Title: Year of the Snake - prologue
Author: Mookie
Pairings: 5xS, eventual 2x1
Warnings: het, shounen ai, eventual yaoi
Notes: This story is based on one of the plot bunnies Sharon had up for adoption once upon a time. No, really. Just wait for it.

It was a clear night, one that would be perfect for the upcoming fireworks. Fitting for the start of the new year.

AC 200. The bicentennial of the first colony's completion.

Sally Po turned to her companion and studied his profile.

Wufei Chang was the best partner she could have hoped for. He constantly strove to be the best, because nothing less would do. He recognized his own weaknesses, but sought to overcome them rather than lament them.

He'd certainly come a long way from the bitter, self-recriminatory, young boy Sally had met in China five years earlier.

Wufei didn't smile freely, but when he did, he looked his age. It was hard to believe he was only nineteen.

He'd grown. Not so much physically, but definitely emotionally. Intellectually. Even spiritually.

Wufei was not only committed, he put his heart into his work.

They all did. Heero Yuy, who had joined only a year ago. Quatre Winner, who had been with them for two.

The other former pilots she hadn't seen more than a handful of times, but she would bet a year's salary that it was true for them as well.

So very different, these young men, and yet alike in so many ways. She could see herself at their age, her faith in them unwavering despite the odds stacked against them.

Heero had intrigued her from the start.

Wufei, however, Wufei had been a much harder nut to crack. She knew he was aware she was staring, but she couldn't help it.

Three years they'd been partners.

Three years since Relena Darlian had been kidnapped, since she'd become Preventer Water to Noin's Fire.

Four years since her path had crossed that of the young man beside her. She'd known even back then that there was a good man underneath, one with a heart he tried so hard to deny.

She smiled, a sad, nostalgic smile. A smile of gratitude that she had gotten the chance to know him - really know him, in a way she suspected not many had.

"You're not fooling anyone," he finally said, turning to look at her. A lock of hair covered his face, and she reached out to brush it out of his eyes.

He looked so different with his hair down, she mused. Younger, less bound by conventions of his own making.

His eyes watched hers as she tucked the dark strand behind his ear.

To her surprise, his hand covered hers and held it there, her palm cupping his cheek.

"Wufei," she murmured.

He opened his mouth to say something, but the fireworks started going off, the explosions loud, but nothing approaching the sounds of an exploding Aries. It seemed significant somehow.

And then it didn't matter if Sally could hear him or not, because his lips communicated all he'd wanted to say without words.

As the Catherine Wheel lit up the sky, followed by the Battle in the Clouds, neither of them noticed.

Wufei had leaned over and kissed her.