authors: Mel & Christy

Key:
minor scene change (from person to person at the same place, someone waking up from a dream, etc): ----------
major scene change (at another place, some time later, etc): * * * * *
flashback starting or ending: ~*~*~*~
thoughts: *Tadah!*
electronics (phone, TV, intercom etc): <<Tadah!>>

Reunion + Chapter 8

TO: Sally Po <s.po@preventers.com>
FROM: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0752hrs
SUBJECT: Duo's medication.
---message begins---

I went through Duo's pills. Is there a good medical reason
for him to get all these sedatives? If you can't come up with
one, I'm going to throw them out. You know perfectly well how
he feels about anything that reduces his control over his own
body and mind. I'm also doubtful about the strength and
dosage of the painkillers you've prescribed. I'll go along with it
for now, but if Duo objects I'll follow his wishes.

You'll probably want to contact me at some point, but I've
turned the ringer of the phone off so it won't disturb Duo. Use
my pager number, or email me back.

-Chang

---message ends---

----------

Sally's eyebrows rose as she read. I gave him those pills late yesterday, then he had to get Duo home and settled... he can't have looked them all up last night! Doesn't that boy sleep? He's obviously taking his responsibility for Duo's recovery very seriously. And I see it's now 'Duo' instead of 'Maxwell', that's an interesting development.

Loss of control, hm? That would explain Duo's... aversion... to hospitals, all right. Well, then...

----------

TO: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Sally Po <s.po@preventers.com>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0905hrs
SUBJECT: Re: Duo's medication.
---message begins---

Good morning, Wufei. You're up early!

---at 0752 hours on 10 DEC AC197, Chang Wufei
<chang.wufei@secure.mail.net> wrote:
> Is there a good medical reason for him to
> get all these sedatives?

They were prescribed to ensure that he got sufficient rest
and sleep, since that's almost as important to his recovery as
the antibiotics and vitamins. However, if you feel he's
getting sufficient without their help, you should certainly go
ahead and leave them out. Don't forget to get some sleep
yourself!

> I'm also doubtful about the strength and
> dosage of the painkillers you've prescribed.

Again, use your own judgement with Duo's reactions and wishes
as a guide; however, do bear in mind that if he's in pain he
won't rest well. I prescribed a non-sedating form of
painkilling medication that wouldn't interact dangerously with the
sedatives, so you don't need to be concerned about that aspect
of things.

Please keep me informed of his progress.

Sally

---message ends---

* * * * *

TO: Lady Une <lady.une@preventers.com>
FROM: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0758hrs
SUBJECT: While I'm on leave.
---message begins---

Lady Une,

The ringer on my phone will be off while I am on leave. If
you need to contact me before Thursday, please use my pager or
email.

-Chang

---message ends---

----------

TO: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Lady Une <lady.une@preventers.com>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0815hrs
SUBJECT: Re: While I'm on leave.
---message begins---

Chang,

Thank you for the information.

-Lady Une

P.S. Give Maxwell my best, and tell him I said 'thank you for
the roses'.

---message ends---

* * * * *

Trowa sat in the study and watched Quatre pace. I thought if I just let him talk it out he'd be okay, he thought, but it's not working... how many hours is it now? He's getting hoarse! He just keeps repeating himself, and drinking that damn mud he calls coffee.

None of the worry he felt showed on his face as Quatre made another abrupt about-face, hands gesturing jerkily for emphasis as he talked.

He held himself together the whole time we were looking for Duo. At least then he had something to do, and he could hope for a happy ending. Then we found Duo. Instead of making it all better the situation got worse; and there's nothing he can do to help while Duo's so angry at us. He's falling apart...

"...never gave it a thought," Quatre was saying. His voice cracked and he winced slightly, scooping up his cup and gulping cold coffee before he continued. "Eight months! I should have noticed. I should have gone looking for him. I should have checked to see if there had been any messages, I--"

"You did check," Trowa interrupted. "Quatre, some days you check your messages every hour!"

The blonde boy shook his head, dismissing the offered comfort. "No! I should-- I should have realised something was wrong and checked to see if his calls weren't getting through. No matter what the cause, I should have noticed that I hadn't heard from him in months!"

"Hindsight is always perfect," Trowa said quietly. "You were busy, Quatre. You've been working fourteen- and sixteen-hour days! I had more spare time; if anyone should have realised--"

"You were completely reorganising Winner Corporation's security arm and running around after me to all those public appearances, making sure I didn't get anything shot off while I was helping Relena set up the Preventers," Quatre objected. "Then you joined them!"

"Part-time."

"It's still another job!"

"And I still haven't been as busy as you. If you can excuse me from responsibility on grounds of overwork, you have to excuse yourself."

Quatre turned away, shaking his head again, and headed for the coffee service sitting on a tray on his desk.

"Stop that," Trowa ordered, standing up and plucking the cup out of his hand. "If you drink any more coffee you'll give
yourself an ulcer. You haven't eaten anything since late yesterday. Besides," he added as Quatre glared at him and reached for a clean cup, "I think the pot's empty."

Quatre slammed the cup back down on the tray and started pacing again, silently this time; Trowa set down the cup he was holding and watched for a minute, then commented, "Your hands are shaking. I told you that was too much coffee."

He was ignored.

After a moment, Trowa sighed and stepped forwards, catching his lover by the shoulders and holding him still. "What's really upsetting you? There's something specific, isn't there? More than I-should-haves and I-could-haves."

There was a long pause; then Quatre seemed to crumple, resting his head against Trowa's shoulder. "He called me 'Winner'," he said in a muffled voice.

"What?" Trowa wasn't sure he'd heard right.

"He called me 'Winner'," Quatre repeated, clearly this time. "Duo's never called me 'Winner'. It was always 'Quatre' or 'Q-man' or 'Quat' or even 'Q-bean'. Once he called me 'Kitty-Quat'."

The taller boy chuckled softly, pulling him into a gentle hug.

"Even when he was mad at me, during the war, he never said 'Winner'. It was 'Damn it, QUAT-re!' And then... when you were talking with Lady Une... he almost fell, and I caught him, and he was so angry because I'd touched him. I swear, if he'd been strong enough to throw me through the wall he would
have. And... he said..." Quatre shivered, pulling himself closer to Trowa. "He said, 'Fuck off, Winner'. I ignored that I hadn't heard from him for eight months until my nose was rubbed in it, I left him alone in, in places like that, and he hates me for it..."

"He doesn't hate you," Trowa cut in abruptly, arms tightening around him.

"B-but," Quatre stammered, "I felt..."

"He kept the photos. He kept our clothes," Trowa said seriously. "If he really hated us, don't you think he would have got rid of them? Dumped them, given them away, burned them... but he didn't. He didn't even wear them. He's hurt and upset and angry, yes, and he's got reason to be. Maybe he thinks he hates us all. But there's still hope."

Quatre looked up at him, eyes wide; then a cool, synthesised female voice from the computer said <<One message from Chang Wufei,>> and he tore himself out of Trowa's arms and leapt for the keyboard.

* * * * *

TO: Trowa and Quatre <quatxtro@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0814hrs
SUBJECT: Duo.
---message begins---

Quatre, Trowa,

Just a note to let you know I've turned the ringer off on the
phone; if you need to contact me, use my pager or email.
Duo's sleeping right now; he got settled all right, had a bath
and got his hair clean last night. He didn't eat much, but then
we did get in very late. I'm going to let him sleep as long
as possible, then see how much breakfast I can get into him.

I'll keep you posted.

-Wufei

---message ends---

----------

As he hit 'send', Wufei thought he heard a faint sound from the bedroom; he stood up and took a slow step in that direction, listening intently, then hurried for the door as he heard Duo whimper.

Duo was still sound asleep, not even really restless yet; Wufei knelt next to the futon and stroked his hair, smoothing the bangs back from his forehead. To his relief, Duo didn't flinch away this time.

"Shh, Duo... it's all right. Shh..."

Duo frowned, eyes still firmly closed, and muttered something under his breath; then he spoke in a surprisingly clear voice. "Don' wanna get up. Mrs Friedrich hates me... an' I didn't do m' English homework..."

Wufei sputtered with relieved laughter, then got his voice under control and answered. "Go back to sleep, Duo. It's Sunday... we don't have classes today. You can do your homework later. I'll even help you, OK?"

"Mmm... n'kay, 'Fei. G'night."

Wufei stayed at Duo's side, stroking his hair gently, until he was sure he was back in deep, dreamless sleep; then he went back out to his computer, a faint smile on his face. Okay, it was a nightmare... sort of. But it was a normal nightmare!

Sitting back down, he noted with interest that Lady Une had replied, and opened her message; then he sat back and blinked
at the computer screen, confused. Roses? When did Duo send Lady Une roses?

*beep!* <<One new message>>

Quatre and Trowa replied already? That was fast... what were they doing, hovering over the computer?

----------

TO: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Trowa and Quatre <quatxtro@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0822hrs
SUBJECT: Re: Duo.
---message begins---

How is Duo? Is he really all right? Has he been talking? I
still can't believe we let this go for so long. Has he said
anything about what he's been doing? What happened to him? That
cough was bad, is it still bad? Is he kicking up a fuss about
taking his pills? That would be good, actually, because it's
like him. How did he sleep? Did he sleep? Did he have
nightmares? I hope not. Did you sleep? You need to take care of
yourself, too, not like that time you went on that long mission
and forgot to eat.

If there were any sedatives in that bagful Sally gave you,
throw them away. Sedatives make Duo's nightmares much worse.
Quatre and I had the bruises for weeks after the one and only
time we doped him.

-Quatre & Trowa

---message ends---

----------

Well. I can tell who wrote which paragraph, even without the 'Quatre and I' comment... and Quatre knows perfectly well that I ran out of supplies on that mission!

Wufei hit 'reply'.

----------

TO: Trowa and Quatre <quatxtro@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0831hrs
SUBJECT: Re: Duo.
---message begins---

Quatre: calm down. It's a bit early to tell how things are
going with Duo, especially since he's still asleep! I'll keep
you up to date, once I have something to keep you up to date
on.

Trowa: thanks for the warning.

-Wufei

---message ends---

----------

Wufei leaned back with a sigh and a stifled yawn. Well, that's everyone except Relena... and Heero. He scowled. I should mail her, of course, but... no. I can't just dump the responsibility for keeping him up to date on Relena's shoulders. I will email him.

He does deserve to know.

Sitting up, he reached for the keyboard.

*beep!* <<One new message>>

Hm? What's-- Quatre and Trowa again?!

----------

TO: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Trowa and Quatre <quatxtro@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0833hrs
SUBJECT: Re: Duo.
---message begins---

Is he still mad at us? Has he said anything about us? Can we
come over? What does Heero say? Do you need us to bring
anything with us? We could shop on the way! -Q

You'll have to excuse Quatre. We were up all night and he's
been drinking that Arabic coffee of his. He's a little wired.
-T

---message ends---

----------

"Oh, for..." Wufei gritted his teeth. "Didn't he read the emails?

----------

TO: Trowa and Quatre <quatxtro@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0836hrs
SUBJECT: Re: Duo.
---message begins---

Quatre, I told you, he's asleep! And no, I don't need you
to bring anything. There's enough food in the apartment for
breakfast, and I'll go shopping later. Let Duo have a couple of
quiet days to rest and heal before anyone visits.

-Wufei

---message ends---

----------

TO: Trowa (private) <harlequin@secure.mail.net>
FROM: Chang Wufei <chang.wufei@secure.mail.net>
SENT: AC197 DEC 10 0837hrs
SUBJECT: Quatre!
---message begins---

Trowa, please get Quatre away from the keyboard and off my
back. Tie him to the bed and work some of the caffeine off or
something, I don't care what, just keep him occupied!

-W

---message ends---

----------

Wufei hit the 'send' button with some force, glaring at the screen; then an expression of mingled surprise and embarrassment spread over his face and he slumped, covering his eyes with one hand.

"I don't believe I just sent that. Somebody, please, tell me I didn't just send that..." He snorted softly, torn between embarrassment and laughter.

----------

[cont]