by Aoe

Stuck With You... + Part 12

12/24/204

I don't know what to feel today.

On the one hand, I'm horrified at my own stupidity, for not considering the possibility that Duo would come home early, and for agreeing to have sex with Quatre in the first place. I mean, our relationship is over, why couldn't he have just gone to a shrink for his little problem? And if I had to sleep with him, couldn't I have thought to do it somewhere else? Why did I let him come to my place anyway? If I'd gone to his apartment, all of this could have been avoided.

On the other hand...

What the hell is Duo's problem, running off to Heero just because he caught me in bed with somebody else? Yeah, I wasn't happy when he slept with Wufei, but I recognized that I don't have the right to tell him what he can and cannot do. How come he's allowed to sleep around and I'm not?

Okay, not that either of us is sleeping around, but...

I know it must have looked bad to him, finding me and Quatre together, when he knew that Quatre wanted us to be a couple again. He must have thought I'd agreed. Although how he could think such a thing... but anyway. So I guess he can be excused for running away.

But to Heero?

He could have gone to Wufei's place. I'm sure Wufei would have been quite happy to see him. He didn't even have to tell me where he was going, just "I'll sleep somewhere else tonight," or something... No, the Heero thing was deliberate, I think. He chose to go to Heero, and he wanted me to know specifically that that was where he was going. Presumably to sleep with him. Turnabout is fair play?

The only positive thing about the situation is the fact that it bothered him enough to find me banging Quatre that he felt the need to retaliate. That's got to mean something, right?

Anyway... I hope I don't catch a cold from spending the night naked on the couch like an idiot. I got to work a whole hour early this morning, too, because I was awake and I needed some kind of distraction, something to do.

Like I do anything here. I think I've spent more time on this journal than any actual "work" since I started it. Was it really only nineteen days ago? Man, was I feeling whiny... Looking back, though... A lot has changed in my life in such a short time. I got a roommate, I resolved my feelings about Quatre, I bonded with my weird friends, and found out they're not that odd... or at least, no more so than they always were.

I fell in love.

Hmm. Maybe it is kind of like lightning bolts... It happened pretty fast, in retrospect. Or maybe... maybe it was there all along, and I just never noticed before.

Anyway. Here it is, Christmas Eve... and depending on what happens today, I'll either end up happier than I've been in a long time, or completely hating my miserable little life.

Heero and Duo are here. Guess it's time to find out.

Trowa rose from his desk and walked down the aisle to meet Duo and Heero. They all met at Duo's desk, Duo smiling brightly and hanging on Heero's arm, Heero scowling grimly, and Trowa expressionless.

"Morning, Tro!" Duo said pleasantly, then grabbed a file off his desk and ran off after excusing himself.

Trowa frowned after his retreating form. "That wasn't blatant or anything," he muttered, before turning back to meet Heero's scowl.

"Nice necktie," Heero said flatly. Trowa paled slightly and grabbed his tie in self-defense. "What did you do?" Heero demanded, still in that hard, flat tone.

Trowa frowned again. "He didn't tell you?" he asked curiously.

Heero's mouth twisted in a grimace. "No one ever tells me anything," he complained. "I always have to find out for myself. All I know is, about an hour after I dropped him off at your place, he showed up at my door, half-frozen, and informed me that if I didn't let him in and fuck him he was going to the nearest bar and drinking himself unconscious. Since I know from experience this is not an idle threat, I let him in."

"And did you... ?" Trowa asked, scowling.

"Fuck him?" Heero asked calmly. Trowa nodded sharply. Heero shrugged. "Of course," he replied.

Trowa crossed his arms tightly over his chest to keep himself from doing something stupid, like taking a swing at Heero. He could at least look smug and give me a reason to be pissed, Trowa thought irritably.

"So, anyway. What exactly did you do to send him running back to me?" Heero asked again.

Trowa sighed in exasperation. He really didn't want to have to explain this to Heero, but... "I slept with Quatre last night. Duo walked in on us," he said shortly.

"Ah," Heero said, sounding surprised. He stared at Trowa a moment, then shook his head and said, "Well, I guess that sums it all up." He started to turn away.

"Like hell it does!" Trowa snapped. "It wasn't... we didn't... "

"The point, I believe, is that you did," Heero interjected.

"But... it didn't mean anything! It was just a one time thing!" Trowa ground out. Now he really wanted to hit something.

"Ah," Heero said again. He looked at Trowa thoughtfully for a moment, then asked, "What makes you think what happened between us last night was anything different?"

Trowa blinked at him in confusion. "But... don't you want him back?"

"Yes," Heero replied flatly.

"And Duo... I mean, he needs... Are you telling me it was just a one night stand?" Trowa demanded.

Heero shrugged. "I have no idea," he stated calmly. "All I know is, he left me, and he's been after you since the day he got back. Then last night he shows up and demands I have sex with him. I never could figure him out before, and obviously I still can't. But usually he's pretty stubborn, so I doubt he's completely given up on you." Heero paused a moment, cocking his head thoughtfully. "Unless he's decided that you've given up on him," he added.

"Do you think he has?" Trowa asked worriedly. Heero just stared at him blankly. "Oh, right, you don't know," Trowa muttered with a sigh. "You think he's been... after me... since he got back?" he asked instead.

Heero frowned at him. "Haven't you noticed?" he asked incredulously.

"Well, I wasn't sure if...not really, no," Trowa admitted. "I thought he was just being really friendly."

"Which is how he acts when he's after you," Heero stated flatly.

"Really?" Trowa asked bemusedly.

Heero rolled his eyes. "Did any of you watch him chasing me around during the war?" he asked impatiently.

"Well, I was... rather busy myself at the time," Trowa snapped.

"Yeah, like you were busy last night," Heero snorted, shaking his head. "Look, I don't know much about what's been going on around here lately. I don't know what to tell you about last night. I don't know where Duo plans to be tonight, or who he wants to be with. If he comes to me, I'm not going to turn him away."

"I know," Trowa murmured thoughtfully. Then he frowned slightly at Heero. "But if he comes to me, I'm never letting him go," the taller man said firmly.

Heero's eyes narrowed in consideration, then he nodded sharply. "Then we understand each other," he said.

"I guess so," Trowa agreed.

"One thing, though," Heero added softly, stepping close to Trowa. His hands flashed upwards and gripped Trowa's tie and the knot at his throat. "If he comes to me again because you hurt him," Heero growled, "remember this." And he jerked hard on Trowa's tie, holding the knot in place so it tightened uncomfortably around his neck. Trowa's hand flew to his throat in panic, although he wasn't really suffocating. The sudden pain of the constriction was unnerving, though, which Heero seemed to know as he stood back with a satisfied little smirk.

"Trowa!" Quatre's voice exclaimed worriedly, and the blond came running up, quickly loosening the tie, easing the pressure on Trowa's throat. Trowa drew deep breaths, leaning against Duo's desk and glaring at a smug Heero while Quatre nervously wrung his hands.

Wufei, who had also arrived, raised an eyebrow at Heero and said, "You realize you're completely psychotic."

"It's part of my charm," Heero informed him flatly.

Wufei just shook his head. "Come on, Quatre, they're not going to kill each other in the middle of the office," he told the nervous Arabian with fond exasperation, grabbing Quatre's arm and pulling him off towards his own desk.

Quatre watched Trowa and Heero, frowning dubiously at Wufei's reassurance, as he let himself be dragged away.

"Too many witnesses," Heero agreed, eyeing Trowa speculatively. Trowa scowled at the Japanese man in profound frustration and stomped back to his own desk.

Duo has been proving his right to the title "Master of Stealth" today. I have caught occasional glimpses of him, but he disappears again before I can reach him. It's obvious he's avoiding me, but he's avoiding everybody else, too. This is beginning to seem kind of childish and stupid to me.

The upside, though, is that I've gotten a lot of work done. My in pile is down to practically nothing. I spent the morning trying to stalk the elusive Maxwell, but after lunch I accepted that he is just too good at hiding. Plus I got really tired of Wufei's running commentary on my (lack of) progress. I think the last straw was when he started referring to my activities as "The Great Duo Snipe Hunt."

So I spent the afternoon working... hoping to lull him into a false sense of security. But I was still ready to pounce.

He kept his head down, though.

So now it's almost quitting time, and I'm wondering if I should wait by the door. He'll have to go past me, or we'll both spend the night at the office. Of course, knowing Duo, he just might climb out a bathroom window or crawl through the air ducts if he really wants to avoid me.

Sigh.

Heero just walked by and dropped a little piece of paper on my desk. He's dropped papers on Wufei's and Quatre's desks, too, I see.

Interesting. It's a little handmade invitation. Well, it's a torn up piece of computer paper with a very bad drawing of a snowman on it, and the words, "Come to my place tonight. Christmas Eve party. 6:00 p.m. BYOB PS- No excuses."

Well, Duo did say he decorated. This makes me wonder again where we're having our Christmas Party tomorrow... or if we're having a Christmas Party.

Anyway... no excuses. Which means Heero would probably come to my place and forcibly drag me over if I didn't show.

Not that I have any intention of missing it. Duo may be able to evade me with the whole Preventer Headquarters to hide in, but I've been to Heero's apartment. It's not that big. And with just the five of us there...

That will be a better place to talk anyway. So I guess I won't wait in ambush for him by the door. Heero doesn't even seem to be getting ready to leave. I guess he plans to wait for Duo to show himself.

That's fine. I know where he'll be tonight.

Now, to go home and figure out what to wear...

Trowa set the half-eaten slice of pizza down on his plate and leaned back in his chair, smiling around the table at his friends.

Despite the still-unresolved mess from last night, the five of them had had a very nice time so far. They'd all arrived more or less on time, and sat around chatting for a while, carefully avoiding any hot topics. But fortunately they had plenty of other things to talk about.

So the conversation was light and amusing, and if Duo was still avoiding looking at Trowa as much as he could in such an intimate setting, that was okay. There would be time to corner the American after dinner.

Duo had not come back to Trowa's apartment after work, but he had apparently borrowed some clothes from Heero so he didn't have to wear his uniform all evening. The simple dark blue silk shirt he wore over loose black pants was just slightly too big, making him look relaxed as he sprawled on the couch. Duo, in Trowa's opinion, didn't wear enough blue. The color accented his eyes so well, bringing out their purple tone in contrast to the true blue of the shirt. Although Duo did look quite good in red, the color he seemed to favor. The blue shirt was probably something Duo had bought for Heero. He liked the Japanese man in blue, as Trowa recalled. And it would look good on Heero.

But it looked better on Duo.

Of course, it would look even better on Trowa's bedroom floor.

Trowa took a quick sip of his water to hide the slight flush that thought had brought to his cheeks. They all seemed to have finished eating, and Heero suggested they go back to the living room. Quatre offered to clear up the dishes, and Wufei offered to help, so Heero, Duo, and Trowa all went into the other room and sat down to wait. Heero sat down in a dark gray wingback chair, and Trowa sat on the couch. Duo seemed to ponder sitting on Heero's lap for a moment, but a flat blue stare served to convince him the loveseat would be a better choice. So Duo settled across from Trowa and met his gaze for a brief moment, smiling nervously before looking down at his pants. Which were Heero's pants. He crossed his legs and smoothed the loose black material.

Trowa watched this little performance, and wondered if he should take advantage of this moment of relative privacy to broach the topic of where Duo planned to spend the night. But before he could open his mouth, he heard Quatre and Wufei approaching through the dining room. Trowa sat back with a sigh and glanced toward the doorway as the other two men stepped through.

Quatre glanced up as they entered the room and remarked brightly, "Look, Wufei! Mistletoe!"

Wufei looked up and smirked wickedly, wrapping an arm around Quatre's waist and pulling him close. "So it is, Winner," he murmured. Quatre smiled a bit nervously at him, blushing slightly as Wufei brought his lips to Quatre's. And they kissed.

And kissed.

And kissed.

Finally, Heero cleared his throat and asked flatly, "Are we going to have to turn the hose on you two?"

Trowa glanced at the Japanese man to see that despite his words and tone, Heero was smiling softly at the other two men. Duo, meanwhile, was gaping in open-mouthed surprise. As Trowa looked at him, the American looked back and forth between the still-smooching Wufei and Quatre, and Trowa.

"You'll catch flies," Trowa warned him finally, smiling slightly as Duo's mouth snapped shut. The dazed violet stare fixed itself firmly on Trowa as Wufei and Quatre finally separated with happy little sighs and walked into the room, Wufei's arm still around Quatre's waist. They settled on the couch beside Trowa, Quatre blushing and giggling nervously, Wufei smiling in smug satisfaction.

"What... the hell... ?" Duo murmured in confusion.

"Last night," Wufei drawled, "justice was served." He smirked triumphantly.

"You need to stop using that line," Trowa informed him with amused exasperation.

Wufei shrugged unconcernedly while Quatre's blush deepened.

"You... and Quatre?" Duo asked incredulously. Wufei nodded in acknowledgment. "But... last night... I saw... " Duo frowned. "I'm so confused!" he moaned, holding his head in his hands.

"There's the understatement of the year," Heero muttered, sipping at his glass of eggnog.

"Duo," Trowa said gently, knowing a cue when he was given one, "what you saw last night... wasn't what you thought. Quatre and I had a long talk last night, and we... really finally laid our relationship to rest. But... Quatre asked me for a favor, and I decided to do what he asked. So all you saw was a favor between friends. It wasn't anything more than that," Trowa assured Duo firmly.

Duo bit his lip looking unconvinced. "But... I heard him... He said "

"Oh, dear, you were there for... that?" Quatre interrupted, looking profoundly embarrassed. "I'm sorry, Duo, Trowa, I just... got caught up in... memories, I suppose. It wasn't... I didn't mean anything... Trowa and I... we aren't together anymore, Duo. Really. It's over," Quatre said earnestly. Wufei leaned forward and murmured something in Quatre's ear. Quatre blushed and muttered a quick reply.

Wufei snickered and leaned back against the couch cushions, pulling Quatre back against his chest. "I can assure you, Maxwell, it wasn't Trowa's name on his lips the second time last night," he declared. "Or the third... or "

"Wufei!" Quatre snapped, smacking the Chinese man's chest with his palm and blushing bright red. Wufei just chuckled at the flustered Arabian.

"So... you guys... " Duo said slowly, frowning at Wufei and Quatre.

"After you... left," Quatre explained awkwardly, "I wanted to talk to somebody, but Trowa... wasn't in the mood to talk. So I went over to Wufei's place, and we talked... for a long time... "

"And then we stopped talking," Wufei added, smirking. Quatre smacked him again, but he didn't seem fazed by it.

"Anyway," Quatre continued, "Wufei helped me figure out what I was feeling, and... well, then we just kind of chatted about... stuff. It turns out we have a lot in common, and... well, we were both feeling lonely, I guess. I wasn't sure where we stood this morning, but now, I think... " He paused, smiling gently at Wufei. Wufei smiled back, not a smirk or a leer, just a smile.

Trowa looked away politely, smiling himself. They looked nice together. They looked... happy.

He wanted Duo to smile at him like that.

But... that might be rushing things.

"Duo," he said quietly, "I'm sorry you felt... awkward last night, but I can promise you, that won't happen again. You don't have to move out. I've actually kind of gotten used to having you around. I'd... miss you, if you left."

Trowa met Duo's eyes across the coffee table. The violet pools were unreadable again, shadowed and thoughtful. For once, Duo's normally expressive face gave no clue to his thoughts.

After a moment, the American asked softly, "Why?"

"Why what?" Trowa asked cautiously.

"Why would you miss me?" Duo clarified slowly.

Trowa swallowed the words that wanted to leap from his throat. Duo was so skittish... if nothing else, last night had shown him that. He didn't want to scare the man off. Still, he ached to say it...

He sighed softly, and gave a partial truth. "Because you're my friend."

"Oh," Duo said quietly, dropping his gaze to his pants again. Trowa frowned. Had he said the wrong thing? What was wrong now? He glanced over at Quatre and Wufei. Wufei was frowning irritably at Duo, Quatre was watching Trowa worriedly.

Heero sighed heavily and set his glass on the coffee table. Everyone turned to look at him. He glowered impartially at the whole group before settling his gaze on Duo.

"You're being an asshole," he informed the American flatly.

"Hey!" Duo protested, bristling.

"Shut up," Heero said impatiently. "I have never understood why you have to make everything so complicated. You only end up making life more difficult for yourself. But you're my friend, so I'm going to do you a favor here." Duo frowned at being ordered to silence, but seemed to be paying attention to Heero's words.

"Right," Heero prompted himself. "You're in love with Trowa," he informed Duo calmly.

Duo turned several different shades of red in the space of five seconds, then went white as a sheet. He opened his mouth, but only an inarticulate squeak emerged.

"See? You can't deny it," Heero declared briskly. "Now, moving on, Trowa is in love with you."

"Bullshit," Duo snapped, broken from his paralysis. Trowa frowned over at him. Had Duo really not figured that out yet?

"Didn't I tell you to be quiet?" Heero snapped, scowling at Duo. "And it's not bullshit, it's completely true," he added.

"Oh, and how the hell would you know?" Duo demanded, ignoring Heero's order of silence.

Heero ground his teeth a moment, but apparently decided to let it pass. He shrugged and replied to Duo's question. "I hacked into his computer after he left work today and read his journal," Heero declared calmly.

Duo blinked at him in amazement.

"You what?" Trowa demanded, shaken from his bemused contemplation of the bizarre conversation.

Heero looked over at Trowa, obviously unconcerned by his ire. "I had to know what was really going on," the Japanese man explained. "I told you nobody ever tells me anything. It seemed like the best way to find out."

"But... how did you even know I was keeping a journal?" Trowa asked.

Heero shrugged. "You're the journal type," he said dismissively. "And by the way," he added, "I haven't mellowed. We just never used to wear neckties."

Trowa groaned and dropped his head in his hands.

"What are you groaning about? And what are you sitting there like a lump for?" Heero demanded of Trowa and Duo respectively. "You love each other. So be together," he ordered, slumping down in his seat as though tired of the whole affair.

Duo bit his lip, looked at Trowa, looked at Heero, and frowned at the coffee table. "Heero... " he said slowly, "it's... not that simple... "

"Yes, it is," Heero snapped. "It's the simplest thing in the world."

Trowa looked up at the Japanese man in surprise. Heero's expression softened as he met Duo's uncertain stare. "Duo," he said, more gently than Trowa had ever heard him speak, except for that night when he brought Duo's clothes over, "I've been watching you since you came back. Since you've been spending time with... Trowa. And you've been... happy. Happier than I've ever seen you. Happier than I ever made you... or ever could make you. I... I love you, Duo, but... we just didn't work. We made each other miserable. And I don't want that. I don't want to be unhappy, and I don't want you to be unhappy. So I'm telling you... take this chance."

Duo stared at Heero for a moment, then he slid off the loveseat to his knees, and shuffled across the floor to kneel beside Heero's chair. Heero watched him solemnly as he approached. Duo slid his arms around Heero's waist and laid his head on the Japanese man's thigh, his eyes sliding closed. "I'll always love you, you know," he murmured.

Heero stared down at Duo's head for a moment, then gently ran one hand through the short hair, cupping the back of Duo's head in his palm. "Always be my friend," he said, half command, half request.

Duo raised his head to smile tremulously up at Heero. "I will," he promised. Heero smiled back at him a moment, then gently shoved him towards Trowa.

"Now all of you get the hell out, I have to go to sleep so Santa Claus can come," Heero declared flatly. Everyone gave an involuntary snort of amusement at the bizarre notion of Heero waiting for Santa Claus. Then they all looked around at each other, wondering if their host was serious in his dismissal.

"I mean it," Heero growled. "Party's over. Leave."

Wufei shook his head, smiling to himself as he rose and pulled a confused Quatre to his feet. "Thanks for the pizza, Yuy. See you tomorrow," Wufei declared, and proceeded to drag Quatre away and right out of the apartment, barely pausing to retrieve their coats.

Trowa stood up and got his jacket, still a bit shell-shocked from Heero's little speech. He didn't really know what the hell had happened or been decided. He hesitated at the apartment door, not sure if he was leaving alone or not.

Duo and Heero walked up to him, Duo with his arm around Heero's waist, Heero with Duo's leather jacket over his free arm. They all stood together a moment, Trowa and Heero looking at Duo, and Duo looking at the floor.

"Well... good night," Trowa finally said, opening the door.

Heero nodded in acknowledgment, and handed Duo his coat. Duo took the coat, but clutched it to his chest instead of putting it on. He looked at Heero uncertainly. "Heero... " he murmured.

"Merry Christmas," Heero said, and leaned forward and kissed the tip of Duo's nose. Then he stepped back, out of touching range. "Goodbye, Duo," he said quietly.

Duo stared at Heero for a moment, then he said softly, "Goodbye... Heero."

[cont]