I Know Who I Want... + Part 21 (cont)

I look around uncomfortably, trying to focus my eyes somewhere I can't see their faces. "Then she asked how our relationship was progressing. The three of us," I qualify.

There's absolute silence for a moment. Finally, I venture to look at my companions. Heero looks horrified. Duo's face is as red as mine feels - but with suppressed amusement.

I frown quellingly at him, and that proves to be the final straw. He burst out laughing, holding his sides as he rocks with mirth.

"It isn't funny," Heero snaps, kicking him lightly in the back. "She's... "

"My goodness," Duo interrupts, wiping his eyes. "Quatre's quite the little gossip king, isn't he?"

"Well, he's gossiping to a kid," I mutter, irritated. "He could have used a little discretion... "

"So what'd you tell her about that?" Duo demands interestedly.

I sigh. "I said it was fine," I reply, rather peevishly.

"Fine?" he repeats. "That's it? Me, Hee-chan and an entire year in the tropics, and the best you can come up with to say about it is it's ‘fine?'"

"When I'm talking to a fourteen-year-old girl, yes, that's the best I can come up with," I snap back.

Duo chuckles again, and even Heero grins.

"Yeah, she thought it was funny too," I admit morosely. "She asked lots of questions... I don't know what they teach kids at these schools... " Now I'm laughing too.

"Man, to have been a fly on the wall for that one... " Duo chuckles. He sobers a little. "You said you wanted her closer... do you want her to live with us?"

My eyes widen in amazement. So do Heero's - he looks alarmed, but immediately tries to hide that reaction. Duo doesn't look thrilled at the prospect himself, even though he's the one who brought it up, but he's staring straight at me inquiringly.

"No," I tell them after a moment. Their faces don't give any cue, but even I can feel their relief. "I just think she'd like to be nearer." I frown. "She's ... a pretty lonely kid, I think," I say slowly. "Before the war either Une or I made it up just about every week, but still... " I stop, feeling kind of silly. "I want her to know she's close enough to visit whenever, if she wants to. I think she likes living with kids her own age, but a closer school... "

"Maybe she could stay here for some of the holidays," Heero suggests.

"We could turn one of the extra bedrooms into a room for her," Duo proposes.

I stare at them, absolutely stunned. "You wouldn't... "

"Mind?" Duo finishes. He shakes his head. "No," he says simply.

I look at Heero, and he shakes his head too. "I wouldn't mind," he assures me quietly.

I can't think of anything to say. I just stare at them, amazed. Duo grins. "Check it out!" Duo announces. "We just had a productive relationship discussion! This calls for pizza!" He jumps to his feet and runs over to grab the phone, into which he has already programmed the numbers for a pizza parlor, Chinese takeout, the local movies and the nearest liquor store that delivers, "for those times we're too drunk to buy beer," he explained solemnly.

Heero and I sit silently while Duo orders two large pizzas, one with pepperoni and one with meatballs and green peppers. He and Heero love that one. I could live happily for the rest of my life without ever seeing it, much less smelling it or watching people eat it.

Duo settles back down on the floor, and we sit in comfortable silence for a moment.

"Hey, Tro-chan," Duo says after a few minutes, almost causally enough to be believable.

"Yeah?" I ask lazily. Heero is rubbing my ankle, the sofa pillow is propped behind me at just the right angle, and pizza's coming. I feel more relaxed than I have in quite some time.

"I didn't know you were doing Winner Co. work for Quatre," he comments.

I frown. "Uh, yeah. He gave me a few things the other day - mostly invoices for imported materials from L4 that need to be checked over and compared to inventory lists and budgets." I'm silent for a moment. "Why?" I ask.

"Oh, he mentioned it today and I didn't know you were doing it," he explains.

"Oh. Well, I've been doing it at night. I can't sleep with my leg," I say shortly. I try to straighten up, but Heero tightens his hold on my ankle and frowns at me, and I subside.

"Cool deal," Duo says affably. Then, "When did you learn business, Tro-chan?"

I frown, wondering where this is going. "Quatre showed me how to do these years ago. Whenever he gets overloaded, I take these over. They aren't hard, they're just time-consuming."

"Ahh... " Duo comments mildly.

We're all silent again, but the silence isn't comfortable anymore. Why shouldn't I know how to do Winner stuff? We all sit still, and I feel the tension growing. We're all waiting...

And then Duo delivers. "So, Hee-chan, Trowa's told us everything that's going on with him. Think it's your turn?"

"How about you?" Heero asks, trying to keep his voice light. His smile is strained, though.

"Me?" Duo repeats. "Heck, I don't know anything," he assures us, a hint of acerbity in his voice. "I didn't know Tro was doing stuff for Quatre, or that he was going to see the kid; I don't know why you're all over Zechs... "

"I didn't know I was going to see Mariemaya - I just decided to go when I was done early. And I didn't think to mention the other stuff," I say defensively, scowling. "It's not a big deal." Why the Hell should I feel defensive about visiting a girls boarding school and reading old invoices?

I try to straighten up and this time Heero lets me move. Duo shifts on the floor so that he's facing the couch instead of leaning against it, and lifts one knee to his chest, wrapping his arms around it.

"It's ok, Tro," Duo assures me. He shrugs. "I was just wondering."

"I was surprised to see Zechs," Heero says tightly. "I don't like him. I suppose I was rude... "

"You were on top of him like white on rice," Duo corrects bluntly. "And since when don't you like him?"

Heero scowls. "Since he shot me down, fought me in Antarctica, captured Relena, shot holes in the Earth, threatened to drop both the Libra and the Peacemillion on the planet... "

Duo shakes his head impatiently, interrupting Heero's litany of Zechs' iniquities. "You'd gotten over that," he points out abruptly. "You got along with him fine last time we saw him."

"That was at my wedding," Heero reminds him acidly. "I could hardly pick fights with my wife's brother at our wedding."

"So you're perfectly fine at the wedding, and you see him four years later and you can't control your righteous anger over lunch?" Duo shakes his head disbelivingly at his own recitation. "I don't think so. And what was up with Wufei?"

I stiffen at the question, looking intently at Heero. After the confessions that Wufei had made to me in outer space, I thought that his reaction to seeing Zechs was caused because of Zechs' associations with Treize. I figured that Wufei associated the blond with his dead... lover? Adversary? But then his reaction was so extreme, for Wufei, that I wondered. And that didn't explain Heero's reaction to Zechs. Unless Wufei had told him what he told me, which is unlikely, and Heero also associated Zechs with Treize, which is equally unlikely, I didn't see any reason for Heero to be angry at Zechs, much less for him to be subtly indicating Wufei as a reason for that anger. So there must be something Heero knows that I don't.

What exactly that could be kept me wondering all the way to Mariemaya's school.

The ride back was occupied mostly with coming up with ideas on how to beat Quatre without hurting him too badly.

"I don't know what you mean," Heero says stiffly.

Duo's face flushes, and his eyes flash fire. "You're lying to me," he accuses coldly.

"Yes I am," Heero admits forthrightly.

That was an excellent tactic. The tension in the room decreases appreciably, and a little of the angry color fades from Duo's cheeks.

"So, what... " he begins.

"I can't tell you," Heero says simply.

That was a bad tactic. Duo looks angry again. "Why not?" he demands loudly, letting go of his knees to throw his arms wide. "I thought we were telling each other things now, not hiding stuff!"

"Yes, but... " Heero begins.

"Trowa told us about Mariemaya," Duo points out, gesturing toward me.

I press my lips together. Yes, I was a good boy.

"We had a nice conversation," Duo continues agitatedly. "We discussed alternatives. We felt good. We ordered pizza."

"We did," Heero agrees. "But... "

"So why can't you talk to us? Are you exempt? Heero's issues are too complex to be openly discussed?"

"Damn it!" Heero shouts, leaning forward angrily. I wince, and remove my leg from his lap. He hardly notices.

"That's not fair!" he shouts at Duo.

"Why not?" Duo demands.

"You're not exactly being open," Heero accuses contemptuously.

"What the Hell are you talking about?" Duo shouts, jumping to his feet.

"You won't say what's bugging you. You're all over Trowa for helping Quatre, me for being mad at Zechs... What's up with that? What's your problem?" Heero demands.

I look warily from one of them to the other, whole-heartedly wishing I was somewhere else.

"My problem?" Duo repeats. "I don't like being left out of the fucking loop! Everyone knows what's going on but me!"

"What are you talking about?" Heero demands.

"Everyone at that damn table knew what was going on except for me and Une," Duo shouts, waving his arms. "That makes me feel just great, I'll tell you."

"I don't know what's going on," I establish hastily.

"You know something," he insists, glaring at me. "You know more than I do."

"Duo... "

"No!" Duo shouts at Heero. "I won't drop it, or whatever you were going to tell me to do!"

"I wasn't going to tell you to drop it," Heero mutters, half under his breath.

"What is going on?" Duo asks clearly. "Why are you mad at Zechs, and what's up with Wufei?"

Heero rises to his feet, agitatedly running one hand through his hair. "I can't tell you that," he says flatly, pacing around to the other side of the couch.

"Why not?" Duo yells. "Why can't you tell me? What the Hell's so... "

"It's not my secret to tell!" Heero half roars back at him. "I promised I wouldn't... I can't tell you, Duo."

Duo stares at him for a moment, his mouth set in mutinous lines of discontent. "That's great," he spits. "Now not only will you not tell me what's going on, noone else believes I can be trusted either."

"Oh, for crying out loud," Heero growls in frustration. "Whether or not you can be trusted - which you can, by the way - has nothing to do with this. Not everything that happens is about you, Duo," he reminds Duo acerbically.

I wince. Correct sentiment, poor delivery.

Duo's eyes widen for a moment, then narrow to bare slits. "I see," he purrs smoothly, his voice seething with an unconcealed undercurrent of malice. "I apologize for letting my ego take control of me." He turns on his heel, grabs his jacket off of the chair he'd thrown it on, and stalks out of the room.

"Duo!" Heero shouts after him. "What are... where are you going? Don't leave because you're pissed at me, talk to... "

"We don't talk here," Duo reminds him sarcastically in a shout from the front hall. "And why do you think I'm leaving because of you? Not everything is about you, Heero!" he yells, slamming the door behind him so hard the apartment shakes.

Heero and I look at each other, silent.

"Did you talk to Wufei?" I ask him quietly.

"I can't tell you either, Trowa!" he barks angrily.

I press my lips together. "I don't recall asking anything other than if you talked to Wufei," I say coldly after a moment. "You may not be the only person he's ever spoken to, Heero."

He stares at me in surprised confusion, wilting slightly. Finally, he shakes his head in certainty.

"You don't know," he says decisively.

"Of course not," I agree smoothly. Noone knows everything the great Heero Yuy knows. The Perfect Everything.

He frowns, confused at my easy agreement, and opens his mouth to continue the conversation, but at that moment there's a knock on the door.

He sighs, and goes to answer it. I hear a low murmur of voices, and a moment later Heero returns with two flat, square cardboard boxes which he sets down on a chair beside the door.

"Pizza's here," he says briefly and unnecessarily before turning and leaving the room again. A moment later I hear the door to our bedroom close with a decisive click.

I sigh, and pull myself to my feet. I limp over to the boxes.

I open first one, then the other.

They're both meatball and green pepper.

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