Heero was staring at Duo. Quatre was staring at Trowa’s door. None of them were saying anything, and it was dragging on. Intense curiosity and the desire to be comforting and the awareness that there really wasn’t much to say that could comfort someone in such a situation and a tight, unhappy feeling in the pit of his stomach in response to Duo’s last words all warred inside Heero, and he felt it safer, at least at first, to say nothing at all.
It was Duo himself, in fact, that eventually broke the silence. “Well, that sucked.” He added with a sort of false cheerfulness determined to put a good face on a bad situation, “Another day as a doll, here we go!” Before either of the others could think of anything to say in reply, he went on in a more genuinely pleased tone, “He’s really gotten good, though! I wonder how long it took him to come up with that ritual…”
This remark sounded very much like permission for them to ask questions, if not in so many words. Heero got his in first, moving to retake his previous seat on the sofa next to the end table: “What was the point of remembering all those places?”
“Oh… well… It’s kinda hard to explain.” Duo’s tone seemed to indicate he would have been scratching his head if he’d been human. Heero had never met anyone with such an expressive range of vocal inflection, and wondered if it was a skill Duo had always possessed or whether he’d developed it over the long years of having such a limited array of other forms of non-verbal expression.
“See, that was actually a divination trying to find out how to change me back — so I might have had another day as a doll anyway even if he’d gotten his answer, depending on what it was. Anyway, there’s another kind of magic I could never do — I can’t do divination either; I could only ever do your basic making-things-happen kind of magic — but this other stuff’s all about the mind: communication, mind reading, getting power from thoughts and memories and stuff. So he was using memories of before the curse to help divine how to get back to that — making a sort of connection back to those days to grab some extra power.”
“OK…” Heero nodded slowly. “That makes sense.”
“Really?” Duo grinned. “Awesome.”
“What did you mean about the moon?” was the next question, this one from Quatre.
“Oh, that’s the answer that keeps coming back on all these divinations. Not very helpful, since we know it was that stupid lunar artifact that did this.”
“You know,” Quatre said thoughtfully, “I’ve been over there a few times now, and I don’t know if I’ve seen the thing. What exactly is it?”
Since Quatre had posed his question, Heero had been puzzling over it in the back of his head even as he listened. He’d thought Quatre’s experience watching Trowa’s spell had been the same as his, but in that case why should Quatre need to ask this?
Duo was saying, “I think Trowa said it was–” when Heero broke in:
“Quatre, didn’t you see the moon?” He made an apologetic gesture at Duo for his interruption and went on, “After the first thing Trowa said, didn’t you get a sort of vision of the moon blocking out everything else?”
Quatre stared at him. “No, just a bunch of light. Did you?”
“Yeah,” replied Heero a little uneasily. “It was very clear.”
“What does that mean? That you saw it and I didn’t?”
They gazed at each other for a long moment, then as one turned to Duo for the answer.
The doll didn’t have a great variety of facial expressions. There was his default blank look, which reminded Heero disturbingly of the Kens he’d seen at the stores, and there was a wider and far less creepy grin; then he could wink either of his eyes, but that was about the extent of it. At the moment, however, it looked as if he was trying very hard to give an amused, interested smile as he replied, “Off the top of my head, I’d say it means Heero has magical abilities and Quatre doesn’t.”
“Really?” Quatre turned a grin much like the one Duo was attempting toward his friend, apparently not at all bothered that he might be left out of the magical loop.
“Me?” Heero wondered in surprise at the same moment, almost certain he didn’t like the idea.
“I could be wrong,” said Duo in his ‘shrug’ tone. “But that’s usually what it means when you get a vision during a divination.”
Quatre looked very much as a proud parent might after a child’s successful musical recital, and also a little as if he found the revelation rather funny.
Heero, on the other hand, couldn’t quite accept it. “Is this magical ability anything like Ken’s bi-curious phase in the 90’s?” he wondered, a sardonic tone covering up his continual unease.
Duo laughed, half reminiscent and half rueful. “You’re never going to believe anything I say ever again, are you?” He grinned. “If you can find another explanation for why you got a vision that’s only supposed to appear to magicians…”
Heero frowned. “Shouldn’t I have noticed a little earlier, though? Can you have magic for twenty-four years without knowing it?”
“You have to be around magic for your own magic to wake up,” Duo explained. “So presumably you could go your entire life without knowing it. For me and Trowa it was this old gypsy lady in our neighborhood — the one with the five dogs. For you, apparently, it was yours truly.”
This silenced Heero utterly. He didn’t really disbelieve it, and the thought that it had only come about because of Duo made things a little better. At the same time, however, there was something disconcertingly… intimate… something far more appealing than it had any right to be when Duo was so unavailable… about the thought that Duo, by his mere presence, had awakened something heretofore unknown inside of Heero… and this made things, in another sense, much, much worse.
Quatre the perceptive friend jumped right in to rescue him. “Well, that’s exciting!” he said brightly. “You can learn to do all sorts of cool stuff, and maybe some of those message board posts will start to make sense!”
“Yeah,” Heero replied gruffly.
“You don’t have to, though,” said Duo reassuringly, evidently misinterpreting the discomfort Heero had been unable entirely to hide.
Heero forced a faint laugh.
“Well, I’ve got to go home,” Quatre said, somewhat reluctantly. “But I’ll see you both tomorrow.”
Heero rather wished Quatre could have waited until they’d come up with a change of subject before leaving, but understood this wasn’t necessarily possible. “OK,” he said.
“More basketball tomorrow, right?” Duo wondered eagerly.
Quatre cheerfully confirmed this assumption as he located his briefcase, and then he was gone. Heero was glad the subject had been brought up — now he could talk about tomorrow’s game until he left the room to go to bed, and leave thinking about Duo awakening his magical potential until he was alone.