Heero’s official job title was Pacific Division Sales Coordinator, but a better one would have been The Guy Who Fixes All The Mistakes Of A Third Of The Company’s Sales Staff. Normally this didn’t bother him too much; there was something about redoing a really shoddy piece of work to a higher standard, then taking a good long look at the finished product from arm’s length, that satisfied him intensely. But this entire work week had been an impatient nightmare from beginning to middle, and he almost felt he couldn’t get through the two more days of cleaning up after his co-workers that lay between him and the weekend.
Not long ago, if anyone had asked him what he would have been looking forward to doing on this particular evening, he would have (besides wondering why they cared) mentioned the first of the NCAA regionals. But things were different now that there was a wizard (or whatever Trowa preferred to be called) with access to Heero’s living room. Duo could be human again any time, and then he and Trowa might be off without a word.
Heero was curious to see more magic, and more specifically he would very much like to see Duo’s curse lifted. He wondered what Duo would look like as a human. Sure, the doll face gave a fairly good idea, and Heero imagined the hair would be about the same… but living flesh, more nuanced facial expressions, body language… How tall would he be? Were his eyes really that intense and improbable shade of blue-purple? Heero was exceedingly interested in all of it.
So the work days had been dragging, and today’s tedium was an ominous indication of what tomorrow would be like when the current situation was compounded by the usual impatience of a Friday. At least, though, between today and tomorrow (provided he could survive today) there was Duo. And it didn’t matter how often or how vehemently he reminded himself not to think that way.
Most of this he relayed to Quatre in a grumble at lunch, and found Quatre more than ready to agree. Though Quatre’s reason for wanting to be away from the office was more along the lines of, “Do you know that Trowa doesn’t eat unless someone’s there to make him?”
“That explains his reaction to breakfast yesterday,” muttered Heero.
“By the way, how’s the tenth for tennis?”
It took Heero a moment to shift gears, and another to try to remember what he might or might not be doing two weeks from the coming Saturday. But finally he said, “Fine, I think. I’ll tell you if it turns out I’m doing something that day.”
It seemed strange to be making plans to do normal, non-magical things with their normal, non-magical friends. It was like they’d started living in another world and were scheduling a step out of it for a day. Which was stupid, since barely anything in their actual lives had changed. Sure, there was a talking doll on the end table in Heero’s living room, which room also contained a door that opened onto a magician’s house across the country, but what difference did that really make?
Or so Heero kept trying to tell himself.
Having satisfied the tennis question, Quatre’s thoughts had also undoubtedly gone back to the matter of their new friends, for he said pensively after swallowing a mouthful of turkey sandwich, “We could use some time off, I think.”
“I certainly wouldn’t object,” Heero replied.
Quatre nodded again. “I’ll see what I can do” — reminding Heero yet again that there were benefits to having the Pacific Division Regional Manager as your best friend.
Even after what felt like the longest four hours of Heero’s life — really, this was not boding well for tomorrow — he still couldn’t quite go home yet; it was his turn to provide the snacks, so he had to stop at the grocery store this time. And as long as he was at the store already, his overriding logic wouldn’t let him leave until he’d done all of his grocery shopping (though admittedly somewhat in a hurry). But thereafter, finally, it was time to go see Duo. The game, that is. The basketball game. It was time to go see the basketball game.
He had high hopes of making a true college basketball fan out of Duo. The doll remembered not only the rules, but the general workings of the tournament and that their team was already out of the running. In fact, he required very little further tutoring to seem like he had a fairly good idea of what was going on at any given moment. And his cheers, necessarily rather quiet though they were without a real diaphragm to support them, were always properly timed and must have bolstered the team had they been there in person.
“You know I have never eaten pizza in my life?” Duo said a little wistfully during a commercial break.
Quatre stared at him. “That is so sad,” he said in perfect seriousness. “This stuff you get at the grocery store and cook yourself isn’t as good as the stuff you order, though.
“But it’s a lot cheaper,” Heero put in, defending his frugal snack choice.
“Oh, I’m not complaining,” said Quatre hastily, “just letting him know. We wouldn’t want poor impressionable Duo getting the wrong idea because we’re eating inferior pizza.”
Heero rolled his eyes and turned away from his friend back to Duo. “As soon as you’re human again, we’ll feed you all sorts of things you’ve never had before.”
“Is that a promise?” Duo grinned.
“Sure,” said Heero.
Trowa wandered in near the end of the game and stared blankly at the TV as if he’d never seen one before — though in reality he had witnessed the evolution of television. What a strange life he must had led, Heero thought without much sympathy. At least his appearance spared Quatre the trouble of going to look for him, once the game was over, to make sure he ate or whatever.
“Oh, hey, Trowa!” Duo said happily. Duo was always far too happy to see Trowa; it was a consistent and irritating reminder. “Come watch basketball with us!”
Trowa moved to stand beside the table where Duo sat, still gazing somewhat uncomprehendingly at the television. Heero thought about offering him a seat on the couch in the empty space between himself and Quatre. Quatre probably would have liked that, but Heero had no real desire to sit next to Trowa — so he said nothing and let him keep standing.
“He may not know what basketball is,” Quatre was saying in a teasing tone. “I don’t think he even has a TV.”
“No TV?!” Duo demanded in horror. “Trowa, when did you become such a godless heathen?”
“When television was invented, apparently,” replied Trowa.
“Well, at least have some pizza,” Quatre offered, holding up the plate that contained what was left.
“No, thank you. When is your game over?”
“Maybe about ten more minutes.” The proffered pizza was retracted with, Heero thought, some displeasure.
“I’ll come back,” said Trowa with a nod. “There’s a spell I want to try.”
This caught everyone’s interest, but Trowa was already moving toward his door again, evidently not planning to offer any more details. So they all turned back to the game until such time as he should satisfy their curiosity. Heero thought Duo’s attention span for basketball had significantly waned, however. Which was really for the best, he supposed, at least for Duo; what was the point of having a boyfriend if you didn’t find him more fascinating than television?