Author: girl_starfish
Rating: pg13
Pairings: (4+various--it takes time to find the perfect pilot, you know?) 5+S, past 1+2.
Category: Romance, Drama, AU.
Warnings: Unhappy Heero warning still in force, and copious amounts of Duo/quatre bonding. Let's see... Asuka should probably stop reading this fic
Author Notes: I know I said this would be the final part, and I meant it, but this part just grew and grew and I thought I have to end this now. So there will be another part, but it should be short which means it should be soon. Fingers crossed.

Over Coffee + Part Five

I groaned as I opened my eyes. Still dark. I fumbled for the clock beside my bed to see what time it was. All I succeeded in doing was knocking the clock off my bedside table onto the floor. Great.

I sat up, trying to orientate myself.

I was in my new room, in Duo's flat. It was far too early for any decent person to be awake, that I was sure of. And something had woken me. There was a thud from the lounge.

I sighed, and pulling on my dressing gown went to investiagate.

The lounge light was on. I pushed the door open just a crack.

Duo was hunched over the phone, whispering furiously at whover was on the other end. "So you called just to say hi, Yuy? Do you have any idea how late it is? If you've woken Quatre up I swear, I'm going to dismember you piece by piece--"

I sighed and leaving the door open just a crack, I padded into the kitchen. The microwave said 3:08. Brilliant. I found the ice cream, and the chocolate sauce, and sat back to wait.

"Yeah? Well, stick it where the sun don't shine, Yuy!" The phone was slammed down.

That was my cue. Gathering the ice-cream, sauce, bowls and spoons, I joined Duo in the lounge.

He started guiltily as I entered. "Oh, damn Q--I didn't mean to wake you--"

"You didn't. I think it must have been the phone ringing that woke me up." I handed him the ice-cream.

"You got sauce as well? You must be psychic." Duo looked grateful.

I didn't reply. I was snickering at his choice of nightwear. "Kermit Klein? You sleep in a Muppet's shirt?"

"I don't think anyone who sleeps in pyjamas with girly flowers on them can comment."

"They're not girly!" I protested. "I bought them in H & Js! And its a paisley motif!"

"Whatever," Duo sighed, losing his humour.

"Heero?" I asked.

Duo sighed. "Yeah. Do you think I was too hard on him?"

I snorted. "He phoned you at three o'clock in the morning on a working night. I think you're allowed to be a little grumpy."

"A little grumpy?" Duo looked rueful, mushing his sauce into his ice-cream. "He misses me, Q. He wanted to see me again, just to talk."

"But you said no, didn't you?" I said. "I think you made the right decision."

"Sally said that too. She said after a really intense relationship, the only way to go was a total break. She wanted me to go away, travel or something to get Heero out of my system. That's not very practical though."

"No," I agreed.

"And he sounded so upset -- even a little desperate -- Q, are you sure--"

"Duo, have you forgotten how unhappy you were when you were together? And that he dumped you? And that even when you got back together, nothing had changed?"

"I guess you're right... "

"Neither of you will be very happy about it, but I'm sure its for the best. Both of you need to move on, and the only way to do that is--"

"Not to see each other." Duo did not sound happy.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"I'm fine. I just can't help feeling... "

"Guilty?" I guessed. "He's not your responsibility, Duo. He's got to get through this on his own --"

Duo looked indecisive. "I don't know--He--I--Oh, I give up! Thanks for the comfort food, Q. I might head back to bed now, see if I can't get some sleep."

I watched him go with misgiving. I wasn't sure he was 100% convinced...

A yawn overtook me then and I headed back to bed. These problems would be easier to face in the morning...

+

I yawned, stretching luxuriously. I must have managed to go back to sleep easier than I thought, I felt rested...

A look at the clock (once I'd retrieved it from the floor) proved otherwise.

"Hell!"

I decided to forego my shower, grabbing breakfast and eating it as I dressed. I reached the cafe kitchen with my toast still in my mouth.

"Duo!" I exclaimed. "I'm so sorry, I completely overslept--"

"Don't sweat it, Q," Duo waved my apologies aside. "I know, I was there, remember? I decided to let you sleep in. I've been handling the dishes, don't worry."

Weekday mornings tended to be slow--at least until the twelve o'clock rush. I was just able to keep up. All the kitchen staff helped me when they could spare a moment from their tasks--Duo had told them I'd had a bad night and they were sympathetic. I wondered who was looking after Duo...

The day was busy, and I was very glad when five o'clock rolled around and we shut the cafe. Of course, we still had the cleaning to do.

"Feel like you'd scream if you saw another teaspoon?" Duo asked as we loaded the last lot of dishes into the washer.

"Don't say things like that!" I shuddered. "This day has been awful!"

Duo smirked. "I think it's about to get better."

"What do you mean?" I asked, to be answered when a pair of arms slipped around me, a rose held in one of them.

"Thought I'd drop by on the off chance that you were free tonight," Trowa purred in my ear.

"Absolutely!" I said, sniffing the rose appreciatively. "Oh, wait--I still have cleaning to do--"

"I think I can manage the floors myself," Duo said. "Go Quatre, have fun. Or do I have to use this to change your mind?" He hefted the broom menacingly.

I eeped, and escaped with Trowa. He put the rose in a vase while I changed into fresh clothing and we set out.

"Feel like dancing tonight?" Trowa asked.

"Maybe later--I feel like I've been on my feet the entire day. How about we go somewhere nice and quiet for dinner and conversation," I suggested.

A Cantonese restauarant was found that suited our requirements, clean, nice food, relatively inexspensive. We chatted pleasantly about our day. Trowa told me about the progress of the little tiger cub, and the fuss there'd been when a volunteer had left the door to the elephant enclosure open and a fully grown female elephant had decided to take a walk around the park.

"We got her back in very easily. We just lured her with her favourite food. But the volunteer!" Trowa shook his head. "There are even two doors into the enclosure, a people sized door, and the elephant's--hell, we hardly ever use the elephant's door and yet that was the one she decided to use--"

I laughed. "Still, no harm done?"

"No, but from the way Catherine carried on, you'd think the zoo was going to be closed."

"Catherine's your sister, isn't she?" I said, struggling with my chopsticks."Is she a zoo-keeper too?"

"She's the site manager," Trowa explained.

I was sympathetic. "Having your sister for your boss--is it a hassle?"

To my surprise Trowa snapped at me. "Catherine is a wonderful sister, and an excellent boss. As a matter of fact, she took the job when it looked as though the zoo would be closed and I would lose mine."

"I had no idea," I apologised. "I'm sorry, Trowa, I was thinking of my sisters. Catherine obviously means a lot to you, why don't you tell me about her?"

Catherine had practically raised Trowa by herself after the death of their parents in a car crash. She was the only family he had, taking the dual role of mother and sister to him. Even now that he was grown, Catherine continued to take care of him, living with him and doing his cooking, cleaning, etc.

"Certainly a change from my sisters," I smiled. "So when do I get to meet Catherine?"

Twenty minutes I found myself standing outside the door to the cafe watching as Trowa's car zoomed around the corner. He'd suddenly remembered urgent business he had to attend to.

I had a feeling it was something I'd said.

I sighed as I went upstairs.And the night had started so promisingly.

"I'm home!" I called. "Duo?"

"In here, Quatre!"

I followed the sounds of the television into the lounge. I found Duo sitting on the sofa, with a pizza box on the floor, a couple of empty candy bar wrappers around him. He had a container of ice-cream beside him, and a pile of papers on his lap, onto which he was scribbling while looking at a calculator.

"What are you doing?"

Duo sighed. "The accounts. Honestly, its like trying to read hieroglyphics... anyway, I got depressed trying to work all these out, so I started watching Bridget Jones to cheer myself up."

"Isn't that a chick flick?" I asked.

"Two words, Quatre. Colin Girth." Duo waved at the man currently on screen."He's hot--in a stiff British kind of way--outclasses Hugh Grant by so much, it's not funny. See?"

I didn't see it, frankly, but I sat down, clearing papers aside to make room for myself. I flipped through the papers absently. They didn't look so complicated--

"Go Bridget!" Duo cheered. "Quatre--did you hear that?" He rewound the video so I could hear Bridget telling her boss she would rather wipe Hussein's butt then work for him.

"You really like this movie, don't you?" I said.

"Ah, Bridget's cool. The stupid stuff she does... it's the sort of thing I do," Duo said. "And yet she still manages to snag Colin Girth!"

I rolled my eyes. "Pass me the calculator."

"What are you doing?" Duo asked.

I explained, showing him how to organise profit and loss, weigh assets and manage funds as I did.

"Man Q--you make this look easy," Duo said.

"Well, I have been doing this for a living," I said.

Duo snorted. "So have I. Seriously, I can wait a table, charm customers, soothe hassled waitresses, handle the suppliers, plan a menu, make coffee to die for, cook, clean, manage a restaurant--but when it comes to accounts, I'm about as useful as the token female in a Bond film."

I snickered. "Nice analogy."

"You thought anymore about Trieze's offer?" Duo asked. "You know you're wasted as a kitchenhand, and it's no hassle for me to find another dishwasher--"

"I know, Duo. But at the moment, kitchen handing suits me fine."

"Well, if you're sure--" Duo stood up. "I know you like my coffee, but have you tried my hot chocolate?"

I finished off the accounts while Duo made us the drinks. We watched the rest of the movie together, chatting quietly. I told Duo about Trowa's strange behavior, he sympathised.

"It could just be he's nervous about you meeting Catherine--after all, her opinion obviously matters to him a lot. Or she may not know he's gay, or may disapprove--" Duo shrugged, sipping his hot chocolate. "I'd give it time."

"I guess," I sighed, chasing a marshmallow around my glass. About to ask Duo if he thought that might explain why Trowa was so vehement about me not moving in with him, I paused. There was a streetlight on the road outside and for a second, in its light, I'd caught sight of a figure that seemed familiar.

"Is that... Heero?" I said.

Duo groaned. "He's still out there? I told him to go home hours ago."

I blinked. "Huh?" I said.

"He talked to one of the waitresses, found out I'm not currently seeing anybody. He thinks that means he has a chance, and came by after work to convince me we should get back together. Almost had me convinced too--then Relena phoned him on his cellphone to see if he wanted her to save him tea."

"Oh dear," I said.

"Yeah. He's been out there ever since." Duo sighed gloomily. "There has to be some way of showing him that I am so not getting back with him--"

"Perhaps if he thought you were dating someone else," I suggested. "What? It's not that bad an idea."

[cont]