“A curse affects both the victim and the caster. A skilled curse-caster can bend this effect so that their share in the curse is something they don’t mind, something that doesn’t inhibit them… but even if they manage that, repeatedly having a share in any curse leaves a mark eventually.”
When Heero rescues an abandoned doll from the gutter, he hardly thinks it’s going to change his life; but now he and his best friend Quatre find themselves involved in the breaking of a curse from almost a hundred years ago, and perhaps in falling for exactly the wrong people.
“I would have to see him.”
It wasn’t exactly a request; it wasn’t even a demand; it was a command. And, whether magic was involved or not, Heero thought it would take a brave man to look into those bizarre eyes and tell him no. At the same time, he couldn’t exactly bring himself to tell him yes either.
“Quatre,” he said, rising abruptly, “can we talk?”
Quatre slid out of the booth after him, but didn’t follow until he’d pulled out his wallet and found a card with which to pay the bill. Leaving this on the table, he walked after Heero.
The latter made his way out of the dining area and into the corridor leading to the bathrooms. “Are you sure you want to leave your debit card sitting on the table with that guy?” was what he said first.
“What, you think he’ll steal it?” Quatre laughed, sounding a little surprised at the question.
“If he didn’t use magic to find us, he must already be an expert at getting information. One message board post, and he shows up two days later? He could probably steal either of our identities without needing my Visa.”
“That isn’t exactly comforting,” mumbled Heero.
“Do you think he’s dangerous?”
“I just don’t know that I want to invite him to my apartment. He wants to see Duo, but…”
Quatre stared at him. “But you heard everything he said… he has to see Duo.”
“I heard a good story,” Heero agreed darkly, “with absolutely no proof, still. Throughout this whole thing, there hasn’t been one single bit of proof.”
“But do you at least admit that, if his story is true, he does have to see Duo?”
“Of course, but how could it possibly be true?”
“Earlier you didn’t seem to think it was so impossible.”
Heero gave a half-angry sigh. “I don’t know what to think. Except that it would be stupid to let some stranger into my home on nothing more than some crazy sob-story about magic. A talking doll is one thing, but this…”
Thoughtfully Quatre gave a brief glance around them. Evidently he was not, as Heero would have been, checking that nobody else was nearby and listening to their insane conversation; rather, he seemed to be deciding whether or not to say something he had in mind. Finally he did. “You know what? I believe him. I don’t think he’s crazy, and I don’t think this is a hoax anymore.”
“I thought so.” There was just the tiniest bit of sourness to Heero’s tone. “You always did go for the emo type.” He probably shouldn’t have said that — at least not like that — but the symptoms had been unmistakable all through the stranger’s story, and now this declaration of belief after less than an hour…
Quatre’s eyes narrowed, but he smiled as he said sweetly, “At least I don’t go for the plastic type.”
“What do you mean?” Heero demanded as if he didn’t know perfectly well. He felt his face growing warm.
Quatre’s smile was triumphant for just a moment before it opened out into a more real, sympathetic expression. “The bad news for both of us,” he said a little forlornly, “is that those two are obviously long-lost…” He shrugged slightly. “Lovers, I guess, is the best word. ‘Boyfriends’ doesn’t seem to fit.”
“You think so?” asked Heero, startled.
Gesturing impatiently, Quatre didn’t expand on the subject. “You have to let him see Duo,” he insisted instead.
Heero ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “I just don’t want to be robbed and murdered,” he said. “Is that so unnatural?”
Quatre let out another surprised laugh, but sobered immediately. “I guess I see your point. I think we can trust the guy, but better safe than sorry.”
Heero nodded. “Maybe we can go get the doll and meet him somewhere.”
They stared at each other for a long moment, as if there was more to say and neither could or would be the first to say it, before, with almost simultaneous sighs, they turned to head back into the dining area.
As Quatre signed the receipt — the stranger hadn’t stolen his debit card and bolted, it turned out — Heero stared at the man. Still seated, the latter was finishing his glass of wine and gazing blankly at the table. When Quatre was done, Heero simply said, “Come on.”
Outside, as they approached Heero’s car — why had they come in his car, anyway? — he began to explain the intended plan: that they would go retrieve Duo and meet the stranger somewhere with him, preferably right here or in the vicinity. But, despite Heero’s brevity, the man interrupted him before he was halfway finished.
“You don’t trust me. I understand. Would it help if I could prove that everything I’ve been telling you is true?”
Heero turned to face him, meeting strange sober eyes with his own hard stare. After a moment he admitted, “Yes, it would.”
The man nodded. Turning to Quatre, who walked by his side, he said, “Please excuse the liberty.” And to the extreme surprise of both Heero and Quatre, the stranger put an arm around Quatre’s waist and pulled him a half-step closer to himself. Quatre was evidently too startled to break away as the man said something else under his breath; and the next moment, with a slight flash, they had both vanished.
Quatre had told Heero that he believed the stranger’s story, and he’d thought he meant it. Even before, when they only had Duo’s word on the matter, Quatre had, if not exactly believed, at least been ready to believe. But the truth was that, until this very moment, he hadn’t known what it was to believe.
Dizzy and extremely startled, he was clinging to the stranger with both hands as if he would fall when he released him. Thinking that he actually might, he didn’t let go for several moments after it — whatever it was — had ended, despite his embarrassment at suddenly finding himself clutching a man he’d just admitted he was attracted to.
They stood now in the grass in a park that Quatre recognized only after almost a full minute of astonished confusion as being across the street from the restaurant they’d just vacated. Deep shadow cast by a grove of trees, which hid that street from sight, surrounded them, and their advent had startled (besides Quatre) at least two rabbits into bolting.
Evening had set in, and their current unexpected location was far from any of the street-lights that made the edges of the park glow; as Quatre looked up into the stranger’s eyes, however, he thought they caught some inexplicable light source he could not see and reflected it in uncanny green. There seemed to be a strange glow about the man’s face, too: a pale, sickly luminance coating his skin like moisture. Oddly, this did nothing to diminish the attractiveness of the face, only increased its pathos somehow. The man smelled not unpleasantly of old books.
The stranger released him, gently disentangling himself from Quatre’s grip, and stepped aside. “Excuse me,” he said again.
Quatre, still almost stunned at what had just happened, could not stop staring at him. It took him some time to find his voice, but when he did he asked, “Can you go anywhere like that?” There was an almost childlike admiration in his tone, to which he wondered how the stranger would react.
“There are limitations,” the man replied simply. “I was ready to bring one of you here; I thought it would be easier to convince you if I took you with me instead of simply vanishing myself.”
“Why me?” wondered Quatre before he could stop himself.
“You seemed less likely to attack me if I touched you,” was the excessively logical answer.
“Well, I’m convinced,” Qutare assured him.
“Good,” the man nodded. “I have to see Duo.”
With the warmth of the man’s arm still fading from Quatre’s waist, Duo’s name was a timely reminder and warning. “Of course,” Quatre said. “I’m sure Heero’s convinced too; let’s go back.”
“Shall I take you back?” the stranger proposed.
“Yes!” replied Quatre, perhaps with just a touch too much excitement.
The man didn’t seem to notice that Quatre might be flirting with him a little, however, and, stepping forward, again put an arm around him. Quatre tried to catch the words he murmured this time, but they were too unfamiliar and quick to make out. Then, with another flash and that same strange sensation as before, they had relocated from the cool of the park to the concrete of the restaurant parking lot.
Heero was as startled to see them appear as he had undoubtedly been to see them disappear. He made an inarticulate noise of surprise, and seemed ready to take hold of Quatre and drag him away from the stranger. Restraining himself, however, he merely asked, “What was that?”
“Magic,” replied the man, releasing Quatre.
Thoughtfully Heero nodded, his look of surprise fading quickly; he’d had their entire absence to get over the bulk of his shock. Quatre speculated that, beyond that, he was reflecting on the implications of what he’d seen: this essentially proved that Duo was a real person, after all.
Finally Heero looked up from where he’d been pensively staring at nothing, and met the stranger’s eyes. “Well, I believe you now,” he stated, and actually smiled a little. “So let’s go see Duo.”
The stranger seemed to relax a bit. “Thank you,” he said quietly.
“We need to go back to work so I can get my car,” Quatre reminded his friend.
“I’ll take you to your car,” the stranger said.
“Really?” Quatre turned toward him eagerly.
“If it will speed things up.”
“Why not just magic all three of us to my apartment?” wondered Heero, the dryness of his tone clearly a mild reproof directed at Quatre for being frivolous.
Quatre would have had a good comeback, or at least made a face at him, if the stranger hadn’t been present with more important matters to think of. “Because we’ll both want our cars in the morning,” he replied levelly. “So we’ll meet you at home, OK?”
As Quatre turned again and took a step toward the stranger, he saw Heero shake his head as he agreed.
Once more the stranger put an arm around Quatre’s waist. This time, he leaned close to Quatre and murmured into his ear, “I need you to concentrate on the place we’re going to; picture it as clearly as you can.”
Somewhat reluctantly, Quatre closed his eyes, cutting off his view of the stranger’s, and imagined the parking lot at work. He felt the man pull him just a little closer, and then, with the same bizarre sensation of momentary weightlessness as before, they were gone.
Heero reached for the lock on his front door, then let his hand fall. Staring down for a moment at the key he held, he found he couldn’t bring himself to open the door just yet. After all, how did you prepare someone for the fact that a friend they’d thought long dead, a friend that had turned them into a doll, was actually alive and guilt-ridden and maybe a trifle weird after all these years, and would soon be here? Especially when you might have just a little bit of a crush on that someone, and the nature of their relationship with their friend wasn’t entirely clear to you at the moment?
How exactly was that man alive, anyway? Heero hadn’t asked because he’d still been assuming the whole thing was a hoax until having the wits startled out of him by the man’s proof; now he wondered. Presumably the answer would have something to do with magic, but Heero was by now getting a fairly good idea of what magic could and couldn’t typically do — and he didn’t think anything that would grant immortality was on the list of frequently miscast spells. Perhaps it had something to with that ‘extremely powerful’ artifact the man had mentioned.
Putting his back to the door, he settled in to wait. He didn’t have long, though; the work lot wasn’t much farther from his apartment than the restaurant, and evidently the teleportation (or whatever it was called) was instantaneous. Quatre and the stranger were soon approaching him down the hall, and at the sight of them Heero finally turned and put the key into the lock.
Again, “Thank you,” said the stranger — what was his name, anyway? — as Heero opened the door and gestured the others to enter in front of him. The man seemed to radiate tension now, and the atmosphere immediately pervaded the apartment. This was lit only by the television, which of course was still on, until Quatre flipped the switch. Heero closed the door and watched with interest — not uncolored by some assimilated agitation of his own — to see what the stranger would do.
Duo, fairly clearly visible on the end table, greeted them with, “There you are! I thought you’d be home around six or something, not halfway into Deep Space Nine. How late do you guys–” He’d turned his head while speaking — slowly, as if reluctant to look away from the TV — and cut off abruptly as it swiveled far enough to take in the little group in the entryway. In a tone quite unlike the previous he choked out, “Tr… Trowa?”
The stranger was stumbling forward now, circumnavigating the sofa only with difficulty. When he reached the end table, he snatched up Duo, whose little arms were waving wildly, paper towel skirt and all, and pulled him against his chest. After a moment, he sank to his knees on the carpet as if he were too weak to stand.
At first the conversation, already muffled on the stranger’s side by tears and on Duo’s by the stranger’s suit-jacket against which he was pressed, was almost completely inaudible, but once Quatre had turned the TV off Heero found he could make out some of the words.
“Holy shit, Trowa, it’s really you, isn’t it?” was the first coherent sentence from Duo.
“Duo, oh, my god, Duo,” was the bulk of the comments put forward by the other man. Trowa, apparently. This formed a sort of undercurrent to Duo’s next several statements:
“Trowa, stop hugging me; it’s pointless; I can’t feel it. Let me see your face! How the hell are you still alive? It was 1923, for god’s sake! How did you find me? How long have you been looking? Where have you been? Why aren’t you dead? I’m so fucking glad you’re not dead. I’m so glad to see you. Are you crying? Hell, I would too if I could.”
Heero and Quatre stood silently in the entryway, watching as Trowa finally gave Duo a little breathing room (as it were) and discontinued his repetitive murmur. The first coherent sentence from him was, “Duo, your hair… it’s real… it’s just like it always was…” And he stroked Duo’s hair so thoroughly, so desperately almost, that it began to come out of its braid.
“Yeah…” Duo replied. Unlike his friend, whose face was streaming with tears and who seemed to be shaking a little where he knelt on the floor, Duo’s thoughts and emotions could only be guessed through his voice — though this was a little shaky too. “I’ve never really understood it.”
“And your eyes…” Unable to finish this thought, Trowa bent so his brow rested on Duo’s head.
“It’s all right,” Duo whispered. “It’s all right, Trowa.”
“I’ve been looking for you for so long,” Trowa replied at the same volume.
“It’s over now.” Duo seemed to have much better hold of himself in this situation than Trowa did. Apparently ninety years of being a child’s plaything was better on the brain than ninety years of penitence, fruitless searching, and solitary magical study.
Finally Trowa looked up again, examining Duo in despair. “I never meant for this to happen…”
“If you had,” Duo laughed weakly, “I’d totally have to kill you.”
Trowa was not amused. “I am so sorry,” he said. “I can’t even ask forgiveness for something so horrible.”
“I forgave you back in, like, the forties,” was Duo’s impatient, still somewhat shaky reply. “So stop crying.”
This seemed to lighten the mood just a touch, though Trowa did not smile. Instead he raised a free hand to wipe at his face, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m a little drunk. And I haven’t seen you in eighty-seven years.”
“And, seriously, how are you still alive?” Duo wondered. “You look half-dead.”
“The curse. The artifact. It’s a long story.”
“I was keeping track all along, you know,” said Duo softly. “I’d look at the date and think, ‘Trowa’s thirty-seven this year,’ or whatever… until finally in the sixties I started to hate seeing calendars… because I’d see the year and think, ‘He might be dead by now…'” His voice sank even lower. “In the eighties it turned into, ‘He’s probably dead by now,’ and then…” He shook his plastic head. “And then here you are, still alive, in twenty-fucking-ten.” Bad language seemed to be part of his way of dealing with severe emotion; Heero hadn’t heard him swear this much before.
At this moment Quatre touched Heero’s arm. Heero, who had been somewhat hypnotized by the scene and hanging on every word as if it were something fascinating on a stage, started and looked at his friend. Quatre gestured him to follow. Only casting a brief glance back at the man and the doll that didn’t even seem aware of their presence or their departure, Heero did so.
Quatre led him out onto the balcony at the end of the hall, and, when the door was closed behind them, explained, “I think they deserve some privacy, don’t you?” Slowly Heero nodded, and Quatre leaned onto the railing and sighed. “We probably shouldn’t even have been in there that long, but I felt like I couldn’t move.”
Again Heero nodded, and came to join Quatre at the railing. “So what do you think about them?” he asked a little darkly.
Quatre smiled wanly. “We never had a chance.”
Trowa couldn’t remember ever feeling so weakened and overcome in his considerably long life. He’d grown so accustomed to false leads and disappointment, to having his crime thrown back into his face by fate again and again, that he’d reached a point where he simply no longer believed he would ever find Duo; somewhere in his subconscious, he saw now, he’d been under the impression — not unjust, he thought — that he would spend the rest of eternity on a vain search for the friend he’d damaged beyond repair.
He hadn’t even been aware that he’d felt this way. When he’d heard Duo’s name again after so long, been informed that the doll the strangers had reported on that message board was, in fact, the one he sought — he’d felt the emotional impact, he’d thought he believed, but even then it had not been real. No, until he’d actually seen Duo, held Duo, heard his voice and looked into his painted eyes… until then, he realized, he hadn’t known what it was to believe. And now he was almost in shock.
Somehow he’d made it onto the sofa, where he sat at the very end next to the little table that seemed to be Duo’s personal space, but he had no recollection of moving there, nor of setting Duo down. The world was at once shadowed by a haze of confusion and the lingering, cloying sorrow of the last eighty-seven years, and ablaze with a brilliance of unexpected, undeserved joy and sudden hope.
Duo had been telling him about a few of the people he’d stayed with over the decades, more as a method of tracing his path around the country than to give any real indication of anyone’s character or habits. It was no surprise that the first had been a child on vacation whose family had left town the very day of the accident. Trowa had scoured that city end to end by every means available to him — magic, social connections, and just plain legwork — and, finding no trace of his friend, had been forced to conclude that Duo had somehow left its boundaries. His despair at the realization that his search must now encompass the entire nation and perhaps beyond had for a while almost completely subdued him.
“I am so sorry for you,” Duo remarked with the uncanny headshake that made Trowa feel alternately guilty and very disturbed. “I was in someone’s suitcase being hauled cross-country at that point. At least I had plenty of time to relax and think about what was going on… you were just going nonstop.”
“I was still in the middle of everything I knew,” Trowa replied, shaking his own head. “Still at home, still… human…”
“Yeah, well… it does suck to be a doll,” admitted Duo, “but there are a few good things about it. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, since I can’t eat; or where I’m going to sleep every night, since I can’t sleep, or freeze to death; I can’t feel pain… There are worse things to live as than an immortal talking doll. Like probably an immortal magical human.”
Trowa shook his head. He didn’t believe for an instant that it hadn’t been far worse for Duo than for him.
“So tell me about that artifact,” Duo pressed, evidently tired of competing to ascribe more misery to Trowa than he’d felt himself. “I didn’t even know you had one that could do something like this; it must have been something you hadn’t shown me yet.”
Trowa nodded. “Albert Payater — if you remember him — he had just given me a good price on it the day before, because it was unpredictable and almost impossible to control. Nobody knew much about it, so he didn’t give me details; he did warn me that it could be dangerous to keep lying around, but I didn’t take him as seriously as I should have.
“When I researched it later I learned that it belonged to an old moon-worshiping cult in the 1700’s. They used to feed their own magical energies into it when they were still active, so it’s very powerful, and it does have some connection with the moon.” He indicated the skin of his face. “That’s the reason for this. It took me almost fifty years to be able to use it as I wanted — and half the time I feel more like it’s using me.”
“And you still have it around? You still use it?”
“I thought about destroying it, but I was afraid that might lock you into this form forever.”
“And you too,” Duo pointed out. “Since it obviously turned your spell into a curse and you got hit with backlash.”
“The skin isn’t the worst of it.” Trowa reached up and removed one of his contact lenses. The desire to surprise his friend a bit was probably the closest thing to a playful impulse he’d felt since he’d last seen him almost ninety years ago. When he turned his eyes on Duo again, allowing his friend to see one of them as it really was, he prompted a startled cry.
“Whoa! What is going on there?”
“Just another part of the backlash,” Trowa said. “I used to have to wear sunglasses everywhere, including indoors, which made me look like an idiot… the invention of color contacts practically saved my life.”
“I bet!” Duo laughed. “Though you’re probably pretty impossible to kill these days.”
“I’ve never tried,” Trowa answered, completely serious. “I had to find you; dying wasn’t an option.” He added more quietly, “Don’t think I didn’t think about it, though.”
“Trowa…” Duo sounded horrified and sympathetic.
“But now that I have found you,” Trowa hastened on, unable to stand Duo’s pity when Duo had been the real sufferer, the real victim, all along, “I can try to break the curse and put you back to normal.”
“I certainly wouldn’t object to that.” The caution in Duo’s voice did little to hide a rising, desperate excitement, and Trowa felt his throat constrict.
“I don’t know if I can. You know how curses work.” It pained him to say this, to admit that he wasn’t certain he could do what they’d both been waiting almost a century for… but Duo had been without hope for so long; false hope now might end up breaking his heart, and Trowa would rather die than hurt him again.
“But it wasn’t a curse at first.” Duo obviously knew his own danger, and was trying to speak levelly, trying not to get his hopes too high. He was failing, but at least he was trying. “It’s possible just a normal counterspell can reverse it.”
Trowa stood up heavily, not entirely certain of his ability to do so until he managed it. He moved to stand before the table on which Duo sat, and looked down at him. “All we can do is try,” he said.
The first thing Heero noticed when he entered his living room on the way to the kitchen on Tuesday morning was a door newly set in what had previously been a blank wall. Aware though he was that he needed to get used to magic, if not necessarily actually used to it yet, this sight was still so surprising that he was forced to stop and stare.
It looked like the front door to a house; it was dark grey-blue with a bronze handle, and had a segmented half-circle of little glass windows set into its upper third. As he approached and peered through the glass at an improbable front hallway that, had it actually been there, would have cut right across his neighbor’s apartment, he heard Duo’s voice behind him.
“Don’t worry; it’s not permanent.” Heero turned a little reluctantly from the strange, interesting sight to where Duo sat, as usual, motionless on the end table. “It’s the door to Trowa’s house.”
“I guessed that much,” said Heero, moving to stand before Duo and look down at him. “Why is it in my wall?”
“I didn’t think you’d mind,” Duo replied apologetically, tilting his small plastic face upward and responding to Heero’s skepticism rather than his question. “He wanted to get your permission first, but it must have been two in the morning by then so I told him to leave you alone.”
“I don’t really mind,” Heero said slowly, glancing back at the door, “as long as I never have to explain it to my landlord. But why is it here?”
“Oh, because he lives on the east coast and it’s easier for him to have the door here than to jump back and forth.”
“Why didn’t he just take you with him?” Heero asked. Duo didn’t immediately answer, and it struck Heero belatedly how the question might have sounded. “I’m not trying to get rid of you,” he hastened to assure him seriously. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you want. But I got the impression from him last night that, once he found you, he wasn’t going to let you out of his sight again.” He had been going to say ‘to let you go again,’ but amended his intention at the last second. It annoyed him that he had a crush, however undeveloped, on someone that was taken — a circumstance he generally tried to avoid — and he didn’t want to think about it right now. What he did want was his morning coffee, under whose influence he would speak a little less impetuously.
“Yeah,” Duo was agreeing, “he had a hard time leaving me here. I think he was afraid I’d be gone when he came back, and the whole thing would start all over.” His voice lowered and softened a trifle as he added, “And can you blame him? God, I can’t even imagine what it’s been like for him all this time. We talked for hours last night, and he told me plenty about it, but I get the feeling there’s plenty more to say.”
Though not unsympathetic, Heero had to point out as he moved into the kitchen to start the coffee, “That doesn’t explain the door.”
“Oh, sorry. He cast a few spells last night to try to put me back to normal–”
At this point Heero interrupted him in surprise, “Here?!” Why it should be so startling that spellcasting had taken place in his own apartment he wasn’t quite sure, but it seemed almost impossible somehow. Evidently he was farther from getting used to magic than he’d thought.
“Yeah,” Duo replied, and went on somewhat bitterly, “not that it worked. Obviously. Not that I blame Trowa,” he added in haste. “This whole thing is crazy, and without actually having me around he had to just guess all along what he should be getting ready in case he met me. It’s no wonder he couldn’t come up with the right spell.
“So he went home to look some things up. I wish he’d gone home to sleep.” Now his tone was one of irritated concern. “Really, you people who actually can sleep never value it enough. He was dead on his feet by the time he left, and how much wine did you guys give him? And that ritual to link his door didn’t help, but I bet he’s been reading old books ever since then, and he’ll come back in here later even more tired and want to try more magic. And I’ve tangented again, haven’t I?” Duo laughed a little. “You can’t really blame me, though, since he’s–”
“No, I can’t,” Heero broke in, not terribly eager to hear the rest of that statement. “Go on.”
“Well, he’s afraid the artifact — did he tell you it was an artifact that caused all of this? Well, he’s afraid that having me around it will just make things worse, so he didn’t want to take me home just yet. Not until he’s figured out some arrangement. He mentioned renting a room where he could put either me or the artifact so I didn’t have to keep taking up space around here, but neither of us was really sensible enough to make actual plans last night, and now you say I can stay as long as I want…”
“Yes,” Heero agreed, in lieu of nodding since Duo wasn’t looking in his direction. “You’re not exactly much trouble.”
“And I’m decorative,” Duo added complacently.
Heero was not about to agree with this aloud, especially since on the surface it seemed so stupid to be concurring about the physical merits of a doll. But after a short silence, shifting the subject, he asked, “What is an artifact, anyway?”
“An object that’s constantly exposed to magic and starts absorbing it,” Duo replied succinctly. “They’re really useful when you need more power, but you have to watch out for them. Magic performed around them is always affected, so if you have one and you’re not specifically using it for the spell you’re casting, it’s usually a good idea to put it in another room so it doesn’t interfere.”
“Well, that answers a lot of my questions,” said Quatre, entering from the hall. He was ready for work, neat and professional as usual, dressed in some of the clothes he kept here against situations like this. Well, no, there really were no situations like this. Heero poured him a cup of coffee.
Accepting this with thanks, Quatre went on, “Your Trowa told us a little last night, but I think he forgot we don’t know anything about magic ourselves.”
Duo laughed. “I don’t know how he’d even know that. How did he find you — me — us — anyway? We were so busy being incoherent last night I never got around to asking.”
“He didn’t exactly tell us either,” replied Quatre, “but it seems like he saw a post we made about you on a message board, and used magic to come to where we were going to be yesterday evening.”
“He really has gotten good,” Duo murmured. “Figuring out where total strangers are going to be takes some doing.” He brightened slightly. “And you guys were posting about me on a message board?”
“We wanted to know if your story was possible,” Heero answered.
Quatre turned to him suddenly. “You’d better go get dressed.” He gestured at the microwave clock, and Heero started. His dalliance here, where he’d only meant to come for a moment to start the coffee, was now in a fair way for making him late to work. “Do you want some toast?” Quatre called after him as he went.
“If you’re making some, sure,” Heero replied over his shoulder. Quatre burned toast and had no concept of the appropriate amount of either butter or jam, but it was better than nothing.
The last thing he heard from the living room and kitchen before entering his own room was Quatre’s interested, “So, what’s with the door?”
His Own Humanity is an AU series set in modern-day America (plus magic) featuring characters from Rurouni Kenshin (primarily Saitou and Sano) and Gundam Wing (primarily Heero, Duo, Trowa, and Quatre). In chronological order (generally), the stories currently available are:
Sano enlists the help of exorcist Hajime in discovering the nature of the unusual angry shade that's haunting him.
Best friends Heero and Quatre have their work cut out for them assisting longtime curse victims Duo and Trowa.
During Plastic (part 80), Cairo thinks about thinking and other recent changes in his life.
A look at how Hajime and Sano are doing.
A look at how Trowa and Quatre are doing.
A look at how Heero and Duo are doing.
A meeting between Kamatari and Wufei.
Couple analysis among Heero, Duo, Trowa, and Quatre.
Quatre undergoes an unpleasant magical change; Heero, Duo, and Trowa are forced to face unpleasant truths; and Hajime and Sano may get involved.
During La Confrérie de la Lune Révéré (parts 33-35), Sano's 178-day wait is over as what Hajime has been fearing comes to pass.
During Guest Room Soap Opera (part 3), Cathy learns a lot of interesting facts and Trowa is not happy.
A few days before the epilogue of La Confrérie de la Lune Révéré, Duo and Sano get together to watch football and discuss relationships and magical experiences; Heero listens in on multiple levels.
On the same evening as That Remarkable Optimism, Trowa tells Quatre's parents the whole truth, as promised.