3x4 get together fic. After years apart, best friends meet again and decide to take Duo up on his offer
On to the second part!
I came to the conclusion that I was one of those people that thought they were making a significant expression of emotion using only the eyes and the muscles in the face, but was in fact, barely doing anything beyond a creased brow. This use to be acceptable, but I was now of the opinion that I should be putting in a little more effort into communicating what I felt, if the look of confusion on Quatre's face was anything to go by.
He used to be a lot better at reading me, but I suppose after so many years apart, this among other things, had faded with disuse. Like, for example, my feelings towards him. During the wars, I thought I was in love with him, but now, I think it was only a crush. He had been my truest friend back then and I think it was the fact that he had never given up on me, let his faith in my being slip, that I had strived so hard to stay by him. He was pure and I was tainted; that was my mentality back then. Now, I know better than to assume something so ignorant. Quatre was as tainted as the rest of us, he just cleaned up better.
He sat there in front of me sipping his tea and watching the pedestrians as they walked past our little table. He had chosen to come to a deli that one of his sisters had told him about. It had a very calming atmosphere, even in the midst of the busy city. Quatre leaned back in the wrought iron chair and sighed, apparently at ease with the silence that had fallen on our conversation. Maybe he was just content to sit here with me rather than try to fill the air with clichéd questions and my solemn nods, but that could just be my wishful thinking. In my opinion, it was more meaningful to just be near each other, no words needed.
Watching him, I tried to imagine my place in his life, and I couldn't. Watching Quatre…just watching him, was something I had been doing for a very long time. I had always felt like a child at Christmas gazing in through the toy store window at the most spectacular display, but knowing that I had to ration my savings for things more important that my wants.
He must have sensed my eyes on him because he turned slightly in his seat and smiled at me. My stomach fell. He was still the most spectacular display. I had forgotten this somehow during the past three years.
"Where are you staying?" He brought his lips once again to the rim of the porcelain and stared at me as he drank.
"I was able to find a small condo a couple of blocks away from the station. 'The Willows'."
"That's funny. I don't remember seeing anything green in this city." He said this a little aggressively.
"No. I mailed some pictures of it to Catherine. She said I should've found myself something more towards the edge of town; that everything looked too 'man-made'."
"Well, I heartily agree with her." He put his cup down, as well as the front legs of his chair, as he leaned closer to the table; his elbows coming to rest thereon and his hands clasping together under his nose. When he spoke, he quickly exposed his mouth from behind his hands and then replaced them as soon as he finished. I was almost more caught up with catching these little habits than actually listening to the question.
"What made you leave the Circus, Trowa?"
I almost wished I had missed the question.
"Lots of reasons." And we left it at that.
Quatre sighed and leaned back in his chair giving me a look that made me think he was weighing his options, coming to a conclusion, and storing away further questions for a later interrogation. Almost as soon as this thought had died away, something else, a little unsettling, had flashed across his face; a jogging of the memory, then a sly smirk, then an 'I know something you don't', as he slightly turned his head and stuck his nose up.
"I spoke with Duo the other day."
At my lack of response, he continued. "He's got it in his head that we all need to have some sort of reunion and lock ourselves away in the middle of nowhere and do that whole 'bonding' thing sometime soon."
Yup, that sounded like something Duo would come up with.
"He says Heero's against the idea; says that if anyone wanted to reunite, then it would have happened by now. Yet, here you are, so I think Duo may not have been too far from the mark. He also said that he hadn't been able to reach you or Wufei."
I wasn't ready for this either. "When was he planning this for?" I threw in cautiously. I wanted more time to think about this.
"I think he wanted to try for a few months from now, but Wufei still hasn't contacted him to ask, so I'm not really sure when it will be." He sighed, "I don't know. I told him to let me think about it. I don't know if I'm really ready to meet up with everyone again. It just seems like it would dredge up too many memories. What do you think?"
All I could do was nod. It always amazed me how Quatre and I could draw such similar conclusions. Then he did the most glorious thing to make my day of stress worth every last drop of sweat. He gave me a smile that I had never seen before, in anyone. It started with his eyes, the blue pigments catching the late afternoon sun and faintly lightening them, the pupils dilating slightly, as it slowly worked itself down the planes of his face before gathering the corners of his generous mouth into a tight curl. Then that mouth opened to recite what I only imagined would be easily read across my face.
"The only reunion I was ever fully interested in is right here with my best friend. I've missed you so much, Trowa. Why did you stay away so long?"
I watched his eyes dart right to left, searching my own for any sign of emotion or any kind of answer. He was trying so hard to read my expressions. I almost took pity on him. Almost.
"Lots of reasons."
I saw that glorious smile falter for the briefest moment and then replace itself with one a little less genuine and I mentally slapped myself for my cruelty. Why is it so hard to explain myself?
"That seems to be your answer for a lot of things these days. You don't have to put up a front with me, Trowa." He sat back once more in the wrought iron seat and turned his attention to the waitress bringing us our check.
"I'm sorry Quatre." I stated simply as the waitress; I didn't catch her name, walked away with our credit cards. And I was sorry. Not particularly for withholding the requested information from him, but for the fact that he almost looked sad that I wouldn't tell him; that he might think that I didn't trust him with something so personal, when in reality, he was one of the only people I trusted, period.
"No matter. I shall winkle it out of you sooner or later." He announced confidently, raising his right hip slightly to put his wallet away in his back pocket. Apparently, the waitress had returned our cards already, so I followed his example.
I let a small smile escape me as I thought about Quatre trying to interrogate anyone, but then rebuked myself. Quatre could be a spitfire when the need arose and one damn scary pilot. He probably killed just as many people as I had during the wars, with only his remorse to separate us. I steered my thoughts away from that at the moment. No need to focus on the past right now.
I watched him stand, arms stretching behind his head from sitting for so long, the primly ironed bottom of his shirt threatening to reveal the rest of itself from under his belt. My fingers began a restless tapping on the table as I realized my want to tug his shirt out from under his waistband. What is that about?
What am I supposed to do now? Just a simple 'Goodbye Quatre', and walk away for another couple of years? Somehow I didn't think that I would be able to do that, nor did I think that he would let me. So I stood, easily masking my thoughts behind a plain veneer, letting my mouth fall open to say something, but whatever I was about to say was lost the instant he grabbed my hand. I felt my whole body react: my back stiffen, my palms clammy, my pupils dilate, my breathing quicken; all signs of stress. No, Quatre's contact did not have a comforting effect; rather the opposite. I was suddenly aware of everyone around us. What do they think of this? They're going to think we're gay! How can he look so casual about this? Isn't he aware of what this looks like? And when did I get so concerned with what other people thought of me? My mind screamed that above all else, this is drawing attention, unneeded attention, and attention drew possible threats. I scanned the streets for anything out of place, and then had to remind myself that the wars were over. Drawing my focus back to the situation at hand, I noticed that Quatre was watching me with a peculiar expression; something of a mix between confusion, concern and understanding, although I don't think he quite understood at all; my palms were sweaty and I think I was hyperventilating.
I tried to wrench my hand away from his grasp, but he wouldn't let me. Instead, he switched my hand to his other and grabbed my elbow, ushering me down the sidewalk. I think this arrangement was even worse.
When we were a bit closer to his offices he released my elbow and switched my hand back to his right one, leaning up as if to whisper a secret. I was very conscious of the fact that the back of my neck was wet and that in all this time I still had not been allowed to shower. Therefore, when he brought his face closer to my ear I had to resist the urge to push him back.
"It's alright Trowa. I still get a little anxious around large crowds, too."
I almost laughed. Almost. I think I might have if my body hadn't been experiencing a cardiac arrest from the sensation of his breath against my sweaty neck. Yes, he had absolutely no idea. So much for his empathy.
He looked up at me when he had both feet planted firmly on the ground once more, and ran a 'soothing' hand up and down my forearm, offering a small smile.
"Tell you what, why don't you come and have dinner with me tonight? I'm not going to let you get away so easily, and I want to talk to you some more. No more of this 'lots of reasons' bit. I want you to talk to me again, Trowa. Trust me. I'm still the same me. Nothing's changed beyond the fact that times are more peaceful. Ok? Here's my business card with my cell on it. Give me a call later. I'll see you in a bit."
I blinked and he was gone.
I think I stood there for about five minutes before coming to the realization that I was free to go home and shower, so I started moving back the way we had come. It took me a bit to reach my unit, about thirty-five minutes or so of walking, or maybe it just seemed so long because my brain was trying to process too much at once. I was in the city. I was no longer a clown. I had left behind everything I knew to come here. Why? Lots of reasons. I was now a part-time fire fighter at the 33rd St. Fire Department. Why? It seemed more dangerous than being a cop, and Katrina was right, I did like wearing suspenders. Plus, there was no circus in town, so donning my tangible mask and baggy pants was out of the question.
Lots of reasons. I knew one of them was the fact that I wanted a change; that the monotony of my life with Catherine and the Circus was wearing on my nerves and I felt that I needed to walk away, at least for a little while, until I could accept my role as a static member of that lifestyle. But I wanted a change so desperately. I think another part of it was that I missed him, if I were being perfectly honest with myself, and our closeness that we used to share during the wars. I missed being able to confide in someone. Catherine never really understood me, even though she tried so hard to. And I do love her, but I needed to go where I was understood, not fretted over. Heero and Duo would have been my closest option, but I never really bonded as well with them as I had with Quatre. He kind of weaseled his way into my confidence.
There were other reasons, I was sure of it, but they failed to seem important enough to encourage something so drastic.
I stepped under the water. There was nothing so refreshing as a shower after a long day. I placed my palm against the cold tile wall and braced myself against it, letting my head fall under the spray; my bangs fell forward to shield my eyes from the water.
I scrubbed all of the day's concerns away with harsh wrist strokes and the blue bath poof that I had found in my bag after moving in. I scratched my nails through my scalp to dissolve any product residue that may have lingered. I felt like I had a layer of oil over my skin and that I still smelled of smoke, although I guess that's what I signed up for. So I scrubbed harder, until all I could feel was an uncomfortably raw ache and a slight tingling sensation that wouldn't leave my left arm from about the elbow down.
It took me an hour to fall asleep, and when I did, all I could dream about was Catherine's expectations of me, all listed in her neat script and stashed underneath my mattress.
That's it for Chapter 2. Please stay tuned for the next installment coming soon. As always, please
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