it Down to Learning + Chapter 23
Wufei sighed, closing his eyes
as he leaned heavily against the wall. One corner of his mind absently
berated himself for the weakness, but it wasn’t that hard to ignore it.
Nobody was paying much attention to him at the moment, and he was...
He was tired.
He had held himself together for almost, he feared, as long as he was
able to do so, and if he didn’t pause for a moment to gather himself,
he might just not be able to go on.
And that would be... very bad.
He sighed again, pushing away the faint twinge of resentment that rose
inside him. He had to be strong... he was strong. But for just
a moment, after the night that he had just endured, it would be nice if
there were someone... someone who would look after him.
“Wufei? Are you all right?”
He jumped, startled, at the soft voice that broke the silence with the
very concern he’d just been subconsciously and rather weakly longing
for. He opened his eyes and met the concerned blue gaze of the Queen of
Relena. Of course Relena would be here. She had been involved in planning
the operation, and now that it was over...
Gods, he couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe that the horror that
had ruled his life that had ruled all of their lives for months
They were done, free to pick up the pieces...
If they could. If everything hadn’t shattered beyond any hope of repair.
He shook himself as Relena hesitantly repeated his name, realizing with
irritation that he’d been staring foolishly at her as she waited for his
“I’m fine,” he said briskly. “I imagine that you want a report, and...
“Damn it, Wufei,” she interrupted angrily, red spots appearing on her
cheeks. “I’m not Une. I can get a god-damned report whenever I want one.
I want to know if you’re all right.”
He blinked in surprise, as much at her choice of words as at her angry
tone. Relena was usually more diplomatic than that.
“I’m fine,” he repeated, frowning perplexedly at her.
“Liar,” she accused, frowning right back at him.
“I am not a liar,” he bristled instinctively. “I am not injured,
“I can see you’re not injured, but you’re certainly not fine, either,”
she countered firmly. “What can I do, Wufei? I want to help you,” she
told him, her tone gentling.
He stared at her for a moment, feeling alarmingly lost and suddenly completely
out of control. She reached out and slowly, gently, rested her hand on
his shoulder, and he shuddered at the light contact. He closed his eyes,
tightly, but didn’t resist as she guided him to a chair and pushed him
down into it.
“Talk to me, Wufei,” she urged in low-voiced concern. “Tell me what’s
“What’s wrong?” he repeated incredulously, opening his eyes to glare helplessly
up at her. “That’s what’s wrong!” he half-shouted, gesturing at
the four hospital beds lined up on the other side of the large room.
They’d put them all together. That had been one of Wufei’s victories that
night when they got everyone to the hospital, and were whisked down
to the high-security ward in the lowest level of the basement, the doctors
had begun to separate their patients, heading for different areas of the
Heero had gotten in their way, roaring incoherently. There was no way
he could be in that many places at once, and he refused to be separated
from any of them. Of course, he couldn’t articulate that, so he had badly
startled even frightened the well-meaning doctors and nurses and surgeons
who had been trying to take care of their friends.
Wufei had intervened, and ensured that they would all be placed together,
in the largest room in the ward.
After Trowa’s surgery, that is.
Wufei closed his eyes again, as all the memories of the night suddenly
assaulted him at once. He tried to push away the picture of Trowa lying
on the floor of the over-furnished little room that reeked of debauchery,
his torso soaked with blood. He’d lain so still that Wufei had been sure
he was dead.
By the time he’d reached the auburn-haired man’s side, leaving Amphiarus’
crumpled body where it had fallen, Heero was already there, his hands
moving quickly over Trowa’s bloody chest, finding and pressing down on
the bullet wound as he did his best to slow the bleeding.
Duo had been there too, kneeling beside Trowa, rocking back and forth
in misery as tears ran down his cheeks. His arms were covered to the elbows
in Trowa’s blood, and Wufei surmised that he too had been trying to stop
the other man’s bleeding.
“Heero... don’t,” he’d managed, almost choking on the words. “It’s not...
“He’s alive, Wufei,” Heero had shot back tersely. “But... he’s
not going to be for long if we don’t get him the fuck out of here,” he
warned. Duo moaned softly in mingled relief and fear, folding his bloody
arms around himself as he struggled to remain silent, holding in his grief.
It had been left to Wufei to push away his own grief and fear, and send
the urgent command back for medical assistance. It had been he who had
had to pry Heero away from Trowa’s ominously still body when help came,
and he who had given the terse commands to process them all to the hospital
that maintained the underground facilities to treat patients who were
wounded in the course of governmental or Preventer operations and thus
needed to stay out of the public eye.
And he had been the one who’d sent the frightened and frustrated Heero
out with Trowa, and knelt himself before the still-rocking Duo.
“Duo,” he’d whispered, reaching out to gently grasp the other man’s shoulders.
Heero had called to the braided man too, had been practically begging
the other man to speak to him, but he hadn’t seemed to dare to touch him.
And Wufei thought immediately that he’d made a mistake by doing so. Duo
gasped, his whole body tensing tightly, his body language screaming silently
for Wufei to end the contact.
He almost did. But Wufei couldn’t bear the thought of letting anything
else go this night. He may have lost too much already.
He didn’t tighten his fingers, gently holding Duo’s arms with a gentle
but steady pressure.
“Duo,” he’d whispered. “Duo, it’s Wufei,” he called gently. “I’m here,
Duo. It’s all right. It’s over.” He’d continued speaking softly, trying
to say something to calm the other man, to relax him. Slowly, the tears
running down Duo’s face had slowed, and the tremors that wracked his painfully
thin body had stopped. But Duo still hadn’t looked at him.
“Duo, can you get up?” Wufei had asked gently. “We need to get out of
Mechanically, still without looking at him, Duo had slowly pulled himself
to his feet. He stood with his head bowed, staring lifelessly at the floor.
Wufei picked up a bundle one of the emergency personnel had dropped beside
him, and carefully approached the other man. He unfolded the package,
and shook out the dark, enveloping garment. “Put your arms out, Duo,”
he said slowly. “Put this on, and we can get out of here.”
Duo looked up slowly, staring at the fabric.
“Put it on,” Wufei urged.
The American continued to stare at the garment, not moving, as though
he didn’t know what it was, or what to do with it.
Stifling a sigh, Wufei stepped closer, and briskly wrapped the fabric
around Duo, guiding his arms through the sleeves, tying the belt around
the too-thin waist, ignoring the way Duo flinched away from him every
time he touched him. He had been adjusting the material around Duo’s body,
carefully folding the collar up to keep as much of the shorter man warm
and covered as possible, when his fingers brushed against the cold metal
that circled Duo’s neck.
And the rage that Wufei had been holding at bay for so long flared violently.
Trembling with the effort it was taking to contain his sudden fury, he
ran his fingers around the metal until he found the clasp. The collar
was obviously more ornamental than functional, and closed with a simple
hook. Wufei wrenched the pieces of the loathsome thing apart, and pulled
it sharply away from Duo’s neck.
He held it for a moment, staring at it. It had collapsed in his hand when
he had pulled it off, and just lay there in his grasp, the delicate gold
links winking up at him. He stared at it for a long moment, before turning
aside and throwing it violently across the room.
“Now, we can go,” he said with deceptive mildness, turning back
The braided man was staring up at him for the first time, his eyes wide
with surprise. He looked away quickly, his cheeks flushing nervously,
and again Wufei barely suppressed a sigh.
“Duo, will you be all right getting on the stretcher?” he asked, as gently
as he could, gesturing toward the stretcher that some of the medics had
set up. He wondered if this was how Trowa had felt all these months
like he wanted to hurt, rend, destroy, but had to be calm, rational, productive.
It was incredibly frustrating. No wonder Trowa had been so difficult to
get along with.
Duo didn’t answer, but he turned and gingerly lay down on the gurney.
Wufei saw him blanch as the medics loomed over him, and a choked cry came
from the American’s throat as they started fastening the straps around
“It’s all right, Duo,” Wufei assured the American, moving to the side
of the stretcher. “These are Preventers they don’t want you to get hurt
on the way to the ambulance.”
“Wu... Wufei,” Duo managed, speaking for the first time. Wufei had almost
had to close his eyes against the warm surge of relief and utterly inappropriate
happiness he had felt at hearing his name called in that voice. “Wufei...
are you... are you coming? I’m... I’m sorry, but I... ” Duo had squeezed
his eyes closed, unable to continue.
“I’ll be right behind you,” Wufei promised, his voice as soothing as he
could make it. “Heero and Trowa are already on their way to the hospital,
and your ambulance will wait until I get there to leave. I promise,” he
finished firmly as Duo’s fist clenched tightly.
The braided man had nodded jerkily, and Wufei signaled to the medics,
who had picked up the stretcher and disappeared out the doorway of the
Wufei turned back, his eyes scanning the room for the other person he
had to see, someone whom he hadn’t seen for eight years. His eyes landed
on a small huddle in one corner, and he recognized Zechs’ gleaming blond
They were there.
He hurried over, painfully aware of how awkward he felt, trying to compose
in his head what he would say to the man he’d been so intimate with, the
man he’d thought he’d killed, the man who had been languishing as a prisoner
and a slave for eight years...
He reached the corner where Zechs was kneeling, his back to the room,
and slowed, looking over the other man’s shoulder.
Treize was there, all right. But he wasn’t looking at or talking to Zechs,
and the blonde’s attention wasn’t on his newly rediscovered lover, which
was amazing in itself. Both of them were focused on the man Treize held
tightly in his arms.
“Wufei.” Zechs’ voice, heavy with relief. “Thank God. Something’s wrong
with Quatre, he... ”
But the Chinese man could see something was wrong with Quatre. The blonde’s
face was contorted with agony, and tearstains streaked his cheeks. His
eyes were clenched tightly closed, his hands balled into fists, his body
“Quatre, look at me,” he ordered, kneeling beside Zechs, aware of a sharp
pang of déjŕ vu. “It’s all right, Quatre,” he promised. “It’s over. Quatre,
look at me,” he ordered, his voice sharpening as the other man
failed to respond. “Look at me!” he repeated loudly.
Quatre’s eyes snapped open, and Wufei felt himself flinch backward. Quatre
was staring at him, but there was no recognition in the aqua eyes. They
were glassy, unfocused, but swimming with pain and horror and a light
of something that was far from sane.
“I’m not like you!” Quatre bellowed at him, suddenly struggling in Treize’s
grasp. “I’m not! I’m not!” he screamed.
“Quatre!” Wufei shouted, reaching out and grabbing the other man’s
shoulders. “Quatre! Stop it! It’s Wufei, and Polynices is dead, and...
“Wufei!” Suddenly Quatre’s eyes were focused on him, and the gleam of
insanity burned hotter as the Arabian reached up and grabbed Wufei’s arm
with both hands. “They have Duo, Wufei! We have to get Duo out! We have
to save him before they hurt him more!”
“Good God,” Wufei heard Zechs mutter beside him. The Chinese man felt
the horror that he had heard in the other man’s voice twist in his own
stomach, but he did his best to push it down as he answered Quatre carefully.
“Duo is safe now, Quatre,” he said gently. “You saved him. He’s in the
ambulance, and we need to go with him and... ”
“No!” Quatre shrieked, beginning to strike out again. “We have to get
him Wufei, and... ”
“All right,” the Chinese man agreed abruptly, abandoning reason. This
was bad, very bad, worse that he’d feared it would be. But he couldn’t
fix it here, and he had to get out, they all had to get out of this room
with its stomach-churning mixture of odors the smells of food and drink
and sex and blood and death fought for supremacy and Wufei suddenly couldn’t
stand another moment of it. “Get on the stretcher, Quatre, and they’ll
bring you to where Duo is, and we’ll save him.”
The blond glared suspiciously at him, and at the two stretchers another
of the omnipresent groups of medics had set up behind him. “They don’t
look like they’re going to the Order,” he accused slowly.
“It... it’s part of the mission,” Wufei said, rather wildly, aware he
was making no sense at all. “Stretchers. They’ll never suspect.”
Quatre nodded wisely, pushed himself away from Treize, and lay obediently
down on the stretcher. Wufei watched him, feeling sick to the depths of
the soul, as the blond docilely let the medics strap him in. “Are you
coming?” Quatre demanded querulously as he was lifted up.
“Of course,” Wufei assured him, rising to his feet and hurrying after
as the other man was borne away.
He’d only gone a few steps, though, when he suddenly stopped, swaying
with the force of his arrested momentum, and whirled around at the two
men he’d left behind him. He heard Quatre scream his name angrily, but
he couldn’t just go without saying anything, he had to...
Zechs and Treize were still kneeling on the ground, staring at each other.
Wufei stood there in painful indecision for a moment, not wanting to interrupt
them, torn between the need to speak however briefly to Treize, and
the need to follow Quatre, whom he could still hear bellowing for him
as he was carried out of the room. And Duo was waiting, and...
Treize turned his head suddenly, and looked up at him, his gaze as blue
and steady as Wufei had remembered it.
“It’s all right,” he’d said, his voice understanding. “Go. We’ll... speak
Wufei’s chest tightened again with pain. They would ‘speak.’ Eight years,
all that pain and guilt and confusion... and they would speak.
He nodded stiffly, feeling his chin jut out defensively. Treize frowned
slightly at him, but Wufei barely registered the expression as he turned
sharply on his heel and strode out of the room.
They would speak. Later.
He’d had to decide which ambulance to ride in. He’d judged Duo the most
likely to remember which choice he’d made, and sat beside the silent,
trembling American on the short ride to the hospital. He’d jumped out
with Duo, and followed the emergency personnel who ran with the braided
man’s stretcher down to the security ward. Quatre had been right behind
him, as had Zechs with Treize. They’d all gotten down just in time to
hear Heero screaming at the doctors who were trying to take Trowa away.
Heero’s shouts had startled Quatre, who had begun bellowing about the
mission and Polynices and the need to save Duo. Duo himself had held up
fairly well until the doctors began trying to examine him, when he too
started to scream and shout and fight them with an unexpected ferocity.
Wufei had tried to calm everyone, but the din got louder and louder, as
Duo struggled and Quatre screamed and Heero bellowed and Zechs shouted
for everyone to calm down while Trowa continued to slowly die, his blood
staining the white bandage the medics had fastened over his chest.
He’d finally solved the problem by walking over to Heero and punching
him as hard as he could across the jaw. That had silenced the Japanese
man for just a moment, but it was long enough for Wufei to hit him again,
knocking him to floor. He planted his foot firmly on Heero’s chest as
he ordered the doctors to take Trowa to surgery. He’d wearily granted
his permission for them to sedate Quatre and Duo long enough to treat
them. He’d forced himself to listen to them scream until the drugs took
effect, made himself watch as they were restrained, their arms tied to
the cold metal of the hospital beds, various needles stuck into their
And Wufei knew that he had failed them. Failed all of them. He hadn’t
stopped Duo from leaving or Quatre from destroying himself or Trowa from
being hurt. He hadn’t protected Treize or Zechs from anything they’d suffered
over the last eight years, and he hadn’t helped Heero bear any of the
things they’d had to endure tonight.
He pushed on, trying to ignore the bitter taste his failure had left in
his mouth. He’d instructed that everyone be brought to the large ward,
had ordered that Treize’s bed be placed at the end of the ward, so he
and Zechs could have a little privacy to talk. He spoke to doctor after
doctor, outlining what had happened to Duo and Quatre so the men could
determine how best to treat them. He had signed medical releases and treatment
waivers and payment information. He’d authorized IVs and prescriptions.
He’d ordered an icepack for Heero’s swollen jaw and blackened eye. He’d
let Une in, and given a detailed report about everything that had transpired,
giving his opinion on what parts of the story should be released to the
And all the time, he’d been terribly, horribly aware of the empty space
between Treize’s bed and Duo’s.
He’d stood between Duo and Quatre, staring down at the pale sleeping faces,
lightly stroking the backs of their hands, careful not to jar the needles
through which dripped pain medication and sedatives and nutrients. He’d
held Heero up, and found a chair for the other man, insisting he sit and
rest while they waited for news of Trowa.
Hours had gone by. Zechs had crossed to them, telling them in a low voice
that Treize had fallen asleep, and asking after the others.
He’d had nothing to tell. Quatre and Duo still slept under the effects
of the drugs, and Trowa still was gone.
Finally the doctors had come, their faces gray and weary, eyes serious
Trowa was alive, sleeping.
But they didn’t know if he would wake up. The odds, apparently, were against
Wufei had listened to their explanations and provisos and the carefully
couched phrases by which they told him that his... friend? Lover? Companion?...that
Trowa was probably going to die.
They were bringing him out, they told them. So he could be with them.
It might help, they allowed.
They didn’t say that not much could hurt, at this point. But it was clearly
He was wheeled out, his bed pushed into the empty spot, monitors and medicine
stands and machines of all kinds hooked up to his helpless body. His face
was stark white, and his hair looked redder than usual as it stood out
in sharp contrast to the white of the sheets and the abnormal pallor of
Heero had stared down at Trowa’s still body for a long time, not speaking.
Zechs had crossed and tried to pull him away, but the Japanese man refused
to leave. He stared fiercely down at the former acrobat, glaring at him,
seeming to try to force him to live, trying to will him to recover.
Zechs had stood there with him for a long time, then turned and crossed
back to Treize. The last Wufei had looked over there, the blond had been
sitting in a chair pulled up to the side of the bed, his face resting
on Treize’s mattress.
By then, nothing had seemed real to Wufei. It had been too much, too long.
Too much suffering, too much pain... too much loss and failure.
He’d crossed the room, trying to give himself a little distance, knowing
that he had to stay together for all of them...
And now he wasn’t sure he could. He focused on the warmth of Relena’s
hand clasped over his, as he tried to absorb what she was saying to him.
“... know that this is all awful. But you aren’t alone in it, Wufei.”
“Are you listening?” she asked gently. He forced himself to look up at
her, shaking his head to clear it.
“I said, you’re not alone,” she repeated, smiling at him. “I’m here to
“There’s nothing you can do, Relena,” he said flatly. “There’s nothing
to do now, just wait, and... ”
“And fix everything?” she finished softly as his voice trailed off. She
sighed, shaking her head. “It’s not your fault,” she told him bluntly,
her voice suddenly very direct.
He looked up, startled.
“It’s not,” she insisted, nodding firmly.
“I know,” he said automatically. “It’s... ”
“No, you don’t,” she interrupted, a small smile softening the abruptness
of the words. “You all always blame yourselves when anything goes wrong,
or anyone makes a mistake. You and Heero are the worst of the lot,” she
added. “So I know you’re both sure that everything that happened is your
“Why don’t you go talk to him then?” he suggested curtly. “I’m sure he’ll...
“I’m sure he’ll want me to go the hell away too,” she agreed calmly, tacitly
acknowledging the unspoken command for her to leave him alone. Acknowledging
and ignoring it, Wufei noted wryly. “But I’m hoping you’ll listen to reason
more quickly, so he can wait.”
Wufei sighed. “This mission was a fiasco,” he told her plainly. “It was
poorly thought out, rushed, badly executed... and this last operation...
sucked,” he finished, striving but unable to find a more polished way
to explain what happened.
“It was the best you could all do,” Relena corrected gently.
“If that’s the best we could do, I don’t think anyone should be relying
on us for anything from now on,” he snapped.
“Probably, we shouldn’t,” she agreed, surprisingly. “Not because you failed,
but because you shouldn’t have to do anything like this ever again,” she
continued before he could even register the shock he’d felt at her seeming
Wufei groaned harshly. “It doesn’t matter, Relena,” he said wearily. “All
that matters is we messed it up, and... ”
“How did you mess it up?” she demanded reasonably. “The Order is defeated,
its leaders are all dead or captured, its slaves are in protective custody
and will be released, raids are going on at hundreds of their properties
all over the world and in the colonies as we speak, and... ”
“How did I mess up?” he repeated incredulously. “There were seven of us,
counting Treize, and four of us are there!” he growled, gesturing
again at the row of beds.
“Seven,” Relena mused. “Just like there were seven of them... ”
Wufei rolled his eyes. “They were the Seven Against Thebes. What are we?”
he demanded sarcastically. “The Seven Wonders of the World
? The Seven Dwarves? The Seven Sacred Virgins... ”
“Hardly,” Relena snorted. “I’ve been around the lot of you I
know what you do with your time. I just think it’s interesting that...
“The Seven Heavens?” he ranted on. “The Seven Ages of Man? The Seven...
“I was thinking more about the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly
Virtues,” Relena interrupted mildly.
It was Wufei’s turn to snort. “You sound like that guy we just got rid
of,” he accused, scowling. “Reading too much into everything. Try to make
things more... ”
“I wonder which ones you are,” Relena speculated, ignoring the insults.
“If you say I’m gluttony, so help me, Relena, I don’t care if you’re a
queen, I’ll... ”
“You aren’t the Sins,” she snapped, frowning at him. “They
were. You’re the Virtues.”
Wufei rolled his eyes again.
“You’re justice, of course,” she said easily. “Quatre’s probably charity,
Duo’s faith... ”
“Heero’s fortitude, and Trowa... ”
“I don’t think you have any takers for temperance or prudence, though,”
Wufei pointed out to her wryly.
“My brother didn’t get laid for eight years he’d probably fit for temperance,”
Relena reminded him earnestly. He stared at her, and she burst out laughing.
“You should see your face,” she chuckled. “You think I didn’t know? I
know everything that goes on in Sanc, Wufei, especially when it concerns
people I care about.”
“Don’t tell me,” he interrupted hastily. “I don’t want to know. I’m happier
in my ignorance, I’m sure, and... ”
“You’re not happy now,” she conceded, her mood suddenly dimming. “But
you will be, Wufei.”
He stared at her, knocked off balance by the sudden shift of mood. “I...
I don’t know, Relena. I don’t think... I don’t think it’ll ever be right
again,” he admitted unhappily, looking away as he forced himself to acknowledge
the thought that had been torturing him for months.
“It will,” she assured him positively.
“Trowa... Trowa might not... ” Wufei swallowed hard, the lump in his throat
threatening to choke him. “Trowa might not even wake up, Relena, he’s...
“He’s strong,” Relena interrupted gently. “He’s strong, Wufei,
and he has a lot to live for.”
Wufei shook his head. “And Quatre... I don’t know, Relena. Quatre... just...
broke, and... ”
“And we’ll help him get better,” she interrupted firmly, nodding her head.
“And Duo... ”
“It won’t be easy,” she conceded. “But we can help them. And they can
help you, Wufei. And you can let them do that,” she told him gently, squeezing
his hand meaningfully. “You need to let them do that,” she continued.
“You don’t have to bear the burden alone.”
“They aren’t a burden,” he flared. “They’re... ”
“People you love. I know,” she nodded. “But... ” She stopped, frowning
at him. “What?” she demanded, cocking her head to the side in confusion
under his sudden stare. “What’s wrong? What... ”
“They’re not a burden,” he said, hearing how strained his voice sounded.
“But they’re... they aren’t... I mean, we aren’t... ”
She frowned, trying to follow him as he stuttered. Her brow cleared, and
she huffed in exasperation as she finally realized what he was trying
to say. “For Pete’s sake,” she scolded. “You all still havn’t gotten
that far? You need to... ”
“That’s not... what we have,” Wufei insisted tightly. “We... ”
“Oh, really,” Relena interrupted disbelievingly.
Wufei scowled. “Really,” he maintained adamantly. “We don’t have that
sort of relationship. We... ”
“You live together. Sleep together. Spend time together. Feel each other’s
pain, share each other’s joys. You worry about each other, and try to
help each other, and blame yourselves if the other is hurt, and fight
for each other and are willing to die for each other and... ”
“Yes!” Wufei interrupted loudly, glaring furiously at her. “But that doesn’t
mean that we... ”
“I hate to disappoint you,” Relena interjected, even more loudly, “but
it does mean that. It means you love each other,” she contended,
hanging tightly to his hand as he tried to pull it away. “It does.”
Wufei stared at her. She was wrong. She had to be wrong. Love wasn’t something
he was looking for, wasn’t even something he wanted. He’d had it, and
had lost it, and never, never wanted to set himself up for that
He looked away from her, across the room, to the four beds lined in a
And remembered the agony that had seared him when he thought he’d killed
Treize, and the elation and guilt he’d experienced when he’d discovered
he still lived.
He stared at Zechs’ bent head and recalled the confusion that had surrounded
his interactions with the blond for so many years, and the sense of pleasure
and relief he’d felt when they’d worked out their secrets.
He thought about the wrenching sense of loss and pain he’d felt when he
saw Trowa lying on the ground, covered in blood, and the fear that still
pulsed through him with every stutter of the monitor hanging over the
unconscious man’s bed.
He remembered the anger and hurt he’d felt when he realized Duo had left
them, and the guilt and panic that accompanied their discovery that Duo
had been taken in by the Order.
He shivered with the worry he felt for Quatre, and the pain he felt for
the other man’s suffering.
He watched Heero as he bent and leaned his head against Trowa’s forehead,
and felt his heart ache with the empathy and caring he felt for this strong
man who offered them all so much, and wanted nothing in return but assurance
that they cared for him too.
He looked back at Relena, and she was smiling at him.
“Damn it,” he whispered. “Damn you,” he told her heatedly. “Why
did you have to make this harder, Relena?” he demanded as she stared at
him, surprised. “I can’t... I can’t... do that. I can’t be with
them if... ”
“You’re going to leave them because you realized you love
them?” she demanded in amazement.
He felt himself flush. “I don’t... I don’t,” he insisted tightly.
The Queen of Sanc sighed theatrically. “You do so,” she repeated loudly.
“And they love you.”
“They do not... ”
“Stop arguing with me,” she snapped. “It’s obvious. It’s been
obvious, to anyone and everyone who knows you, for years and years.
And stop glaring at me,” she added, frowning reprovingly at him. “It’s
not my fault if you’re all emotionally retarded and can’t tell
each other how you feel... ”
“Why are you doing this?” he interrupted. “If you’re trying to make me
feel better, I have to tell you, Relena, that you’re failing miserably...
“I’m trying,” she said archly, “to show you what you all have.
What Trowa has to live for, and Quatre, and what will bring Duo back.
You wouldn’t get through this if you didn’t have that,” she allowed. “But
you do, Wufei. You’re so... lucky. All of you,” she said, her eyes wistful.
“Even though everything is so awful now, you’re all so lucky. You have
love, in such abundance. That’s what makes you all so strong. And
that’s what will get you through this.”
He looked away, unable to hold that steady blue gaze. “Relena... ”
“And I love all of you too,” she told him, reaching out and grasping his
chin, pulling his gaze back to hers. “And I will help too. You
aren’t all fifteen and alone, anymore. You’ll never be alone again. And
it’s about time you all realized that.” She stood up, bent down and kissed
him on the cheek, then turned and crossed the room to Heero’s side.
Wufei watched her go, bemused.
She couldn’t be right. He’d sworn that he wouldn’t love again, that he
He thought of Meiran, and thought of the others.
What he had felt for her was different than what he felt toward them.
But had it been stronger? Weaker? Or was it just different?
Wufei leaned back, resting his head against the wall behind the chair,
and closed his eyes. It had all been too much. He couldn’t process anything
more without a moment’s stillness, some silence, some time to rest and
He felt himself drifting away, felt a merciful numbness surround him...
But before he fell into unconscious, Relena’s voice drifted through his
You’ll never be alone again. And it’s about time you all realized that
It wasn’t true it couldn’t be true. But it was such a... nice thought.
It was comforting, and seductive, and Wufei held onto it as he drifted
off to sleep.
[part 22] [part 24] [back
to Shoori's fic]