Over The Edge
"Are you sure it's safe leaving them alone?"
I gave her a faint grin as I glanced back to the house. "Heero and Trowa have been through life and death situations before. I think they'll manage to dress the couch with a spare sheet on their own."
Huffing, she jabbed her elbow in my side, allowing me enough time to dodge... almost. "That's not what I meant..."
"I know," I chuckled. "Heero could use someone other than the two of us to talk to. I'm glad Trowa's gonna spend the night. Wufei just chickened out."
Hilde frowned at me. "He'd made reservations, and he had to report in with the Preventers."
"He made a mess of things and didn't want to face the music."
She pursed her lips, scooted up to sit on a smudged oil drum. "He's afraid, Duo."
I flagged a brow. "Come again?"
"Wufei is scared - he's always had respect for Heero, sometimes even reverence. He looks up to Heero - and now, his occasional role model shows flaws he didn't know about - problems that are hard to ignore."
With a snort, I gave the barrel a soft kick. "Please... Heero has his drinking problem under control now. He's not that weak."
Hilde frowned. "You're just like Wufei - you don't want to think of Heero as anything but superhuman."
"Hey, I know he's not," I protested. "During the war, I saved his ass often enough to know he could get in over his head just as fast as the rest of us!"
"Bragging about being rash again?" she jibed.
"Shut up..." I muttered back at her, much chagrined.
She tapped her fingertips against the edge of the drum, and I thought I saw her grit her teeth. "You set him up, didn't you?"
"Huh? No - no, of course not! I just... I just told Trowa it had been a while since he and Quatre had come by, and when I ran into Wufei down the street, I had to invite him in when he didn't have the guts to knock on his own, right?"
"...said the spider to the fly," she muttered.
"Nothing." She fell silent again. I fought the instinct to run away, fast. "Heero has more issues than alcohol, though."
Too late. "I know..." I glanced back at the building. "...you don't think they're talking about... that... right now, do you?"
She started to smile. "What, do you want them to?"
"No!" I snapped back fast enough for her to know I was lying. "No..." I repeated. "It's just... he didn't even mention it earlier, even when he admitted his alcoholism. Think he's finally given up?"
The smile became an all-out grin. "So that's what's been bothering you all evening! That's why you went all touchy-feely when Heero talked to Quatre and-"
"I did not!" I protested - to no avail.
Brows closing, she put her arms akimbo. "If you don't mean it, why do you keep leading him on like that?"
"False hope is worse than no hope, Duo! Why don't you just tell him how you really feel about him?!"
"Because I don't know!" I shouted back at her, biting my lip the instant the words left me.
She gaped at me, and I could almost feel a breeze - which on a colony is a very bad thing. Either the environmental systems are failing, or there's a leak into space somewhere close. Not that I suspected what would come of this would be much better. I shot a nervous glimpse back at the house, half-expecting to see Heero and Trowa at the door, matching Hilde's surprised expression.
The door was still closed. I exhaled slowly.
"You... don't know?"
Tentatively, I looked her way again.
She started smiling. "He's finally getting to you?"
I balled a fist, gritted my teeth. "Forget it..." I mumbled, turning to walk away.
Hilde got off the oil drum. "Well, there sure aren't any cobwebs in your closet, are there?"
"Huh?" I asked over my shoulder.
"With you hiding in there, I mean."
I huffed at her, took another two steps.
"Duo, hang on."
Normally, I would have ignored her - but when she uses that low, serious tone of voice, it's damn difficult. She knows it, too.
"I want to show you something."
Closing my eyes for a moment and taking a deep breath, I walked back. "What?"
"Just a minute," she said, digging into her pockets. With a grin, she found what she was looking for. She held up the coin for me to see, then grabbed a hold of the barrel and gave it a slight tilt. I watched as she put the coin upright against the top edge. "Do you see?"
"A coin can't stand on edge forever, Duo." She let go.
The coin rolled down the lid, gained speed until it hit the rim and bounced into the air. On impulse I made a grab for it and crushed it my fist before I slammed it against the back of my other hand. Tentatively, I met her look, tilted my palm to sneak a peek.
"So, what gives?"
I closed down again. "We didn't agree which was which."
She shook her head. "It doesn't matter. Either way would close the issue, wouldn't it? Make up your mind, Duo - give him a real chance, or give him some tough love."
Hurriedly, I tossed the coin back at her. She caught it without hesitation. "If I told him off, it could crush him."
"Like you said earlier, Heero isn't weak, Duo. But, what you're doing now, that's slowly killing him. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to have you as a boyfriend - but still glad to have you as a friend."
"Hey, I've always been his friend!" I snarled.
"I never said you weren't! But you keep him hanging on, hoping you'll be more to him than that!"
"Well, maybe I want to be!"
That shut her up. As a bonus, it shut me up, too. Damn. At length, she gave me a smile. "Think fast, Duo."
Before I could react, the coin hit me in the chest, bouncing off me and to the ground. As I bent to pick it up, Hilde walked back to the house. Left alone, I stared at the coin for a long while, finally pocketing the damn thing.
Some things couldn't be decided by a quick coin toss.
But that didn't make Hilde any less correct.