In response to Heero’s somewhat distracted look as he answered his door, Quatre remarked, “I just talked to you a few hours ago. You didn’t already forget I was coming over, did you?”
“No, I didn’t,” replied Heero almost absently, stepping back to allow Quatre into the entry and closing the door behind him.
“Well, what’s wrong?” Quatre persisted.
Heero frowned. “I guess I’ll show you.”
He gestured to the kitchen, which was set apart from the rest of the living/dining room only in that it had linoleum rather than carpet, and which lay immediately to the left of the entry. Quatre set down his shopping bag and backpack and immediately reached for the strange object on the counter. Heero stood aside in silence; evidently this was exactly what he’d planned on showing.
As Quatre examined the doll quizzically, Heero gave one of his usual unhelpful explanations. “I found it in the gutter outside work.” After an almost expectant pause, he went on slowly,”I thought I might try to find its owner.” Again he paused, as if waiting for Quatre to interrupt, then finally said, “Or see if it’s valuable enough to sell it online or something.”
At last the apparently hoped-for interjection came, though not from Quatre: “I think it’s pretty obvious,” said the doll, “that I’m a ‘he,’ not an ‘it.'”
Quatre dropped the doll and stepped back, startled and staring. Its lips had moved.
“Yeah,” said Heero darkly. Slowly the doll, which had landed face-down on the counter, moved its unbending plastic arms and righted itself stiffly, ending up in a sitting position with its legs straight out, facing them. At Quatre’s side Heero shifted uncomfortably and muttered, “Well, I haven’t seen it do that.”
“He,” the doll insisted. “Surely you noticed the giant plastic penis.”
“‘Giant?'” wondered Heero with a raised brow.
At the same moment Quatre speculated, “Is this some kind of reality TV stunt?”
The doll sighed.
“He–” Heero emphasized the pronoun– “claims it’s not. I can’t find any cameras or microphones or anything.”
“But they have to be there somewhere.” Quatre took up the doll again, straightening its legs out and examining it once more, this time with the aim of detecting hidden electronic devices. The plastic penis was rather large, proportionally speaking; obviously this was some kind of joke. Quatre smoothed the long brown hair away from the doll’s face and looked closely at the latter. “Why is he wet?”
It was the doll rather than Heero that answered. “He gave me a bath. He rubbed me all over. It was niiice.”
Assuming the licentious tone was part of the joke, Quatre simply shook his head and kept looking for the camera. Heero, however, seemed prompted to reply. “Yes, I’m sure all those plastic nerves of yours enjoyed it.”
The doll laughed regretfully. “You caught me. I can’t feel a damn thing. I’m aware that he’s turning me over and over — you’re looking for cameras, aren’t you? — but I can’t really feel it. Someday maybe I’ll get used to that.”
So forlorn was the complaint that Quatre had to laugh. “You’re pretty convincing!”
Plastic lips stretched past what Quatre would have thought their limit must be into what might be called a grin. “Thanks. It’s a side effect of being real.”
“Real what?” Heero wondered.
“I’m not inclined to tell,” the doll replied a little haughtily. “You’re just going to throw me back into the gutter.”
“I’m not going to throw you back into the gutter.” At Heero’s impatient tone Quatre had to restrain a laugh; sometimes the most unexpected things could get Heero involved and worked up.
“No,” Quatre agreed pleasantly. “If technology really has come far enough for dolls to have conversations with people, you’ve got to be pretty valuable. And if you’re just a transmitter for somebody who’s secretly taping us, then somebody‘s in violation of certain privacy laws.”
“Oh, nicely done,” the doll commended him. Heero’s sharp nod seemed to indicate he felt much the same.
“Anyway,” Quatre went on lightly, “the game’s going to start…” He looked down at the doll. “I don’t suppose you’re a college basketball fan?”
“For you, I could be,” said the doll with a wink — an actual wink, though the examination of him that Quatre had conducted thus far wouldn’t have led him to guess he had mobile eyelids.
Quatre shook his head skeptically. “Heero,” he wondered, glancing up at his friend, “what have you gotten us into?”
The illustration above is by link_worshiper.
Here’s a picture of Quatre I drew:
Like the previous picture of Duo, I didn’t draw this until long after this part was posted, but I put him here since this is Quatre’s first appearance in the story.
His facial expression didn’t turn out at all like I planned, and actually strikes me as rather hilarious.