Garou + Part 27 (cont)
Aftermath

"Quatre has been interested in you for months."

There was a moment of silence while the green-eyed boy stared at his comrade, incredulous.

"He has a crush on you," Heero repeated. "He likes you. Not only like a friend. So you see... He was too drunk to realize the consequences. He didn't think, that's all. ...Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Stunned, the teen fell back on the grass, throwing an arm across his eyes. It was too much to assimilate in one go. Quatre... Nice, loved, adorable Quatre had a crush on him? Him who was so bright, liked by everyone, who was capable of commanding without even trying the fanaticism of a troop of hardened warriors, him whom even seasoned politicians couldn't resist when he smiled at them?

What the hell could someone as exceptional as Quatre Raberba Winner find in an ex-mercenary orphan? Someone so ordinary, so cold, so down to earth? Certainly not the kind of exceptional person who could give Quatre what he deserved...

He had always been glad that the other teen was taking the time to to get to know him. It had been hard at first to believe that Quatre really saw him as a friend, not as the gutter rat he was, in his usual kindness, pitying, when the blond had for himself everything he could want, compassion, kindness, beauty, intelligence, money, that he didn't need to pick up strays when he wanted company... Not that he found himself totally worthless, but what he was didn't meet with what he had thought were Quatre's expectations. He'd had troubles believing that the boy really wanted him as a friend.

He'd never dared to imagine that one day, the other boy would want more. Ask for more.

No, that wasn't honest, in fact. If there hadn't been alcohol, he wouldn't have asked for anything. From what Heero was saying, Quatre had been crushing for months. If he had wanted to get more, he would have made a pass at him sooner... wouldn't he?

"How long, did you say?"

Heero didn't need to ask what he was referring to.

"Months. Since you met, I think. Not sure."

"How do you know?" the European asked, lifting his arm off his face to stares suspiciously at his comrade.

Heero shrugged.

"A discussion with Duo. And his scent changes when he's around you. You'll see yourself."

Trowa groaned and let his arm fall across his eyes again.

"Great, Duo knows..." he grumbled.

"They confide in each other a lot," Heero answered in a neutral tone. "I think Duo has known for a while, at least four months, maybe more."

"Now there is only to tell Wufei," Trowa grumbled, annoyed and pretty embarrassed.

Heero snorted.

"Don't worry about him," he answered. "He'll be so ashamed by what happened between him and me that I doubt he'll try to bother you about Quatre."

"Aren't you?"

"Embarrassed? No. Why should I be?"

"Easy to say, you were on top..." Trowa muttered.

For several seconds there wasn't an answer, only the noise of roots torn out of the soil by nervous hands.

"I... can't. Be... penetrated, I mean. I just can't."

Trowa straightened up and stared at him, surprised to hear his comrade stutter. Heero's head was low and his shoulders were tense. He looked... ashamed.

"It wouldn't embarrass me if I could, but... I can't."

Without saying a word, the acrobat crawled on all four to his friend and slid his arms around his shoulders, hugging him hard in silence. After a few tense seconds, the blue-eyed teen relaxed and hugged back briefly before disengaging.

"So, what are you going to do about Quatre?" Heero asked.

Understanding too well his shame, Trowa let him change the subject without commenting.

"I don't know... I have a lot to think about," he admitted in a sigh, running his hand though his hair.

Heero gave him a microscopic smile, relieved to know that they could do as if his confession had never happened.

"Let's go back to the others, ok? You don't have to find a solution right away, you know... And even if he had extenuating circumstances, Quatre still has to apologize in my point of view."

"Yeah," Trowa answered absently, lost in thought. "...Just a problem," he added grumpily.

"What?"

Trowa glanced at his naked body, then stared at Heero, one eyebrow elegantly arched.

"Ah, yeah, I suppose it's a problem to you..." Heero answered, falsely indifferent.

"Pardon?"

The Japanese teen smirked and began to transform.

"If you can't do that yet, jut wait here and I'll get you clothes. Ok?"

Trowa frowned.

"Quitter."

"Have fun," Heero shot back, trying to look innocent.

"You asshole," Trowa grumbled.

A snicker was his only answer, and Heero dropped on all four, already more than half a wolf.

"Hurry up then," Trowa whispered, eyes half-closed.

Heero wagged his tail once, then disappeared in the bushes.

* * *

Duo opened his eyes on a roof that was definitely NOT his own room's.

Besides him, a feminine voice was complaining about aching muscles with a surprisingly vast vocabulary. He looked on his side. Cathy was trying to stretch her muscles, yawning, and Sally was leaning against the wall, her back visibly stiff. She was also swearing like a Maguanac.

"So it wasn't just a psychedelic dream then?" he muttered, throwing an arm across his eyes as he remembered the mad dash through the ducts, fleeing Heero.

He shivered when he got reminded of the burning stare his teammate had given him. It had been trippy, to say the least. It was so much not like Heero... Sally said that he could as well have been pumped full of aphrodisiacs, and Duo believed her without a doubt. He had to be borderline overdosing to make him behave that way.

Shaking himself out of his train of thoughts, he turned toward Sally and Cathy.

"You reckon we're okay to go now?" he asked, checking his watch to make sure that the sun was up.

"Well, nothing says that the heat comes and goes with the full moon... But I guess we can't really wait here all day," Sally answered, looking vaguely aggravated.

Duo stepped out of the little room, followed by the girls, and cautiously walked down to the corner. Nothing to his right, nothing to his left.

There was a Sweeper walking down the corridor, and when asked if he had seen either of the other pilots, he shrugged helplessly. He had heard weird noises yesterday, but since Howard had told them to stay put in the dormitories... Duo thanked him and went on his detoured way to the pilots' corridor.

Trowa's room was empty.

"It's... a good thing... right?" Catherine asked, unsure and a little scared.

"Let's be logical. If Trowa isn't in here, it's that he felt good enough to leave. Isn't it?"

The curly-haired girl smiled slowly, relieved, and Duo didn't have the heart to list the possible "excepted ifs". The notion of Trowa walking out of there under his own power was significantly more probable than someone trying to carry him out. Why would they?

Deciding that the danger was past, and if it wasn't it was better that he didn't endanger them, Duo left the women to go where they wished and dragged his feet toward his own room, where he fell heavily on his bed. To sleep on a metal floor was far from being restful.

A short nap would be good, the braided boy told himself as his eyelids dropped. It wasn't as if he had something urgent to do.

He let his eyes close all the way.

"DUO!!!"

"Huh, wha?!"

The boy sat up in a leap, whirled around to face the door he had been too tired to lock ...

... Just in time to see Hilde jump on him, a devious grin on her lips.

"ARGH!!"

Naturally she had landed on his ribs.

"Are you nuts? Bully!!!" he protested as soon as his lungs remembered to draw some air in.

"Tssk, and here I was so happy to see you, big meanie..." she joked, pinching his cheeks.

"I had a very bad night, Schbeiker, so don't bug me," he warned her, giving her a dark glare.

"A bad night? But I smelt Trowa in the corridor and he seemed to be okay, that should reassure you, doesn't it?"

The boy straightened up, grinning widely.

"Seriously? Great!! You're sure he's okay? We weren't sure..."

"Well, I don't really know, I didn't... I didn't concentrate much on the scent..." she coughed, blushing a little. Before he could ask, she continued. "At least he didn't smell like someone dying, and he was moving around under his own power. Oh, and guess which species he is?" she added triumphantly.

"Not a clue," Duo admitted.

"A wolf!! Take that, you dumb cats!"

"Hey, I'm not a cat!" Duo protested, amused.

"You're not a wolf either. So there. So, what didja mean ‘a bad night’?"

He sat up and crossed his arms on his chest, making her fall over on the bed. Laughing, Hilde rolled on her belly and looked up at him.

"So, so, so?"

"First, all the worrying about Trowa... Catherine to comfort because she was crying - not that I can't see why, because what was happening to Trowa was really horrifying ... And then... then..."

He flushed. She raised an eyebrow.

"Hm?"

"You see, we were in the bedroom, by Tro's side and all, and then Heero arrives, already half wolf when I was sure the sun wasn't even down yet, and I could swear that he didn't even try to prevent the Sweepers from seeing him. He looked so..." he added, mimicking someone smoking pot. "And then, he... he... well... he..."

"Yeah?"

"He stared at me..."

"And then?" she asked, beginning to see where this was going.

"You're not getting it, Hildie!! He stared at me as if I was a big helping of red meat!! And then there was that Wufei turning all red business..."

"No shit!!" interjected the girl, leaning forward.

"Then Wu grabbed my arm, and he, Cathy, and Sally pushed me in the other room and threw me in the damn air duct, where we had to CRAWL until we could get to somewhere safe..."

"What exactly are you talking about?" she asked, even though she had a pretty good idea.

"Apparently he shagged Wufei last afternoon, he nearly screwed Sally against a corridor wall, and he seemed to have decided that I'd be third on his ‘to-fuck’ list! Even demolished a door to follow us... Well, if I believe Sally, to follow ME. Oh fuck, I cant believe it. Why didn't you tell us that it could happen?!"

Hilde was laughing her ass off, the bitch.

"NOOO!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!! He tried to nail you!!!? Too good!!"

"Shut up, Hilde!!! It isn't funny!!!"

"YES IT IS!!!" she howled, still laughing hysterically.

"Stop that!! Anyway, isn't that heat thing supposed to be a females thing?"

She shook her head no, hiccuping with laughter.

"Real wolves maybe, but we are NOT real wolves, only human beings who can shapeshift, that's all... And humans have no mating season. Whatever. You're telling me he shagged WUFEI?!??"

Duo winced. Maybe he had let a little too much information slip. But he was still so confused about what had happened...

"I shouldn't have told you," he growled. "Hilde, please, don't tell anyone that you know!!! Wufei's already taking it badly, he... well, he's straight and all, you really shouldn't laugh at him. I mean, I know I did laugh with Sally, but it's not the same. It was mostly because I didn't know what else to do, you know...?"

"Relax, I won't say anything," the brunette reassured him in a calmer voice. "But anyway, if he thinks about it, he'll know that I know, 'cause even if he's taking a shower now, he'll still smell of sex for a while."

"Yeah, but still, there is a difference between thinking that you know and have you laugh about it in his face. Hey, now that I think of it, how didja not know, if it's that noticeable?"

She grimaced. "Uhh, I caught a whiff of pheromones and stopped breathing through my nose. It's kinda... contagious through smell. Err, well, where's our fearless pack leader by the way?" she added, in a hurry to change the subject.

Duo lifted an amused eyebrow but decided not to grill her on the "contagious" subject.

"Dunno, out with Trowa probly. Howard said that he let the gangway down for them, they probably went to explore the woods..."

"So we can rest assured that he screwed Trotro too..." she answered, laughing.

"What?!"

She made a sound of disapproval and tapped his nose with a finger.

"Duo-babe... He in rut, he no have choice, he full of pwetty lil hormones..."

"Stop baby-talking; I got it."

"In fact, it's totally stupefying that he would stop running after you if he had decided he wanted you... I mean, logically, in that state of mind...

"Enough already!!" he shot back, blushing.

"Don't act as if you wouldn't have liked, I know you're fond of the guy..." she smiled, winking.

"Idiot," the boy muttered. "No, I wouldn't have liked it."

Hilde straightened up and stared at her friend.

"Oh, and why is that?"

"One, he was already halfway transformed, and as Sally says oh-so-elegantly, I don't wanna get fucked by a hairy dog three times as heavy as I am. Two, if anything happens between us, I'll be contaminated, that's something we can't afford. I'm the last one to still be normal, Hilde. If we need a human during a full moon, what will we do? Third, he was in a rut. He wasn't in control of his actions."

"Interesting that you would put emphasis on that, and not on your duty to stay available as a Gundam Pilot."

"Shut up, Schbeiker," he shot back, his voice harsher than he had wanted to.

Duo closed his eyes and turned away, sullenly shutting her out. Hilde fidgeted, playing with the fringe of the pillow, not knowing what to say. She had just wanted to talk about more personal things with her friend, and he had just very clearly signified that the subject wasn't open to discussion. Way to go. How to resume the dialogue? The atmosphere was heavy in the room...

And then Duo's cell phone began to ring.

"Hello, here is Death's answering machine, what can I do for... hey Quatre! Yeah... ...No. No, not yet, but Heero's with him. ... Err... Yeah... Ok, I'm coming... .... You want me to bring you WHAT?!... But wh... oh. Oh!!! Okay. G'bye..."

And to Hilde's surprise, he collapsed on the bed, dropping the phone to better hold his ribs as he laughed.

"What's going on?" she asked, confused, as Duo jumped up and began to gather clothes, wiping off tears of laughter as he searched in his things.

"It was Quatre..."

"Yeah?"

"He wants me to go pick him up. There is a... small situation."

Duo snickered and picked up a clean shirt that he added to the rest in his pack.

"Stop making me tear the words out of your mouth or I'll do it literally!!"

"Okay, okay. He's naked, the only hiding place close by is a barn and the farmer is probably going to go through there to take care of the cows."

Hilde collapsed on the bed, suffocating with laughter.

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