"Yeah, I'll let him know if I see him," I finally answered, relieved he didn't push further. "Thanks..." There was a click and dial tone. Slowly, I put the receiver back down.
"Who was that?"
I sighed as I faced Hilde. "Guess."
I shook my head. "His other half."
She nodded in understanding. "That's the second time this week. Another message for Heero?"
"Yeah..." I pushed away from the wall, fisted my hands and growled. "I'm so fed up with this already! Why do we have to cover for him every time our friends call?! They're his friends too, damn it! He shouldn't keep them at a distance like this!"
"We are the ones keeping them off his back," she pointed out.
This was true enough. Heero never answered the phone, well aware that would tip someone off at where he was staying. For similar reasons, he tended to head back to his room or to the bathroom whenever the doorbell went off and we hadn't ordered takeout. I understood his request for privacy and time to work on his problems, but he'd had months already. What harm could a few concerned friends coming over do?
"And I'm sure we're not fooling anyone," Hilde added.
Again, probably the truth. They had undoubtedly guessed Heero was staying with us. They certainly knew that I knew where Heero was, even when I pretended otherwise. I was sure Sally had kept her word, though.
Still, I had learned earlier that week that Wufei had had Preventer business on L2, but had not stopped by us on the way back. That was unusual. We hadn't had visits from Trowa or Quatre in ages, either.
I was willing to bet that some day soon, they'd show up at the door unannounced - and then what would Heero do? Run away? Hide? Cover up the truth and solicit our help?
He wouldn't get it. I'd do close to anything to help him work out his issues. I wouldn't do a damn to cover it up for our friends, not beyond what I'd already done.
We'd cornered him about the friends issue the week before. He'd been evasive, claiming he still needed time.
I didn't push about what for. To me, he seemed to have come to terms with himself, as well as his addiction to alcohol. Maybe he just wanted time to hit on me unobstructed, I thought with a smirk.
Or was there more to that? What if that was the part he wasn't ready to admit to Quatre and the others?
Worse, that was an affliction of his I didn't know how to solve gracefully. The two most obvious solutions were not acceptable - flat-out rejection could crush him. All-out acceptance could crush me.
It was also the one problem of his Heero wasn't willing to endure defeat in.
I gave it all some thought. Perhaps the next time Trowa called, I'd drop hints of how long it'd been since their last visit.