Open the Door, a Holiday Series - A New Year

by jabotus

Rating: T

Pairings: 5x2x5, 4x3x4, 1xR, 6x9, OCxH, OCxC

Warnings: shounen ai (boy x boy relationships), fluff, OC's, and OOC

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Summary: Quatre hosts a New Year's Eve party for the orphans.

A/N: I really don't know if it would be legal for them to take temporary custody of orphans or not, but it's only a story. Enjoy!

Here's a list of the 16 children who live at the orphanage plus two temps

Joan - 17

Casey - 16

Matteo - 15

Lucinda - 14

Tao - 13

Hana - 10

Xuan - 9

Koto - 8

Siblings: Tristan - 7 & Brianna - 3

Justin - 8

Twins: Cyan & Chris - 7

Emilio - 6

Sofia - 9

Jenna - 5

Others:

Sakura - 11

Siblings: Kalei - 2 ½ & Mitsuo - 3 months (only at orphanage temporarily)


Duo raised an arm to knock on the door but it flew open before his hand reached the surface. A warm body crashed into him pushing him into Trowa who thankfully kept him from falling to the ground.

"Du-chan save me!" Unfortunately Joan's nickname for him was catching on with the other children.

"Sofia?"

Then he heard shouting from inside. "She went outside! This way!" Two boys ran around the corner, both sporting toy bows and arrows. Sofia squealed and ducked behind his legs. The boys halted when they saw the five adults at the door. Xuan hid his bow behind his back. A few seconds later Justin imitated his action.

"I think we got here just in time. You must be driving the Sisters mad." The boys grinned sheepishly and then ran back down the hall and out of sight.

"Hilde!" Sofia had just noticed who was with Duo. The girl who was wearing a cowboy's hat and carrying a toy gun tugged on Hilde's coat sleeve. "You have to be a cowgirl with me! The Indians have me outnumbered!"

"Of course. We'll round them up and put them in the wagons." Hilde pointed to the line of vehicles parked along the curb. The 9-year-old grinned and grabbed Hilde's hand, dragging her on past the others. Duo then ushered the rest of the group inside.

With their friends' help, Duo and Quatre had arranged a New Year's Eve party for the kids. And not just that, the idea Duo had first had on Christmas Eve had escalated into a weeklong vacation for them. Quatre had volunteered his family's country mansion for the getaway. It had taken some convincing, but seeing how most of the adults that were going to be there already knew the kids and were volunteers at the orphanage, the Sisters finally gave in. So not only were the children getting a chance to go somewhere new, but the nuns were getting a week off from dealing with them. After all, they deserved a break from being full-time guardians of 16 children.

Trowa, Heero, Hilde, Relena, and Duo were now here to drive them over to the mansion. Quatre, Sally, Cathy, and three of Quatre's sisters were already there getting the place ready.

Hilde was soon gone, going after the tribe of 'Indians'. Heero, Relena, and Wufei followed them. Duo took the stairs to find one of the Sisters. He found Sister Lindsey upstairs, packing a bag for the three-month-old Mitsuo.

The baby gurgled and chewed on his toes, overall a very happy baby and blissfully unaware of what happened the day after Christmas when his family's apartment had been burnt down. His mother was killed in the fire and his father forced to temporarily move in with his parents who refused to take in the children. They had been against his marrying someone socially beneath him. He had asked the Sisters of the orphanage where his wife grew up to take in his two children until he found a new place to live.

"Hello Sister Lindsey."

"Duo," she acknowledged.

Duo reached into the crib and tickled the baby, careful to keep his braid out of its reach. Young kids always seemed to be fond of tugging on it. The baby laughed. Then Duo felt a tug on his pants rather than on his braid. He wasn't surprised when he glimpsed down to see Kalei. She was never far from her brother. She took her father's words seriously when he told her to watch over her baby brother. Patting her on the head, he smiled at her which she shyly returned. Then she held up a stuffed bear to him. Duo thanked her and set it in the crib.

"Is everybody ready?"

"Just about. Casey is refusing to leave his room though."

"Don't worry about Casey. I have back-up today. Heero will get him there one way or another."

"When you put it that way, I only worry more." She finished with bag and hung it over Duo's shoulder. Duo picked up Mitsuo and made funny faces at him, getting him to laugh again. "There will be adults there, ones who actually know how to take care of infants?"

"I feel like I'm being insulted, but to answer your question, yes. Three of Quatre's sisters who have children of their own will be there. Sally will also be around."

Sister Lindsey was scrutinizing him so long it began to make him feel nervous. "What?"

"So where's this ring I've heard so much about?" Relieved that was all she was thinking about Duo shifted Mitsuo to one arm and with his free hand, pulled up the chain hidden underneath his shirt.

Sister Lindsey looked at him questioningly. "Shouldn't it be your finger?"

Duo shrugged. "I can't wear it at work with all the oil and grease and you know me, if I set something down, I lose it. I don't think Wufei would be too happy if I lost this."

Sister Lindsey grasped the ring and studied it a moment. "I've never seen a design like this before."

"Wufei said it was Celtic; something called a Claddagh Ring. His ring is an exact replica of mine. Didn't you see his earlier? He wears it on his left ring finger."

"I didn't see them off today. Sister Martha did."

"So how did that go?"

"I heard Cyan was actually more reluctant to go. He thought he'd miss the party tonight."

"Chris willingly went with Wufei? What did you do, drug him?"

"Nonsense, and don't joke about such matters. I simply sat him down and told him the truth."

"Uh huh, and just what might that truth be?"

"The truth. I don't lie to my children."

"Then can you tell me your version of the truth so I don't have any surprises later."

Sister Lindsey gave Duo a disapproving look, but answered, "I told him you and Wufei were going to be married some day and if he wanted you to adopt him, he would have to learn to get along with Wufei since he would also be his guardian."

"I can see that working."

"It will work. You'll see. The Sisters and I have been praying for this."

Sister Danielle entered the room, saving Duo from having to respond.

"Almost everybody is downstairs. Heero is picking the lock to Casey's room and Trowa is loading up the cars. Hilda and Relena are helping Sister Martha bundle the children up."

"I'd better go help then."

"Are you sure you will be able to handle all of them?" Sister Lindsey asked looking at the baby in Duo's arms.

"There are going to be around ten adults at any given time and most of us have had medical training. We'll be fine."

"Okay. We trust you Duo."

Ten minutes later, Duo had Mitsuo strapped into a car seat with Sister Danielle's help. He hoped he would be able to get the baby out from underneath all those belt straps when they reached the Winner mansion. Shutting the door, Duo turned to see Heero dragging a reluctant Casey to his car.

"This is kidnapping! Child abuse!" Heero ignored his protests and tossed the teen inside, locking the child proof doors so he couldn't escape. Casey slumped in his seat and sulked. Heero caught Duo's eye and nodded slightly. Mission accomplished.

"Are you sure Casey should go against his will? I can stay here and watch him…" Sister Danielle suggested.

"No, this is your vacation. You are not allowed to be around any children for at least a week. And don't fret about Casey, once we get him over there, he won't want to leave."

"She made it back safely then?"

"A little worse for wear, but she survived. Quatre's sister Azalea was doing business on L4 and brought her back three days ago."

"I wish there was a way to sort out the adopters. On paperwork, the couple was exactly what we look for and when they came here, they were such a nice family."

"With so many orphans, it's hard for case workers to keep checking up on all their clients. The chance you would see the foster parents were no good was slim. They were very good at what they did."

"What happened to them? You never said."

"Arrested on L4 for child negligence. They were using the money sent to them for themselves, not on their foster children. Sakura will have to go back next week to L4. She may have to testify against them. Azalea has already offered to see here there safely and then back here to the orphanage."

"That is very kind of her. We are in her debt."

"I think Azalea has taking a liking to Sakura. I'm wondering if she should make it back to the orphanage at all. She has only sons who are all grown now. I think she would like to have a daughter."

"Even better news."

"Duo, are you ready?" Hilda called out to him. Kaylee and Joan were handing the last of the bags to Trowa. Sister Martha was doing a final head count in each vehicle. Heero was already in his car.

"Ready. Goodbye Sisters. Enjoy your week off."

Duo, I counted sixteen children. Sixteen plus Cyan and Chris is eighteen so I expect eighteen children to be back here next Sunday." Sister Martha clarified to him.

"Eighteen children? I'll try to remember that and hopefully we won't mix any up with the Winner kids."

"Duo!"

Duo laughed and got into his car. He did a quick head count of his own. One baby, two brats… and Joan had just hopped into the seat next to him.

"Come on and drive Du-chan! I wanna see this mansion!" Make that three brats.


Forty seven minutes later, Duo drove the car through the large gates just behind Hilde's SUV. Before them lay the same mansion Quatre had thrown his Halloween party at, the same party where Duo and Wufei had their first kiss.

"Oh wow! We're spending a week here!?" Emilio exclaimed as he took in the sight of the massive front yard.

"This is where Quatre and Trowa live!" asked Joan. She too was staring in awe. Duo admitted it was an overwhelming sight for anyone not used to the lifestyle, himself included.

"Actually no, they have an apartment downtown, closer to where they both work. This is just the Winner estate which the family uses to get away or to throw fancy parties."

"You've been to some of them, haven't you?"

"Yeah, and they're mostly boring. I go to see my friends, but I'd prefer gatherings that are less extreme. Although last week's Christmas party did have some excitement. Wufei embarrassing himself in front of all those people was funny."

"Oh, yes. Your new favorite story about your boy-toy and how he gave you the ring which you don't even wear."

"I am wearing it. And he's not my boy-toy."

"Not where anyone can see it." She pointed out. Then added, "I'm sorry, I guess you're his boy-toy?"

"What's a boy-toy?" Emilio asked from the back seat. Duo sent Joan a disapproving look. She giggled.

"It's something for adults only," Joan answered. Duo saw Emilio pout in his rearview mirror. Thankfully Kalei was sleeping. In his baby seat, Mitsuo was asleep as well. It wouldn't have been pretty for Duo if she had picked up on that and went and told her father a new phrase. Kaylee could be such a pain sometimes.

With a shake of his head, Duo followed the other vehicles down the long drive way and turned onto a side road, rather than the one that went to circle in front of the mansion. This one took them to the side entrance where the roof extended over the drive so cars could pull up and deliver goods even on rainy days.

After stopping the car, Duo turned off the ignition. "All right, everybody out!" Emilio cheered and unclasped his seat belt before throwing open the back door. Joan was already gone, leaving Duo to get Mitsuo out of his car seat. Outside, the kids were torn between wanting to play in the massive snow covered terrain or explore the mansion. The snow won once Tao was hit in the back of his head with a snowball courtesy of Joan who ducked behind Trowa. The majority then ran farther out and began making snowballs and forming teams.

Hilde and Relena ran out to join the children while Trowa, Heero, and a forced Casey began unloading the vehicles. Kalei and Duo went on inside where Duo was instantly surrounded by women. If Duo had been single, he would have just discovered a way to draw in women – babies. Too bad it didn't work with guys as well, not that he wanted or needed any other guy aside from Wufei. Duo handed Mitsuo over to Quatre's sister Hasna. Zahra, Quatre's youngest sister, and Sally cooed and awed over how cute he was. Mitsuo was going to be so spoiled this week.

"Where's Quatre?"

"In the kitchen." Duo left the baby and his sister with the three women and tracked down the blond.

"Hey, we're here! Most of them are outside in the snow right now." Duo called out as he pushed through the swinging door. Quatre, Cathy, Azalea, and a young girl were inside preparing the meal.

"Hi Duo. Did everyone get here in one piece then?" asked Cathy.

"Yep."

"Hello Duo. Long time no see." The young girl spoke up. Duo hadn't been sure if she would remember him or not. It had been two years ago since they'd last seen one another.

"Sakura." She smiled and nodded; seemingly pleased she had been remembered as well. Duo was grateful her brief time on the streets of L4 hadn't made her jaded. He wouldn't wish that on anyone.

"Guess who's sulking in the next room?" Her eyes widened. Nobody had told either of them until now.

"Casey! He's still at the orphanage?"

"For the moment."

"His aunt is still…"

"Unfortunately that hasn't changed."

"I…" Sakura glanced over at Quatre who she'd been helping by stirring the pasta.

"Go on." Quatre waved her away. "We've got it from here."

"Thank you." She handed over her spot to Quatre.

"Hey Quatre, let us know when dinner's ready. I'm going back out with the kids," said Duo before retreating from the warm kitchen.

"Will do."

Duo walked with Sakura to the main hall where a growing pile of overnight bags were taking up space along one wall. Casey was there setting down another two while Heero kept guard over him from a few feet away. Heero was going a little overboard with his 'keep Casey in line' assignment, but that's Heero for you.

With a grin on his face, Duo pulled Sakura over to the teen who had yet to notice them.

"Casey! We found you another Christmas present." Duo announced, giving Sakura a gentle shove forward. It had been two years since the two once inseparable friends had seen one another and 14 months since the last letter had been exchanged between them.

"Christmas is over," Casey replied without looking at Duo.

"Hey doofus, if you're going to ignore me, I can go back to L4."

Irritated at the name-calling, Casey finally turned around with a ready scowl which changed to shock as he took in the red-head.

"Sakura?"

"The one and only."

His eyes narrowed more than they usually were and his surprised face twisted into one of anger. "You stopped writing."

"What, no hug?"

Casey didn't budge. Heero dropped the bags he was carrying and watched the two. Duo put a comforting hand on the 11-year-old's shoulder. "We didn't tell him anything, Sakura. We thought it would be best for you to tell him so why don't you show Casey to the den and talk there."

"Casey?" Sakura tried again to get him move. The teen tried to hide his confusion at Duo's words, but failed.

"Stubborn isn't he?" Sakura said with a smile. Then she boldly stepped away from Duo to Casey. Before he could protest, she grabbed his wrist and dragged him down the hallway to the den. Having been here a few days already, Sakura was quite capable of navigating through the mansion on her own.

"They going to be okay?" asked Heero who didn't trust Casey to be nice to anyone.

"They'll be fine. Sakura will beat some sense into him if it's the last thing she does. She was the only one to ever get to him. I'm sure two years apart hasn't changed that once she explains what happened."

"He's angry she didn't write though. He may not listen."

"Sakura will make him listen. She didn't have the luxury to write while she was living on the streets. She was lucky she was able to stay alive."

"You're thinking of your past again."

Duo gave Heero a sad smile. "I can't help it. I'm just glad nothing bad happened to her and Azalea was able to find her."

"Things worked out fine and Azalea has decided to adopt her."

"She has?"

"Relena told me this morning. Azalea is going to speak with the Sisters right after this vacation is over."

"That's great."

"So when are you going to adopt Cyan and Chris?"

Duo groaned. "Not you too! Who have you been talking to? Sister Lindsey? Wufei?"

"Neither. It's rather obvious how much you like the twins. Almost as obvious as how much you liked Wufei before you two started dating." Heero offered up a rare smile. Ever since they had gotten together, Duo's so-called-friends were always reminding him how bad he'd been about hiding his feelings. Apparently, from their various comments now and again, his talent to keep his real emotions hidden behind laughter and smiles had begun to fail him since the war ended. Wufei had to keep reminding him that this wasn't a bad thing.

"Come on. We have a snowball fight to regulate." Duo grabbed Heero by his coat sleeve and dragged him back outside.

A half hour later, in the middle of a snowman, Quatre had stepped outside to call them in for dinner.

"Not now! Our fort is almost done!" Justin cried out from nearby.

"Duo, can we come back out later?" Jenna asked as she patted the snowman into a more round shape.

"It'll be dark soon, but we can finish our snowman tomorrow."

"It won't melt, will it?"

"No, it's plenty cold out here. He'll be fine."

"She," Koto corrected. She stopped rolling the ball of snow which would be the snow-woman's middle.

"She'll be fine." Duo rectified his words. "Let's go warm up now." He guided the girls back to the mansion.

"Come on everyone! Inside!" Hilde called out to the spread out figures. Cathy was herding another group back. Heero and Relena went after the more reluctant boys who were running farther away from the mansion.

"Don't you want to eat?" An exasperated Relena hollered.

"That only works on Duo." Hilde reminded her.

"I heard that!" Duo yelled over the excited voices of the kids.

"You were meant to." She responded with a smile.

"In a few months, we'll see who's going to be eating."

"Just because I'm pregnant, doesn't mean I'll eat like a horse."

"You say that now…"

"Go help Heero. I'm pregnant and can't be running around in my condition."

"Yeah, right.

"Go."

"Yes mother!" Duo mock saluted her then turned back to the grounds. A few minutes later the last of the group was round up and driven inside to be met with towels and much fussing from Quatre's sisters. Wet coats, gloves, hats, and scarves were gathered and taken to the laundry room to be dried. Relena and Zahra led the children into the fancy dining hall where several long tables stood already spread with food. Once they saw the food, it was hard to get them to sit down before they started chewing.

Amongst the clatter of a roomful of kids eating and talking, Duo found a seat in-between Kaylee and Tristan; across from him were Heero and Relena. Relena had won the draw for who got to fed the baby. She cooed and made airplane sounds while holding a spoonful of baby food to Mitsuo's mouth. There was more food on the bib, tray, and Mitsuo's face than in his stomach so far. Finally he accepted another mouthful, then promptly spit it out on his chin. His chubby arms swung up and down as he made amused noises. On the other side of the infant, Heero looked…well a bit horrified, but whether it was Mitsuo's eating habits or Relena's behavior, Duo wasn't sure. Either way it was funny and Duo could just picture Heero leaning over a baby in a high chair, his face covered in baby food with a glare that would freeze adults in place, but having no effect on the infant except to make him/her laugh. With this image in his head, Duo laughed out loud. It was lost in the noise of the large group, but Heero heard. Duo was rewarded with a glare which he ignored.

"Onee-chan, you have to document everything with your firstborn, especially when he's involved." Duo nodded in Heero's direction.

"Already ahead of you, Duo. I have a video of him holding my nephew, Siegen, last week if you want to watch later."

"Definitely and in exchange, I have a picture or two of Wufei at the orphanage on Christmas Eve."

"Relena!" Heero interrupted.

"Yes, honey?" Heero was gesturing to Mitsuo who was now smearing baby food all over the tray.

"It's making a mess."

Relena rolled her eyes and Duo snickered. "It's not an 'it' Heero. He's a baby boy with a name. Repeat after me, Mitsuo."

Duo missed Heero's response because he caught sight of three people in the hallway.

"Wufei!" Duo jumped from his seat and ran to meet them at the entrance. He stopped short upon seeing their appearances.

"What happened to you?" Duo laughed.

Wufei sighed and tried to push back some loose strands of hair, but encountered splats of dried blue paint.

"Hey, you started to eat without us!" Cyan bellowed. He started for the tables, but Wufei grabbed the collar of his shirt.

"Cyan insisted we test out the paintball equipment before we brought it over."

"Who won?"

"We did!" Cyan cheered, drawing people's attention.

Wufei released Cyan's shirt. "I'm going to take a shower. You can clean them up."

"Can we eat first?" Inquired Chris.

"In the kitchen. I don't think the Winner family would appreciate finding paint all over their dining hall." Duo pointed the boys toward the swinging door leading to the kitchen.

"Ok."

"What about you?" Duo turned to Wufei.

"I'll eat later. I promise," he added at Duo's skeptic look.

"Fine."

"Go on. I'll be down later."

Duo nodded and leaned closer to kiss Wufei and received a smear of paint of his cheek for his effort.

A chorus of 'ahhh's and eww's' reached them. Apparently they had gained everybody's attention in the last minute.

Wufei blushed faintly. He was still a mite embarrassed over the Christmas party fiasco. Duo grinned and waved to everybody. Wufei grabbed his hand and gave him a gentle shove toward the kitchen door. The twins were watching them; Chris with a contemplative expression while Cyan scowled, being at the age where kissing and hugging were just plain gross and how you caught cooties.

Duo retrieved his plate from the dining hall and sat down with the paint-covered boys at the kitchen table.

"So how was your day?" The cozy setting as if they were already a family sitting down together for a meal was not lost on him.

"Great! Wufei took us to a museum and we ate out for lunch. Then we went shopping to pick up things for the week. And we played paintball!" Cyan eagerly told him.

"Did you have fun?"

"Yes!"

"And you Chris?"

"The museum was all right." He poked at his steamed vegetables with his fork.

For the past week, the twins had spent most of their time with Wufei and Duo. Wufei had the week off and had insisted on it; his way of proving to Duo he was serious about adopting them. Cyan was willing enough if it meant he could get out of the house. Chris didn't like it one bit which worried Duo.

"How about paintball? Did you like that?"

"It was okay," Chris muttered.

"Just say you had fun. I don't know why you are so mean to Wufei. He's nice to us." Chris chastised.

"Duo?" asked Chris as if his brother hadn't said anything.

"Yes?"

"Does Wufei carry a gun?"

Cyan's eyes went wide. "A real gun?"

Clearly this upset Chris but Duo wasn't going to lie. "Most of the time, yes. He's a Preventer officer and it's to be expected. Just like a police officer."

"I thought so." Chris nodded. "I saw him put one in a locked box in the trunk of his car before we left this morning."

"Really? I want to see it." Cyan begged.

"No, Cyan. Chris, do you want me to ask Wufei not to wear his gun when he's with you two." Chris nodded.

"I'll do it then."

"Phewy! I want to see Wufei's gun!"

"Cyan I said no."

"I want to see a gun!"

"Cyan, eat your dinner," Duo requested with little hope of distracting the boy from his new tirade.

"Not until I see a gun." Cyan dropped his fork on his plate with a loud clang and crossed his arms.

"Guns are not toys. Only adults are allowed to handle them," Duo lectured even as he remembered back when he himself could use a gun effectively by age 12. But times were different then and the war was over now. He didn't want to see a gun in the hands of another child ever again.

Cyan shoved his plate away, "I want to see Wufei's gun!"

"What's going on in here?" Heero inquired as he pushed open the door, a very filthy baby's highchair in his arms.

"I want to see a gun and he won't let me!" Cyan pointed at Duo. Heero blinked and after setting down the highchair, reached behind his back.

Alarmed Duo shot up from his seat. "Heero Yuy! There is a house full of children and you brought your gun with you!" Damn, he sure sounded like a parent…Heero just looked at Duo in confusion and pulled out his wallet.

"What kind of fool do you take me for?" Heero said as he opened his wallet. "Besides, Relena hid my gun collection," he mumbled.

"…then what…" Duo gestured helplessly to Heero's wallet.

Heero handed it over to Cyan, who eagerly pored over the pictures…individual pictures of the guns from Heero's collection.

"Um…Heero most people keep pictures of their loved ones in their wallet."

"These are my loved ones." Then he moved closer to Cyan to answer a question the boy had.

Defeated and baffled at the oddities of his best friend, Duo sat back down. He and Chris exchanged similar looks before attempting to finish their dinners, leaving the other two in their conversation.

Following dinner, the kids were given a tour of the mansion so as to prevent anyone getting lost, not that it would actually help; as extra security everybody was paired up. Duo took the time to take Cyan and Chris to a bathroom to clean up. Sometime during this period, Heero and Relena slipped away; it being critical for at least Relena to make an appearance at Dorothy's New Year's Eve Party. They would be back tomorrow though. Wufei also disappeared, but Duo was certain he was still on the grounds.

Having several hours before midnight, the kids split up into two groups. One went to watch a movie in the Winner's movie theater. The others went to the huge Recreation room filled with every imaginable toy and game. The adults split up as well, trying to even themselves out among the children. Trowa, Quatre, Hasna, Zahra, Hilde and Peter went to the movie. Duo, Azalea, Cathy, and Kaylee to the rec room.

Joan and Tao dived for the TV with the video game consoles. Azalea and Kaylee pulled out a board game for Sofia and Casey, who more or less was bribed-threatened into playing. Cathy played with Mitsuo and Kalei. Hana and Chris followed Duo to the massive library and brought back each an armful of books to read. A paint-free Wufei was there when they returned. Chris took little notice of him. He grabbed a book and went over to a sofa to read.

"Where were you?"

"Working on a surprise for the children."

"What kind of surprise?" Duo asked. He hadn't been told about any 'surprises.'

"You'll see later." Wufei teased and laughed softly when Duo frowned.

"Did you eat?"

"Yes. Any more questions?"

"Yeah. How did it go today? Really."

Wufei glanced over to where Chris was sitting. "It's as if he's determined to hate me. I know it's because he thinks I'm taking you from him. As far as behaving, I didn't have any trouble with him, but there was always an undercurrent of spite whenever he spoke to me, which was rarely."

"He just needs time. He's only known you for a week."

"Then he'll get it. How about you find us a game to play and I get Chris? Parties are about socializing after all."

"Says the socialphobic."

"I'm not socialphobic, if that's even a word. I'm just selective in the company I keep. Trowa and Heero are the socialphobics."

"Whatever you say solitary dragon." Wufei raised an eyebrow. "What? It's true. Back in college, you always holed up somewhere alone, reading or meditating." Duo gestured over to Chris. "That's probably why you two don't get along. You're too much alike." He poked Wufei in the chest. "Have you ever tried talking about poetry or books with him?"

"…No"

"Well, get over there and start. I'll take a long time to find us a game." Duo guided Wufei the first couple of steps in the right direction with his hand in the small of Wufei's back. "I'll give you 15 minutes." Duo gave him a reassuring smile before heading for the walk-in closet where the games were kept.

"Chris?" The boy peered over the edge of his book. He didn't respond verbally, but appeared to be waiting to listen to whatever Wufei had to say. "Do you want to play a game with Duo and I?"

"Not really." Wufei sat on the sofa next to him.

"Why not?"

"I don't like games."

"Then how about a puzzle?"

"No thanks." Chris glimpsed back down to his book.

"It would make Duo happy to spend some time with both of us."

"Liar. He'd rather spend time with you than me."

"Have you asked him that?"

"I don't have to ask him."

"Why do you say that? We've been spending time with you and your brother all week."

"I know what's going on."

"Then will you it explain it to me because I'm a little confused."

"He accepted your ring, didn't he? That means you two will be getting married someday. Duo will want to start a family with you then and he'll forget about us at the orphanage."

Wufei's expression turned into one of puzzlement. Was that what Chris thought? He supposed it was possible that a 7-year-old wouldn't understand where babies came from, but having no experience with children, he couldn't be sure.

"See, you can't even admit I'm right."

"No, it's not that." Wufei looked at Chris until he squirmed under his stare.

"What?"

"Chris…" Wufei couldn't help but consider that maybe Duo should be having this conversation with the boy. He had no training for this sort of situation. "I think you might be slightly mistaken. Duo and I won't ever be able to have children the natural way."

"What do you mean?"

"It's…uh…well…not possible for two men to…anyway if we want children, and we do, we will have to adopt them."

Chris seemed genuinely surprised. His book dropped an inch. "You mean that?"

"Yes, I do. So right now we're looking for any kids who we both like and who like us."

Chris looked a bit ashamed. Wufei hadn't meant for him to feel guilty. He was just trying to smooth things over between them. "Look Chris, I don't want you to…"

"I'm sorry." Chris dropped his book into his lap.

"For what?"

"For being mean to you."

"The paintball this afternoon?"

"Yes…and for other things. I thought you were not going to let Duo adopt. You never came to the orphanage until after you started dating him so I thought it was because you didn't like kids. Then everybody started talking about how you two were going to get married. I…I thought I lost my chance. I didn't know you were going to adopt. Most people seem to not want to adopt after getting married…at least my mom's friends were like that. They all wanted their own kids, not someone else's."

"So this is why you shot me in the head with the paint? And I'm guessing it was you who put the whipped cream in my shoes. And cut a hole in my jacket?"

Chris nodded. "Are you mad? Did you tell Duo?"

"I didn't tell Duo and I'm not mad just frustrated that I couldn't get all the paint out of my hair."

"I'm sorry Wufei. Are…will you…will you tell Duo not to adopt us because I've been mean to you."

"No, I won't tell him. But I do have a suggestion."

"What is it?"

"How about we start over? We'll forget this week ever happened and pretend we're meeting for the first time?"

Chris puzzled over this a moment before hesitantly nodding. "All right…and thanks for not telling Duo."

"Very well." Wufei held out his hand. "Hello. I'm Wufei."

At first Chris only stared at his hand, but then finally stretched out one of his. "I'm Chris." They shook hands.

"Do you like to read?"

Chris nodded; still unsure about what Wufei was doing.

"What are you reading right now?"

"Alice in Wonderland."

"I've never read that. Is it any good?"

Chris nodded again. Then hesitantly, "do you want to read it with me?"

"I'd love to." With a slight smile, Chris scooted closer to Wufei so they both could see the book.

"You can read the left side and I'll read the right side."

"Sounds fair enough."

About five minutes later, Duo ventured out of the closet where he'd been watching them. He hadn't been able to hear their conversation, but whatever was said seemed to have settled the tension between them both. Duo didn't want to break up their reading so settled on the floor near Tao and Joan to watch them play some kind of racing game. This little vacation was getting better and better.

To be continued….