Disclaimer:  I don't own Gundam Wing--yada yada yada-- I don't own the song "Family Portrait", it's Pink's and she can do whatever she want with it. She can stick it up her ass or someone else's for all I care, but it's my favorite song, and it cultivated ideas in my brainwashed mind. I'm using it. Not claiming it. 'Nuff said.

Title:  Family Portrait
Chapter:  2
Lyrics:  by Pink
Pairings:  None
AU ~ Angst ~ Violence ~ Abuse
Kentra Shinataku


Chapter 2:  Breathe

Momma, please stop crying,
I can't stand the sound,
You're pain is painful and it's tearin' me down,
I hear glasses breakin'
As I sit up in my bed,
I told Dad you didn't mean those 
nasty things you said

"No!" He screamed as he jolted upright, relieved to be free from the darkness of his dreams, even if only to be delivered into the darkness of his own bedroom.  Wufei glanced at red glowing numbers as he struggled to free himself from his tangled bed sheets.  3:45 a.m.  He stood up on the cold wooden floor and shivered, noting that his pajama bottoms hovered inches above his ankles.  He knew they would suffice, they would have to, whether he liked it or not.  He couldn't even afford a meal; money wasn't going to be wasted on trivial items such as new pajamas.  Sleeping nude would be fine if only he could get something to eat.

Wufei sighed.  The nightmares had been continuously getting worse.  This one had been no exception.  He realized that wet streaks marked his cheeks, a sign of the haunting dreams. 

"I suppose the hunger is finally getting to me."

He shivered again, relieved that excuses for his problems had not run out.  Though he was remarkably strong for a nine year old, he could not admit his problems to himself.  He knew that he would keep running from himself all of his life, but he couldn't accept the fact that his problems were taking him over. 

His ears perked, realizing for the first time in days, nobody was fighting downstairs.  Then the memories from the previous evening washed over him, flooding him as if he was physically under water in his swimming mind.  Daddy had left again.

"I can't believe he's gone again.  Doesn't he get it?  Me and Momma won't survive!"

Though voices couldn't be heard tonight, Wufei's sensitive ears sensed another sound.  His ears were well trained as he had spend most of his life hiding and listening, whether it be crouching as one with the shadows behind the television, or standing ears pressed against walls, he had always heard.  The sound downstairs...what was it?  He left his door slightly ajar and stood at the top of the stairs, small black eyes searching the darkness of the house surrounding him.  Or at least what he could see of it.  He automatically noticed that the sound was coming from the kitchen.  Catlike, he crept down the stairs, crouching beneath the wooden rails as he plodded in silence.  He crept through the living room, seeing finally, his mother, her head hanging over the kitchen sink, arms supporting her shaking body. 

Wufei got down on all fours and crawled behind the kitchen counter to watch her.  He quickly noticed though, that she wasn't crying, she was vomiting.  Only...there was no food in her body for her stomach to dispel.  So what was her body rejecting?  Wufei watched in some mixture of horror and confusion as she plunged three fingers into her throat, watched as her body heaved forward, muscles quivering in a losing struggle to support their body.  He watched as she did this again and again, until his mother's sobs and heavings could not be distinguished.  And then Wufei couldn't stand it anymore.

"Stop!" he yelled, standing up from behind the counter with a sudden burst of intrepidity.  She spun around, trying to calm her body, while the same body began shaking with rage.

"How long were you there, boy?" she growled, eyes growing wide out of either fury or fear -- or perhaps both.

"Long enough," his quick mind expelled from his tongue.

"You son of a bitch," she snapped, "Why the hell were you watching me?"

"Why the hell were you throwing up?" he retorted, "It's not going to do you anymore good than our current situation that we're in, anyways.  Daddy is gone and you--" his voice faltered, "You can't leave me too."

She looked at him, and let go of his fragile shoulder.  He was just a kid.  He couldn't understand.  She rested her elbows on the kitchen counter top and rested her forehead in them, leaning, still a bit shaky.  It hurt her to see her son, stomach growling, shaking, he would be better off on the streets.  Or with his damn father, wherever he had always run off to.

" 'Fei, go back to bed."

He crossed his arms, signifying that he wouldn't leave until she did.  His mother sighed.

"Yes, 'Fei, I'm going too, see?"

Wufei nodded and waited until his mother departed into the lonely silence of the dark hallway.  Giving up on her, he walked across the kitchen to the evidently empty refrigerator.  Pulling the handle open hopefully, he gazed into the bareness as the tiny light spilled out in pools and shadows over the floor of the room.  He rested his head against the door of the freezer on top, as he continued to stare, as if food would magically appear within.  After remaining that way for minutes, he gave in.  Feeling defeated, he retired to his bedroom to fight off another sleepless night.