Author's Note: Just a little piece that popped into my head. I was working on another story and trying to figure out the circumstances of Wufei and Sally's first kiss. I ended up with this. Please let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I own nothing…


The Beginning

Preventer Wufei Chang paced restlessly across the small hospital room. He'd walked the same path for nearly an hour and he showed no signs of stopping. His Preventers uniform was spotted with dust and dirt and his dark hair wasn't quite as neatly pulled back in a ponytail as usual. He was oblivious to his appearance, however. His thoughts were solely on the young woman in the hospital bed across the room from him.

It was supposed to have been a routine assignment. It should have gone just like all the other assignments they'd had like it. There was no reason why the former military base they had been inspecting should have exploded. It never should have happened. It certainly never should have ended with his partner in the hospital.

Wufei glanced over at Preventer Sally Po. She looked as if she was just sleeping peacefully—her blonde hair loose on the pillow under her. There was a small scratch across one of her cheeks, but she appeared otherwise unharmed by the force of the explosion that had knocked her unconscious.

The doctor had assured her worried partner that nothing seemed wrong. It was all just a matter of waiting for her to wake up.

If there was one word to describe Wufei, patient wasn't it. He hated waiting. He especially disliked waiting when he had nothing but guilt and worry to occupy his mind.

He kept replaying the events of the morning in his head, wondering if anything could have been done differently to avoid their current situation. Sally had only been a few feet ahead of him in the hallway of the base but just far enough away that his attempts to get her out of the way of the initial blast failed. He remembered coming to, with the awareness that he'd been knocked out briefly, and then stumbling the short distance to her—only she didn't wake up despite his best efforts.

So here they were—Wufei pacing and blaming himself while she lay in the bed, breathing even and peaceful.

His gaze snapped to her as she groaned quietly and her eyes fluttered open.

"Hey." He greeted softly as he walked to the side of the bed. "How do you feel?"

"I've felt better but I've also felt worse." Sally replied with a slight laugh. "My head is killing me."

"You hit it pretty hard."

"Good thing it's thick, huh?"

Wufei nodded with a smile and helped her sit up. "The doctors said you'll be fine with a couple days rest. They don't think you have a concussion."

"That's good." She frowned at the IV in her arm. "How long have I been out?"

"Most of the day."

"What happened? That area wasn't supposed to have any explosives."

"Someone gave us the wrong information. I think we set it off when we overrode the security system." Wufei gazed off across the room—expression suddenly serious. "I realized something had gone wrong, but I wasn't quick enough to get to you…"

"Wufei, it's okay." Sally said gently. "Things go wrong sometimes. We're both alright—that's all that matters. I'm a big girl and I've survived plenty of bumps and bruises over the years. You don't always have to look after me."

"But I'm your partner. I'm supposed to watch your back. I'm supposed to protect you. I want to protect you."

She watched him for a moment. In the three years they had worked together she'd learned a lot about her partner and this was one of those times where she could tell his past was causing him grief. The fact he wouldn't look at her suggested that he didn't want her to see just how much pain he was in.

"Wufei… sit." She shifted over slightly to make room for him. Now that he was closer she could see that he looked tired and a little like the kid she'd first him as—lost and scared. "Please talk to me. What's going on in your head?"

"It frightens me, Sally."

"What does?"

Wufei stared toward the window, gaze distant. "I was frightened I would lose you. I couldn't protect you and you got hurt because of it."

"It wasn't your fault." Sally took his hand and squeezed it gently. "You can't blame yourself for every thing that happens. You can't always be there."

"I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you. It scares me how deeply I've come to need you. I've never felt this way about anyone." He held her hand firmly, but still didn't look at her. "My whole life I've avoided making attachments. I always thought it was weakness to 'need' someone else. I never wanted friends or people I had to rely on. People have a tendency to let others down. I thought that the more attached you get to someone the greater the chances are that they'll let you down or leave you one day…"

She could only stare at him. Never in the years she'd known him had he opened up so much to her. He'd certainly never talked about his relationship with her.

"With you it's different." Wufei continued. "I'd be lost without you. I trust you in a way I've never trusted anyone. You've stood by me and cared about me when you had no reason to. You've never let me down. I feel safe when I'm with you. I feel at peace for the first time in my life and I know I have you to thank for that."

It took Sally a moment to process everything he'd admitted. She was touched by his honesty but unsure how to respond to it.

"Wufei, look at me." She touched his cheek softly. Meeting his uncertain gaze, she smiled. "It's not weakness to need someone in your life. People aren't meant to live alone. We need attachments or we have nothing to live for. It's true that you sometimes give your heart to someone and they don't take very good care of it, but heartbreaks and let downs, as painful as they can be, are a part of life. We have to be willing to risk being hurt because nothing good comes without risks."

"You took a risk on me." Wufei commented.

"Yes, I did. You needed someone to show you that you made a difference. You needed a friend."

"But why risk everything for me? What did you gain?"

"An ally, a friend…" Sally laughed. "We've spent the last three years working together and I've never been happier." Her humor faded a little as she gazed at him. "I've come to need you too. Maybe more than I realized. In all honesty, I've always been a little afraid that one day you wouldn't need me anymore and you'd leave."

"Even if I didn't need you, Sally, I wouldn't leave." Wufei met her eyes, this time a little more confidently. "I want to be here. I don't want to be alone."

"You don't have to be."

"You deserve better."

Sally shook her head. "I want to be with you. You're a good man and someday I'll find a way to prove that to you."

He nodded thoughtfully. "I can't promise that I won't make mistakes."

"I don't expect things to be perfect. I can guarantee that we'll have hard times and we'll both make mistakes. We'll work through those times because the good times will be worth it. We may never have a fairytale ending, but we'll do the best we can. It'll be okay in the end."

"You've always been an optimist. I've never understood how you can see the world in a positive light when it's been so cruel to you."

"Dwelling on the bad doesn't make for a very good life." Sally replied. "Besides, I've always had reasons to keep believing in the good. I have faith in this world and, although it's been shaken from time to time, it's never been lost."

"You're quite an amazing woman." Wufei stated.

"And you've become quite a wonderful young man. I'm proud to be your partner."

"Are we just partners?"

"I don't think we've ever been 'just' partners."

Their eyes met in a way that they never had before and it was clear that everything was about to change.

"Sally…" He reached out tentatively and set a hand on her cheek. "This is… this is new for me. I don't what to do."

"Do you know what you want?"

"Yes."

"Then follow your heart." Sally stated gently.

Wufei nodded and leaned closer to her. He hesitated a moment and then pressed his lips to hers.

The kiss was slow, curious and needy at the same time. He was aware of nothing other than the feel of her lips and the way she pulled him closer to her. Nothing else existed to him but her.

It was just the beginning, but something in that kiss promised so much more. It promised safety, peace and, most importantly, love. It was just the beginning, but for that moment, the beginning was all that mattered. The future would come and the past was behind them, but at this moment they had each other and that was enough.


*END*