These poor boys have been left in such a bad spot :( They have gotten out of my control, though...this was supposed to be a humorous little 5-way... Then, angst attacked! This part is a little more cheery...
by Shoori

Marking it Down to Learning + Chapter 11
Clearing Things Cryptic

Heero checked a notation on the top page of a huge stack of printouts on the desk beside his left hand. He ran his finger down the page until he found the appropriate section, then, with a pleased grunt, turned his attention back to the computer screen. He found the matching area in the file, and began to type.

He really liked planting information. It wasn't as satisfying as ferreting out hidden information, of course, but in its way it was almost as challenging. You had to assume that whoever it was that you suspected would be going through the records was going to have some copy of the old records, from before they were altered, so you had to figure out a way to explain why the record you were planting wouldn't have shown up for a time, or why it would suddenly be there in the first place.

It required second, and third, and fourth-guessing your own actions. Heero loved it.

Looking at this kind of thing from multiple perspectives he understood. He could figure out how to get into the mind of his philosophical, political or business opposite, and come to understand the workings of that mind. He could think like whoever his opponent was, see things from their perspective, examine his own movements with complete objectivity. It was challenging. It was invigorating. It was fun.

It was also something he was very good at. Duo joked that the only thing stupider than trying to match wits with Heero in that particular arena was getting involved in a land war in Asia. The way the other man always made that remark let Heero know that it was a quote from something, but Duo was intimately familiar with thousands of books, movies and comics, and Heero had long ago given up trying to keep track of where all his allusions came from.

Duo.

It had been ten days since... since the other man had gone away.

Since he had colossally fucked-up, actually, but it wasn't doing his peace of mind much good to keep thinking about it that way.

Quatre and Wufei had assured him that the entire thing wasn't solely his fault. They had shown no hesitation in acknowledging that his behavior had hardly helped a difficult situation, but they'd told him that Duo had certainly played a part in his own misery. He shouldn't have left.

He should have stayed and beaten the crap out of him, Heero.

Heero devoutly wished that he had. He would have taken it, if it meant that Duo would have stayed.

But the only person to punch him was Trowa, and that was ten days ago.

Trowa hadn't punched him since then. Trowa hadn't spoken to him since then.

Quatre and Trowa had made some kind of peace a few days before, but Trowa still refused to as much as see Heero. Whenever he was back at their house, he stayed in his own room, with the door firmly closed. Quatre went and talked to him, and Wufei had tried to go tell him that he should at least talk to Heero, but...

But he hadn't. Heero had dragged out of Quatre that Trowa just didn't want to talk to him yet.

Didn't want to see him.

"He's got to blame someone," Quatre had explained earnestly. "And... you win," he'd finished with a wry shrug.

He won. Wasn't that supposed to be a good thing? He was always trying to win, always striving to be the victor in whatever he did, whether it was a pick-up game of basketball in the gym, a Preventers case, or some faceless, one-on-one electronic struggle.

He was good at those. He rather thought he liked these games of cat and mouse that took place in the ephemeral world of computers so much just because he didn't know his opponent, and his opponent didn't know him. There was nothing personal behind it, and the best man invariably won.

It was a lot more fun than trying to figure out any kind of personal motivations.

Heero just wasn't as good at those. He didn't have any particularly complex interpersonal issues himself. At least he didn't think so.

Take the relationship the five of them had together.

They lived together, they hung out, they had fun and they had sex.

Perfect.

He didn't need a damn thing more. He'd have been perfectly happy going on just like that forever.

But... would he have? Had he been perfectly happy? It seemed now that the others hadn't been, so it hadn't been perfect after all. He wasn't so selfish that he would willingly continue an arrangement that didn't suit them, though he'd thought it had been great.

He'd thought it had been perfect.

Duo hadn't, though. Neither had Trowa.

Quatre and Wufei had said that they wanted there to be... 'more' than there had been.

But what 'more' was there?

Marriage? They could hardly manage that. Even if they could get by the gender issues - which, if Relena got the legislation she was backing pushed through, would no longer be an issue at all - there was still the matter of multiplicity.

Noone did five-way marriage licenses.

But what did that matter anyway? All marriage was, as far as he could tell, was a contract to remain with someone forever. And if you were planning to do that anyway, who needed it?

What else could they want? Children?

Heero shuddered. Again, medically impossible, and not even to make the others happy was he going that route.

Heero scowled, jabbing the keys harder than he needed to as he created a fraudulent cash account to a company that didn't actually exist, except in the network of records that he had created three days ago.

More. They wanted more.

More what?

More talking, he supposed. He made a face at the screen. He hated "Talking" - he never knew what to say. Either things were understood, or they weren't.

Heero sighed. He guessed they weren't, judging from Duo's and Trowa's reactions.

But... how could those things not be understood? Why would Duo or Trowa ever think that he would reject them because of something that had happened years ago?

Didn't they know that he... cared about them?

It had amazed him when he realized how he felt about all four of them. He liked them.

[cont]