Beyond the Road I'm Driving
The room was filled with sunlight, and the low, steady rush of waves washing up on the beach with the occasional gull cry. Quatre knew he was in a bed - not his own, but a bed none-the-less. The cotton was soft, well used beneath his cheek, the blanket light enough but made to hold warmth. By the lack of an antiseptic smell, he knew he wasn't in a hospital.
There was a soft rustling, a long inhale and exhale from somewhere close behind Quatre's back. His first thought was that Trowa waited; followed close with the pain and knowledge. Quatre closed his eyes and groaned. Trowa wasn't there. Trowa wasn't ever going to be there again.
"Are you awake?"
The voice was quiet enough, but the dull ache in his head flared. Quatre shook his head into the pillow. He reached for sleep's obliviousness, but gave it up as futile. "Where am I?" His voice was a croak, scratchy and rough.
"Our house," Heero told him, still keeping his voice in low tones. "You called Duo, remember?"
Quatre rolled over then, and stared at Heero, trying to place snapshot memories. Nothing seemed to match. But he remembered finding his car. He closed his eyes again, bringing a hand to his forehead and wincing at the cut steristripped shut. "I... I didn't hurt anyone... did I?" His lids were pressed tight and his fingers pushed against the injury; he ignored the burst of pain.
"No," Heero said after a pause and then his hand was on Quatre's and he was pulling Quatre's hand from the cut. "You should leave that alone. It'll get infected if you don't."
Dropping his hand to his chest, Quatre squeezed it into a fist; he kept his eyes closed. "I fucked up, Heero."
The room was quiet but for the distance sound of the gulls and the ocean. He could hear Heero breathe, but no words were forthcoming. Not that he expected any. There had been too many promises, too many near misses. "Trowa, he's..." The door was slammed open, stopping his words and Quatre half-sat, opening his eyes.
"Quatre's awake?" Duo took two steps into the room and looked from Heero to Quatre and back. "You were supposed to let me know..."
"He just woke up, Duo." Heero's tone was calm, but he stood and walked his limping gait to Duo's side. "I was going to come get you in another minute." His hand landed on Duo's shoulder and he squeezed it before looking back at Quatre. "I'll be in the other room." His eyes were telling Quatre to call if he was needed.
Quatre watched Heero leave before shifting his gaze back to Duo. His mouth was suddenly dry; his tongue did nothing to moisten lips. Duo was standing where he'd stopped, his arms crossed over his chest, and his eyes not leaving Quatre. Quatre gave him a weak smile and looked down at the blanket rucked up about his waist.
"Does your head hurt?"
He looked up in surprise, expecting something quite different from Duo. His hand rose and his fingers touched the edges of the cut. "A little, but it's not too bad."
"Good." Duo nodded sharply. "The Benz isn't totaled. We had it towed to a local garage." Duo's lips pressed tightly together, enough so that Quatre watched as the edges turning white.
"Duo," he said sliding out of bed, reaching a hand out for his friend. Duo spun away, his arms unfolded his hands in fists.
"God damnit! What the fuck were you thinking?" He was at the wall, now, his fist punching into its surface.
Quatre flinched. "I wasn't..."
"You could have been killed!" Duo was facing him now, his hands shaking by his sides. "Fuck! You could have killed someone else!" He was raking his fingers through his hair and gripping it tight.
"I know." Quatre turned at the sound of the door opening. Heero stood just on the other side. He was looking at Quatre and Quatre offered him a slight smile.
"I can't deal with this right now," Duo was saying. He was walking to the door and brushed past Heero.
Heero turned his head to watch him go and Quatre stepped back to sit on the edge of the mattress. "I really have messed things up." It was only then, staring down at his bare legs that he realized he was naked but for a pair of boxers. Boxers that weren't his. He held no memory of someone dressing and undressing him.
"It'll work itself out." Heero was moving into the room now, coming closer to sit at Quatre's side. "This was the first time he's seen you like this."
Quatre nodded woodenly. "I just - " He sighed and inhaled deeply. "He's always been there."
"He's still there."
"But," the word wavered and Quatre closed his eyes tight. "There was hate in his eyes."
"He doesn't hate you," Heero said firmly, shifting on the bed to move closer. "He doesn't like seeing what you're doing to yourself, done to yourself." His hand was warm on Quatre's shoulder, his palm slightly roughened from his work. Quatre canted his head sideways to find Heero staring at him. "He's lost too many to lose the few of us he cares deeply for."
Quatre looked back at the carpet, and Heero left his hand on his shoulder. Heero was wearing faded surfer shoes, his prosthesis pale white against the tan of his skin. He was in shorts, baggy and long, and a sweatshirt pulled over a tank top. Quatre smiled softly - Heero's office dress hadn't changed.
"Trowa's gone," he said suddenly, the smile slipping away. "He... left."
"I know." Heero's hand tightened a fraction and released. "He called us after he left. Asked if we'd keep an eye on you."
With a shuddering sigh, Quatre leaned into Heero. "What am I going to do, Heero?" Barely whispered, he almost hoped it hadn't been heard.
Heero slid his arm over Quatre's shoulders and gave him a squeeze. "First, you're going to take a shower," his voice was calm, rational and soothing, "because you stink." Quatre chuckled and let his eyes close. "Next, you're going to talk to Duo." Heero's arm kept him from jerking away. "He'll be ready to listen and ready to help then." Quatre sighed and nodded.
"What about... Trowa?" Quatre bit his lip; the image of the way Trowa looked as he was telling him goodbye rose behind his eyes.
"Let's worry about Quatre for now. Get you sober, make you strong." Heero let go of Quatre's shoulder and pushed him upright with his own shoulder. "Go take a shower and I'll find something for you to eat," He was looking at Quatre with a hint of a smile. "And something to wear. Santa Cruz isn't that liberal."
He found Duo on the lower landing, just up from the beach. Duo was standing facing the Pacific, his arms folded about his body, and Quatre hesitated before continuing down the stairs to the next level. Shorts and sweatshirts were standard wear here, for both he and Duo were dressed similar, though more low-keyed than Heero's brilliant colors. Two steps up from the landing, Quatre saw the braid. Not nearly as long as it once was, it still was long enough to elicit comment. He came to a stop next to Duo, his arms coming up to cross over his stomach in unconscious mimic of Duo.
Duo didn't acknowledge his presence, though Quatre was certain he knew that he was there. He was wearing sunglasses and Quatre couldn't tell exactly at what he was staring. The span of beachfront covered a small jutting peninsula, shared by the dozen or so homes immediately south of Santa Cruz proper. Heero swore that at certain times of the year, right at dawn, a person couldn't find a better place to surf.
In silence, he watched the ocean with Duo, the waves rolling in and drifting ever so gently upon the sand only to recede in apologetic speed. Off on the horizon, he could make out a sailboat. He thought it a small sloop, its white sail standing out from the deep blue of ocean and sky. A memory came unbidden, then. A memory of one weekend he had taken Duo with him up to the lake house, and showed him out to sail. They'd gotten sunburned and Duo nearly capsized them twice. But, by that Sunday evening, Duo could hoist a sail, to jig a rig and tack the sail.
Quatre wondered if Duo ever thought of those days.
"I need help," he said in a strong tone. Duo would or wouldn't, Heero had said, but you still have to ask first. And though Duo shifted on his feet, he didn't say anything, didn't look at Quatre. Quatre turned away to face the wind, letting it blow his hair back and away from his eyes.
"When your helicopter went down," Duo began and Quatre turned back to face him. Duo was still looking out at the ocean. "I nearly dived out of mine after you." He sighed deep then and faced Quatre. "If it weren't for Heero, I'd dive into hell itself after you." Duo reached up and removed his glasses. His eyes were red rimmed and Quatre felt his own sting. "How can I help?"
Stepping forward, Quatre reached for Duo and held him tight. "You already have, Duo. You already have."
The days melted, one into the other, each seeming the same in Quatre's mind. Peace was what Heero said he needed, and peace was what they gave him. He spent hours on the beach, walking the shoreline, turning back only when he came to the public beach marker. When it rained, he spent the day on the covered back porch on a lounge chair just out of the spray the wind blew in. He would sometimes read then, sometimes listen to the radio, and sometimes, he would just watch the ocean as the waves gained height and strength.
After dinner on the clear evenings, he'd walk down the lane with Duo and Heero, sometimes with just Duo. Most of the time, it was in a comfortable silence. Sometimes he'd recall a memory and share; sometimes he'd save it for later to think on while he walked the beach. Duo would tell him of his day, and how working the city desk at the local paper wasn't really his bag, but since it paid the bills, he wouldn't complain. Heero liked to talk of his shop, about the new board he was working on, of the waves off the coast of Maui and how one day he wanted to surf in Australia.
It was at night, when the house was quiet and even the Pacific kept the noise down, when he knew Heero and Duo both slept; it was then he would wake clutching the sheet and blanket to his chest. His body shook and trembled, his teeth chattered with such violence, he took to biting on the blanket's edge to keep them from breaking. Sweat formed from every pore in cold drops, soaking his pajamas and sheets; his hair would become slick and matted.
The eighth night of his stay, he couldn't stop the shaking. He was curled in a tight ball, his eyes closed against the images that wouldn't stop. He was crying, could feel the tears wet and hot on his skin, and did nothing to stop their course. The pain that wasn't there dug its claws deep into his neck, up inside his skull. The stench of his filth filled his nose; it had only been when he'd been tossed into the pit that other smells overpowered his own. And the noises, the whimpering, the screams, and cries never stopped.
Arms, strong and tan circled him, pulled him back against a chest warm and comforting. "Trowa?" his voice weak and wavering.
"Shh, Quatre. I'm here." Duo was whispering in his ear and another blanket was thrown over them both.
Quatre opened his eyes to see Heero standing beside the bed watching him. He was still shaking, but the violence of the spasms had passed. Duo was still whispering nonsense phrases and holding him close and Heero lifted the blankets and slipped inside to lie next to Quatre. The smells of the camp slowly faded; the scent of ocean and sand, sun and tanning lotion, and some mixture of Heero and Duo together were replacing it.
"When I was five, my parents were killed." Heero's voice almost startled him, but Duo was still holding him, though he quieted to listen. "My father was a captain in the Army and my mother a Japanese national. Neither of their families wanted me, a half-breed of the enemy." Quatre reached out to him, touched his bare shoulder.
"I spent three months in an orphanage before the man who was my father's superior during the Korean War showed up to ‘spring me from the joint'." A strange smile twitched on Heero's lips and his eyes flicked to Quatre and then over him to Duo beyond. "That old man dragged me to every military installation in the world, taught me how to use every weapon, and speak a dozen languages. My upbringing was unconventional, and no where near normal." Heero rolled to his side and reached over Quatre, holding both him and Duo. "I could wish I hadn't lost my mother and father, that Jay was more adept at raising a child, but I wouldn't be who I am now if not for the experiences he showed me." His eyes lingered on Quatre for a long minute and then moved upward to Duo watching him from over Quatre's shoulder.
It was in the quiet of the night the tremors stopped, and Quatre slept.
"Do your neighbors know?" Quatre was sitting on a wrought iron padded chair, his feet up on the deck rail, and the chair tilted back on two legs. He turned from watching a teenaged girl chase after a dog down on the beach to look at Heero first and then Duo. Duo was cocking his head to the side, his eyes squinting despite the fact he was wearing sunglasses. Heero folded down the top half of his newspaper and peered at Quatre over its top. "About you two, I mean."
Heero's eyebrows rose but it was Duo who answered first. "Maybe? I don't listen to most of ‘em anyway."
"Some know," Heero added quietly. "Some just think they do." He turned to look off down the beachside of the lane, and the houses lit by the setting sun. "There are some good people who live out here." Shaking out his paper, he lifted it and went back to reading, his answer supplied.
Quatre fingered the condensation on his tea glass, staring at the table still scattered with the remains of their dinner. There had been a time when he knew good people, ones who accepted without question. But other than the two he was sharing a meal with, he hadn't come across many in recent months, and none in the Financial District. "Do they think it's odd? Do they say anything?" Rumors followed him around the office, and hushed slurs were whispered from the backs of elevators.
Duo laughed and Quatre jerked his head up to see him grinning at Heero; Heero continued to read his paper. "I hear we're," he raised his hands and made ditto marks in the air before speaking in a falsetto voice, "two eccentric men who live together at the end of the lane." Duo laughed silently, though his vigor rattled the table.
Flipping down a corner of his paper, Heero was definitely wearing a smirk. "No, they think I'm eccentric." He waited a half a second. "But they know you're queer."
And Quatre was laughing, his chair unsteady and tilting, went over backwards, landing on the deck behind him with him still in the chair. Tea splashed up on his face and covered the deck, ice cubes were sliding away, some to disappear and melt under plant stands and Heero's board rack.
"Funny Yuy." Quatre was still laughing when Duo came to help him to his feet. Duo was scowling, looking more like a young boy than a man he was. "It wasn't that funny."
"No," he said handing Duo his now empty glass and grabbing a couple of napkins from the table. "It isn't funny." He was wiping his face and failing in his attempt not to laugh.
"Why'd you ask?" Duo asked from over his arm, straightening the chair and kicking the melting cubes out of the way.
Quatre drew quiet, the napkins twisted in his hands. Heero folded his paper in eighths and set it aside, watching Quatre. Duo turned to look.
"It was hard, sometimes." He shrugged and tossed the napkins on the table. "I used to say things... some not so nice things when I'd been drinking." He looked up at Heero and glanced at Duo. His smile was weak and fleeting. "Trowa used to say he understood."
"He does." Quatre and Duo were both looking at Heero now. "He used to call sometimes. Just to talk."
"He would talk to you?" Quatre tasted the word and repeated it. "Talk?"
Duo nodded. "Sometimes. He missed you a lot, you know. When you would..." Duo let the sentence die with a wave of his hand.
"He would worry about you. Wondered what he could do to help you."
Quatre sat back in his chair and passed a hand over his face. "I never knew."
Duo's hand was suddenly on his arm giving it a hard squeeze. "You're almost there, man. You're almost there."
"When that happens," Heero picked up, "you can tell Trowa about it in person."
He nodded and reached up to hold Duo's hand with his.
Duo found him down on the beach early one morning. He stood just short of the wave line his slacks rolled up to mid-calf, his dress shirt untucked, and billowing with the wind. The night had been a restless one; the nightmares had come again. He'd lain struggling, fighting the images back. Eventually, he rose, just to see if Duo or Heero were still awake - to talk, to just not be alone. The soft sounds and muted moans were heard through their bedroom door, and Quatre returned to his room, dressed in quiet, and left the house.
He'd been walking the beach for hours, stopping only to stare at the ocean, to track its progress. Duo's greeting, he ignored; at Duo's touch, he whirled on him. His hands were in fists, his jaw ached, and the writhing mass in his gut worked its way out.
"Why?" he was shouting the word, his face thrust forward, and the veins on his neck were bulging with the force of his demand.
Duo had stopped a couple of feet from him, his hand still held out to touch him. He faltered, stumbled back at Quatre's yell, and dropped his arm. "What why?"
"Why weren't you there?" And Quatre jumped at Duo, tackled him to the sand, and sat on top of him, his knees digging into Duo's chest. "What happened to you!" He was yelling, pounding his fists on Duo's chest, on his shoulders.
"Quatre!" Duo shouted, struggling under Quatre's weight, his arms flailing, and his hands gripping Quatre's wrists. "Stop it, damn it!"
"You said you'd be there!" He pulled one hand free and his fist connected with the side of Duo's face, instantly splitting the skin covering his cheek. "You weren't! You weren't there!"
He was crying now, his throat raw and his words hoarse. Duo was staring up at him, tears in his eyes. He'd stopped struggling to free himself, though he hadn't let go of Quatre's other hand. Quatre was breathing hard, rasping, and choking. His freed hand had come to rest on Duo's chest.
"You didn't come. You didn't rescue me. I was alone."
Quatre turned his head, looked over his shoulder, and saw Heero walking toward them. Heero held his look for a moment and shifted to Duo. The sting in his hand flared and Quatre turned back, bringing his hand to his face and staring at the split knuckles, blood smeared and swollen.
"He was ready to go back out with us but I made him stay in camp." Heero squatted down beside them. "I had him locked in the brig for the day." He was pulling gently on Quatre's arm, moving him off of Duo's chest. "I did go back." Duo was sitting up and reaching for Quatre, holding him. "We found the bodies and enough pieces for all but two. You and the Special Ops captain."
Quatre's eyes never left Heero's face. He felt the tears but they were sluggish now, slow, and fat, after effects of the sudden rage.
"A three person team, myself, and two others worked a five hundred foot perimeter looking for signs of where you were." Heero was speaking in a quiet calming voice, pausing only long enough to pull off his tank top and use its hem to dab at the cut on Duo's lip and cheek. "There was an obvious trail leading deeper into the jungle, and we followed." His eyes met Quatre's, and he knew, even with the distance of time what they'd seen hadn't faded either. "We found the Ops captain." Heero's mouth twisted. "Or what was left of him." Duo took the shirt from him and was pressing it one-handed to his lip. "By the time we returned to the crash site, we couldn't find your trail, and you had been classified as MIA."
Quatre pulled away from Duo's half embrace and wiped at his eyes with the palm of his hand. He inhaled deeply and asked softly, "You looked for me?"
Heero nodded slowly, his thumb swiping at a new tear. "Not a day went by from the time your Huey went down to when we came to see you in Saigon that we didn't look for you. Every VC we took, we questioned." Heero's hand slid down to cup Quatre's neck. "You were not forgotten."
A sudden weight was pressed against his side, and Duo's face was buried in his hair. "You crazy fucker," he was whispering. "Frater meus, vita meus, remember? I wasn't ever going to let you go it alone."
The anger was fading, and Quatre was feeling worn and old. He wanted to lay in the sand and sleep. "Duo," he whispered, bringing fingers up to hover over the small cut that was already swelling below Duo's eye. "Oh, Duo, I'm so sorry."
"Don't worry ‘bout it." The uninjured corner of Duo's mouth lifted in a half smile. "It'll just increase my reputation at the office."
Heero straightened, using Duo's shoulder as a balance. "I put some coffee on before heading down. Let's say we go have some breakfast."
Quatre was suddenly hungry and accepted Heero's hand to pull him to his feet. He turned to help Duo, but didn't release his grip until they reached the door to the house.
Heero began teaching him how to surf mid-morning on the eighteen day of his stay.
Quatre had been watching Heero at work shaping one of the custom boards with lathe and sandpaper. A radio was playing in the background, its volume low and the steady rasp of tool to wood was soothing. Quatre looked at the posters hung up in the board shop, some advertisements, but most were photos capturing the best of catching a wave.
Quatre startled himself with his request, and he wondered what he'd been thinking. But the concentration mixed with euphoria in each surfer's expression drew him. His request delighted Heero. "Duo only dabbled," Heero had said. His work abandoned, Heero pulled Quatre from his perch and drove him to his surf shop to pick out equipment needed.
A little more than an hour later, he was properly outfitted, down at the beach and holding a borrowed board planted upright in the sand. Heero was demonstrating how to stand, when to move and shift his weight according to wave, when to thread the water, and when to ditch.
"The ocean's a cold mistress," Heero was saying as they walked into the surf. "She'll roll you, fuck you, and then spit you out as soon as she's done with you." He stopped Quatre long enough to add, "Just remember to roll with the flow, and you'll be okay."
Quatre began to laugh, but a quick glance at Heero, and the humor died. He straddled his board at waist high water, and imitated Heero in paddling further out into the ocean.
His first wave washed over him before he made it to his feet. The tumbling ride, ass over head, to the shore was bruising. Heero called out to him to get back on the board, and get back out to catch the next one.
His second wave he managed to crest and ride to its dying point.
Heero called it quits while the sun started on the lower side. By that time, Quatre's legs were like jelly, and his muscles ached in ways they hadn't since basic. His nose and cheeks were red, and he knew his nose would be peeling by the next afternoon. But, it was with a quiet sort of jubilation that he staggered from the ocean, and carried his board across the beach and up the stairs to secure it to the rack.
He had learned to surf.
A shower later, and he was in the kitchen, ripping lettuce for a salad. Duo was in and out from kitchen to deck, minding the grill and stirring a pot on the stove.
"Heero said you went surfing today," Duo said, propping a hip against the counter next to him. "Have fun?"
"Yes, it was." Quatre scraped diced tomatoes in the bowl. "Heero teaches well."
Duo reached out and touched his nose. "Next time put some zinc on that. I'm surprised Heero didn't force it on you."
Quatre rolled his eyes at Duo. "He forced everything else on me. You'd think I was heading off to Mars as much stuff as he loaded me down with." Duo chuckled lightly and filched a slice of carrot from the salad.
"Duo," Quatre paused in slicing cucumber. He frowned at his knife and shot Duo a look. "Is he always so... I mean, when did Heero start speaking like, well..." he ended with a shrug and another look.
Duo chewed on the carrot slowly. He was smiling when he finished and was reaching for another as he supplied, "like a drunken sailor?" Quatre nodded and Duo laughed again. "He takes his surfing seriously."
"And you don't?" He added the cucumber to the bowl and reached for the avocado.
"Nah, not surfing. That's supposed to be fun, you know? Something to spend a few hours getting back to nature and shit." He turned to pick out a few black olives from a side dish.
"You're going to make yourself full," Quatre warned, but reached for his own olive with a smile.
Duo laughed, and popped another olive in his mouth. He went to check the grill and Quatre watched him through the window. Setting the knife aside and wiping his fingers off on a towel, Quatre followed Duo out to the deck. The steaks looked done to Quatre, but Duo added more seasoning and closed the lid.
"Do you think about ‘nam?" Quatre asked, leaning against the rail braced on his hands.
Duo watched him, nodding slowly. He set the barbecue tongs aside and half-perched on the patio table. "Yeah," he added quietly. "A little more lately than usual." He was smiling again, but Quatre turned away, squinting his eyes to look to the ocean.
"How do you handle it? Doesn't it bother you?"
"Sure it bothers me," Duo said, leaning forward. "When I dwell on it too much. Just as it bothers me to think about Howard, or my mom, or any one of the shitty things that've happened." Duo's voice was sharp and Quatre turned to face him.
"How do you...how do you live with it?"
Duo shrugged and Quatre watched him as he settled back, tilted his head to look upward to the sky. "Live. Do the day to day things that gets me by. Enjoy what I have. Heero." His glance flicked down to Quatre and back. "Fuck, Quatre. I don't think there's any one way to get over it. It can either run your life or be part of your past. And fuck if I'm going to live another day in Viet-fucking-nam."
"What's burning?" Heero called from the screen door.
"Fuck!" Duo scrambled off the table and sprinted for the door.
Quatre stayed awhile longer, staring at the space where Duo had just been.
"...be part of your past." He was nodding his head and felt the almost physical shift. "Be part of your past," he said.
When Heero thought he was ready, they took a drive north. Duo joined them at the last minute, telling him that he had to prove he too could surf. Heero said nothing, and just added Duo's board to the rack.
It was while they were on the beach, pulling wetsuits on and eyeing the waves, that Heero spoke of what lay ahead.
"Just off the shore, about a mile out is an undertow that'll haul you to Fiji if you land in it." Heero's eyes narrowed staring at the water's surface. "Don't go out too far, and if you do, don't get tossed." He pulled out a tube of zinc oxide, smeared it on his nose, and passed it over to Duo. "There doesn't appear to be a rip current today, but the waters are a little rougher up here than by our little beach."
Dread was beginning to climb its way up, and Quatre squeezed out a portion of the sun blocker for his own use. "What should I do if... if I do get tossed?"
"Pray." Duo was grinning, but picked up his board and began his run through the surf.
"You'll be fine," Heero claimed and picked up his own board. He rested a hand on Quatre's shoulder and jerked his chin out to the ocean. "If you get caught, don't fight it. It'll only wear you down. Swim parallel to the shoreline until you don't feel the tug any more."
Quatre nodded, his brows furrowing. But he followed Heero through the surf and into the water. Duo was already riding a wave in, a teaser he called it. To get his feet wet. Set and in place, Quatre let two potentials pass him by, though Heero caught the second one. Instead, he turned to watch the waves form and wondered on just where the undertow was.
Duo shouted behind him, and Quatre turned back in time to see him lever himself into a crouch just as the wave crested. At least five foot, and Duo was skimming its surface, yelling his way to shore.
From his perch, he could hear Heero call out something to Duo, and Duo's answering laugh. Feeling the slight jerk, Quatre glanced behind him, and began to paddle to the ready point. The wave formed, and he was up on his feet, shifting his weight to guide the board as Heero taught him. As the wave crested, he opened his mouth and let out a yell to rival Duo's. Off to the side, he could see Duo wave and he laughed, letting the water carry him to shore.
He might not ever take surfing serious, might never find where the undertow hid, but for today, he planned to enjoy what he had.
For almost a month his car had been ready. For almost a month, it'd been stored in a friend's garage. On this morning, though, it was freshly washed and polished with his half a suitcase of thrown together clothing in the trunk.
Duo held out to him a slip of paper and would have stayed if not for Heero prodding him out of the room and off onto the deck. Quatre watched them for a moment through the windows and then looked around the living room of their house, the place he'd been calling home for nearly two months.
He smoothed the crumpled slip of paper over the table and picked up the receiver. For a moment, the imagined feel of the undertow's tug was strong and grasping. But Quatre pushed it away and began to dial. At the other end of the line, the phone rang and was picked up with a familiar "hello?"
Quatre closed his eyes and released the breath he'd been holding.