Greetings, ff.net friends.

This is my first piece for GW in a very long time, but I hope someone will enjoy it and possibly even leave an encouraging review here, too. In case anyone would like to see more of my pieces for Wufei or the rest of the cast of that great series, feel free to look for my work at GWAddiction.com where far too many options in both pairings and ratings await you.

Enjoy the Angst!

E-sama

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Title: Reason to Smile

Author: Enigma

Written: June 9, 2003

Rating: PG-13

Pairings: (5+3)-past [(1+2) (4+6)]-present

Category: Yaoi Angst. AC201-OOC. Giftfic.

Archive: GW Addiction, Sweet&Sweet, & Hugs 'n Kisses [penname: Enigma] fanfiction.net & mediaminer.org [penname: E-sama the Llama]

Warnings: yaoi, angst, first person POV, slightly crude language. AC201-OOC. Giftfic for Spite the Wufei Worshipper.

Spoilers: This story contains spoilers for basically all of the anime including the original series as well as "Endless Waltz" but ignores the manga entirely.

Disclaimer: "Gundam Wing" belongs to Bandai, Sunrise, and the Sotsu Agency. This unauthorized and unpaid work of fanfiction is intended for entertainment only; kindly do not sue me.

Notes: It's been five years since Wufei has heard from or seen a former lover, yet thoughts of Trowa are uppermost in his mind on his twenty-first birthday.

*****

"Happy birthday, Captain Chang!" A voice I don't recognize calls to me from the open doorway to my office.

Glancing up with an undoubtedly stony expression on my face, I discover it is yet another wet behind the ears recruit that Lucrezia has brought on board here at Preventers HQ and I reply, "Thanks, kid. Now get back to work."

To his credit, the guy just salutes me and keeps smiling before going off to do as he was told. Unlike certain people around here, at least the newbies know their places and do their duties without arguing with me. Too bad I can't say the same for the people who've known me the longest.

With a sigh, I lean back in my chair and turn my attention to the window overlooking the city park on the other side of the street. The view is nice if you care about sunshine, green grass, and happy children with their mothers playing the day away, but to me, it might as well not even be there at all. The man that I wish I could see isn't there and he never will be.

I sigh again and just close my eyes. It's easier to block out the world that way.

My thoughts wander back to the last time I saw Trowa and I wonder if the ache in my heart shows on my face or not. But then I remember that I'm well known for only having two expressions these days--bored or pissed off--and I assume it doesn't, based on that.

When *was* the last time I smiled? Rather, when was the last time I even had a *reason* to smile?

As I recall the determined look in deep green eyes as lips I'd once fervently kissed lied to me pointblank so that Trowa could gain access to one of Dekim Barton's mobile suits and use it to help defeat Mariemaya's forces, I realize that might have been it. Yes, there may have been a time or two when things with Preventers were new and exciting that I might've felt like it, but beyond that, I doubt I've truly smiled in five long years.

In retrospect, I shouldn't be surprised that Trowa found it so easy to lie to me that day.

After all, I was the one who lost his mind on the battlefield and basically vanished after that bastard Khushrenada forced me to kill him the way that he did. Leaving one's first and only lover should never be something done precipitously, yet in the madness of the moment, I didn't see things that clearly. The year after that which I spent trying to find a way to rationalize my own continued existence as well as that of a civilization filled with injustice and cruelty was one in which no one could've found me and my unexplained silence must have hurt him deeply.

Come to think of it, I would guess the last time that I smiled at him and he smiled just for me was that last night together onboard the "Peacemillion".

Making love so tenderly in a nearly weightless environment might've made anyone smile, but it was the fact that we were young and foolish enough to think we were building a peaceful future for humanity as well as ourselves that made the difference.

Oh, if only I'd known what the future held back then and I could've reached out to him *before* he turned away from me for good.

I can't help sighing deeply and wishing for a way to retrace my steps so that he hadn't hardened his heart against me so fully that he would refuse my messages. Even though I stopped sending them last year since there was never a response, to this day I wish he'd at least written back even once. Even if it had only been to tell me to leave him alone and let him get on with his life, to at least know he would deign to speak to me in any fashion might've helped me not to become so damned bitter about everything.

"Chang?"

I force my eyes open and turn my head enough to see Sally's husband standing at my door with an envelope in his hand. Trying to sound at least semi-sociable, I reply, "Yes? What do you need, Lee?"

Stepping in far enough to hand me the envelope, he tells me, "Sally asked me to give this to you. She'd rather have come herself, but with the baby due soon, the obstetrician doesn't want her driving."

Accepting what I know will be a card urging me to at least try to enjoy my official coming-of-age day, I answer, "I understand. Please tell her 'thank you' for me and good luck with the baby. This is your second, right?"

Smiling that megawatt "I'm about to be a daddy again" smile that makes my heart feel even colder, he tells me, "No, this is our third. Well, I've got to run. My lunch break from the infirmary is almost over."

"Not a problem. Take care," I add distantly even as he nods and disappears once more.

After considering closing my door just to be left to my thoughts and deciding that's too much trouble since it won't keep people away, I sigh again and consider what it might be like to have a child in my life. How wonderful it would be to hear a small voice calling to me and relying on me for love, food, and care. Having children was something Trowa always talked about a lot. He wanted a big family, lots of kids, a dog or a cat, and a nice big house for us all to live in.

Maybe that's what's changed. Maybe he found a wife that could give him kids like the ones I can see playing in the park? That's certainly something I could never have done for him and even though he wished he could be the hero of some male-pregnancy fantasy, that's just impossible even in this day and age.

When we were stupidly idealistic enough to believe in fairy tales, our whole team always talked about adopting some of the war orphans and making a huge, happy family together. But what did we Gundam pilots know about the real world back then? Not much. We were just kids and never talked realistically about money even though Quatre always said we'd all live together on one of his estates and he'd get Winner Corp to cover everything.

Hell, he and Milliardo are living that way right this minute, but that was never really an option for someone like myself and Trowa no doubt was drawn back to the circus anyway. Neither was it one for Maxwell or Yuy. They both had trouble putting things back together after the Eve War reminded them they were better off together than apart, but still. They need more privacy than our little social butterfly blond ever gave them, so it was no wonder when Anne brought those two into Preventers.

But speaking of privacy, I ought to go close that door after all. Maybe getting up and moving around a little will help me get my mind back on my work instead of sitting here sighing and thinking about times gone by and opportunities missed.

"You know, Wu," a voice that makes me wish I'd closed that door a minute sooner says, "you sure sigh a lot these days."

Rolling my eyes since he'd worry if I didn't, I cast an annoyed gaze at the lanky American currently lounging against the frame of my door as if it were a wall in a bar and then I ask acerbically, "Do I, Maxwell? More so now than when we were still children playing at being warriors?"

Shaking his head at me and causing that damned meter-plus-long braid of his to twitch like a tail, Duo gave me his standard response, "We weren't just playing and you know that." Taking a step inside and then dropping all six feet of his admittedly well developed body into one of the visitor's chairs facing my desk, he then adds fairly gently, "But I didn't come here today to chew the fat about either of the declared wars we both fought in or even some of the small undeclared ones Une has dumped on us since then. What I came here for is see what you were up to. See if maybe by some miracle you were actually in a good mood since it's your twenty-first birthday and all."

The self-derisive snort that I make comes to me so naturally now that I almost don't notice making it before I reply as I turn towards my window once more, "Why on earth should *that* make me feel better, Maxwell? It only serves to remind me that I'm getting older and am just as alone now as I have been since…" My words trail off because I simply can't bring myself to admit what we both know is the truth. Gods, I truly despise myself for being so weak at times.

Even though I can't see him, I can tell by the rustle of fabric that Duo's leaning towards me now and I'm quite certain he has that sad smile he wears seemingly only for me as he says quietly, "You really miss Trowa, don't you?"

It hurts, but I force myself to admit, "You know that I do. But…" Again I can't force myself to finish a sentence. Damn Duo for coming here and damn him for making me say these things.

"But since he never wrote back in response to any of your messages after the Eve War, you figure he wants nothing to do with you, right?"

Against my will, my voice is losing some of its strength, but I agree, "Of course."

There's that damned rustling of fabric again, but I refuse to turn and look as he offers a conjecture I've heard before and no more believe just sitting here than I did the first time I heard it. "But what if he never even got those messages, Wu? What if Catherine intercepted them because she thought he shouldn't be with you and he's not had a clue you've been brokenhearted about what happened?"

I clear my throat and try to deny the tightness I feel there as I keep my face averted and reply more quietly than I intended to, "What if? It doesn't matter anymore."

"Why do you say that?"

Trying to distract him from the topic by reminding him that my own hair has grown in five years even if my body really hasn't, I pull the tie from the tail that now runs more than halfway down my back and toss it blindly at my desk. I know he's always had a weird fascination with my hair and Yuy once even threatened to chop it off since it distracted his lover too much.

With a small sigh and a continued refusal to look at him, I answer, "If he wanted to be a part of my life, I'm sure I would've heard from him by now. Like it or not, I'm a high profile officer in the Preventers, aren't I? We're easy to find."

"But you two never cleared up that stuff about your post-war Houdini act." Duo's voice seems to have a slight shift in pitch as if maybe the deliberate hair ploy has worked and I feel minutely better hiding behind my eyelids even as he adds, "Maybe if he knew you never stopped loving him, it might make a difference?"

With another of the sighs I seem unable to control, I mentally damn my best friend once more to the depths of whatever hell a shinigami might find uncomfortable and refuse to answer. Hmm… it sounds like Duo's about ready to give up judging by the way he's fidgeting in his seat. Wondering what he's done to his uniform to make it rustle so much is driving me crazy, though.

With a huff, he prods me with, "Or have you given up, Wu? Can you actually tell me here and now that you don't love the guy to this very day and are carrying a torch for him bigger than the Statue of Liberty's?"

Sighing loud and long while adding several wishes for a torture similar to Sisyphus' to be added to Duo's soul's eternal imprisonment, I give in and say, "Yes, Maxwell, I still love Trowa. Not that it's any business of yours, of course."

I can almost see his over-bright smile as once again he's proven himself right and myself a fool. Then, instead of a reply, I hear him rise to his feet and head to the door before calling over his shoulder, "By the way, you ought to know it's rude to keep your eyes closed when you have guests, Wufei."

"'Guests'?" I echo in surprise due to the plural being used instead of the singular. I then finally open my eyes in time to see that Duo's noisy clothes had been a deliberate diversion so I'd not realize that he was concealing the arrival of what was easily the finest or possibly the most horrifying of birthday gifts.

As my eyes go wide and my heart starts to race, I feel like I'm falling into twin pools of emerald even though one is partially concealed by a cascade of familiar auburn bangs and a voice that has deepened with age greets me saying, "Hello, Fei. Happy birthday."

Words fail me entirely as I stare at a vision standing just inside my office door that I thought I'd have the honor of seeing only in my dreams throughout the rest of my miserable life.

Lightly brushing his bangs aside and offering me that small somehow innocent smile he kept despite the horrors we'd both been through between the wars, the zero system, and so much worse during his painful childhood, he adds, "You're looking well. I'm glad."

A tenderness I'd not seen since that final, unforgettable night together then graces his exquisite features and fills me with a sense of hope that I'd thought was impossible to recapture. Now I know beyond questioning that he has forgiven me all of my sins and that if I can do the same, we should be able to rebuild the paradise that I had thought was lost forever.

Suddenly yet somehow slowly, I feel the corners of my mouth lift in an expression that had been absent from them for so very long. As I rise to go to him and he welcomes me with open arms, I am unaware of my lack of words in response. All that I am truly aware of is that I once again have a reason to smile and I will not lack one ever again.

~owari~

Author's Notes:

[1] This short piece is dedicated to my good friend and fellow Wufei-lover, Spite! She helped brighten an otherwise depressing birthday week by creating a simply delightful image of Trowa and Wufei together that she surprised me with which can be seen and drooled over at: . It was a magnificent gift and I wanted to say "thank you" with something a little more substantial than a mere email or comment in her LiveJournal. I hope she enjoyed this and I thank her yet again for her kindness.

[2] To all of my GW fans who are wondering where I've been for the last year and a half, well, my muses and I have been busy in the worlds of "Weiss Kreuz", "Saiyuki", "Earthian", and a few other places most of which can be discovered at ff.net and mm.org. Sadly, I don't have any immediate plans for more GW pieces, but if there's enough support for this new venture after so terribly long, that could change.

[3] As far as the backstory here goes, I sincerely hope I made it clear in the narrative, but since I fear that I haven't, here is a narrative summary since it's easier to write than first person is. At the end of the first war, as per the original series, Wufei vanished into space after killing Treize and I've added the twist that he basically hid somewhere and nursed a minor case of dementia. At the same time, Trowa who was devastated by Wufei's disappearance, went back to the circus and waited for his missing lover to return. Eventually, Trowa's heart broke thinking Wufei had deliberately left him behind and by the time they were reunited during the Eve War, he had already begun hardening his heart towards his former lover. After they were separated once again, Trowa had second thoughts, but Catherine couldn't allow him to go through so much pain all over again and intercepted and eliminated all of Wufei's messages to Trowa. After watching his best friend sink into a self-destructive extended state of depression, Duo intervened and had Heero locate Trowa for him so he could be invited to surprise our birthday celebrant. As to what happens after this, I leave it to the fertile imaginations of all the kind readers who took the time to read this lengthy explanation.

[4] My angst muse, Melpomene, and my romance muse, Erato, worked together to create this short piece which I hope was an enjoyable distraction for a few minutes.

[5] For anyone who is interested, I have started keeping an online journal that will hopefully include daily updates on what I'm writing or thinking of writing as well as what anime is distracting my muses plus whatever else is going on at the Casa de Llama. It's available at LiveJournal.com under the username "e_sama".

Posted: 16 June 2003 ~1:30am EDT