In a radical departure from the Llama-Normal Policy (isn't that
an oxymoron? "Llama" and "Normal" are mutually exclusive, aren't they?),
tonight's entire posting run is dedicated to Shea Maxwell, SteelSong, and
Aurelie! These lovely ladies sent me the information I needed to survive the
German Cuisine Crisis of 2001!
[stops to toss Pocky into the air in celebration]
Yes, that little extra note after my name last night brought offers of aid
and information that saved my chibi's butt this afternoon after her teacher
restated what she wanted on that Social Studies project at the last moment!
So, to the three of them from all one of me, danke!
And a special note to SteelSong: Sweet heavens, dearest Goddess, but the
Germans eat Ferengi on Toast?!?
[falls over laughing at the image of Quark being served for breakfast at Deep
I went and looked this stuff up (um, for anyone who wants to know, it's a
dairy product with a rather serious squick potential that might be lessened
by a large glass of very dark bock beer) and oddly enough you can even order
a "Quark Maker". I immediately went hentai in my thoughts and laughed so
damned hard my kid thought I'd gone nuts. Ah me. You are the best and the
brightest, dear lady!