Evening began as a quietly despondent time in the beach house the Gundam
pilots had been living in for only a single, painfully eventful day.
Quatre had indeed had a few questions to ask of Heero and Duo, mostly simple
clarification and he'd found himself growing increasingly frustrated as he
realized there was little he could do to help the other four pilots cope with
the situation. The Arabian pilot hadn't minded being a glorified errand boy
all day for his friends, but he was considering what he might be able to do
to help when the far more personal details began to seep out and all of them
faced that new sorrow.
Absently, as he waited on a cup of tea to brew, Quatre pulled out his wallet
to look at some photos of the team taken during happier times. But as he
opened the leather accessory, a small white card slipped out and fluttered to
Quatre bent over to retrieve the paper with a frown, "What's this?"
The blond teen turned it over and realized that it was the business card
given to him by Zechs Merquise. An unhappy smile crossed his lips as he
prepared to toss it in the trash and then he thought better of it. Even
though he felt certain that there was little chance of ever making good on
the dinner date he had planned with the platinum-haired OZ officer, Quatre
tucked it back into the wallet with a wishful smile. In so doing, he
inadvertently preserved a resource that would help all of them in the days to
Carrying his tea into the living room where Heero sat typing on his laptop
and Duo worked at trying to not be nervous, Quatre was lost in thought.
"Um, Q-Ball?" Duo suddenly asked with a sheepish grin, "Did ya bring any
playing cards with you, buddy?"
"I think so, Duo," Quatre answered with curiosity before setting the tea on a
"I'm bored and thought maybe some solitaire might help." The braided boy
shrugged, it wasn't really a lie, he was bored, but he was far more worried
than anything else and thought that cards might take care of that feeling
just as easily.
"I see," Quatre nodded, knowing all too well what was going on. He reached
into a box that had been sitting on an end table and pulled out a few
different anime decks which he sorted through before handing one to Duo,
barely suppressing a chuckle.
Alerted to something being odd, Duo glanced at the image of a little girl in
a bright pink outfit on the back of the cards and asked in a disparaging
voice, "Shoujo, Q-Ball? You *really* think I want a *shoujo* deck to play
with? Ugh!" And he moved to hand them back.
"No, Duo," Quatre pushed the deck back towards him with a knowing wink. "It's
not just a shoujo deck, it's a CLAMP shoujo deck."
"Ah ha!" Violet eyes lit up finally as the idea dawned pleasantly in Duo's
mind and he began shuffling through them searching for something in
Neither boy had noticed that their activities had drawn the attention of the
Wing pilot until Heero seemed to materialize next to Duo and remarked
pointedly, "Hunting for bishounen, baka?"
Duo eeped in surprise, then grinned, "Hell, yeah, Heero! You were busy so I
might as well 'play' with some other cute guys, ya know!"
Heero smirked good-naturedly then commented, "Nice 'Card Captor Sakura' deck,
Q-Ball. How many Yukito's are in there?"
Quatre laughed outright then shrugged, "I have no idea, Heero. I rather like
"What?!" Duo laughed, "Heero, since when do you even know the name of an
anime show much less one of its characters?"
"Since the vacation in Cairo when I had insomnia and stayed up watching TV
with one of Quatre's nieces. There was a 'Sakura' marathon on that night and
she'd gotten permission to stay up for it. So all night long, I was
'debriefed' on the intricacies of the Touya/Yukito relationship as well as
just why, exactly, Tomoyo and Sakura made a better match than Li and Sakura."
Aquamarine eyes went wide as Quatre recalled his niece telling him about
watching "Sakura" with "Uncle Heero" and how he had refused to believe it at
the time. Chagrinned, the blond teen asked, "Did my niece *really* get that
detailed on the yaoi and yuri pairings, Heero? Allah, this is embarrassing!"
"Don't worry about it, Quatre," Heero smiled, then shot a sidelong glance at
his lover. "She was excited about it and she seemed happy that someone would
listen to her for a change, so I don't mind. It was better than the 'Monty
Python' marathon I was *forced* to watch that week, too."
Duo snickered and stuck his tongue out at Heero. "Bitch and moan all you
want, koi, I had a good time that night and so did you! The look on Iria's
face when you had to go ask her for ibuprofen the next day was priceless!"
Before the discussion could devolve any more than it already had, quiet
voices interrupted them. All three boys turned their heads and were surprised
to see Trowa and Wufei walking down the stairs, talking quietly between
themselves as they approached.
It immediately struck the three youths watching them that Wufei had retreated
into his stark white traditional Chinese garb, as though he was hiding behind
the long-sleeved silk shirt and loose-fitting silk pants. Gliding in black
slipper-style shoes, his steps would have been silent as though the lack of
sound might help to hide his presence among those he should have trusted most
in life. Surprisingly, he had even retied his previously loose hair into the
severe tail as if trying to regain some of the personal control he felt had
been torn from his grasp during the last two tumultuous weeks.
The change in garments and personal appearance of the oriental boy was
disturbing to Trowa, however. He had become accustomed to the gentler, more
open personality that had seemed to accompany Wufei's choice of casual
clothes and loose hair, yet he would not complain to the boy he adored about
all of it now, fearing he might make a bad situation worse.
"Good evening," Quatre greeted them both with a hopeful smile.
"Good evening to you all," Wufei responded formally, his serious demeanor and
sad eyes saying far more than words might have. "My apologies for any trouble
I may have caused earlier."
Duo's face clouded over as he approached the smaller teen, intending to pull
him into a comforting hug, yet finding himself blocked by Trowa who shook his
The HeavyArms pilot was understandably protective of the sloe-eyed boy,
hoping to keep him safe yet it was too little too late and in the end the
physical isolation was doing more harm than good. Trowa's own insecurity over
anyone touching Wufei was going to be problematic in the extreme if it wasn't
Concerned by the changes in his friends, Duo stepped back and assured him,
"No need to apologize, Wu. Shit happens."
"Indeed." Wufei responded coolly as he continued walking towards the kitchen
without stopping. The American couldn't help but feel saddened when he
realized how flat and hopeless the usually vibrant spirit of his oriental
friend seemed to have become.
"Um, looking for some dinner?" Duo asked as he fell into step behind Trowa,
noting with relief that the lingering effect of Heero's punch was nothing
more than the slightest swelling thanks to the ice pack they'd used. In point
of fact, Duo hadn't bothered to question his lover over the incident. If
Heero had felt that the action was needed, Duo wouldn't second guess him
"Yes," Wufei answered in the same cold and unhappy tone. "Trowa has not eaten
all day. I will not allow that."
"You haven't eaten either," Trowa stated petulantly, as if this excused his
own omission. "Besides, I'm not hungry."
"Then neither am I," Wufei answered equally childishly, arms crossed and
trying to glare at the boy he adored without much success.
The ShenLong pilot seemed a mere shadow of his former self, as if the
difficulties of the day had forced him to attempt to retreat into an old
personality that no longer fit him. Once a soul has been allowed to grow and
mature, it is virtually impossible to return to old habits and Wufei was
discovering this painful truth with every word and motion.
"Fine," Heero interjected as he stepped into the room and opened the
refrigerator to pull out the leftover chicken and noodles that he had saved
for them from the meal he'd cooked. "Neither of you may feel hungry, but you
will both eat some of this, understand?"
A look of relief crossed both warring teens' faces as each saw a solution to
the problem they hadn't arrived at themselves. At times, these young
terrorists became too wrapped up in their own feelings and insecurities and
needed to be told what to do. Luckily for them, the Japanese teen wasn't
hesitant in the least to do just that.
"Since you insist, Heero, I accept." Wufei's tone warmed slightly as he
"Yeah, Heero, thanks," Trowa commented, pulling out some plates and
silverware as the Wing pilot placed the entrée in the microwave oven to
Relatively soon, Trowa and Wufei were consuming their assigned meal. The
other boys wanted to talk to them both, but no one was going to interrupt
them after Heero had issued the command that they eat.
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.