Lies - Between Friends and Lovers
by Dyna Dee
Rubbing his overly tired and burning eyes, Quatre Winner yawned as he pushed his chair away from the desk he'd been sitting at for hours. It was late and he should be in bed, sound asleep. He'd avoided going upstairs on purpose because his bed seemed too big and lonely without his lover there to share it with him.
He and Trowa had the good fortune of not being separated very often, but that didn't lessen the ache he felt whenever the necessity for one of them to be away from home couldn't be avoided, like now. He missed Trowa, desperately. But he was a man and could suck it up and endure the few days his lover would be gone. A faint smile came to his lips, thinking about how warmly he'd welcome Trowa home, showing his lover just how much he'd been missed.
Checking his watch, he noted the late hour just as his stomach rumbled. Now that he was paying attention to what his body was saying, he was acutely aware of his hunger. Sleep would elude him, he'd learned from experience, unless he filled the emptiness he'd ignored for the past several hours.
He rose from his chair and absently rubbed his sore back as he crossed the room. The only sound in the house was his soft footfalls and the brush of his clothing as he made his way to the kitchen where a midnight snack awaited him. He was searching through the contents of the refrigerator, looking for the Spanish olives, when the sound of someone clearing their throat startled him, making him jump. He caught sight of his unannounced yet expected guest standing in the doorway of the kitchen, black hat in hand. Motioning to the package of deli-meat, mayonnaise and mustard in his arms and asked with a sly grin. "Hungry?"
"What are you doing up so late?" Duo asked, leaning casually against the doorframe. The braided man was devastatingly handsome dressed all in black, Quatre thought, and if he wasn't so deeply in love with Trowa he'd might be tempted to try and seduce his best friend. He no longer felt guilty about such thoughts because he and Trowa had talked at length about Duo after they'd brought him home and helped him recover from his Heero-induced injuries. Trowa had likewise confessed to his own attraction to Duo, especially after helping nurse him back to health. They came to a joint consensus, however, not to do anything about their burgeoning sexual interest in their friend. Back then, Duo had been devastated by the beating he'd received from Heero, and he needed them for support, as allies and best friends, definitely not as lovers. He and Trowa had talked the whole attraction to Duo business over, and decided their reaction to the American wasn't because they felt differently about each other, but that it was a normal response to Duo's unusual attractiveness and sex appeal.
Duo's sexual appeal was undeniable, and his fast rising and lucrative career stood as proof of that. His fan base spanned a board spectrum of admirers, from young girls lining up and screaming at the sight of him to movie stars and famous singers wanting to be seen with him, as well as mature women throwing their underwear at his feet and doing all sorts of embarrassing things to get the man's attention. Young men clamored to buy the clothing he modeled and the cologne he wore, and gay men drooled over his pictures and wrote him poems on the internet. Over time, Quatre had gotten used to other people's reaction to his friend, and found he still was not impervious to Duo Maxwell's charms. If he were to confess what he was feeling at that moment, it was a rush of excitement and the rise of his libido at seeing a living, breathing wet dream standing just ten feet away.
Clearing his throat, he answered his friend's question. "Just getting a snack before bed." He hoped his cheeks weren't too flushed because then Duo might be able to guess, and then would be angry, about what he'd been thinking.
"I could eat," Duo answered. He then straightened and entered the room, placing his cap on the table before moving to take Quatre's place at the refrigerator door. Bending over, he began to search for lettuce, onions and tomatoes to make his sandwich complete.
"You know, you really shouldn't sneak up on me like that," Quatre admonished with a slight grin while opening the loaf of bread. "You'll give me a heart attack one day."
"Fat chance of that," the other chuckled. "Besides, I purposely let you know I was standing in the doorway?"
"It would have been nice to know you were in the house."
"I thought you'd be asleep." Duo set the produce onto the table and immediately began to take the pre-washed lettuce out of the plastic package and tear it into pieces.
The blond shrugged. "Well, you know what it's like for me without Trowa here."
"I'd offer to be your teddy bear, but I'd like to survive my next meeting with your lover."
"Don't tempt me," Quatre muttered beneath his breath.
"What was that?"
"Nothing. I'm just tired, and hungry."
"By the way, where is Trowa?"
"With Wufei, on L2."
There was a pause before Quatre looked up to see Duo frowning at him. "What are they doing there?"
"They're officially looking for evidence that the marauders are unloading their newly acquired cargo on the colony. I'm fairly certain Wufei isn't going to like what he sees on L2 and that the evidence he seeks will continue to elude him."
Reaching over to touch his friend's hand, Quatre said in a comforting yet confident tone, "Don't worry, Duo. It'll be fine."
The braided man placed a generous mound of lunch meat on each piece of bread laid out before him. "Seems the Preventers are finally taking this seriously, sending out their finest."
"They are up against the best, aren't they? They just don't know it."
"We can't stop," Duo said, pausing in his task to look his friend in the eye.
With a matching determined gaze he answered, "No, we can't. Our cause is too important."
"Listen, Quat, I'm cutting my visit short, heading planet side after this snack," Duo said, picking up a tomato and a knife and began the process of cutting several slices. "I got an email from Heero. He's on his way here, for what he didn't say other than he hopes to patch things up with you and Trowa."
"He's probably on his way up to join Wufei and his investigation." An excited light sparked within the blond's blue eyes. "That means Trowa will be home soon."
Duo chuckled. "You two are pretty pathetic. Love sick fools."
"You're just jealous," the blond retorted.
After a brief pause, Duo answered with a heavy sigh, "Yeah, I guess I am."
The braided man waved his hand in dismissal. "Ah, forget it, Quat. I'm just in a mood."
They finished making the sandwiches and poured a glass of milk for each of them before sitting down at the table to eat. "So you had an email from Heero?"
"Yeah, just a short while ago," Duo answered after swallowing a mouthful. "And if I'm not mistaken, he was making friendly with me. He mentioned that he'd seen a picture of me at a movie premiere last night and said I looked "very handsome", if you can believe that. He's obviously keeping track of my movements."
"Do you think he regards you as a suspect?"
The man in black shrugged. "Probably, knowing how his mind works. But I've covered my ass well."
Quatre leaned back to get a good look at the other man's shapely posterior. "And very well, too."
"Quatre." There was a tone of warning in the braided man's growl. Duo always got upset whenever he or Trowa made even the slightest suggestive comment.
"Sorry," he said, looking ashamed of himself. "I'm only human, Duo."
"You're a lot more than "human", you're Trowa's lover, and happy to be so. You make me feel very uncomfortable when you make comments like that."
Quatre sighed. He knew better than to say something like that out loud, but sometimes his sexy friend, without even trying, just got the best of him. Duo was loyal to a fault when it came to his friends, and he, in turn, expected others to be completely loyal in return. Duo had more than once stated that he viewed suggestive comments by him, directed at any one other than Trowa, as a betrayal. "I'm sorry, Duo. You know I'm absolutely devoted to Trowa, that I love him more than life. But I would have to be blind not to notice that you are what Heero aptly described as a very handsome man, and it's hard to not feel an attraction towards you... not that I'd act on it, mind you. Trowa, by the way, feels the same, but then so does your large following of fans. Rest assured that we'll never overstep the bounds of friendship. We know that's what you want from us and not a fantastic tumble between satin sheets."
"You know it gives me the creeps when you say things like that," Duo complained before taking a long drink from his glass of milk.
Quatre's expression was a mixture of puzzlement and hurt. "Why would you feel that way? I'm just being straightforward with you."
"Because you're my friend. I see you as a businessman, Trowa's lover, my best friend, a humanitarian and the smartest son of bitch I know. But as a sexy bed mate? That's just something not even my vivid imagination can conjure up."
Now the blond looked affronted. "Not sexy? I'll have you know that Trowa thinks I'm very sexy, why just last week..."
"Stop!" Duo said loudly, slapping his hands over his ears. "I don't want to hear it."
Quatre grinned suddenly. "Duo, you are a prude. When did this happen?"
The man in black blushed. "I'm not a prude. I'm just not comfortable hearing about my best friends' more intimate moments in the bedroom. That should be private."
"I agree," the blond said, though he wasn't able to stop smiling. "But I still think you're a prude."
The violet eyes narrowed in warning. "Change the subject."
Quatre snickered as he took a bite of his sandwich. After chewing it several times, he swallowed and asked, "So... do you want to tell me about this meeting you had with Heero? You mentioned that you talked, but I want details."
The braided man gave him an insouciant shrug, but Quatre became suspicious about what was going on when his friend didn't look anywhere but at him as he answered his query, "He apologized, explaining that his violent outburst was cause by the aftereffects of the Zero system, pretty much like a flashback. Because we'd been fighting so much, it evidently triggered something in Heero's mind that told him I was his enemy, which caused him to lash out at me. I accepted his explanation and apology, and that's pretty much all there is to it."
"I don't think so," Quatre said, peering at his friend as if he were reading his mind. "I can tell there's more to it than that. He emailed you, after all."
"Quat, please." Duo looked at him pleadingly, obviously not wanting to discuss the subject further.
"Out with it, Duo. Tell me what happened."
The man in black leaned back into his chair and heaved a surrendering sigh. "It's still there, Quat. That feeling. I honestly thought I was over him, but just the sight of him standing in the hallway of my building had me almost passing out because my heart was beating so fast."
"You still love him," Quatre stated with a worried frown. Duo didn't answer, but the heavy silence in the room did that for him. "Oh, Duo."
"I know. It's stupid. I'm stupid to still feel this way, but I can't help it."
"And Heero, how does he feel?"
"I think he still feels something for me also. Why else would he want to maintain contact?"
The frown on the blond's face deepened as he considered the situation. "This isn't good. You can't afford to let Heero get too close. He's smart, acutely observant and quick to size up a situation. We can't have him snooping around in your life right now."
"Don't you think I know that!" Duo stood abruptly from his chair, agitated. "Damn, this is so fucked up."
"No it's not." Quatre stood and went to his friend. "Do you want him back in your life, Duo? Can you trust him after what happened between the two of you?"
"I... I don't know," the visibly upset man answered. "My heart is telling me one thing while my brain is saying something completely different."
Hugging his friend, Quatre whispered into his ear. "Just because the timing is off, doesn't mean it can't work. We're nearing the end of our joint venture, Duo. You'll be able to get back to your life and live it anyway you choose. If you want Heero back and feel like you can trust him, then make it happen."
"You really think that's possible?" The uncertainty in Duo's voice brought back memories of the teenage boy, severely beaten by the one person he trusted the most.
Pulling back far enough to be able to look into the blue-violet eyes, Quatre offered his friend a reassuring smile. "We've accomplished many things in our lives, Duo, including bringing peace to the colonies and earth. Winning Heero back should be a piece of cake when compared to that accomplishment, especially when he feels the same way about you."
"He does?" Duo looked genuinely surprised. "Did he say something to you?"
The blond man took another step back and put a hand to his chest. "Well, it's not what he said, but what he feels."
A knowing grin slowly began to inch up on Duo's face. He chuckled, "The space heart thing, right?"
A nod of the other's head was his answer.
Impulsively, Duo lunged forward to once again close the distance between himself and his good friend. He hugged the slightly smaller man fiercely, burying his face in the blond hair that smelled clean and fresh despite it being the middle of the night. "You're the best, Quat. You and Trowa. I don't know what I'd have done without you guys."
Quatre hugged the other man just as tightly, his eyes watering from feeling love and gratitude radiating from his friend, his brother. "We're family, Duo. We love you and want you to be happy."
"I am, thanks to you guys. I don't know how I'll ever repay you for not only helping me when I was down, but for also getting me a job that allows me to help others."
Their arms dropped slowly and they each took a step back. "We've talked about this before," Quatre said with a shake of his head. "There is no pay back. All I did was introduce you to my sister, you did everything else. I would never have guessed from that first picture I saw of you, taken after you had been captured during the war, that you were so photogenic."
With a pained grin the braided man answered, "Well, they definitely got that photo on a bad day."
Quatre instantly regretted mentioning the incident that was obviously still painful to the American. "You look tired, Duo. Are you sure you can't stay the night?"
"Nah. If I know Heero at all, he'll be here sometime in the morning. I can't chance a run in with him until I can get my head straight. Besides that, it would blow my cover." A long sigh followed and the American closed his weary eyes. "Damn, I can see him with my eyes closed. That's not good, is it?"
"Depends," Quatre said neutrally. "Is he naked?"
Duo's eyes snapped open. "Geeze, Quat. When did you turn into such a perv?"
The blond laughed and was joined after a moment by his friend. They finished their sandwiches and Duo allowed himself to be talked into catching a quick nap on the sofa before heading back to his ship.
After waking the next morning, taking a shower and getting dressed for a day at the office, Quatre descended the stairs of his home to find that his friend had indeed departed sometime earlier, as silently as he'd arrived the night before.