Categories > Anime/Manga > Gundam Wing > Shades of Gray

Chapter Four

by sumthinlikhuman 0 reviews

It took me a great, long stretch of time before my sluggish brain registered: me. He's talking about him and Trowa and me. (Winner of KumoriCon '07, Best Novella Adult!)

Category: Gundam Wing - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Duo, Trowa, Wufei - Warnings: [!] [X] - Published: 2007-03-13 - Updated: 2007-03-13 - 2585 words

Sound the trumpets; beat the drums;
Flush'd with purple grace:
He shows his honest face:
Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he comes . . .
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure;
Rich the treasure;
Sweet the pleasure;
Sweet the pleasure after pain.
-excerpt from John Dryden's "Alexander's Feast", III

Chapter Four

The first time it happens, he is able to pass it off for one of Maxwell's stupid American drinking games. He is able to say that it never happened, that he was drunk, and nobody cared at the time.

But the second time it's harder. And the third time, it's even harder than before. And by the time he realizes he can't justify it any longer, it's too late to do anything about it, because he's too far gone.

"I always wondered," Quatre says one day, stirring his drink and lounging in the sand idly, "why it is that I happen to be the only heterosexual in our group. Statistically, it doesn't make sense."

"Sex isn't statistics, Kitty," Duo states from where he's trying to get a tan, and only succeeding in turning bright pink. He smiles at the blond, and flicks his leg. "You're just lucky."

"I'm not homosexual," he grumbles, flipping his page idly and scanning the words presented swiftly. Beside him, Duo snorts, and he can practically hear Heero roll his eyes. Trowa is just strangely silent. Quatre looks at him, blinking a little owlishly.

"You're not?"

"Well, I suppose if you're going by the sex of my partners, than I would be," he mutters, blushing at his book page. He doesn't elaborate, but looks over the top of his page to look at Trowa, who suddenly stands, and states that he's going swimming. Heero joins him; Duo makes a somewhat crude comment on how the taller brunet looks 'yummy' when he's wet, which makes Quatre giggle uncontrollably.

He wants to justify it.

He can't help but stare.

"You realize that I'm only doing this so you'll leave it alone, right? This doesn't mean anything to me." Trowa nodded a little, but he was smiling, very softly. With a sigh, I looked away from the taller man, cursing under my breath as we sat, waiting for our plane to enter the tarmac. I drummed my fingers on the stiff plastic armrest of my stiff plastic chair, until Trowa covered my hand, and squeezed gently.

The sun was setting, all in violets and pinks and pale, beatific blues, over the tarmac to turn it all to amber fire, a flash-flood to the eyes as the sun burst through the clouds to glare dangerously over the horizon. I watched, bedeviled by the simple beauty, unwilling to remove Trowa's hand from my own, too sated with that tiny pleasure being given, though I was loathe to admit it. High above, a plane circled for landing, and just beyond the window, one raised smoothly into the sky, off to deliver its passengers to wherever they might roam.

It was hard to imagine that I hadn't left China since those short years back when I'd left everyone behind, and said I'd be back-promised I'd be back, promised that I would be seen again. I'd never been very good at lying, and wasn't this situation just the finest example of that? The sun finally sank over the edge of the world, and someone called for our boarding group-first in Mandarin, then in Spacer, and finally in English. I stood, and stretched, grabbing my carryon. Trowa wasn't far behind me.

The flight was, unsurprisingly, as boring as flights could get. I spent my time fidgeting, shooting occasional glances towards Trowa, who always seemed to look up just when I did that. It was unnerving, the way he always seemed to just know when to look up; it reminded me uncomfortably of Yuy, and how he would always do that when I was looking at him, which always seemed to match with times that found us in bed together. And that thought was an unsettling one. There had been more than one occasion where I'd had to question the overall consent of those romps, where I'd looked back and wondered what I had said with my body language or my eyes that had meant we ended up on our backs together.

No, not me. That had happened to /Wu Fei/. I studiously shoved aside those sad little memories, and fixed the headphones I was wearing, focusing idly on the bad movie that was being broadcasted over the airplane.

I started, very gently, when Trowa touched my hand, and looked over at him incredulously. The brunet only smiled softly, shrugging one shoulder, curling his fingers until they covered mine easily. And to that, I had nothing to say.

The airport we landed in wasn't much, I could admit, as we loitered near the baggage claim after wandering aimlessly through customs and three different security stations-all of which made me scoff under my breath and mutter a reprisal, wondering what they were all paid for, making Trowa chuckle softly. We gathered our luggage, and claimed a cab, driving swiftly away from the airport and towards the little urban home Trowa had claimed for himself.

It was different than the apartment we had all shared, almost drastically so, but distinctly Trowa. There were things strewn about in some chaotic sort of order, which the brunet scurried to correct, apologizing softly, directing me 'down the hall and third door on the right' to stay in the tiny guest room.

Starkly white and furnished with only a twin bed and small chest of drawers. I sighed, and settled onto the bed as Trowa ducked in, blushing softly.

"Sorry it's not much. I don't have a whole lot of people over."

"I can see that." I tucked his things into the drawers, leaving plenty in my luggage, as though I was expecting to get kicked out, or just leave of my own free will. Trowa smiled a little more genuinely, darting his bangs out of his eyes.

"There's a little sushi bar not far from here. Would you like to go?"

"I'm a little tired-."

"Of course." It was hasty, the way he said it, and a little surprising to see the abashed look on his face as he loitered in the doorway a moment, before ducking back out and wandering away.

I sighed, and settled onto the bed, running bronzed fingers through black locks and pulling/, until I came away with a few strands and I could feel the blood welling to the surface. Flopping back against the nearly insanely white sheets, I rubbed my eyes tiredly, and wondered just /what I had gotten myself into with all this.


"I made breakfast."

"And you didn't blow up the kitchen, either. I'm honestly impressed."

"Don't say that yet. You haven't tasted it." I chuckled, and Trowa smiled softly, dishing over a couple of pancakes and some eggs, placing a plate of bacon and sausage out between them.

Trowa's tiny apartment, in the days we'd been there, had decided to take on a more home-like feel. The brunet had dug out trinkets from before, and slowly begun to sprinkle the shelves and side tables with them, not so quickly as to be obvious, but clearly in some ploy to either guilt or bribe me into staying, into making the living space a /home/.

I wanted none of it, but didn't say anything. Occasionally, I'd pick something up, inspect it carefully under Trowa's watch, and then place it back where it had been, showing no sign of recognizing the piece.

It tore at me, to see the young man try so hard. Brin's order to get over myself rang resolutely, something similar to a conscience, but was contested instantly by that valiant little voice in the back of my head that always seemed to speak up just when I contemplated joining Trowa on his tiny balcony for a chat or a drink or /something/.

It was distressing to know that my logic was breaking apart at the seams, tumbling around me as I allowed myself to grow comfortable with the surroundings, and convince myself that, this time, it would be different.

"Is it good?" I nodded, and grabbed a few pieces of bacon, thankful for the change of pace in my diet. Trowa seemed to share the unspoken sentiment. "You're too thin, you know? I should at least put some meat back on your bones."

"There's meat there," I muttered through my mouthful, excusing myself as I grabbed the jug of orange juice and poured myself a generous amount. Trowa rolled his eyes.

"I'm sure there's meat /there/, it's just not anywhere I'm /seeing/." And that drew a flush to both our cheeks as our eyes met. Trowa hadn't meant it like that, of course not, I told myself resolutely, looking away and focusing on consuming the rest of my breakfast.

Trowa took my plate as we finished, and I followed the brunet into the kitchen, already turning up my sleeves to help with the dishes. The brunet frowned a little, and shoved me back out the door into the sitting room, chuckling a little under his breath.

"You're my house guest, right? You shouldn't be doing my dishes."

"I haven't anything better to do," I pointed out, but Trowa just shook his head resolutely, and gave me one final push.

"Go read a book or something. You used to love to read while the rest of us did stuff." I gave the brunet a sharp little look, but Trowa smiled, and pushed me away again, chuckling just a little bit. "Get used to it," he ordered, "because I'm not going to stop doing things like that."

It was an unsettling thought to add to an unsettling prospect.

I went back to my room, and read.

"What are you doing?"

He looks over at him, smiling very softly, and shrugs just one shoulder, leaning over the back of the sofa. Trowa is sleep-blurry and stumbling, but still with that effortless grace that he will always possess; it is unnerving.

"Couldn't sleep. Heero's not back yet."

"I'm sure he's fine." And he shrugs again. Trowa sits beside him, leans against him slightly and sighs, and he has to try very hard not to wrap his arms around his shoulders.

"And you?"

"Duo woke me up." So he doesn't really want to know, but he understands the inquisitive look he must have on his face, because even in the dusk of the sitting room, Trowa's blush is bright and beautiful on his lightly tanned cheeks.

But before either of them can speak again, the door opens, and Heero stumbles in, blinking his eyes in obvious fatigue. He smiles a little, and stands, barely watching Trowa as he approaches Heero, who engulfs him slowly into a hug.

And then there is nothing else to say.

It took me a while to wake up, and I couldn't quite figure out why. Perhaps it was the comfortable warmth of the sheets I was wrapped in, or the soft smells of dinner being cooked filling my nose. I couldn't even remember when I'd fallen asleep, and begrudged that a bit-I'd never be able to sleep now, even though I did feel totally drawn and bone-tired.

I stumbled into the living room to the sound of light laughter and conversation, and furrowed my brow, hurrying my steps just a little, straightening myself out a bit.

I halted unsurely in the doorway, blinking stupidly.

"Hey; you're up. Dinner's almost ready." Trowa went to ruffle my hair, and stopped at a withering glare, lifting his hands in surrender instead, shaking his head a bit and chuckling. He had a glass of wine beside him on the breakfast bar, and turned his attention to this newest house guest.

I didn't even flinch when the sparkling blue eyes turned to me with a slightly perturbed glimmer. I inclined my head slightly, and took a step back out of the kitchen.

"I'm not that hungry," I whispered, rubbing my shoulder nervously. "I think I'll just go back to bed."

"Wu-An? An, what's wrong?"

I hurried down the hall, trying to quell the growing annoyance and jealousy that had swelled heedlessly in my chest. There was no reason for it to be there, really-Trowa had wished me home as a companion, with no word of what he truly wished, and it had been foolish of me to make wild assumptions, even if he had said that he and Duo were no longer an item. Of course they'd still be friends; Heero and Quatre had continued to be companionable after their split, and even after Heero had started a relationship with me.

It was foolish of me to assume.

"An?" Trowa's voice was muffled through the door. "I'm coming in?"

I just sat on the bed, and stared at him over my pillow blankly. He sighed, rubbed the back of his head, chuckled humorlessly, obviously nervous over the entire situation.

"I didn't know he was going to come over, or I would have told you-."

"Did you tell him that I was here?" Trowa's chuckle grew a bit more humorous, and he shrugged, rolling his eyes absently.

"He said 'So long as you two don't start macking it, I shouldn't blow a gasket' and went on his merry way cooking for three instead of two."

"Does he do this often? Cook for you."

"He's /Duo/." That was answer enough. Of course he did. I sighed, and flopped onto my back, turned onto my side and pulled the pillow over my head. "An-."

"I'm tired, Barton. If you don't mind?" I waved vaguely at the door, before my hand flopped back to the comforter.

The bed sank with his weight behind me, and I flinched just a little as he ran his cold fingers-cold from the wine Duo had brought him-along my back, shivering a bit. Mentally, I cursed myself; I was being weak and childish about the entire thing, thinking that everything had so drastically changed when I had left and forced myself to do just that.

"If you'd like me to, I'll ask him to leave."

"He's your /friend/." I spat that like a curse, and grumbled at the fact that I sounded like some jealous, love-struck fifteen-year-old girl. I curled around myself a little, and tried to ignore the way that his hand was splaying pleasantly against my back.

"I'd like you to be comfortable with your stay, though. If this won't work well . . ." He trailed off, his fingernails scraping characters that I had taught him once along the back of my ribcage-pride, valor, hope, other words that made me shiver helplessly. I turned, and looked up at him through the darkness of the room.

The light from the hall gleamed on him generously, and I sat up slowly, half turning to face him fully.

A cough at the door made me flop back dejectedly, cursing my foul thoughts and Duo's foul timing.

"The chicken's ready if you are. You eatin' with us, Fei?"

"Duo-," Trowa began. I sat up, and glared at him sharply, cocking a brow.

"I haven't been 'Fei' in nearly three years, Maxwell." I shook my head, and chuckled humorlessly. "No, I'm not eating with you two. Have fun."

I shoved Trowa off the bed, and curled back around the pillow, pretending I couldn't hear Duo talking about me under his breath as they left the room.
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