Actions

Work Header

A String Of Moments

Work Text:

Heero stretched silently as he slowly awoke. The fact that his limbs had proper room to extend outward suggested that a fair number of his partners were already up and about. He carefully sat up and looked to the side, warmth blossoming in his chest at the sight of Duo and Quatre curled up together, still fast asleep despite the morning light seeping through the bedroom curtains.

Wufei would have been up hours before all of them, of course – he still preferred to exercise in solitude – and Trowa was likely already downstairs in the kitchen.

Slipping quietly out of the bed, Heero made his way to the far dresser and pulled out a light zip-up hoodie and a pair of shorts before moving into the bathroom to change. By the time he emerged he saw that Duo had woken up in his absence – the other’s position had shifted until he was mostly on top of Quatre, and if the sounds that now emitted from the bed were any indicator, Duo was employing rather creative means to wake the blond up. Heero smirked and silently exited the bedroom, leaving his two partners to their own devices.

He snatched his running shoes out of the closet near the front door before heading towards the kitchen. True to his prediction, Trowa was there, fully dressed for their morning jog and filling the kettle with water from the sink.

“Morning,” Heero greeted as he beelined toward the cabinet that held his vitamins.

“Morning,” Trowa replied. The kettle now full, he carried it over to the stove. “Are Duo and Quatre still sleeping?”

“They’re just starting to wake up.”

“Perfect.” The burner beneath the kettle flared to life. Trowa leaned back against the neighboring counter, arms crossed loosely against his chest as he watched Heero methodically take his usual supplements.

Green eyes narrowed in consideration. “Did you sleep well?”

“Mm. I definitely feel more rested this morning. Last night was the first time I’d fallen asleep so quickly in weeks.” Heero closed the vitamin cabinet and turned to face Trowa. “I think the new prescription has potential. We’ll just have to keep monitoring the results and see how it pans out.”

Trowa stepped forward and reached out to gently take hold of Heero’s chin, tilting his face up with strong fingers and examining him with intimate intensity.

Seemingly content with what he saw, Trowa’s gaze softened. “Good.” He ducked his head and Heero’s mouth was enveloped in the warm press of Trowa’s lips. Heero leaned into the taller man’s warmth as the fingers on his chin trailed to brush over the line of his jaw. He’d just begun to return the kiss when Trowa’s free hand suddenly scooped down under his rear and sharply pinched the inside of his right cheek.

Heero’s yelp of surprise was cut off by a cunning sweep of Trowa’s tongue against his own, and before he could even think to reciprocate Trowa had quickly retreated away from him.

He blinked slowly as the taller man started to leave the kitchen. “I… Trowa, what the hell?”

“Don’t worry,” Trowa called as he quickened his pace down the hallway leading toward the front door. “Since you’re so well rested I’m sure you’ll have no trouble catching up!”

With another beat and a muttered curse, Heero scrambled to put his shoes on and moved to give chase. He nearly bowled over Wufei as the other started to enter the kitchen, pausing long enough to press an apologetic kiss to the man’s cheek before bolting down the hallway and out of the house.

--------------------------------------------------

“Is that…?”

Wufei paused, knife midway through a red bell pepper. “What?”

“Do you…” Heero tipped his head back, nostrils flaring as he inhaled deeply. “Do you smell that?” He turned and watched as Wufei copied his action, brows drawn together in thought.

“I smell something,” Wufei admitted, turning toward Heero. “It’s… familiar. Almost like burning charcoal. But what…”

Almost perfectly in sync, Heero and Wufei whirled around. Across the kitchen from the pair was the oven, disarming in appearance save for the slowly thickening smoke that was trickling out from the top of its door.

Wufei glanced at the appliance’s clock, noting that the timer wasn’t running.

He leaned over and calmly activated the nearby intercom phone, selecting to broadcast his message throughout the entirety of Quatre’s villa – and silently hoping that its intended recipient was still indoors. “Trowa, I’m not sure when you put the chicken in the oven, but I think it’s burning.”

Somewhere above him on the second floor, a heavy thud resonated.

Wufei abandoned the assortment of vegetables he’d been chopping and crossed the kitchen to turn off the oven. He quickly retreated as a half-dressed Trowa barreled in; Quatre arrived in a similar state seconds later, though he chose to hover in the doorway, a growing blush beginning to taint his cheeks.

The chicken breasts were essentially ruined, charred a crispy black along the tops and sides of them. The smoke detector went off as they were set on top of the stove, only to be silenced as Duo appeared and hopped up onto the counter in order to quickly disarm it.

Never one to beat around the bush, Heero inevitably broke the ensuing silence. “Internal clock on the fritz?”

Duo began to snicker.

Trowa sighed harshly, hands on his hips. “I… may have gotten distracted.”

Quatre had since retreated to the deck just outside the sliding glass doors of the neighboring dining room, but the embarrassed flush on his face was still clearly visible.

“Well,” Wufei began to offer, “we can still make the rice and stir fry. After we scrap the chicken, we could try–”

“Like hell we’re scrapping the chicken!” Duo’s outburst quickly drew their attention as he stepped down from the counter. “We don’t waste food in this house, at least not while I’m around!”

“But Duo, that meat’s burnt beyond–”

Ah-ah! You let me handle the chicken, ‘Fei. You and Heero keep working on your stuff. Trowa, pull yourself together and go try and reign in Quat and his misplaced sense of responsibility.” Duo pulled a carving knife from the board and grinned. “I’ve got some scrap to salvage!”

None of them should have been surprised when Duo managed to repurpose the burnt remains into an admittedly delicious shredded chicken salad, and using only what he could find in the refrigerator and pantry at that.

--------------------------------------------------

Duo sighed for the umpteenth time. He tended to love this time of year, so it was a massive shame he and the others had been roped into spending Christmas Eve at the Earth Sphere Unified Nation’s annual party, running around like glorified show dogs instead of spending time together at home like he’d been hoping to.

“You look like you’re having fun.” Wufei sidled up to him where he stood leaning against the wall of a fairly unoccupied corner of the room.

“Time of my life, man,” Duo drawled. He watched as Une was dragged into yet another conversation with a two-bit politician; the subtle look on her face suggested that she too would rather be elsewhere.

Wufei’s shoulder nudged his. “You’re thinking too loudly.”

“Maybe I’m just spacing out.”

“Your face says otherwise.”

“Fucking…” Duo swallowed, taking in Wufei’s composed figure from the corner of his eye. He could already feel himself caving to the other’s presence. “It isn’t fair – none of this is.”

“Do tell.”

“I mean,” Duo started, the rant beginning to build in his throat, “we fly all the way out here to MO-II, and for what? For the bigwigs of the ESUN to pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on another year of hard-won peace – not that they did anything to earn or keep it. Meanwhile the rest of us are stuck on the sidelines shaking hands with rich strangers and pretending to feel honored for having endured all of the shit we’ve gone through just to get here. Just to have lived. ‘Fei, it’s not–”

He was abruptly cut off as Wufei tugged his head down onto his shoulder. Wufei’s fingers curled beneath the base of his braid and into the fine hair just above his neck – an action that never failed to placate him.

“It is an injustice to us, I agree,” Wufei murmured to him, “but what weight do the views of these people truly have against the worth of all the lives the five of us have managed to save?” A shuddered sigh escaped Duo as the other’s words and fingers slowly coaxed him back down from his riled state. He leaned further into Wufei, arms lifting to curl around the other man as he calmed.

“…Still don’t have to like it,” Duo grumbled softly, his tone lacking true bite.

“Mm.” Wufei’s other hand came up to drag soothingly along his back, and Duo all but melted.

“You know, qin ai de,” came the heated whisper in his ear after a moment, “I might have seen Quatre and Trowa excuse themselves to the far restroom about ten minutes ago.”

Duo’s head shot up, a gasp of mock offense in his throat. “And they didn’t invite us?

Wufei laughed softly. “So,” he continued, “the way I see it, we can either wander off and find our own reclusive corner,” his eyes briefly wandered to Duo’s lips, a blatant hunger flashing in them, “or we can join them.”

Duo made a show out of thinking it over before shrugging. “The more the merrier, I guess.”

Wufei hummed in acquiescence and took hold of the other’s hand. As the two pushed their way through the throng of people, Duo managed to locate Heero within the crowd – engaged in what looked like a pleasant conversation with Relena and Dorothy. Their eyes met briefly as they passed; Duo tilted his head meaningfully in the direction he and Wufei were headed, earning a subtle nod of understanding from Heero.

Duo bit his lip to keep the wild grin at bay. They were going to make the most of their collective situation, it seemed.

--------------------------------------------------

“Ugh, this sucks!

From his place in the shaded deckchair, Quatre watched as Duo rolled over a third time, sprawling himself out under the space beneath the awning in an attempt to find cooler patches of concrete.

He smiled in sympathy. “There’s a floor fan in the bedroom if you’d rather hole up inside for a while.”

“Yeah, but then I’d be suffering alone, and where’s the fun in that?”

“So quit whining,” Wufei droned from the chair beside Quatre’s.

Duo huffed but offered no further protest. The minutes slowly ticked by as the unrelenting heat wave continued to swelter around them.

The silence was not long-lived as Duo turned over yet again, a whimper caught in his throat.

“This. Is. Bullshit.”

Quatre sighed. “Duo…”

“I mean, how can you guys even stand this humidity?! It’s like a sauna from Hell!”

Trowa shrugged from where he sat propped up against the villa’s wall. “It’s not that bad.”

Thanks, Trowa, the rest of us were raised on climate-controlled colonies.” Duo groaned and started tugging at his own hair. “I don’t know what’s worse – this heat, or the fact that all of you guys are just lounging around shirtless and yet I can’t bear the thought of jumping any of you.”

The swell of laughter that drifted over the space of the patio, though faint and tired, was genuine.

Duo suddenly stood up and stalked forward, his gait determined. “Fuck it,” he barked, reaching to undo the front tie of his shorts. “I’m getting in the pool.”

Without a word Heero rose up from where he’d been resting next to Trowa and followed Duo, his movements stiff and mechanical.

Quatre sat up straighter. “Duo,” he called, voice laced with concern, “the pool’s not covered, that water’s gonna be–” A mighty splash cut him off as Duo cannonballed into the pool. A moment later Heero reached the pool’s edge and turned on his heel, his face blank as he allowed himself to fall backwards into the water.

Wufei was muttering something unintelligible as Duo surfaced and loudly proclaimed that the pool water was “fucking warm.” Heero remained silent as he floated on his back, calm despite the braided man’s thrashing. Quatre asked Trowa for the time and sighed at the response he received.

Only seven more hours until the sun set.

--------------------------------------------------

Trowa was stiff where he sat, unmoving even as turbulence rocked through the Preventers transport aircraft. The rattling of belt buckles and brief creaking of reinforced metal were the only notable sounds to break through the strained intimacy of the confined compartment they currently shared.

Across from him, Wufei sat hunched over his knees, his right arm and side bandaged and bloody. Seated next to him was Heero, looking as though he was attempting to gently push his way into the other’s space – his arm hovered precariously above Wufei’s shoulder and his head was ducked down slightly in an effort to meet his eyes.

A sudden pressure across the tops of his thighs broke Trowa from his reverie. He looked up to see he now had a lapful of Duo Maxwell.

The smaller man’s arms came up tight around his neck. Concerned, Trowa brought up his hands to better anchor the other to him.

“Duo?”

“I’m fine,” came the quick, softly spoken assurance. “You just looked like you needed a hug is all.”

Trowa’s mouth thinned into a line, but his posture relaxed ever so slightly. He shut his eyes as Duo shifted in order to press the sides of their cheeks together. Heero was muttering something indistinct to Wufei. The breath Trowa found himself holding released in a slow exhale.

“It could have ended so much worse.”

Duo hummed. “I know.”

“We left too much up to chance. We…” Trowa swallowed. “I should have realized that things were progressing too quickly. If that last charge had managed to–”

“It didn’t, Tro,” Duo whispered intensely, lips brushing against his ear. “You caught wind of it just in time and we were able to disarm it. If it hadn’t been for you we would have lost a lot more people.” He pulled back in order to press a kiss to Trowa’s temple. “We’re alive, babe. We made it through – a little banged up, sure, but when is that ever not the case?” Fingers playfully ruffled up his hair, but Trowa couldn’t find it in himself in that moment to laugh.

He sighed harshly instead, wrapping his arms more securely around the man in his lap.

“Trowa?”

“Please,” he said softly, turning to press his face against the side of Duo’s neck. “No more words. Not now. Just…” Trowa’s search for the proper terms came up empty. He stifled a groan, defeated. “Stay. Please.”

In his usual mysterious fashion, Duo seemed to understand.

“Sure thing, Tro. You rest up.” A hand curled around the back of his head and held him close. “I’ll be right here.”

Trowa’s eyes fluttered open briefly at the sound of Quatre’s familiar footfalls as he reentered their compartment. The blond came to rest at Wufei’s side, the bottle of water he’d retrieved from the cockpit secure in his right hand. Quatre carefully reached out his left hand and laid it upon the injured man’s knee – something about the touch prompted Wufei to release a shaky breath, and he suddenly turned in his seat and relinquished himself to Heero’s offered touch. Heero eagerly let Wufei lean against him, sheltering the other with his arms while being mindful of his wounds. Quatre began to move in order to give the pair some space, only to stop short as Wufei’s hand reached out and caught his own, meshing their fingers together in an adamant grip.

Content that his loved ones were all present and accounted for, Trowa shut his eyes and willed himself to relax, anchored by the growing warmth in his heart and lulled by the feel of gentle kisses being planted in his hair.

--------------------------------------------------

“I have typhoid.”

A healthy mix of groans and laughter echoed around the dining room table in response to Heero’s deadpan declaration.

“Are you serious?” Duo asked when he could breathe properly again. “Oh man, this game is quickly becoming legendary.” Heero resisted the urge to roll his eyes; sure, he’d started the game by drawing a “broken arm” card and then being forced to sit by and watch as the others made progress without his help for two whole rounds – but developing a deadly disease once he was back in play? Purely a coincidence.

Quatre leaned forward. “What do you need to cure it?”

“Clean water and medicine.”

“One of each?”

“Mm.” Heero narrowed his eyes as he scanned the calamity card’s description. “And if I’m not cured after one round of play, I’ll die.”

Wufei, who had immediately died of a snake bite on his first turn, seemed to perk up in his seat.

“Well…” Quatre mulled, “I have clean water. Anyone have medicine?”

“I do,” Trowa spoke up.

“Great! Then let’s–”

However, I have to ask: is saving Heero really worth it?”

Heero narrowed his eyes. “Thanks, Trowa, I love you too.” Duo snorted into his glass of water.

“Here me out!” Trowa said, raising his hands up against Quatre’s affronted look. “We’ve still got a ‘bad water’ card on the board – you could easily use your clean water to get rid of it this turn. Do you really want to risk drawing a second one? I think it’d be a better use of the supplies we have on hand.”

Quatre leaned forward on his crossed arms. “Trowa, we are not even a quarter of the way to Oregon yet – we need all the party members we can manage to keep alive if we want to have a decent chance.” His voice was calm, ever the proficient businessman; he patently ignored Duo and Wufei as they exchanged knowing glances in his peripheral. “In any case, if we save Heero, and Duo somehow manages to draw the second ‘bad water’ card on his next turn, he has plenty of oxen on hand to deal with the consequences. Right, Duo?”

“Got your back, Quat.”

Quatre smiled sweetly. “See?”

Trowa planted his elbows on the table and clasped his hands together in front of his face. After a long moment, he sighed in defeat.

“Fine,” he conceded, plucking the medicine card from his supply pile. “Can I just donate this now and we can skip me when it’s my turn?”

“Of course, dear,” Quatre granted, a satisfied smirk growing on his face. The two handed their respective cards to Wufei, who added them to the shop’s inventory.

Heero worked to keep his expression straight as he discarded his calamity card. “Yes, thank you, dear.” Trowa’s long legs kicked at his underneath the table.

“Okay!” Quatre said brightly. “Duo, it’s your turn!”

Duo put down his trail card and promptly failed to ford the river he’d conjured.

“Well, shit,” he grumbled. “Eh, at least it wasn’t a ‘roll a one and drown’ situation.” His eyes skimmed over the supply cards in his possession. “Fuck it, I’ll get rid of my spare parts.”

“Duo!”

“Are you sure you–”

“I don’t know about–”

What?!” Duo exclaimed against the sudden uproar. “There’s no way I’m giving up my bullets right now – you know, seeing as how none of us has any food – and Heero’s got his own set of spare parts anyway in the event shit goes wrong. And in any case, Quatre, you just presented a whole case as to why I should keep my ‘plentiful’ oxen on hand. So unless anyone would like to spoil their hand and let me know that a town is on the horizon, I’m losing my goddamned spare parts to the river.”

A shared groan reverberated throughout the room as everyone ultimately gave in to Duo’s will. Duo handed over his spare parts card to Wufei before bypassing Trowa and handing the die over to Heero, who immediately forded the river with ease.

After another round of watching the others play, Heero put down a trail card and drew a new calamity, eager to overcome whatever new challenge awaited him.

As he flipped the card over, he felt a very particular sense of déjà vu overcome him, and quickly at that.

Heero sighed. “…I broke my arm again.”

Duo’s forehead hit the table with a soft thunk. Trowa’s head tilted back as he began laughing uproariously. Quatre quietly palmed his face in his hands.

Wufei sighed and promptly grabbed the marker from its place on top of the party roster, tugging off the cap with a little more force than necessary.

“That’s it,” he said, his voice eerily calm as he began altering Heero’s slot. “I’m changing his character name to ‘Dead Weight.’”

--------------------------------------------------

Quatre rubbed distractedly at his chest. He paused in his work and sat back in his chair, uneasy. The vague sense of antipathy and consternation that began hovering over him earlier that morning had only intensified over the past hour and a half, and it showed no signs of letting up. Quatre closed his eyes and finally reached – and quickly berated himself when his scrutiny connected him with the origin of the distress.

Something was wrong with Heero.

Quatre was up and out of his personal office in a heartbeat. He didn’t bother searching the rooms of the second floor, instead following his heart’s intuition and heading downstairs. Upon reaching the ground floor, however, the emotional pull became oddly mute. Pausing at the entryway into the living area, Quatre caught sight of Trowa and Wufei on the far loveseat, sitting closely together with an open book shared between them.

“Have either of you seen Heero lately?” he asked as he approached the pair.

Wufei glanced up. “Not recently. Last I saw he was headed out back.”

“I see.” Quatre looked off in the direction of the backyard doors, his fingers absently kneading the area above his heart.

The action did not go unnoticed. “Is something the matter?” Trowa asked, soft concern evident in his tone.

Quatre considered his answer before offering a tight smile. “Nothing I can’t handle. I’ll be back.” He turned and started making his way toward the back of the house, almost missing Wufei’s frown at his evasive response. As he left the two behind, Quatre could hear the familiar timbre of Trowa’s voice as he said something indiscernible – words of reassurance to Wufei, he was hoping.

As he stepped outside, Quatre couldn’t help but notice how nice of a day it was. He walked to the edge of the patio and past the swimming pool, eyes scanning the expanse of the property for any sign of his troubled partner. His gaze settled on the large garden at the far end; after a moment of consideration, Quatre moved to head toward it.

He found Heero sitting beneath the red maple tree that stood near the farthest edge of the garden. Quatre slowed his gait as he neared, approaching at a wide angle so as not to spook the other.

“You’ve been out here a while,” he commented discreetly. Heero didn’t acknowledge Quatre’s words, at least not directly – his hands, which had been fidgeting restlessly with a loose thread on one leg of his jeans, paused momentarily before they twitched back into motion.

Quatre came to a stop roughly four feet in front of Heero, watching as the other continued to stare off at a point somewhere beyond him. He chose to stay silent, waiting with inexhaustible patience despite the churning uncertainty that continued to assault his chest.

An indeterminate amount of time had passed before a loud exhale stuttered out of Heero’s frame. His hands forcibly stilled where they rested against his leg, and with resigned slowness he tilted his head back in order to look up at Quatre.

“It just got…” he uttered, voice paper thin and delicate, “too overwhelming.”

“What did?”

Heero shrugged, looking lost. “Everything.” He dropped his gaze, reaching down with one hand in order to start plucking forcefully at blades of grass. “Just thought I’d… try and get away from it for a bit. But, I don’t…” Heero’s voice started to crack and he immediately stopped talking.

Quatre stepped closer and crouched down carefully. “May I touch you, Heero?” He slowly extended his open palm out in invitation. Heero turned to stare at it, something pained bleeding into his expression.

When Heero didn’t move for a long minute, Quatre leaned in a little more. “Heero?” he implored tenderly. “Love?”

In an instant Heero’s hand shot out to grab hold of Quatre’s, his grip just shy of painful. Quatre took it all in stride, smiling warmly at the other and relishing the relief and comfort just beginning to permeate his heart.

They stayed like that for a time, Quatre offering his wordless support and Heero clinging to him like a lifeline.

When he finally felt more peace than turmoil, Quatre reached out his other hand and placed it atop their already joined ones.

“Would you like to go back to the house with me?” he asked. “I’d like to lie down with you, if that’s alright.”

Heero nodded slowly, expression vulnerable but nowhere near as wounded as before. With another shaky breath he allowed Quatre to help him stand, and together they unhurriedly started making their way back to the villa hand in hand.

As they began nearing the patio, Quatre could see Duo watching them from the second floor balcony. The braided man suddenly waved at them, warmth and understanding in his eyes. Quatre waved back, squeezed Heero’s hand reassuringly, and smiled.

--------------------------------------------------

“…I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.”

Though his comment drew no noises of exasperation, Heero could practically feel the vibe of the living room shift to one of collective judgment.

Duo dug the back of his head into Heero’s shoulder, the action less of a means to get comfortable and more akin to a passive-aggressive outburst. “Alright, man, level with us – what is it? Is it the cheap sets? The ridiculous fight choreography? The outdated dialogue? What?

“It’s just…” Heero couldn’t help but feel as though he’d accidentally dug himself into a deep hole. “Most of the so-called ‘tech’ in this show is already ridiculously farfetched, but–”

“You do realize this series accurately predicted and even directly inspired some of the most prominent technology that we use today, right?”

But,” Heero continued over Quatre’s interjection, “what gets me is this show’s unapologetic use of time travel. It just seems… I don’t know, irresponsible, especially considering how it tries to ground itself in semi-believable technology.”

“Seriously? That’s what rubs you the wrong way?” Duo craned his head back in order to fix Heero with an incredulous stare. “You never gave it a second thought when the ZERO system dicked around in your head and showed you multiple possibilities of the future, and now you’re telling me you can’t suspend your disbelief enough to entertain the prospect of time travel?”

“The ZERO system was an advanced program that computed possible courses of action and their likely outcomes based on both the data available to it and the pilot’s psyche. That,” he pointed at the ring of quasi-metallic rock that was the Guardian of Forever, “is an asymmetrical set piece pretending to be a sentient time portal. It’s ludicrous.”

“You’re missing plot, Heero,” Trowa chimed in halfheartedly. He squeezed Duo’s calves comfortingly where they lay across his lap.

Shaking his head, Heero turned toward the loveseat. “Wufei–”

“You won’t find an ally in me,” said the man in question, eyes never leaving the screen and hands continuing to caress Quatre’s head where it rested against his thigh. “I was raised on folk tales that featured mythological creatures and more than enough unearthly and ‘unreal’ elements – entertaining the idea of time travel is nothing. And eccentric tropes aside, I’m more attracted to this show’s writing; it’s often quite good.” Wufei sounded somewhat proud as he explained, clearly not shy in expressing his esteem for the old show.

Trying not to feel dejected, Heero sighed and quipped, “Well, I guess I’m just the odd one out on this.”

“The heart of Star Trek is its humanist values,” Quatre offered not unkindly. “Try and look past its initial presentation of things and it might be easier to focus on what the episode’s attempting to convey.”

“Easier said than done,” Heero grumbled softly.

Duo reached up without looking and awkwardly tousled the other’s hair. “We believe in you, buddy. Now shut up and watch.”

Receiving a supportive side-glance from Trowa, Heero settled in and watched as Kirk and Spock jumped through the dubious portal and into the past, ready to try and give the program another shot.

--------------------------------------------------

Wufei stumbled through the front door with all the grace of a newborn giraffe, happy to have gotten home in one piece after such a long and tedious night.

The house was completely dark save for the light in the front hallway, likely having been left on in anticipation of his return. As he slowly made his way to and up the stairs, Wufei silently praised the constant thoughtfulness of his companions.

True to his unspoken prediction, his partners were all fast asleep, sprawled fairly evenly across the space of the king size bed. The sight of them spurred Wufei to undress quickly, and he began shucking off the layers of his Preventers uniform, letting everything drop into a pile on the floor for once instead of meticulously putting it all away.

When he had stripped down to his underwear and untied his hair, he wandered over to the side of the bed. Trowa was nearest to him, resting comfortably on his back. Further toward the center of the bed lay Quatre, curled up on his side facing in the direction of the taller man. Directly behind Quatre was Duo, back-to-back with the blond with his face buried in Heero’s chest, whose arm was draped protectively over the other.

Wufei sat down on the edge of the mattress and carefully situated himself beneath the covers. His back lightly brushed Trowa’s arm, and suddenly he was surrounded as Trowa turned and looped an arm over his waist. Not bothering to hide his pleased smile at the action, Wufei began to settle down – only to stiffen as Trowa’s other arm dug beneath him. In one smooth motion Trowa rolled them both over so that Wufei was on the opposite side, now facing Quatre.

Without a word, Trowa ducked his head into the back of Wufei’s neck and fell back asleep.

Still comprehending the change in position, Wufei didn’t notice that Quatre had stirred until the other’s hand came to rest on his cheek.

“Wufei,” Quatre greeted sleepily, his name on the other’s lips a blessing all its own. “Welcome home.” He leaned across the inch of space between them and pressed a warm kiss to Wufei’s mouth, making a softly pleased noise when the other gently reciprocated in kind. Wufei brought his hand up to frame Quatre’s face, cherishing the feeling of restfulness that was beginning to overtake him.

Breaking the kiss almost reluctantly, Quatre lowered his head and nuzzled his face into Wufei’s clavicle, already off to sleep again in a matter of seconds. Over the blond’s head, Wufei saw that Heero had also awakened and was now watching him with a serene glimmer in his eyes.

“Glad you made it back safely,” he mouthed silently, careful not to disturb Duo where he lay against him.

Wufei reached out over Quatre, cautiously letting his hand come to rest on top of Duo’s shoulder. He smiled as Heero’s arm stretched out to press along his own, his thumb slowly caressing the skin beneath Wufei’s elbow.

Home safe and surrounded by love, Wufei’s eyelids slipped shut and he allowed the warmth of his companions carry him off into a tranquil slumber.