Disclaimers:  I do not own Gundam Wing or any of its characters.

Notes:  Quatre leaves his bedroom.

Choices of the Heart

Part Twelve

Quatre took a long, deep breath before he opened the door, his heart running wild in his chest as he fought to remain calm.  He
turned, looking over at Duo, only to see his friend smiling back at him.  Quatre smiled, even if only slightly, appreciating Duo’s
presence greatly.  He didn’t know if he could do this without Duo’s help . . . he was just so scared of being around all those
people that were downstairs, even if they were all either family of friends of his . . . with the exception of Rasid.

A moment after Quatre had pulled the door open, Duo gently urged the blonde to move.  Quatre stepped out, laying his good
hand over the one Duo had placed around his waist.  Together, they walked down the stairs, moving slowly so that the
movement wouldn’t irritate Quatre’s injuries too much.

As soon as Quatre stepped from the last step, a wave of panic washed through him.  What if they thought he was a baby for
how he was acting?  What if they hated how scared and frightened he had become?  He had to fight the urge to turn and run
back up the stairs to his room.  All he wanted to do was bury himself under his blankets and hide for the rest of his life, but he
knew he couldn’t do that.  So, with a bated breath, he started walking again, Duo right beside him.  The other young man was
whispering soothing phrases into his ear to reassure him as they moved into the living room.

Quatre smiled despite his fear as he stood in the doorway, watching as Wufei and Meiran bickered over something as they
usually did.  Heero was ineffectually trying to get them to stop, while Rasid just watched the group of teenagers.  Iria was
staring out a window, apparently lost in thought.

Beside Quatre, Duo cleared his throat, immediately gaining the attention of all the occupants of the room.  Quatre was tired,
sweating already from exertion, and once again wishing he had stayed in his room now that everyone was looking at him.

Iria rushed to his side, pulling Quatre away from Duo and leading him to sit in a nearby chair, fussing over him.  Heero placed a
hand on Iria’s shoulder, telling her to calm down, while Duo took a seat as close to Quatre’s as he could get.  

Rasid stepped forward, bowing slightly.  “Forgive me.  I did not mean to frighten you earlier today.”  He said calmly.

“It  . . . It’s okay really.  I’m sorry I hid from you in my room all day.”  Quatre replied, lowering his head out of shame.  “I was
acting foolishly.”

“Quatre, don’t be so hard on yourself.”  Meiran stated, laying her hand on his shoulder in a gentle offer of comfort.  

“Yes, you have been through a traumatic experience, it is only natural for you to be skittish for a while.”  Wufei replied, oddly
enough agreeing with Meiran.  “I'm sure you will recover in time.”

Quatre smiled.  “Thank you for being so understanding.”

Duo cleared his throat again.  “Uh, guys, Quatre has been locked in his room all day without food.  I think it would be a good
idea to get some dinner right about now.”

“You’re right.”  Iria agreed.  “What do you want, Quatre?”

Quatre lowered his head, bashful and worried that he might seem childish for asking for what had just popped into his mind.  He
blushed slightly, his eyes remaining lowered as he whispered his request.  “Chicken soup?”  He asked, fondly remembering how
his mother had always given him a bowl of chicken soup whenever he wasn’t feeling well.

“I love chicken soup!”  Duo exclaimed, immediately causing Quatre’s fears to vanish.

Quatre smiled, still blushing as he looked over at Duo, grateful that he had said that.  Then he looked up at Iria.  “May I have
some?”  He asked, politely.

Iria smiled.  “Of course, Quatre.  Everyone else want chicken soup too?”

Several nods and affirmative answers replied to her question.  A moment later, Iria left to go make dinner.  Rasid moved to stand
by the window, looking out of it.  Quatre watched him warily, still not sure he could trust the large man.

Meiran knelt in front of Quatre, gaining his attention.  “Did I tell you?”  She asked.  “I’m going to try out for the wrestling team
this year as soon as tryouts start.”

Quatre nodded.  “Yes, well I heard you say something like that yesterday when you and Wufei were bickering.”

“And I remember telling you that it’s a foolish idea.”  Wufei huffed.

Meiran glared at him.  “I didn’t ask for your opinion, you chauvinist pig!”  She replied.

“I’m only stating what should be plainly obvious to you.  You’ll never get on that team.”  Wufei said with a shrug.

“Oh yes I will, Wufei Chang!”  Meiran exclaimed, rising to her feet and facing off against Wufei, almost touching noses they
were so close.  “I’ll make the team . . . you’ll see!”

“Ha!  If you make the team, then I’ll become a cheerleader!”  Wufei snapped.

Meiran’s face immediately lit up with happiness.  “Deal!”  She smirked.

Wufei groaned.  “I did not mean that literally.  I was not challenging you to a bet.”  He said quickly, apparently trying to take
back what he had said.

It was no use though.  Meiran had already caught him with his own words.  “Oh, are you trying to back out?  Afraid that I will
make the team, Chang?”

“There’s no way you’ll make the team.”  Wufei growled, glaring at the dark-haired girl in front of him.

“Then there’s no reason for you to back out of this bet . . . unless you’re chicken.”  Meiran taunted.

Wufei’s eye twitched.  “Fine . . . it is a bet then.  If you make the wrestling team, I will try out for cheerleading.  But if you don’
t make it, YOU try out for cheerleading.  I think you would look nice in that skirt.”  He said smugly.

“So would you, Chang.”  Meiran laughed.

Quatre snickered, the image of Wufei wearing one of those cheerleading outfits now stuck in his mind, even though he knew
male cheerleaders didn’t wear the skirts.  He covered his mouth with his hand, erupting into giggles despite his attempts to stop
them.  Beside him, Duo also laughed, Heero smiling as he fought his own laughter.  Wufei blushed a dark crimson, which only
served to make Quatre laugh harder, and for Heero to let out a few chuckles of his own.

Quatre wrapped his arm around his waist as he laughed, aches springing up along his already sore abdomen.  He didn’t really
want to stop laughing.  He was happy.  However, he did stop after a few more moments, smiling.  Wufei looked totally
embarrassed, but he smiled in return, apparently glad that Quatre had found amusement even if it was at his expense.

A few minutes later, Iria called out that dinner was ready and waiting for them in the dining room, inviting Rasid to dine with
them as well.  Heero and Wufei helped Quatre up, leading him out of the room.  As he walked, Quatre cast a glance in Duo’s
direction, watching as his friend pulled a small white pill bottle from his pocket and take out a few pills, popping them into his
mouth.  Quatre turned back to watch where he was heading, thinking nothing of Duo’s actions, assuming that his friend just had
a headache.

During the meal there was a lot of idle chit chat.  Mostly it was just talk of school or work.  Quatre was happy to have
conversed with Rasid, finding out that the hulking bodyguard had a family, even seeing pictures, which Rasid had pulled from
his wallet, of his lovely wife and children.  Quatre knew that Rasid had been in the bodyguard business for several years now,
proud of the fact that he had never had a client get hurt while on his watch . . . that comment had made Quatre feel quite safe, at
least more so than he had before.  

Duo didn’t talk much about himself, not really mentioning family or anything.  He was oddly silent for much of the
conversations, only pointing out things if a person was wrong, talking about work if anyone asked him what he did with his

Wufei and Meiran continued to argue.  They acted as if no one else was in the room with them, they were so focused on
proving the other wrong.  During once such argument, Duo leaned over and asked Quatre if the two of them were dating or
something.  Quatre smirked at the picture that went with that thought, finding it agreeable to see his two friends in a romantic
relationship.  Perhaps if they actually got together, they wouldn’t fight so much, although if they got together then maybe they’d
fight even more.  

After dinner, Duo handed the tin of brownies back to Quatre.  Quatre of course, offered a brownie to each of his friends and
family members, smiling when they enjoyed the chocolate treats that Duo’s roommate had made.  Quatre had just finished his
second brownie when he felt his eyes drooping shut.

“Quatre, you look tired . . . why don’t you go to bed?”  Iria suggested.

“But it’s still early.”  Quatre argued, even as he yawned.  “Father isn’t home yet.”

Heero shook his head.  “Quatre . . . you know your father would want you to go to sleep if he were here right now.”

“Yeah, buddy.  I don’t want you all exhausted when I come visit you tomorrow afternoon.”  Duo said smiling brightly.

“Really?  You’re coming back tomorrow?”  Quatre asked, knowing his expression was hopeful as he watched Duo with

Duo nodded.  “Of course.  I’ll even help you with your biology homework . . . I do remember you didn’t like the dissecting and
our homework was to go through the notes we made before. Since you’re my lab partner, I guess we have to work on it

“Yes, I suppose we do.”  Quatre replied, slowly rising to his feet.  “I guess I will see you tomorrow then.”  He yawned again,
this time losing his balance and nearly falling over since he was in mid-step when it happened.  A pair of large arms caught him
though and Quatre looked up, only to see that Rasid had caught him.  “Thanks.”  He smiled.

“Allow me.”  Rasid said, gently sweeping Quatre off the ground and into his arms.  “You do not look like you will make it all the
way up the stairs on your own right now.”

Quatre nodded tiredly, his eyes barely open.  He bid goodnight to everyone in the dining room, distantly hearing as they replied to
him, wishing him sweet dreams and a good night’s sleep.  It had been a good day after all, Quatre decided as Rasid carried him
up the stairs and into his bedroom.

Quatre must have dozed off, because the next thing he knew he was sitting on his bed, dressed only in his pajama bottoms,
although he didn’t remember changing out of his sweat pants or T-shirt.  He looked down at himself, noticing that his sling and
some of his bandages were missing from his pale and bruised body.  Then he noticed that Rasid was kneeling down in front of
him, wrapping a fresh bandage around his arm where he had rubbed his skin raw in the shower.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty to get you changed into something more comfortable.”  Rasid said, taping the
bandage off.

Quatre blushed.  “No . . . it’s ok.  Thank you.”  Quatre whispered, trusting this man although not knowing why.

Rasid helped him put on his pajama top, then to lie down.  He pulled up the blankets for the young blonde, idly brushing his
fingers through the young man’s bangs before saying goodnight to him.  Quatre smiled, quickly drifting off to sleep, mumbling a
reply to Rasid, although he couldn’t really be sure of what he had said to the older man.

To Be Continued . . .