He probably shouldn’t have done it, but Quatre simply couldn’t help himself; he had to peek into Heero’s bedroom the next morning. It wasn’t that he expected to see anything terribly interesting; it was just that the whole thing was so interesting he wanted to reconnect.
Duo was sitting on Heero’s cluttered nightstand — which, Quatre reflected in some amusement, was really just the bedroom equivalent of an end table — still and silent, apparently watching Heero sleep in what had to be the most boring way to spend eight or nine hours Quatre could think of. Despite how quietly Quatre moved, Duo looked up as he opened the door and put his head in. The doll said nothing, but gave him a tiny grin and a two-armed wave from the elbows that might have been described as a jazz-hand-wave if his fingers had been capable of splaying.
Amused, Quatre returned the gesture — though he, not being quite so excited about his own elbows, used a more traditional version — also did not risk awakening Heero with a verbal greeting, and withdrew back into the hallway.
He still hadn’t entirely wrapped his brain around what was required to break the curse. On the one hand, as Heero had said, it was a surprisingly easy solution, requiring no blood or complicated magical ceremonies… but on the other, it was likely to be monumentally inconvenient for Heero — Heero, who liked nothing better than never to draw attention to himself over anything. Quatre wasn’t really surprised that his friend was willing to undertake the task, but his mood was a perfect mixture of amusement and horror as he thought about what the task entailed. He would very much have liked to discuss it with Heero in private, but it seemed he wouldn’t have a chance at such a conversation for quite some time now.
Today he had other plans, in any case. He’d specifically turned down a lunch invitation from some other friends in order to carry them out, in fact.
Before Trowa could ask who was there, Quatre was identifying himself and calling out a hearty good morning to the little house in general. He couldn’t be certain of what sort of mood he would find Trowa in after yesterday’s events, but he had a sneaking suspicion there would be guilt or melancholy involved for any of a number of reasons — and therefore some enthusiastic cheerfulness on his part might be exactly what was needed.
What he found, in fact, was nothing short of absolutely typical: Trowa seated in his armchair appearing distant, like he hadn’t slept in days, and neither very happy nor terribly upset. This didn’t necessarily mean, however, that he wasn’t very happy or terribly upset, just that he wasn’t showing it. With this in mind, Quatre asked, “How are you doing?” as he came to stand in front of him.
“I don’t know.” Trowa looked as if he wasn’t used to people asking him how he was — asking and caring, especially — and Quatre fully believed that the frank answer he gave was due solely to the fact that he’d been such a hermit for so long he’d gotten out of the habit of politely lying in response to that particular question as most people did. “I’m glad we’ve found out how to break the curse, of course, but it feels… anticlimactic. It wasn’t that I was hoping for something painful or horrible, but…” He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know what I was hoping.”
“You were hoping you would be the one who could break the curse,” said Quatre with sympathetic surety. And he was almost as sure that Trowa really had hoped it would require something painful or horrible, so he could live out a penance nobody else desired of him. Suddenly Quatre was glad of what the answer had turned out to be — but could Trowa ever see it that way? “Don’t worry,” he continued reassuringly. “Heero’s a great guy, and he cares about Duo too.” If Quatre was any judge of his best friend’s behavior, that was rather an understatement. “You can count on him.”
Perhaps Trowa also recognized the understatement, for his face seemed to darken somewhat. “I’d rather not,” he said bluntly.
“There’s nothing wrong with letting a friend do some of the work.” In Quatre’s haste to vouch for Heero’s pure intentions, he may have stressed the word ‘friend’ a little too much. It made him uneasy, too… because if Trowa needed to be reassured about Heero hanging out with Duo reading books aloud and watching TV, Quatre should probably offer some kind of reassurance to Duo about his own behavior toward Trowa. Except that Duo had never seemed anything but pleased when he noticed Quatre going to visit Trowa. But, then, if Duo was more easygoing, possibly more trusting than his bitter, reclusive boyfriend, it would be no great surprise.
Trowa had nothing to say. Or rather, as on a few previous occasions, it seemed he might well have quite a bit to say if only he wanted to continue the discussion at all. Instead he just glanced around as if reminding himself where he was and murmured, “What’s the time?”
“Almost one, here,” replied Quatre, allowing the subject to be changed. “Let’s go out to lunch.”
Now Trowa looked up at him. “‘Out?'” he echoed blankly.
“Yes.” Quatre gave an explanatory gesture. “Out of your house, where you spend far too much time.”
“Why?” wondered Trowa, still in that baffled tone.
“To celebrate,” Quatre said.
“I think we still have an entire month to hold our breaths before we can celebrate,” Trowa said dully.
With a pitying smile, Quatre restrained himself from rolling his eyes. “After eighty-seven years, you don’t think that finally knowing how to break the curse is something worth celebrating?”
“I’ll celebrate when the curse is actually broken.”
“OK, fine. I’m going to hold you to that. And for now, instead of a celebration, how about just a break? And I don’t mean the kind of break where you sit there staring at that candlestick for hours thinking about how everything’s your fault.”
Trowa’s brows drew together slightly. “I don’t–”
“Yes, you do. We’ve been over this. You need to get away from everything in here for a while, so let’s go out to lunch. Aren’t you hungry?”
Evidently almost against his will, Trowa admitted, “Yes.” Then he gestured at the paper he’d apparently been working on at the table, and said with just a touch of helplessness, “I was planning on finding the dimensions of Heero’s psychic field as soon as he was awake.”
“You can do that later. He knows it’s about five feet, and he’s at home.”
Quatre had feared it might come to this. A little frustrated, he put on his best wheedling tone and puppy-dog eyes, and said daringly, “Come on, Trois. I just know you’ll feel better if you get out of here for a while.”
That got Trowa’s full attention. He stared up at Quatre from behind his unnatural green contacts, brows drawing together again slightly, and seemed at a loss as to what to say.
It was a little horrible to be doing this to someone else’s boyfriend (well, it was always horrible in any case, but it was an effective last resort), but Quatre was not going to lose this debate. He tweaked his expression to look slightly more pathetic and vulnerable, and said softly, sweetly, “Please?”
Appearing almost hypnotized, Trowa said, “All right.”
Trowa drew in a deep breath as he rose slowly from his chair. “Where are we going?”
“Well, there are some highly-rated seafood places around here; I looked it up online.”
“I don’t go out into this town,” said Trowa flatly.
“What?” Quatre was ready to shout in frustration at this newest objection. He just wanted to go out to lunch; was that so hard? He’d even done the big-eyed wheedling thing! But he forced himself to ask calmly, “Why not?”
“Because if people around here get to know what I look like, eventually they will notice I don’t age.”
“How do you ever shop for anything?” Quatre wondered, bemused.
“If I need to, I jump to another city. Never the same one twice, though.”
Quatre stared at him. So in addition to guilt and shame and despair, Trowa had been living with paranoia all this time. Dragging him back into the human world was going to be even more work than Quatre had realized.
Eventually he asked, “Well, can you jump us to some place where we can have lunch, then?” feeling, even as he said it, a sudden bubbling excitement at the thought of Trowa touching him again for the teleportation magic.
Trowa frowned slightly. As far as Quatre could tell, however, it wasn’t an expression of discontentment this time; rather, he seemed to be considering something, as if he’d had an idea he wasn’t entirely certain he wanted to implement. Finally he murmured, “Why not?” and looked up at Quatre once more. The ghost of a smile had replaced the thoughtful frown, and he lifted one arm to welcome Quatre to him.
Although he feared his suddenly-pounding heart might betray him, Quatre stepped forward gladly. Trowa’s arm closed lightly around his waist, his voice sounded, low and incomprehensible, in Quatre’s ear, and then they were lifted into weightlessness and away.