After their meal was completed, Wufei and Trowa washed dishes in
companionable silence before going in to join their friends.
What little enmity had resurfaced over the on-going battle of getting Trowa
to eat had dissipated and the couple sat close together on the couch yet
strangely did not touch one another in any fashion for a moment or two as the
five boys quietly chatted about nothing in particular. Also indicative of
trouble was the simple fact that Wufei had reverted to calling Trowa by his
full name instead of any of the usual little endearments or nicknames he had
for the slender teen. For his own part, though, the emerald-eyed pilot was
happy that his love hadn't gone back to calling him "Barton" and Trowa would
take any small favors fate would grant him at that point.
Duo frowned as he noted these changes and was wondering if more drama had
occurred that would require resolution when he saw Wufei reach out to take
Trowa's hand into his own. Surprisingly, the taller teen almost flinched away
from the touch, but allowed it with a worried glance at his partner.
As the American teen pondered if intervention of some sort was needed, Wufei
sighed quietly and leaned his head against Trowa's shoulder, again eliciting
the look of discomfort and Duo snorted angrily as he arrived at a decision.
"Hey, Tro?" Duo asked with feigned nonchalance. "Could you give me a hand
with something upstairs, dude?"
"Huh?" The emerald-eyed teen responded in confusion as he felt Wufei's head
come off of his shoulder and his hand being released to allow him to go
unimpeded. Despite his earlier fears, the taller teen immediately missed the
warmth of contact from his beloved dragon.
"I, uh, I guess so, Duo. What do you need?" He glanced back at his koi, but
Wufei's eyes had regained the distant, closed look that had been present when
they'd come downstairs in the first place and Trowa's heart sank again.
"I thought we should try to get that door back on its hinges, wanna help?"
Duo asked, standing and stretching casually trying to conceal his agitated
Trowa's eyes dropped as he assumed this was part of making up for the
horrible mistake he had made that morning and rose to his feet looking rather
like a prisoner going to face judgement. "No problem, Duo. Um, I'll be right
back, okay, Fei-kun?"
"Certainly, Trowa," Wufei smiled half-heartedly at him but then asked in a
voice laced with mild confusion, "Why was the door taken off of its hinges
anyway? I wondered about that when we went to our room so I could get my
"The lock was stuck," Quatre offered quickly, then rose to accompany the
other two. This was actually true since the lock was "stuck" in that they
didn't have a key but beyond this further explanation would have only added
salt to the Chinese boy's emotional wounds and nothing was said.
"I see," Wufei remarked, sensing this wasn't a completely honest answer, but
unwilling to question it further as the other three teens headed upstairs.
When they were alone, Heero stood and walked over to shorter teen and asked,
"What's going on, Wufei? You don't seem like yourself tonight and I know it's
been a difficult day. Want to talk about it?"
"No," Wufei answered quietly, "I was asked the same thing by Trowa and,
frankly, the last thing that I want to do right now is talk. I would rather
not talk about *anything*, Heero, do you know what I mean?" Sorrowful
coffee-dark eyes looked into cobalt-blue ones, silently asking for
understanding and compassion.
Heero nodded solemnly, "I think that I understand all too well, Wufei. We'll
drop this for now but tomorrow, we *will* talk, all right?"
Wufei's eyes lowered and he nodded as he answered in a voice choked with
pain, "If you say so. Tomorrow, then."
Heero, unwilling to allow the other boy to continue to feel as if he was
truly alone, crouched down and took Wufei's chin carefully in one hand and
lifted it until their eyes met. Quietly, he promised, "All five of us can
handle this together, Wufei, just give us a chance, all right? Trust your
teammates, we won't let you fall."
Startled, Wufei regarded him and then nodded slightly, "All I can say is that
we shall see, Heero. You truly have no idea what you are asking, of myself as
well as of all of the others."
Onyx eyes sank back down as the feelings of unworthiness which had plagued
Wufei since he awoke returned and he added in a defeated tone, "Besides, it
is far too late to keep me from 'falling', as you say. I have already fallen
and am just now realizing how deep the pit is that I landed in."
Tightening the grasp on the other boy's chin gently, Heero forced Wufei to
look at him one more time, saying, "There's no 'pit' so deep that the people
who love you can't get you back out of, Wufei. Remember that. The four of us
are strong, lean on us, let us help."
"The people who love me?" Wufei asked in puzzlement, "What are you talking
"Oh, Wufei," Heero shook his head sadly. "Didn't you know that Trowa's not
the only one who loves you? We all do, not the same way that Trowa does, of
course, but it's love just the same. Filial love, some people call it,
brotherly love is what others might say, but Duo, Quatre, and I all feel the
"You do?" Wufei asked in astonishment, he hadn't dared to hope for so great a
"Yes. Quatre pointed out to me that we're not just a team anymore, we're a
family." Heero kept the slight hold on Wufei's chin as he leaned forward to
lightly kiss the smaller boy's forehead as if in benediction, then rocked
back onto his heels, offering, "You're strong, too, Wufei, have more faith in
A hint of rose flushed the Chinese teen's cheeks and he looked with wide-eyed
amazement at Heero even as the other teen finally released his gentle grasp.
Confused yet hopeful, Wufei ventured, "This is quite a lot to consider,
Heero. But if what you say is true I may have to reassess the situation."
"You *know* that it's true, Wufei," Heero asserted confidently, rising to his
feet. "Like I said, we won't talk everything through right now. Get some more
rest soon and remember that we're all here for you."
Wufei nodded and then settled back onto the couch to await Trowa's return,
contemplating what Heero had told him and wondering if even a fraction of it
To be loved was something the Chinese pilot craved as a plant craved the sun,
and Trowa's avowals of romantic love amazed him even more now than they had
at first. But to be regarded as a brother by the other three pilots was more
than Wufei had dared to hope for and he feared it was all too good to be true.
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.