see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warriors + Chapter 46
The masks Duo had made--with
some help from Heero-- were perfect, both as art pieces and as compliments
to the costumes Quatre had created. Each one had taken on a vivid life
of its own between sketch and completion. The ones for "Meld", made to
look like two halves of the same face, with the other half painted black,
were amazing. When he and Trowa put them on, they really did look like
they were exactly that; a divided soul seeking it's other half. Looking
at their reflections in the workroom mirror, Quatre got goose bumps.
It has been a calculated risk to give him these important pieces. Duo
was still new at this and Trowa was incredibly particular and controlling
about every aspect of this risky new form or circus he was creating. But
it had been Trowa's idea to ask him. Duo's earliest efforts as an apprentice
mask maker had been impressive, and the designs he'd come up with were
imaginative and often on the dark side.
"Dark" defined Trowa's vision for Circus della Notte. Quatre had a free
hand in costume design and the musical scores, just as Duo did with the
masks, but Trowa had final say on everything, right down to the color
of the rope wranglers' shoes. Catherine's daytime performances were for
the families, with lots of flash and glitter and innocent fun. Their show
would be dark, erotic, surreal, a true circus of the night.
Having to plan their own show while still active performers in Catherine's
company would have been stressful at the best of times. With all the emotional
strain over Heero, on top of Trowa's lingering PTS quirks and nightmares,
all of which he'd stubbornly refused to acknowledge or address, Quatre
had been scared to let him near the high trapeze.
This small respite on the Cape, and the success of Heero's unusual "therapy"
had caused a minor miracle. Trowa was still conflicted, but for now he
was happier and functional, and his mind was clear. A few days free from
the chaos of the show preparations, the best sex they'd had in months,
and lots of warm fuzzy contact with their friends had made a new man of
his husband and Quatre, too. Only after things improved did he fully appreciate
the kind of strain he'd been under. It healed a few gaping wounds in Quatre's
heart to see Trowa stop hating himself.
It helped that Heero was looking so healthy, after the shock of seeing
him in Madrid. And Duo? He was radiant. He was happy and being happy only
made him more handsome. His hair was positively magnificent, a fact that
Duo blushingly attributed to Heero. He was more of a jokester and smart
mouth than he'd been in years, too. When he got too obstreperous Heero
was not above calling his attention to it with a smack on the ass, but
from the look Duo have him when he did it, it was all some big game between
them. Quatre and Trowa had their own version of it, and knew it was just
lovers' play; good wholesome G-Boy kink.
It took the better part of four days to put the final touches on the masks
and get them properly packed, then shut the house down before the cold
New England winter set in for real. Yesterday they'd woken find to a light
dusting of snow on the beach and heavy gray skies.
They kept the fireplaces stoked in the rooms they used, shut the doors
on those they didn't, and gradually moved everything they would be taking
with them downstairs. He and Trowa used one of the empty bedrooms there
to stay in practice for "Meld" and keep limbered up in general. Trowa
insisted on keeping the others away, and ignored all Duo's grumbling complaints.
He wanted everything about the new show to be a surprise and a wonder,
even for their own mask maker.
Each night the four of them started the night together in the big master
bedroom, with Trowa and Quatre withdrawing to the room across the hall
for sex. The third night they left both bedroom doors wide open and no
one complained. By unspoken agreement, daytime sex was private, with the
understanding that there would be no eavesdropping.
So far it was a workable system. In between, there was lots of room for
friendly physical contact, something all four of them seemed to crave.
Quatre had the impression that the other three were still making up for
a lot of years of deprivation in that department. The chilly evenings
made bundling up together under shared blankets on the couch to watch
TV a logical step. It was nothing new for Duo and the Winner-Bartons.
Heero seemed very pleased to find himself included into the longstanding
arrangement. It took some strategic planning, figuring out where to put
all those hips, legs, and elbows, but they managed various comfortable
configurations. Still the smallest, Quatre fit on Heero's lap like a kid,
and dozed off there one night, head pillowed in his shoulder, with Heero
absently stroking his arm and Duo leaning warm against his back, feet
in Trowa's lap.
So far there were no signs of jealousy, but everyone remained alert to
each other's signals. Quatre suspected that Trowa would have accepted
more sexual contact, given what he'd told them about life among the mercenaries
he'd grown up with, but no one else was ready for that step.
Their final day was hectic. With just ten days left before opening night,
Trowa and Quatre were flying down to New Orleans. Heero and Duo would
follow in the SUV, arriving a day or two later with the fragile masks.
That afternoon Quatre sent Duo and Trowa up to New Provincetown for a
few last minute supplies, then headed into the studio with a cup of tea
to see what last details remained. Heero was upstairs somewhere, checking
Duo had packed away his tools and supplies in their crates and the masks
were buried in individual boxes of shredded foam and tissue paper. Quatre
looked into the last unsealed box, where the seashell mask Duo had made
for Heero lay, awaiting a final wrap. It was heavy and Duo was worried
about it cracking in transit. Quatre lifted it out, shaking the moon shell
necklaces free. It was beautiful, but rather eerie, too. It obviously
had some special significance for the two of them, and Heero clearly treasured
it. He laid it back in its wrappings and turned for a final look around
A forgotten sketchbook had been shoved under the studio couch. It fell
open as he picked it up and he saw with surprise that it was filled with
black and white pencil sketches, rather than Duo's bright colored creations.
A second glance told him that this wasn't Duo's work at all.
The first page was blank. The second was a lovingly rendered sketch of
Duo asleep on this very couch, sprawled face down, hair loose and cascading
down over his shoulder to the floor, one fist curled under his chin like
a sleeping child. Well, not really a child, Quatre noted, blushing. Despite
the afghan draped across his hips, he was clearly naked and judging by
his blissful expression, had just made love. At the bottom, in Heero's
small, slanting print, was the title "#2: D. life study. CC house. 09/14/198."
The facing page, titled "#3: D. life study 2. CC house. 09/14/198" must
have been done that same day. It was the same setting, but now Duo was
asleep on his back, arms draped over the armrest above his head, one foot
fallen to the floor, and no blanket. Quatre's blush deepened. Heero's
attention to detail was amazing.
A loose page, apparently torn from a different sketchpad, showed Duo fully
clothed, wearing a familiar stained canvass apron and sitting on a high
stool at a table--that table over there, Quatre realized-- concentrating
on something in front of him. He had a set of calipers in one hand and
a pencil between his teeth. Quatre had seen him like this dozens of times
in their L-4 workshop and smiled, imagining how Duo was always muttering
and humming to himself, drumming the fingers of his free hand on the table.
This one was "#1: D. at work. CC house. 09/14/198."
Quatre had been formally trained in drawing, and had a good eye. He recognized
talent when he saw it. He turned the page, curious to see more. There
were dozens and dozens of sketches, and a large proportion of them were
portraits of Duo. Many were explicit: there were a number showing him
tied naked to the bed upstairs in various ways, his arousal clear in his
eyes and the arch of his body, not to mention the rather impressive erection;
another showed Duo cavorting in the kitchen in nothing but an oven mitt
and a frilly apron. Quatre chuckled, recognizing it. There were more studies
of him asleep, and many of him dressed and at work or outside on the beach.
The most unusual showed him at the worktable again, but here he was depicted
as a beautifully detailed and well-armed merman cleaning a gun. This one
was titled "My kind of mermaid!" and dated the day he and Trowa had arrived.
"Mermaid!" Quatre muttered, grinning. Trowa claimed he'd heard Heero call
Duo that during sex the other night, but Quatre hadn't believed him. This
didn't seem like Heero Yuy at all. Duo had certainly brought out some
interesting facets in the guy.
Heero had tried a few self-portraits and one full-length nude study, but
if his expression was anything to go by, he hadn't been pleased with the
results. Or maybe he was just concentrating. Either way, the eyes that
looked out from those pictures held a look that bordered on "Yuy Death
Glare." The body, though--Quatre's eyes widened appreciatively. Assuming
this was done with the same accuracy as the others, well, he was pretty
impressive! He and Duo had both been working out.
He'd also drawn all five Gundam pilots from memory, both as the young
men they were now, and attempts to capture how they'd looked a few years
ago. The picture of him as 04 made him look embarrassingly young and small,
with a pretty baby face. Quatre shook his head sadly; they really had
been children then--Trowa looked shy and closed off, Duo cocky but guarded,
Wufei like he was sucking on a lemon.
Wu had probably changed the least of any of them. It occurred to Quatre
that he still hadn't heard back from 05 about his invitation, despite
several emails. Whatever this new secret detail was, it must be keeping
him busy. Or maybe he was still upset over Heero and Duo's relationship?
Quatre knew it had hit him harder than the others realized, but he'd kept
that to himself.
He looked back at the drawings. Their younger selves looked like children,
all right, but they all had the eyes of killers, even him. That was a
bit disturbing. Had they really looked like that, or is that how Heero
had seen them?
There were portraits of some of their former enemies, as well: there were
several of Zechs, some in uniform and mask, others as he'd been later,
maskless and bitter, a white band tied around the arm of his flight jacket.
Lucretzia Noin was there too, smiling, and Treize Kushreneda at ease in
an open necked shirt, wine glass in his hand. There were several others
of a grim looking, thin-faced man Quatre didn't recognize. These were
Scattered throughout these others were random studies of hands and feet,
furniture, household objects, seashells, beach plants, and a few disturbingly
detailed sketches of a dead seal on the beach, its bloated body picked
at by crabs. Another showed the skeleton of a seagull, surrounded by a
few tattered feathers.
Heero had tried his hand at landscapes, but they lacked the sense of passion
and immediacy of his portraits. All of them except one, Quatre amended,
coming upon a lovely rendering of the house, with what appeared to be
Duo and Heero waving from the widow's walk. This one was dated a few weeks
back and titled, "For Quatre, with thanks. Feels like home."
This was followed by a portrait of Quatre and Trowa wrapped around each
other, both flipping the artist off and grinning. They were dressed in
some of their more outlandish and revealing S&M club gear. They still
had those clothes, but hadn't worn them in a year or more. Heero must
have seen a picture of them somewhere and done it from memory. This one
was titled "For Quatre and Trowa: 'Gundam's Kinkiest Toy Boys!' Tsk tsk."
So the Perfect Soldier had a damn near perfect memory, too, at least for
some things! Quatre hadn't been stoned enough to wear assless biker chaps
with nothing but a G-string underneath since that night. Well, not in
It struck him then that there were no drawings of Gundams, mobile suits,
weapons, or anything else to do with space or war. Just people Heero knew
and his current surroundings.
The last drawing was dated today, and showed Quatre, Duo and Trowa asleep
in the bed upstairs. A bit of space between Duo and Trowa showed where
Heero had been. Quatre could even make out a dent in the pillow where
his head had rested. The title of this one was simply "Peaceful."
Quatre was about to set the book aside when it slipped and fell open to
the back pages. There were more drawings there.
It would have been easy to believe that a different person had drawn these.
They were nightmares on paper, dark contorted glimpses of ominous city
streets, filthy alleyways, and slums. The pencil work here was harsh and
rushed. The lines were much heavier and in places the pencil point had
torn the paper. In others things had been erased so forcefully the page
was almost worn through. One drawing was nothing but angry eyes and reaching
hands, so numerous and so thick on the page that Quatre got a flash of
panic, as if he was being attacked. He turned the page hastily. The next
picture, by contrast, was the shadowed interior of a Buddhist temple;
he recognized an altar, bowls of incense, a statue. A small window in
the left foreground was filled with angry eyes and blackness. The next
drawing was the statue alone, in greater detail. It was an Asian woman
with a sad, gentle face. She wore old-fashioned robes and held a long-necked
bottle in one hand, and a flower in the other.
Quatre knew what these must represent, even before he noticed the upraised
hand in the foreground of the temple picture, holding a pile of pills
and a razor blade. Heero had said something about going into a temple
to keep warm, right before he tried to kill himself. Quatre looked at
that window full of eyes again and opened himself just a little. Emotions
roiled off the page: despair, intense loneliness, failure, confusion,
shame. But the fear he felt was his own.
He started badly as a hand closed over his shoulder, then turned and threw
his arms around Heero, clinging to him with his eyes squeezed shut, trying
to escape those images and the feelings that came with them. Strong arms
tightened around him. A hand stroked his hair. "It's all right, Quatre.
It's in the past. I'm all right now."
Quatre got a hold of himself and let go. It was so stupid! He should be
the one comforting Heero, but Heero was calm. "That's all I can remember
about that night, so far. It was hard, at first, but drawing it out helped.
Duo says I should burn this one, but I'm not ready to quite yet."
Quatre sighed as guilt rushed in. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have looked!"
Heero was still staring down at the book. "I've been having dreams lately.
Nightmares. Don't worry; I'm still seeing Dr. Batoosingh online. He says
if I draw them, it may help me remember things from that fugue state,
if I choose to."
"Do you really want to?" Quatre whispered.
Heero shrugged, then paged back through the book to the lighter drawings.
He carefully pulled out the drawing of the house, and the one of Quatre
and Trowa. "I did these for you, to thank you for letting us stay here.
It's helped a lot. We really love it here."
"Thank you, Heero. These really are very good. I never knew you were an
"Neither did I. Or maybe I forgot, I don't know. Creativity was one of
the required traits when they recruited us, right? You, Duo and I all
seem to be able to draw quite well, and I think he could be a sculptor
if he tried. I don't know about the others."
"Trowa creates with his imagination and his body. You'd have to ask Wufei
about his talents. He was more a scholar of the arts, as I recall." He
paused, still feeling guilty. "Look, I'm sorry I snooped--the ones of
Duo, you know? The nudes?"
But Heero just smiled. "Those are my favorites. I love how he looks, like
that. But he might be embarrassed, I guess. I probably shouldn't leave
this lying around."
"Yeah. Too bad they're so personal. You've got enough here already for
a gallery showing."
"I don't think he'd like strangers looking at him. He wouldn't even take
a modeling job and that would have been with clothes on."
"Oh, he told you about Mikos, did he?" Quatre shook his head. "I still
don't get that. They were begging him to do it. He'd be so good at it,
and it's easy money."
"I thought so, too, but he said he wouldn't enjoy it."
Quatre paged quickly past several nudes to the mermaid picture. "I love
this one. What's the story there?"
To his surprise Heero blushed and closed the sketchbook. "That's uh--well,
that one's personal."
Heero hugged him again. "It's all right, 04. Let's finish up here."
They didn't talk as they sealed and stacked a few last boxes and checked
the closet for stragglers. After awhile, however, Quatre felt Heero watching
"Quatre, I need to ask you a favor."
"Sure, what is it?"
"I'd like to kiss you. On the mouth." It wasn't a passionate declaration.
He could have been asking Quatre to pass him the tape. But that was Heero
Yuy for you. "According to what Duo has told me, that's acceptable 'messing
around between friends'."
"Uh--sure, I guess. Go ahead," Quatre said, expecting a quick peck.
Instead, Heero walked over with a very intent look in those dark blue
eyes, took Quatre in his arms, and proceeded to kiss his lights out, tongue
It probably didn't last as long as it seemed to, but by the time Heero
let go, Quatre's heart was racing, his knees were wobbly, and things were
happening below the belt.
"Thank you, 04. That was very informative."
"Informative?" Was that Heero-speak for "you rocked my world"? But Heero
appeared unruffled. "What--that is, why did you suddenly need to do that?"
"Research. I've only ever kissed Duo like that. I wanted to see if it
feels different with other people."
"It does," Heero replied. "But it was very nice with you, too. I'm going
to go make some more tea. Would you like some?"
"No thanks. I'll just, uh--" Go take a cold shower, he thought. "I'll
finish up here. Oh, and Heero?"
"I know you're still new at all this. With messing around? But you probably
shouldn't use tongues, OK? Duo wouldn't like it."
"Ah. Thank you. I'll make a note of that."
Quatre watched him go and shook his head. Heero talked openly of sex,
didn't blink over nude pictures of himself or Duo, kissed casually like
his was proposing marriage, but blushed over the drawing of Duo as a mermaid
with a gun? If Heero Yuy was his lover, instead of Duo's, he'd probably
have to keep the empathy channel open 24/7 to figure the guy out. He licked
his lips, thinking of that kiss, then grinned. Better than Trowa? No,
but close. Hot damn, no wonder Duo looked so happy all the time!
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