Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: As of March 31st, 2005, this has been revised, with a lot of grammar and spelling errors cleaned out. There are still 10 points to house of choice in store for those who can spot the Harry Potter reference, and the titles are all nicked from songs. (Julee Cruise times two, Massive Attack, Blind Guardian, The Smashing Pumpkins, Cibo Matto, Sasaki Yuko, The Smashing Pumpkins again, and Portishead, respectively.)
Into The Night
- The World Spins -
A couple of months had passed since the Mariemaia incident and the final battle. For most people, life was finally returning to normal.
Others, though, were still trying to figure out what this supposed normal was, exactly. Chang Wufei, former Gundampilot, definitely counted himself among this group of people. He had taken up Sally Po on her offer to work with her as a Preventer, and had actually found himself quite enjoying the work. There had been a few incidents they had had to take care of, but nothing more serious. So far, the new peace really had held.
Whether it would hold in the future, he didn't know. He wanted to believe it would, but he didn't quite have the same kind of faith in humankind that the other pilots seemed to have, and he often wondered if they had done the right thing in trusting the hearts of men enough to destroy their Gundams
For after all, how could they change just like that, over one night, after the whole history of humankind had, in reality, been nothing but one long fight? How could such an event take place without the earth acknowledging it somehow, giving some sign that this time, it truly was for real?
Yet, the world kept on spinning as it always had, and people went back to their everyday lives like everything was like it always had been. Wufei wondered at this, envying their ability to forget so easily. He wished he would be able to do it too.
But the past kept creeping back into his thoughts, and though somewhere in the back of his mind he did know that he had made the right decision in the end, the road he had had to take to get to that point was not one he was proud of.
So to keep his mind on other things, he had gone back to what had been his life before the war; his studies.
Libraries, in Wufei's opinion, were some of the most fascinating places you could find. The large, quiet buildings so filled with the knowledge, thoughts and memories of other people, so perfectly fitting for someone who wanted to forget about themselves for a while. There were many he could chose from, but his favourite was one very close to his home. It was located in a huge stone building, centuries old, that had somehow miraculously managed to survive both the test of time and all the battles that humanity had fought during its existence.
Not many people came to this library, as they seemed to prefer the information they could get off their computers, or at least some of the newer, more modern libraries. Wufei found the collection he could find there absolutely fascinating, though, and he had, in fact, come to think of the place as something of his own. A Room of Requirement, he had called it to himself once, though he had quickly scowled and shook his head at the thought.
So when he one evening came into the library and found someone else in the seat he usually occupied, and had come to consider his, he was quite surprised.
The occupant of the table looked up from the book she was reading as he approached. Her pale blue eyes found his, and for a moment they looked wordlessly at each other. When Wufei sometimes looked back on that day, that was what stood out the most, the surprisingly intense seconds of locked eyes before they had even said a word to each other. But the moment broke as she laughed suddenly.
"Hello, Chang Wufei," she said.
Thinking back on it, he should have been surprised she knew his name, but at that very moment, he wasn't. He only waited for her to go on.
"You killed Treize Khushrenada," she stated. It was not a question or an accusation, only a casual comment.
"So people keep reminding me." Wufei frowned. "Hell, so I keep reminding myself", he added as an afterthought. And as he said it, he wondered why he had told her that.
"It really is an honour to finally meet you face to face. Sadly, I've only seen you at a distance before, and I always did wonder about the mystery that was the fifth Gundam pilot. One day, he kills Treize, and then, the next, he is suddenly found siding with his old enemy's daughter. I would be lying if I said I did not find it intriguing." She raised one of her forked eyebrows, her eyes still fixed on his face.
It hit him, all of a sudden. "You are Dorothy Catalonia." Just like with her comment only a moment ago, it was not a question, merely a statement.
"Ah, yes. So I am. Are you going to read me my list of crimes as well, Chang Wufei?"
He gave her a small smirk. "If you'd like. You were quite the force in White Fang, and more of one in Romefeller than most people would have guessed as well, I do believe. Not to mention that you stabbed Quatre."
"That would be me, yes." Dorothy's eyes were unreadable for a moment, but soon they got an amused expression instead. "I hear you are supposed to be pretty good with sharp, shiny, pointy objects as well. We should try a fencing game some time."
"I'm sure Quatre would not recommend it."
"Maybe not. But from what I understand, you aren't exactly the type who would decide what to do based on what anyone else recommends or doesn't recommend, anyway."
"You really have read up on the subject, haven't you, Dorothy Catalonia?" Wufei didn't know whether he should feel amused, flattered or worried. Or perhaps all of the above.
"But of course. I have met all the other Gundam pilots, and I've seen what their strengths are. I've seen what everyone's role is and why they work well together. Which makes me curious as to how you fit in there." She bit her lip as she looked at him. "Yet another piece of the puzzle that is the fifth pilot."
He shrugged. "I don't know if I ever really did fit in there. I mean, I respected them, I did try to help when I had the chance, but I never really worked with them. Someone always has to be the stubborn loner of the team, I suppose."
"Ooh, I see. So you'd say that to Heero Yuy's heart, Quatre Winner's mind, Trowa Barton's calm and Duo Maxwell's energy, you were… the alternate way of thinking? The one that made them question things? The foil? I can't say that I'm not familiar with this role in events." She gave a somewhat self-ironic smile.
Wufei thought about what she said, frowning slightly first at the descriptions of his fellow pilots - not many people would have pegged Heero as the heart and Quatre as the brain, he had to hand her that - and then at the description of himself. "No… No, I wouldn't exactly say that was me. Not until at the very end, when I joined Mariemaia and fought them, at least."
"Why did you choose to fight them anyway? Why did you end up fighting with the daughter of my dear, late cousin?"
"Because, Dorothy Catalonia, when he died, the world didn't change. It didn't become a better place with the death of your cousin or justice being served. I became a Gundam pilot for a reason, and I suddenly realized that whatever I did, I couldn't accomplish what I wanted to, couldn't even do that for her…"
He stopped suddenly there, wondering why he was telling her all this. Wufei was not the kind of person who liked to talk about things that were bothering him; he preferred to deal with them by himself. He had no qualms about admitting to the fact that he was a loner. Being forced to talk about things would usually just make him more miserable than he already was.
Dorothy looked at him thoughtfully. "So perhaps not the foil, but the passion, then," she said slowly.
Before he had time to answer her, she abruptly changed the subject. "I've read this book once before, you know," she said, pointing at the book in front of her. Wufei realized that it was the book he himself had been reading the night before, which he had left there left there to continue reading today.
"So this has been your hideout, then?" she asked as he told her this.
"Hideout? I didn't quite think of it as that, but yes, now that you say it, I suppose it is kind of a hideout."
"That was why I came her tonight as well."
"There was a time in my life when I used to call myself a scholar, you know. Long before I knew or wanted to know anything about wars or Gundams or the had to take grand pseudo-philosophical stands on good and evil. So I always did like libraries. As an intellectual, I am sure you are familiar with the appeal."
"So why does Dorothy Catalonia need a hideout?"
It was her turn to shrug, this time. "I needed some peace and quiet. Some time away from my life and from myself. Libraries are usually perfect for that."
"In that case I apologise for ruining that plan for you."
"Don't be. It really has been a pleasure to meet you, Chang Wufei," she said, rising from the chair she had been sitting in.
"You got some answers to your questions about…" he paused and made a face, "the mysterious fifth pilot then?"
"I guess I did. But now, I am left with more questions."
She regarded him thoughtfully for a while, an eyebrow raised, and then turned and walked away.
Wufei watched as she walked towards the door, and he realized that he didn't want her to go. As strange as the conversation had been, he found that he had actually enjoyed it, and he couldn't remember the last time that would have happened. As she was about to leave, he called out to her. "I might have to take you up on that fencing idea sometime, Dorothy Catalonia."
She turned to look at him, an amused smile on her face.
"Yes… You definitely should, Chang Wufei." And then she was gone.
He sat down at the table and opened his book, but his thoughts were elsewhere for the most part that night, in his real life for once.
Yes, he mused, perhaps the library really was a Room of Requirement.
- Safe From Harm -
I have been working with Chang Wufei as my partner for a few months now.
He's probably as different a partner from Lucrezia Noin as anyone could possibly be. I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing, I'm merely stating a fact. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
We have developed a strange kind of relationship over these last couple of months, Wufei and I. Or perhaps I should say we've developed the - well, not exactly friendship, but whatever it was we already had. It's like I've gained a little brother, in a way. Granted, a little brother who has been through so much more than anyone his age should have and more than most people far older than him, but anyway.
Now I know that Wufei is more than capable of taking care of himself, but I have to admit to getting a bit overprotective sometimes. It's been like that since the first time we met; I felt a connection to him right away, knew I had to help him. And despite how lost and confused he was at that time, I think he felt the same.
But despite me being able to help him that time he still went through so much. He lost his whole family, his whole colony in the war. And he's still going through a lot. I don't think he's forgiven himself for what he did after the end of the war, siding with Mariemaia and fighting the other pilots. I doubt he ever fully will. On top of that, I think he's also a bit afraid of… relapsing, or something to that effect. I think he's a bit frightened by the fact that he was fully conscious and aware of all his actions in choosing sides. Because of that he's afraid of the darkness inside him, afraid of how easy it was to lose his way, afraid of doing it again.
So I don't think you can blame me for being overprotective, because he's been through enough already. He doesn't deserve anymore pain, my little brother, and if anyone, even he himself, ever tries to hurt him again, they'll have me to deal with.
We do have our disagreements as well, though. He can be just as fiercely overprotective of me, you know. I think he's partly trying to make up for the family he couldn't save by at least doing what he can for his sister. But this does inevitably lead to arguments, overprotectiveness plus two extremely stubborn and hard-headed siblings certainly does not equal a calm and stable relationship.
Of course, we've never actually talked about this. Could you imagine that, me sitting down with Chang Wufei telling him that he's my little brother that I'm protecting from pain? I don't think the results would be very pretty.
He never talks about his real family. Well, his biological family, I should say, as I do actually consider myself his real family. I know absolutely nothing about his mother or father, who they were or what they did, if he had any brothers or sisters, whether they loved him or not. Whether he loved them or not. I hardly know anything at all about his life before we met, except that he once mentioned being a scholar before the war.
Considering that, it is a bit strange that we are as close as we are. I care more for what he is now then where he's coming from, I guess. Although I do think our Chinese heritage might have something to do with this connection we have, and the fact that it's developed in such a short time. Now I'm only partly Chinese, but even so, that blood does call to me, and it makes it much easier to relate to someone whom it does the same to. But this is only my theory. And since it's not possible for me to try to try living without my Chinese blood, it's a hard one to put to the test.
But that's certainly not the only reason; it would be way to simple an explanation. It's not like I go around thinking everyone with a little Chinese blood is my brother or sister now, is it? No it's more than that. I guess it's just that kind of effect they have on people, all the Gundam pilots. They draw people to them like moths to a flame or beacons of light in the darkness or some sappy cliché like that. I'm not very good at making up creative descriptive expressions, I'm altogether to practical and pragmatic a person for that. Because that was just the way they were. Just think of Heero Yuy. How even Relena Darlian just sort of… gravitated towards him. Or Duo Maxwell. Trowa Barton. Quatre Raberba Winner.
Or Chang Wufei, my little brother.
- Mirror, Mirror -
Wufei did indeed take Dorothy up the suggestion that they should try fencing.
About a couple of weeks after their initial meeting in the library, he found himself in Dorothy's house. It was a very large house that had belonged to her grandfather once, and it was, as she put it, 'for the most part a very dull and ordinary house'. And from what Wufei had seen so far, walking through an uncommonly ordinary hallway and down a set of uncommonly ordinary stairs, he was inclined to agree.
When they got to the room they would be using and Dorothy first opened the door, he was surprised for a second. They had met in the library a few times again in the last couple of weeks, and she had always come alone. But there were people here, the room was filled with them, and for a moment he wondered if she'd brought him to a party without telling him. He felt a twinge of annoyance run through him. He certainly was not in the mood for a party. Not that he'd considered it at all before, but he would definitely have wanted them to be alone for this.
All that flickered through his mind in only a few seconds, until he realised that they were, in fact, alone. The walls of the room were covered in mirrors. His eyes widened with surprise.
Dorothy laughed. "Yes, it's something else, isn't it? I think whoever made the decisions about this room was either a dancer, or a complete pervert."
"I'd say dancer. If it was a pervert, there would be mirrors in the ceiling as well."
"Or, it could have been a dancing pervert. I think those are probably more common than we think." She tapped her foot on the floor. "The floors were in horrible shape before, so when I took over the house, I had them redone so that I could use this room for fencing. It's basically the only thing I've bothered to do something about in this house. In fact, I think this room is the only reason I don't just sell it and move somewhere else."
"It's absolutely absurd. I like it."
"Why don't you hate me?"
"Why don't you hate me?"
"Because we're alike, you and I. Or is that one of the reasons I should hate you?"
"Who was she?"
"Your 'she'. The first time we met in the library, you told me the reason you fought was 'for her'. Well, you didn't use those exact words, but that was what it meant."
"I fought for Nataku."
"Do you really believe peace will hold this time?"
"I don't know. I wish I had enough courage to believe it. I know we did the right thing, but… my inner realist is just waiting for something to happen so that it'll be able to stand up and say 'I told you so.'"
"Your inner realist must be very good friends with my inner cynic."
"Who was Nataku?"
"I told you. She was the reason I fought."
"Did you love her?"
"No. And I will never find out if I ever would have."
"Who was she?"
"Meiran. Her name was Long Meiran. No… Chang Meiran. My wife."
"Did she love you?"
"I guess I'll never know."
"Sometimes, I wonder if I really have any good in me, or whether it's all just pretend. Maybe I really was doing what I should have been doing, what I was meant to be doing, back when I was what people would call evil. Maybe I'm just the world's biggest hypocrite."
"No. You're not. Quatre said so. When is he ever wrong about people?"
"All things aside, isn't there something oddly satisfying to having been the one to question things?"
"It does show you don't take things for granted."
"Are we, by saying that, desperately trying to find something to excuse our actions with?"
"What about you? What did you fight for?"
"My father. Myself. The world. I don't know."
"Your father was a pacifist, wasn't he?"
"Yes. When he died, I thought nothing could ever be achieved his way. I'm still not convinced there could have been peace if people had not had the chance to see war first. But I guess that's another thing we'll never know."
"Fencing is a bit like chess, isn't it? You have to consider every move carefully. One wrong little step - bang! It's over. You lose"
"A lot of things in life are like that."
"Does it ever bother you? This ability to see both the good and the bad, the black and the white?"
"No. It doesn't. Not really. But the way I acquired the ability to do so does."
"The world is more interesting in shades of grey anyway."
And he kissed her, not a very romantic or gentle kiss, but rather a continuation of both the physical fight and the verbal game, which despite the calmness their voices had retained the whole time had been even more exhausting.
And she kissed him back, and there was something almost desperate about it.
And the in the mirrors around them, it happened again and again, infinitely, but they didn't notice.
- Blank Page -
Dorothy was sitting on the bed with her legs crossed beneath her.
"I'm thinking of cutting my hair."
Wufei looked up at her from where he was lying next to her with a hint of surprise in his eyes. With everyone else he knew - well, except possibly Duo Maxwell - that would have been just another random comment, and he would have nodded and forgotten about it the next minute. It was different with Dorothy, though. He sat up and reached out his hand and ran his fingers through her hair.
She shrugged. "I was thinking of how big a part of how people see you depends on how you look. And in my case, that has a lot to do with my hair. Well, that, and my eyebrows," she added as an afterthought, raising one of them and throwing him a look.
"And you want people to see you in some other way?"
"Oh, I don't know. Maybe. Or maybe I want me to see myself in some other way. Or maybe it's just morbid curiosity to see how people would react."
"Maybe you think of it as a symbol of the old you. Cutting it would be like cutting away your past."
"Maybe." She chuckled all of a sudden and moved closer to him. "Would you listen to us? Don't you just love being pseudo-psychological?"
He smirked at her as well. "Just out of curiosity, how short were you planning on cutting it?"
"Oh don't worry, I'm not going to go bald. I'd keep it a little longer than yours, maybe."
She absentmindedly tugged at a strand of his hair, which was uncharacteristically hanging loose around his face, reaching just below his shoulders.
He ran his fingers through her hair again, a thoughtful look on his face. "What do you say to saving the haircut for a time when you are sure you really have let go of the past? If you still feel it's necessary then, that is."
She considered this for a while, and then smiled at him. "Deal."
He smiled back, taking her hand into his and running the index finger of his other hand over her palm. "You have a long head line, which means you are intelligent. It has a forked end, though, which indicates that you have good balance between imagination and realism."
"You know palm reading?" She sounded incredulous. Palm reading was definitely nothing anyone would have thought to associate with the Chinese warrior. "Aren't you just full of surprises?"
Wufei looked a bit sheepish. "That's all I know, actually. I came across it flipping through this old book, but I didn't read anymore about it."
"I like it, it sounds interesting. I think I should read up on it, so that I could tell people about it, and then intimidate them with vague, cryptic comments and meaningful looks."
"I thought you did that already."
"Oh yeah. Right. Damn. Actually, I'm not sure I'd like to know my future, even if I had the chance. I don't know how much of our futures are already decided for us and how much we decide ourselves, but I like to keep the illusion that I'm in charge, and that my future is still unwritten." She reached out her hand and ran her finger over a scratch on his arm. "Did I do that?"
"I suppose you must have," he mused, looking at it. "Speaking of which, I just made plans for your immediate future." He smirked, and kissed her now so familiar lips, and soon all thoughts of the future were forgotten and all that mattered was the very moment.
- Moon Child -
Let's begin this properly, shall we?
Once upon a time on a space colony far away, an heir was born to Mr. Winner, the leader of the Winner Corporation. The boy's mother died shortly after having given birth to him, so he grew up with only his father and his sisters. Well, perhaps 'only' is the wrong word to use in this situation, as he did not have two or three sisters, but 29. He never even knew them all.
The boy loved his father very much, even though he later came to disagree with some of his father's views on the world. When he as a young teenager decided to take part in the war as a Gundam pilot, his father strongly disapproved. But he did as his heart told him and joined anyway.
When his father died later during the war, without having made up with his son, the boy was struck by grief. So when the war ended, he returned to take his place at the head of the company. Despite everything, he was still the heir. And he decided he would do everything he could in a way his father would have been proud of, to honour his memory at least.
As it was not known by the general public who the Gundam pilots had been, a lot of people doubted the young boy, thinking he did not have the skills for this position. Maybe they would have thought so even if they had known, who knows? But he certainly proved them wrong. He worked very hard and the business went as well as ever.
Lovely story, isn't it?
The boy's name was Quatre Raberba Winner, and he's me.
I'm at a party, one of those events you have to go to as an important figure in the business world. I still feel so out of place at these things.
With all the important businessmen and politicians gathered together, you'd think it would be a great opportunity to meet with interesting people and get a chance to talk to them. However, they mostly are an excuse for the socialites of the world to show off.
Sighing, I look around the room to see if there is anyone I would have any interest in talking too, and I almost laugh out loud from relief when I spot Relena Darlian talking to some people by the door, and then my mouth almost falls open in surprise, as I realize one of the people she is talking to are no others than Chang Wufei and Sally Po. Frowning to myself, I wonder what they're doing here. Relena I'd kind of expected, but Wufei and Sally? What are they doing here? Then I remember they're both Preventers, they're probably on duty. The place is packed with dignitaries, after all.
I smile inwardly, suddenly realizing this is probably the safest place you could be in at the moment, what with two Gundam pilots present. That is, unless Trowa, Heero and Duo have all happened to end up in the same place somewhere else, which I highly doubt. Even without our Gundams, we're pretty damn dangerous.
I excuse myself to the people I've been talking to - well, who have been talking to me while I've been nodding politely, actually - and make my way towards their little group when I'm interrupted by a voice behind me.
"Quatre Raberba Winner."
It's been a while since I last heard that voice, but I recognize it immediately. No one who meets Dorothy Catalonia is likely to forget very soon, and I've got even more of a reason not to than most people.
I turn around and smile at her.
"Hello, Dorothy. How are you?"
"Well, I haven't tried to kill anyone for a long time. That's a good thing, don't you think?"
I'm not sure how to answer that, and I don't really think it's a question that needs an answer, so instead I tell her I was going to talk to Relena, Sally and Wufei, and ask her to join me. They notice us before we're there, and Relena and Sally smile at us as we approach them Even Wufei is looking friendly.
After the initial greetings between everybody, during which it turns out I was right, Wufei and Sally are indeed here as Preventers, he turns to me. "So I hear business is going well for you, Winner," he says.
"Oh, it's been ok," I say, not really feeling like talking about it tonight. I haven't actually talked to Wufei since the day we destroyed our Gundams, which is over nine months ago already, I realize. I haven't talked to any of the other pilots, in fact, not even Trowa. Why haven't I noticed how much I miss them before?
"I know it's only October, but thought I'd have kind of a reunion for us war veterans over Christmas this year. I'd love it if you all came."
That was my own voice, and I wonder where the words came from. I had planned nothing of the sort; it was like I wasn't aware of what I was saying until after I'd said it. And still, I am suddenly feeling afraid that they'll say no, that they won't come.
Dorothy laughs and says she'll be there. She's looking a bit amused, as is Wufei. "I'm not Christian, you know," he says.
I give him kind of an apologetic smile and remind him that neither am I. "I would just really like to see everyone again, and thought Christmas would probably be the time everyone would be most likely to be able to come." Once again, I'm surprised at my own reasoning. I had thought nothing of the sort. Or had I?
"A conspiracy to get presents, then?" Wufei raises an eyebrow at me, but before I can answer he promises to come.
"Great! What about you two?"
I turn to Relena and Sally. Sally seems a bit surprised my invitation includes her as well, and apologetically tells me she has plans for Christmas already, visiting some relatives apparently. Relena looks thoughtful and tells me she'll have to check first. Which is understandable, I guess, being an important political figure isn't anything you can abandon just like that.
Wufei asks me whether I've kept in touch with the other pilots, and looks a bit surprised when I say I haven't. I can't say I'm as surprised when he informs me that he hasn't either.
I turn to Relena to ask if she has heard from Heero at all, but she seems a bit uncomfortable with the question, whether because she does know where he is and he's asked her not to tell, or because she doesn't know, I can't tell, so I don't ask anymore. To be honest, I suspect the former, though.
The discussion turns to what everyone has been doing after the war instead. Dorothy tells us her main occupation lately has been her studies.
"I was reading the most fascinating book the other day, about fortune telling." She turns to Relena, an earnest look on her face. "Would you like me to try reading your palm, miss Relena?"
Relena looks mildly surprised, as does Sally, while Wufei looks like he's trying his best not to laugh. Before Relena has the time to answer, though, Dorothy goes on. "Perhaps this is not the right time, actually. These people here would probably not find it very amusing." She makes a sweeping gesture towards the people in the room. "Or then again, maybe they would find it really interesting, and they would all ask me to tell their fortune as well, and then, I'd never get to go home."
Later in the evening, I find myself wandering out into the garden. The noises of the party die away behind me, and the cool October evening greets me with silence and light from the almost full moon. It gives the garden a beautiful, eerie look, so completely different from the sterile and modern inside of the mansion with all bright lights.
I walk around aimlessly, honestly surprised that the hideous mansion can have such a beautiful park hidden behind it. The old trees and the paths beneath them look so surreal in the moonlight. I suddenly have a strange urge scream out loud, but I don't. The house is still close enough for the people inside to be hear me if I do, and I'm sure there are Preventers somewhere outside, too. I have no desire to explain to them that I just 'felt like screaming.'
But I have to do something to keep myself from screaming, so instead, I take off running. I don't look where I'm going, I just run like crazy until I stop beneath a tree, panting. I stand there calming myself down for a while, and not for the first time wondering what the hell is going on with me tonight.
When my breath has calmed down a bit, I look up at the tree, and for some reason I decide that I want to climb it. My behaviour tonight is so irrational already, that tree climbing can be nothing but the perfect addition to it.
As I sit there, I can see two people walking down one of the paths. I recognise Wufei right away, and as the moon catches her hair, I see that the other one is Dorothy. I wonder if I should jump down from the tree and go talk to them, but something holds me back. And it's not just the fact that Quatre Raberba Winner up a tree when he should be inside socialising would perhaps seem a bit odd.
As they approach, I can hear their voices.
"So this is preventing, huh? You go to parties where you take girls for moonlit walks in the park. Maybe I should look into becoming a Preventer as well."
"You want to take beautiful girls for walks in the park as well?"
"Ooh, funny, Chang Wufei. I can't believe you get paid for this."
"I deserve much more than I'm getting for all the time I've had to spend with those people in there tonight."
"Is this enough to begin with?" She turns to him and they kiss, a soft kiss, or more of an exchange of breaths, maybe, and it fits so in so well with the moonlight and the surrealism of the surrounding that it sends shivers down my spine. Oh. Oh. The moment, though sounding pretty innocent when I describe it, seems so intimate and erotic somehow, and I feel so much like an intruder into their world. They belong in the moonlight, the night recognizes them and embraces them in a way it never would me. I am undeniably a creature that belongs to the daytime, to the sun and the light skies.
"It's cold. We should get back inside."
"Done preventing in the garden, then?"
I watch them walk back to the house, not snapping out of the trance-like state I've been in since they first showed up until they're out of sight. It makes me notice they were right, it really is cold, and I shiver a little as I jump down from the tree and head back to the house, finally understanding what's been bothering me all night. I'm lonely, and I miss my friends. It's that simple.
When was I reduced to being a mere watcher in life, and why didn't I notice?
- Pure Snow -
"Yes. It's beautiful."
"Beautiful but treacherous. It looks so innocent and harmless, but it can be deadly. And its primary function is to hide something else."
"In some cultures, white is the colour of grief."
- The End Is The Beginning Is The End -
It was a dark and stormy night…
No, just kidding. It's dark, yes, but not that stormy. And it's New Year's Eve.
I can't believe how fast this year has gone by; it may sound like the worst cliché in the book, but it really seems like it was only a few days since we were all gathered together, fighting a final battle for peace. But it's seriously been a year already.
I like New Year's. Come to think of it, I love just about any excuse to get together with my friends for a party. Quatre invited us all over for Christmas this year, and then he talked us all into staying over New Years as well. He was very insistent about it, too. Not that he had to do much talking to get me to stay, mind you.
I think he's been lonely the past year, Quatre. He doesn't say anything, but he's a lot like me in that respect; he's at his best when he's with his friends and he withers when he's forced to be alone. And with all the work he's had to do the last year, he's had to be on his own quite a lot - that's what being an Important Businessman does to you, I suppose. His mood has been getting constantly more and more cheerful the whole time we've been here, and he has left the business to one of his sisters for now.
I look over to where he's standing next to Trowa, smiling to myself at how happy they both look.
Hilde tugs at my sleeve, and I turn to her, smile still on my face. "What are you smiling at, Duo?"
"I was just thinking how great it is to see everyone again."
She beams back at me, and I smile and we smile and for a while, everything in the world is us smiling at each other.
Trowa is the only one of the pilots that I've actually seen in the space of time between now and last Christmas. His circus was in town for a while and Hilde and I went to see him. He seemed to be doing well, there was something new to him. He seemed happier… more relaxed than I've ever seen him before.
Heero hasn't showed up, which is a shame. I would have liked to see him again too. Quatre said he hadn't been able to find out where he's been staying for the last year. He did also say he suspects he has told Relena, but that she seemed a bit embarrassed when he brought it up, so he thinks he wants to be left alone for now.
I'm not really surprised, and I don't blame him either. If anyone needs, not to mention deserves, to have some time to himself to get himself together, it's Heero Yuy.
The one that's surprised me the most during this little gathering is definitely Wufei.
You know, he always was something of a paradox to me. Out of the five of us, he was probably the one that most easily realised what was going on around us, the one that could always tell when someone was trying to trick or manipulate us. It seemed like everything he did was so well thought through somehow, even when he did things that in hindsight were perhaps not the best choice. But it was also like he was aware of that even at the time.
I always did wonder at that. You would have thought anyone else of us would have been a more likely candidate for the title of most aware. Heero or Trowa with their cool, objective, almost detached exteriors, or Quatre with his Heart of Space. Or hell, even me! I mean, I grew up on the streets, I'm supposed to be really street smart and cynical, right? But no, it was Wufei, which just didn't make any sense, because he was also the one that the war was the most personal too. The intensity and the fierce passion he brought to the battles, shouldn't it logically thinking have blinded him to the reality of what was going on and stopped him from seeing straight?
I guess life isn't always logical.
I also guess this ability of his to see through things must come pretty well in handy when dealing with the infamous miss Catalonia. Come to think of it, though I never, ever, in a million years would have guessed those two would get together, when I look at it now, it makes it seem almost… inevitable.
Much as I hate that word, I chose to use it in this situation. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think inevitable as a word sounds or looks bad or anything like that. In fact, as looks go, it's a rather pretty. It's has this blend of white and a really interesting shade of watery green. And don't try to tell me words don't have colours, ok? I've been told so many times before, but anyone has yet to convince me what I see isn't real. I don't think you should always believe everything you see, but in this case, I chose to do so, and I'm rather proud of the fact that the words have chosen me to show their colours too.
But that's beside the point. What I was saying was that I dislike the meaning of a word. To me, it implies that everything is already decided, we never truly have a chance, things can only happen one way, period. Which has been used as an excuse by people who don't have the guts to take the responsibility for their actions way to many times.
Or perhaps the word I'm thinking of is fate? Whatever.
But I've really digressed now, haven't I? The subject was supposed to be Wufei and Dorothy. They look good together, they compliment each other, as Hilde keeps pointing that out. And they share some kind of connection, understanding each other better than anyone else could, I think. At least it seems that way. They don't try to change each other, like I think most other people would with them.
They have this way of sharing strange inside jokes, at each other's and their own expenses. Whoever knew those two could be so self-ironic? Even the way they sometimes say each others names seems self ironic; the way they'll say the full name. 'Chang Wufei' and 'Dorothy Catalonia'. And at the same time, they make it sound important.
And right. They make it sound right.
Coming from me, that is saying a lot, because I, personally, have never been able to bring myself to like Dorothy. She sided with Zechs Merquise and White Fang in the war. And she stabbed Quatre, damn it!
Isn't it strange how quickly I've forgiven Wufei for fighting against us on Mariemaia's side, while I can't bring myself to do the same thing for Dorothy? Of course, I never knew Dorothy before we got to know her as an enemy, and first impressions are always important. I never was friends with her in the first place, as I'd like to think I was with Wufei. As much as you can be with him, anyway.
Besides, Wufei doesn't walk around giving you the impression that he's silently amused by everything you say like she does. Well, not quite as much, at least. That habit of hers seriously freaks me out, it makes me nervous, never knowing what's really going on inside her head.
Yes, the God of Death is intimidated by Dorothy Catalonia. And if you ever tell anyone I said that, you'll find out just how painful a death said God can provide.
Oh well. Enough about those two, it's getting closer to midnight, and I have more important thing s to think about.
Interesting concept, the change of the year. Is it the end, or the beginning, or both at the same time? Ooh, another paradox. Am I full of deep thoughts tonight or what? Must be New Year's Eve, it tends to have that effect on people.
Or maybe it's the champagne.
- Wandering Star -
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the comet, so they had decided to take it. They were standing up on the roof, staring up at the sky. Technically, they both knew they would have been able to see it just as well from somewhere else, but as Dorothy had put it, everyone needed to 'sit on top of the world once in a while.'
"Did you know the word comet originally comes from the Greek word for long-haired?" Dorothy asked, momentarily turning her eyes away from the sky.
"After their tails, yes. I know. Kind of ironic, not all comets even develop them." It was cold outside, they could see their breaths in front of them in the January night.
"Not to mention the fact that they only have the tails for a very short period of time during their orbits, while their close enough to the sun to be under the influence of the solar winds." She turned her eyes back towards the comet. "It's almost a bit sad, really. To only be known for something that is such a small part of your actual being, and only there due to the inevitable influence of something else in the first place."
Wufei smiled, a bit sadly. "Are still talking about comets?"
"I'm not really sure." She chuckled, suddenly, shaking her head a little. "Nothing like a conversation between intellectuals to completely destroy all your romantic illusions of comets."
"You didn't have any of those," Wufei reminded her. He took her hand into his as they continued staring up into space. "Besides, I much prefer reality to illusions anyway."