Author: Mi
Pairings: None yet
Rating: G
Warnings: AU. Some shounen-ai, although it's just eyeing. A little more severe than part 9.
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. Everything else is. Everything.
Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Spotlight + Part 10

"You invited him over for dinner?" Duo moved backwards a few steps; Quatre looked really, really mad.

"Yes. He's my friend." Trowa crossed his arms over his chest and tilted his chin upwards a little. If Duo didn't know Trowa he would've thought that he was trying to look defiant.

"But I don't like him. And you know that. And you did it anyway." When Quatre got mad he started emphasizing one word in every sentence. He also dropped his normally loquacious way of talking and spoke in much plainer language. Duo watched.

"I don't understand why you can't tolerate him for one evening. He's my friend, and I barely get to see him because I know that you don't like him. Out of respect for you, I don't get to see him."

"You get to see him all the time! He's your favorite model!" Duo knew that was true. Heero was definitely over more than the other models. One point for Quatre.

"And now all I want is to have dinner with him, and you won't even let me do that. I don't prevent you from seeing your friends."

"That's because I don't have any friends! I'm always taking care of you!" Ooh. Five points for Quatre.

"If you did I wouldn't prevent you from seeing them. I wouldn't throw a fit when you wanted to have them over for dinner. I wouldn't do that because I wouldn't be jealous." Suddenly Duo wasn't sure that that they should be having this conversation in the middle of the street. Since he wasn't actually in the conversation it didn't really matter, but he didn't think that he wanted to be the roommate of the person having the conversation in the middle of the street either.

"And what would I have to be jealous of in Heero Yuy?" Even Duo knew that Quatre was asking for trouble with that question. No one acted aloof when faced with an accusation of jealousy; it just made the accusation look true. "He's a sadistic, self-absorbed, smug little prick and he does everything he can to grate on my very last nerve every time he sees me. He's insulting, he's rude, and he's downright violent!" Duo rubbed his sore knuckle in agreement. It didn't really hurt but it was a show of support, and thinking about Heero biting him did make it hurt just a little.

"He only acts that way around you because he knows how you feel about him. He's very good at reading people. If you would stop viewing him as a threat to our partnership." Now Duo wasn't sure that he wanted to be listening to this conversation anymore.

"Well... ! I... !" Duo watched Quatre's face intently; it was turning a variety of very interesting colors. He decided that now might be a good time to intervene, before Quatre passed out on the sidewalk. But he didn't really have anything productive to say; he settled for the first think that popped into his head.

"We don't have a table!" Well, Duo thought, that was stupid. Trowa spoke to him, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on Quatre.

"That doesn't matter. We're not having a formal dinner. Just friends." Trowa stressed the word friends. Quatre's narrowed his eyes. Duo prayed to God for something intelligent and peaceful to say.

"You know what Trowa Barton," Quatre walked so close to Trowa that Duo couldn't see any light pass between them. If Trowa had wanted to kiss him Quatre would have been in the perfect position. Somehow Duo didn't think that was what Quatre was going to do. It was just a gut feeling. "I think I need to get my priorities in order. I'm going home, and when I get there I'm going to go over every one of our records and see if this partnership is really worthwhile. You think about that. And when I have come to a decision, I will call you." Quatre leaned a little bit closer and for a minute Duo thought that he had been wrong and Quatre was going to kiss Trowa. Besides feeling like that was weird because Trowa and Quatre kissing was just weird, Duo also felt that it wouldn't be the right thing to do in this situation. Luckily Quatre didn't kiss him. He just stared at him for a while until Trowa's eyebrows went up a little. "You just think about that." Then he backed off and spun around on his heel. As he was walking away he nodded to Duo. "Duo." Duo nodded numbly back. He was a little dazed. He could only imagine how Trowa was feeling.

Trowa was staring. Precisely, he was staring directly in front of him where Quatre had been a few minutes ago. Duo still wasn't sure what had just happened but he knew that he should probably alert Trowa to the fact that Quatre was no longer there; Trowa didn't look as though he knew.

"Uh, Trowa." Trowa blinked a couple of times before looking at Duo.

"Quatre." Trowa was still in the far-away place. Duo didn't know if it was pleasant there but he saw it as his duty as roommate to bring Trowa back. He also didn't know if Trowa could pay his half of the rent from that far away.

"No, Duo." Duo looked right into Trowa's eyes just to make sure that he got the point. He did. Trowa bent his head and started walking towards the apartment. "He looked really mad." Up until a few minutes before Duo had thought that Quatre was perfectly manicured, perfectly controlled, and although somewhat flamboyant with his money, perfectly pleasant. Now he wasn't so sure. Quatre had slipped too easily from pleasant to maniacal for it to be the first time he had done so. And perfect people didn't lose their tempers.

"He gets like that, sometimes. Mad." Trowa looked at Duo and shrugged, but Duo couldn't figure out what he was trying to say. Suddenly Trowa stopped and smiled broadly, broader and bigger than Duo had ever seen him smile before. "It'll be fine. He'll be just fine."

Quatre was seething. Trowa was grinning. Duo had to get home and make sure all of his bills were paid before any more of hell froze over and the messiah came.

+

Tomorrow came, Monday, and Heero was still coming over for dinner. Quatre still hadn't called and Trowa was still grinning like an idiot. Duo still had no idea why. What he did know was that if he didn't finish chopping the broccoli dinner would never be ready and then Trowa would probably stop grinning and then... well that would set off a whole new set of reactions just when Duo was getting used to things. So he concentrated on chopping.

"You done in there yet, Duo?"

"Almost!" Duo would have been offended, but he knew that Trowa just wanted everything to be perfect. Trowa and Heero were very close; that much he had gathered. How close he wasn't sure. Maybe they're sleeping together. Now where had that come from? Duo shook his head to clear it of that slimy thought and pushed all the vegetables from the cutting board into the steamer with the side of his knife. The water was already boiling so it wouldn't take more than five minutes to cook. He picked up another cutting board and pushed the vegetables that were on it into the steamer to lie with the broccoli. If they were sleeping together, wouldn't he have heard something through the screen? ‘Ugh!' Duo shut his eyes tightly and covered the steamer. He missed a couple of times of course, because his eyes were closed, but he managed it eventually. ‘I am not thinking about Trowa and Heero doing nasty things between the sheets.' To prove his point Duo took the rice bucket out of the rice cooker and upended it over a large mixing bowl. ‘There, I am thinking about rice.' He added some curry powder and some cumin and then a little lemon juice. Rice with spices and lemon juice. ‘Maybe they just do it at Heero's house... .'

Maybe if he left the kitchen the thoughts would go away. He went to see Trowa, who was trying to arrange three chairs around his desk in his little room with the picture window. It was working; all the third person had to do was sit in the chair with their feet on the bed and their arms leaning against the stereo and they'd be pretty much sitting at the table.

"This is not going to work." Trowa stood in the doorway next to Duo and surveyed his tiny room. He crossed his arms over his chest and made a little huffing noise as if he was fed up with everything; he probably was. Duo looked at the little room and the big furniture and had a thought.

"Well Heero's Japanese, right?" Trowa looked at him oddly for a few seconds and then nodded.

"So why don't we just eat sitting on the floor?" It wasn't the most PC thing to say but it was definitely the most practical. Trowa thought about it and after a few minutes Duo decided that he must have thought it was a good idea because he moved to rearrange the furniture back to its normal configuration. Duo went back into the kitchen to check on the food.

+

At precisely 8:00:21 PM the buzzer rang, and since the kitchen was closer to the buzzer than Trowa's room, Duo answered it. "Hello?" Nothing. The person downstairs wasn't speaking. "Hello? Anybody there?" And then,

"Pretty." Duo raised his eyebrows.

"Excuse me?"

"Let me up, Pretty." Duo lowered his eyebrows and frowned. Of course it was Heero. He supposed that he had to let him up or Trowa would get mad. He pressed the buzzer again to open it and cut the connection before Heero could say anything else. He did not want to talk to that person any more than he absolutely had to.

"Trowa, Heero's here." Duo called out as he walked back into the kitchen to take care of something. Anything to keep away from Heero; just hearing his voice over the intercom had freaked him out.

"Would you get the door? I'm changing." Trowa called back. ‘I hate you Trowa,' Duo thought. He didn't really, but he stomped to the door anyway. He threw it open for good measure. And there was Heero, leaning against his doorframe and smiling at him in ‘that way' again, the way that made Duo feel naked; he called it the ‘parka smile.'

"Heero." Short and to the point-talk as little as possible, thought Duo.

"Pretty." Duo scowled.

"I have a name you know; it's Duo. Duo Maxwell."

"Hm. It doesn't do you justice." Heero was still leaning against the doorframe and he was making no move to come in.

"You can come in, you know." Duo didn't really want him to come into his apartment, but if he came in then maybe he'd stop looking Duo up and down like he was a street whore. He figured he was going for the lesser of two evils.

"I know." He still didn't make any move to come in. Duo decided to take the time to return the favor and look Heero from head to toe. He wasn't wearing his black trenchcoat; instead he was holding it over his right shoulder. He was wearing black jeans cinched around the waist with a black belt and a black V-necked muscle shirt that was sleeveless. Around his neck was a thick black choker that had silver spikes an inch long jutting out of it all around. Duo moved back just a fraction of an inch; Duo had seen dog collar chokers before but these spikes looked real and really sharp. He had a black bandanna tied around his head and was wearing black fingerless gloves that extended to the middle of his lower arms. At first Duo thought that they were just opera gloves with the fingers cut off, but when he looked again he realized that they only had two holes-one big one for the four fingers and one for the thumb. He was still wearing that squarish steel ring that looked just like Trowa's on his pinkie. Besides that he only had one earring on-a silver hoop with a tiny cross dangling from it-and a silver ring in his nose.

After Duo had looked Heero up and down he realized that Heero wasn't very big. He was intimidating, sure, but he wasn't very tall and he wasn't very wide either. Since Duo had never seen him without his trenchcoat on before he had always assumed that Heero would have large muscles to match his large presence. While his shirt revealed that he had a well-toned chest and arms he wasn't bulging anywhere, and Duo thought that if Heero wore normal clothes and acted like a normal person he wouldn't be intimidating at all. If only.

Suddenly he realized that he had been looking at Heero just like Heero had been looking at him. He did not want Heero to think that he was in any way encouraging him. He looked up into Heero's eyes; maybe Heero hadn't noticed. Heero's eyes laughed back at him. ‘I saw that Pretty,' they said. Rats.

"Are you coming in or not?" Duo demanded. He was getting a little tired of Heero's Parka Look and wanted to pawn Heero off on Trowa for a while. Heero said nothing but he did widen his smile to show his teeth. That's it, Duo thought, I'm getting out of here, and he went into the kitchen to finish dishing out dinner. Heero followed him in, closing the door behind him and still laughing at him with his eyes.

"Trowa, come out here, Heero's here." Duo yelled from the kitchen. He was not coming out of the kitchen bar an emergency until Trowa showed up and distracted Heero. Luckily Trowa had finished dressing. Strangely enough he had chosen to wear a shirt identical to Heero's in all aspects except for its color-it was white. Aside from that he was wearing light blue jeans and his ring. He was also barefoot-after all, he wasn't going anywhere.

"Heero." Trowa held out a hand to Heero and smiled.

"Trowa." Heero grabbed his arm and pulled him into a hug, patting him on the back. It was a very manly handshake.

+

They were all sitting on the floor in the hallway because there wasn't enough floor space in Trowa's room to sit on and Duo really didn't want to invite Heero into his room. Ever. Duo had just brought out the bowls that housed their dinner when the phone rang. Since Duo was up anyway he went to answer it.

"Hello? Oh, hi. Yeah. Hold on." Duo poked his head out of the kitchen and looked at Trowa. "It's for you." Trowa raised an eyebrow at Heero who shrugged. Trowa got up from where he was sitting and took the phone from Duo.

"Hello... oh... well I-no. No, I-" Trowa was frowning into the phone now and making hand motions at Duo that Duo interpreted as ‘Get out of the kitchen.' He really didn't want to but he didn't want to piss Trowa off either. He left and sat as far away from Heero as possible without looking like he was sitting as far away from Heero as possible.

"I won't bite you." Duo glared at Heero for a second before deciding that it wasn't worth the effort. His glares seemed to have no effect on Heero; if anything they just made him smile at Duo in the creepy way again, and Duo certainly didn't want that. He fidgeted with his fork, not wanting to start without Trowa but desperately wanting something to do. "What's with all the clocks?"

"Huh?"

"The clocks. Why do you have so many clocks, Pretty?" Heero waved an arm to indicate several clocks that were sitting on the bookshelf in front of them.

"Would you please stop calling me that?!" Duo stopped himself before he got too angry; with Heero he knew it wouldn't do him any good. "My name is not ‘Pretty,' It's Duo."

"How about I call you Sweet Thing?" Duo made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat, Heero laughed, and Trowa came back from the kitchen. "Who was that Tori?" Heero asked, but Duo suspected that he already knew the answer.

"Quatre. He had some questions about the gallery." Trowa looked at Heero, daring him to keep going. Duo shrugged and started to eat. Trowa was back, no need for him to keep paying attention to Heero.

Five minutes later the phone rang again. This time Trowa went to get it and didn't come back for several minutes. Heero grinned at Duo and Duo grimaced. He hated it when Heero smiled at him.

"So Sweet Thing, about the clocks... ?" Duo looked him straight in the eye. Or tried. He kept looking away because it made him too uncomfortable.

"I like to know what time it is." Heero laughed again. Duo decided that Heero's laugh, while loud and annoying, didn't make his skin crawl as much as his smiles did.

"I can tell you what time it is" Heero said, leaning towards Duo and resting his chin on one fist, "without looking at a clock." He wasn't smiling and Duo was grateful. Maybe Heero was being serious for once.

"Really?"

"Yes." Heero hadn't moved any closer to Duo or tried to smile at him, and Duo really was curious, so he decided to ask.

"Well then, what time is it now?" Heero closed his eyes, drew his eyebrows together, and pursed his lips. Duo waited. After fifteen seconds Heero hadn't moved or said anything and Duo was starting to wonder if he was still awake. After thirty seconds Heero still hadn't done anything and Duo switched from wondering to worrying. "Heero? Heero? Are you still in there?" After forty-five seconds Duo couldn't take it anymore and leaned close to Heero's face, intending to open one eyelid and see if he was still alive. Instead, when Duo was only an inch away from Heero, Heero leaned in and kissed him. Duo shrieked like a girl and scuttled backwards on his hands and heels until he bumped into the opposite wall. Heero was grinning like the very devil and Duo was hyperventilating. This strange scene was what greeted Trowa when he exited the kitchen moments later.

"Sorry. I-what happened?" No one said anything. Trowa looked at Duo, who had snapped out of his mortified shock when Trowa had come in and was now doing his best to eat his dinner and look at the floor. Then Trowa looked at Heero, who had calmly picked up his bowl and was delicately picking up vegetables with his fork. "Heero?"

"Hmm?"

"What happened?" Heero looked at him with as bland an expression as he could muster.

"When?"

"Just now. I heard Duo from the kitchen." Trowa looked at Duo for help but Duo was still busy looking at the floor; it was a very time-consuming job but someone had to do it. "It sounded like he was-" Just then the phone rang. Trowa ground his teeth together before taking a deep breath. "I'll get it." Duo waited until Trowa was safely in the kitchen before he looked up at Heero.

"You kissed me!" He hissed, desperately afraid that Trowa might hear him and think... something. Heero smirked at him and Duo felt clammy.

"You scream like a girl."

"Why you... I do not!" Duo hissed back.

Before the conversation went anywhere else Trowa came back, looking like he was ready to shoot someone. Duo took one look at him and started talking, trying to avoid being asked any more questions.

"Who keeps calling?" Trowa tightened his fists and turned so his whole body faced Duo.

"Quatre. He keeps... forgetting... certain details that he absolutely must tell me tonight." Heero smirked. Duo was starting to think that it was his multi-purpose expression for everything; that and his creepy smile.

"Is Blondie making you sleep on the couch?" Heero chuckled at himself and raised a questioning eyebrow at Trowa.

Trowa would have answered but the phone rang.

+

The phone rang a total of 41 times during the hour that they were eating, effectively keeping Trowa from touching his food or interacting with his guest. Heero had finished eating by the 33rd call, but Duo had purposely tried to drag out his meal, hoping that he could use eating as an excuse for not talking to Heero. After the 26th call Trowa had stopped coming out of the kitchen entirely, leaving Heero and Duo alone in the hallway for most of the evening. Duo had been miserable. Heero had been smug.

Dinner had been a complete disaster-for everyone except Heero Yuy.

+

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