I Know Who I Want... + Part 25 (cont)

+

Well, this is awkward.

I'm sitting on the couch, Heero's sitting next to me, not quite touching.

Neither of us is talking.

Frankly, I'm not up for it.

But it is getting a little weird. We've been sitting here like this, in the dark of the living room, ever since we got home several hours ago. Neither of us has made any move to change position, to talk, or to get the other to talk.

I'm not used to being quiet for so long.

Nor am I used to rabid self-introspection. I leave that to Trowa and Heero.

But I... I can't get Trowa's accusations out of my mind.

I'm sorry I hurt him.

He says he knows that, but is still mad because I'm not sorry for doing what I did - namely sleeping with Hilde and Heero.

But I told him I'm sorry I hurt him. Isn't that the same thing? Isn't that the important thing?

Maybe he's just mad I never told him about Hilde. But Christ, why should I have? It was just an ending to the whole relationship, it didn't mean anything, and he would have completely freaked out and dumped me and left me for no real reason.

Even now, after everything we've been through and the promises we've made, he still left.

Ok, so he'll be back tomorrow, but still. He left.

I jump, startled, as the phone shrills loud and sudden into the silent room.

I groan. Dealing with people is the last thing I want to do now... but maybe... .

"Trowa?" I mutter, jumping up and running to the base and picking up the phone.

I curse softly as the phone continues to ring in my hand as I fumble to find the correct button on the handset. Heero gets up and switches on a lamp, and finally I find the right button. The little red light goes on, and I quickly jerk the receiver up to my ear.

"Hello?" I call hopefully into the phone, inwardly cursing myself at the tone of hopeful expectation I hear in my voice.

"Hi Duo, it's Quatre," comes a voice that, though familiar, is definitely not the one I had been hoping to hear.

"Hey, Q," I answer, trying to keep the disappointment from my voice, smiling tightly at Heero, whose shoulders slump a little as he realizes who I'm talking to.

"Sorry to be calling so late," he apologizes sincerely, "but it took me forever to get Trowa into bed, and he finally fell asleep just now, so... "

I choke on an inhalation of air. Got Trowa into bed!! What the Hell!!!

I force myself to stamp down the immediate surge of jealousy that Quatre's - surely - innocent remarks send pulsing through me. No way has Trowa gone to bed with Quatre. The Q-man is just too naive for his own good, always has been, and he doesn't realize what he's saying.

"Great," I manage lamely. "I mean... no, it's no problem. I was... "

"Good," he interrupts briskly as I trail off into inanity, still pondering his early remark. "I just thought you might be a little worried, so I wanted to call to tell you that he's fine, and he's going to stay the weekend here."

"What?" I shout into the phone. "The weekend? I thought he was coming home tomorrow! When... "

"Well, we had a long talk," Quatre interrupts again. "You know how hard it is to get him to discuss anything, but... "

"But, what?" I demand suspiciously, shrugging slightly at Heero's expression of inquiry.

"But I have a lot of practice," he laughs. "I know his sensitive spots."

Aack! Stop the mental images!! Too much information! This time, a freakin' tsunami of jealousy practically knocks me over.

Settle, Duo. Trowa isn't sleeping with Quatre. He wouldn't go have sex with Quatre just because he's mad at me. That's not his style. It's not. Really. Just because he's had sex with Quatre before and still feels friendship for him... just like I had had sex with Hilde before and felt friendship for her... .

No! It's not the same thing and Trowa fucking well knows it! He better fucking well know it or I'll beat it into him...

"Anyway," Quatre burbles merrily on, cutting unknowingly through my silent storm of seething envy, "he finally opened up. He's very stressed, Duo. I think he needs a weekend off."

He opened up. To Quatre.

"A weekend off," I repeat stupidly, staring at Heero.

"Yes. So, he's going to stay here. Wufei has an all-day meeting with the other L5 representatives tomorrow, poor guy, so Tro and I will have the whole day together to hang out and talk and... stuff."

I must have imagined the pause before the "stuff." No way would Quatre have allowed such an innuendo-laden silence. No way would he have a reason to. ‘Stuff' covers a lot of things that don't need a pause. They're probably going to... play basketball, or watch vids, or make music together... Or maybe they're going to... ‘make music together.' That would necessitate a pause before "stuff."

I'll kill them both. I swear, I'll...

SETTLE DOWN, DUO! You're reading way too much into this conversation. It's probably my guilty conscience at work, hearing badness where none is intended.

"So, I'm not sure if he'll be back Sunday, or if he'll just go on to court with us Monday morning. I guess you'll see him when you see him... "

"I... All right," I mutter into the phone. I can't really go off on Quatre about this without sounding like more of an idiot than I already have today. "I... I am sorry... Quatre. I didn't mean to hurt him... I... " I sigh, lifting my head to meet Heero's concerned gaze. "I wish he'd come home," I admit unhappily.

Heero moves to stand beside me, and his arm slides around me. I tilt my head, and rest it on his shoulder.

There's a long pause, and when Quatre speaks again, his voice is gentler. "He's going to come back, Duo," he assures me quietly. "He just... needs a little distance, for a little while. You know he's like that," he reminds me. "It's different from how you and I are, but... that's the way he is. He needs some time to calm down and see things in perspective... and you just have to give it to him."

"I guess," I mutter discontentedly. "But I don't like it, Q. I mean, the last thing he needs is more time to brood... "

"Oh, he won't be brooding," Quatre promises brightly. "I plan to keep him very busy. So don't worry! I'll talk to you later, ok Duo?"

I know he didn't use the tone I think I heard on the "very." He can't have. He wouldn't have. He...

"Ok?" he repeats.

"Yeah," I say weakly, and, with a happy good-bye, Quatre breaks the connection, leaving me staring dumbly at the phone in my hand.

After a moment, Heero gently takes the phone away from me, switches it off, and replaces it on the base. He takes my hand and pulls me back to the couch, arranging both of us so that he's sitting in one corner, and I'm leaning against him.

"So, what was that about?" he asks finally, his deep voice quiet.

I shrug, trying to dismiss the conversation. "Trowa's going to spend the weekend at Quatre's," I tell him. He probably already gathered that much.

"Is he coming back Sunday, or... "

"I don't know," I interrupt. "I guess we get to find out when we find out."

That irritates me. Trowa's always the one who needs his freaking anal obsessive plan, he could at least inform us when the hell he plans to next grace us with his presence...

Just as I'm working myself up into a good old bout of pissiness, Heero takes my hand in his and gently rubs his thumb over the backs of my fingers.

Great. Now I'm upset again.

"You're upset because he's not coming back tomorrow?" Heero asks carefully.

I smile despite myself. Some habits never die. Heero's always been obsessive about preparing for the mission, and he's done a great deal of research on the issue of inter-personal communication. So, when he's not caught off guard, and when the conversation moves slowly enough for him to remember the little scripts and diagrams he has in his head, he's actually pretty textbook good at this whole talking things over deal.

"Yeah," I admit.

"He will come back, Duo," he tells me softly.

I sigh. Everyone's telling me that. I didn't realize that I had ‘needy loser' tattooed quite so visibly on my head.

"He will, Duo," Heero promises. "He's just... upset. Hurt. When he calms down a little, he'll... "

"Come back for a few days until the next time I hurt his feelings, and then he'll go again," I interrupt. "Shit, Heero, I can't seem to do anything fucking right when it comes to him anymore! If I manage to keep my foot out of my mouth for a day or so then shit I did fucking years ago pops out of the woodwork to upset him." I falter, my sudden indignation fading as suddenly as it had flared up. "Christ, Heero, I just don't know what the Hell to do."

Heero is - not surprisingly - silent after this little diatribe. I guess I sort of pulled that one out of left field.

"Well," he says after a moment. "What did you do when he was like this before?"

"Before?" I repeat, frowning.

"Before all of this," he clarifies -badly- waving one hand vaguely. "When it was just you and him."

I frown. "What did I do... " I muse, thinking. "This... this didn't happen like this," I tell him. Well, I guess I'm catching the anti-clarity bug.

"You didn't argue?" he asks, one brow lifting in disbelief.

I shake my head. "Of course we argued," I correct him. "We just... " I scowl, trying to think of how to phrase it. "He didn't leave, though," I say. "I'd yell, and he'd glare at me, and finally we'd... " I stop and groan, lowering my head into my hands.

"You'd what?" Heero asks curiously.

I look up at him with a sickly grin. "He'd agree with me, or I'd jump him and we'd have sex, and not discuss it again. And I thought that made everything ok. Jesus, what a stupid fucking asshole I am. I... "

"Stop it," Heero interrupts harshly, his hand tightening on mine. I look up at him, surprised. "You don't help anything by doing that," he informs me sternly.

"Doing what?" I frown, trying to pull my hand out of his painful grip. He doesn't let me pull away, but does lighten his hold slightly.

"Don't say those things about yourself," he tells me. "They aren't true. So you haven't been perfect. So you've messed up. So maybe sometimes you were actually kind of a jerk." He shrugs. "So what? It doesn't mean you're an awful person when you screw up, it means you're a person. Human. That means you make mistakes. That's what you tell me," he reminds me.

I stare up at his earnest, angry face for a moment, then feel my own expression relax into a smile. A lot of the tension I've been feeling slowly starts to melt away. "Ok. You're right," I concede.

"And if that was your pattern before, it's probably good that Trowa's breaking it," Heero points out. "I mean, he doesn't want to just swallow things he doesn't like to keep peace anymore. That's a sign of trust, Duo, not abandonment."

Since when have my abandonment issues become so clear to the entire world? Crap, they're barely clear to me. Why does everyone else seem to have such a clear link to this page of the Book of Duo?

"So, what do we do?" I ask tentatively. This is kind of new territory. Heero and I have discussed Trowa before, but somehow, not like this. "I mean, I've been knocking myself out, especially since we got back here, trying to be... I don't know... sensitive to him or whatever, and it's still not... "

"Maybe that's the problem," Heero muses. I glance up, and he's got the same expression in his eyes he gets when he's hunched in front of a computer trying to solve some problem. I just know he's analyzing all available Trowa data and crunching it to figure out the next best step.

Hell, it's better than any process I've got. It might be a nice change to have a well-ordered plan, rather than to just fly by the seat of my pants.

"Maybe we're being too careful," Heero muses.

I frown. "What do you mean?"

"Maybe we're being too focused on being nice to him," Heero explains. "It's not... we're not behaving naturally. Maybe we're making him nervous."

"You mean, we're fussing too much?" I ask after a moment.

He nods. "It would probably make me uncomfortable," he reasons. "Everyone always trying to anticipate my every reaction to every word that they said to me... "

I nod slowly. "So, we should stop over-analyzing everything?" I conclude.

He grins at me, pulling me against him. "Think you can handle it?" he teases.

I scowl at him. "What's that supposed to mean?" I demand.

I'm shocked and amazed when he actually breaks out laughing. "See what I mean?" he teases after a moment.

I grin unwillingly when I catch the joke. "I just... don't want to hurt him anymore. Or you," I admit hoarsely.

Heero sobers. He moves so he's lying against one arm of the couch, and lifts me easily on top of him. Even amidst the seriousness of the moment, I can't help but shiver a little at this casual display of his strength.

"You won't, Duo," he assures me softly, wrapping his arms around me. "Or, if you do, it won't be the end of the world."

"But I don't... ."

"I know. And Trowa knows too. We all just... " Heero sighs. "We all just have very different ways of looking at things. We react differently from each other. That's ok, and in time, we'll all become much better at figuring each other out. But it will take time," he emphasizes. "And until we do... " He stops again, making a small sound of frustration. Emotional articulation just isn't easy for Heero. "Being considerate of one another is one thing," he establishes. "Worrying obsessively about every little reaction one of us has to everything is another."

"Are you accusing me of being obsessive?" I mutter into his chest.

His arms tighten briefly. "Yes," he says flatly, but I hear the humor in his voice.

"Pot, kettle," I accuse.

"Yeah, we've all pretty much got obsessive wrapped up," he concedes wryly.

We're both silent for a few minutes, trying to work through everything that's just been said.

"I don't know," Heero tells me finally. "I don't know exactly what's right. I just know... "

He stops, and is quiet for several minutes. Finally I lift my head up and stare down at him. "What?" I demand, frowning. He stares back at me, his eyes troubled.

"I... haven't felt like myself in a long time," he admits. "Years. Before... the peace, I almost never felt like... I didn't know what I was doing. Out of control. But... since I married Relena... "

"None of this was covered under basic training," I summarize softly, understanding.

He nods. "Or advanced," he tells me seriously. I hold back my smile. "I just... I don't know how much longer I can... " He flounders to a stop again.

"Can do what?" I ask nervously. Is this all too much for Heero? Does he want out?

His arms tighten around me again, and one hand soothingly strokes my back. "I will always be with you and Trowa," he tells me firmly. "I will never let either of you go. But... " He glances away from me for a minute, thinking. "I have to try to... figure out what happened to me." He frowns again; this is obviously not quite what he's trying to say. Give Heero a statistical problem or a batch of computer code and he can work miracles, but he has a terrible time vocalizing anything. Watching one of the most brilliant people I've ever known struggle so with language is always a kind of disconcerting experience. "I can't keep worrying about everyone's reaction to everything," he warns finally.

I nod. "Well, you just said maybe we should stop doing that anyway," I remind him.

He nods. "I just... need to find the line," he tells me seriously.

I sigh. "Welcome to the club, Hee-chan," I answer wryly. "We aren't much for moderation, any of us," I note. "We spent years running around not giving a crap about how anyone else felt about anything, now we've spent months doing our best not to look at anyone the wrong way." I shake my head. "We all need to find the line," I finish, sighing.

We're quiet again for awhile. "Do you think that Trowa... " Heero begins.

"I don't know what Trowa will do," I interrupt. "I guess... he needs to figure some stuff out for himself. We can't help him until he tells us how he feels. And we can't make him tell us." I pause. "Maybe Quatre can help him on that," I conclude, unable to keep the acerbic tone out of my voice.

Heero's brows lift again. "What's wrong?" he asks.

I swear softly. "Nothing," I mutter. "Quatre just... he kept saying stuff... and it just... the way he said it... "

Heero chuckles. "Trowa's not getting it on with Quatre," he assures me, hugging me close again. "Wufei would have a fit."

I scowl. "I don't think he's ‘getting it on' with him," I snap. "I just... "

"You're just worried he is," Heero grins.

"Shut up," I mutter, trying to pull away from him.

"You're afraid they were lying like this," Heero says, shifting his hands to my hips and pulling me against him. I gasp.

"And that Quatre was touching him like this," Heero continues, sliding his hands up underneath my untucked shirt, fingers skimming lightly and teasingly against the bare skin of my back and shoulders.

"And this... " Heero murmurs against my lips before his mouth claims mine, tongue moving inside to rub teasingly against mine.

I moan into his mouth, my eyes closing as I lose myself in the kiss.

"And then, you think Quatre might do this," Heero gasps, tearing his mouth away from mine to trail a path of hot kisses down my neck, biting sharply at the base of my throat.

"God!" I cry out, clenching convulsively at his shoulders.

"And Trowa would respond like that... and then, they... "

"Knock it off," I command sharply. He looks up at me, surprise and shock at my seeming rejection in his blue eyes. "This game is sick," I clarify, softening the accusation with a wicked grin. "They aren't doing any of this. I believe you. But we had better be, pretty damn soon, or I'll know the reason why."

Heero grins and sits up. In a moment, I'm lying on my back on the carpet with him grinning down at me. His eyes are dark with desire, and I feel a stir of answering need sweep through me.

"Mission accepted," he breathes, and leans down to kiss me again, and thoughts of Trowa, Quatre, Wufei, Relena, court and the Preventers are banished from my mind.

The nine-day celibacy streak is over.

[part 24] [back] [part 26] [back to Shoori's fic]