This story is dedicated to Lili for her kindness and her wonderful support. Thanks so much, my dear!

I make no claim to any of the Gundam Wing characters. This story is written for my, and hopefully others' enjoyment and not for monetary profit. A huge thanks to Diane and Anasazi for the beta.

A Matter of Good Sense
by Michalyn

Prologue

Prince Wufei was a very sensible young man. In fact, some would even say the most sensible young man in the kingdom of Eires. He was noble, pious, punctual, unflinchingly dedicated to his duties as first ambassador and -- despite a little admitted to weakness for chocolate -- never succumbed to frivolity or excess...

It was the consensus of the court, that of the royal brothers, Wufei was the secret favorite of their father, King Zechs.

That is not to say the king was cruel or unfair -- far from it. A nobler man could not be found this side of the Ixthian sun. Both princes received the best in everything, and King Zechs' love for his sons was as his love for his kingdom: deep and true. Yet, it was plain that he doted on Wufei. It was rare to not find Wufei at his father's side, and King Zechs made few decisions without first seeking his younger son's advice. Prince Quatre, known as 'Quatre the Gentle', was heir to the throne. He visited often from his heart-home in the Mir Gardens, where he lived with his chosen life-mate,Trowa of Elkanir, and when the three men were together, the palace was a place of laughter and sunlight.

Moon-pale, with a shining thatch of yellow hair , Quatre was as known for his beauty as his kind heart. Like all seers, he was fine-boned and slender, and had not inherited King Zechs' imposing figure. There was no doubt, however, that a warrior's spirit burned within him. He was the most powerful seer in the kingdom and his gift flowed through him like a flame. There was no mistaking the resemblance between the king and his heir, and the elders still professed that Quatre was the exact likeness of his great-grandfather Soixante.

It was Wufei who confounded the priests.

Even now, on the cusp of his eighteenth sun-cycle, Wufei's head barely reached King Zechs' breast; and though he was an expert in Shenlong, the most difficult of Eires' fighting techniques, Wufei did not put on the bulk of other men: He remained small, with a quick, birdlike, grace to his movements. In coloring, he was nothing like his kin. Where they were blond, Wufei's hair shone black in the firelight. They shared a bright blue gaze; behind Wufei's glasses, his eyes were dark and exotically tilted. They were as fair as the finest cream; Wufei was dusky, as if the great goddess had rubbed cinnamon into his very bones. His father and brother were two halves of sunlight...

Wufei was the lonely night.

No one could explain it. There was no question that King Zechs and Queen Noin had been faithful to each other.Their love had been unmatched in the kindgom, and the great priestess Hilde had overseen the mating ceremony herself. A child could not have been conceived if their life-bond had been broken.

Yet, the priests whispered that Wufei was the only child in one hundred years to be born when the midnight orchids were blooming.

They also whispered that he was cursed.

The two suns of Eires marked the passage of every event in the kingdom, and it was their position at the time of birth that determined character traits. For example, the Duke of Maxwell, lover of wine, women and men was born at noon in the second cycle of the Ixthian sun. Like most noon-children, he was famous for his humor and wit, but just as noon marked the period before the progression into darkness, so too he was known for a darker, restless -- even ruthless -- nature. Then, there was Prince Quatre. Born on the cusp of twilight, he was gifted with the sight. Never, however, had a child been born to darkness.

That is, before Wufei.

The suns were eclipsed once every hundred years for five seconds, during which the sacred orchids bloomed, heralding the descent of the love goddess Airiah to earth, and another cycle of growth and rebirth in Eires. Wufei was born just as the first petals unfurled ... and as the baby Wufei took his first, fragrant gulp of air, Queen Noin had breathed her last.

No one knew what it meant, but as Wufei grew older, the elders sighed in relief. Apart from his unique coloring, little else marked Wufei as different. They even secretly joked that he was more like a Satur : one of the dour children of the fourth cycle, notorious for their extreme fastidiousness.

So, when Wufei was summoned to his father's chambers on the eve of his eigteenth sun-cycle, he rose from his bed without hesitation. As always, he prayed to the goddess Laineed for strength and restraint. His small, slippered feet moved quickly over the carpeting, and as he passed the hall mirror, Wufei paused to ensure that his robes fell in perfect, docile folds over his habatas -- the baggy pantaloons all students of the Shenlong wore. He straightened the tight braid that fell to his waist and nodded to his image in the mirror. He was ready to do his duty ... or so he thought. As he waited on the other side of his father's door, nothing in his seventeen sun-cycles could prepare Wufei for the sudden change that was coming to his carefully ordered world.