Author: Kai Michi
Pairings: 4+2
Disclaimers: I don't own them, don't sue me
Author's Notes: It's late, I know. Anyway, I was just thinking of the need for more 4+2/2+4, and I came up with this. I've been thinking of a plausible sequel if anyone likes it. It's kind of weird, and very out of character, I think, but here it is. Oh yeah, and the story is in first person, but the flashbacks are in third person.
Warnings: Very OOC, I think, shounen-ai, het, nauseous-sounding coffee-concoctions.
PS: This fic contains SHOUNEN-AI That means boy-boy love. If you aren't mature enough to handle that, don't read this, alright?! Any flames will be posted to my mailing lists to be laughed at and mocked. (Evil, aren't I?)

~*~ = flashback

Coffee Time

It's late. 12:56, says the little digital clock. I push back from the desk, and the deluxe leather office chair gives, and suddenly I am reclining blissfully. I throw a lanky arm over my face and... don't sleep. I can't give in to sleep, just yet, there's too much work to be done. So I relax with my eyes closed, thinking. At last I admit to myself I need something to drink. Something to wake me up. Idly, I wonder if we have any hot chocolate, although I already know the answer. There's never any hot chocolate at all. Not since he left. Groaning mentally, I push myself out of the chair, and stand for a few moments in front of the space heater. The den is sub-level, and doesn't heat so well on it's own, you see. After that, I make my way through the double doors, making sure to shut them (to keep in the heat) and then up the carpeted stairs.

It wasn't an easy break for me, and I really wish I hadn't gone on that vacation at all. It was nothing more than work of a different kind, wearing a different mask. The light comes on with an audible hum, and I idly wonder when the light started making that noise. Had it always done that? Had I lived here that long and just not noticed? I shake it off and head for the pantry. Instant coffee. Yay. There's Maxwell House, which I pull down dubiously, and Folgers's Choice, which I pull down with the same cautious air. I'm not really all that great with coffee- I don't drink it all that much. I sniff the Maxwell House, which smells okay, as far as coffee goes. Rather strong, but that's Maxwell for you. The Folgers's Choice doesn't smell so good, rather dark and foresty, so I put it back, and heat a mug of water. As the microwave runs, I pace the kitchen floor, shivering in my thin t-shirt and sweatpants, and I think about the vacation. About the fake smiles. About the pain. I think if I have to smile one more time, I might just lose it. Go Zero-system on them all over again.

Idly, I rub my chest. It's achy, and I know it's not just a physical pain. The mental anguish is giving me a headache though, and I get a bottle of Advil from the medicine cabinet. A brief struggle is raised as I wrestle the childproof cap. Damnit! Did I say that aloud? I can't tell. After all, I'm alone here. I sigh, and scoop two of the little gel caps from the bottle, preoccupied. There's an intense feeling of de déjà vu as I swallow the tablets. So real, I'm caught up in the memory.

~*~

"You're awake."

"So are you."

They paused then chorused. "I had a headache." They paused again, and laughed gently, yet nervously. A vague hint of uneasiness swept under the surface, then it was gone. Everything was normal.

Duo motioned towards the kitchen. "I was going to get something for it."

Quatre nodded. In the kitchen, he took the Advil down from the cabinet and wrestled with the childproof cap. "Damnit!" he swore.

"Easy Q-man, no need to go Zero system on the thing," Duo observed mildly from his lounge on the kitchen counter.

Quatre shot him a glare, and popped the top open. Four tastefully coloured pills spilled from the open bottle. He divided them into two sets of two, while Duo ran tap water into two plain cups. They took the doses simultaneously, and then for a long time, the distant tick of the clock was the only noise.

"Something bothering you?"

"No."

"You seem vague."

"Do I?"

"You're not happy."

"Are you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Are you happy.. with her? I don't think you are."

Duo looked away, focused on a light somewhere in the distance, only a speck of it visible through the kitchen window. At last he shrugged. "I'm well off, I guess."

"Do you love her?"

Duo chuckled dryly. "Not really. Not like I know you're thinking. She's... well, she's not that."

"Then why on earth are you marrying her?!"

Duo blinked owlishly, his deep violet eyes reflecting surprise, and hoarding something else in their dark depths. "I didn't think you cared, sugah," he drawled slowly. Quatre flushed, then scowled.

"I don't. Not anymore." He turned away. "I'm going to bed. Goodnight."

He stalked out, flicking the light as he went, leaving Duo in the darkness.

~*~

The microwave is beeping irritatingly. Slowly, I move to take the cup of hot, almost boiling, water into my hands, warming my chilled digits. I set it on the counter at last, and take a heaping spoonful of coffee (as the package directs) and dump it into the water. It sizzles like water on a hot griddle, and there is an immediate aroma of fresh coffee. I have to admit, it smells better than it tastes. After staring at it, I throw some marshmallows into the mix. I know, marshmallows in coffee, right? But really, it's good. Now that I think about it though, I think that should have been last. I grab some milk from the refrigerator, noting we have no cream. I register the fact that there's not enough room in the cup to accept the level of milk I require, but I pour anyway. It's on the edge-- it'll spill in a minute. I take down a larger mug, and pour the steaming mix into it. Then I add a piece of chocolate I scrounged from the fridge.

How did I start drinking coffee like this? Like Duo... Allah, I need to forget about him! I take down an orange canister from a row of orange canisters and shake it. The loose, sliding sounds let me know the contents are sugar. I add a spoonful, and stir the concoction, then add more milk, before putting it away. A few minutes later I'm adding more milk-- I like my coffee as light as Duo's hair. Where did that come from? I take a sip and flinch. The stuff is bitter still. I buck up and hit the lights, walking back down the darkened hallway, mug in hand. But that bitter aftertaste is still in my mouth. Like that marriage.

I turn and head back toward the kitchen. I don't take chances, this time: I pour almost a cup of sugar in my cup, and watch the coffee level raise nearly an inch at this new addition. This is what I could do for him... take him to a new level... This time the stuff is sweet enough to seduce. So light, so sweet, begging to be taken. Coaxing, whispering, fleeting images, warm, soothing.... What am I thinking? This is coffee. But that's not really what I'm thinking about, is it?

He's in my head now. Why didn't I tell him, when I had the chance? Why did I have to be the bad guy? I don't want to be the bad guy. I just love him too much. Way too much. And he has Hilde. Damn him. Damn her.

Damn me.

"Oh damnit all," I sigh aloud. It's too much, really it is. Keeping all of it inside you is a scary thing. So hard to let go of the past. When we had something. I want to have something again. But he has something with her. And I have... well, I have a cup of overly sweet coffee, and a bit of courage. So I'm going to tell him. Let him hate me. I don't care anymore. Who am I trying to kid? Of course I care! But I have to tell him. That I still feel for him. And that I don't think marrying Hilde is right for him.

I turn on the vidscreen in the kitchen, and in moments I am connected with the little house on L2. "Hello, Duo? I know it's late, but there's something I need to talk to you about...."

end

[back to Singles a - k]