Quatre and Wufei?  Oh yeah, they're in this story too, aren't they?  Well...here they are.  Aren't they cute?

by: Shoori

I Know Who I Want... + Part 5

"Would you quit fussing?" I demand, softening the acerbic command with a small smile when he turns to look at me.

He smiles back, and allows the curtain to fall back over the window he'd been peering out of, and crosses the room to join me on the couch.

I ponder reminding him that he really shouldn't be positioning himself next to windows anyway, but decide against it as he settles against me, letting his head drop on my shoulder with a small sigh.

Heero, Duo and Trowa are officially late to lunch. Only about five minutes, so far, but enough to make Quatre worry.

Of course, everything makes Quatre worry anymore.

He lifts his head off of my shoulder and smiles up at me, probably having caught the waves of my concern for him.

"I'm just excited about seeing them," he explains. "It's been a long time."

It has been. It's been a year since we've seen our team members, and it seems longer. Somehow, the last war connected us all back to each other, more strongly than we had been connected in years - maybe, more strongly than we'd ever been connected.

Never before had we really examined the bonds that hold all five of us together. When we thought that Trowa, and then Duo, were dead, we all had to face how much we all mean to each other. And I don't think, as a result, that we will ever be quite the same.

But, after Trowa recovered from the horrible injuries he'd sustained as a prisoner of war, the three of them needed some time alone. They needed to come to terms with everything that had happened to them, individually and as a group, and learn to be with each other.

So, Quatre gave them that. He gave them a peaceful place to stay, and the tranquility and time to work out the issues that needed to be worked out between them.

He doesn't begrudge them that, and neither do I. Quatre and I are very lucky in that we managed to deal with the ugliness in our pasts before being forced to do so by an external crisis. But Quatre and I are in many ways luckier than our three comrades. We grew up with a degree of stability that they could only dream of, with families who, if they put incredibly heavy burdens on us at times, also surrounded us with an equally fierce love. We had a foundation early in life which the others just weren't able to build, and that foundation is there to hold us up in times of crisis, and to help us face ourselves in times of peace.

Quatre wanted to leave them on the island until they asked to return. He said they would only stay there as long as they needed to, and when they were ready, they would come home. If they didn't want to return, he insisted, they weren't ready to do so.

I'm sure he's right. Quatre knows and understands a lot more about the workings of the human heart than I do.

But I know a lot more about Quatre than Quatre does. He's always so busy worrying about the feelings of other people that he rarely stops to examine his own. And Quatre needs them to be back.

While Heero, Duo and Trowa have been slowly healing on a tropical island, Quatre, and to a lesser extent, I, have been navigating one of the world's murkiest swamps - the world political center at the Sanc Kingdom.

The greatest debate has centered around the fate of the Preventers, and that debate has become the cover issue for many other struggles.

At its most simplistic, this debate has two sides. Relena, as Queen of Sanc, and riding on her laurels as the world's foremost pacifist authority, has been adamant that she, and a council of her choosing, should hold authority within the Preventers. She's called upon everything from the Peacecraft family's history of peaceful opposition to violence to her experience as Vice-Minister to demonstrate the rightness of her position.

Her chief opposition has come from a man from the American nation, named Thomas Dufasion. Dufasion contends that the Preventer Agency should not be formally allied with any nation, as its purpose is protection of the entire world, including the colonies. They should be supported by monies levied from all sovereign states and colonies, and run by an impartial, experienced controller, chosen by direct vote by representatives of all those groups, upon recommendations from high-ranking officers within the Preventers themselves.

Dufasion believes that Une is uniquely qualified to head the Preventers. Relena wants Une gone, probably because of both her connection to us, and the reluctance that Une has shown to be controlled by the Queen of Sanc.

Both sides have set up an elaborate system of checks and balances, in an attempt to ensure - as much as possible - that control of the organization is not too concentrated in any one individual.

However, after examining the plan, Quatre and I have come to the conclusion that Dufasion's plan is much more equitable. He's drawing on the socio-political background of the American state, trying to spread control over many groups. Relena's plan is firmly based on the tradition of the European continent's monarchies, with one clear leader.

It's a given, of course, to Relena at least, that noone is better suited for that position than Relena herself.

And Relena has become frighteningly unbalanced in the last year.

When she realized that Heero hadn't returned from the war, and as we steadfastly declined to tell her where he was or how to contact him, she erupted in rage. She heaped threats on Quatre ranging from fines and incarceration to expulsion from Sanc. He politely tried to diffuse her anger. I laughed. He was rather put out with me.

But from then on, Relena has obviously counted both of us among her enemies. Quatre is exhausted with trying to outguess her. Most of her attacks on us have revolved around his business empire - she tried to undermine stockholder confidence in his empire, knock down values, buy up a majority share of stock…I had no idea the woman was so fiscally knowledgeable.

But she picked the wrong opponent. Quatre's gift for strategy is as developed in the boardroom as on the battlefield. At this point, his family business is stronger than ever, and that parent corporation has a stranglehold on every major industrial concern in the Sanc Kingdom. Relena isn't aware of it yet, but a good forty-seven percent of her industrial tax base is comprised of companies in which Quatre is the major stockholder. If he wanted, he could bring the Sanc Kingdom to its knees.

He won't. He's used front companies and alternate accounts to do all this, and hasn't made Relena aware of it because he's not trying to gain control of her kingdom or manipulate her politically by threatening her kingdom's economy. He's just trying to protect his own interests, and the interests of the company that employs all his sisters and their husbands, all of the Maguanacs, and millions and millions of people on earth and in the colonies.

Relena hasn't stopped at attacking Quatre. She became very frustrated when she discovered that there wasn't much she could do to me - the holdings I'd inherited from my clan, which are incredibly minor when compared to Quatre's empire, are all invested in cultural programs in the Chinese nation, and in rebuilding efforts in several of the L5 colonies. Quatre helped me set up these programs over two years ago, when I became aware that I did have an inheritance. I am fully able to provide for myself; I didn't need the money. So, I tried to direct it into ventures of which my clan would have approved. I think they would be pleased with what the legacy of the Chang Family is accomplishing.

Her attacks on Une have been non-ending. She's dragged up the woman's history with OZ, insinuated questions about her relationship with Treize, and even drew attention to her mental illness during the war. Every decision that Une has made as head of the Preventers was questioned - Relena even demanded, and got, a council formed to examine all Preventer actions in the last six years. Most cruelly, Relena even attempted to have Une's guardianship of Mariemaya revoked. Fortunately, Treize Kushrenada fully realized the possible consequences of the playboy lifestyle that he had followed in his youth before deciding that taking over the world was more fun than taking over this season's debutantes. Therefore, he had specifically provided in his will that if any offspring of his were to surface after his death, and their relation to him could be proven through DNA testing, Une was to stand in his stead as a custodial parent.

None of her failures has caused Relena to back down, however. Whenever she has met with opposition she has become more angry, more determined, more obsessed in her need to win this struggle for control. The leading proponent of pacifism has become as power-mad as any Romefeller scion ever was. It is…sad to see.

But for all her maneuvering, she has not been able to destroy Dufasion's faction. He's won battles equal to her own victories - she succeeded in having Une's decisions questioned, he succeeded in keeping Une in her position as Preventers head throughout this whole debacle. They've gone back and forth, lost an inch and gained a yard, for a year. In the process, they've acquired numerous supporters for their respective sides. But still, their factions are almost exactly equal in size, and the undecided group within the World Council is huge - bigger than either side.

Quatre and I are both official members of the World Council, he as a representative for several L4 colonies, I as a representative for three L5 colonies.

I was not thrilled at that particular development. But they are the colonies that made up the cluster within which my colony had been placed, and they asked me to serve as the cluster representative, a position that my grandfather had held. It was a gesture of respect to me and my family, and was additionally the only real way in which I could materially help Quatre in this struggle, so I could not refuse.

Our status as Gundam pilots, and our support of Dufasion's plan, has helped lure many people to the American's side. However, Relena's smear campaigns, which have painted Quatre as the epitome of big business interests, have caused some of the smaller nations and colonies to be a bit wary of us.

We've done all that we can alone. We need help.

Specifically, we need Heero. He is the most recognized of all of us, and is personally known to many members of the World Council, who respect the work he did as Consort. However, every day he's gone with no word to his wife wears away at that reputation. He needed to come back before people really started believing that he had cruelly abandoned Relena without a word.

Which he did, in a way. That needs to be dealt with too, before Relena looses all touch with sanity. I believe that her need to get revenge on Heero is causing most of her irrational behavior. They need to resolve what is between them, or the entire world could end up suffering due to a marriage gone bad.

We don't need just Heero, though. The five of us, the pilots who fought to save the world time and again, are an effective PR tool. Seeing us united as one behind the Dufasion faction would help a lot of people come to a decision.

We'd realized all this some time ago, though, and were still reluctant to call Heero, Duo and Trowa away. They've done enough for the world. They deserved some time to themselves.

But a piece of news that a grim-faced Une shared with us two weeks ago changed all that. Through all this political upheaval Une has been calmly doing her job, monitoring all ships entering or leaving earth, dealing with peace-keeping situations and following up on any and all information that might indicate an attempt by anyone at breaking the peace.

She was obviously reluctant to share this information with us, but felt she had to. She's been tracking down people involved in the last war, trying to be sure that they had all been eradicated. She'd thought we'd been very successful. But now, she had just the slightest hint that maybe, perhaps, we hadn't been as successful as we thought.

It wasn't much, as she had assured us. There wasn't anything in the way of concrete proof; there was almost nothing at all. But what there was was enough to set Une's well-developed instincts on edge.

We may not have destroyed the White Fang.

That's not too surprising in and of itself. Fanatics never go away - they hang on in the face of the most overwhelming odds, because the ideal in which they believe is more important that their own lives.

We should know.

But Une feels that, perhaps, this survival indicates that White Fang had a much larger role in the last uprising than we realized. If they're allowed to slowly build up again…well, we could have another war.

That day we sent for the others.

Quatre argued against it. But I was adamant. This problem with the Preventers needs to be settled, and now, if there is any possibility that White Fang is attempting to rebuild and cause yet another insurrection. We just can't afford to wait any longer.

So, we've pulled the other three away. Yet again, they're being forced to sacrifice themselves for the world.

"Wufei?" Quatre calls loudly, startling me from my thoughts.

I shake my head slightly, clearing it. "Yes?" I ask, my arm tightening slightly around him.

"Did we do the right thing?" he asks, a worried expression on his face.

I don't answer for a moment, and he takes my silence for hesitation. Groaning, he pushes himself to his feet and begins to pace around the room, mumbling to himself.

I take advantage of the opportunity to watch him move. Quatre is no longer the small, waif-like child he once was. In fact, at an inch over six feet in height, he's the tallest of us next to Trowa. He's still slim, but it's not the smooth, childlike slimness of his youth - I can see the muscles move in his back as he waves his arms around, still muttering under his breath.

"What are you grinning at?" he demands of me suddenly, startling me again.

I blink. "You talking to yourself," I tell him calmly, smiling at him.

He frowns at me, but I see the amusement in his blue eyes. "At least I answer myself," he retorts pointedly.

I shake my head. "We did the right thing," I tell him bluntly. "They had to come back. This is a mess. We did our part, Quatre. There is no shame in needing their help."

He sighs, and drops into a chair. "I suppose," he grumbles.

"I wish they could have stayed too," I say more gently. "But they need to be here. Heero must deal with Relena," I point out. I sigh. "We all have responsibilities, Quatre. They have them too. They had to come back."

He looks at me, his eyes troubled. "I still don't think we should…" he begins.

I shake my head firmly. "We can't begin by lying to them," I say.

"It's not lying," he insists. "It's just…not mentioning all of the facts."

I shake my head. "We can't hide the fact that White Fang may be regrouping," I tell him firmly.

"Trowa was just a prisoner of those people," he reminds me. "It might really…damage him to know they're still around."

‘Trowa's a lot stronger than all of you give him credit for," I disagree. "He's not going to fall apart to find out there are bad people in the world."

"Let me see how they are first," he entreats. "If they're ready to know it. I will tell them if they seem…ok."

I sigh. I suppose that this isn't an unreasonable request. It may be a good idea to allow them a bit of time to become reacclimated to the world rather than heaping everything on them at once.

"All right," I concede. "If they aren't ready to hear it, we won't tell them yet. You decide."

He smiles gratefully at me, and moves back to his earlier position beside me on the couch.

"Thank you, Wufei," he murmurs, raising his face to mine.

I kiss him slowly at first, them more deeply, feeling desire and need for him rise in my body as I taste him. We haven't had nearly as much time together lately as I would like.

"I have an idea," I murmur against his mouth.

"Mmmm?" he inquires, his tongue sliding along my lower lip.

"Now that Heero, Duo and Trowa are back," I suggest, "let's leave them to sort all this out, and we'll go spend a year on a tropical island."

[part 4] [part 6] [back to Shoori's fic]