see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warriors + Chapter 40
Project Trowa: Implementation
12:07 pm EST
The familiar jolt of the shuttle hitting atmosphere woke Trowa from another
dark and guilty dream. Quatre wasn't in his seat and Trowa looked back
over the tops of the seats, seeking that distinctive head of blonde and
blue hair. Quatre had moved back to sit with Cathy. The two of them were
looking out the windows, watching Earth come up beneath them like a green
and blue sea swell. The other performers, his friends and fellow artists
were all doing the same, laughing and talking excitedly. It was the first
Earthside tour they'd done in over a year. It meant early set up and grueling
practice sessions to reaquaint their bodies with this gravity and this
natural atmosphere, but most had done it before. It was well worth the
effort, to feel a real breeze on your face again, and see hills and forests
and the sea.
And New Orleans! Quatre had never been here before, but Trowa had and
loved this wicked painted lady of a city. He wanted to walk those dark
cobbled streets again in the French Quarter, seek out the low dives and
fine cafes, and stand under the ancient palms in Jackson Square, watching
the street performers, vagrants, fortune tellers, artists, and whores.
The smells of the French Quarter, the colors and the music everywhere.
He'd spent weeks there, long ago, immersed in that sensual waking dream.
He'd wanted to take Quatre to New Orleans for so long, to share that with
him, but now he was desperately afraid that would never happen. He was
afraid, so afraid, that Cape Cod was as far as they would travel together,
and after that, everything they'd built up-their life, their act, the
exciting, terrifying new venture they'd come here to launch. That was
all going to end today. And it was all his fault.
He fell back in his seat and closed his eyes again, trying to ignore the
sweat trickling under his arms and down his sides. He'd never gotten this
sick feeling before missions during the war, or back when he was with
They'd worked like dogs since Madrid, refining the acts, overseeing the
final set and costume designs, completing and recording the musical score,
making endless changes and commitments and compromises. It was always
that way before the start of a new tour, but this time it had been different.
This time he'd slowly found it an all too convenient excuse to put a little
distance between him and the love of his heart. Not so much during the
day, of course: they had to practice together. It was at night he felt
it most and it was killing him by inches, not to be able to touch Quatre
the way he wanted to, but he just didn't trust himself not to flash his
sick obsession again. The sad, knowing look in those big blue eyes every
time he said he had to work late or rise early was bad enough, but nothing
was as bad as the tears it caused when he slipped up.
Sunk in misery, he was startled when Quatre dropped into the seat beside
him again. God, he looked wonderful! Trowa always noticed, but even more
so now. Quatre was going for a slightly more subdued look these days,
less jewelry, no makeup. The studded biker jacket hadn't been out of the
closet in weeks. The tan suede pants Quatre had on now still hugged him
in all the right places, but they were simple and unadorned. The shirt,
a blue one that matched his eyes and the fresh streaks of color in his
hair, was loose and flowing and unbuttoned far enough for Trowa to see
the little round pink scar on his lover's chest, just below his left shoulder,
where Dorothy Catalonia had run him through with an epee during their
duel on Libra. His body remembered exactly how Quatre had felt in his
arms when he carried him out of that control room. His lips remembered
what that scar felt like when he kissed his way to it in the dark.
Trowa swallowed and looked away quickly, pretending to take in the view
outside, but a firm hand closed over his arm and Quatre kissed his cheek.
"It's going to be OK, baby," Quatre whispered. He was trying to reassure
him, but Trowa felt as much as heard the undercurrent of his lover's own
fear. "Please, believe me. It will. You don't have to feel--"
"Don't read me!" Trowa whispered.
"I'm not. I won't."
"I love you, Quatre."
"I know. Ti amo, tesoro!"
Trowa managed a broken smile; he'd taught Quatre those words, caressed
him with them so many times. "We could just stay on the shuttle. Keep
going to New Orleans with the others. There's still so much to do--"
"No." So gentle, yet so firm. Sometimes even Trowa was taken in by Quatre's
outward demeanor: the gentleness, the sunny disposition and playfulness.
But under that cute little bad boy exterior was a core of steel. If Quatre
said they were going to the Cape, then that was that.
Quatre held his hand for the rest of the flight and didn't try to make
him talk. They'd run out of words about this a long time ago. Trowa concentrated
on the feeling of Quatre's touch, so warm, so trusting, so loving. So
patient, but he'd asked more of him than he had any right to and he knew
'I am such a sick bastard to fuck this up!' he berated himself. 'What
am I going to do when he leaves me?'
But even as he thought it, another part of him, the part that had woken
up and flexed its muscles in Madrid, that part replayed images of Heero
Yuy in his mind, especially that awkward momentary embrace in the hostel.
Obsession. That's the word Quatre had flung at him during the last bitter
fight. It was true. He was obsessed and he didn't know what to do about
it except stay away from Heero, but that meant staying away from Duo,
too, and that hurt Quatre just as much, and probably Duo, too.
Fuck! Fuck! They'd all be better off without him.
Quatre's hand tightened on his and that silky head settled on his shoulder,
soft and warm against his cheek. Quatre wouldn't read him after saying
he wouldn't, but Trowa knew his guilt and misery must be plain for anyone
"Mio caro!" he managed, a husky whisper. He couldn't look Quatre in the
eye, just kept his gaze on their interlocked hands, unable to give voice
to the words that followed in his mind, over and over again. 'How will
I ever live without you?'
The shuttle landed at the Boston spaceport and Trowa went through the
motions of customs and baggage claim and finding the rental car feeling
like a man going to his own execution. But he insisted on driving, in
case another flash of the rising storm in his heart leaked out. He didn't
want Quatre behind the wheel if that happened. As they wove their way
though the snarl of Boston traffic to the coastal highway, he made up
his mind to simply live in the moment, savoring the nearness of his lover
in these last few precious hours.
Quatre dialed Duo's cell phone. "Hi! Yeah. We're on the ground and headed
your way. About two hours, unless we hit traffic. Yes." A pause. The faint
whisper a distant voice on the other end. "Yes." Another pause. "Yeah,
me, too. See you soon." He signed off and put the phone away in his duffle.
"Duo says hi."
Trowa kept his eyes on the traffic ahead. Two hours.
2:18 pm EST
Duo jumped and dropped the pencils he'd been fiddling with as the cell
phone on the worktable next to him chirped, flashing Quatre's number.
He turned to exchange a look with Heero, who was stretched out on the
couch, doodling in his sketchbook.
"Hi!" Quatre sounded overly bright.
"So, you're in Boston? Is Trowa right there with you now?"
"Yeah. We're on the ground and headed your way."
"ETA?" Heero was behind him now, one hand on Duo's shoulder.
"About two hours, unless we hit traffic."
"Are you as petrified as I am?" Duo asked. Heero frowned and shook his
Heero took the phone from him but let Duo lean in close to listen. "Quatre,
we're ready on this end. We want this to work."
"Yeah, me, too. See you soon."
Heero signed off. "You shouldn't reinforce his fear, Duo. He's got to
keep up the act until they get here and he's already under considerable
"Sorry, but I am!" Duo grumbled. "Dr. B wasn't exactly raving about our
plan, you know."
"And he couldn't suggest a better one."
Duo glanced at his watch. Two twenty four. "You're really going to make
me wait, aren't ya?"
Heero returned to the couch and picked up his sketchbook. "The timing
"And you're sure you don't want to take a shower or something?"
"We'll wash up at 3:15, as planned."
Duo slumped on his stool, fiddling nervously with his braid. "This all
seemed like a better idea when you first came up with it. Maybe you should
just punch him and be done with it."
Heero ignored him, knowing he wasn't serious. The last thing a high wire
artist like Trowa needed this close to an opening night was a concussion
and a black eye, or worse. Duo just hoped nobody else ended up with one,
either. He lifted his arms and sniffed at his pits. Heero had banned showers
since yesterday and he was getting pretty funky. Heero had banned sex
since Wednesday, too, which had probably been a good idea. He was getting
horny enough to ignore all this obsessive clock watching. It was still
kinda freaky, though.
He stood and went to the worktable, giving the collection of masks there
a final once over. They were pretty damn impressive, if he did say so
himself! He tugged at his braid again and went back to his sketchpad,
where nothing constructive was happening. He drummed with a couple of
pencils for a while, until a polite cough behind him suggested that this
might be annoying. He tossed the pencils aside and went to the window,
staring out at the driveway and the sea. He tapped the end of his braid
on his chin, and then nibbled at a few stray strands of hair, hardly noticing
what he was doing.
"Duo, come here."
Duo slouched back to the couch and Heero pulled him down, positioning
him with his back against the armrest and his bare feet in Heero's lap.
Duo wiggled his toes, still scowling. "Watch out, my feet probably stink
Heero lifted one foot and sniffed it, then kissed his way softly up the
sole, tickling a little with the tip of his tongue as he went. Duo snorted
and tried to pull away, but Heero held the foot still and kissed his toes.
"Smells fine to me."
He massaged both feet for a while, until Duo began to unwind, then reached
for the book he'd been reading earlier. It was the leather bound edition
of "Peter Pan" that Quatre had given Duo. He'd been a little surprised
when Heero asked to borrow it the other day, but pleased, too. It had
been a guilty pleasure of his ever since he'd read it that first time
in the hospital. The Lost Boys reminded him a lot of the street kids he'd
run with back on L-2. It would have been real nice if some guy like Peter
had come along to protect them, or Wendy, to find them a home. So what
if he was still a sucker for happy endings?
Heero opened it to a passage he'd marked with a bit of folded paper. Holding
the book one-handed, he continued to stroke the tops of Duo's feet as
he read aloud.
"'Chapter Eight. The Mermaid's Lagoon.'"
Duo smothered a giggle. OK, now he got it. Heero said he'd read the book
before, a long time ago. Paging Dr. Freud, we've located the root of a
"'If you shut your eyes and are a lucky one, you may see at times a shapeless
pool of lovely pale colors suspended in the darkness; then if you squeeze
your eyes tighter, the pool begins to take shape--"
"And turns into a freezing cold lake in Finland!" Duo put in, unable to
"I was thinking more of that huge bathtub at the embassy," Heero admitted,
grinning. "Now be quiet. I'm getting to the mermaid part. 'the pool begins
to take shape and the colors become so vivid that with another squeeze
they must go on fire.'"
"Ow, my eyes!"
"'But just before they go on fire you see the lagoon.'"
"'This is the nearest you ever get to it on the mainland, just one heavenly
"Unless you're in the Sanque embassy orgy suite."
"'If there could be two moments you might see the surf and hear the mermaids
singing-- off key, because they are as tone deaf as they are beautiful,
especially the ones with pretty violet-colored eyes . . .'"
"Hey, I thought you liked my singing!"
They continued on like this to the rescue of Princess Tiger Lily, whom
Heero insisted on calling Duo Lily, who'd been captured sneaking aboard
the pirate ship with a knife in her teeth to assassinate Captain Hook.
She was now tied up and on her way to a watery death in the lagoon at
the hands of the pirates Smee and Starkey. Duo accepted the name revision,
and added a few of his own. The pirates were changed to Mr. Zechs and
Mr. Starknaked, Hook to Hookreneda, and the hero to Peter Yuy. He also
interrupted with lots of naughty bondage jokes, then began to giggle again
when Peter Yuy, impersonating Hookreneda, ordered Mr. Zechs to cut Princess
Duo Lily loose and Mr. Zechs gasped, "This is queer!" And they both totally
lost it when, freed from her bonds, the princess "at once like an eel
slid between Starknaked's legs into the water."
"Into the water, my ass!" Duo gasped out, doubled up with laughter. "After
all that bondage, that's not where this Duo Lily would be headed!"
Heero closed the book. "That's good to hear, because it's almost three
Duo stopped in mid-chuckle, checked his watch, then glared at Heero, who
was looking entirely too pleased with himself. "You sneaky son of a bitch!
This was part of your mission plan? Keep Duo amused so he doesn't freak
"It was a contingency plan. But you're still my mermaid, see?" He opened
his sketch book and showed Duo a drawing of himself on the stool at the
work table where he'd been earlier, only here he was a mermaid with a
long scaly tail that twisted and curled around the leg of the stool. His
hair was still braided, and he was wearing nothing but what appeared to
be a gun holster made of seashells around his scaly hips and a sheath
knife strapped to his left forearm. Instead of drawing, his mermaid self
was cleaning his pistol. Even with the screwball fantasy details, it was
amazingly realistic and a damn good likeness. It was signed and dated,
like all his others, and titled "My Kind of Mermaid!"
How the hell was he supposed to stay mad after that?
But he still paused at the bottom of the stairs a moment later, scowling
up at Heero. "This is kinda weird, even for you, mission boy. I mean,
the whole 'window of opportunity' angle isn't exactly getting me hot."
Heero just held out his hand, giving Duo a 'look' as if he was trying
to chicken out on bombing an OZ base or something.
"Yeah, yeah, I know!" He climbed the stairs with less than his usual enthusiasm
and let Heero lead him into the bedroom. Glancing at the clock, he shook
his head. "Little ahead of schedule, aren't we? Forget to synchronize
all the clocks in the house or something?"
Heero eased Duo's tee shirt off over his head, than ran his fingers inside
the waistband of his jeans. "Oh, I'll find some way to fill the extra
time," he growled, then leaned in and mouthed the curve of Duo's neck.
Duo shivered at his touch, and the dark, sexy tone of Heero's voice. "Yeah,
I just bet you will, baby. OK, mission accepted!" Heero smelled pretty
sexy, too, come to think of it. Pheromone overload later was part of the
plan, after all.
4:04 pm EST
Trowa pulled in beside the rental SUV in the driveway and turned off the
motor. For a moment all he could hear were the waves on the beach behind
them. He'd loved being here last spring. Now it was an effort just to
get out of the car. He glanced up at the front door, expecting to see
Heero or Duo coming out to meet them, but it stayed shut.
"Maybe they went for a walk," Quatre said. "No problem. I've got a key.
Come on, let's see. We can come back for the bags."
As they climbed the steps and Quatre slipped the key in the lock, Trowa
heard a muffled noise from inside that could have been a cry of alarm
or pain. Ever since the war, he tended to always react to the unknown
in terms of a possible threat--a child's cry at a park, the sound of an
engine backfiring, Quatre not being where Trowa expected him to be--it
all seemed to send him into instant worst case scenario mode.
Now was no exception, especially as he heard another, much more distinct
cry and recognized Duo's voice. Yanking Quatre back behind him, he drew
his Sig Saur from its ankle holster and slipped into the hallway. Another
cry, lower, harsher--Heero's voice. And from the direction, upstairs.
That, together with the unmistakable rhythmic sound of a bed creaking
made him lower his weapon, but his heart was still racing. Quatre slipped
an arm around him and gave him a quick hug, whispering, "Stand down, soldier!
They must have lost track of time." Then, raising his voice, "Heero, Duo,
we're here! You guys decent?"
They heard a final thump and what sounded like the rustle of bedclothes,
and then Duo warbled down, "Com-ing! Just--ah, give us a minute, OK?"
Trowa retreated hastily outside to get the bags from the car, face burning.
Yeah, this was a perfect start, all right.
By the time he came back in, loaded down with duffels and backpacks, Heero
and Duo were downstairs, hugging Quatre hello. Actually, Heero was hugging
Quatre hello and kept an arm around him as he turned to greet Trowa. He
and Duo both had on bathrobes and had that 'just fucked glow', cheeks
flushed, eyes bright, hair looking like it had just been hastily combed.
Duo's was still loose around him, something Trowa had seldom seen. Heero's
robe was open halfway down his chest and Trowa found himself transfixed
by the pink flush on that fair skin, and the scattering of fresh love
bites on his neck and chest. So transfixed, that he froze like a deer
in the headlights as Heero gave Quatre a kiss, then over to embrace Trowa.
Heero hugging anyone was enough of a shock, even after Madrid. But Heero
hugging him still hot and reeking of sex kept Trowa rooted where he stood,
brain heading fast for sensory overload. His nostrils flared as he was
overwhelmed with a heady mix of Heero and Duo scents, laden with sweat
and testosterone and semen and . . .
He felt faint. He raised his handsto push Heero away, but instead found
himself clutching Heero's biceps, feeling the solid muscle there under
the brown Chinese silk. Somewhere in the back of what was left of his
mind, he recognized that robe, and Duo's, as the ones they'd worn in Madrid,
or ones very much like them . . . And Heero still had his arms around
him and didn't show any sign of letting him go and he still smelled like
everything Trowa had been fantasizing about for the past month and a half
and was radiating heat like an L-4 solar panel and why wasn't he letting
go couldn't he see that if he didn't Trowa was going to faint or cry or
kiss him deep just to see if he tasted as good as he smelled and then
Heero would feel his hard on and life as he knew it was going to end and
where the hell was Quatre and . . . ?
But Quatre was there, too, putting his arms around both of them, and so
was Duo, who smelled just as good as Heero.
"What--what's going on?" he managed, voice already shaky with shock and
amazement and the beginning of a serious panic attack."
"Remember that time you and Kat ambushed me with that intervention last
year?" Duo said, hugging him tighter and kissing his cheek. "Well, it's
payback time, Tro. We all know what you've been going through and we're
here to help."
"A what? Are you all crazy?" They didn't know, couldn't know, what this
was doing to him! The heat, the smells, and the way the silk robes left
not doubt in Trowa's mind that they were naked underneath. "Oh god, no
please. Heero, let go! Please, let go of me!" He was struggling for real
now, and managed to knock Quatre and Duo away, but Heero's arms were locked
around his waist and the more he tried to get away the more he found himself
crushed against the one body in the room he didn't dare go near at all.
That robe was falling open, exposing more of that body that had recovered
so very much and looked the way Heero had all those years ago, only older
and better and harder and taller. "Quatre, tell him to let go, for the
love of . . ."
Quatre and Duo were back, holding him again, trying to soothe him and
only making everything so much worse! He felt one of Heero's hands slide
up his back to his neck, then his face was being pressed to that neck,
against that shoulder and Heero was holding him close, growling "Calm
down, 03, everything is fine. You're safe. It's OK."
"NO!" Trowa tried to twist free, but they all had him now, arms tight
Eyes squeezed shut, he recognized Quatre by his scent before those soft,
beloved lips touched his ear, whispering, "It's all right, don't fight,
mio amore. No one is going to hurt you! This is for you. We're all here
for you, baby. Please don't fight, Trowa! Relax, baby, relax. You're hyperventilating.
But Trowa couldn't. He felt like he was drowning and his mind was screaming
like an animal in a trap They don't understand! They can't or they
wouldn't be touching me like this! He tried to tell them now but all
that came out was a moan against Heero's shoulder.
He'd felt Quatre's emotions before, and he felt them now, as clearly as
Quatre had ever read him. Quatre was worried, but that was eclipsed by
incredible love and a desire to help and protect him. He felt it from
Duo, too, in a different form, not so intense but just as real. Heero
was the only one he couldn't read, but it was Heero who was still holding
him close, stroking his back and hair and pressing a kiss--a kiss! --to
the side of his head.
Trowa put up a final, futile struggle, then went limp against that hard,
rock steady shoulder, too overcome to form a coherent protest. He hardly
registered what was happening as the others began to move, until he felt
hands--so many hands--slipping into and under his clothing, sliding the
leather jacket from his shoulders, lifting his shirt up under his arms,
holding his wrists when he tried to stop them and the shirt disappearing
anyway. He felt bare skin against his. Heero and Duo had both dropped
their robes. They weren't naked after all, but as good as despite the
spandex shorts they both wore. Quatre stepped away long enough to shuck
out of his clothes, down to a similar pair of red shorts, then he stepped
in behind Trowa, reaching around to unbuckle his belt and open his fly.
"No, please!" Trowa begged, but it was no use. His jeans were tugged down
and Heero was pulling him in close and up so Duo and Quatre could get
his boots and socks off, too. Holding him close with only the thin cotton
of Trowa's tiny, tight briefs between Heero's hard belly and his aching
Then they were embracing him again, skin to skin, warm and stroking and
murmuring to him, and his heart was pounding so loud he could hardly hear
them until Heero brushed his ear with hot lips and hot breath. "Listen
to me, 03. We're here to help you. I'm here to help you. I know what you've
been going through. Quatre told us all about it, because he wants to help
you through this, too. He loves you, Trowa. He gave us his permission
to do this, to help you the only way we know how."
Hands found Trowa's hands, clenched helplessly at his sides all this time,
and guided them around Heero's bare waist, urging him to hold on, hold
Slowly, Trowa unclenched his aching fists and surrendered, letting himself
hold on, letting himself collapse against Heero and letting Heero and
the others hold him up. They were all stroking him, all making soothing
sounds and telling him he was safe and loved and that this was somehow
all right, the four of them standing here like this on this chilly hardwood
floor and they were warm against him, so warm and he wasn't quite so panicked
now, but he was growing more and more alarmed by the fact that Heero was
still holding him and it felt so damned good and right, even with Quatre
pressed against him, and Duo. But they weren't letting him go and Heero
didn't seemed to object to the hard cock pressed against him and every
time he tried to move it rubbed and ached and he was surrounded by the
smells of all of them, these boys he loved, and it felt good, even through
the panic rising in him again as he recognized the heat building in his
groin, spiraling up through his belly, intensifying every sensation, every
breath against his skin and the feel of those roughened hands on his back
and arms and--
"Heero, please, you have to let go. I--Quatre please, he has to--I can't--
I'm going to--O fuck, Quatre, don't you--?"
"I do, mon cheri, I understand. It's all right. Go ahead."
No! Trowa thought, as the panic and arousal rose to unbearable heights
and Heero's hand slipped lower, down his back, past his waist--Quatre,
don't you see what he's doing? O god, god, no! Quatre, help me make him
stop! That hand was firm against his ass now, so big, so strong. And Duo's
hands on him, and Quatre's too-- Quatre, help! Help me!
"I hear you, Trowa. I know, and it's OK, baby. It's OK. I know how bad
you need it! We all know and it's OK."
"Oh god!" Trowa screamed, arching back in their arms, helpless to stop
the driving spasm of his hips against Heero as the orgasm ripped through
him, wiping out everything except need and release and the feeling of
being held and all that warmth. And once it hit, it wouldn't stop and
he couldn't stop the wild cries it tore from him, from the depths of his
heart. "Oh god, oh fuck! Quatre! Heero! Duo! Ah-- amor! Mi corazon, mis
"That's it," Quatre urged.
"Oh fuck. Je t'aime tout! Ti amo tutti! I schliesst you de auf! Te amo
"I know, baby. Say it so they know," Quatre said, burying a hand in his
hair, caressing him. "Let it out, Trowa! Tell them."
"O god," Trowa sobbed as the last unbelievable waves crashed through him.
"I love you! I love you all! I'm sorry. Oh god, Quatre. I'm sorry, sorry,
sorry so sorry!" He was sobbing helplessly now, ashamed of his admission,
ashamed of the wet mess cooling between his body and Heero's, ashamed
of his own weakness and need. So weak! His legs wouldn't hold him as the
others helped him up the stairs and into the bedroom where a fire was
burning and the bed was neatly turned down with clean sheets. They lowered
him onto the bed and he threw an arm across his face, too shattered to
do more than that to cover his shame and despair.
He couldn't look as gentle hands pulled off his sticky shorts and washed
away the seal of his shame and weakness with a warm cloth. Then those
hands were pulling his arm down, making him see that he was alone with
Quatre in the room.
"Quatre." He couldn't get any more out, couldn't find words to express
his sorrow and confusion, but Quatre was smiling.
"It's all right, baby. Don't worry. Here, let's get you into these."
Trowa sat up and tried to help Quatre get a pair of sweat pants on, but
his limbs seemed to belong to someone else at the moment. Quatre managed
alone, then helped him move to the middle of the bed and under the covers.
He climbed in beside him, then called out, "All clear!"
A few minutes later Duo and Heero came in, freshly showered and wearing
pajama bottoms, and climbed into bed with them. Quatre moved aside, letting
Heero pull a limp and unresisting Trowa in close with his head on his
chest, while Duo spooned in against Trowa's back. Quatre nestled under
Heero's other arm and reached across to stroke Trowa's face. "See, Trowa,
it's OK. We're all here together and it's OK. Just relax, baby. We love
"Listen to me, Trowa," Heero said softly. "You have taken care of all
of us, at one time or another. We all know how you stood by Quatre and
loved him, and how you kept Duo safe while I was gone, and loved him,
too. He told me all about it, how good you were to him, and all you did
to make him feel safe. You and Kat saved him, and gave him a home."
"You did, Tro," Duo told him, stroking his hair. "Every time I went to
pieces you guys were there, picking me up and putting me back together.
You and Kat let me into your lives when there was no one else around to
understand or care. You saved my life so many times! You were better for
me than any drug or doctor."
"It's true," said Heero. "I will be grateful to you for that for the rest
of my life, and for standing by him while I was sick. But you saved my
life, too, three years ago, Trowa."
Trowa's eyes fluttered open at the unmistakable hitch in Heero's voice
as he went on. He'd never heard him sound like this before.
"You saved my life that day, and you took care of me all that time. Then
you stayed with me and tried to be my friend and Duo says maybe you even
loved me a little--"
"A lot!" Trowa blurted out, unable to stop the words or the fresh tears
that came with them. "I did. I loved you. Love you."
Trowa felt Heero swallow hard, and those arms tightened around him. "And
I didn't even notice. I'm so sorry, Trowa. I never even thanked you! I
was--I don't know. I just didn't know how to act or feel back then, and
I'm so sorry if I hurt you and if all that made you end up like this now."
It felt like something was tearing in Trowa's chest. He could hardly get
his breath for a moment and found himself clinging helplessly to Heero,
sobbing against him. "You couldn't--I knew-I figured it out--"
"No, not really," Quatre said, stroking his shoulder. "Poor Trowa, you
didn't figure anything out. You just accepted it and tried not to feel.
You and Heero are so much alike that way! No wonder you couldn't communicate
with each other. You needed this today, Trowa. I was too close to it all,
too hurt, to figure it out. Heero's the one who did."
"And Duo," Heero told him.
"But I--I--Heero, downstairs--I didn't mean to."
"Quatre said it might happen. We were prepared."
Duo rubbed Trowa's back and chuckled. "Yeah, buddy, don't worry about
it. It was pretty spectacular, actually. I mean, it's the first time I
had a ring side seat, so to speak."
Trowa groaned and hid his burning face against Heero's chest. "I don't
know what to say."
"You've said all you need to," Quatre told him. "We love you, too, mio
amoro, each of us in our own way, just like you love all of us in your
own way, all different."
"But what now?" Trowa whispered, feeling faint again as the significance
of what they were saying began to sink in. "What do we do?"
"We don't know yet," Duo told him. "We kinda had to see how this stage
of things was going to go, before we could get any further. But don't
worry, OK? Everything will work out somehow. Right, Quatre?"
Quatre pressed his hand to Trowa's heart. "It will, baby. Can't you feel
it? I don't know how, yet, but this is better. Trust us, OK?"
Trowa brought Quatre's hand to his lips and kissed his fingers. "All right,
meli. I surrender. Anything you want. Un bacio di buona notte, per favore?"
Quatre leaned across and kissed him deeply, then held his hand as he snuggled
down against Heero. "No endings today, il mio tesoro. Just something new
starting. I wanted to tell you on the shuttle, but you wouldn't have believed
me or understood. But you do now, don't you?"
Trowa sighed and closed his eyes. "Believe, yes. Understand? Not even
close. But I accept, my dear one. If you are happier with this, then I
am happy, too."
Duo laughed softly and found Heero's hand to clasp. "Damn, he is a lot
like you, isn't he?"
Trowa was already drifting into an exhausted doze when he felt Duo chuckle
again. "Whaddya suppose Wufei would say if he could see us now, huh?"
[chap. 39] [chap. 41] [back
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