A Joyful Gathering
Sitting together in the cozy living room of the modest safehouse that they had shared for over a month, Trowa Barton and his lover Chang Wufei were puzzling over yet another American holiday tradition.
The lanky HeavyArms pilot was comfortably sprawled on the floor with a cup of coffee and a steaming bowl of noodles in broth while his companion sat in a chair with his cast-laden right leg propped on a footstool while he ate a similar meal.
Between bites of ramen noodles, the oriental teen pointed at the TV with his chopsticks and asked, "Is that one supposed to be a giant white dog?" The screen displayed a "Live from New York" caption and the images of a cityscape filled with large balloons and marching bands were odd to say the least. 
The taller of the two glanced towards the set and frowned slightly before responding, "Yes, it is, koi. The sign in front of it says 'Snoopy'. Hmm, I wonder why that sounds familiar?"
With a fond smile of remembrance of a friend he hadn't seen in far too long, Wufei answered, "Isn't 'Snoopy' the name of that character that Maxwell used to watch on tape? The one that had a little yellow bird for a side-kick?"
Nodding and returning the smile, Trowa answered, "That's right. The bird was 'Woodstock' and the two of them had such great adventures according to Duo. My favorite one was the Halloween adventure they had when Snoopy thought he was the Red Baron and was shot down behind enemy lines."
Snorting softly in amusement before going back to eating his noodles, Wufei remarked drolly, "Ah, yes. 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!' as I recall and that one poor child only got rocks instead of candy when he went trick-or-treating, right?"
Emerald eyes twinkled merrily as the HeavyArms pilot's thoughts ran away from him and he added playfully, "Hmm, now *there* is an interesting subject!"
"What?" The Chinese boy asked innocently. "What's 'interesting', angel? Rocks or Charlie Brown?"
"Neither," Trowa turned a mischievous smirk on his lover as he explained, "Halloween candy, koi. And all the fun things one might choose to *do* with said candy!"
A sudden rush of blood into bronze cheeks rendered already attractive Asian features a soft rose color and made Wufei even more handsome in Trowa's opinion. The embarrassed youth spluttered something about planning to get revenge whenever he finally got the cast off of his broken leg, and then spoke more clearly as he stated flatly, "Don't you *dare* go get any of that stuff out right now, Trowa Barton! I swear, I'll never be able to look at a roll of Smarties the same way again because of you! Using those for chips was *your* idea!"
The look of pure lust that spread across his lover's face, however, told the worried youth that it was too late as the taller of the two rose gracefully from his place on the floor and prowled towards Wufei where he sat.
With a darkly promising smile on his face, Trowa placed both hands on the arms of the chair, effectively trapping the boy before he said simply, "Now, dragon, you didn't really mind that little game of five-card stud we played with those candies, now did you? I mean," he paused to place a tantalizing lick across the tip of Wufei's nose, "you certainly enjoyed the fact that you won, now didn't you?"
A low groan of desire broke from the Chinese teen's throat and he felt himself respond all too quickly to his lover's innuendo. Bowl of ramen noodles forgotten in his lap, Wufei gazed into deep jade pools as he licked his lips and moaned softly, "Yes, angel-love, I did indeed enjoy winning. After all, *you* were the prize."
"I know," Trowa spoke in a husky voice and then added, "Are you sure you don't want to play again, lover? It's barely noon, we have all day. Who knows? If we play more than once we might *both* win."
"Oh gods!" Wufei felt a shiver of desire run down his spine at Trowa's words, the implication that the taller youth might actually be interested in playing the role of seme for a change making the smaller teen instantly hard and aching for his lover's touch. A trembling bronze hand stroked at an ivory cheek as he asked, "Do you mean it, angel? Truly?"
The lustful look on Trowa's face softened ever so slightly as he, too, moved to stroke at his lover's face and he answered almost too softly to be heard, "truly, my dragon." He wanted to add that they ought to hurry and play for fear of becoming overwhelmed by thoughts of what he was suggesting, but they were both interrupted by a most unfortunate sound.
++ Ding Dong! ++
Both boys froze in place. Trowa turned his head ever so slightly and cast the door a look of hatred and malice. Wufei groaned in unhappiness and begged the other pilot not to answer the doorbell. Then it rang again -- twice.
++ Ding Dong! Ding Dong! ++
"Shit!" Wufei cursed angrily. "Who could *that* be? It's a holiday for crying out loud!"
Trowa looked startled and then shook his head before disentangling himself quickly from the bronze arms that had wound themselves around his waist, exclaiming, "Oh my, I completely forgot!" Moving away from the suddenly bereft ShenLong pilot, he explained, "Debra's mother said the little one wanted to stop by today around 12 to bring us something. I have no idea how on Earth I could have forgotten something like that!" 
The anger and disappointment that had rushed into Wufei's heart when the doorbell had rung the first time was erased just as quickly as he smiled and moved to straighten the long sleeved shirt he was wearing so as to be a bit more presentable. "Don't worry about it, Tro. If the princess wished to visit us, then of course she is welcome."
"Thank you for being so understanding, Fei," Trowa smiled and unlocked the front door, opening it to the sight of an adorable blue eyed blond who held a large, brightly colored, hand-printed sign that read, "Happy Thanksgiving!" He smiled warmly at the child and said, "Hello, Debra, happy Thanksgiving to you, too, dear."
"Thanks, Mr. Trowa!!" The bubbly girl sang back gleefully and then looked past him to wave cheerfully at Wufei, greeting him with similar enthusiasm, "Hi-hi, Mr. Wufei! Guess what? I brought you a sign! See?" With a broad smile, she turned the paper so he could see it better.
The Chinese youth made a great show of looking over her artwork as if it were the feature piece of a special display at the Louvre, then smiled approvingly, "I see that, Debra, and what a lovely sign it is, too. Would you like to add it to the gallery?"
The effervescent four year-old girl grinned brightly and stepped past Trowa who had already made room for her to pass him as she dashed off to the kitchen, calling over her shoulder, "Are there any mag-neatos left for me to use?"
Trowa chuckled as he followed in her wake, answering, "They're called 'magnets', Debra, and I'm not sure. You have been so very generous to us all month, there may not even be any *room* for the newest addition."
Amused by the banter between his lover and their neighbor, Wufei laughed softly and used his crutches to join them as they stared at the fruit of the burgeoning artist. Gazing at Trowa's expression of serene happiness as he helped the child rearrange her artwork on the refrigerator, he couldn't help but feel a small ache in his heart that the war would sooner or later pull them away once more from this idyllic neighborhood. As a darker thought that the same conflict could one day endanger the energetic girl threatened to enter his thoughts, the inimitable sound of a child's foot being stamped in anger pulled his attention to the other two people in the room again..
"Well, golly gosh darn it!" The tiny blond exclaimed in frustration, "There's no room left on the frigidator!"
Stifling a soft snort of laughter behind one hand, Trowa apologized, "I'm afraid that's quite correct, Debra. You *have* been very generous with us all month, though, and it seems to have covered everything but the air vent at the bottom."
"Perhaps," Wufei offered, hobbling closer and looking at the collection from a new viewpoint, "we could move a couple of these over to the sliding glass door to the deck? We don't use that door with the cold weather, so it might make another gallery for you, princess."
"Really?!" Debra nearly cheered and grabbed two unique pieces of artwork off of the appliance and showed them to Wufei, saying, "That would be especially good for these two, Mr. Wufei! Mommy has hers taped to the window over the kitchen sink and they look really pretty!"
In her small hands were examples of what her preschool teacher had called "Nature's Stained Glass Windows" and she was right, they would look particularly nice with sunlight shining through them. Brightly colored autumn leaves had been sandwiched between two pieces of waxed paper before a warm iron had been used to seal the semi-transparent papers together. The effect was somewhat like a cathedral window in that it held the leaves in place and allowed light to pass through them once Trowa helped her affix them to the glass with some tape.
"You're quite right, Debra, that's lovely," Trowa commented with gentle delight. "They *do* look nice there, but everything you've given us is so cheerful. Thank you for your generosity."
After giving the two young men the tiny jack-o-lantern she'd designed on Halloween, the girl had brought them artwork on a regular basis. The once-nameless boy had been given a second chance of sorts at enjoying some of childhood's simpler joys thanks to the outgoing child. Trowa felt a great deal of gratitude to her for sharing not only the arts and crafts projects she seemed to complete on an almost frightening regularity but also for simply making them feel welcome in their temporary home in Virginia.
Sunshiny smile once more in place, the blue-eyed moppet then turned back to survey the kitchen as if searching for something. Not finding whatever it was she was looking for, she glanced at the boy on crutches who was studiously rearranging the multicolored display on the refrigerator and asked, "Where's your gobbler, Mr. Wufei?"
"Beg pardon? My 'gobbler'?" Wufei glanced at her in puzzlement then straightened to look at Trowa with curiosity before asking, "Do you know what she's talking about, Tro?"
Emerald eyes looked rather disappointed as Trowa nodded and told her, "We aren't having any, Debra." Realizing belatedly that Wufei was still looking at him with an adorably confused expression, he clarified, "A turkey, Fei. She was wondering where the traditional entrée for an American Thanksgiving dinner was. Right, Debra?"
"Yeah, that's right," the child pouted unhappily then argued, "But you gots to have one, Mr. Trowa! It's really important and stuff! I mean, Mommy says it's so important that we're going to drive to my Auntie Dae's house in Maryland to eat some in awhile. I get to play with her kitty while she and Mommy talk about a million-billion things and it cooks, too, but mostly we're going to eat gobbler! You just *gotta* have one!" 
The small child was almost beside herself with concern as she saw both young men looking mildly disappointed, but they had both agreed that there was really no point in the two of them attempting to prepare a large meal like that despite the holiday.
"Please don't worry about us," Trowa smiled reassuringly and patted the child on the head to help distract her from her pro-turkey ranting. "We'll be fine, really. Now, don't you think that you should get back home before your mother gets worried?"
Debra nodded and then smiled a little saying, "Yeah, that's a good idea, Mr. Trowa. Mommy might need me to help finish everything before we go to Auntie Dae's house."
The trio made their way to the door and as the two Gundam pilots bade the child farewell, the girl gave in to a desire to gift them both with spontaneous hugs. "Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. Wufei!" She cried, flinging her arms around the boy's waist and hugging him, adroitly avoiding the crutches before turning to do the same to the taller boy. "Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. Trowa! I'll see you maybe tomorrow or something, okies?"
"That would be nice, Debra. See you later!" The green-eyed boy answered and held the door open for her as she bounced away, happily contemplating which of her numerous baby-dolls to take in the car for the one hour drive. He turned to face his partner and commented, "Such a lovely child, don't you think, koi?"
"Yes, quite adorable," Wufei remarked with a smirk, "But she's a bit too, um, what's the word for 'commanding' she always uses, love?"
Trowa smirked in return and answered, "I believe that would be 'bossy', Fei. I'd have to agree though. At times like this, she reminds me of Lady Une at her worst."
"Ugh! Not her!" The Chinese teen groaned, coal-dark eyes rolling comically in his head as he shook his head and suggested with an evil grin, "Or maybe like Ms Peacecraft, Tro? You know, like when she's chasing Yuy around?"
"Blech! Don't remind me!" Trowa clutched at his head as if he was in agony. "Relena's voice over the radio in Antarctica was worse than nails on a chalkboard!" He shuddered in pretend-pain and then watched as Wufei hobbled on his crutches back to the chair and flopped into it gracelessly.
Both young warriors were lost in memories of missing friends for a few minutes as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade continued to babble away on their television set.
Author's Notes for This Part:
 The Macy's Parade is one of the most bizarre yet memorable holiday parades in the USA and is rumored to be the inspiration for the parade in the "Cowboy Bebop" movie.
 A reappearance of everyone's favorite little neighbor girl! Named for the wonderful Bee-chan, this child is more than a bit precocious, ne?
 Another friend insertion! This time it's my darling Ryoko listed here as the mysterious "Auntie Dae" who lives in Maryland with a cat for Princess Debra to play with!
Full Author's Notes to run at conclusion.