Title: Back of My Heart
Author: Ponderosa (ponderosa@dragonworld.com)
Pairing: 2+4, 2x3, Mention of 6x9
Warning: [NC-17] Yaoi. Romance. Mild angst if any. Excessive use of caffeine.
Spoilers: None.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respective copyright owners, like Sunrise/Sotsu/Bandai. Plot, if you can call it that, belongs to me.
Notes: Written entirely for Dacia, because I love her muchly.

Back of My Heart + Chapter 1

"Oh God," Duo stammered. "I'm so sorry." Perched wide-eyed on the edge of a wrought-iron patio chair, he wanted nothing more than to run, or better yet, die right there on the spot. His knuckles were white as he gripped the chair's curving arms, and in the circular, glass-topped table that stood between him and Quatre, the reflection of his face was equally bloodless. The patio table had been a mile wide when he'd leaned across to kiss Quatre, but now it had shrunk far too small for his liking.

The blonde smiled gently and reached out to place his hand on Duo's. "Don't be sorry Duo, it's just that-"

"You're not gay," Duo finished for him. His cheeks stung as blood rushed back into his face.

Quatre smiled again, his eyes crinkling at the corners. He gathered Duo's fingers into his and squeezed them firmly. "No, I'm not, but I am very flattered," he said, holding Duo's gaze, willing the other man to see the honesty behind his words.

"I feel like such an ass," Duo groaned. He freed his fingers from Quatre's grip to smooth his hands down his face. A rueful smile turned his lips and he shook his head. "Do I look as red as I think?"

"Oh yes," Quatre said, one side of his mouth quirking.

Duo groaned again and leaned back in the chair. The lattice backing was cold through the thin silk of his shirt - he'd worn his lucky dark blue one tonight - and he lolled his head back as far as he could to stare up at the evening sky. If they had been on Earth, the first stars would be appearing in the steadily darkening canopy, but instead he saw only the inner colony wall fading into shadow. "Thanks for taking this so well."

"If it makes you feel better, it was a very good kiss."

Duo chuckled throatily and his stomach quivered as he tried to suppress a full out laugh. "Well, that's good. It took me all night to get up the nerve," Duo glanced over at Quatre. He couldn't hold back any longer and his laugh burst from his lips like gunfire. "I can't believe I kissed you."

Quatre's eyes warmed as they crinkled again. "I hope this won't affect our friendship. I do care deeply for you, Duo."

Duo reached out and placed his hand hesitantly on the blonde's sleeve. There was no resistance or discomfort in his friend as he let his touch linger on the soft cotton. "Thanks Q," he said, with a lopsided grin that failed to draw attention away from the slight choke in his voice. He felt like such a fool. He had been so sure that Quatre's affection for him was more than simply platonic.

"I don't want this to come between our friendship either," said Duo softly. His eyes went out of focus as he continued to stare at the spot where the tips of his fingers lightly rested. Duo tried to shake himself out of the trance that seemed to slow the very flow of time around him. He cleared his throat, "I think I need to spend a little time alone."

"Of course," Quatre nodded. He stood up gracefully, using the action itself as a diplomatic way to remove Duo's hand from his arm and help bring the longhaired youth back into the present. "I think I'll head back in to the office to take a look at those reports I've been neglecting. You're welcome to stay here a while longer if you'd like."

Duo watched the blonde leave without being able to say even a thank you.

+

It was full on dark when he closed the glass door that led onto the terrace. Duo flipped on the light and stared at the familiar interior of Quatre's apartment. It was spacious and warmly appointed, but like the other residences the Winner heir owned around the Earth Sphere, there was little of its owner reflected within its walls.

Most homes had pictures, scattered about like little pockets of memories, or random clutter that you could look at and wonder about their significance. This apartment held none of those things. There were plenty of items displayed about the room, but Duo knew that almost all of them had been gifts that Quatre had accepted with good grace and found a use for in his usual thoughtful, practical fashion. It felt odd to him knowing that Quatre lived here for a good third of the year, but the place still felt like a hotel room.

He couldn't stay here a minute longer, Duo decided. He strode across the room to where his jacket waited over the back of a low-cushioned chair. As he pulled on the heavy jacket, he sucked in a breath and let the sharp tang of the leather drown out the memory of Quatre's subtle cologne.

Duo had been out in the cold for hours, and his fingers were numb as he dug his keys out of his pocket. Flipping them into his palm, he reached for the door. When the filigreed handle twisted of its own accord, Duo jumped back nimbly; narrowly avoiding a smack in the face as the door burst inward.

"Uh," he said intelligently, as his shocked gaze was met by an equally startled pair of green eyes. "Hi."

The statement and feeble wave Duo offered broke Trowa's stunned reaction and the former pilot adjusted the duffel on his shoulder before bending down to pick up a second similar bag.

"Duo," said Trowa, as if that was enough, and proceeded past him into the apartment. The tall man grunted as he slung his heavy bags onto the couch and rolled his head from side to side before he turned to face Duo.

"What are you doing here?" Duo asked. The door was wide open and he knew he should probably just leave, but his curiosity was piqued. He hadn't seen Trowa in a long time. Taking a moment to count back, it was nearing three years since they'd seen one another. Time flies when you join a planetary terraforming project.

"Visiting Quatre," he answered. Trowa moved to stand by the door, hesitating to close it when Duo looked like he wasn't sure if he was leaving or not. "Seat opened on an earlier flight, so I'm two days ahead of schedule."

"Q just went back to his office not too long ago."

"He works too hard," Trowa stated. Deciding that Duo wasn't ready to go, he shut the door firmly and went back to his bags.

"I was just leaving," Duo said, feeling out of place.

"Want to stay a few? Have some coffee with me?" Trowa pulled out an expensive looking bag of beans from a side pouch on his duffel. "I'm still on Earth time."

Trowa headed for the kitchen. He moved as if he knew the place intimately. 'Not surprising,' Duo told himself. Just because he hadn't seen Trowa for a long time didn't mean that Quatre hadn't, and the two had been nearly inseparable back during the war.

Duo fingered the cold lump of keys in his hand and chewed on the inside of his lower lip. Going home to an empty apartment didn't seem that appealing and neither did finding a bar and drinking to numb the ache of rejection. Coffee and catching up with a friend sounded infinitely better than being alone. Duo dropped his jacket back over the chair before wandering towards the kitchen where the ringing hiss of water filling a kettle beckoned.

[chap. 2] [back to gifts]