Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is copyright Sotsu Agency, Sunrise Inc., etc. It does not belong to me. The contents of this story, however, are copyright Fushigi Kismet 2001.

Happiness is . . .

by Fushigi Kismet

The moments ticked slowly away, and a few of the pilots shifted uncomfortably in their seats. She waited patiently for him to speak in that long, drawn-out pause. Deliberate, she decided to herself. An instinctual attempt to give more weight to his answer.

But there was no need for that here. She was rating their responses objectively and none would be relied upon more than the other in her final analysis. Ah well.

" . . . being alive," Heero Yuy finished.

"Come now, surely you don't believe that all life is suffering?"

She spent a moment staring at the hard, emotionless face and the intense blue eyes, then turned away, letting out a sigh.

Her pencil scratched on her notepad for an instant as she doodled two eyes and a nose. Then she looked up once again and five pairs of eyes looked back at her from the faces of five young men. Staring at their faces, she wondered why Sally had suggested *these* particular five for the study she was conducting on the effects of war on the psyche of those under twenty. Looking back down at her notebook, she wondered why they had all agreed.

In their faces, in the hardness that lay behind smiling or indifferent eyes, she got a glimpse of what it was that all of them had suffered and suddenly, the questions on her survey no longer seemed important. Now, she thought to herself, let's just finish this quickly and both they and I can leave this particular experience behind us. After all, what's to understand? We're all human, aren't we . . . no matter what those five have been through. We're all still human and we've all suffered . . . and what did I think to learn, anyway? The horrors of war are everywhere . . . How are their answers any different? Suffering is suffering. Pain is pain. What good is any of this going to do? What did I think I would find?

Godzilla breathed radioactive fire back at her from her notepad and she looked up, suddenly weary.

"All right, let's move on, shall we? Happiness is . . ."

"When the world is at peace and you're spending time with your friends and family." Quatre smiled.

"Oh put a sock in it!" Wufei muttered. Obviously, after the first hour the strain was getting to him.

"Petting a lion."

Everyone surreptitiously glanced Trowa's way. "A full belly, an open box of twinkies in front of you, a good movie on, and your girlfriend sitting in your lap."

Her lips quirked in a bit of a smile. "Oh, speaking from experience, are you, Duo?"


"Not doing this pointless study!" Wufei tossed out.

"Now, now, this is an important study. Can't you think of anything better?"

"Killing you so we don't have to do this pointless study?"

"Um . . . Moving on . . . Heero?"

"Happiness," Heero said deliberately, "is . . ."

There was a moment of collective silence before he leaned back against the couch and shut his eyes, the barest hint of a smile touching his lips.

". . . being alive."

Author's Note: Of course, we ALL really know that happiness is a phoenix! XD