The Grieving Process Chapter 3

A most magnificent summers day. The dazzling warm sun sat in a cloudless azure sky. Flourishing green fields and forests rolling out toward the horizon, to be met by distant snow-peaked mountains, spectacularly glistening in the sunlight. Bird song all around, and the smell of freshly cut grass carried on a breeze so gentle, it barely moved the air at all.

Duo could hear laughter. Relena, Sally, Noin, Hilde and Sister Helen were all sat under a shady willow tree chatting and giggling enthusiastically. Spread on the ground in front of them was a large red and white chequered tablecloth, onto which they were placing various foods and containers pulled from a large rectangular wicker basket.

A little further across in the open field, Quatre was with a small group of children that had playfully gathered around him. They were taking it in turns to be held by the arms and swung around in circles. "Who's next?" Quatre would shout, grinning. The little children would be jumping up and down excitedly shouting "ME!, ME!, ME! ..NO ME!", tugging at his arms and his preventers jacket.

Heero stood nearby, his arms folded, leaning back against a waist-high fence dividing two fields. Observing Quatre's antics, he looked on with quiet amusement, sporting a dry smile.

Duo was sitting under a large oak tree, his back against its wide trunk, quietly observing his surroundings.

They were in a country park on the top of a large gorge overlooking a distant, sleepy town nestled in the valley far below. The five girls were about thirty paces down the slope ahead of him, preparing a picnic. Quatre and Heero were in the open area a little further beyond, the children still laughing and giggling excitedly as Quatre clowned around with them.

Suddenly, a couple of small children ran past Duo, distracting him from his observations, making him jump slightly.

"Whoa!, Where did they come from?", he thought to himself, sitting up, and peering round behind the tree he was leant up against.

From where he was sitting, the grass embankment sloped up towards a large church-like building about thirty or so paces away. It was the Maxwell Orphanage, the place where Duo had spent most of his childhood. It was built on the top of the gorge, not too far from the cliff-face barrier fence.

In the sun's brightness, the building seemed to glimmer a familiar, welcoming warmth just like Duo remembered from way back.

Father Maxwell was perched on the low, stone perimeter wall, his shaky old hands resting on a brass-headed walking stick perched in front of him. Sat on the wall on either side of him were Trowa and Wufei, both clearly engrossed in whatever it was that Father Maxwell was telling them. Duo couldn't hear the conversation, but thought it must have been something amusing, as both Trowa and Wufei were periodically laughing out loudly.

Dotted around the park were small groups of young children, some sitting in groups, others running around playing.

"They must all be from the orphanage", Duo thought to himself. He looked back down the pasture, observing the two children that ran past him moments ago joining in with the group around Quatre.

Duo took a deep breath and leaned back against the tree, placing his hands behind his head.

"Ah!,.....this is heaven", he thought, Relaxing, allowing himself to bask in the warmth of the sun, shining down on him.

Duo had never felt so comfortable, so at peace with himself or the world around him. The warmth of friendship and family, all around him. An overwhelming sense of belonging. The playful laughter of children, innocence intact, knowing the war was over and they were safe from the guns. It was all there.

"The food is ready everyone!", Relena called, standing up, beckoning for everyone to come over and tuck in. Sister Helen was also stood up, calling to the children. Duo lifted his head to observe all of the children hurriedly making their way towards the willow tree, smiling and laughing as they ran. The five girls and Quatre all helped in handing out the food, and minutes later, the children were all sat in a big circle, quietly munching sandwiches and tasty treats.

Father Maxwell, accompanied by his friends Trowa and Wufei slowly made his way down the sloping embankment to join the group, as did Heero, who for the past few minutes had been stood at the cliff-edge fence admiring the view across the valley.

Quatre, was already sat among the children in the big circle, continuing to entertain them with a funny story as they ate. Duo grinned as he watched Quatre suddenly jump to his feet , doing a crazy impression of one of the characters in his story. It was much to the delight of the children, who's faces all beamed with laughter.

"HEY DUO!", Called Sally, gesturing for him to join them. She held up a jar of strawberry jam and waved it in the air. "Guess what we brought for you?", she called, "It's your favourite!, I know because Hilde told me!", Sally teased.

" that........Strawberry JAM!", Duo thought to himself excitedly, "YES!". Duo bounced to his feet like a puppy, and ran towards the group.

Relena squeezed Sally's arm, grinning, "The way to a man's heart?", she joked. Sally grinned, keeping her focus on Duo, "Through his stomach, .....always the stomach, works every time!", she replied.

Duo's short run was rewarded as Sally handed him a small plate bearing a large slice of crusty bread. Plied with strawberry jam almost half an inch thick. "I think that's how you like it", said Sally, rhetorically, hoping she'd got it right.

Duo didn't reply, after feasting his wide open eyes on the bread, he took it, simply nodding in obvious appreciation.

Most of the others, the five girls, and the other pilots were watching with amusement as he took the first bite. Eyes closed, tugging his head from side to side to tear the crust, like a dog playing tug-of-war with a blanket. "HHHHHHHMMMMMMM!!!!!!", moaned Duo, still with his eyes closed, savouring every moment of bliss the bite provided.

"I can see the news headlines now", joked Heero, "God of Death, bringer of destruction to OZ, brought to his knees by a Strawberry Jam sandwich!"

There was a general laughter. Duo looked up and smiled, "Ahh, say what you want", he beamed, "But there ain't nothing sweeter than this, this IS what I fought a war for", continuing to devour his treat.

"For a sandwich?", replied Heero, raising an eyebrow.

"No, not just the sandwich", bleated Duo ironically, still with his mouth full "I mean for all of this". He gestured with his arm. "Just take a look around you Heero, it's all here...."

Heero suddenly put his hand up, gesturing for Duo to stop talking. He looked serious, concerned. He seemed to be listening for something. "What is it?", asked Duo "Shh!", replied Heero. Quatre was still telling his story to the children, making them laugh. Heero jogged over towards the cliff barrier fence, to get away from the noise. Wufei followed him. Duo placed the empty plate he was holding on the closed wicker basket and jogged over to them. "What is it", asked Duo, in a quietened voice. "Listen", replied Heero, his focus fixed towards the open valley.

In the distance, they could hear a faint, but distinctive hum. As soon as he heard it, Duo's heart sank. "Oh lord", said Duo, "You thinking what I'm thinking?", he asked nervously.

Heero and Wufei both looked at him, their faces dead pan.

"OZ Aries carriers", they both whispered simultaneously.

Duo's heart rate doubled. "That,....that can only mean one thing!", said Duo, his voice almost in a panic. The others nodded.

Suddenly, without warning, there was a distant rumbling. All three pilots looked across the valley to see a bright flash, followed by giant fireball appear above the town below.

"My God!", gasped Heero, "They're bombing the town!".

Duo leaped into action, he turned and started sprinting back towards the group, "QUICKLY!, GATHER THE CHILDREN TOGETHER!", He yelled to the group. "WE'VE GOTTA MOVE,.. NOW!!". Wufei and Heero were close behind Duo.

Sally, and Noin were already stood up. They had suspected something was wrong when Heero had first ran to the fence.

On hearing the rumbling, Quatre looked up to see the three pilots running, their faces gravely concerned. He stood up and stepped forward a few paces to meet them.

By now the rumbling had got louder and resembled thunder.

As Duo, Heero,and Wufei reached the group, there was a great roar. The pilots looked back to see hundreds of missiles being launched, exploding with massive effect. The sound was deafening as the impacts grew nearer to their position.

"DAMN!, THEY'RE USING HIGH YIELD EXPLOSIVES!", Shouted Duo, trying to make himself heard over the noise.

By now the children were upset and worried, most were either crying or were close to tears. Relena, and Hilde, guided by Sister Helen were doing their best to calm them.

Quatre looked around for a moment, quickly trying to figure out the best course of action. "IF ONE OF THOSE MISSILES HITS THE CLIFF-FACE, THIS WHOLE AREA COULD DISSAPEAR IN A LANDSLIDE", Quatre gestured with his hands, shouting, his voice barely audible over the noise of the explosions . "WE HAVE TO GET AWAY FROM THIS AREA", He yelled.

Duo looked inland - away from the gorge. "THERE!, LET'S HEAD TOWARDS THAT FOREST, AND KEEP GOING!" he pointed towards a small forest which began only about half a mile away. The other pilots all nodded in agreement, and quickly spread out, ushering everyone to start running.

"THE FORREST!", Shouted Duo to Sally and Noin who were stood watching the bombardment in disbelief. He pointed inland, "WE'RE HEADDING FOR THE FORREST!"

In just a few seconds everyone was running down the sloping grassy bank towards the first of three fences which lay between them and the forest. Wufei ran ahead, drew his sword and proceeded to hack a gap through the first fence to prevent any delay in the evacuation.

Duo, running, flanking some of the children looked back to check everyone was accounted for, Father Maxwell was the last man, just a short way behind, his escape being assisted by Trowa. Suddenly Duo spotted Quatre running back towards the Orphanage. Duo stopped. Some of the children stopped with him, following his lead. "KEEP GOING!", He shouted, gesturing to them. They started running again.

By now, the explosions were getting nearer, and louder.




Duo sighed "OK! OK!, LET'S GET ON WITH IT!", he shouted.

A quick search of the converted church revealed no one left.

As they emerged from the building, they could see the others were already reaching the edge of the forest and were safe. Heero was running back towards the building wondering what had happened to his friends. On sight of them emerging form the orphanage, Heero stopped, and gestured frantically with his arm.

"COME ON!", he Yelled, "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THERE!", he waved his arm frantically.

Duo and Quatre leapt the small boundary wall and began sprinting back towards Heero.

Suddenly, just as Quatre had predicted, one of the missiles hit the gorge wall. There was a tremendous tremor, shaking the ground beneath them, throwing both Duo and Quatre off their feet.

A sudden, deafening creaking, groaning noise followed, and the two pilots quickly turned to see the Maxwell orphanage collapsing down the cliff-face behind them.

"RRRRUUUUUNNNNN!!!!, Yelled Duo to Quatre as he spotted a cracking in the ground around them them.

Duo scrambled to his feet and made a break for it. He could see the ground they were on was tearing away, and another cliff-face was forming some ten or so paces in front of them. Duo Leapt and scrambled up the newly forming cliff-face which was growing larger each second. Two seconds later he was stood on the new gorge-edge looking back for his friend. Quatre was only a couple of seconds behind, but the ground he was on was falling away fast. Duo quickly lay on his stomach, leaning over the edge, his arm outstretched, ready to catch Quatre.


The Blond Arab leapt for his life, reaching up to Duo as the ground beneath his feet disintegrated and fell away, starting its downward journey into the ravine a thousand feet below.

He landed against the newly-formed gorge face, and Duo swooped as low as he could, grabbing Quatre's hand.

Duo yelped, struggling to hold Quatre's weight, it was an awkward grip. Gasping through gritted teeth he shouted instructions to Quatre, still struggling to be heard over the deafening noise. "FIND A FOOT-HOLD QUATRE!", I CAN'T HOLD ON MUCH LONGER!"

Quatre managed to dig his foot into the side of the cliff, relieving the strain on Duo's arm slightly. Duo glanced sideways to see a figure in the distance running towards them.

"OK, JUST HANG ON! HEERO IS COMING TO HELP", shouted Duo, almost in a panic.

Suddenly, without warning, Quatre's foot-hold crumbled away and he was left dangling, hanging on to duo's arm again. Duo gave an agonizing yelp, as the sudden extra weight nearly pulled his arm out of it's socket. "NNNNNGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Their grip was slipping. Duo looked down at Quatre who now had nowhere to place his feet. He was simply hanging there, by one arm. Quatre looked up at him with an expression of dread. The drop below him was over a thousand feet, but Duo was Determined not to let Quatre fall.

"JUST HANG ON, HEERO IS NEARLY HERE", squealed Duo through gritted teeth, in agony from the pain in his arm.

The grip on Quatre's hand was getting sweaty, and it began slipping.

"NNNOOOOO!!!, HOLD ON QUATRE, HOLD ON!!!", Screamed Duo.

Duo could feel Quatre's grip tighten slightly, but it did not stop the slipping. Slowly, agonisingly their grasp began to fade.

"HURRY HEERO!, HE'S SLIPPING!", Duo yelled, but Heero was still some ten seconds away.

"HANG ON QUATRE, PLEASE!! ..YOU'VE GOT TO HANG ON!!", Screamed Duo, his face filled with dread, fighting to catch his breath with the pain, their grip now down to just fingers.

Quatre looked up at Duo for a last time, tears in his eyes "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, dear friend, Duo", he spoke calmly, just as their grip finally gave way, and Quatre began the decent to his demise.

"NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", Bawled Duo, desperately reaching down into the abyss.

"QUATRE!!!! QUATRE!!!!!!!! .............QUATRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!."

"Duo!.............. Duo!...... Wake up Duo!........." urged Heero quietly, not wanting to disturb the whole household "You've gotta!!!........ Hurry Heero!!.... I what? ........wh....where?"

"Sshhh!", said Heero, his finger over his lips, gesturing for Duo to be quiet,

"You were dreaming, ....looks like you were having a nightmare", he spoke calmly.

Duo was totally disorientated. "But!.... But!.... Quatre!....., the... the... the.. cliff!....", he gasped, almost fighting for breath.

"Ssshhh!" Responded Heero again, interrupting Duo's gibberish, "Calm down!,.. Duo!,.. it's Ok!,.. you're in Quatre's place, the Winner mansion", his voice showing an unusual tone of reassurance.

"He'......Heero?", said Duo, finally starting to get a grip on his bearings, running his hand through his hair, still panting like he'd been running.

His face and hair were drenched with sweat. He looked at his wet palm in surprise.

Duo gave himself a moment to get to grips with his surroundings, and to catch his breath.

He was in his room at Quatre's mansion, sat on his bed. As usual, he'd slept in his clothes, apart from his priests jacket which was neatly placed over a nearby chair, with his baseball cap placed on top.

The room door, leading into the main hallway was wide open. Heero was perched on the edge of the bed. He had been trying to wake Duo for the past few minutes.

The main room lights were on, activated by Heero when he came in. Duo could see from the clock that it was around four thirty in the morning, it was just beginning to get light.

Duo gave a big sigh, rubbing the side of his face with his hand. "That was a dream!!?", He said to himself, almost in disbelief, "THAT! was a DREAM!!???" he ran his hand through his hair again.

Duo tiredly shuffled across and sat on the side of his bed next to Heero, cupping his face in his hands, rubbing his eyes, trying to wake up.

He turned to Heero, still a little confused as to how he knew he was dreaming

"When?.... How.... How did you know?", he asked Heero, still trying to shake off the weird feelings of disorientation.

"You were yelling your head off", replied Heero, "I'm in the next room, remember?".

Duo leaned side-on against the footboard of the bed, folding his arms. His grey T-shirt was sporting large dark patches, damp from sweat. It was making him feel a little chilly. Slowly, as Duo got his bearings, everything was coming back to him. He remembered them arriving back from the hospital the previous night. He vaguely recalled dosing off in the car on the way home. Once at the mansion, he recalled them all having a snack in the kitchen, sitting round the servants table for a while chatting, before everyone retired early.

"What....... What was I yelling?", enquired Duo, hesitantly, almost afraid to ask.

"Don't worry, It was mostly Gibberish", replied Heero in a voice which suggested he was not being completely honest.

Duo caught on straight away to Heero's slight lenience with the truth, and pushed for more answers. No matter how painful or embarrassing it was, Duo needed to know.

"Mostly?", asked Duo, "Er...What about the non-mostly bits?", his voice still hesitant.

This time it was Heero's turn to be hesitant. "Er... well,.... You did call Quatre's name a few times". On the one hand, he was almost embarrassed for Duo, but on the other he could understand what was going on inside Duo's mind and quietly empathised with him.

Heero was curious to know what Duo had dreamed about. Obviously it had involved Quatre in some tragic way, but he also figured it was none of his business. He didn't feel it was his right to ask, so he kept quiet.

Suddenly, another figure appeared in the doorway, it was Wufei.

"I heard shouting", he said calmly, "Is anything wrong?", he enquired.

"Everything's fine", nodded Heero, "But I think someone shouldn't eat just before going to bed", His comments said in a slightly humorous tone. Heero stood up and slowly headed back towards the door.

"I'm getting some more shuteye" he said, yawning.

Just before reaching the door Heero stopped, and looked back into the room.

"You gonna be ok Duo?", he asked quietly, in an unusual tone of kindness.

Duo was a little thrown by Heero's rare manner.

"Er...Yeah. ......thanks Heero", he replied slowly, stuttering a little, "I'll be fine... ....... Thanks for..... for ...... you know.....".

Heero gave a nod, and turned back towards the hallway. Wufei stood aside and let him pass and Heero headed back to his room. A few seconds later they heard Heero's room door click shut.

"Nightmare huh?" asked Wufei, stepping into the room, partly closing the door behind him. He too had an unusual degree of empathy in his voice.

Duo nodded, not saying anything, still a little shaken by the disturbing imagery he had been subject to minutes earlier. He got up from the bed and began pacing around the room, rubbing his temples, still working on getting his bearings fully back.

"I know dreams can sometimes be disturbing. They re often our mind's way of dealing with the events of real life" suggested Wufei, walking further into the room.

Duo noticed there was something in Wufei's tone of voice, something unusual, something not right. "Was he just tired?", Duo thought to himself, "or is it my own perception that was wrong, thrown out of balance by the nightmare",.

Wufei continued to talk, almost as if he was trying to strike up a conversation.

"I know if ever I have a bad dream like that, it can sometimes take a couple of days to shake them off."

"Man!, I'd be surprised if you ever had a dream like that!", replied Duo, still rubbing his temples, now becoming a little more intrigued by Wufei's sudden need to communicate with more than just his usual monotone, one-way statements.

"Dreams can often be symbolic Duo, maybe it meant something, maybe it was an indication, a pointer to guide you in your future actions" Suggested Wufei.

"He called me Duo!", Duo thought silently to himself, "Now I KNOW something is wrong".

"To be Honest, I don't even want to think about it", replied Duo, sitting down on one of the chairs at the side of the bed, "It was a pretty horrible".

Wufei, nodded, quietly, and unusually, accepting Duo's reasoning. For a moment Wufei remained silent.

Duo was half expecting a lecture on being 'weak' for not facing up to his nightmare, but it never happened. Instead, Wufei shifted uncomfortably on his feet, for a moment not knowing where to look, then walked over and perched on the large wooden chest at the foot of Duo's bed, pinning his hands between his knees and hanging his head low. His back was half turned towards Duo and he appeared to be trying to hide his face.

"Wufei", said Duo softly, his voice suddenly concerned, "What's wrong Wufei?"

Wufei did not answer. He remained silent, shifting uncomfortably, turning his face completely away from Duo's direction, still hanging his head low.

For a moment, Duo thought Wufei was having some kind of dizzy spell and needed to sit down. He sat and watched for a few seconds not quite sure what to do.

Wufei gave a quiet sniff, and brought a hand up to his face, doing his best to shield his actions from Duo.

"Now this IS a surprise!", Duo thought silently to himself, "Is he crying?!" "No! that can't be!, Can it? ...Could this really be happening?" He thought in amazement, wondering if this was still part of his dream and he hadn't really woken up yet. "The Samurai warrior who laughs in the face of weakness is sat in my room, crying!"

For a moment, Duo was in total dis-belief at witnessing something he thought he would never see, but his heart quickly warmed as he started to feel a sense of shared compassion.

"Hey, ......Hey Wufei?", Duo spoke softly leaning forward in his chair. "You want to talk about it?"

Again Wufei did not respond.

Although Wufei still had his face turned away from him, Duo could clearly see Wufei trying to wipe his eyes, the quick sniffs every few seconds were also dead give away

Duo stood up from his chair, and walked across to the wooden chest where Wufei was sitting. He perched beside him on Wufei's blind-side.

"Is it about Quatre?", asked Duo quietly, "Are these tears for Quatre, Wufei?"

Wufei finally raised his head and gently nodded, although he still didn't look straight at Duo. He seemed very embarrassed about the whole thing and didn't know where to look. It was obvious that this was an experience very alien to him.

"It's ok Wufei", reassured Duo, "This is totally ok, really. I know you're probably feeling really awkward right now, I know I did yesterday". Duo cast his mind back to yesterday evening when he had cried in the hospital garden, and recalled how he felt, how he needed to get away from everyone and be alone.

His honest words must have given Wufei a little confidence back, because Wufei finally looked up at him. Duo saw the wetness of his eyes and the shiny damp streaks down his cheeks. Wufei nodded, sniffing, in a gesture agreeing with Duo's comments about feeling awkward.

"Come on, ... talk to me", Duo spoke quietly again, "Wufei, What's wrong"

Wufei sniffed again, "Nothing, ................ Everything", he replied, looking back down at the ground.

"These, .....These feelings, ...... I, ... I can't control them", his voice wavering, caused by a combination of embarrassment, sadness, and a reluctance to open up to someone about his feelings.

"I can deal with strong feelings through meditation", his voice was suppressed and quiet, "But, ....but Since the crash yesterday, I,..... I haven't been able to, .... To meditate at all."

Duo began to realise just how much pain and sorrow Wufei must actually be feeling if it got him to the stage where he could no longer suppress it. He knew, or at least he suspected from early on that Wufei dealt with the horrors of the war through the meditation that he seemed to do whenever he got the chance.

"In,... in the morning, the,... the moment when we pulled Quatre's lifeless body from Gundam Sandrock, The feelings began then", his voice waivered almost to a quiet sob, "they were feelings of an intensity I have never felt before", his voice wobbled, "and they,... they haven't stopped since, not for one moment".

Duo could see Wufei's hands were shaking, in fact his whole body was juddering slightly. "For someone who was usually so calm and focused, this could almost be terrifying", Duo thought to himself.

Everything about Wufei's presence suggested torment, frustration and fear.

Duo really began to identify with Wufei. All of the feelings and emotions that he experienced the night before at the hospital garden, had struck again, this time on his friend.

"I, .... I see an image of Quatre just lying there, with us all gathered around him unsure if he was dead. In my image, I see you Duo, and Heero, desperately trying to wake him. I see the looks of despair on your faces as you call his name. All the time, I feel a great sadness in my heart, an intense, gut wrenching sadness tearing at my heart as I look on". Wufei spoke softly, the sadness in his voice more apparent than ever. He gave a long sniff as another tear ran down his face.

"This is the Image I can't get out of my mind. It has followed me around since yesterday, Every time I close my eyes, the image plays over and over and over again". Wufei's voice seemed to get a little angry.

"It has rendered me unable to do anything, I am unable to function, ... It is so FRUSTRATING!", He snarled through gritted teeth as sadness turned to anger.

Duo hesitantly placed his hand on Wufei's shoulder in an attempt to calm him.

"Hey, Wufei, Calm down, It's ok", he spoke confidently.

Duo was hesitant because he was unsure what Wufei's reaction to being touched would be. He was worried Wufei's martial arts conditioning might kick in and he would end up being launched across the room, but it was a risk he realised he needed to take.

Wufei's reaction was quite the opposite. He seemed to take comfort from the connection. He looked Duo in the eye.

In a whisper, he spoke. "I don't know what to do Duo, I don't know what to do". His words were almost a desperate plea. Tears were streaming down his face again.

Duo's compassion for Wufei increased, as it became clear just how much trust Wufei was putting in him. A single tear welled in the corner of Duo's right eye, brought on by the deep empathy and emotion he was feeling inside.

Duo felt honoured, and proud that someone as strong as Wufei had turned to him in his hour of need, but his heart sank as the burden of responsibility began to weigh on his shoulders.

"Wufei's looking to me for an answer", Duo suddenly thought to himself, "and I don't have one. I haven't got a clue what to tell him".

"How would Quatre deal with this?", Duo continued mulling the thoughts over in his mind, "how did he deal with me when he stopped me from taking my life back then?"

Thoughts of Quatre, suddenly brought the sadness back to Duo. He could feel the knotting in his stomach again, jut like he did yesterday.

"No way Maxwell!", he thought to himself, taking a deep breath, denying his emotions, "Not now! Not now!, this is not a good time".

Duo thought desperately to figure out a way he could help Wufei to feel better, or at least to help him move on. In a way, seeing Wufei in the state he was, was a comfort to Duo, knowing he was not the only one suffering with grief.

Wufei was sat quietly, leaning forward, his elbows resting on his knees.

"Hey, Wufei?", Duo spoke softly.

Wufei looked up.

"In the morning, You and I will go to the hospital. Just you and I". Said Duo. "We'll spend some time with Quatre".

Wufei looked oddly at Duo, then wiped the wetness from his face, "What good will that do?", replied Wufei, his voice now more calm.

"Wufei, you've shown me a lot of trust recently, I'm asking you to trust me some more", Replied Duo.

He hadn't really thought of a real solution, but he recalled that he had felt slightly better in himself after seeing Quatre, and speaking to him.

Duo could relate to the nagging imagery that going round and around in Wufei's mind. He recalled a similar thing happening to himself yesterday, although it wasn't so pronounced. Now, the main image he had in his mind was of Quatre resting peacefully in the hospital bed. He hoped the same thing might work for Wufei.

"I do not see the point", replied Wufei, in an almost argumentative tone.

Duo would not engage in argument with him. "Will you just trust me?", he asked once again.

Wufei paused, then reluctantly nodded.

"Ok", said Duo, turning and looking at the bedside clock, "It's nearly five AM, what time do you think the driver gets up?"

Wufei thought for a moment, then spoke. "Let's go now", he suggested.

Duo raised an eyebrow "Now?", he said in a surprised tone.

"Why not", replied Wufei, "I don't think either of us will sleep any more, and I could use the fresh air, it can't be more than about four miles to the hospital from here, we could walk it in an hour".

Duo thought about it for a moment, then figured 'well, why not?'

"Ok,... Just give me a few minutes to get myself together will you Wufei?", Duo responded. I'll meet you in the entrance hall, say, in ten minutes".

Wufei nodded and stood up, "I will meet you there, yes, ten minutes". Duo remained sat on the wooden chest.

Wufei took a few steps towards the door, then stopped for a moment. He turned and faced Duo.

"Th....Thank you for,...... for not judging me", he spoke hesitantly, almost in a whisper.

Duo looked up at him.

Wufei closed his eyes and nodded his head in a kind-of bow, at the same time saying "I appreciate it".

Duo smiled, "Hey, don't worry about it Wufei", he said in a quiet, friendly way, "Go on, get outta here!", he grinned, "I'll see you downstairs in while".

Wufei returned a slight smile and without another word, turned and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Outside in the hallway, Wufei paused for a moment. Then turned to face Duo's closed room door. He brought his hands together in prayer and bowed deeply

"Namaste', Duo San", he whispered, "I salute the spirit within you."

End of chapter 3

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