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To Respectfully Offer Tea

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With Wufei, the nuances of their friendship were determined by tea. 

 

When Maxwell had cracked his skull during a mission that too kindly observed Murphy’s Law, Quatre had brought Chang a blend of Babooneh from home to help soothe any minor pains or anxieties as they sat in the waiting room, and that had been the start.

 

When Trowa left the Preventor’s to join Quatre at his business, Wufei had given his ex-partner a Ba'i cha' blend. Quatre had laughed and laughed when Trowa brought the white tea home, perplexed at the gift. Once Quatre had explained the tea was meant to reduce fatigue, Trowa had smiled and insisted they give the brew a try. It had been a good night.

 

In return, Quatre had gifted Wufei with a mix of Yansoon , to help him adapt to his new partner’s spontaneity. He wasn’t sure that Chang would like the tea’s natural sweetness, akin to licorice, but hoped the soothing properties the seed tea was known for, would prevail as its best quality. Via the grapevine, Quatre heard that Heero and Wufei had shared a pot of the Yansoon on more than one occasion. Apparently Maxwell could be just as disconcerting at home, as he was at work.

 

When the pair quarreled about appropriate business etiquette versus cultural in Zhōngguó , and didn’t speak for a week, Quatre apologized with Fèng Qìng Hēilóng Zhēnzhū Chá from Yunnan. Fascinated as he was by the pearls, he hoped Chang would appreciate the gift as a dignitary. Wufei reciprocated in kind with Maramia from Tu-jue . Quatre had enjoyed the strong aroma for several weeks.

 

When Quatre had been hospitalized after a particularly difficult business month, followed by an arduous mission, Wufei had come to his room with the largest bag of Wū lóng chá Quatre had ever seen. He had insisted, in full view of Trowa, that Winner drink it all before returning to work again. For months Quatre had felt as if he had become tea; if he’d traded brew for blood.

 

Over the years, their exchanges continued to match the occasion. When Quatre, on a dare, gave Une some Za’atar for her birthday, to improve memory and stop aging from within, Wufei had to leave the room. 

 

When Noin and Zechs announced their wedding, Wufei gifted Noin with some Jiāng mǔ chá . Quatre gifted her with some Atay six months later. Sally brought their mutual gift of Fu Pen Zi to Noin’s baby shower eight months later.

 

Once, Quatre came home to find a small bag of Hal on his desk, and a note from Trowa. For Oxygen. Happy Anniversary.

 

He’d laughed and told Wufei about the incident over their now monthly meeting at whatever tea house they felt the month called for. Wufei in turn had shared that he had found a tin of Uji Matcha on his desk and a poem he suspected was struggling to form a haiku. 

 

Chamei is mine

What is your konomi friend?

Find mine, iemoto

 

It had been signed, Soen Nagatani. Wufei suspected Duo.

 

Those were the only comments their friends ever made and Quatre had appreciated that the group had let it rest, leaving the tradition to Chang and himself.

 

Sitting across from Wufei in an overly packed cháguăn, Quatre wondered at the noise. Whatever news Wufei had to share, he didn’t care to be overheard, but also didn’t particularly mind if they were. He glanced at the untouched steaming pot, wondering what his friend had in mind.

 

Catching the scent of Citrus, Quatre smiled just as Wufei spoke his standard opening line, “What do you think?”

 

Quatre took a moment to overturn their cups, setting the napkins underneath aside. “Strategic.”

 

Wufei grunted as Quatre smiled, reaching across the table to lift the pot. “Slightly flowery.” Quatre recognized the scent easily as he poured them a cup each of the light amber tea. Taking a sip he smiled, “Jasmine I believe. An orange blossom oolong tea?”

 

When Wufei did not provide the name, Quatre studied his friend. He seemed distracted. “Good for digestion, anxiety and sleeplessness.”

 

Wufei nodded, following their unspoken guidelines, and leaving Quatre to guess.

 

“A blend traditionally served at weddings to the parents of the bride and groom.”

About to take a sip of his cooling tea, Wufei started and almost dropped the cup.

 

“I can only conclude that congratulations are in order.” Quatre smiled, “Or will be.”

 

Setting down the cup with a clatter, Wufei met Quatre’s gaze, “You think it’s a good choice then?”

 

“Of course. Savory, sensual.” Quatre grinned, “I’ve always felt blooms make it hard to say no.” 

 

Wufei looked out the window near their table, “I have considered-”

 

“A long while.” Quatre caught the barest hint of a smile. Taking another sip of tea he waved towards the window, “Considering the florist?”

 

Wufei started and drew his eyes away from the green door decorated with tulips and peonies that he had been examining. “Yes. But more so the timing.”

 

Finishing his tea Quatre turned over the cup, placing it back on the saucer. “I wouldn’t worry.” He nodded at the single stem floating upright in Wufei’s tea. “Besides, it seems you’ve had a bit of luck.”

 

Eyes on the bit of leaf, Wufei smiled as his cell phone started to ring. Picking it up, Quatre watched that smile change to an expression of delight and knew it was Relena. As Chang excused him and rose from the table, Quatre spoke softly, “ Zhù nǐ men bǎi nián hǎo hé .”

 

Xièxiè .” Wufei murmured before rushing to take the call outside, cheeks rosy for late Spring.

 

Quatre watched that fluster fade as his friend spoke to his fiance to be. Flipping his empty cup over again, Quatre poured another portion of tea and toasted the street. “A hundred more at least.”