disclaimer: merith does not own gundam wing.. or the boys. so sad, that....
when we were young
pairings: none, really - but some faint hints and lots of friendships
...suit was sealed. He was ready to exit the ship; repairs were waiting, and... Quatre rounded the building corner, turned the page, and ran into something soft - but hard - knocking him back and dropping his book. He jerked his head up even as the boy was apologizing.
"No, I was, uh..." Quatre flushed and bent to pick up his book. The boy reached it before him and held it out.
"Nigel Weller!" the boy exclaimed and pulled the book closer. "I was just looking for the first book of this series in the library." He grimaced. "Some jerk-off has all five checked out and hasn't returned them yet."
Quatre's flush deepened. "Well, uh... I would be that jerk-off." The boy looked at him, his own cheeks beginning to stain. "But I have them in my backpack. I could loan it to you, if you'd like?" he offered and then said suddenly, "You're that whiz kid in Maths Wufei wouldn't shut up about during third period!"
The boy's thumb ran over the edge of the book's cover, straightening the tendency of it to curb upward. "I have Maths during second period."
"I'm Quatre," he said smiling.
"Trowa," the boy said with a nod. He held up the book. "You have the others? I was hoping to have something to read this weekend..."
"Come with me and I'll share them!" Quatre jerked his head toward the glass door ahead. "I was going to lunch on the grass."
After a glance back at the library doors, Trowa nodded. "Sure."
Quatre led the way through the history overflow trailers, past the Shop class and up a short hill. Taking his pack from his shoulders, he dropped to the ground and sat cross-legged on the grass next to a tree. "I'm nearly done with the fifth book, but brought the rest just in case we had a free period." His pack was open and he took out his lunch, setting it aside to dig down deeper. "Here." He handed the first book to Trowa and reached down inside for the others.
"Thanks." Trowa sat close-by and tossed the first book near Quatre's lunch. "I've read his "Infinity" series and had just started the "Inverted" series when we moved." He frowned down at the book he now held.
"Infinity was good, but too detailed," Quatre said and pulled a handful of paperbacks from the pack. "Inverted has more action and you can really get into Jack's character more." His eyes fell on the first book's cover and he blanched. The cover art was most definitely not from Inverted, and he knew for certain Eternal Love Pirate was not one of Weller's works. With a quick look in Trowa's direction, he shoved the book back in his pack. He must have picked up one of his sister's books.
"But the details were great!" Trowa's eyes lit up, and he flipped about mid-way through the book. "The fighting machines he described - I could just picture them. And living in space."
Quatre watched him stretch out and begin to read. Giving a little shrug, he opened his book, his drink and reached for his sandwich. Trowa didn't appear to be eating. "I could see building up space stations to support potential mining of minerals from asteroids, but to actually live in space..." he shook his head.
"Duo, if you'd just wait a minute, I'll pull your notes out." Quatre turned his head to watch his two friends walk up the hill; Duo behind Heero with his hand stuck down inside Heero's pack.
"But if it's not there, I want to go grab... got it!" He stepped back and waved a handful of loose papers.
Heero threw him a glare, glanced in Trowa's direction and took a seat on the grass across from Quatre. "I told you I picked them up for you." A paper sack was produced, and a sandwich pulled from its interior.
Throwing himself on the ground next to Heero, and giving a nod to Trowa, Duo dragged Heero's pack closer. "But I really need to study, man. Didn't get the chance last night and if I don't pass this test, Baily's going to fail me." Another paper bag appeared. "And you know Howard'd ground me for the rest of my life if I flunk another class."
His look took in his friends and Trowa; he bit into a carrot. "If you'd stop messing around with AO, you'd have time to study."
"But I was leading this raid we'd been planning for days, and then they dropped this armor and..."
"We don't want to hear about it!" Heero and Quatre said at nearly the same time.
"What gang are you with?" Trowa asked, looking Duo over. "I'm a 'trox soldier."
Duo made a face. "Sucks to be you. I'm an optifecs shade, Doolan." He popped open a can of cola. "Usually run with the Bridges, but I'm an independent."
"I've ran with them a couple of times. But mostly pick up a few independents for raids on my own." They shared a grin.
After pulling out the second sandwich from his bag, Duo glared at it. "Bologna. I hate bologna."
"You eat it nearly every day," Heero commented, finishing his own sandwich and moving onto a small bag of chips.
"Yeah, and that's why I hate it." Duo cast a look around and held it out to Trowa. "Hey do me a favor and eat this, k?"
Trowa picked up the bag and nodded. "You didn't put anything weird in it, did you?"
"Nah," Duo laughed. "It's only got mayo and cheese on it."
Looking up from his book, Quatre glanced between his friends. "Oh, this is Trowa. He's new."
Duo offered a greeting, but immediately went back to his sandwich and notes. Heero nodded, a slight frown between his brow. "You're in my home room."
Trowa lifted his shoulder and dug out a pink class schedule. "Stevens?" he asked looking up from the list.
Leaning over to read the schedule, Quatre pointed. "You'll be in my English and music classes! Cool!"
"Who transfers to a new school a week before Christmas vacation?" Heero was still looking at Trowa.
"No one sane," Duo replied, not looking up from his notes.
"That proves it," a new voice joined the group. "Duo's the expert in insanity." Wufei sat between Heero and Quatre. Giving him a nod, he began to stare at Trowa. "Finally someone who knows more than that ass, Renken."
Duo glanced at Wufei, told him to, "bite me," and went back to his notes.
"Wufei, right?" Trowa asked. At Wufei's head-shake, he gave a faint smile. "He did act like he knew more than anyone else."
"So who's going to Relena's party on Saturday?" Quatre asked. "I already know you are Wufei."
"Not going to make it," Duo said, holding his place with a finger. "Movie night."
Heero was nodding. "We made plans last week." Catching sight of a sheet of paper in front of Wufei, he picked it up. "Is this the tournament schedule?" And began to read.
"Yes. I just got it from Coach Bleach," Wufei told Heero, and glanced at Quatre, "And yes, of course I'll be there."
He looked at Duo with a slight smirk. "Going to see Revenge of the Sith again?"
Duo nodded and took a drink.
"Haven't you seen it a hundred times already?"
"Twenty-four," Heero supplied. "This will be the twenty-fifth."
"But we only saw Clones like ten." Duo wrinkled his nose. Heero smacked him on the back of his head. "Hey!"
"Study," Heero told him, jerking his chin at the notes. "If Howard grounds you again, the weekend's shot."
"You can go with me, if you want to," Quatre told Trowa. "Relena wouldn't mind."
"Like a date?" Duo asked looking between the two.
"Duo!" Quatre threw a carrot at him, flushing.
Wufei snorted and jumped to his feet. "I've got timed laps fifth period," he said by way of explanation. He moved off a few feet from the group and began stretching exercises.
"Sorry!" Duo dragged the word out, but bent over his notes once again.
Heero set Wufei's tournaments schedule aside and found the page he'd been reading in his textbook.
"Saturday?" Trowa asked.
"Yeah, it starts at seven, usually winds down about midnight." Quatre was nodding. "There should be pizza and a bunch of stuff. Relena has good parties."
Trowa was staring at the book still open in his hand, but he nodded. "I'd like to go...with you."
"Great! My sister can give you a ride home." Trowa glanced up at him, and he added in a hurry, "just to find out where you live." Trowa's smile was short, but Quatre felt his cheeks heat.
"Speaking of rides," Heero turned to Duo. "Think Howard can give me one on the twenty-ninth?"
Duo looked up frowning. "That's a Friday, isn't it? Shouldn't be a problem. Got a meet?" He jerked his chin at the tournament schedule.
"The twenty-ninth of December, and the fourth and fifth of January. J should be back by the first..."
"Just let me know." Duo had turned back to his notes.
Quatre sat back for a moment, stretching his back and rolling his neck. He stopped to watch Wufei working his hamstrings, palms against the tree. Duo's murmured question to Heero, and Heero's answer pulled his attention. He wanted to say something about how cute they looked all huddled together, but didn't. Maybe it was because they did look cute leaning against each other, going over Duo's notes.
He let his gaze slide over to Trowa, and linger. The boy was now propped up on an arm, his book on the grass in front of him. Quatre tilted his head to the side, trying to see Trowa's eyes behind his long bangs. He was the new kid, but somehow, he didn't feel like it.
Turning his book over in his hand, Quatre altered looking at the cover and each of his friends in turn. He mentally assigned names to the five young men on the cover art. Though none were alike in appearance, each character matched one of his friends to a high degree.
Quatre scanned the grassy clearing again, watching each of his friends for a moment until he was back at Trowa. It was like Trowa had always been a part of their group. And maybe he had but didn't know it until they'd bumped into one another. Quatre shook his head internally and went back to his book. It was a good day, a good book, and winter vacation would soon be there.
pairing: friendship with hints at trowa/quatre, heero/duo and wufei/relena
Quatre barely gave a glance in Wufei's direction before nodding. It didn't matter where he put his stuff; the room was theirs for the rest of the weekend anyway. The controller jumped in his hand, and he turned back to slaughtering enemy soldiers in ancient Japanese dress.
"When are the other guys coming?" Wufei asked, dropping down cross-legged next to Quatre.
"Trowa should be showing up any time." He grunted as his 'Liu Bei' character took a vicious hit. A minute of fighting, and the trouble had passed. "And you know Heero and Duo - they'll arrive together and blame the other for making each other late."
Wufei snorted and plugged in a second controller to the console, preparing for a break in the action. "The fifth gate. That's where you're going to find..."
"I know!" Quatre snapped, jerking the controller abruptly, eyes glued to the screen as Liu Bei dodged a direct crit. "It's not the first time I played."
"Sorry! I was only trying to help." Wufei sat back on his hands and stretched his legs out in front. "I brought National Treasure."
Quatre spared Wufei a look, his lips quirked up. "You would. I hear your buddy's in a new movie."
Ignoring the slight or at least refusing to acknowledge it, Wufei nodded. "Lord of War. It's coming out this summer."
The doorbell rang and Quatre paused the game, jumping to his feet. "That should be Trowa." He dropped the controller to the floor and headed for the archway. "Go ahead and hit reset. We can play some three-way until Heero and Duo get here." And then he sprinted up the three steps and down the white tiled hallway, answering the door before Trowa had a chance to ring the bell again.
"Hey, come on in." Quatre threw open the door, nearly causing Trowa to stumble over the stoop. "Wufei's here, but we're still waiting for Heero and Duo." He stepped back, letting Trowa come inside, carting his backpack and a sleeping bag.
"Whoa..." The word was more a loud whisper, and Quatre turned to see Trowa standing on the landing overlooking the living room. "Cool tree."
"Yeah," he said joining Trowa. "Dad has some company find the biggest tree and decorate it." He frowned at the tree with its over-the-top ostentatiousness. "You should see what they did to the outside with all the lights and stuff. We'll go out and look at it after it gets dark." He shot a quick look up at Trowa and back to the tree.
"Okay." Trowa nodded and hiked up his pack. "I brought that Spellberg book I was telling you about yesterday."
Quatre's face lit up. "Oh yeah! Hey, you have to check this out." He grabbed Trowa's arm and started pulling him toward the stairway. "I just picked up Makana: Second Stage!"
"No way!" It was Trowa's turn to become excited. "I thought it wasn't coming out 'til January. You really got it?" He dropped his stuff to the floor and followed Quatre eagerly up the stairs.
"Yeah, and you're not going to believe what happens when the Rangers get to Lunar Four. It's great!" Quatre was walking up the stairs half turn around. "I finished it last night." He opened a door and went to the bedside table. "Here, you can read it next." His cheeks were flushed.
"Does Terry find the... no, don't tell me." Trowa opened the book and read the jacket blurb, moving to sit on the bed. "There's only three more left in the series." His tone went sad.
Quatre nodded, sitting next to Trowa and flipping the book to the back page. "He says he has another series in mind and is wrapping up Inverted."
"Damn. I liked this series." Trowa closed the book and stared at the cover art for a moment. "But, another series. Dude, you know it's got to be good."
"Sure! There's a small exert at the end of the book, and the synopsis looks interesting." Quatre leaned into Trowa, moving pages while Trowa held the book. "It's still in space, but it seems a little more political than adventure."
Trowa hadn't moved, and Quatre looked up at him. Trowa's eyes were wide, but his fingers were gripping the book tightly. "Oh." Quatre jerked away, no longer touching Trowa. "Uh, sorry."
Jumping to his feet with the book still clutched in his hands, Trowa was shaking his head. "No, it's okay. It's..."
The doorbell rang, the extension sounding loud and shrill and both boys jumped. Quatre laughed a little, standing up and brushing by Trowa. "That's got to be Duo." And he escaped his room, not looking back.
"Líng T?ng has been defeated!" The electronic voice exclaimed, the 'game over' warning box flashed on the screen.
"Damn it! No way did that just happen!" Duo shouted, throwing his controller to the floor and jumping to his feet.
"It did, and you're out." Wufei picked up the abandoned controller and leaned forward to hit the reset. "Who's next?"
"We could watch a movie?" Quatre suggested, his controller held loosely in both hands. "A couple new ones came in the other day I haven't seen yet, and Wufei brought some."
Trowa stood, holding out his controller to Duo. "Here, you can play my guy."
Wufei looked over at Quatre. "What're the movies?"
Standing suddenly, Quatre went to the large armoire and opened its doors. "There's Man on Fire..."
"Oh cool! That's the movie where Denzel cuts this guy's fingers..."
"We've seen it." Heero cut in. "It's good." He was unplugging his controller from the console and winding the cord around it.
"Or we can watch Meet the Fockers." Quatre pulled another DVD from the cabinet and frowned at the cover.
"Fockers! Cool." Duo turned to Heero and forked his fingers. Pointing them at his own eyes first, he jerked his hand around to point the fingers at Heero's. "I have my eyes on you Focker."
Heero blinked and turned to Quatre. "Have they sent Shrek 2 yet?"
Quatre looked again, but was already shaking his head. "No, there's something up with the distribution, I think. It should come in next month though."
"We can watch Sith Lords..."
"No!" Wufei interjected standing up. "You and your Star Wars crap." He picked up a plastic case off the table, and opened it. "National Treasure."
Duo fell over, gagging. "Just because you're in love with Nicky, doesn't mean the rest of..."
"Shut up, Duo." Heero shoved Duo's arm. "Let Trowa decide."
Trowa backed up a step holding his hands out in front of him when all eyes turned his way. "Whatever you guys want."
"Alright! Sith it is!" Duo shot to his feet and ran to the movie cabinet.
"No!" Both Quatre and Heero joined Wufei this time.
A cell phone rang. Wufei dropped the movie case and dug into his pocket, fishing out his cell. He was looking at the caller ID, and Duo started laughing.
"Relena." Three voices said in sync. Wufei scowled and flipped the phone open, walking from the room as he greeted the girl.
"Man, when's he going to give in and admit it that he's got the hots for her?" Duo went to drop back in his place next to Heero on the floor.
Quatre was smiling, picking up a handful of DVD cases, and closing the cabinet doors. "Maybe when you do?"
"What? I don't have the hots for 'Lena!"
Heero choked as Quatre laughed. He ignored Duo's punch and hissed 'what?', finding sudden interest in picking up spilled popcorn.
Still chuckling softly, Quatre opened the first of the small stack and popped the DVD into the slot. He turned and spotted Trowa sitting on the couch watching him. Offering a brief smile, he gestured to the remote beside Trowa on the table. "Hit play whenever you want." And he went to sit on the couch near Trowa without looking at him.
"Should we wait for Wufei?" Trowa asked, picking up the remote and studying its buttons.
"Nah," Duo said from the floor, shifting a pile of pillows behind his head. "He'll be on the phone with 'Lena for the next five hours."
"Go ahead," Quatre told Trowa, looking at him and wishing the sudden flush would disappear. "He'll be at least fifteen minutes or more."
Trowa nodded and pressed the play button. Heero rose and began switching off lights. The opening credits were still flashing on the screen, Denzel Washington was sitting at an open-air bar, discussing the possibilities of a new job when he sat back in place beside Duo.
"Do you have a girlfriend, Creasy?"
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"No. What kind of question is that, anyway? You're supposed to be studying history, okay?"
Quatre was already smiling at the exchange taking place on the screen; Trowa touched his arm and he turned his head, still smiling. Trowa had been watching him, and his smile faded. "What?" he whispered.
Trowa moved a little closer, leaning over a bit to put his head near Quatre's. "In your room," his eyes dropped and rose again, "earlier... I-I mean, it was okay." He swallowed hard, and his fingers twitched on Quatre's arm. "It just... startled me."
"What was your first girlfriend's name?"
His smile slowly returned and his limbs didn't quite feel as cold as they had been a moment before. Quatre nodded slowly. "It's okay for me too," he whispered, and released a sudden rush of breath. Trowa flushed, Quatre could see it creeping up his neck and over his cheeks.
"Okay. Good." Trowa swallowed again, but turned then, and watched the movie.
Quatre watched the light flicker on Trowa's face. The movie he'd seen before, and watching it through Trowa's expression was more interesting this time around. He heard Duo say something to Heero and Heero shift around, and knew Duo was laying on Heero's legs - the way he usually did when they watched movies in his family room.
In the sudden silence of the movie, he could just make out Wufei laughing softly and felt a twinge akin to pain inside. His eyes turned from Trowa and he watched his friends, so close and yet, not there yet. Wufei was closer, but even he hadn't quite stepped over the line. It was going to change, soon. No more would it be just them.
Trowa's hand moved on his arm, and he turned back to him. Trowa glance away from the big screen, giving him a short smile. Quatre nodded slightly, and settle back to watch the movie.
They had another eight days left of winter break, and nothing was going to change significantly before its end. But for now, there was a good movie, popcorn, and friends about him.
pairing: friendship with stated trowa/quatre, heero/duo and wufei/relena
Quatre kicked up his board, and turned his head to look back at Duo. "Come on. It's not that bad."
"The place is packed, Quatre. We'll get squashed." Duo was looking away across the parking lot, toward the front entrance of the mall.
"It's still early. If we go now, we can be out in an hour." Duo glared at him. "And I'm buying lunch."
His expression changed instantly, and his board was suddenly in his hands. "You're on! Friday's?" Duo started walking, his vans making no noise on the asphalt.
Shaking his head and rolling his eyes, Quatre followed. "Don't you ever get tired of going there?"
"Nah, they have the best wings." He pushed open the entry door and held it briefly for Quatre to catch before heading to the lockers. "We gonna need two?" he asked, waiting for the counter clerk to come back.
"One should work." Quatre slid his board up on the counter next to Duo's and began pulling his jacket off. "You've got Heero's gift already, right?" The girl returned, and handed him a check-in form. "Just one," he said when she tried to hand another to Duo.
"Heh, not yet." Duo dug a hand into his front pocket and pulled out a couple of ones. "I'll probably just take him to the movies or something."
Quatre pushed the form back to the girl and added his two. She gathered the two boards, and Quatre's jacket with a quick, 'I'll be right back' and disappeared through the opened doorway. "Duo! You can't do that. That's like, cheating."
Duo shrugged, and turned from the counter, watching the flow of people enter and leave the mall. "He won't care either way. It's not like he's a girl or something."
"But," Quatre frowned. "You're going out, and it should be something more... special."
"Geesh, Quatre, just announce it over the PA why don't you?" Duo shoved off from the counter and went to stand by the door. "There are a couple of things I think he'd like. Don't worry about it."
The counter girl returned, and handed Quatre a slip of paper with the reminder to be back before mall closing.
The mall wasn't as crowded as Quatre had feared, but four days before Christmas, even before noon on a workday, it was busy. "I'm still not sure what to get Wufei," he said, walking beside Duo, heading toward the first floor center. "What did you get him?"
Duo flashed him a grin. "Heero and me went in together on this set of weights he told Heero about. They're pretty sweet."
"At least you have Heero." Quatre peered through one of the many electronic store windows. "Think he'd like one of those MP3s? He said his last one died."
"Sure, he'd like a new one, but I'll bet Relena already has it covered." Duo turned back to look in the window as well. "I think you're better off giving him a mall certificate. That way he'll get what he wants, and you don't have to worry about it."
Quatre nodded slowly. "I'll see what else I might find first."
They were nearly to mall center when Quatre turned to Duo. "Who do you have to buy for?"
Duo scratched his ear and tilted his head back, gazing up toward the center skylights. "Uh, there's something I need to pick up... for Howard." He looked back at Quatre and grinned. "And Heero."
"Where do you want to look first?" Quatre asked, wondering what Duo was hiding, suspecting there was more to this shopping trip than shopping.
"You should just give Trowa something he'll really want for Christmas," Duo said, flipping through a stack of DVD new releases on sale.
"What's that?" Quatre picked up a movie, flipped it over, and read the back.
"A blow job."
"Duo!" Quatre flushed and looked around. No one seemed to have heard him.
"Or sex. He'd like that a whole lot." Duo looked up with a smirking lift of an eyebrow.
"I'm not going to have sex with Trowa!" Quatre hissed, leaning in close to Duo.
Duo tsked. "Does Trowa know that, or are you just teasing him?" A plastic wrapped movie was in his hand and he held it out to Quatre. "I hear the sex scene in this is killer."
Automatically his eyes went to the title. The red deepened on his cheeks, and he shoved the DVD back in a slot. "What Trowa and I do is none of your business."
"So you're not getting any." Duo was laughing softly, shuffling through another row of movies. "I figured you two'd be boinking like rabbits by now."
"I'm leaving," Quatre announced, and hurried from the store. His arms were shaky, and he wanted more than anything to hit his friend.
"Hey Quatre, wait up!" Duo was calling out to him, vans making slapping sounds on the tiled floor. "Sorry, man." Duo said, bumping his shoulder into Quatre's. "I didn't mean anything by it."
His lips were thin, and he shoved his hands deep into his pockets. "Just because you and Heero are 'boinking like rabbits', doesn't mean everyone else is."
Duo choked, coughed, and turned away. "We're not."
Quatre stopped in the middle of the walkway, letting people stream around him. "What? Then...why..."
With a shrug, Duo gave Quatre a half-smile. "I thought you guys were, and we... uh, were the weird ones."
"Oh." Quatre watched as Duo turned steadily redder.
Looking at his watch again, Quatre thought he should have gotten in the other line when he had the chance. But, there was only the person being checked out in front of him, now, even if he was ten minutes late meeting up with Duo.
After roaming through an electronics store and two music and movie shops, Duo claimed he needed to head off for a place on his own, and Quatre spotted just the store for Trowa's present. The plan was to meet in an hour outside the Disney Store, and from there they'd head over to Friday's for lunch.
Finding the music scores was too easy; paying for the tee shirt, he knew Trowa would like (and wear), negated the joy of the find. The half hour wait in queue for a two-minute transaction didn't seem right somehow. But by then, Quatre was hungry, tired of shopping already, and wanted to be some place quiet.
Duo was waiting on a bench across from Disney, his back to the wall, and his vans up on the seat. Quatre spotted a bag on the floor and held his up to show he was successful, too. "It's getting bad in here." He sat on the other end of the bench. "I think I'll just grab that gift certificate for Wufei."
"There's still tomorrow," Duo said, sliding over and dropping his feet to the floor. "And there's a couple of stores we can hit on the way to lunch."
"So what'd you get?" Quatre peered down at the bag. "Waldon's? You got Heero a book?"
That odd flush was back, and Quatre dived down to grab the bag. "What book?"
"Hey!" Duo shouted, just missing Quatre pulling the bag away from him and opening it. "Quatre!" And Duo jumped to his feet, nearly running from the bench.
He had the book half-pulled from the sack before he realized what he held, and instantly shoved it back inside. A strange tingling ran down his arms, quivered in his belly, and came to rest between his legs. Duo was nowhere in sight; Quatre picked up his bags, and rushed off after Duo.
"Duo!" he called out, spotting the dark colored hoodie slipping between a couple stopped beside a potted plant. He darted after Duo, bumping into the man, and cast a quick apology over his shoulder. "Damn it, Duo! Wait up." They were nearly to the side doors of the mall, now. Quatre came to an abrupt stop, nearly toppling over the stroller suddenly in his path.
"You shouldn't be running in here."
Quatre nodded at the woman, let her pass, and caught his breath. His way was clear, and he started off in a jog toward the doors. Not ten yards down the isolated hallway, Duo was leaning up against a wall, his back to Quatre. Quatre's feet slowed to a walk. He stopped short, and shifted the bags from one hand to the other.
"I, uh... I shouldn't have looked," he said softly. "I'm sorry, Duo."
"It's okay." Duo's arm rose, and he rubbed at his nose. He didn't turn around.
"What are you doing with...that book?" Quatre glanced down at the bag in his hand, wanting to look again, wanting to forget what he saw.
"What do you think?" Duo glared over his shoulder and turned away, hunching his shoulders deeper in his sweatshirt.
"Do you...I... I mean," Quatre swallowed and took a deep breath. "Are you and Heero going to... you know?'
Three girls entered the mall, all about their age. A look was cast in their direction, and heads ducked together in tittering laughter. Quatre frowned in their direction, and the girls hurried away.
"Come on," Quatre said, reaching out, and grabbing a loose fold of material. "Let's go somewhere else." He clutched the three bags from the different stores in his hand, and tugged on Duo's shirt with the other.
Duo didn't speak, but allowed Quatre to drag him away, outside the mall and around to the other side. In ten minutes, they were seated in the back corner booth, water glasses and paper napkin rolled dinnerware on the table. Quatre waited until the hostess left before clearing his throat and looking at Duo.
"How did you get it?" He hadn't seen a receipt, just the title, and a glimpse of a bare chest. "You're not old enough to buy a book like that."
"Willie DeFry," Duo said. "You remember Willie, don't you?"
"He's eighteen." Duo quirked a grin. "And he's so far out of the closet, he'll never find it again. And he didn't have a problem buying it for me."
"Oh." Quatre had known of him, but hadn't met. "Why?"
Duo snorted, playing with the paper ring from his silverware. He shrugged, his eyes flicked up, and back. "Why not."
"You know how, don't you?" That tingle was back, this time making his feet want to curl inside his shoes.
His head dropped to the table. "Yes, I know how..." Duo took a deep breath. "It's just that... Heero and me, we never get there."
Quatre frowned, trying to make sense of what Duo wasn't saying. "You want to have sex?"
"Well, doh!" Duo raised his head long enough to glare at him. "Isn't that the point?"
His cheeks suddenly flooded with color, and Quatre drank from his glass, draining half the water. The waiter appeared, and by the time he'd taken their orders, Quatre thought he could breathe normally.
"We haven't..." Quatre blushed and looked out the window, a tiny smile threatened. "Just kissing and stuff."
"Yeah," Duo said slowly. "That's what we usually do too, but," In a sudden movement, Duo turned on his seat, pressing his back against the window with his elbows on his knees and hands over his face. "Fuck."
"What happened, Duo?" Quatre leaned forward, a hand automatically reaching out for him.
"Nothing!" Duo hissed loudly. "That's just it. We kiss and fool around and fuck..." He flashed a quick look in Quatre's direction. "Not fuck, I mean." He turned back, staring straight ahead. "We've gotten each other off, just not... that."
"Oh." Quatre sat back against the booth's padding, his hands flat to the table. "But you want to, and Heero..."
"Yeah." Duo nodded and pulled the hood up over his head.
Quatre let Duo's response wash over him, remembering the week before, and how he and Trowa wound up in his room. On his bed, Trowa was sitting up against the headboard, and Quatre lying down, facing his feet. They'd been reading, or at least, Quatre had been reading. Trowa had touched him, stroking fingers down the inside of his thigh, and Quatre nearly fell off the bed, rolling away from him.
A few kisses, and once, Trowa's hand on Quatre's crotch over his jeans, was the extent of his sexual life. At least, the one he shared with Trowa. Masturbating in the shower had become part of his daily exercise.
"How... how far have you guys gone?" he stuttered in whisper. A grin was about all Quatre could see of Duo's face, and maybe he liked that better; it made it less Duo, but more, somehow.
"I jerked him off, once." Duo's voice was equally as low, but firm and gaining confidence. "He sort of gave me a blow job."
"Sort of?" Quatre's breathing quickened.
Duo's head dipped, and the grin disappeared. He nodded. "We'd been messing around for awhile, and he'd only," A shoulder lifted and dropped. "You know. He barely touched me."
"Oh." Quatre reached for his water again, emptying the glass. He twirled the glass in his hand, flushing with the sudden vision of Heero crouched between Duo's legs, doing that. Duo was fourteen and ten months, Heero a couple of months younger. He was almost as old as Duo, just a week's difference in their birthdays. And Wufei was oldest of all.
"Do you think Wufei has yet?" he asked, looking up.
"With Relena?" Duo laughed and pushed his hood from his face. "She'd have his balls for lunch if he tried anything."
Quatre had the image, clear and sharp, of Wufei and Relena on the last day of school before break. They were sitting next to each other, like always, but, Relena had been leaning a little closer into Wufei than normal, and Wufei's arm was about Relena's waist, as never before.
"I don't know about that," he told Duo, and pushed images of friends doing things to other friends from his mind.
Duo's wings and his burger arrived; talk was suspended in favor of eating. Somewhere just below his bellybutton, Quatre still felt that little tingle. He chewed on his hamburger, and dipped a fry in catsup. That light fluttering had nothing to do with the need for food, and Quatre wondered if Trowa would be coming over later.
"Can I borrow it?" he asked, and took a large bite of burger.
"...he was yelling at him!"
"I heard they broke up..."
"No! I thought they were just... friends."
Heero jerked up, glaring at the girl behind him. She flushed, turned away from his look, and tugged on her friend's arm. Five minutes to the bell, and then, lunch. Heero stared at the clock, will alone making its hands speed. At the first hint of the ring, he was up out of his seat, and halfway to the door, the teacher's reminder of the test the following day.
Two stories below and down the long hall, Heero bypassed his locker. He sped without running through the main commons, avoiding the cafeteria and the courtyard beyond. Not that he thought Duo would be there. But, Heero continued to follow routes not normally taken by his friend.
It was out passed the animal husbandry sheds, near the other side of the track bleachers when Heero slowed. There was a short hill, and a cinderblock wall extended out from the chain link fence caging in the bleachers. Heero lowered himself to the grassy patch, back to the wall and his book bag between his knees. He was staring without blinking, out across the field, to the message/scoreboard, trying to make sense of the past few hours of his life.
The night before, he had joined his friends at Sonic just like many nights before. Duo wasn't there yet, but Heero already knew that Duo would be late - something about finishing a job with Howard before he could be let out of the house. Quatre and Trowa showed up together, and Wufei wandered over to their usual table from where Relena and her friends sat.
Heero waited for Duo before ordering - to share a large fry and try to keep Duo from his slushie. Quatre and Trowa were leaning close together, sharing a new book series from that author Heero could never get into. Wufei sat backwards on the bench seat next to Heero. And though he spoke of the upcoming meet, Heero knew his attention was two tables over and one up. Heero turned slightly, catching Relena watching Wufei. He nodded in her direction and answered Wufei's question about a wrestler on the opposing team.
It was dark before Duo arrived, and Heero heard his voice before he saw him. Heero was suddenly standing, turning to go to his friend, to find out what had kept him. Duo's words passed him by; he was less than ten feet from the boy when he noticed the girl. His steps faltered slightly, but he kept walking.
The girl was holding onto Duo's arm, and she was smiling. Heero was aware of Relena standing, watching him; he was aware that Relena's friends had suddenly stopped talking, and all eyes followed him. The girl giggled at something Duo was saying, and Heero saw that Duo didn't have his skateboard. He nearly stopped and turned around when the girl leaned upward, pulling down on Duo's arm to give his cheek a kiss.
Duo spotted him at that moment, gave him a little wave, and told the girl how he had to go, but he'd see her later. The girl let go of his arm, protesting with a pout. Heero didn't know her, but the instant dislike was strong. And then Duo was standing in front of him, laughing at his funny expression.
It wasn't the first time he'd ever told Duo to shut up. But, adding that he didn't need him, that Duo should just go back to his 'little girlfriend' and leave him the fuck alone, was new. And Duo only stared at him with his mouth opened. He couldn't get out of there fast enough. His runners proved their worth, and even if Duo had had his board, Heero doubted he would have caught him.
His world was suddenly upside-down, and he didn't know why.
They had never fought before. At least, not for anything more than a game or being late. Heero had almost called during the night. The image of that girl's lips touching Duo's cheek would flash, and Heero would ignore the impulse. If Duo wanted to talk, he knew Heero's number.
In the light of day, sitting out on the grounds nearly as far as he could get from any of the academic buildings, Heero wished he had called. For the first time since he was four and had crashed his bike, hitting his head on the sidewalk, he wanted to cry. Only this time, it wasn't his head that bled. And a Scoobie-doo bandaid wasn't going to make it all better.
He needed to see Duo; needed to speak with him. He was on his feet and running, bag swinging up over his shoulder when the bell rang. Still sprinting through the hall, he ignore the shout to slow down, offered an apology to the girl he nearly knocked of her feet even as he ran, and still, the second bell rang before he reached Duo's locker. His ...apology? Confession? Admission? would have to wait. Heero was late to class.
By the time the last bell of the day rang, Heero was uncertain if Duo was being deliberately elusive, or his luck was particularly bad. He knew Duo was at school - he had seen him between first and second period, and Trowa confirmed that Duo was in his sixth period. Heero decided to skip the calling and go directly to Duo's house after practice.
Leaving the locker room and making his way to the gym for practice, words ran in circles in Heero's head. He had no idea what to say, just that he had to say something. 'I'm sorry,' didn't seem to cut it, but... it was better than the silence.
He slowed at the sound of Duo's voice, turning away from his teammates and heading down the hall at a jog. He heard Wufei calling him, heard the coach's whistle, but tuned it out and focused on the figure disappearing around the corner.
"Duo!" he shouted, speeding into a full run. He was skidding around the corner, and nearly slipped down to his knees, coming to a hard stop. Duo was standing in front of him, hands held high to block impact. "Duo," Heero repeated, catching his breath and regaining his balance.
"Yeah..." Duo backed away, and Heero winced. "Where's the fire, man?"
"I...I-" Heero was choking, and he rubbed his palms down the sides of his uniform shorts. Duo's arms crossed, and his eyes narrowed. "I need to talk to you."
"I'm sorry." And Heero ducked his head, not wanting to see that flat look in Duo's eyes. "I didn't mean..."
"What the hell's with you, Heero?"
Heero looked up, his mouth opened and closed. Up ahead, a small group of boys emerged from one of the side halls carrying instrument cases; the PA system crackled to life, announcing that the early activities bus was going to be delayed. Heero swallowed whatever was trying to make its way out and grabbed Duo's sleeve instead. "Come with me."
Two flights up the main stairwell, Heero didn't let go of Duo's arm until he had pulled Duo into an abandoned classroom. Closing the door behind them, Heero turned to face Duo, reaching for what he wanted to say.
"She kissed you." And it was all Heero could do to keep from smacking a hand over his mouth.
Duo's mouth dropped open and he stared at Heero. A minute or ten might have passed in silence.
"Yeah, she did." Duo's voice was low and his tone hesitant.
"But-" Heero moved closer to Duo, raising his hand and aborting the touch at the last moment. "We're friends, right?" he managed to ask softly.
Duo was nodding slowly, and closed the distance between them. "Friends, yeah... what's going on Heero? You're... you're scaring me here."
"What if-" Heero's jaw worked, no sound came from his mouth. "What if I wanted us to be more?"
"More," Heero repeated, and he was rubbing his palms on his uniform again. He watched Duo, and almost wept with relief when comprehension became clear.
"Oh." And Duo's eyes widened marginally, his fingers flexed at his sides.
"Can I... kiss you?" Heero was whispering; his hand rose again, hesitating to touch.
"Uh..." Duo was blushing and Heero felt his own face heat up. But then, Duo nodded.
Heero leaned forward, his hand found a place to rest on Duo's arm. He couldn't stop watching Duo's face, watching Duo's eyes as he got closer. Suddenly, he could feel air rushing from Duo's mouth against this own, and his lips touched Duo's. Brief and fleeting, and he never closed his eyes.
Drawing away and holding his breath, Heero watched Duo's face. He was surprised his hand remained on Duo's arm, surprised his body was so close to Duo's and surprised when Duo followed him back, and pushed his mouth to Heero's. But this time, it wasn't a slight brush of skin-to-skin. Duo's mouth was on his, moist and moving, and Heero felt his mouth responding.
Duo's hands were at his hips, holding him close or keeping him at a distance, Heero wasn't sure. But he could feel their warmth through his uniform. Their lips separated and crashed together only to part again. And Heero opened his eyes to see Duo watching him, to feel the fluttering smile trying to form on Duo's mouth.
"So, does that mean..." Duo shrugged under Heero's hand. "We're like, together or something?"
"If you want it to be."
"We're not going to be like Wufei and Relena, are we?" Duo was frowning, and he dropped his hands from Heero's sides.
Heero let himself smile, taking a deep breath, and easing it out. He shook his head softly. "I'm not really into holding hands and stuff."
"Then..." Duo had lost the frown, but he was scrunching up his face. "What... how..."
"We do what we always do," Heero answered firmly. "And, if you want, we k-kiss." He ignored the steadily rising heat in his face.
"O-kay," Duo said, and one of his hands found its way back to Heero's hip. "I want to kiss."
His eyes were closing even before his lips met Duo's, and somewhere in there, he made a small whimpering sound. The bell began ringing in the hall, and they both jumped apart. Duo gave a shaky laugh, and Heero touched his tongue to his lips watching him.
"Do you," Heero began, and had to clear his throat. "Do you want to come over tonight? We could play a game or watch a movie or...something." And his gaze dropped to Duo's mouth, whose lips were red and swollen-looking.
"Okay," Duo nearly whispered. He started to frown again, and his hand rose, his fingers plucked at Heero's uniform. "You're skipping practice?"
Heero ducked his head, his smile short. "I really wanted to see you." Duo flattened his hand on Heero's chest, covering the school's emblem. "I should go, I guess." And Heero started to back away.
"Uh, Heero." Duo's voice sounded strangled, and Heero glanced up to see Duo's face red and averted.
"Your uniform," Duo gasped out, still not looking at Heero. "You might want to wait... oh God." Duo turned away, suddenly sitting at a desk and lowering his head.
"Duo?" But in cold-water clarity, he knew what had embarrassed Duo. His own face as red as his spandex uniform, Heero stumbled to a seat of his own, keeping his face studiously turned away from Duo's. "Sorry," he mumbled, trying to think of sobering thoughts.
"S'alright," Duo muttered from between his arms and the desk. "Just, don't do that any more wearing... that."
Heero kept his eyes on the desk's surface, but he couldn't help thinking that he wouldn't be wearing his uniform that night. Maybe, Duo would want to do more 'something' than play games or watch movies. Heero smiled waiting for the four-thirty bell to ring, ready to go change and walk Duo back to his house.
And his world felt right once more, if a bit tilted on its axles.
pairing: duo and quatre friendship
By the half-snuffled snort, and sigh that followed, Quatre knew he'd woken Duo. But, somehow, it was right for Duo to be awake with him. After all, it was partly Duo's fault that he couldn't sleep.
"Yeah, what is-it?" his question was punctuated with a yawn.
"What do you think of Trowa?" There, he'd said it out loud, and held his breath waiting for Duo's answer.
"Trowa?" The question was a living thing in the room between them. "He's okay, I guess. Plays a killer trox, and shares booty."
"No, I mean..." Quatre rolled over in bed, tried to find Duo on the floor next to the window. "Do you-do you think he's..." And suddenly he was glad for the darkness hiding the flush he knew heated his face.
"Do I think he's what?" a sly tone laced Duo's voice.
"Duo," Quatre managed before falling back on his bed, wanting to pull the covers over his head.
"Do I think he's a space alien? Not really, but you gotta admit, he's got some damn long fingers." Duo was snickering. "Do I think he's got a hot ass? Well, buddy, he might have a mighty fine one, but between you and me, Heero's is better."
"Duo!" Quatre choked out, and Duo exploded in laughter. "You are such a-bastard, Duo Maxwell!"
"I know, ain't it great?" Duo chortled out. A minute passed, and Duo said quietly, "You like him, right?"
Quatre didn't answer right away, not wanting Duo to laugh at him again. Finally, he whispered a quiet, "Yes."
"Then what does it matter what I think, or Heero, or Wufei? It's between you and him, and if he likes you back, then great. If not, I'll kick his ass for you."
He snorted softly, smiling in the dark and staring at the ceiling. "You're right," he whispered finally. "But if his ass needs to be kicked, I'll do it myself."
"Right." Duo was already sounding groggy again. "No matter what, I'm still your first."
"What?" Quatre sat up, staring in Duo's direction.
"Friend, dummy. Your first friend." Duo was back to chuckling softly.
"Bastard," Quatre mumbled, lying back down. Thoughts of Trowa crowded out his mild annoyance at Duo. Trowa lying on his back in the grass during lunch, reading. Trowa telling him how he worked at the family circus during the summer months, and the promise to teach him how to swing on the trapeze. Strong images of Trowa running track, long legs eating up laps, stirred, and Quatre sighed at the ceiling.
"Duo, you awake?" he asked in whisper again, but this time, there was no answer. Quatre continued to stare at the ceiling, imaging Trowa's face, and the way his hair fell covering a good part of it. Imaged Trowa smiling at him, in that quiet almost shy way of his.
And sleep was a long time coming for Quatre that night.
"There you are," he called out, and grinned when Heero looked at him. "I thought we were eating lunch together."
Heero snorted, reached down, and lifted up a brown paper bag.
"Cool." Duo dropped his pack and sat facing Heero. "Bring enough for me, too?"
"Yes," Heero's answer was short. He set the bag in front of Duo, and picked up his pencil again.
Duo pulled a couple of sandwiches from the bag, peered at their make, and set one aside, returning the other to the sack. "What's with the math stuff? Homework?"
"Yes," Heero said without looking up. "Trig right after lunch."
"You didn't do your homework last night?" Duo lowered the sandwich from taking a bite to stare at Heero.
"I was at your house last night." Heero's eyes flicked upward, and back, his pencil still moving over notebook paper.
"Oh yeah." Duo was grinning. "Guess it was kinda late when you left."
"Don't you have any homework?"
Duo shrugged. "It's dialogue in Spanish, and a test in Government." He pulled lettuce from his sandwich and let it drop to the ground under the bleachers.
"Consiga trabajar en su gobierno." Heero transferred his answer from worksheet to answer sheet.
"Alright! Alright!" Duo finished off his sandwich with one hand and rooted through his bag with the other. The government textbook was thick and heavy, making the bench jump slightly when Duo thumped it in front of him. "Who cares what the cabinet is responsible for, anyway," he grumbled, flipping pages. Heero continued to work on his math problems without looking up.
Less than five minutes passed, and Duo tapped his foot on top of Heero's sneaker. "You going to come over tonight?"
Heero snorted softly. "Yes." He looked up sharply. "Unless you don't want me to."
"No! I want you..." Duo's look was just as sharp. He flushed, and dropped his gaze. "Last night, it was fun."
"It was," Heero said just as soft. He tapped his pencil to Duo's text. "Study, or Howard'll ground you again."
"Yeah, yeah," Duo grumbled. But, he left his Nike pressed up along side Heero's Reebok.
pairing: duo/quatre friendship
"For the last time, Quatre - NO!" His last word a shout, but his fingers and thumbs flew over the control in hand. "I'm not the one who fucked up this time, and I'm not going to be the one who apologizes."
"I know you're not the one who messed up." Quatre took a deep breath, waited a moment to finish off his opponent, and then began to speak again. "I'm not saying you should apologize to Heero - heck, Heero knows he messed up and should be the one saying 'I'm sorry'." Pausing the game with a quick touch of a finger, he turned to face Duo. "So will you talk to him?"
Tossing his controller to the floor, Duo glared at Quatre. "The only way I'm going to talk to that bastard is if he's on his knees begging for me to. And since that's not going to happen, just forget about it."
"But what if he was?" Quatre asked softly, his eyes flicking past Duo and back.
"Wha-" Duo was slow to turn, and when he caught sight of Heero - on his knees with his hands on his thighs - he shoved himself backwards, bumping into Quatre. "Fuck! What the hell's he doing here Quatre?" Duo was instantly on his feet, his glare darting between the two still on the floor.
"I'm sorry, Duo," Heero said quickly.
"Fuck this!" Duo turned on his heel and started for the door.
"No! Wait!" Quatre was on his feet, and jumping over the couch, just managing to reach the door before Duo. He pulled it shut, standing guard. "You have to talk to him."
"Out of my way, Quatre."
"I'm not leaving until you talk to Heero." Quatre's chin rose, and his arms spread, each hand held the sides of the doorframe.
"I don't want to talk to the bastard, and you can't make me!" Duo shouted. Quatre glared back at Duo, holding his tongue, holding his position. "I thought you were my friend. Was I wrong about you too?"
Even knowing where it came from, it still hurt. "It's because I'm your friend that I'm doing this," he said softly. "This isn't school, this isn't Heero's place. This is neutral ground." He glanced over Duo's shoulder to see that Heero now stood in the middle of the den watching the both of them. "You can yell at him all you want."
Duo looked over his shoulder, his mouth set in a hard line. "I want to fucking hit him," he said, his voice low but not less intense.
"Then hit me," Heero offered, hands held wide. "I wasn't thinking, and what I said came out wrong..." But Duo was there, inside his personal space, his face thrust up against his, nearly ugly in its contorted fury.
"You son-of-a-bitch!" Duo shouted. "Who gave you permission to say that shit? You never open your mouth about anything, and all of a sudden you're Walt fucking Whitman, and everybody knows about us."
"I-" Heero started and stopped, his hands still held wide.
"You what? Huh? You're sorry? Yeah, you're going to be sorry."
Duo made a fist and pulled it back. His arm started forward, and Quatre closed his eyes, not wanting to see the impact. When he didn't hear anything, he peeked through slit lids. Duo's hand was flat on Heero's chest, and he stood there panting as if he'd run a race. Heero's arms moved forward, his hands went to Duo's shoulders, his touch hesitant.
"I am sorry for saying something where and when I did," Heero said quietly. "But I'm not sorry for what I said - I meant it." Duo's head dropped forward, landing on Heero's chest, and Heero's hands slid around Duo's back. "I still mean it."
Quatre nearly sagged against the door. He was smiling softly, watching his friends. It was only then he realized Trowa had come in with Heero. Trowa was by his side, his mouth curved into a slight smile as well.
"How about if we go find something to drink," Trowa said. He inclined his head to two still close together, whispering to each other. "Give them a chance to talk."
Nodding, Quatre opened the door behind him, and reached for Trowa's hand, assured things would work themselves out, now.