Cheerful circus music billowed out from Trowa's pants, breaking the tense mood. Trowa didn't laugh. I stopped at a smirk. Of the other three, Duo was the only one to spill beverage. Oddly enough, it seemed an act.
Looking embarrassed, Trowa dug out his cell phone, flipped the lid and answered "Trowa." He broke into a smile as he stood up, giving away who it was. My smile faded, and I barely kept from rolling my eyes. "Hi, Sparky," Trowa said.
Hilde and Duo started snickering again, and even Wufei tugged at a knowing smile. Flagging a brow, I eyed them all suspiciously. There was clearly a story behind this - one I hadn't been around to witness, or even hear of before. Not for the first time, I felt left out - even though I had no one but myself to blame for that.
Duo wiped his mouth with his hand and leaned in over the table, ushering me to meet him halfway. "Long story," he whispered. "You should make Quatre tell you the whole thing sometime." Duo grinned. "If he can do it without blushing, I swear I'll do the dishes for a year. Want to bet?"
While I'd do a lot for Duo, taking a bet so obviously stacked in his favor was not among them. I stared at him, one brow flagged, silently asking him if he really thought I was that stupid. Or lovesick.
I remained curious enough to make a mental note of it. I had some catching up to do, not just with Duo.
One word made me turn to Trowa again.
"Heero? Well, he's..."
Trowa gave me a hard look, and when that didn't work immediately, he made a poor impression of Bambi.
He must have picked that up from Quatre.
Disgruntled, I nodded.
"Yeah, he's here." I watched him nod. "I know." Then Trowa gently bit his lip, and I took that as a bad sign. "One sec, I'll ask." Then, he faced me again, impersonating one of the hunters instead. "Heero, Quatre's asking if he could talk to you - and if you don't, I swear I'll deck you."
I glared back at him.
Bambi's ugly twin returned as he pushed the cell phone at me. "Please?"
Grudgingly, I finally accepted, snapping the phone from his hands with a growl. "Hi, Quatre..." I muttered into the receiver.
Putting some distance between the cell and my ear, I grimaced. The way he had said my name, I could easily imagine his face; all sunshine with perhaps a faint drizzle. Tentatively, I brought the receiver close again.
"It's so good to hear from you again - where have you been, Heero?! We've been so worried about you, and-"
"I know," I cut him off. I watched the smiling crowd around me, sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. "Quatre, are you sitting down? I've got something I need to tell you..."
I suddenly felt Duo cup my unharmed hand in his, and Trowa's palm landing at my shoulder. With a fatigued smile, I nodded to them both. "I've... been drinking," I started - and the words started to flow; easier the second time around.
I only stumbled briefly when Duo started smoothing his thumb over the back of my hand.