Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
Heero woke, startled and slightly disturbed by the dream he had just
had, and within moments, was aware again that he was lying on a bed
in the back of Quatre's personal jet and that it was only Duo's body
that touched him, and not several bodies, as in the dream.
Heero was on the edge of the bed away from the small shade-covered
windows and he could see the dogs lying on a blanket on the floor
and, across the aisle, another bed where Quatre lay, seemingly
Duo shifted, as if to announce to Heero, whose back he was spooned
against, that he had an erection. Heero was not really interested,
or he was not interested at the moment, but he could not blame Duo
for communicating his desires, whether he was awake or asleep.
Heero's response did depend on what state Duo was in. He had slept
with Duo enough now that his body, consciously and subconsciously,
was familiar with Duo's patterns and rate of breathing and the very
beating of his heart. Heero surmised that Duo was now half awake.
Duo's body seemed to cling to that half-slumber more than Heero's.
Even when there was danger and Duo seemed to respond consciously, he
was operating greatly on instinct and subconscious levels of brain
activity. He would wake later and decide to run or hide, but he
probably could kill while asleep.
Thus, Duo's shifting and groping was subconscious activity, though
Duo was in the process of waking. Heero responded by lifting his
left arm, and in the process freeing it from the slight weight of
Duo's arm and forcing Duo's hand out from under his shirt, where it
had subconsciously wandered.
Heero took Duo's sleepy hand in his and brought it up to the base of
the neck and placed it over the ring he wore. It was now on a length
of black satin cord Duo had found and Heero did not fit the larger
loop over his head, but put the doubled length of cord around his
neck and passed the large class ring through the opposite end of the
loop, as if fastening a button, so that it stayed close to his neck
and moved little. If someone grasped the ring and pulled, they might
choke the life from him, but then, grasping the cord elsewhere might
have the effect of loosing the ring from the loop before Heero was
strangled, and so Heero viewed this as being advantageous, as there
were only one-and-a-half ways to die from wearing it, instead of
two, if he wore a fixed loop about his neck. If he really thought he
would get into trouble, he transferred the cord and ring to a wrist
or ankle, or left it at home in a safe place.
Duo's signs shifted and Heero knew that within seconds he would wake
fully and say something. He waited. "Heero." It was the slightest
"Aa." He knew the next question. "Iie. I know it was not my dream."
"I-Heero, I'm sorry-no, I'm not sorry, because even if it was my
dream, I can't control what I dream."
"You could if lucid."
"Fuck-!" He still spoke in whisper.
"Duo, I did not mean that I believed you had been lucid, only that a
person could have some control of dreams. Maybe that dream did not
originate inside of either of us... entirely."
"Quatre is asleep."
"Shit. Is he lucid?"
"I do not know."
"But... you could find out."
"I do not wish to try right now."
"Man, I knew it couldn't really be my dream with Quatre being the
one in the middle of everyone, but somehow, I didn't guess it was
him." Duo drew his hand down Heero's chest and splayed his fingers
over the place Heero's heart beat. "That means, like..."
"That the shared dreams are not something that is between only us
two. Possibly if we are close to any person with the abilities, it
"Talk about security breach."
Maybe it was that serious, but then, maybe not. "Perhaps. It would
be wise to find out to what degree it is true. Maybe there is a way
to control it."
"In your sleep?"
"Maybe it's only Quatre, because he's so close to us, like in
friendship, or because he's always had that weird cosmic soul or
"There are many theories and terms that attempt to explain such
phenomena. It is of a higher priority to understand how it is, than
what it is called. We really should try to understand that."
"Except that a while back you seemed nearly to be going on faith."
"It seems true that some things can be done without the knowing of
"Then, just believe that Quatre can't influence your dreams or
overhear our thoughts. He is asleep. That means we can mess around,
and it won't bother him."
"Except that it might not bother him, even if he is awake."
Duo laughed very quietly and slid his hand to Heero's abdomen where
some small portion of skin was bared between jeans and shirt. "He is
a little hentai."
Heero thought that it was wrong to call Quatre little, but he knew
what Duo meant. "It would bother me."
"Sure? I can do it without even using my hands." Heero thought Duo
was speaking of his dick, but Duo rolled from him, and then Heero
Something touched his stomach, where Duo's hand had been a moment
before. It was not memory. Heero did not know what it was, except
that Duo caused the feeling. There was no skin-like texture in the
touch. It was like the air around Heero pressed in on him there.
Pressed and moved toward his head. Heero had no grasp on how it
worked, whether Duo inserted the sensation into his mind without
being aware of being telepathic, or if Duo had mental command of air
molecules or it was something else entirely.
He watched his shirt rise and billow and felt the thing that touched
him spread in shape and roll over his nipples. It felt good. Heero
wanted it to stop. He tried to speak, but all he managed was a very
quiet rasp. He was frightened, really.
"Heero? Did you say something?"
It was still on him! "Verdigris." It was a whisper, the most he
could manage. Heero shivered, curled, flailed soundlessly and stared
at the off-white ceiling panels.
"Heero!" Duo's voice was louder, like a rapid hiss. "Heero! I am not
doing it anymore. Look. Look at me!"
Heero swallowed saliva, blinked and lifted his head to look at his
body. It was Duo's real hand on his chest, outside his shirt. He
could feel the fingertips pressed to the curve of his shoulder.
Heero did not know what to say.
"It's OK. I won't do it again, if you don't like it. Was it really
gross?" Heero felt Duo's hand lift and he saw Duo scoot away. He
backed up to the slightly curved interior wall of the jet, drew his
legs up before him and then wrapped his arms about his knees. "I'm
Heero looked to see if Quatre was awake. He seemed to be asleep,
still. He rolled over then and pushed himself up. He moved toward
Duo and knelt close beside him. It had happened once before, an
invisible pair of fingers pinching his nipple, but somehow, this
time had just felt different. Maybe it had been that Heero saw his
shirt billow and understood that he had not only been made to feel
touched, but there was actually something invisible there to touch
him. "Duo, it was not... gross. It was just something I was not ready
for. I was... I did not intend it, but I was just frightened."
"I should finish. Duo. I do trust you, but the idea frightened me.
The idea that anyone could do that."
"It frightens me." Duo whispered, very softly. "I do not even
understand how it works, but I think I can do it more now... do a lot
more things. I wanted you to like it, but I'll totally understand if
you don't. It's not normal."
"I do not need normal", Heero replied, almost mouthing the words,
his voice was so low. "I just needed you to stop then, but if you
told me when it would happen... Duo, I know the chaos is good, but with
"No, it's OK, I get it. It's OK."
Heero could see Duo was not really OK, but this was unavoidable for
the moment. "I will tell Quatre to give us a room with two separate
Heero smirked. "And you can call me from your bed and tell me what
you are doing and I'll tell you I really feel it."
"Can I come over to your bed afterward?"
"Depends how good you are on the phone."
Duo moved from the wall and leaned in toward Heero. "I am so good on
the phone." He kissed Heero lightly on the mouth. "You know I do
have to actually show up for the tests." Heero knew; he knew what
Duo was going to say next. "but we can spend the rest of the time in
bed, as far as I'm concerned."
Quatre lived in what he termed a village, but which was more
accurately a former secret resistance military base complete with
camouflage capable airfield, hangers carved from rock and
underground bunkers, which had lately seen the addition of
residential and small commercial buildings and irrigated hemp
fields. Heero could see other aircraft unloading on the lighted
tarmac from the windows of the private jet as they landed.
It was a small private field, relatively speaking, and unable to
handle spacecraft, but the markings identified the mobile suit
carrier on the runway as private and local, so it could be
reasonably surmised that the Tinman had been transferred from a
shuttle at a spaceport, likely Baalbek.
As they debarked, Heero saw there was a flatbed hovercraft waiting
to receive the trap covered mobile suit and a small fleet of
unmatched luxury vehicles waiting to take guests into the village.
Heero picked Relena out of the crowd of blue and olive Preventer
uniforms immediately. In another second he had identified several
others, including a man named Auda that rushed to greet them.
Quatre clasped Auda's arm and then drew him into a one-armed
embrace. He had grown slightly taller than the other man, Heero
noticed. Likely Rashid would still tower over both, if he was here.
They began speaking in Arabic and Heero forgave Quatre the habit. It
was wise actually, though slightly rude to his guests, as Quatre had
been away and would want to quickly and securely know the status of
things, in order to form his strategy. It would be strategy, even if
it was only deciding what room to serve refreshments in.
This was Quatre's way, Heero understood, and he did love Quatre as a
friend and veteran of shared unpleasant experiences. Quatre would
not neglect Heero too long. He would see Duo had left Heero and make
a point to entertain Heero, even if it was to give him someone else
to talk to. Duo would be gone.
Heero shifted his gaze to his side and then followed Duo's obvious
gaze toward the hovercraft. "You should go check on it."
"Thanks," Duo whispered. He said `thanks', but he really would have
gone without permission. Heero did not really blame him. Mobile
suits were fun to play with, as fun as cars and guns combined. At
the moment, Heero wanted one.
He watched Duo run toward the hovercraft and saw a few people at its
side waving at him. Heero then saw that Relena had spotted him. She
came across the fuming asphalt followed by guards; the sun had set,
but everything still seemed to radiate warmth absorbed during the
day. Wufei and Sally had both found their way into this detail, but
more were needed. It was not only Relena they had to protect, but
three other government officials of the MCPs council, all present to
witness the trials of MaxTech's prototype. Heero recognized Gwinter
Septem from files in his head, over Relena's shoulder as she
"Where is Duo?" Relena drew back and gave Heero space to answer.
"There, already gone to play with his toy."
"Yes, but he must feel like that when you are with your computer."
"That only happened once," Heero said under his breath. Relena did
not really need to know. Heero left his computer to pay attention to
Duo many times.
"He and Hilde must have things to talk about." Heero was not fully
certain whether Relena meant the mobile suit or the baby would be
discussed, but perhaps, he thought then, that was just why it
was `things'. "I only saw her briefly. They came in through Abu
Habbah." The spaceport that mainly served Baghdad and points west,
it was nearly to Baalbek as Alcatraz Extension was to LA. It
infrequently accepted passenger craft from the Colonies, but was the
advised landing site for freight. Some regions made such regulations
simply to make it easier for them to set up their customs facilities.
Adin had come with her. He was standing off to the side from the
group looking into the darkness beyond the pools of light. Quatre
returned from his briefing and suggested they all get into the cars.
It was hot still, but it would get much cooler during the night,
before the sun rose to heat everything again. Heero could see most
people were still wearing eye protection of some kind. That was not
uncommon for travelers from the Colonies to Earth. Heero suspected
the pavement might be too hot yet for the dogs.
"Come to the car with me," Quatre said quietly to Heero. It seemed
he did not wish to be seen choosing favorites. Heero called to the
dogs and followed. Quatre climbed into the back of a platinum
colored utility vehicle with gold trim. Heero helped the dogs up and
then got inside. There was enough room left that Wufei joined them,
and Auda climbed into the seat in the front, beside their driver.
Heero saw that Sally and Relena went to another car.
"Will Trowa be here?" Wufei asked as the vehicle began to move.
Heero lifted one of Nu's forepaws and examined the pad. It did not
"He called here to leave a message. He's completed a fuel stop and
is a few hours behind us. He knows his way to the house, so he will
find us when he gets in."
"Then we will all be together again."
Quatre nodded. "Are your dogs all right, Heero?" There seemed more
of an accent in his voice, especially when he said `Heero' that
time, but it was nothing that was offensive to Heero.
"They seem so, but I do not think the heat is very good for them,
"Koi should not do too badly, I have some of the remaining Pharaoh
Hounds living here and they seem well suited to the climate, though
I admit I do not leave them on hot pavement. Nu is a sledding dog,
"Husky, but he is not trained to do much of anything. The breed is
specialized to cold climates."
"The house does have climate control. I am sure he will be fine once
we get inside."
"But it's Duo's dog, this one?" Wufei asked. "He told me about him."
"Yes, Nu is Duo's. Koi is mine."
"I left Mei-Long with Doctor Tang."
"Have either of you seen Duo's mobile suit?" Quatre asked.
"What's it like?"
"Well, that would be confidential."
"It is like he reverse engineered Gundams to find what was common to
all of them and then reduced size and power and increased efficiency
to create what seems their predecessor."
"But Tallgeese was the predecessor."
"But Duo's mobile suit is nothing like Tallgeese."
"Tallgeese was flawed. It was an experiment. It was too powerful for
most people to handle and hardly efficient considering its fuel
consumption and mass. That is not what the MCP needs. They need
something that can be mass produced and operated by many but which
can be easily adapted for various terrain and tasks."
"Like the Leo."
"But the Leo was only a downsized Tallgeese," Quatre said, "The
Taurus is ZT's best selling model by far."
"The Taurus was decent."
"But you've seen ZT's new suit," Quatre said.
Heero set his face blankly.
"I hear things. Mailed Security a button from the Sagittarius's
console through Zodiac's interoffice mail."
Heero laughed. "Yes, but I also forged a MaxTech employee account.
Fair is fair."
"Was Duo's suit good enough?" Wufei asked.
"That is not for me to decide."
"Which would you rather play with?"
Heero smiled. "Both."
Heero sighed. "Lost my harsh mistress; no one to keep me from it."
"I am sure I can find something here to entertain you, Heero,"
Quatre said in playful and sultry tone. `Sultry' sounded like a
romance novel word. Maybe Heero read it in one of the fics Midii
sent him. "Do you play tennis by any chance?"
"Trained to assassinate aristocratic targets and establish cover
within high schools in Japan."
Quatre smiled. "I want to teach Trowa to play. I think he has the
body for it. So far there has been little chance."
"It will include his wearing shorts I suppose."
Quatre made a bubbly laugh, "Oh, Wufei, you do understand me!"
"Wearing appropriate or traditional garments for competition I
understand entirely, the four of you thinking each other `hot' is
Quatre was looking at Heero when Heero looked at him. "Is it really?"
"All four of us?" Heero asked.
"Thinking the other three hot?"
Heero thought about it.
"You all look so different, there is no real competition, it is like
having one of each flavor," Quatre said thoughtfully.
"But, Wufei, I think you are hot, too," Heero said, deadpan.
He blushed. Chang. Wufei blushed.
"I am sorry," Heero whispered. "Forgive me. It was inappropriate."
"I do not think you should be sorry," Quatre said, "Wufie is adult.
He knows you are not trying to hit on him, Heero. He should only be
flattered you acknowledge his hotness."
Wufei made a small sound to clear his throat. "I was only
embarrassed to be taken by surprise. I expect such things from
"Do not tell Duo I said it!" Heero groaned.
"He will make something out of it and repeat it many times and
embarrass us both."
"Then just mention the time he..." Quatre started. He could not think
of anything embarrassing Duo had done.
Heero could not think of anything either. "Duo is just too kewl."
"He got captured... several times."
"We all got captured," Heero groaned.
"He formed a mad crush on his homicidal, suicidal, war buddy," Wufei
Quatre laughed. Heero thought it was funny that Wufei had used `mad
crush', but supposed Duo had actually used the phrase in his
presence, or it was the English chorus in some Japanese pop song.
Heero resolved to ask Midori about it next he spoke to him. Maybe he
needed some lyrics.
"I think that is not such an embarrassing thing since Heero has
recently confessed to the Sphere that he has returned Duo's
feelings. It cannot really be a crush, then."
"In any case," Wufei said quietly, "I do speak to females and listen
to what they say."
"Since when?" Heero asked.
"Since Sally," Quatre answered brightly.
"And so I have heard it said that certain acquaintances of mine are
found highly attractive. I feel it safe to assume this is true; I
only meant that I have yet to understand the digging on each other,
hotness aside, when there are also many attractive women surrounding
"See interview," Heero said flatly. "I do not have to talk about
this." He did not appreciate Quatre's laughter.
"They never threw a suitable female counterpart at me, did they?
They were all interested in one of my friends or a lesbian, weren't
"Everyone knew about Quatre and Trowa," Wufei said. "Yuy, did you
The way he spoke made Heero question his meaning. "Know about Quatre
"No. Did you know, back then...?"
Heero turned and looked at Wufei from the corners of his eyes and
then bowed his head. "Trowa asked me a similar question. I suppose
you have more right than some to ask, or to hear it from me in
person. I did not know I would love Duo, or anyone. I did not know I
would live. It really did all happen suddenly. Duo is hot, but that
is not why I am with him. I just realized that I was attracted to
him, entirely I mean, and his being a very beautiful man is a nice
"And I bet he's good in bed!"
"That was not what I was asking! Duo is my friend. It would be
awkward, if they broke up, because I also respect Heero. That is the
only reason I asked!"
"There is nothing that can ensure that a couple will never break up.
Even a marriage can be dissolved. Only your own dedication to each
other can keep you together, so long as you have it. I am human;
maybe I will hurt Duo, or he will hurt me but... if you did not know we
were lovers, you would not worry. Right? We could come to blows... I
mean punches, Quatre... and you would all trust us each to defend
ourselves. It should not be different because we have sex."
"Yes, I know, but someone who is close to you can hurt you more,"
Wufei said softly. He knew, because he was in love with someone.
"Yes, but betrayal can happen in war or politics and is not
exclusive to sexual relationships. You, you are the ones that should
know best; Duo and I are not children. If something happens, good or
bad between us, we will deal with it. Maybe I will ask for your help
or advice, or Duo will, and we will appreciate what you give, as
friends, but we will try to work things out on our own, first. I
will trust you with Sally if you trust me with Duo."
"But what is Sally to you!?"
Heero smirked. "A friend."
"And Adin. You trust him?"
"Yes, but that is not why he is with Relena. He is with Relena
because Relena can trust him."
"But Duo is good in bed, isn't he?" Quatre pressed.
Several different answers quickly came to mind, but they were all
suggestive if not in flagrant violation of TMI protocols, so Heero
said nothing and kept smiling.
Heero had traveled near this village before, but he had never seen
the inside of Quatre's house, except for a few nondescript walls the
phone lenses were placed before. Most people had such walls, if they
valued privacy, while others set their phones before expensive
artworks to show they had them, or a poster, to show their interest.
There was a lot to notice on entering the house, but Heero
registered the people before reflexively scanning for surveillance
devices or defense systems. There were a lot of women.
Quatre had a lot of sisters, and as he was the youngest child of the
family, he already had some nieces and nephews nearly as old as he
was. Not all of his family lived in this house; but if even 10
percent of his siblings were staying with him, that was nearly three
women already, and probably more if they had children.
Heero attempted to catalog the names as Quatre introduced them.
Heero actually had mental files on some already, and though he did
not have a complete file for each, Quatre's file would include a
list of their names, even if Heero had not seen the faces before. He
also had a mental roster for the Maganac Corps, a number of which
were present wherever Quatre was.
This house, villa as Quatre called it, was not his family home, that
was in the Colonies, but only `Quatre's house', yet it had room
enough to accommodate the family should Quatre host a gathering, and
so there was plenty of room now to house four government officials,
a mobile suit tycoon and their various entourages.
Heero also noticed that the air was not only cooler than outside but
slightly more humid. Often the process of cooling air made it dry,
and so Quatre clearly had a good quality climate control system,
likely purchased from a Colonial supplier. There were a lot of
indoor plants and water features, both a need and a source for the
moisture. And there were animals.
Quatre had mentioned dogs, but Heero saw at least one cat, and some
lizards perched on the branches of a potted tree.
There were servants also, a number of them and in uniform. The women
had modest but western styled smocks or dresses made of green and
white ticking and the men wore various styles of shirts in this same
striped fabric with white trousers. They seemed more resort staff
that what Heero would expect of butlers or maids.
Quatre left Heero, the dogs and Wufei with Auda to speak to the
servants. The other cars had arrived and the lounge they waited in
filled before Quatre returned. He announced then that he advised
everyone allow his staff to guest rooms and bathrooms and toilets so
they might freshen or rest after their journey. Though it was past
supper local time, some refreshments would be served for the guests
in several rooms made available for their entertainment during their
stay. The next meal that would be served would be breakfast. Quatre
mentioned that they had two days before the tests and that there was
time for everyone to get adjusted, whether they started by sleeping
now or remained awake until breakfast and napped tomorrow.
Quatre waited until the servants had escorted most of the guests
from the lounge and only those most closely acquainted with him
remained. "I will show you to your rooms personally," he said
then. "I do not really anticipate much going from room to room, not
that it is my business if anyone does, but I did try to assign the
rooms so that those who seem likely to meet with each other and
speak are close." Quatre led the small group, made up of Heero,
Wufei, Relena, Sally and Adin, from the lounge and through a hall to
a staircase. They could see another group, with Gwinter and his
young daughter just turning to the right at the top of the stairs.
Quatre took them left at the hall above the stairs and stopping at
the first door there along the right, said this would be Wufei and
Sally's room. From the hall, it was clear the bed was not an
authentically oriental furnishing, but it was a low platform
style. "The first two rooms past the staircase are taken up by your
agents, and then the rooms for the MCP representatives and further
down the hall more of the Preventers. I will have Duo's people
around the corner past my room; that's just up here." Quatre pointed
out the approximate location of his bedroom on the left, facing the
outside of the building and not the courtyards. "If any of you feel
inclined to mingle with the others, the staff has been instructed to
direct them to areas downstairs for refreshments or entertainment.
The larger media room and gaming rooms and access to the courtyards
are on that level. Though, I thought you might want to be able to
see each other without feeling like you were at work, so my upstairs
rooms will be available to you. I have had food brought up."
"The whole house is yours and you have your own apartment up here?"
Sally asked, leaning in the doorway of her room.
Quatre laughed. "It is my house, but there are often many guests and
the rooms downstairs are so big, and rather awkward if you have less
than a dozen guests you wish to chat with. The books and movies I
buy for myself are up here. Downstairs are the copies we buy for the
house because they are new or popular. There are no doors, so you
will see the rooms if you walk along this way. I will be up at least
until Trowa arrives."
Wufei returned to the doorway from a survey of his room and asked
Quatre where the bathrooms were. Quatre explained that a few rooms
did have private baths, but he had assigned the rooms more with a
thought to position in the hallway and not to need for private
baths. The ones along the hall were plentiful enough to serve a full
house, so he did not anticipate problems. The doors had been painted
blue to mark them from the bedrooms.
"And if you do not wish any servants to disturb you with their
cleaning, remove the ribbon from the door handle and take it inside
the room. Replace it any time you wish the staff to go in to clean
"It is like a hotel," Adin said quietly.
"I grew up with 29 sisters and near as many servants," Quatre
said, "to run a household with so many people, it just makes things
more efficient to hire people to specialize only in cooking or
cleaning for large numbers, and marking the doors assures that those
who need privacy can have it."
"But your house will seem very large to people who have lived most
of their life in the Colonies," Relena said, "my family was rather
affluent and our house on Earth had many large rooms and servants,
but whenever we stayed in the Colonies on my father's business, we
had much smaller quarters."
"Well, I was my father's heir," Quatre admitted, "and blessed to
make a few good investment of my own. Our house in the Colonies
houses as many people, but the rooms are all much smaller. You are
right, it is a luxury to have so much space on Earth. But please,
you are all welcome! Use the big rooms downstairs if you like. The
media room is like being in a theater. And the grounds are quite
lovely night or day and well patrolled by my own men."
Heero could tell that Adin was overwhelmed by Quatre house, and
Relena seemed to know it too. For that Matter, Quatre probably knew,
but perhaps he was used to such reactions. "Which room will be
mine?" Relena asked, "It is no trouble for you? The arrangements?"
She meant that Adin was to stay with her and that they were
unmarried and generally attempted to keep their relationship as
discreet as possible, only so they did not have to deal with the
Colonial paparazzi as much.
"No problem. From the stairs to that corner there is considered
private even more so than the house in general. The servants that
work here are different from those that work elsewhere in the house;
I selected them myself. Things that happen here, never happened."
"That is a little frightening, Quatre," Heero said flatly.
Quatre laughed. "You make it sound like I have had people tied up
and molested against their will!"
"I am certain it was all consentual," Relena said.
"Relena, I am so sorry!" Quatre said as brightly as ever. "This is
your room here." It was on the left side of the hall, facing the
outside of the building, rather than the courtyards.
"Thank you. Perhaps we will see you later."
Adin put his hand to Relena's back and led her into the bedroom. A
moment later Sally shut the door to her and Wufei's room.
"I do not think I made a very good impression on Mr. Barnet."
"Adin is all right. Where is my room?"
"Here, between Relena's and mine." Quatre moved down the hall and
opened the door. There were two beds, but each was wide enough to
share. One was closer to the door, and the other closer to the pair
of narrow doors t the balcony. " I will take the hall..."
"No, the hall," Quatre said, understanding. "The balconies are
physically more difficult to reach. Do not worry in any case. There
are a lot of men and defenses between the outside and either
approach. If I can get Trowa to stay here, you should have no
Heero nodded and ushered the dogs into the room.
"I do have a room for the dogs, if you want to take them down. Of
course, I have no problem with you keeping them here either."
"I will have them here for now. Maybe tomorrow you can show me this
"Very well. Do you think you will go to sleep?"
It might seem typical for Heero to sleep when he had downtime, but
the war was long over now. It was important to remember that. "No.
We slept on the plane."
"I did as well."
"Well, if you want, I'll probably be across the hall watching a
video or something. If you get bored or hungry..."
"I will get a quick shower first."
"This room does have a shower and a toilet, but it is just the
little room, and leaves you will less closet space. You can use the
big bathroom in the hall, if you want."
Heero dropped the leashes and went to check the small bathroom. It
was not any smaller than the one in his apartment in the Colonies
and larger than some WCs. "This will do. Thank you."
"See you soon," Quatre said. He left and closed the door to the
The luggage had been brought up in advance, Heero saw. Quatre and
his staff were well organized. He unpacked a few things onto his
bed, got out all the dog's bowls and toys, filled the water dishes
in the bathroom sink, and then left the dogs to get his shower.
Quatre and Sally were in the small media room when Heero found it.
He had seen such rooms before, mainly on television. There was one
large monitor that became focal point of the room, a lot of seating
for viewing and a small kitchenette, which would have been a whole
kitchen in the Colonies, tucked in opposite the monitor to
facilitate making snacks without losing view of the picture. Such
rooms could have been used for keeping track of news, but Quatre was
sprawled on one of the couches watching some type of vampire movie
and wearing what Heero would term loose, flimsy middle-eastern
garments. This clothing was red and looked appropriate to the movie
and perhaps also scandalous.
Maybe people from Earth would think his leggings and snug sleeveless
shirt inappropriate lounging attire, but it was very normal in the
colonies. Baggy sweatpants had too much weight and volume to make it
into bags packed for spacetravel so only people who were rich and
wanted others to be sure to notice would wear them.
Sally did not seem bothered by anyone's attire. She was dressed in
Hong Kong designer clothing, or knock-offs thereof, and reading what
seemed a graphic novel. Heero had seen many shelves of books in an
adjacent room. Heero amended the book to being manga when he
glimpsed the cover.
"A three-walled media room does rather make the investment in a
theatre sound system pointless."
"There is a sliding wall, but I only use it when I have geeks over,"
Quatre said and looked slyly at Heero. "If you do not close it now,
I will have to say the same thing when Duo arrives."
Heero examined the outer corners of the room and found the slots for
the sliding wall. "Geeks. You calculate more in your sleep than..."
"Because I am a really good pilot," Quatre said, "but I am not an
a/v nazi." elitist."
"But Quatre, you won't be able to properly hear the crunch of fangs
in flesh as if it was happening to you!" Sally complained, and after
a moment, Heero realized this was meant to be an imitation of Duo's
Heero climbed onto the wide, deep, puffy couch and sat near Quatre.
He did not bother to ask what movie they were watching. Heero knew
Quatre liked horror movies, and though he found low budget slasher
flix entertaining, he preferred big budget costume horror movies.
Heero leaned back and vaguely paid attention to the movie. The sound
effects sounded much better seated center, with the wall slid
Adin joined them shortly. He was wearing leggings as lounge wear as
well, but he paired them with an old concert tee that fit him
loosely. He did not sit very close to Heero or Quatre, but near the
arm of the same couch.
Trowa was next to arrive, as Quatre vampire movie was ending. They
had yet to hear from Duo, and though Heero did want to see Trowa, he
was disappointed when he saw Trowa was the one that slid the wall
open and shut. He was wearing a western styled shirt, like cowboys
wore, and well fit antique washed jeans. Trowa always looked good,
Heero thought, like he looked good in clothes without trying.
Thought, the trucker hat and mirrored shades seemed a bit strange.
Heero supposed Trowa was an actually celebrity trying to hide his
identity rather than a fashion victim wearing a tacky trucker hat
and shades because he did not understand celebrities only wore those
things to hide and not because they had been at all kewl before the
celebrity put them on.
Trowa dropped to the couch between Heero and Quatre. He took off the
hat and shades and tossed them the other side of Quatre. "You look
good," Quatre said to him. He sounded like someone's submissive
boyfriend to Heero, though he did not really think of Quatre as a
"I just picked up this shirt from some mall on the way here," Trowa
said, "I kinda like it. I think it will work really well for Dias de
Heero turned his head and looked. There were little skulls in the
patterned fabric. Duo might look good in a shirt like that. Heero
was only good at picking out solid colored garments and simple
things like jeans and tees, even if Duo did call him fashion plate.
Heero thought he might really envy Trowa's ability to look well
dressed without effort.
Trowa twisted and reached across Quatre's lap to take the remote
from the indent in the cushion beside Quatre's left hip. It seemed
strange, and Heero realized this was because Trowa was left-handed
and could have reached for the remote very easily without twisting
or giving away his motivation, but then, he would not have been able
to lean close to Quatre and come so close to kissing him without
doing so if he had done the efficient thing. This meant Trowa was
getting quite confident in his flirting and quite obvious in his
attraction to Quatre.
"Um, that's coming up in October, right? What will you be doing for
Dias De Los Muertes?"
"Duty maybe. Duo begged off though. Got off too." Trowa lifted the
remote to select a new movie. There seemed a wide selection of
channels as well as devices loaded with discs to choose from. "I
think Bell likes him. I mean, nothing inappropriate, it's just he's
been extra hard on Duo in training and on missions. I think Duo
thinks Bell has it out for him, but I am pretty sure he approves of
Duo in every way and just want to help him stay sharp. He approved
Duo's leave for Halloween."
"They can't expect you to work if your partner has leave. Let's go
to Mexico," Quatre suggested.
"Not this movie, Trowa! Sleepy Hollow! From Hell. I'll even watch
Trowa turned to Heero. "Have you ever seen this movie?"
"Only movies with space pirates."
"Heero hasn't seen it, Kat. You want to show him some hospitality."
Heero had not seen those other movies either, but he was not going
to get between them any more than he was.
"Where is our partner?"
"With his machine."
"Does that just piss you off?"
Heero did not answer. He did not understand why everyone seemed to
think it good revenge when Duo spent time with a machine instead of
"You can sit closer then. Duo's not here to act weird about it."
Trowa got up, and took the remote, to go to the kitchen behind them.
Heero scooted to his left so he would be closer when Trowa took his
seat again. Duo could get jealous, but Heero was certain they had
worked out that Trowa was interested in Quatre only.
"Is this a really bad movie?" Heero whispered to Quatre.
"No, it's good, it's just we've seen it before."
Heero nodded, but he did not really understand any better why Quatre
had protested Trowa's choice.
Trowa returned to the couch with a bowl of buttery popcorn and sat
between Heero and Quatre to watch the movie.
When Duo showed, Trowa's pirate movie was probably halfway through.
He stood for a while, looking at the screen, then sat down between
Heero and Adin. He grinned at Heero, but that was the only special
greeting he got. Duo then scooted closer to Adin and they began
whispering to each other.
Duo had changed his clothes. Skirt, snug black shirt with a cross on
one sleeve. His hair was only half braided so that it made a sort of
bushy tail over the lower part of his back.
Trowa's left hand offered popcorn. Heero lifted his fingers to his
mouth and took the popcorn. "Thanks, but I was not seeking to
Duo turned, hearing some key phrase, maybe `him'. He crawled over
the cushions on hands and knees and smiled wickedly at Trowa. "Hey,
partner, long time no see. Nice shirt."
"I'll let you borrow it for school one day if you are good, but I
need it back before you go on leave at the end of the month."
"kewl." Duo turned his head and nipped Heero's right earlobe. Heero
reached his right hand to the side, felt for Duo's leg and then ran
his hand up Duo's thigh, over the skirt, and cupped his ass. "Hey
lover," Duo whispered, "sorry I was gone so long." He shifted
slightly, waited for Heero to notice, and received the kiss when
Heero tipped his head to give it.
"It's like a free show," Sally said over the top of her manga.
"And I know the kinds of shows you like to watch!" Duo said. He
lowered his voice again. "Ne, Heero, can I make out with Adin? If
you let me, I'll let you kiss Trowa. I'll let you kiss Trowa and
There seemed so many things wrong with that request. Heero withdrew
his right hand to his lap. "I just kissed you and you are asking if
you can do it with someone else?"
Duo laughed nervously. "well, I was on my way over to ask before I
"And you were not convinced to forget it?"
"But you could watch. It is not like cheating if you watch and say
it's OK. Lots of guys would like to see their boyfriend make out
with some pretty boy. I still go home with you."
"And... what... Duo... what even makes you think Trowa or Quatre would want
to do it if I even wanted to?"
"Shit. You had to make this come up?" Trowa asked Duo.
"Baby, `cause Kat and Tro are like lots of guys and I know they'd
like to feel you up a bit and..."
"Duo, you ass, you have to make it sound like we are out to get him!
It is not like I have your boyfriend out of his clothes and am
asking you which end you want!" Trowa was quickly gaining a peculiar
Earth-baby accent. "I only said that hypothetically if Heero
actually wanted to do it that I would not be opposed and I am pretty
sure Quatre was the same, but `not being opposed' is not the same as
wanting to do it!"
"Duo," Quatre said, all diplomacy, "just because Trowa or I may have
confided certain moral positions we take that does not mean that we
do not also respect the morals and opinions of our friends. We would
not offer it...except if we were joking... unless we really thought Heero
was interested in things like that, and he really does not seem to
be interested, Duo."
Heero rubbed his temples. "I think I am really going to have an
aneurism," he groaned.
"Baby, I won't do it if you say no, but it should be OK to ask! It
is not like I was suggesting we all have a circle jerk!"
Trowa sighed rather melodramatically.
"Man, I was just asking. You had net access from a young age and no
parental controls! You must know how it is, even if you didn't do
these things! I'm not a freak. Lot of people would want to do such
things. Even circle jerks are normal!"
"For whom?" Heero asked.
"Mutual masturbation is just sex without actual contact. It's still
sex. Maybe it is normal or innocent until some young age, like
thirteen, but then it is just a way to have sex," Trowa said,
obviously irritated. He sighed, "But technically you could be a
virgin if you never had contact with the other person, and no kind
of sex is wrong or cheating unless you already had rules or a
relationship with someone to forbid such things... but I am sure you
and Heero do have rules, so it is just mean to drag us into this as
if we want Heero to break the rules."
"Well it would not be breaking rules if Heero changed the rules!
Heero, you do not have to change the rules, but I just want you to
know, that if you wanted to, I would not mind letting you make out
with Quatre and Trowa, so long as it did not lead to ejaculation,
because I would not want them to break their rules about that, but
then it would only be fair that I get to make out with someone else,
too, right? And you three did look so cozy when I came in here."
"OK. Let's see it!"
"You want to make out with someone else? OK. Let's see, then!"
Sally laughed. "Heero is rather like Hermione."
"Heero is like Hermione, because everyone thinks they are the
perfect smart one, but they are really sensitive and upset when
their intended says stupid things. And Duo is like Ron, because most
people think he is the joker, but he is really a brave and loyal
fellow, who is possessed of some strategic ability."
"Can I be Harry?" Quatre asked.
"I have green eyes like book Harry," Trowa said, "You can be Draco.
You are the rich one."
"Just because I am blond? I want to be Harry? It was really
traumatic when my parent's died!"
"And it was not traumatic when my parents got blown up?"
"But I am better friends with Ron!"
"All right! I am Draco! I hate you, Potter!"
"You are just saying that to cover your true feelings!"
"Right, Potter. I am not really mean, I just need to be loved...
repeatedly and very hard!"
"Where did I put my wand?"
Sally laughed loudly and dropped her book. There was not a child in
the world who did not know who Harry Potter was, and even Heero knew
some of the other characters. It really looked like Sally was
reading a book about Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Heero had heard
she was in that category of girls who randomly paired anime
characters, especially if they were in shonen anime and not really
meant to be paired with anyone.
"Man, you're irritating. I knew this one was some yaoi fangirl, but
you two are such movie slashers!"
Quatre stopped laughing and sighed. "It is really mostly Trowa."
"There is nothing wrong with it! It is not like I do some geeky
thing like write stories about it or digitally manipulate captured
movie stills to illustrate them. I just think certain movies are
more entertaining to watch if you pretend that certain characters
are getting it on between the jump cuts and fades to black."
"Uh huh. Which one of you gets to be Jack tonight, then?"
"What the fuck do you care? You were about to make out with Neville
and you changed the subject!"
Duo sat back on his heels and pouted. "You were really going to let
me do it?"
"Well, I do not think I was going to like it, but I wanted to see if
you really would go through with it."
"Why am I Neville?" Adin asked.
"Neville's actually a really kewl character!" Quatre said. "We can
watch all my HP movies tomorrow!"
"I thought the later ones were more interesting."
"Many of them had different directors," Trowa said.
"Hey, maybe Adin can make out with Trowa or Quatre and we can just
"Why should they make out?" Heero asked.
"Well, you didn't want to do it, right?"
"No," Heero said. "I am going to bed." He got up and walked quickly
to the wall and slid it open. He did not think he had really wanted
to make out with one of his friends, but maybe for a second he had
felt cheated. He had dared to give Duo the permission, and then
nothing had happened. Nothing at all.
Maybe he had wanted something to happen, but he was not really sure