Categories > Anime/Manga > Gundam Wing > Bajo Mi Máscara

Chapter 4

by jeangreymullinsjr 1 review

3x4 get together fic. After years apart, best friends meet again and decide to take Duo up on his offer

Category: Gundam Wing - Rating: R - Genres: Romance - Characters: Quatre,Trowa,Heero - Warnings: [X] [?] - Published: 2010-03-16 - Updated: 2010-03-16 - 3022 words

Chapter 4:

Have you ever had one of those moments where you think you've gotten up to answer the phone, as it's ringing at six am on your day off, but woken up to your hand pressed against your face, answering a still-ringing noise? Its instances such as this that make me wish I were an only child.

"What?" I groaned out into the receiver. She always finds a way to disturb me whenever I'm taking an ease.

"I love how eloquent you are in the morning, Trowa. Are you getting ready for work now?"

… As if she didn't know.

"Day off." I wasn't in the mood to form full sentences.

"Oh really? Well now, you'll have time to tell me all about what's new with you; how you're meeting with Quatre went…"

I'm sure she was probably still talking, however my mind seemed to freeze at the mention of his name.

Last night…

Last night was a bad dream.

Simple things, really. They were casual touches; leading me through my apartment door, helping me to the couch, rubbing my back or a cool rag against my forehead, but they were so 'Quatre,' so… just the way he is, that it almost makes me sick to think of it. He had absolutely no idea of what I had stooped to, and yet it was his hands guiding me to lie down and his voice commanding my eyes to close. He had tucked me in and I betrayed him… somehow… at least, I had betrayed the idea of what I had wanted to create; what I still want to create.

"Are you still there? Hello?" Damn, that's right…

"Yeah, I'm here. What were you saying?"

"Ugh, give me an update, Trowa! What have I been talking about for the past five minutes?"

"I'm sorry, Catherine. The crew at the Station are all really nice. I've only just started working there, so there hasn't been much time to… get a feel of the place. I can tell you though that the whole system of alerting us could be much faster. When I go in tomorrow, I plan to speak with the Ch…"

"Oh Trowa, that's all you ever talk about: the security is faulty, the cameras are out of date, the system could be faster… You might as well be talking French. Why don't you ever tell me about… oh, I don't know, your love life? Or are you too shy to talk to your sister about that? Oh, I know, why don't you start with if there are any cute… people… at your complex?"

People… she tries to be so delicate with me. You make one little "what if" joke with her and suddenly…

"I wouldn't know. I haven't seen very many of the other tenants here."

"You should make more of an effort, Trowa. Even being as handsome as you are, brother dear, people aren't always just going to walk up to you. You know what I think?"

Here we go…

"I think that since the Station is only a part-time thing, you should maybe find some sort of volunteer job that looks interesting, you know, that way you can get out there and socialize a bit more."

My sister's solution for everything: socialization.

"I think I do plenty. Besides, Cutie's all the woman I need…"

"Trowa, animals do not count! Look, I'll talk to you later. My boss is on the other line. Love you!"


Talking with my sister always puts me in a weird mood; I have no idea why. I get into these odd, contemplative dispositions where all I can think of is what my next move in life will be. I feel confident that my relocation here was in my best interest, but I think the road to that ultimate fulfillment of estimation might be a harder course than reckoned. Even now, she has me second guessing my free-time; if I could be doing more, should be doing more. I suppose, in a way, having a sister who challenges me to better myself is a plus, even if her idea of betterment is getting laid.

Another annoying result of my sister's prying: I can never go back to sleep. Now that she has my mind working overtime, I can't manage to get my thoughts back to drifting through the oblivion of dreamland. Cutie's not helping either; noticing my awakened state, she promptly bounds from the bed she's made in my pile of clean clothes and onto my stomach demanding food.

Time to get up, she tells me.

"Yes, ma'am."
Water is a great way to start your morning. Not only does it replenish your body; hydrate you, but when served cold, it can be one hell of a' wake-up call! Quickly adjusting the knob to add a little more hot, I step back under the spray. This is where I do my stretching, and although some may find it dangerous to stretch in the shower, I find that with every crack of my vertebrae, the water refreshes what little soreness there may be. The shower is also a good place to think.

Por ejemplo, if I even began to unload all of the things swimming through my cerebrum at this precise moment in time, it would just be giving money to Psychiatrists, which is something I don't believe in. Sin embargo, there are a few key talking points that I'd be willing to divulge. First being my annoying knack for falling into situations that I never would consciously place myself in. This can be exhibited by my performance last night. Never in my life would I have knowingly solicited oral sex in a public bathroom, at the hands of no less than a complete stranger. I don't think I could even say now that I would never do it again, because I never thought I'd ever have done that in the first place. Who knows, if I can't even predict my own behavior? Even in retrospect, I cannot conclude anything of a "live and learn" lesson.

Secondly, something needs to be done for Quatre. I'm not quite sure what he thinks of me now, but somehow I need to apologize for my coldness towards him as of late. Why can't I just talk to him, answer his questions, let him in? Even I think this is getting ridiculous. I don't have an explanation for why I get that way around him. I have considered seeking an exorcist.

And thirdly, …….. Has my cat been watching me shower this entire time?!?
Coffee in the morning has become a necessity and my way of conforming to ritualistic American culture. At all costs, I must blend in. There's a swanky little café just down the block; a convenient four minute walk for a mocha and today's paper.

It was while reaching for said newspaper, that a glaring tabloid cover caught my eye. It had all the usual who's who of celebrity affairs, and bright, bold print announcing which of those 'who's' were having an affair, expecting a child, struggling with an overdose…. and amidst all of those ugly people, Quatre walked hand in hand down a street in the far left corner of the cover…. with a man. The font below the caption alluded to the idea that the "QUEER CEO of WEI" was "GAY."

With on the slightest hint of self consciousness, I snatched the paper from the rack and thrust it under the nose of the attendant for purchase. There has to be some mistake… Is that really Quatre?!?

I don't think I looked up once throughout the walk back to my apartment, suddenly finding myself at my door with my keys in my hand. In that time, I'd read the entire article about three times to soak in every detail: Quatre was seen holding the hand of some assistant at WEI early one morning and was now assumed gay by the general public… this is ridiculous! I wonder if this was photoshoped… certainly looks authentic…but it really just looks like he's pulling him down the street… I don't believe this for a minute!

Throwing the article onto the table, I had new fodder to toss over in my head. This couldn't possibly be true! They just didn't understand who Quatre was. He was just a really nice, affectionate person. End of story.

Of course, this brought about a whole new case of worries: what was this doing to Quatre? His position at WEI? His reputation? His family? His plans? His sanity?

I should probably call him…

Before I had even reached my phone, which was still lying on my nightstand, I registered the unfamiliar noise of someone buzzing me. Now, isn't that curious… I was instantly on my guard.

I found the remote to my security system instantly and flicked on the monitor to see who was trying to get into my apartment. I frankly didn't trust the regular system that they had installed here, so I had setup one of my own; three camera angles surrounding the very front of the apartment complex and five angles around my particular door, four at the back entrance of the apartments, as well as two outside each window and fire escape and two down each hallway to the building. My improvements have gone unnoticed by residents and management alike; not that any untrained civilians would spot their locations anyway. The monitors, I had inlaid into the wall by the front door and a set in the bedroom as well, unoriginally, yet cleverly hidden behind some bland, hotel-style painting that's neutral enough to not draw attention.

"Yes?" I called down even as I switched over monitor screens to the one exposing the front entrance. There was no one standing there.

I reached for the gun I had stashed near the door and quickly scanned through all of the other monitor screens. Primed and waiting, I paused back at the screen to the front entrance when I noticed a hand coming from the bottom right corner of the screen aiming for the call button; finger foremost. It pushed the button.

"You missed a spot."

Leave it to Quatre to find a weak point in my security system…

He stood then; an amused smirk playing about his lips as his blonde head appeared in three different camera angles. I was certainly surprised to note the sleepless look in his eyes and how his smirk had fallen into a more sedated curve of his mouth. His tie had been undone and his jacket was slung over one arm; the one holding his briefcase. I didn't hesitate buzzing him up and stood in my doorway, waiting for the elevator doors to ping open and release him to me.

The smile that met me was almost despondent and lacked any real energy. He appeared a bit flushed, as if he'd walked all the way here from work. He gave me a tired pat on the shoulder as he walked past me into my apartment.

Closing the door behind us and switching off the monitors, I was at a loss of where to start… so I simply watched him as he made himself familiar with my kitchen.

I need to go grocery shopping…

"May I?" He looked back at me questioningly as he opened the cabinet containing my boxes of tea. I nodded once and took a place at the small table in the kitchen, just watching him as he busied himself with his preparations.

"Would you like some as well?" I nodded once more. It seems I had forgotten all about my coffee this morning when I had seen the… shit. It's sitting on the table right in front of me…

"How did you sleep last night? You closed your eyes almost immediately when I made you lie down. I can't for the life of me think what could have made you so sick! Did you eat something bad earlier in the day? You must have, otherwise I can't explain it. I was really quite worried about you; you looked so wan." I barely remember any of what happened last night, post-restaurant fiasco. Only simple things, like the tone of voice he used to try and soothe me: deep and light at once, the cologne he wore that evening as he bent over me to strap me into his car: something rich and almost sweet, the feel of his hand as he rested it upon my damp forehead for a temperature reading…

The strong scent of fragrant elderberries and zesty lemons reached me as the leaves ignited upon first contact with the boiling water. I watched his hands as he reached for the honey on the counter; the lean fingers strategically placing themselves so as not to touch the bit that had dribbled down the side from the last time I used it. His attempts were futile… as they always were when you try to avoid getting honey on yourself. I forced myself to look away as he brought that finger to his mouth absently, more focused on putting the kettle back.

"I suppose I was pretty tired after last night. I'm sorry to have worried you and I really appreciate you helping me back home." I made the mistake of catching his gaze. I'm always at a loss when he appears so intently sincere…

"You are no bother to me, Trowa," he says in a soft, meaningful tone. "I'm just glad you're feeling better now. You've certainly gained much of your color…" He paused, and I knew exactly why.

He stared at the article he was about to place my mug on top of and instead placed it to the side. He seemed completely surprised and almost disbelieving as he ran a finger over his picture. I sat there motionless, reminiscent of my days lying in wait for the right moment to attack, breathing low.

"They said they wouldn't print this…," he began. So he knows about it. "We just paid this company thousands to NOT print this!" His shock wore into anger as his voice raised a few octaves. "Well… this cements it. I'm truly ruined, and for what; an illegitimate claim? I can't believe this has happened... what am I going to do now?... I should probably call someone about this," he said even as he flipped open his cell; "pardon me, Trowa."

I could do nothing except sit and wait while he stepped politely into the hallway to speak. I couldn't help but admire him all the more for retaining his manners even in the face of such personal crisis. I wasn't quite sure of the details of what exactly this personal crisis was, but I was determined to find an understanding soon for the sake of his mental health.

He never raised his voice beyond the fervent whispers of one who's spent their life concealing their day to day intimacies out of necessity. He's lived, bearing the weight others have placed upon him, in addition to the responsibilities he's placed on his own shoulders, and together the load is considerable. I'm drawn to the thought that Quatre's issues are like an iceberg: only the tip of his burden shows; the bulk lies concealed under the calm and collected surface. I'm determined to have myself a swim sometime.

"I truly apologize for that, Trowa. I didn't mean to be so rude to you: storming out like that." It was stated in fashion that seemed robotic, yet I knew he was sincere. That he would describe pardoning himself to go use the phone, and then doing so, as "storming out" was almost amusing. Almost…

"Trowa," he began resolutely; a formal mask usually reserved for business deals was carefully lowered over his beautiful features and I could provide nothing for our meeting beyond my undivided attention. "I have something I want you to know." He faltered as if not knowing where to begin. "The stories are true… they're true about me; what these people write in their gossip columns. And now, I'm in danger of losing everything I hold dearly: my friends, my family, my business, everything I've worked for… it's all falling down around me because of a stupid photo that, while taken out of context, was enough to expose the suspicions… What am I to do, Trowa? Or do you think me a monster as well?" The mask was shattered and a face emerged straight out of my memories of the war… he was scared. He was but a child reaching for a hand or a comforting word. How could he ever think he was a monster?

My face must have shown my shock because when I came back from my thoughts he was already out the door.

"Quatre!" I few after him, "wait!"

He paused in the elevator, holding a gentle hand, fingers splayed, against the doors. I had to strain to hear him; my feet remaining immobile of their own accord. His words came to me on auto-pilot, sounding reticent; I'm a nameless press-member at one of his conferences.

"I sincerely apologize, Trowa, if I've offended you. I want you to be secure in the knowledge that any closeness we've shared over the years was not a reflection on my particular leanings, but instead a measure of necessity in times of war and in the name of camaraderie in the years following. I thank you for sparing me any verbal admonishments, for I've had quite my share of those this morning. Good day, Trowa."

And he was gone. I watched in disbelief as each floor was lit in descending order.
Por ejemplo= For example

Sin embargo= However

That's all for now! I've already started writing the next one, since the outlines for the next three chapters have already been made, so the next one should be out soon! And by soon, I really don't mean a year from now, cause that would just be depressing to me. Please READ AND REVIEW!!! I love feedback from everyone, even if it's just to say you didn't like it!!! Thank you all!!!
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