While the different dramas were enacted in the upper floors of the beach
house, Quatre Raberba Winner was alone in the living room, lost in thought as
he wondered what else he could do to help change things for this unique
family of five teenage boys. His search of the Winner Corporation databases
for help for Wufei had lead to more questions than answers and he abandoned
the indirect effort in favor of thinking of a more active solution.
//What can I do that the others can't? There just has to be something that I
can do to help out more with all of this. Let's see, what're the things that
need doing? Heero's been getting blown off by Doctor J about finding an
opportunity to take Khushrenada down, maybe I can help with that since I've
got contacts he hasn't got?//
Sending a request for reconnaissance to his devoted friend Rasid, leader of
the Maganacs, Quatre felt slightly better about things.
The large bear of a man would never betray his request for secrecy since he
had no connections with the five scientists that controlled the Gundam pilots
lives. Furthermore, the only one of the five that Rasid had the least bit of
patience with was Instructor H, the man having proven his own loyalty to the
young Winner heir time and time again.
For his own part, Rasid had been content to remain in the background for the
past few months, quietly available with a literal army of repair technicians
that had assisted in the maintenance of all of the Gundams other than
ShenLong, an omission that he had wondered about. How the Maganacs ended up
with such a diverse set of skills was beyond Quatre, but he was grateful to
them all the same.
Quatre sighed mentally as he thought about Rasid's inquiries as to why his
people were never asked to work on the dragon-fisted mobile suit as well as
why they had yet to meet the elusive Chinese pilot in the first place.
//Why, oh *why* did Master O do that to Wufei? Keeping him away from the rest
of us was just plain stupid and maybe if he'd been part of the team all along
maybe this wouldn't have happened? No, that's not fair, this isn't his fault
anymore than it's ours, but it still bugs me! I hate wondering if there
wasn't a way to avoid all of this pain in the first place. The best thing to
do now, though, is to track down that Russian bastard and put an end to him.//
The one time pacifistic pilot growled in the back of his throat as anger
swept through him yet again.
//I think that Heero's completely right about that, too. When it happened to
my sister, we wanted the same thing but the guy who did it was arrested and
sent to prison instead. Then again, he wasn't the leader of an army and he
wasn't untouchable for all intents and purposes. I guess maybe that explains
why Wufei didn't exact his own vengeance, maybe Khushrenada's just too damned
powerful. And invisible! I swear, if Heero can't pinpoint a time and place
for us to take him down, who can?//
Slowly, a dark smile crossed the usually happy blond's face as a "firing
solution" began to form in his mind. If the four teens themselves couldn't
find a way to locate the man from the outside, perhaps someone from the
inside might be able to make the difference.
//Hmmm, wait a moment. I wonder if I might be able to charm a bit of help out
of a certain enemy pilot. I have no idea where his morals lie, but even if he
isn't interested in helping because it's the right thing to do, perhaps I can
trick him into something.//
Standing for a moment, he drew out his wallet and pulled a certain white
business card from its confines. The Arabian teen took a deep breath and then
sat down, visage determined as he did something that smacked too much of
treason for his own tastes, but he'd chosen his path and this opportunity was
too good to waste.
//Well, Zechs Merquise, it would appear that we'll meet again after all.//
Typing quickly for fear that one of his teammates might walk into the room
and catch him in the act, Quatre sent a message that would change all of
The Arabian teen asked the OZ officer for a meeting, a private conference of
sorts between just the two of them on neutral territory even though he knew
that it meant he risked being captured. Using all the cunning and skill of
the Desert Prince, Quatre worded the request such that if Merquise had even a
shred of honor their meeting would be far from the prying eyes of the
military organization that the other man worked for.
Quatre suddenly wondered how much of the danger he was about to put himself
into was truly and exclusively for Wufei's benefit, but he banished those
thoughts as irrelevant. Totally focused, he had abandoned all thoughts about
how much he'd been attracted to the TallGeese pilot. At that moment, the
platinum blond was nothing more to him than a means to an end.
Growling low in his throat, Quatre found his own typed message too soft and
rewrote much of what he'd intended to send.
//I am *not* going to take any chances with him! I won't promise to come
unarmed and I don't give a damn if he finds that odd. I think I'd find it
unbelievable if he promised me that, so to hell with it. The only concession
I'm willing to give here is that the other pilots won't know about this.
Frankly, they'd just get in the way, and I'm in a hurry. I'll give him a
deadline and if he won't come to me, I'll track him down later. He's certain
to know how to find Khushrenada and I'll do whatever it takes to get that
information from him.//
He hit the "send" button with unnecessary force, then sat back and reflected
briefly on his own actions.
//Well, Winner, now you've done it. You've either just done the single
stupidest thing of your short life *or* you've just pulled off a brilliant
piece of strategy. Either way, you'll probably know in a few days. This whole
situation stinks on ice and its far past time to get something going to fix
Nervous, he bit at his lip as he shut down the computer and tried to conceal
his activities from the others. The last thing he wanted at that point was to
have to explain why he was breaking cover so badly, but the guilt from his
previous actions had never been fully resolved and this was something he
could do to ameliorate that, too.
//But this just *has* to work! It just has to! Right now, Wufei's way too
close to the edge and if we don't all start taking a few risks, we'll lose
him permanently. I know my talking to Zechs may seem like a crazy thing to
do, but here's hoping that it works. I'm all out of ideas and this is at
least something that I can do to help.//
Exhausted, Quatre headed off to his room where he fell into a dark and
troubled sleep. The seeds planted by his actions, though, would bear
unpredictable fruit in the coming days and months, resulting in changes he
could never have predicted at the time.
Dripping wet, Trowa stepped through the door of his own bedroom and was not
surprised in the least to find Duo asleep in bed with Wufei.
After changing for bed and toweling his hair dry, Trowa went and quietly
awakened the American teen with a gentle shake, saying, "Duo? Wake up,
please. You're in the wrong bed."
Violet eyes cracked open slowly and Duo peered up at him as he processed the
words he'd just heard and then he smiled. "Welcome back, Tro. Feeling better,
I take it?"
"Yeah, I think I needed to just think a few things through, that's all." A
shy smile crossed Trowa's lips as he added, "Sorry about trying to trick you
"No sweat," Duo remarked as he got to his feet. "If I hadn't figured it out
in time and had gone ahead and pounded you, *then* I'd expect an apology,
though! Don't do that again, okay?"
"Sure," Trowa answered sliding into the warm spot that opened up when Duo got
up. He looked at Wufei before asking, "How's he doing? Any change?"
Duo shrugged unhappily, "I think there's no real change, but at least he
isn't any worse."
Trowa frowned and moved to gently stroke Wufei's back, "I guess I'll take
what I can get, then. He *is* asleep this time, isn't he? Not still out cold
"To the best of my knowledge, yeah." Duo looked annoyed, then added, "I
always thought knowing how to sew each other up was the most important
medical thing to cover and now I'm starting to think maybe I need to bone up
on mental health issues. He's sure gonna have one hell of a case of
depression if we don't think of something soon."
"I know," Trowa sighed. "If we have to, though, I think we could always track
down Sally Po and ask her about it. Fei spent some time working with her
group after the debacle at New Edward's and I'm sure she would be glad to
repay the favor."
"Or we can talk to Iria," Duo counter-offered. "She's always willing to help
us out and she doesn't ask as many questions as Sally does."
"This is true," Trowa nodded and then smiled tiredly, "Either way, I'll see
you in the morning, okay, Duo? If we're not downstairs by a reasonable time,
come up and check on us, please? I have no intention of leaving him alone
"Sure thing. Good night." The American teen closed the door quietly behind
himself, leaving the other two alone once more.
"Koi?" Trowa said softly to the sleeping boy, "I want you to know we're going
to get through this, one way or another. Nothing you said today changes how I
feel about you and I won't leave you."
The soft voice trailed off and Trowa stopped to think about what he'd just
said and then he changed his mind.
"No, that's not true. Actually, a lot of what you said today *does* change
how I feel, just not in the way that I was thinking. After what you said in
the kitchen, I feel like I understand you better and that's a very good
thing. But the rest of what you said, well, that's different. It explains
some things, it makes some things more confused, and it changes a few
preconceptions I had about the rest of our lives, but it certainly doesn't
make me love you any less."
A soft sigh left his lips and he brushed one hand across Wufei's forehead
lovingly, stroking the loose black hair back so he could see his lover's
face, relaxed in slumber.
"Rest well, dragon, and come back to me. I need you, koi, and I think you
need me. I love you, Chang Wufei, make sure you give me a chance to show you,
all right?" Trowa brushed a gentle kiss to his soulmate's undamaged cheek and
then he snuggled down to fall asleep keeping the smaller boy in a protective
As the memories of the sexual assault in Berlin continued to come back to
Wufei in fragmented pieces, more details would be revealed. Some of these
would add both understanding and sorrow to the lives of the five bold young
warriors whose new-found sense of family supported them all far more than
they knew. Some of them, however, would remain inexplicable for many days to
come since not even the victim of the crime knew the full truth.
Eventually the storm outside the beach house quieted leaving a false sense of
calm in its wake.
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.
End Notes for Parts 23-26:
There you have it, my friends, another day is complete in the G-Boys' lives
and yet the foreshadowing is heavy enough that you can cut the angst-to-come
with a knife! Or a dagger, if you prefer. You can always borrow Trowa's since
he hasn't given his to Heero yet, now has he?
[snickers at self and wonders if that was more foreshadowing or just a Red
Herring since there's only been a few of those swimming around in the story
Now it's time for one more stroll down the "Hall of Fame" as I endeavor to
thank those wonderful people who send me notes and tell me they're enjoying
reading my latest angst! I think I might indulge myself and list a bunch of
folks that may or may not have sent me a note lately since I am *still* eight
miles behind at YahooGroups, but what else is new?
[flashing floodlights are added to the "Hall of Fame" for tonight since I
seriously doubt that everyone's going to get the notes they deserve from me
while I attempt to sleep before the trip instead of staying up all night]
Thanks go out to: dhuron (who's still the best!), Lani, Hana-chan, Trixie
(huggle!!!), Nazarri, Danielle (tickle glomps), Rubious, bearilou, Jan (who
is getting a fic dedication as soon as my lemon muse and I can work on
another "101" fic after the trip! See what happens to nice people? Nice
things happen to nice people in the Llama-verse!), Ashkara, Steppin' Razor,
SkyLark (kisses flower child), Azzie, Bee-chan, Loopergirl, Rainbow,
backslide57, Nanachan, Shea Maxwell, Babaca, Jana, SteelSong, dhuron, Jade,
and everyone else at [1x2x1ML] and [3x5_5x3list], too, just for good measure!