Plastic 35

A moment that seemed to stretch into forever followed as the complete implications of Trowa’s words hit home.

Five feet.

A full lunar cycle.

Good lord.

Heero thought about his ‘private’ cubicle at work. He thought about his co-workers on the sales floor, difficult to put up with at the best of times, and remembered fleetingly how he’d been sure they would react, that first day, if they saw him carrying a doll. He thought about how quickly gossip spread through the building, heard it repeated in a dozen shrill but lowered voices that the Sales Coordinator had a Barbie sitting on his desk. He thought about grocery shopping with a doll seated in the cart, then trying to explain to the checker that, no, he hadn’t pulled it off the shelf and opened it, but had brought it in from home. He thought about going down to the apartment office to drop off May rent holding a doll. He thought about dinner at his parents’ house tomorrow with a doll in his hand, and felt a little faint.

He thought about having Duo with him all the time.

He thought about Duo human, and resolve filled him. Because, really, he didn’t care what it took; he didn’t care what he had to suffer; if he had to live in Hell for a month to break this stupid curse, then that was damn well what he was going to do.

The moment stretched on — it was probably two or three seconds, actually, but it didn’t matter much; his thoughts were moving at light speed in any case — and it occurred to him next how he would react if he were in Duo’s position… if a friend of his were being asked for his sake to go through what he vaguely anticipated now. He knew how he would feel, and he was fairly sure Duo’s response would be much the same. But for Duo to feel guilty or at fault about this was the last thing Heero wanted; the process of breaking the curse shouldn’t make it worse for Duo. He’d gone through enough already.

So as the moment ended, Heero said calmly, “That’s it? Duo just has to stay within five feet of me for a month, and he’ll be human again?”

“‘That’s it?'” Duo, still in Trowa’s hand, echoed weakly. “Heero, are you…” He trailed off, apparently unable to complete the thought.

“No blood sacrifice?” Heero went on coolly. “No dragons to fight or Nome Kings to outwit?”

“That’s it,” Trowa confirmed. He was still staring intently into Heero’s face, and Heero thought he knew why: it was all on his shoulders now, for some reason, and Trowa was anxious to know that he was up to the task. Why Trowa couldn’t do it himself Heero didn’t want to ask; he would rather not even sail near those waters, since he thought the ensuing discussion would probably drive him crazy. He was simply glad (on the level beneath the one on which he was already feverishly bracing himself for the month to come) that he could be of use to Duo — and perhaps secretly, horribly, a little glad that Trowa couldn’t.

“That’s easy,” he said confidently.

“Easy?” Duo burst out. “Easy?? Heero, are you thinking about this? Sneaking me down to the laundry room in a basket is one thing, but a whole month??”

“Yeah, do you think you can put up with me for that long?” Heero asked, trying his damndest to speak lightly.

“Heero, me putting up with you is not going to be the problem.” Duo still sounded shocked, but simultaneously amused and a little exasperated. “Are you thinking at all about what this will involve?”

“He’s right, Heero.” It was the first thing Quatre had said since entering. He too seemed somewhat amused, and a little uneasy. “This may be really hard on you.”

Heero forced a shrug. “If that’s what it takes.”

“Heero…” said Duo faintly.

Trowa still hadn’t withdrawn his pointed gaze, but at Heero’s statement he gave a brief little nod, apparently satisfied. “I’ll go draw up a spell to find the exact dimensions of your psychic field,” he said quietly, and turned to set Duo down.

Duo looked up at him from the table as Trowa’s hand withdrew, and said just as quietly, “Thanks, Trois.”

Trowa appeared startled, and Heero could tell without even asking that nobody had called him ‘Trois’ in a very long time. Trying to stave off jealousy, he reminded himself that a month’s close proximity trumped a cute nickname any day; but that didn’t make it any easier to hear Trowa’s parting, “Just hope it works, Deux,” as the magician touched the top of Duo’s head with two fingertips before he walked away.

When Trowa was gone, a long silence fell. It was very much like the last time he had walked out of this room, back when he’d done his failed divination with the candles. Heero was staring down at Duo thoughtfully, and he knew Quatre was staring at him. Duo was staring straight forward at neither of them, but Heero was certain they were all thinking about the same thing.

This guess was confirmed when Duo finally swiveled his head to look at where Heero still sat on the couch. “Are you sure about this?” he asked.

“It can’t possibly be as tough as being a doll for a hundred years,” Heero said, still struggling for a casual tone.

“That doesn’t mean it’s not going to suck,” said Duo bluntly. “I mean, I can’t ask… you don’t have to do this for me.”

“But I’m going to anyway,” Heero shrugged.

“Well, thanks.” Duo sounded a bit baffled and perhaps, despite Heero’s best efforts, a little guilty, but definitely grateful.

“I haven’t done anything yet,” Heero reminded him. “Start thanking me a week from now. Oh, and, once you’re human,” he added with a wry smile, “I think you’ll owe me lunch every day for a year.”

Duo laughed. “OK, fine,” he said, in something more like his usual tone. “I just hope you know what you’re getting into.”

“I hope so too,” replied Heero. He looked around, though he couldn’t see down the hall to the glass balcony door from this angle. “What’s the moon like right now, anyway?”

“It was full four nights ago,” Quatre said unexpectedly. “April’s only got thirty days, so May third’s probably the day you want, but I’m not sure. It’ll be easiest to look up a lunar calendar online or something and find the exact date.”

Heero hadn’t had any idea that Quatre paid so much attention to the moon, but wasn’t going to turn down the advice.

Quatre shook his head, evidently not quite sure what to think. “This will be… interesting.”

Heero snorted.

“Well, I’m going to head home,” Quatre said next, a little reluctantly. “But you guys will definitely be seeing me tomorrow.”

“Night, Quatre,” said Duo abstractedly.

“Yeah, see you,” said Heero.

Quatre nodded and made his way to the door, and Heero thought he was chuckling faintly as he let himself out.

Then Heero turned to stare again at Duo, who seemed lost in contemplation. Several moments passed in silence before Heero finally reached out to pick the doll up and stand. “C’mon, Duo,” he said. “Let’s go to bed.”

And it was a sure sign of how serious were Duo’s thoughts at the moment that all he said in response to this was, “OK.”

Previous (Part 34) | Chapter Index | Next (Part 36)

For those not in the know, the Nome King is a recurring villain in Baum’s Oz books.

Then as for the French nicknames… Everyone may go around with a straight face in canon being acquainted with someone named Duo and someone named Trowa and someone named Quatre (even if they don’t notice all the other ones), but I don’t think there’s any way a couple of best friends with sequentially numeric names in a relatively modern setting (where the names in question are romance-language-derived and that’s what they’re speaking, at any rate) could possibly let this go unremarked.

I thought a lot about which language to base the nicknames on, and eventually went with French, despite the fact that the French words are very little different from the actual names; of the various languages that Trowa and Duo were logically likely to have heard around (which, in their large, mixed city in the 1910’s and 20’s, was admittedly quite a few), French had numeric words that sounded best to me. Spanish was a close second, but ‘tres’ sounded too much like ‘Treize,’ so that was out. Then I had a couple other little ideas that made French the perfect choice, at least one of which will be mentioned in a later part.

16 thoughts on “Plastic 35

    1. Yeah, Heero’s all trying to make sure Duo doesn’t feel too awkward about this… and it’s probably making things a little easier on himself, too, since he’s distracting himself. I’d say definitely head over heels :D

  1. The French worked very nicely for me. I thought it was actually very sweet, especially when Trowa touched Duo’s head before leaving. (I’m totally into their friendship.)

    I think I love Heero even more now, if that’s possible. The way he visualized what the next month will be like, and still thought it was worth doing. I see a combination of falling in love with Duo and desiring to help someone who has suffered for way too long. I can’t help adoring Heero for that.

    1. The sad thing about this Trowa-Duo friendship is that the story never really gets a chance to explore it when it wasn’t all messed up. Because obviously the curse has changed things a lot. We only get little glimpses at moments like this, and they don’t really tell us much. But I’m glad you like the French nicknames anyway! Also I’m glad that Heero came across as so kind, because that’s what I was going for ^__^

  2. I guess that’s about as close to Heero doing cartwheels as I’ll ever come. I hope that Duo snaps out of his shock soon – I hate to seem him sleeping in the same bed with Heero and not taking full advantage of that. I also felt like Trowa was sizing up Heero and entrusting Duo to him. It was endearing and this is the first time Trowa has endeared me to him at all.

    1. Don’t worry; Duo will be over it soon enough :D Besides, they’ve got a whole month now for him to make suggestive remarks! Also, I’m really glad that you liked Trowa at least a little for at least a moment, heh.

  3. Hi, delurking here. I have been following this story for about a month now, since posted about it on her journal. I try to wait until two or three new updates have been posted before reading, but that usually doesn’t work. *laugh* I’ve been eagerly awaiting each new installment.

    I’m finally commenting because I think this is an awesome twist. I know how I would handle that situation… now I’m just going to wait and see how Heero handles it. *grin* It’s bound to be amusing… hopefully he won’t get too much grief from his coworkers.

    Anyway, I love the entire story and I’m so happy each time an update is posted. Also, I own BJDs (ball jointed dolls) so this story ties into some of my other interests. Thank you so very much for posting this story, I enjoy it a lot. I’m also quite the fan of Quatre x Trowa, so I’m looking forward to seeing how their interactions turn out. ^______^

    1. Well, thanks a million for your comments! I always so appreciate hearing from people ^__^ I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the story, and I’m glad you like the direction it’s going! I’m quite pleased with the idea myself, heh.

      Will Heero get too much grief from his coworkers? Well, you have to remember that Heero’s idea of ‘too much grief’ may be a little different than a more social person’s. Heh. Heh heh. Ahem.

      Anyway, I also think it’s cool if the story means something more to you because you collect dolls… I myself have an inordinate love of Barbies, particularly when they sparkle or set of my gaydar (both of which they do pretty frequently), but this is not a very serious interest XD Also, I’m glad you’re looking forward to the Quatre/Trowa stuff, because I’m quite pleased with that!!

  4. :D I place Trowa with French too. I’ve read him a lot with Latin or doing the Catholic prayers and it just seems to fit. :3

    Heh goodluck Heero~

    1. It’s not that Duo doesn’t notice… it’s just that he’s too engrossed in thinking about this new development to make inappropriate comments. But don’t worry; that will not last XD

  5. Uoo! Love the French nicknames. Love the Duo & Trowa interaction. Enjoyed Heero’s sequential thoughts of what the month would be like and I had to laugh. Your Heero is in character of the Heero I like from the series. I like this fic. Thanks for sharing. *^_^*

    1. I’m glad that you feel Heero is in-character. It’s always a bit of a challenge to take a character that has some sort of unusual condition (such as the super-repressed emotional state Heero was in at least at the beginning of canon), transplant them into an environment where they would not have developed the same way, and try to make them feel like the same person. It’s nice to know you think I’ve done well at that, so thanks!

  6. Ooh the nicknames! Shows how close they are and how sad they were not being able to call each other just that. I found it quite sad for Trowa though that he can’t be the one to undo the spell which he had originally casted.

    Heero is contemplating everything and yet he still wants to forgo with the idea of having a doll everywhere. XD Awww he’s so sweet and Quatre is probably very amused with the situation.

    1. Yes, Quatre is definitely amused. I think it would be difficult to encounter a situation like that and not find it at least a little funny, even if you’re trying to be nice :D

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