Author: FancyFigures
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc
Pairings: 2x3,3x4
Category: Horror, angst, suspense
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon, OOC
Spoilers: None
Notes: One night's passion; jealousy; revenge; and a price to be paid.
Feedback: If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!

The Anniversary

They say that eavesdroppers never hear well of themselves, don't they? Guess it's the same for any bad news.

I've been away for a while - can't actually remember how long, this time. Trowa knew to expect me, though I suppose I never told him exactly when. Can't remember when I last called him, to tell you the truth - shows you how tired I am! I'm often away, of course; the job requires it. But he always knows how much I miss him. I tell him so - I show him so, wrapped in the sheets at night, in our bed, caressing him, claiming him as mine. Making him cry out loudly with his pleasure; making him hold me so tightly that I know I'll never find another lover as responsive.

He always says he misses me, too.

Tonight, I feel dog tired - like the journey's been longer, and more exhausting than usual. It's dark outside, already. I just want to lower myself into a hot bath, eat some decent food - then hold my lover close; smell his sweet cologne; feel his heartbeat against my chest. Maybe we'll have sex, right away - I've dreamt about it, enough. But I don't know whether I'd rather sleep first. I just feel tired all the time, it seems. Trowa always keeps the apartment clean and welcoming - I can't wait to see the bedroom; sink back on the bed; our bed.

I don't know why I don't call out, as I enter - why I don't slam the front door to the apartment, behind me. I suppose because it's ajar, I just slip in, thinking to surprise him.

And then I hear the voices. Just a soft murmur in the background, from the direction of the lounge. It's not that big an apartment. I can hear the lilt of Trowa's voice - don't know the sound of the other man.

I stand outside the door to the lounge; looking through the gap of the hinges. You can see half the room through them. Why don't I just go straight in? I have just as much right in that place as Trowa - and more than his guest. But I don't go in.

I know the guy, sitting beside him on the couch - Trowa works with him. We met him at an office party, last Christmas. Trowa's too easygoing; makes friends with everyone. I told him this guy was likely to be trouble.

Trowa had just laughed.

Tonight, he's not laughing. He looks damned tired. He's naturally pale, y'know? Good looking, and well-built, but very pale, and with a long, thin face. When he's tired, he looks exhausted. That's how he looks now. He looks like he slept on the couch, because there's a blanket folded up by his feet. He does that when he can't settle at night, so he doesn't disturb me as well. I want to go over and comfort him - but, again, I choose not to go in. I'm not sure about my motives - let's worry about 'em some other time, OK?

I'm sure that his worry is something to do with work. He's a sensitive guy; easily upset - has a sleepless night at the drop of a hat. He worries too much about damned work - always panicking about his appraisal, though I know he's one of the best lawyers in the business; always worrying about what the boss thinks of him. Whether there'll be a problem if they find out he's gay - that we're living together.

Get into the 21st century! I tell him, far too regularly. That's their problem. Screw the lot of 'em!

I don't mean it literally, of course.

*

The guy sitting on my couch works for him, I remember. Quatre Winner, his name is. He's fairly fit, with well-cut blond hair, and attractive, I guess - too slight for my taste, though. Looks barely more than a college kid, though I know he's one of the smartest and brightest graduates at the office. I knew I'd seen him catch Trowa's eye, at that party! Trowa introduced us at the time; Winner was civil enough to me. And Trowa always has the most innocent of faces. But I'm sure that Winner's had plenty of chances since, to follow that up.

And we argued about it, Trowa and me - one of our many arguments. We left the party early, I'd been so incensed! He just sighed softly, when I insisted the guy was hitting on him; challenged me to find any evidence. Of course I couldn't find anything, just off the top of my head! Trowa's good at that - confronting my thoughts and suspicions. He brings that clear, open expression to bear; those calm, rational words - and I'm usually reassured.

"Duo..." he'd said that time, very gently, though his hand had been firm on my shoulder. "You're the only one for me. I don't know how often I have to say it. You don't seem to want to believe it." He'd been smiling, but underneath it all, he looked distressed - I seem to inspire that in him, a lot. His hand had run slowly down my arm; smoothed across the tightened muscles of my belly. He was tense, himself - but he was seeking to relax me. Like he always did.

It had been one of our more passionate nights in bed, after that argument.

*

But anyway, there's still the strange guy on my couch! He's sitting next to Trowa, and he's too close to be respecting his personal space; Trowa's usually very specific about that. They're talking in low voices, so I can't hear all the words. Trowa sounds tired, as well as looking it - his whole demeanour is one of weariness. Of sorrow! What's this about? There's a sharp tug of emotion inside me; something catching in my throat. I had no idea he felt this strongly, just because I'm away from him...

Winner's voice jars on me, although it's soft, as if he's soothing Trowa.

I'm so damned angry that he's here in the first place - and treating my Trowa like some kinda kid!

"How long will this go on, Trowa?" A few words reach me, as if a volume dial has been turned up. "How much longer? You deserve so much better -!"

Deserve what? Damned kid should get out of my house, and away from the man who's mine -

I don't move, though. I just watch.

Then he leans over Trowa, as they sit there, close together on the couch, and now I want to call out! He puts a hand to Trowa's face - I don't know why Trowa isn't beating him off! Stupid kid; needs to keep his hands to himself. But Trowa's not resisting.

"I want to care for you, Trowa. You know I always have. I've understood your feelings; I've hung back for so long -"

The words are fading away again - I can't understand whatever else he says. But my whole body feels the sudden chill of watching those soft, boyish fingers stroking at Trowa's mouth.

And then he's kissing Trowa - a soft, gentle touch at first, but none the less sexual for that. His hand is on Trowa's neck, and he's tugging him nearer. His other hand is on Trowa's waist, drawing him in.

Get back, I hiss to myself. Don't touch him!

Who am I talking to? Quatre Winner - or Trowa himself?

For Trowa's hand is on his neck, in return; Trowa's mouth is opening with a show of eagerness. Trowa is kissing him back.

*

I feel hideously cold - I feel nauseous. I hope to God I'm not going to throw up. Is this shock?

I'm still watching - I'm still silent. Perhaps I'm scared; scared to confront Trowa. Though that's not a word I'd usually find to describe myself! Solo's been my best friend since childhood; he says that I'm tough and strong; that I know what I want. That I'm the one who should be in charge of things.

That's sort of what the doctors said, as well. Though in plenty of Latin. And they made it sound like it was something bad.

Trowa doesn't like my friends, Solo particularly. Oh, he's polite enough, but they've never got on. He says Solo is a bad influence on me - a remnant of my previous life. He met us both when I had that trouble with the police - when I was a lot less mature, and we both only got off jail because of Trowa's intervention.

That's in the past, anyway! Trowa would get that distressed look again, if I told him what Solo really thinks - guess he has an agenda of his own. He's told me to leave Trowa, lots of times - says that Trowa is a white collar loser; that he's a flake; that he'll leave me, if I don't dump him first.

It confuses me, sometimes. The conflict between them.

When we first met, Trowa and I - well, the attraction was obvious, wasn't it? He held off for a while, until my case was won, but then we became lovers. Everything was hunky-dory - I got a fair enough job; he got the apartment.

Then there was another time of trouble for me - when we split for a month or so.

I can't help it - I've always been the jealous type. Shows how much I love him, doesn't it? Trowa had started this new job, and he seemed to be in an office full of smarmy Quatre Winners, and rich-looking Tom, Dick and Harrys. I don't know - I wasn't thinking straight; I wasn't very stable for a while. However much he reassured me, I had trouble listening. He cancelled much of his casework, then - dropped a few friends; left a few clubs.

I don't like him going out, y'know? Why does he need anyone else? We have a good enough time, together.

So I saw the doctors, then, at his request. Mind doctors - I don't have a lot of time for 'em, but I'd have done anything to keep Trowa; to be back with him. But I still saw Solo, albeit behind Trowa's back. Solo insisted I kept in with my roots - remembered where I came from. He was a refreshing change from the mindfuckers - and the sad, pained expression on Trowa's face.

Paranoia, the doctors called it. But soon I was well again. Of course I was!

Then Trowa took me back, and he seemed so pleased that I was thinking more rationally, and things were great again for a while.

Yeah... for a while.

*

They've been kissing far too long for it to be a farewell gesture. I'm fascinated - horribly so - to see how far they'll go. I'm not sure how I'm still standing up - my legs feel weak, and my gut is churning.

He's on his knees - Winner's slipped off the couch, and he's on his knees between Trowa's legs, and it's not like I don't know that position so very damned well -

Trowa's head goes back, hard against the back of the couch, his eyes closing. There's no conversation between them, now, so I can hear the sound of his zip opening; hear his gasp, as plain as day.

I know all of those sounds that Trowa makes. I know the feel of his fingers, tight in my hair; the catch of breath in his chest. I know how much he likes this being done to him.

The top of the blond head is bobbing away, and I'm just petrified here, somehow. I'm seeing it all, in my mind, if not with my eyes.

I suppose the kid's got to grab whatever chance he can, soon as my back's turned. I don't know how long he's been chasing my Trowa. Seems kinda indecent haste, if you ask me, and damned risky, when I could be back any day. Everyone seems to know that I'm not the most tolerant of men, at the best of times.

But Trowa...

What's Trowa's excuse?

*

I feel disorientated - I don't feel as if I'm really here.

Solo's told me, often enough, that I'm stupid to think a guy would go months without sex, if it were offered - that if I'm out of the apartment on anything like a long contract, Trowa is bound to take other lovers.

I always said he wouldn't. I thought he wouldn't. I've never found any whisper of suspicion before, however keenly I've been watching for it.

Guess I was fooled. Guess I was wrong.

I can't understand why he'd do it! We have everything we need, just by ourselves. The sex has never been better than with Trowa. I like it, a lot, y'know. I need it often! And Trowa looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth - like he's Mr Cool, Mr Model Citizen. But he's an animal in bed - says I brought that out in him! My animal - like some sensual, passionate pet.

And it's me that he wants. Only me. That's what he tells me, time and again - affectionately, when I insist that he says it aloud. Emphatically, when he wants to reassure me of his love. Passionately, in a whisper, in the dark of the night, when our bodies are hot, and slick with sweat, and I bring him time and again to a gasping, shuddering climax.

Only I can do that for him!

He'd been afraid of his sexuality, as he grew up - he knew he was attracted to men, but he'd been ashamed of it. Confused by it. When he met me, he had little enough sexual experience, and nothing had been very rewarding. I changed that for him - I've shown him it can be something magnificent.

We don't need anyone else, Trowa. Do we?

*

It's not erotic, y'know - the watching. I'm still surrounded by this horrible chill; I'm still so damned cold! I feel like there's a deep, gaping hole inside of me. The nausea's getting worse. I'm sure again that I'll be sick, though I can't remember where or when I last ate; can't recognise the sour taste in my mouth.

Winner's back up on the couch with Trowa now, touching him, stroking him. His baby blue eyes are very bright, and he's got a pathetically hopeful look on his oh-so-smooth face. I think I can probably see the threads of Trowa's seed, still on his lips - he should be more decent about that; swallow it all down. Their shirts are off - I can see the shadow of the birthmark on Trowa's side; the one that he finds ticklish. Winner's slim hand runs over it, tracing the pattern on the skin. Trowa moans, like this is the first time anyone's touched him there; like he didn't enjoy my suckling of it, last time we were in bed. Christ, so how short is his memory? There's a crumpled pile of clothing on the floor that I think may include pants, as well.

Trowa's. I know the colour.

I see Trowa's hand slide over the back of the couch, anchoring himself. His head turns slightly - he's looking at the side table. There's a lamp there, a coupla new books I haven't seen before - the framed picture of us on the river last summer. What happens next isn't an accident, oh no -it's very deliberate. He reaches over another inch or so, and lays the picture face down. So he can't see it anymore, as the blond head dips over his naked chest, licking and nipping wherever it chooses.

His eyes look dark, and there's pain there.

When Winner rises up over Trowa's prone body, I know what's happening. Of course I do! That couch has seen plenty of our own action. For those few moments, I seem to be somewhere else - I seem to have switched off. I can hear Winner groaning - I can hear Trowa's own voice, low and broken, and he's keening out the kid's name.

Every syllable hurts me, deep inside.

My senses return, just as he comes. It's fast! I stare at his face - it's suddenly turned towards me again, and I recognise the look there. It's the same look as he had when we first had sex; a mixture of shock, and thrill, and embarrassment for coming too soon. He'd had no-one for months, before me; he'd got excited, way too easily.

We'd laughed about it, later.

I can hear laughs, now. Self-conscious - uncertain; but slowly relaxing. Full of pleasure; of satisfaction. For both of 'em.

I'm not laughing, though.

*

I must've left the apartment - I don't remember. Was I sick, after all? There's still that sour taste in my mouth.

I'm standing outside, on the stairwell; stunned.

Winner appears at the door to our apartment - guess he can't see me; I must be hidden somehow by the banister. But he's not leaving, or anything. Rather, he stands for a moment, looking out, like he's thinking about something. Making a decision. Hasn't even had the decency to put his shirt back on - just stands there, with pants barely done back up. I stare at that blond, handsome face, and I've never known such fury - never known such hatred! For that moment, I think of running back up the stairs, right at him - but I don't.

Where the hell's his shame? He's pushed his way into someone else's apartment - he's harassing someone else's lover. And he seems to think he's welcome to it all.

There's a slight, modest blush to his face. A sparkle of joy in his eyes. Damned kid, should have the balls to look ashamed, at coming on to someone else's guy! As I watch, he hears something back inside - a call, perhaps - and he steps back into the apartment, pulling the door closed behind him.

He's staying the night.

Trowa obviously asked him to.

In our apartment. In our bed.

What the fuck's going on?

*

I'm wondering what the hell else has been happening while I'm away. I wish I could call Solo up - talk it through with him.

So the kid's sleeping with Trowa. So no-one seems bothered that I've got a stake in this arrangement. Or - I did.

And however pushy Winner is, it's all Trowa's fault, isn't it? It's his decision - it's his acceptance of this that's so appalling. His disregard for me. It's like I mean nothing to him; out of sight, out of mind!

The night I left for this contract, I was kinda upset myself - it was going to be a longer trip than usual, they needed guys for a month or more. Trowa saw the trouble rising up in me again - he spent hours persuading me he was OK on his own; that I had to take this job to get myself straight; that he didn't like me going away, but that it was necessary. He told me I could stay another night - he'd run me to the airport in the morning, I could get a later flight - all that sorta stuff.

Then Solo drew up in his old jeep, and he'd had a few drinks, and he was laughing at Trowa's concern. I saw Trowa's anger flaring; at Solo's hostility - at the empty cans in the back of the rattling, pimped-up vehicle. What the hell -? I thought. I tossed my stuff in the back of the jeep, and told Trowa I already had my ride.

I laughed at him, too. I meant to call him later, to apologise, but I can't remember if I did.

He knows he's everything to me, doesn't he?

I need him.

*

I'm inside the apartment again, God knows how. Perhaps the kid didn't lock it properly, because I don't remember using my key. Somehow, I know it's much later; this miserable night has bled away around me, and the dawn's approaching fast. I don't know where I've been in the meantime - what I've been doing. Christ, I'm still in shock, aren't I?

I'm cold all the bloody time, now.

I can see there are some new things around here - new books, new pictures on the walls. He moves fast, changing things when I'm away, eh?

I'm at the table beside the couch; that notorious couch. My fingers trail along the back of our picture, remembering our smiles; the time it commemorates. Just after my treatment - just after I was OK again. I stand the picture back upright - move it around, so that he'll see it again, when he next sits on the couch.

All the things of ours around him... all the memories. The betrayal is particularly cruel.

"We'll be together forever," I used to say.

He'd smile. There'd be a flash of that old distress in his eyes, though he always hid it well. "I don't need that, Duo. Don't need to say it all the time. I love you - you must trust me. Why don't you believe me, Duo?"

I don't see how long this can go on - it's farcical! I'm hiding away, in my own home, spying on my own lover. What's happened to us?

Trust me... he said. The bastard!

I'm so cold. And I've never been so angry in all my life!

*

The bedroom looks different - the morning light seems brighter. Dammit - there's a different blind at the window, I think. And bed covers are new, too. No sign of Winner, thank God.

Trowa is still in bed, sleeping deeply. The sheet's draped over his lower legs, showing the long, muscled expanse of thigh that I love to caress. He's something else, eh? Soft and smooth in bed - it's always been a treat to watch him. To lie beside him. Mine.

He looks at peace.

Trowa used to have an almost sixth sense, about me - he could tell when I was coming back; when I was thinking of him. But he doesn't stir, now.

I look across at the door out to the roof, and see it's ajar. Trowa chose this apartment for the roof area - for the space to put some plants; for the privacy to sit out in summer and watch the city below.

Does Quatre Winner know that I've been in to look at Trowa? That I've seen the crumpled sheets beneath him; seen the used condom wrappers on the carpet? Seen his deep, calm breathing, the symptom of a physical exhaustion that I know comes after a long, lusty session?

The anger is making me breathless. I move to the outside door, trying to gulp in some more air.

I still can't believe Trowa can do this. Fuck around - then sleep like an innocent child! He's made a fool of me.

That's the worst sin of all, in my book. Solo would agree with me.

I won't let him get away with it

*

I've found the kid - he's out on the roof. Doing some kinda exercise like tai chi - arms akimbo, legs bent. Centering himself, or some such shit. He's wearing just boxers and a vest - he's pretty well built for such a slight body. He looks calm, too - a healthy, self-satisfied flush to his face.

Trowa must have used him well; must have got his money's worth. But that's obviously what he does, doesn't he? Takes on his less advantaged brethren, just like me - feeds 'em and fucks 'em. Then moves on. I always knew it'd come to this, that he'd let me down; always knew I'd be proved right.

I'm very close to Winner, but he hasn't seen me yet. Or is he ignoring me? He must know who I am - what I can do to him.

Trowa's mine, kid! Whether he wants me or not.

His betrayal has taken everything from me - he's hurt me beyond belief. He's the same as all the others in my life; no loyalty; no faithfulness. But I can hurt him back so much more, because that's my world, isn't it? That's what I grew up with - revenge; retribution.

He mustn't think he'll get the better of me.

I smile gently at the strange, slow turns of the blond kid, stretching out his tired limbs in the morning sun. This guy's beyond help. He's beyond protection.

Trowa has touched him.

And Trowa has destroyed me.

He'll pay.

*

Winner doesn't see me approaching him.

Dammit, I'm not exactly at my most careful at the moment! I can't understand why it's so easy to creep up on him.

As I reach out to him, it's Trowa's face I see in my mind - it's Trowa's self-satisfied smile that wrenches at me. My heart is throbbing with such anger that I can't hear the sounds of the morning in the city below. I'm full of such hurt that I can't feel my own body.

I watch my hand touch the boy's arm.

Trowa. I can hurt you back, so much more...

Perhaps Winner sees me at the last minute - hears my steps behind him. As he whirls round, his gaze flashes to my hand on him. There's puzzlement on his face - then there's sudden fear.

Did I touch him? Did I push? My mind seems a bit of a mess about it all. But, whatever - he stumbles backwards, startled. Stumbles; and tips over the low railing.

There's only a long, low cry. A whistling silence. Then a splattering crunch on the pavement below.

Funny, really. I can hear the sounds of life down there, now. Things have calmed inside me.

That feeling of peace; it's creeping into me.

I certainly feel a lot warmer.

*

Trowa Barton sat on his couch, head in his hands. A woman police officer knelt at his feet, full of concern and helplessness.

The two older officers stood to one side of the apartment lounge, keeping their voices low.

"So - any foul play suspected?" asked Black, the younger one.

"Nah," said the older one, Matthews. His face looked a little grey. "Something musta distracted the guy, up on the roof. He just fell. Damned stupid place to exercise anyway, the stones are crumbling up there, the surface is pitted all over. Kids just stick out a coupla plant pots and think they've got a landscape garden."

He glanced over at Trowa, and he grimaced. "Damned guy hasn't had much luck in his life, has he?"

Black snapped his notebook shut and stared at the other man. "What do you mean? You know him?"

"Yeah. He works with my son, Harry, at the legal practice. He's a very smart guy, my boy says. And fair to work for."

"He's a fruit -" Black's face twisted in scorn.

"And you're full o' shit!" snapped Matthews. "Makes neither of you God or the devil, right? Harry knew he was gay. It didn't bother him. It's a new generation, y'know?" He sighed, as if he'd had this argument plenty of times before.

"So what's his problem? Barton's?"

"He lost a lover last year, as well - Maxwell, his name was. Duo Maxwell."

"Accident?"

"Sort of. Maxwell was mad, y'know - or so I reckoned. Insanely jealous. Caused trouble at Harry's work plenty of times - wrecked a whole room at the last Christmas party! Been under shrink after shrink. It's been touch and go whether Barton kept his job at all. Maxwell used to call for him daily, turning on the students, accusing them of fucking around with his lover. We got called out on domestics, too, time and again. Out to this very apartment. Neighbours upset by the arguments - Maxwell smashing up furniture 'n all."

"Barton shoulda dumped him," shrugged Black.

His partner privately agreed. "He stuck by him, though - Barton would never charge him with anything."

"So what happened to Maxwell?"

"There was a road accident - Maxwell was on his way to the airport. Barton had got him a good job, on an engineering contract, pulled all sortsa strings to do it. Meant that Maxwell had to be away for weeks at a time, though, which just seemed to cause even more friction for Barton. Anyway, there was another guy driving. They'd both been drinking - the other guy had a record, too; a local, small-time crook. They ran the car off the road - it killed both of 'em. Open and shut case."

Matthews looked thoughtful. "What's the date today? Y'know, it's exactly a year since then - since the road accident. Hell of an anniversary, eh?"

He looked back over at Trowa again; the guy looked like he'd been crying, and he didn't blame him, to be honest. He wasn't a man who thought boys shouldn't cry. And particularly not when this guy had such shit heaped on him. He remembered his son's stories, after Maxwell was killed. It was the talk of the practice for months; they all had sympathy for Barton, who was well liked. He'd been devastated - obviously really cared about the dead man. Took leave of absence; spent time in bereavement therapy. He'd only just dragged himself back to a full caseload of work, a couple of months back.

Harry Matthews was as straight as they come - but his expression had been full of compassion, when he talked to his father about Trowa Barton. The man had never been seen with anyone else, ever since Maxwell died. He'd been a one-man guy. But just recently, he'd told Harry that he might be interested in someone again; that he might come back on the social scene. It had been a long and lonely year for him.

"Can't say he's much of a date, eh?" grinned Black. "Wouldn't fancy my chances with his kinda track record, even if I played for the other team!" Matthews looked at him with open distaste. Guy was a good enough cop, but a shocking human being sometimes.

They both looked over at the couch, more than a little curious.

Trowa Barton sat back on his seat, face pale and haggard, a hand running through his sweat-soaked chestnut hair. He glanced over at the side table; Matthews' eyes followed. There was a framed picture standing there, of Barton with another, laughing, handsome guy. Must be Maxwell, Matthews supposed. Simple little snapshot, really; nice display...

Trowa Barton's face had gone such a shade of white that he looked as if he'd pass out on the spot.

"Poor sod," Matthews murmured. "Guess that's just the way of some guys' luck."

End

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