By Keelywolfe
Rating: Lemon-lime
Pairing: 3x4
Disclaimers: The characters within all belong to their owners and not me. I am only borrowing them and will return them immediately after their use

Balancing Act

The ancient lift creaked ominously as it rose, causing its sole occupant to cast an apprehensive glance upward. It groaned to a halt and Quatre waited a nervous moment longer to make sure that the disagreeable machine had actually stopped. The abandoned warehouse that they were using temporarily might be a good safe house, but the word 'safe' wasn't very accurate.

Pushing aside the protective gate, Quatre stepped warily forward. Exploring the rafters of this building was definitely not his idea of a good time. It was dusty and decorated liberally with spider webs, the lights from below casting eerie shadows around him. Yes, he would much prefer being on the ground floor, thank you very much.

It was unfortunate that his friend didn't have the same opinion. Taking a bare half-step out of the lift, Quatre looked around and frowned. He knew that Trowa was up here, somewhere. Why, he had no idea. There was nothing up here but the dust and not even a good walkway, nothing but the support beams...there. On the far wall away from him was an opened window.

He stared at it with some dismay. The only way to get to it was to walk across one of the support rafters, a foot wide beam suspended over an at least fifteen-meter drop. He stepped backwards into the lift, shaking his head. No way. He didn't need to speak to Trowa -that- badly.

Trowa.

He didn't know exactly why he had followed Trowa up here. If the other pilot wanted to be alone he certainly had the right. And Quatre could understand why the other boy might like some quiet. A moment spent away from the stress of the war was like a gift, to be treasured and used wisely.

So why am I here, trying to disturb him, he wondered. He didn't really know. Reason would not come to him. All he knew was that for some reason he needed to be here, as if something was calling him to go to the other boy. And Trowa was his friend, perhaps more than a friend. Perhaps. And if Trowa needed him then Quatre would go.

Of course, if he'd known that prancing across rafters was involved he might not have been so quick to volunteer.

Looking across the narrow beam, Quatre sighed. It wasn't that far to the window and he hadn't gotten to be a Gundam pilot by letting fear rule him.

Taking a deep breath, Quatre stepped out onto the beam. Just keep your eyes forward, he told himself. Don't look down keep walking...oh, damn. He'd been nearly halfway across when he involuntarily glanced down. He wavered, his balance slipping and quickly he crouched down, clinging to the beam. Not a good thing, oh, definitely not good. He clung tightly to the rafter, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to convince his trembling body that he was -not- going to fall and if he could just be calm then he could go back to the lift and wait for Trowa on the floor.

He didn't know how long he sat there until a scraping sound startled him. Quatre looked up to see Trowa crouched in front of him, elbows resting on his knees, watching him impassively. He was balancing effortlessly with no hint of unease, Quatre noticed with the faintest touch of envy. But then, Trowa was accustomed to walking tightropes; certainly walking on a foot-wide beam wasn't going to be a problem for the ex-circus performer.

They held gazes for a brief moment before Quatre's eyes dropped again to the beam that he was trying very hard not to fall off of. It was really a long way down to the floor and Quatre was no Heero Yuy, to fall off a building and get barely a scratch.

It was Trowa who finally broke the silence, the barest hint of curiosity in his soft voice as he asked, "How can you be a pilot if you're afraid of heights?"

Quatre blinked, a bit startled. Here he was trying not to fall to his death and Trowa was asking him questions? Why was it that he wanted to help this guy again? "I'm not afraid of heights," Quatre replied, somewhat testily. "But this isn't exactly the same as piloting a Gundam."

Trowa nodded slowly. "True."

Closing his eyes again, Quatre's grip tightened on the beam as his trembling increased. Oh, this was not a good thing. His shaking made him even unsteadier and his unsteadiness made him shake more. He'd almost made up his mind to start scooting backwards to the lift when Trowa spoke again.

"Open your eyes."

Startled, he did, and Trowa was still crouched in front of him, looking at him. Silently, the other boy lifted a hand and offered it to him. Quatre stared at it as if he'd never seen a hand before in his life until Trowa finally spoke again. "Give me your hand."

He wanted to. He really wanted to but his fingers clamped on to the beam as if they had a mind of their own and they weren't interested in letting go any time soon. He shook his head, "I can't."

"Quatre." There was something in Trowa's voice that Quatre hadn't heard before, an emotion that he'd never heard from the other boy, and Quatre raised his eyes to Trowa's uncertainly. "Quatre," he repeated softly, "I promise I won't let you fall."

The hand was still there, right in front of his eyes, waiting.

Offering. Quatre took a deep breath and forced his fingers to release their hold. He caught Trowa's hand almost desperately in a painfully hard grip but Trowa didn't protest. Instead, he lifted his other hand, balancing easily in his half-crouched position.

"Now give me your other hand."

That was more difficult but Quatre managed it. His other hand was a bit more stubborn, a bit less trusting but when he finally let go of the beam, Trowa helped him keep his balance and he caught Trowa's other hand, holding on tightly.

Silently, Trowa stood, pulling Quatre with him and if Quatre wobbled, Trowa adjusted for him immediately, until they were both standing, still holding hands.

To Quatre's surprise, Trowa took a step backwards, taking them both to the window. He'd assumed that Trowa was going to dump him back at the lift and then go back alone. A faint flutter went through his stomach as he realized that Trowa was going to let him stay. Perhaps this hadn't been such a stupid idea after all.

One foot in front of the other they went, moving as one as they carefully made their way to the window. Quatre kept his eyes on Trowa's, afraid that if he looked down he would lose his balance again and fall, and this time he'd take Trowa with him. The taller boy had made himself vulnerable by helping him and Quatre wasn't going to pay him back by accidentally killing him.

Still walking, slowly and carefully, Quatre followed his friend's lead, silently marveling that Trowa would do this for him, would allow him into what was obviously something private for the other pilot. But Trowa was going to let him stay and the very thought made him smile. He squeezed Trowa's hands lightly, almost without thought. They were warm in his grasp, callused from a life of hard work but it hardly mattered, simply because the hands were Trowa's and they were touching him.

Climbing out the window, Trowa released the blond boy just long enough to swing easily up onto a ledge outside before he leaned down and caught Quatre's hands again, pulling the smaller boy up to join him. There wasn't much room and Quatre practically had to sit in Trowa's lap. Not that he minded, but he blushed a little anyway, glad that it was hidden by the darkness. Trowa didn't seem to mind one way or another, only gazed out silently into the night sky.

Turning to look himself, Quatre couldn't hold back a soft gasp. The warehouse was far enough from the city that the glow of lights was only barely visible and from this position they could see out over the entire valley that was spread out beneath them. It was shaded in nighttime, lovely with the stars gleaming down from the moonless sky.

"It's very beautiful up here," Quatre ventured, not expecting a reply and not receiving one.

He shifted a tiny bit, trying to get comfortable without disturbing his silent companion even as he wondered what he should say. He still wasn't sure what had brought him up here to Trowa, only that he'd felt that he should be here. And now here he was with no idea what to do next.

They were sitting so close, closer than they ever had before, with Quatre's nearly sitting on his friend and one of the Trowa's arms wrapped around the smaller boy's shoulders. It was...comfortable, Quatre decided, daring to huddle a little closer, as if for warmth. Trowa's arm tightened around his shoulders, pulling Quatre closer still and the small blond sighed contentedly.

Tilting his head up, Quatre studied his friend. Trowa was staring out into the night impassively, his face blank of all expression. One would think that the boy didn't care about the view one way or another and yet, if he didn't care then why was he here? What was it that drove Trowa to sitting out here alone, Quatre wondered. Regrets? That he could understand. Necessity had made them terrorists but that didn't mean they had to like it. And it really didn't matter anyway if they liked it or not; it was far too late to stop, even if they had wanted to.

And there was guilt; he would be lying if he said otherwise. The price of freedom was steep and paid for with the lives of the innocents as well as the wicked. As to their own innocence, they had given it freely, if regretfully, for the sake of the colonies. Any guilt or remorse they felt for their part in this war was only their due.

But it didn't mean that they had to suffer alone.

As if feeling his scrutiny, Trowa glanced down at him and suddenly their faces were so close that their noses nearly bumped. Their lips were so near each other that Quatre could feel the other boy's breath and he smelled warm and, for some reason, like peppermint, and if Trowa leaned forward just a bit their lips would touch.

Neither of them moved. They seemed frozen by the moment, tasting each other's breath until it suddenly came to Quatre that this was his reason. This was why he'd followed Trowa up here, this was what his friend needed, what they both needed, to not be alone and he moved that final distance, hesitantly, meeting Trowa's lips with his own.

A sharp intake of air was the only response to the gentle touch and Quatre didn't dare take it further. He simply let his lips rest against Trowa's, barely touching and when he would have regretfully drawn away, his heart beating painfully hard and a thousand apologies trembling within him, Trowa finally responded. Parting his lips, he very lightly traced Quatre's lips with the tip of his tongue.

Sighing softly, Quatre leaned against his friend and deepened the kiss further, letting his tongue dance against Trowa's. The other boy made a pained sound and pulled away, resting his forehead against Quatre's. He was shaking, Quatre saw with some concern, and he leaned back a little to look at his friend. Even in the dim light, Trowa's eyes were wide, making him look oddly young. Reaching up, Quatre cupped the other boy's cheek, and he smiled.

"It's all right, Trowa," Quatre said softly. He leaned in again, ready to pull away at the slightest hint of unease from Trowa. And instead found himself pulled into Trowa's lap, the other boy devouring his mouth in a fierce kiss. Before he had even made up his mind whether or not to respond he was released, Trowa's face buried against his shoulder.

"Why are you doing this?" The words were muffled against his shirt and Quatre closed his eyes, pressing his cheek against the top of Trowa's head.

"Just because," he answered simply. //Because I need to, because you need me to, because I'm so tired of being alone, because I love you.//

Gripping Trowa's arms and casting a nervous glance down at the ground that was so very far away, Quatre squirmed around until he was straddling his friend's lap, ignoring Trowa's gasp of surprise. Enough was enough and he wasn't going to let the other pilot hide from him any longer.

"Trowa," he breathed against the other boy's ear, and he felt an answering shudder go through his friend. "Trowa, I won't let you fall."

Now was not the time for shyness, he knew, and taking a deep breath he pressed tightly against Trowa, felt the other boy's erection even through the layers of their clothing.

"I won't let you fall," Quatre murmured, his lips brushing Trowa's. "I promise."

A sharp nod and Quatre couldn't hold back a gasp as Trowa's hands cupped his hips, rocking them forward. Panting softly, he repeated the movement himself, his own hands fighting to burrow underneath Trowa's shirt. Warm skin greeted his questing fingertips and Quatre touched the silky skin eagerly, trusting Trowa to keep their balance.

It was almost unbearably exciting to be with Trowa this way, and Trowa, always so silent Trowa, was making soft, pleasured sounds against his lips as they rubbed against each other. Clothing was a frustrating barrier but their awkward position didn't allow for anything more and Quatre vowed silently that once they were safely on the ground the obstacle of clothing was going to be very quickly removed.

He didn't want any more obstacles between them, if he could help it. Trowa was kissing him almost frantically now, his hands gripping Quatre's hips painfully hard but the blond didn't care, couldn't care because the pressure between them felt so good and he was so close to something, something wonderful. He felt Trowa stiffen against him, caught his perhaps more than a friend's soft cry in his mouth even as his own cry escaped him and he clutched Trowa against him.

Shuddering helpless, briefly overwhelmed by unexpected ecstasy, Quatre came back to himself to feel Trowa gently stroking his hair, murmuring senseless words of comfort.

Leaning back just a little, Quatre studied his friend in the dim starlight. Trowa said nothing, only reached up and cupped the blonde's cheek in his callused palm. Quatre smiled and moved to press a gentle kiss against his friend's, no, definitely more than a friend's, lips.

"I promise," he whispered, brushing his lips softly over Trowa's and listened to his lover echo his words.

I promise.

-finis-

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