Disclaimer: I'm just borrowing the boys from Bandai/Sotsu/Sunrise for a little while. I promise I'll dust them off properly and place them back on the shelf for other writers when I'm done playing with them.

Warnings: This is a 3x4 AU piece with mention of past 2xFC (hang on folks, the 1+2 is in the sequel okay?), some 3x4 exploration of the very mild lime-ish variety, and a brief NCS scene in the second chapter (it's not all that explicit, but I know some people are very sensitive on that point). Some occasional bad language surfaces from time to time as well. This is also my first attempt at writing 3x4, so I'll apologize in advance for anything that reads as OOC to regular readers of that pairing.

Notes: This fic nearly didn't happen. I constructed a fairly elaborate outline and extensive character notes to establish the pre-existing 3x4 relationship in another fic titled Daydreams. While I was working through the review and development process for that fic, I made the mistake of mentioning the existence of said outline to a couple of people who, well, begged rather shamelessly for me to write an expanded version of it. So, here 'tis. Again, if my memories of Cambridge, MA are a little fuzzy, it's because it's been more than fourteen years since I lived there.

Summary: Trowa works construction and odd jobs, Quatre is a grad student. This is yet another hurt/comfort type of get-together fic (that and working AU were my themes for the summer). This fic takes place about three years prior to the events in 'Daydreams.'

Chapter Four
by D.C. Logan

Quatre realized that he was staring at Trowa again and turned instead to the bounty Duo had brought along with him. Some of the packaging looked rather familiar and he hazarded a guess. "This is from Cesca's, right?"

Duo moved back to the table and took up a plate. "Right. We usually go there for breakfast at least once a week." He pointed at the last bag on the table with a piece of his toast. "That _is_ what you usually order, right?"

Quatre opened the bag and the styrofoam container within, stunned. Had these men been following him? Was this some sort of setup? His parents had warned him about possible kidnapping all his life, and now... He pushed his chair away from the table, but neither Duo nor Trowa moved, and he paused to think.

"Not hungry?" asked Trowa, politely.

"How did you, um, know..."

"Oh that. They remembered what you usually order after I explained what you look like and the guys you usually came in with. You tip well, so they remembered you." Duo seemed rightfully pleased with his accomplishments thus far that morning.

"Oh," said Quatre. Put that way, it made a great deal of sense. "How much do I owe you for breakfast?"

"You don't," said Duo

Quatre's obvious confusion and lost look brought Trowa up short. He sat, floored with the realization of how much it bothered him to see that particular expression on this man's face. Paused with a forkful of his breakfast midway between plate and mouth, it suddenly hit him. Damn, so this was it then. He really _was_ keeping this one.

It wasn't until after breakfast was finished and the last of the bones picked over (so to speak) that Quatre paused to think about how enjoyable the morning had been. Notable by its absence was the feeling that he had to watch everything that he said, to carefully hide his preferences and tastes in case they differed or offended. This open sharing environment was completely foreign to him--he didn't want to go back to the dorms. He _really_ didn't want to go back.

He was also surprised at the deep level of friendship these two men shared with each other. Even in their banter, they seemed more like a small family, at least as he'd been told families should be, than just simple friends. He'd never seen this, tested it, heard it, but he wanted it for himself, or something very like it--or more.

He wondered if this was a limited quantity sort of thing and he'd have to go find someone for himself or...if he could possibly share... He knew already that he wasn't willing to let go of the contact he had with both of these people; the immediacy of the trust he'd felt in Trowa had come as a total surprise to him. It was unlike any experience he'd had in his life.

He yawned deeply, surprising both himself and the others at the table.

Duo looked at the clock on the microwave. "You know, you probably didn't get much sleep last night... Why don't you go crash for a while?"

'But I want to sit and listen to both of you talking' was his first reaction. He started with "But.." Just before he caught himself mid yawn for a second time. Quatre smiled ruefully at himself, and stood to excuse himself from the table. "Uh, bed?" He hiked his thumb over his shoulder in a less than subtle request for directions.

"Through the living room and to the right, just past the bathroom," said Trowa. "You need to be anywhere today?"

"Uh, no."

"Good. Then don't worry about anything and just go crash. One of us will be around here if you need anything okay?"

Quatre didn't know quite how to respond to that. "Um, thanks," was the best he could come up with, and it seemed so inadequate in light of all that had been done for him over the past few hours. Had it only been hours? Damn, no wonder he was so tired.

"That wasn't at all subtle you know."

Duo at least had the grace to grin broadly before rocking his chair back onto the two legs he preferred before answering in kind. "Since when have I ever been accused of being subtle?"

Trowa pretended to think about that for a moment. "Okay, never."

"Besides, now you have the perfect excuse to hang out and drool all over each other. I haven't seen anyone that lust stunned since that chick at the coffee shop discovered what a little bondage could do to liven up her love life."

_That_ got Trowa's attention. "The leggy blonde with the weird eyebrows and all the hair? How did you get around to discuss..." Trowa paused and thought about the territory that might lead to. "Never mind. Forget I said that. I really _don't_ want to know."

He stood up from the table as Duo gave him a humorous 'yeah, right' look.

"I'll be back in a second, I want to go grab some clothes out of the bedroom before Quatre settles down."

He walked through his rooms and rapped on the door frame while calling out softly, not wanting to surprise his guest. There wasn't an answer to his call, which was odd. He didn't think Quatre had been gone long enough to fall asleep yet.

He was wrong. Hell, this just wasn't fair. He'd never be able to sleep in his own bed again. Ever. Quatre _was_ asleep--his hair was tousled, his eyes closed, and his entire body, for the first time since Trowa had met him, looked relaxed. Not only that, but he'd pulled the comforter partially over his body and was curled attractively around Trowa's pillow. He had both arms wrapped tightly around it and had his head buried in its center, nuzzling against it. Trowa gripped the edge of the door and bit back a groan. Oh shit, he had everything he wanted right there in front of him. And he couldn't touch.

He turned around, shut the door silently behind him, and stumbled, dazed, back to the kitchen.

Duo studied Trowa as he came back into view. The aforementioned clothes were conspicuously absent, and he looked like he'd been hit in the back of his head by a brick. There was only one thing that could have done that to him.

"What? Did you get to see him naked or something?"

Trowa dropped to his chair. Oh lord, if that brief glance of Quatre, fully dressed and adequately covered, had done this much damage to his brain, his reaction to Duo's scenario didn't bear pondering. Oh, he was so screwed. He dropped his head into his hands and looked at Duo.

Duo was grinning like a demented evil demon. Trowa didn't have the guts to voice a protest, and slumped completely to the tabletop to the tune of Duo's merry laughter.

Duo sounded thoughtful, "Why is it that I get the impression that Quatre isn't going to get much opportunity to, uh, play the field, eh?"

_That_ thought brought Trowa bolt upright to another chirp of laughter from Duo.

"I'm not sharing."

"Um, no offense buddy, but you haven't known him all that long and you don't know if he has any interest in _you_." He looked at Trowa's stunned face with some degree of sympathy. "He got to you, didn't he?"

Trowa dropped back to the table, interlaced his fingers over the back of his head, and moaned softly.

Duo stopped laughing. "Hey, I think he's got it bad for you too. Give him a while to get to know you and get over his scare and you guys should get along famously."

Trowa peered across the table. "His scare?"

"Noin called me last night and confessed all."

Duo had done it to him again. "Shit."

"Hey, he doesn't know you from Adam, yet he's sleeping in your bed on the say so of nothing more than a couple people on the street and the fact that you scared off his date. He trusts you; that's a helluva good place to start."

Leave it to Duo to bring his thoughts back around to what was most important.


This wasn't his room; that was Quatre's first thought. His second was that, despite not recognizing his surroundings, he didn't feel the least bit concerned. He rolled over and stretched, and thought briefly about just drifting back off to sleep again. He felt so comfortable--having found that perfect ratio of tired mind to warm blankets and quiet space. But thoughts about what time it might be picked at the edge of his mind.

He sat up, shrugging off the duvet, and remembered, Trowa's room. So, this was where Trowa slept. He looked around the room with interest, searching for clues about who he was and what his likes and dislikes were, curious to know more.

It was an attic apartment he remembered, which explained the low bed, the extreme slant of the walls, and the high-pitched ceiling. After a moment's consideration, he decided he liked it. It was tent-like, and gave him a feeling of shelter not unlike the childhood forts he'd built with the aid of his sisters. There was a heavily shaded window in the peak of the eve, a small dresser, and wooden crates that were filled to overflowing with books of all descriptions lined up along the low edge of the wall. It felt very comfortable, despite its slightly rustic look. The room was meticulously clean--no dust, no lint. The highly polished honey-toned wood floors were obviously a source of pride. He shifted his feet to the floor and flexed his toes against the boards in child-like fascination. They'd been sanded so smooth that he couldn't feel the joins between them.

He moved slowly over to the door, pulling his clothes to order as he went, and paused to listen--it sounded like the television might be on. He crept slowly towards the living room, pausing only briefly to relieve his bladder in the efficient little bathroom.

Quatre found Trowa stretched along the sofa, head propped up on his elbow and reading a hardcover book. He turned from the page, looked up at the sound of the creaking floorboard, and smiled. Warmly. It transformed his face. 'Hell. He was going to hell,' thought Quatre. He was having lustful thoughts over a man and he still hadn't a clue who he really was.

Trowa righted his body and slipped a finger into his book to hold his place. "Good afternoon."


Trowa drifted an appreciative eye over his new hobby. Quatre was still blearily childlike with the remains of sleep and it looked good on him, too good really. As he shuffled over and sat on the far end of the sofa, for some reason Trowa could not get his eyes off the man's feet. He'd never been all that attracted to feet before, but, well, there was a first time for everything...

Trowa finally got past his foot-fetish moment and looked at Quatre. Who seemed to be staring somewhere in the vicinity of Trowa's crotch. Well, things were looking up. Oh, apparently the book was his target since he was trying to make out the title by tilting his head to the side. Well, he hadn't seemed all that concerned about finding out what time it was... and, that was something.

"H. Y. Elwon? It that his latest? It's not due out for a few days yet--how'd you manage to get a copy?"

"You read his stuff too?" Trowa made a mental note of his page number and obligingly handed the book over to Quatre for review. "I have friends in interesting places..."

He received a doubting look for his trouble. "Okay, actually Duo owns a bookstore over on the south end of the square and he usually gets his inventory in a few days before the release date."

"Must be nice to have friends like that."

Though it probably hadn't been intended as such, the remark saddened him. It was as if Quatre had been pushed away from people all of his life, when all he craved was the touch and contact of another person. And he'd already proven himself willing to risk all manner of things to obtain it.

They talked away most of the afternoon on the sofa. Trowa continued to explore Quatre's thoughts with quiet conversation, taking mental notes all the while. Duo called to say he'd stop by after work, but that had been their only interruption.

Somewhere between lunch and supper, Quatre came to the slow realization that he was captivated with Trowa.

The man didn't just sit there and nod and hmm in all the right pauses. He paid attention, he _listened_, and he turned back astounding insights into Quatre's life that he hadn't thought of in that way before. The guy was amazing. Quatre had never had anyone care enough, be interested enough, or insightful enough to really pay attention to all the small details and the interconnected thoughts behind his words.

Yeah, he'd love this guy to be a bigger part of his life. A friend such as this easily had the potential to grow into something even more intimate and physical. That Trowa and he seemed to be headed in that direction humbled him.

on to chapter five

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