Invitation to Hell
It was a moonless night, with the sky so clear he could count the stars. One hand tucked behind his head, and the other resting lightly on his belly, Quatre was lying on the hood of his car, the metal still warm from the heat of the engine.
April's temperature felt more like June, and he was glad now he didn't wear the long-sleeve. Without turning to look, he knew Duo was off to his right, edging the bushing that lined the road; he could hear him urinating, emptying beers already consumed. He felt the need to join him, but the urge was slight enough and he didn't want to move.
Through the car's opened windows he listened with half an ear to the song playing on the radio. Closing his eyes, he imaged fingering the chords, and wondered if he'd have time to play with the guys before he had to leave. Duo's burp shattered the illusion and his mouth lifted in a bare smile as the car dipped.
"Room for more," Duo announced, and Quatre could hear him swallow what was left in his can. Duo gave an exaggerated sigh, burped again and tossed the can towards the bushes.
Reaching out with his foot, Quatre kicked the side of Duo's leg. "Keep America clean, asshole," he said without cracking an eyelid.
"Never knew you was a boy scout, Winner." But he hopped off the hood and retrieved the can. Quatre heard him walk past, heard one of the doors open.
"Grab me one, too."
The DJ rambled a bit in the background, and some commercial for the used car lot in town came on; Quatre heard the door shut and started to sit up. The pop-fizz from the tab was his only warning before the spray hit. He rolled in the opposite direction, sliding off the hood, cursing even as he laughed.
"Thought you wanted a beer." Duo was grinning as Quatre peered over the fender.
"To drink, Duo, not wear!" He stood and rounded the bumper. Duo handed him the unopened can, and twitched a brow in challenge. The can hadn't been shaken; as much as he would have like to have gotten even, he liked his beer without the foamy head more.
Duo hopped up on the hood, laid back against the windshield with one leg crossed over the other. "It's warm enough out, at least your shirt will dry."
Not answering immediately, Quatre took a long pull of his beer, and tilted his head back to look at the sky. "Feels like summer." He plucked at his shirt, testing how wet Duo had gotten it.
"You gonna miss it?"
Quatre looked back over his shoulder to find Duo staring at him. "Miss what?"
His hand waved vaguely in the air. "Summer at the lake house? Relena? Getting some good lovin'?"
"Relena... what?" Quatre actually laughed.
"You can't tell me you and Relena haven't! You've been datin' for your whole lives."
Quatre turned away from Duo and drank from his beer can. Off in the distance, he could see the lights from town, and briefly he wondered if his father had found out. "No, we've never dated." A breeze blew, and suddenly the feel of sun-warmed skin under his touch, heating his kisses was more than a memory. He hadn't realized he was smiling until Duo said something.
"Yeah, sure buddy. You can't tell me you've never got it from Relena."
He could hear the disbelief in Duo's voice, but he wasn't going to convince him otherwise. "I don't think I'll miss the lake house much." His eyes flicked back to gauge Duo's reaction. "And I wouldn't have seen Relena this summer anyway. She's been offered an internship in Washington." He looked back out at the lights and tried to keep from thinking of others that he would miss, ones who didn't have a guaranteed summer job.
Another song started on the radio, one a few years old and Quatre spotted Duo's foot tapping out the beat. He finished his beer and set the can on the hood. It was nights like this he'd miss the most.
"You ever regret..." his voice stalled and he shot a look over his shoulder. "you know, being... you?" It sounded idiotic out-loud, and his ears burned red.
Duo's half laugh had him turning around to face his friend. He might never have the chance to ask again.
"Regret being me?" Duo was smiling, his teeth bright in the darkness around his face.
Dropping his eyes to stare at a spot on the hood, Quatre lowered his voice and put words to his thoughts. "Liking men," he shrugged, "having to go through what you do to even meet anyone."
Duo didn't answer right away, and Quatre glanced up to see his friend studying the stars. He still wore a slight smile, and Quatre waited. Less than a minute later, Duo held his look and shrugged.
"Not regrets, exactly." He lifted his beer. "Having to cross the state line any time I want to go to a bar is a pain. But I know if I drink too much at Jack's, there's a place in the back I can crash and not have to worry 'bout saying something I shouldn't here."
There was more to it than what Duo told him, but it was enough. "You ever get some?" he asked with a grin.
"Not with Relena." Duo grinned back. Some things were best not shared.
Quatre boosted himself up on the hood, slid back beside Duo and crossed his arms behind his head. An owl down in the trees below their lookout hooted, and the song changed on the radio. "I want to leave the car with you," he said without looking.
The grunt was low, painful. "Howard'll take care of it. Keep the battery charged and the mice from the hoses." Duo's voice was weak.
"There's a couple other things," he drew in a deep breath and held it a moment before releasing, "a couple things I'd like you to hang onto for me."
He turned his head slowly. Duo's eyes were closed and Quatre could see his hand crushing the can in its grip. The owl hooted again.
"Fuck this." Duo's voice gained strength. "Pick me up Monday morning."
Duo gave him a grin and a nod. "Yeah, Monday." He looked at the crushed can and shrugged, drinking the last of his beer. "Recruiter's office'll be open then."
"What? You think I'm gonna to let you walk into Hell on your own?" Though he still grinned, his eyes had hardened.
Quatre held his look, but the naked expression Duo offered had him swallowing and looking away. "You never could let me go off and do anything by myself." He swallowed again, and sucked in a breath. "You're still an idiot, you know."
"Yeah," Duo said, settling back down against the windshield. "And you still can't find the men's room on your own. Someone's gotta go with you and show you where it's at."
He laughed and blinked up at the stars. The song on the radio changed again and the owl hooted in the trees below. This time, there was an answering call.