When Quatre went looking for Heero on the sales floor at lunch time, he found Heero’s jacket draped over the chair in his cubicle and Heero’s briefcase still down by the desk, but no Heero to go with them. The computer had already gone to sleep, though, and Quatre looked around, puzzled, for a few moments.
“He left about twenty minutes ago,” someone said from behind him. The sharply polite tone with its touch of judgmental amusement identified the speaker, even before Quatre turned, as the sales manager Dorothy. “I’m not sure what you two did on your week off,” she went on, “but it must have been distracting.”
If that wasn’t ironic, Quatre didn’t know what was. Still, he’d only come to find Heero in the first place to tell him that he was again going to Trowa’s house for lunch/dinner, so this didn’t exactly throw a wrench in his plans. He thanked Dorothy for her information and left.
As he drove, he spent a few minutes wondering what could have caused Heero to leave so early for lunch without his things. He hoped nothing had gone wrong. He might have considered calling him to find out, but he’d seen a cell phone lying on the desk as well, and speculated that his friend wanted to be out of reach of all human communication at the moment. Besides, the mild concern Quatre felt at these slightly mysterious events couldn’t keep full hold of his mind when he was on his way to see Trowa. Because Dorothy had been right — about him, at least: what he’d done over his week off had left him distracted.
He did reflect, though, as he let himself into Heero’s apartment, that it was a little strange to be doing so under these circumstances.
There was no sound from any of the other dark rooms as he came into Trowa’s entryway, so, in keeping with that, he moved as quietly as he could in closing the front door and heading into the study. And he found, in the light of the lamp Trowa used so exclusively in this room, exactly what he’d been expecting.
It wasn’t the first time he had come in here to find Trowa asleep as if he’d never slept before and would never have another chance. This time, Trowa was slumped forward on the table in a position that looked excessively uncomfortable, his head pillowed on a large, unreadable book. It reminded Quatre of Heero a few nights ago… except that Heero, of course, hadn’t made Quatre want to reach out and touch.
Trowa looked so very tired and pathetic asleep there like that, as if he simply hadn’t been able to keep his eyes open or his body upright one moment longer, his skin slightly grey and almost glowing as if he were feverish — although when Quatre, unable to resist, put out a hand and ran his fingertips lightly across Trowa’s cheek, he felt nothing more than regular human warmth.
The temptation came over Quatre all at once in a sort of heart-pounding shiver when Trowa did not stir even in the slightest at his touch, and he obeyed the impulse almost without thinking: bending, he leaned down and pressed his lips to the pale cheek, feeling the soft skin give just slightly under his kiss and taking in the more pronounced scent of old books that did not come solely from the actual old books in the room. And suddenly he found himself looking into a bright half moon framed by thick, beautiful lashes that had just parted unexpectedly.
Quatre stood straight and stepped back in a quick, startled movement, blushing furiously. He shouldn’t have done that. Why had he done that? Why did Trowa have to look so damned irresistible? “I’m sorry,” he said, almost without meaning to.
Trowa was sitting up slowly — evidently the position in which he’d been sleeping had left him stiff and sore — staring at Quatre. Finally, with a gesture to his eyes, he said in a tone of slightly bitter concession, “They are rather horrifying, aren’t they?”
As he realized what Trowa thought was the reason for his abrupt retreat, Quatre felt his own eyes widen. “Oh, no!” he said in an embarrassingly impassioned tone. “No! Your eyes don’t bother me at all. It’s just, I… I shouldn’t have done that.”
The expression on Trowa’s face did not change, and his tone was completely blank as he asked, “Why?”
It seemed an almost farcical question, and Quatre was for a moment at a loss for what to say, despite the answer being perfectly straightforward. Finally, however, he did manage it: “Well, it’s a little rude to kiss someone else’s boyfriend.” And if his blush intensified as he said this, at least it was only a very little.
“I’m no one else’s boyfriend.” Trowa made the remark flatly, but Quatre thought his demeanor also suddenly held a touch of curiosity and perhaps relief — on which Quatre might have dwelt with some pleasure if the information he’d just received hadn’t abruptly swallowed up the entire world.
A stammered, “But… Duo…” was all he could manage.
A faint smile twisted across Trowa’s face. “Duo and I were never lovers.” He turned his eyes toward the book he’d been asleep on a minute before. “We were in love, back then, I think… I think we were both using that woman to make each other jealous, and that argument that started all of this… was not really about her at all.” He was toying absently with the book’s pages, seemingly looking far past it with unfocused eyes. “We accused each other of not caring, but neither of us had ever admitted that we did care…”
“And…” Quatre felt as if he’d stopped breathing. “And do you still care?”
“Not anymore. Of course I still love him,” Trowa added, pointlessly flipping through the book he wasn’t actually looking at, “but not in that way.” He said it with all the conviction a level, unemotional tone could bring, but Quatre wasn’t sure he believed it. After all, Trowa had gone all these decades without being able to let go of his guilt and misery over a situation that was not entirely his fault… How likely was it that he’d been able to let go of this?
“Are you sure?” Quatre asked quietly.
Abruptly Trowa turned away from the book and the table and looked up at him. His shining eyes were perfectly focused now, the faint moonlight that emanated from them almost piercing with the intensity of the gaze. “Yes, Quatre,” he said very seriously, “I’m sure.”
The smoothness of Quatre’s subsequent movements somewhat belied the fact that they seemed to take place without any initial cerebral impulse: he stepped forward again, leaned down, ran one hand along each side of Trowa’s face and down to his neck so his thumbs could press against Trowa’s jaw and lift his head into a better angle, and kissed him.
Trowa’s lips felt simultaneously fuller and more hesitant than Quatre would have expected. He certainly responded — in fact, he snaked an arm up and around Quatre’s neck, as if to make absolutely certain he stayed where he was, almost immediately — but he seemed very unsure of himself. Abstractly, in one of the few small corners of his consciousness that weren’t on fire, Quatre speculated that Trowa hadn’t kissed anyone in almost a century, and had probably largely forgotten how. And there was something about his inexpert willingness to try it just the same that was overwhelmingly attractive.
When they finally pulled apart, Quatre felt that the almost gasping breath he immediately drew was possibly the first he’d taken since he’d come into this room. He wasn’t sure how much of Trowa’s motion to stand was Trowa’s idea and how much was Quatre tugging at him; and he wondered, as he wrapped his arms around Trowa’s neck and pressed up against him, whether Trowa could feel how rapidly his heart was beating.
“I don’t know why you’d want–” Trowa began in a whisper.
Sensing the self-deprecating nature of the remark even before it was completed, Quatre cut him off somewhat impatiently. “Well, if you’d rather I didn’t…”
“No,” said Trowa almost fiercely. And as his lips sank to meet Quatre’s again he repeated, “No.”
There was a feeling of preciousness to this kiss, as if the moment had been dipped in molten gold, and simultaneously a fragility that suggested it was crystal underneath. The movement of Trowa’s mouth against Quatre’s held a hesitant, almost tremulous quality, as if he might break away and flee at any time, and yet the arms that had slipped around Quatre’s back clutched determinedly at him; and the whole experience was far greater than the sum of the parts doesn’t know what he’s doing and doing it anyway.
Eventually they drew away again, if only by a few inches, and Quatre stood staring into Trowa’s moon eyes for several long moments, feeling the warmth of Trowa’s wiry body against his and breathing in time with him. His heart was still pounding insanely fast in the midst of a tingling heat throughout his chest, and he felt simultaneously giddy and awed. He definitely hadn’t expected this to happen today — to be honest, he didn’t know if he’d expected this to happen at all — and, despite the fact that it had been brought about mostly by his own actions, he felt a bit blindsided.
“Quatre…” Trowa said, almost under his breath, as if he were tasting rather than speaking the name — or perhaps tasting the concept of Quatre’s nearness. He went on quietly, and although Quatre thought he meant the words as a warning, his tone was almost childlike in the simplicity of its concern. “I don’t know if I know how to… how to not be alone…”
The rush of affectionate pity Quatre felt at this statement increased the pressure in his chest and impelled him to pull Trowa close to him once more, to reassure him in almost the same near-whisper, “I’ll help you.”
And though Trowa seemed to have nothing else to say at the moment, his arms tightened again around Quatre’s back as if they would never let go.
It’s a little rude to kiss someone else’s boyfriend, and it’s a little really inappropriate to kiss an unconsenting other secretly in their sleep. But then I went and rewarded him for it… so much for operant conditioning…