Disclaimer: Don't own ‘em, but like my Barbies, I like to play with ‘em.

Pairing: 3x4
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Shounen-ai, potential Episode Zero spoilers, a touch of angst
Challenge: Being Haunted
Word Count: 447

A/N: A slice of life in Trowa and Quatre's world after Endless Waltz. This is a GW500 / 500 word challenge... and will be short. It is only a representation of a part of their life - a taste of caramel coated apple.

Mitigated Remorse
by Merith

The box looked innocent with its unmarked white, corrugated cardboard. Less than two feet cubed, it'd been placed in a corner of the room, almost hidden behind a stately, wing-backed chair. If no one saw it, it held no purpose and did not need to be addressed.

A tall, lithe figure watched that of his lover's move from the room, his question unanswered for the moment. Rising, he pushed his bangs to the side and slipped into his clothes. His eyes slid over to the corner, marking the box's position and automatically noting it had not been moved from the last time he'd visited.

"Quatre," he called softly, approaching him from the doorway.

The blonde man had gone to stand before the floor to ceiling windows. A sheer held in one hand, he gazed unseeing into an unknowing world. The man shook his head without turning.

His fingertips brushed the bare skin of his lover's back, his lips ghosted a kiss on his neck. "It's been two months. It's not going to disappear."

As though drawing strength from his touch, the young man leaned, just enough for a breath more contact. "Irea shouldn't have given it to me. I don't deserve it."

Mouth to shoulder. "She believes you do." An arm circled his waist, drawing the man back against him.

A whisper soft sigh. "I never knew her. I wouldn't know what to do with it."

"Do you even know what the box holds?" He feathered his lips down the captured arm, pulling the wrist closer.

The other moved, bringing his body flush to his lover's. The taller man's neck lay exposed between an open collar, and he plied a little of his own erotic attention. Quivering skin beneath his lips, he pressed his distraction a little more fully.

Hands glided over naked flesh, fingers splayed, igniting and tingling. "You should at least find out." His words barely dounded with the response his touch elicited.

Unable to stop the moan, his suction broke. "I will." Hips thrust into grasping hands. "When it's gone."

"What's gone?" Breathing had become difficult, his own body drawn even more to the one he held.

Pleasure radiated, letting him drift along. The discussion's focus stabbed deep. He released a shuddering sigh, drawing his arms up to encircle his lover's neck. "I killed her."

"Quatre!" His hands stilled in response.

"If not for me, she would still live," he breathed out in answer. Rising to meet the other man's lips, his kiss soothed the unsettled soul. Movement resumed. Thought postponed for the moment.

Though innocent in appearance, Pandora, the name given by the one whom it held more than the dreams of a long dead woman.


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