Something to Be Thankful For




It was through a long understanding with himself that Wufei was aware he really didn't have anything to be thankful for. One, his culture didn't even celebrate this holiday, much less bother thinking about it. Two, it was that idiot Maxwell who was promoting it in the middle of a Preventers mission. Three, when holed up in an abandoned mansion with canned turkey, ancient potatoes literally unearthed from the cellar, bread that was fuzzier than it should be, and gravy that Wufei suspected Duo had distilled from the gas tank of their beaten-up jeep, he was not much inclined to participate in any dinner.

Needless to say, when the 'festivities' began in the main hall – windows boarded up and artillery on hand, should they be discovered – Wufei understandably vacated the area. Like he had tried to point out around fourteen times, it meant absolutely nothing to him, except that maybe Duo's sanity was slipping even more if he thought that the Chinese pilot would participate.

Nothing…to be thankful for, anyway.

Wufei had to stop at that thought, steps fading away in the long corridor he'd been traversing, murky shadows framing the dusty, hazy sunbeams that pierced the darkness here and there. The windows set high into the wall were boarded up, too, though who know how long ago. Worn, grungy carpet scuffed beneath his usually quiet feet, Wufei not quite willing to do the high stepping probably required to get his shoes out of the grime.

From the architecture, and the few sagging pieces of furniture scattered throughout, it had once been a grand building. And not that long ago, probably. But conflict and neglect and the elements had done their work with surprising swiftness, leaving nothing but a hollow, echoing ruin in their wake. Not that that bothered Wufei. Not really. Peace was something he…preferred now, when it was appropriate.

He wouldn't admit it to anyone, of course. Probably not even himself.

Eyes narrowing a little more beyond his normal scowl, he began walking again, going nowhere in particular. The hall was long and wide, a main route with a few tributaries peeling off here and there, but he suspected a decent enough goal would be at the other end. Better to explore their 'safe house' and determine all possible threats, exits, advantages…he wasn't just wandering aimlessly, trying to enjoy what he didn't want to enjoy, and attempting not to think what he obviously knew was true.

Someone like him shouldn't really bask in peace and quiet like some retiree veteran, nor should he, Chang Wufei, feel as though he was lonely, and missing something that couldn't be returned.

"…idiot Maxwell," Wufei muttered to himself, falling back on his usual method of coping with this kind of thing. Little did he know it, Duo had picked up on this a long time ago, and was rather used to it by now. "Celebrating Thanksgiving in the middle of a mission, choosing this ridiculous time and place to have it, even suggesting that I would…"

Wufei just trailed off into a growl, though he realized at the same time that he'd reached the 'goal' he'd suspected finding. The hall stopped at a massive pair of doors, framing and hinges ornate, all twining leaves and embossed unicorns. Fanciful, but what else was there to expect? Not even feeling the inclination to shrug, Wufei shoved open the left door, wincing at the not-unexpected screech that greeted his ears. What he hadn't expected though, was that the door would careen oh-so gracefully inwards, slamming with an almost unholy sound onto the floor, sending up great, gritty waves of dust and dirt and cobwebs, enveloping Wufei in a cloud of ancient-smelling refuse.

Not in the habit to lose his temper – over such miniscule things such as this, anyway – Wufei simply stood there in the doorway, contemplating whether or not the plumbing still worked in this place. While there was a stream nearby, set further back into the woods, he wasn't about to go and strip in the middle of enemy territory, even if he probably needed a bath now. Preventing the 'caught with your pants down' jokes from Maxwell was incentive enough.

Muttering something highly inappropriate in Chinese, Wufei all but stomped over the fallen door, swatting at the sleeves of his jacket and making a face at the new dust clouds that lifted up. There was still a prevailing fog of it drifting around the room, obscuring the looming shapes of furniture and art pieces. This, like the rest of the mansion, was boarded up as well, though the windows were so wide and long that the job hadn't been done very well. Long, dynamic swathes of light cut across the room, flashing a desk, a bookcase, and a massive banner along the back wall into view.

…Wufei knew the crest stitched painstakingly onto the worn, faded fabric. He knew, and he wondered if the others were even aware that they were staying in a former Oz base. Heero probably knew, as did Trowa, Quatre would know but wouldn't care, and Duo obviously wouldn't know or care.

At least I care…

And Wufei had to stop again, his rebellious thoughts bringing him up short just in front of the gargantuan desk, coated with what looked like eons worth of dust. Why care? What was the point? The mansion was deserted, Oz was disbanded, they as former Gundam pilots had other work to do here, and…

…he still cared.

He knew why, of course. The awareness of it was always in the back of his mind, always sneaking up on him when he wasn't prepared for it. It haunted his dreams some nights, causing him to wake warm and shaking, though he never told anyone. He'd always try to distract himself with work, which was busy enough, but there were those times of peace that he tried to enjoy, only to have this nagging voice return.

Sometimes, he could almost swear that he heard it aloud, as impossible and foolish a notion as that was. When all was silent, the air heavy, his mind open and vulnerable, it would come, no matter how he railed against it. No matter how he scowled and fumed and told it firmly that it wasn't there, that he didn't hear it, that he didn't want to hear it so, so badly…


And yet he did. He heard it. He heard it now, sliding smoothing through the dusty air, drifting along the slanting bars of sunlight. A voice, a memory…a desire. The echo of a man dead and gone, buried in the vastness of space. He hated it. Hated how it crept up on him, tormented him, prodded him into thinking he was mad, or, all the gods forbid, dependant on that lingering reflection of tarnished golden hair, eyes so deep a blue they seemed to see through him, every layer, every defense.

Eyes burning, narrowed and dangerous, he spun where he stood, pistol out, cocked, finger tense over the trigger. But no…no, there was no one there. Just the fog, and the room, and the light, and the door into the hallway, his passage to freedom. Better to be away from this, away from the room in which he must have worked, where he might have drawn out the plans that hurt so many people, where he might have even thought of Wufei, of finding him and…


"Damn you, you're gone," Wufei snarled under his breath, not even caring that this was a lapse into temporary insanity. Anything, anything to rid himself of this feeling, of the longing that lay waiting and waiting, ready to claim him and hurt him and make him into someone he didn't recognize…


A voice in his ear, breath…breath upon his skin, something warmer than sunlight at his back.


Something that was half chill, half shiver went down Wufei's spine, grip tightening reflexively, almost firing his pistol into nothing but air and age. He knew he had to spin around, face whatever it was, defend himself, rage, rage against what he didn't know, the enemy that had always been at his back, or before him, chased and chasing in turn. The man, the eyes that knew him, knew him even when he didn't know himself; that could fight him with a smile, release him with a promise; a rival he couldn't defeat and that wouldn't defeat him; an opponent he…didn't want to kill…

I can't…not you…, Wufei couldn't stop the thoughts, the way his expression shifted, altered slowly, reluctantly into something else. It angered him, shamed him, knowing that he couldn't stop this change in him, in his supposedly firm heart, and that, on some deep, hidden level, he didn't really want to…

Warm, warmer, some movement that wasn't his own shifting the cloud of hazy golden particles floating in the air. Breathing, steady, deep, and strong, something that he thought was a breeze but became something more settling on his hips. A grip, fingers, gentle and light but claiming, as if returning to something long left, arms slowly wrapping around him.

Wufei didn't dare look now. His eyes remained riveted on the hallway, staring ahead, chest still, body frozen. There were…many reasons. He could say he was waiting for his opportunity to turn and shoot. He could say he was going mad, and trying to minimize the damage he could do to himself.

Or he could say that he was afraid that if he turned, this…it…everything…would disappear.

He didn't really want to know what expression he wore now. He just…wanted to remain still. Wanted to let those hands – they were hands, firm and real and there – travel up his sides, under his jacket, his shirt, finding a nipple with almost practiced ease. Wufei must have started breathing again, as it stopped abruptly, seizing in his chest, but still, still he didn't move. Instead he…he let it continue, a thumb rubbing over him lightly, teasing until it hardened, responsive, ready.

The other hand lowered, caressing along his stomach, brazenly slipping under the waistband of his pants. Wufei would have thought that then, then he would have broken away, glared and roared out his rage, firing until all his bullets were spent…but he didn't. He couldn't. He could only let out a small breath as gloved fingertips – gloved, smooth in texture, and white, even though he couldn't see the color – danced over the indent of his hips. Then a soft moan, lips parted, as those fingers found him, sliding down over his length, the ends of two fingers finding the tip of him, pressing lightly.

"Something…," said the voice in his ear, the voice he knew, the voice he had longed for in that secret part of his heart. The part that had shut itself away, died a little death just as that man had died. "Something…to be thankful for."

And then Wufei knew what to do. He knew. And so the pistol fell to with a clatter to the floor, his eyes closing, something that wasn't quite himself telling him that if he looked, if he tried to explain it all away, it would disappear. So he did what he had never done before, shutting his eyes and giving himself away to something he didn't understand, something he couldn't face or fight or force back with all the strength his pride and disbelief could produce.

To chase with no hope of catching, to be chased with every intention of being caught…that was how they had always been.

Though he couldn't see it, he was gently turned, bent over the desk, the hand around him continuing to move, member hardening at the contact, at the expert motions. Time seemed to slow, speed up, and slip away all at once, his clothing gone, pushed aside, skin and scars and all the signs of his arousal apparent. He was vulnerable, he knew, position more than submissive and to one that he couldn't see, couldn't know.

But he did know. He knew and he stayed, moaning again, louder, as fingers squeezed, caressed, and teased, maddening and wonderful all at once. Lips and tongue, warm and soft and claiming, played upon his neck, kissing along his jaw, nipping at his ear only to sooth the mark a moment later. Legs parted his own, a greater weight at his back, the deep thrumming of a heart steady against his skin, somehow beating in time with his own. The other hand found him, a pair of fingers seeking, pressing, eliciting a whimper as they entered him, warm, so warm now, gloves gone so that skin stroked him, loosened him, urged him until he squirmed and lifted, eager now, thighs spreading further.

And then…then he arched back, crying out, eyes squeezing more tightly shut, sweat glistening on his body as he was taken, something that was hot and hard and thick filling him until he thought he would tear, split inexplicably by what had only been echoes and illusions before. But no, no, this was real, so very real, each thrust shaking him, driving him, and he responded in kind, arching and writhing, chest heaving with each breath. There were no protests in his mind, no denial in his groaning voice, in the inarticulate words that begged and urged, building higher and higher as they continued, his arms shaking as he pressed and moved against the desk. There was only the heat of their bodies, the fullness inside him that suddenly became more, hot and wet, rushing into him, feeling of it driving him to shudder heavily with release, legs nearly going out from under him as those strong arms wrapped around him again.

He didn't need words now. No words, no explanations. He just dutifully turned his head as fingers gripped his chin, opening his mouth as lips met his own, the kiss deep and long and so very tender, a tongue sliding against his own. How long it lasted, he didn't really know, but eventually he realized that he was almost limp against the desk, fully clothed, cheek resting against his arms, and his lips tingling from a warmth that had come and gone.

After a long, long time, Wufei pushed himself up, eyes opening at last to look down at the disturbed coating of dusk atop the wood. There was the imprint of his body, blurred from his motions, beside it the mark of his hand. Beside that…

The outline of a hand larger than his, with long, elegant fingers, as real and clear as the room around him, the beat of his heart, and the tiny, inexplicable smile on his face. After a moment in which he could have said any number of excuses and explanations but didn't, he turned, stooping to retrieve his weapon, and went out the door, pondering if there would be any turkey left when he returned to the others.

After all, as Treize had said, he did indeed have something to be thankful for.


"Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved."

Victor Hugo


I said it last month, but I'll say it again: Happy Birthday, Mom.

Rem-chan, 24th of December, 2005