Title: Autumn Coffee
Author: Kiarene
Pairings: 5x13, 1x2, 3x4
Rating: G
Summary: A chance meeting between Wufei and Quatre five after the war. AU.

Published: 26th June 2004
Disclaimer: You know the drill.

 

Author’s notes: This was the first GW fic I wrote, quite a few moons ago. Wasn’t too satisfied with it and so didn’t post it till now. Tell me what you think. *shrugs*

 

 

Autumn Coffee

 

 

“Wufei?”

 

The Chinese man stopped, and then turned around slowly. Pedestrians parted around him, a few rolling their eyes in exasperation. “…Win… Quatre?”

 

I gave a shaky smile and walked towards him hesistantly, not sure if I would be welcomed. It’s been five years since I last saw him and we had not parted on good terms. “It’s good to see you, Wufei. I’d never thought I’ll run into you here, in Paris of all places.”

 

Wufei had a small but genuine smile on his face, and he moved to the side of the street. I felt heartened; he was going to stay and talk to me. “It’s good to see you too, Quatre. I should be saying that instead — I’m based in the Preventers’ office here.”

 

“So. That’s where you’ve been staying. You’re looking very well.” I eyed him interestedly. He was casually dressed in a red shirt and navy jeans, a nice change from the white outfits he used to wear during te war. Oh, they were well-cut and beautiful, but I knew that white and black were mourning colors. However, Wufei still showed his preference for traditional fashions, and the mandarin collar and asymmetric line of tiny frog buttons gave an unusual look to an otherwise plain shirt.

 

I’ve not seen him for almost five years since the war ended and he had changed quite a lot. After Trowa, he had been the tallest amongst us and was well-built from his martial arts training. Now, he was a tall, lithe man that moved with an assured, feline grace, lean muscles filling out his top and worn jeans very nicely. He had let his hair grow and silky black hair hung down to mid-back in a loose braid. In a city of Europeans, his dark coloration and exotic looks garnered quite a lot of admiring looks. 

 

“Are you busy now?”

 

When he shook his head, I asked again, “Do you want to have a drink? Catch up?”

 

“Sure,” his smile became warm. “I know a nice café just around the corner.”

 

“Sure,” I echoed happily as I followed him.

 

Luckily, the café was relatively empty and we were able to get a table outdoors. It was autumn in Paris and the weather was still good. After we ordered, there was a period of awkward silence. “I wasn’t sure if you would want to talk to me,” I admitted ruefully, deciding that there was no need for circuitous small-talk. “We’ve been nothing but bastards towards you.”

 

At that, Wufei averted his eyes, looking down at the menu he held in his hands sadly. “They were but you weren’t.”

 

“But I…”

 

“They shunned me, did …malicious things,” Wufei hesistated and I cringed. I knew very well what *they* did. “But you didn’t do any of that.”

 

“But I didn’t help you either.”

 

“It’s all right. I understand,” Wufei said softly. “Thank you anyway.”

 

I stared at him miserably. Why was he thanking me? We treated him horribly. When we had found out about him and Trieze Khushrenada, we were furious.

 

Heero and Trowa were ready to ‘execute him for treason’, if we had not needed his skills in the war. They had beaten him up, while I hid like a coward in my room because I couldn’t bear to see it, and forbade him to see his lover, convinced he was passing along military secrets to the Oz general. I had understood that reasoning.

 

What appalled me, however, was how they treated him after that, even though there was no way he could possibly betray us with the restriction they had forced on him — they had even gone as far as locking him in his room at night and confiscating his laptop. They had continued to beat him up, sometimes for no apparent reason. Among the five of us, Wufei had no equal in hand-to-hand combat, except for maybe Heero, but he didn’t stand a chance against two Gundam pilots together.

 

They had destroyed his belongings, ripped apart his precious books and photos, and that had been worse than the beatings. His sorrow when he came back from a mission one night tore me apart and that was the night I first tried to speak up. All I got was a black eye and sore cheek when Trowa backhanded me, accusing me of siding with the ‘traitor’.

 

Duo and I felt betrayed, Duo more so than me. While once he was Wufei’s closest friend among us, he shunned Wufei completely. I think that had hurt Wufei more than anything else.

 

We had jeered at him, saying that there was no way the Oz general could love him. That Khushrenada was just using him, if not to pump him for secrets then just for sex. Wufei had been horribly hurt and embarassed but throughout it all, he adamantly stood by his lover and refused to break it off.

 

Then, I had wondered how Wufei could fight as a Gundam pilot against Oz, and yet love Khushrenada. Now, older and hopefully wiser, I realized that the war was not that simple. That once caught up in the ugly machinery of war, no one, not even the heads of Oz, ****

 

“Do you know how grateful I was when you came to talk to me after …it all started?” Wufei looked up, intense eyes pinning me. “I still remember; it was raining and Yuy and Barton had gone out to town to buy groceries. Maxwell was in his room — I could hear his loud music — and I was feeling really sorry for myself in my room. Then you came in with cookies and talked to me…”

 

“It was nothing. I didn’t say much… and I ran away as soon as I heard the car pull up in the driveway.” Now it was my turn to avert my eyes. Allah! I was such a coward. I was a Gundam pilot and I was too cowardly to stand up for something I *knew* was wrong.

 

“Quatre.” He reached across the table and laid a warm hand over mine. “No, it was *not* nothing. I was so miserable and you were the only one who talked to me. Who bandaged me up when I got hurt during missions.”

 

“I wish I had done more.” I turned my palm up, clasping his hand between mine.

 

“I’m sorry if I had ever scorned you for being soft and weak. Doing what you did, even if it was behind their backs, took a great deal of courage,” he trailed off uncertainly, “and I know what Trowa did to you when you tried to speak up for me.”

 

“It was nothing. I’m a Gundam pilot; it was no big deal.” I said, aiming for flippant but he knew I fell short. At this point, the waiter came back with our coffee and I was grateful. I spooned sugar liberally into my Turkish coffee; Wufei still likes his coffee with just a hint of sugar and cream.

 

“How you can drink that, I don’t know.” Wufei eyed my cup suspiciously as he stirred his. “I swear it looks *toxic*.”

 

I gave a beautific smile and brought the tiny cup up to inhale the fragrant steam.

 

“It probably corrodes your liver and stomach,” he told me solemnly.

 

“This is *real* coffee,” I insisted and we laughed.

 

“Are you still together? Are Heero and Duo?” Wufei asked curiously. His look became ashamed. “I know it would relatively simple to look that up, especially you since you’re often in the news as the head of Winner Enterprise…”

 

“I understand.” I took a sip of my coffee. “Yes we are, but we don’t live together. Trowa shuttles between the circus and my estates. I’m not sure about Heero and Duo’s arrangement, but I do know that Duo’s on L2  with his scrapyard, and Heero still works as Relena’s security head on Earth. What about you and Trieze?”

 

I knew that after Wufei had defeated Trieze in battle that last day and spared his life, as Trieze did for Wufei at their first duel, Oz had surrendered. Trieze had been sent into limited exile in exchange for his freedom, for he was still well-respected by many. He could reside in countries that allowed him in and in return, he was never to take up another military or politcal position. Wufei had refused to break off with the Oz general during the war and Trieze waited for him, even though they could not contact each other for months.

 

I had cried a bit for them — happy, touched tears as I sat in Sandrock — when I saw them together on the field after the final battle. None of us had tried to contact Wufei after he had left with Trieze. The others refused to associate with the ‘traitor’, even after it had been clear that Wufei hadn’t told the Oz general anything, and I didn’t dare.

 

Wufei smiled happily, cradling his cup of coffee. “Oh, we’re both living here now. Trieze has a town-house in Paris and like I said earlier, I’m based in the Preventer’s french headquarters.”

 

“Life is good, despite the limited exile?” I asked cautiously.

 

“Oh, very good.” Wufei nodded with a pleased flush, practically glowing. “Even countries that do not allow him to stay; some do allow us to travel through for holidays and that’s fine enough for us. We have been on a lot of holidays.”

 

Looking at his contented expression, I felt envious. I could *feel* his love for Trieze and it was a warm, beautiful emotion that choked me. “That’s wonderful, Wufei. Does Trieze treats you right?”

 

“Yes, yes he does,” Wufei said, eyes going dreamy. “He’s a writer now and much more at peace than he was during the war. My poor Trieze, he’s really a pacifist.”

 

“I know,” I grinned. Trieze was a prolific writer on a wide variety of topics, from history and philosophy to short plays. “I’ve read all his books, even the romance books he tried to hide behind a pseudonym.”

 

Wufei snickered and I continued slyly. “Those were really racy. Any chance they were drawn from experience?”

 

Wufei waved his hands wildly, his cheeks pink with embarassment. “No!”

 

“Yes!” I teased him back. “Lucky you. Judging from those novels, Trieze seems to be really romantic. Does he really woo you with flowers all over the bedroom, like in those books? And the duelling scenes! I’ve noticed he likes those, even those he alternates the scenes with different weapons. Was that what *really* happened during your ‘duels’ with him?”

 

Wufei was blushing so madly he couldn’t answer and we dissolved into laughter. Finally, I took pity and patted his hand. “All right, I’ll stop now. I just really happy for you. Trowa would never buy a flower for me; it’s too effeminate for him.”

 

A bit of my wistfulness must have shown in my tone because Wufei asked, his expression solemn, ”Does Trowa treat *you* right?”

 

“…Yes.”

 

Wufei noticed my momentary hesitation and frowned. “Does he still beat you?”

 

I could not lie.

 

Wufei’s scowl became fierce. “You should not take this abuse from him. It is not right.”

 

“Trowa loves me…”

 

“All the more he should not hit you!” Indignant fire flashed in his eyes and I was reminded again of how when we first met him. He kept ranting about justice and we all thought it funny. Now, it wasn’t so funny in the light of all the atrocities that we had seen during the war, that we had *committed*.

 

What could I say? I gave a weak smile. “It’s not so bad; he’s not really abusive.”

 

Wufei gave a disbelieving snort. “Quatre, I am not blind or deaf. I was shunned but I still could tell what was going on. The way Trowa and Heero treated Duo and you back then was unforgivable! Don’t tell me he still treats you the same way.”

 

The bruises on my arms, hidden by my long-sleeved business jacket, throbbed. “Trowa and Heero both had terrible childhoods. Trowa grew up with mercenaries and this gruff treatment seems normal to him. And you know how Heero grew up; he just doesn’t know how to show emotions, much less affection. I mean, Trowa doesn’t *really* mean it. He does love me you know, and he’s better now.”

 

That last statement had been an outright lie and I dropped my eyes guiltily. If anything, it’s worse now. Trowa’s horribly jealous and insecure of my privileged background. I’m the CEO of a major conglomerate on Earth and he freelances as a mercenary. He still works at the circus with Catherine as well. Once, I’d forgot about his pride and foolishly tried to offer him a job as head of my security and he had been so angry.  

 

Sometimes I thought about breaking it off when I couldn’t take it anymore, and then I remembered the good times. Trowa was sweet at times, and it’s those times that sustained my hope that we can work it out.

 

“Quatre, look at me,” Wufei said gently, earnestly. “I won’t push you now, but just know that I do consider you a friend. A dear friend. And you can always ask me for help, for anything.”

 

I gave a tremulous smile. “Thank you.” 

 

At this point, his cellphone rang. Excusing himself, he flipped up the cover and I turned away politely until his call was done.

 

“Oh, I’ve got to go soon. That was Trieze and he’s just down the street,” Wufei explained as he pocketed his phone. “I had finished early at work and was waiting for him while he did some research at the library.”

 

I glanced at my watch in surprise. “What kind of Preventer job allows you to knock off at two in the afternoon?”

 

“I’m a *consultant*. I get paid to be bossy and the *real* Preventers can’t wait to see me out of their office.” Wufei winked as he finished his coffee and laughed wryly. “Seriously though, I would rather spend time with Trieze so I told Une I refused to take any desk-bound jobs.”

 

To my delight, I saw Wufei’s said lover sneaking up behind him as Wufei explained to me his work at the Preventers. The ginger-haired man winked and placed a finger on his lips, and I obediently kept quiet.

 

When Trieze reached Wufei, he covered the Chinese man’s eyes with his hands and Wufei actually toppled backwards with a cut-off yelp. Snickering, Trieze caught Wufei easily and swung him around for a breathtaking kiss.

 

“Some security consultant — you shriek like a woman!” Trieze teased. Wufei spluttered, blushed and then started laughing helplessly, playfully hitting his smirking lover. 

 

I was entranced by their loving, easy relationship. Wufei was never like this during the war and I was glad to see that he had lost the righteous anger and tragic sorrow he always seemed to carry with him.

 

And Trieze. I didn’t *know* the ex-Oz general at all, aside from vid-pics, but he looked better now, more relaxed. He was dressed in a blue sweater that matched his eyes and worn jeans, a far cry from his crisp military attire. Reddish brown hair curled messily around his collar, giving him a bit of a bohemian look. Where was the formal, hard-eyed general?

 

Yet, I can still see evidence of his training in the efficient, silent movements. He didn’t so much as sneak up behind Wufei as he *slid*. I’m sure Wufei hadn’t lost his edge, nor had Trieze.

 

I stifled a delighted laugh. And surely military generals do not surprise their lovers with a crimson rose as if it was a common occurrence? Wufei calmly acccepted the flower with a kiss, earning sighs from the women at the table next to ours.

 

“Keep in touch, Quatre. I’m really glad we had this chance to meet.” Wufei then surprised me yet again by hugging me and I embraced him back tightly. He had always been reserved, even when we first met. It was how he had been raised.

 

“Me too.” I smiled, thinking that yes, I would like very much to catch up with Wufei again. Looking him up wasn’t a problem, only that I’d never bothered to before. “Go on. This will be my treat; it’s just a cup of coffee.”

 

Watching them leave, hands twined together, I was struck by the irony. We had belittled their love and tried to separate them, yet theirs is a purer love than what we have. We had been so convinced that Trieze was playing him for a fool, arrogantly judging and condeming them without trial or evidence.

 

More the fools, us.

 

I continued staring, long after the couple had turned around the corner, musing. 

 

A light summer breeze eddied, carrying the sweet scent of the varied blossoms of Paris. I left a bill on the table, enough for a generous tip as well, and walked out, a smile on my face. Something I hadn’t realize I had not been doing lately.

 

I think I will look up Duo.

 

~*~

 

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