Heero was becoming fairly skilled at getting rid of Wufei. Wednesday’s encounter seemed as if Wufei wanted it to involve a discussion of Star Wars and probably its merits relative to Star Trek… but, although Heero was a good deal more familiar with one than the other and might at least have known what Duo and Wufei were arguing here, he discovered to his great surprise that Duo was almost entirely ignorant of Star Wars.
So, as Heero really only knew Star Wars casually and couldn’t hope to meet Wufei in a discussion of it, he disentangled himself from the conversation with what he thought was growing expertise.
This necessitated Heero clarifying the whole Star Wars thing to Duo at lunch, as Duo, though he had, of course, heard of it, wasn’t even certain how many movies there were. He got very excited upon learning there were six, and eventually, smiling, Heero promised to rent them all for him to watch. After this their conversation drifted into comfortable silence.
He imagined Duo, once the curse was broken and he had freedom of movement and of choice, tracking down every single sci-fi movie he’d never seen. Actually, there were a lot of things he could imagine Duo doing as a non-doll, and some of them seemed mutually exclusive.
With this in mind, Heero eventually asked idly, “So what will you do when you’re human again?”
He’d been expecting Duo to mention, if not all the movies he planned on watching, at least the foods he planned on eating and the sleep he planned on getting; Duo’s actual answer, “Move in with Trowa, I guess,” was something of an unpleasant surprise. “I can’t wait to see that weird house of his,” Duo went on with discouraging enthusiasm. “Quatre says he’s still got a Victrola. And you’ll be glad to have me out of your hair, too.”
Feeling that some response was required, Heero muttered something about Duo being no trouble.
“Oh, bullshit,” was Duo’s relatively cheerful reply. “You’re a trooper, but don’t think I can’t see how much this sucks for you. I’ll be buying you lunch every day for a year, remember?”
It occurred to Heero that, if hearing Duo talk about Trowa was bothering him now, a human Duo, affable and oblivious and flirtatious and probably extremely hot and still talking about Trowa, would drive him right over the edge. How in the world was he going to deal with this once Duo’s curse was broken? Would it even be possible for him to be around Duo at that point?
“That was just a joke,” he said, more shortly than he’d intended. “You don’t really have to do that.”
“Oh, I… OK.” Duo seemed a little surprised at this, but recovered almost immediately. “Since when do you make jokes?”
“It does happen sometimes.”
“Well, good. Good to know.” And they drifted again, though this silence was, at least to Heero, far less comfortable.
It was easier to make it back to work in a timely fashion after an exchange like that. He’d been pleased with himself for leaving to go to lunch and getting back from it on time every day so far this week, but today he could hardly take any credit for it, and there was no pleasure in it.
He thought Quatre must still be having a hard time with punctuality, though — and no wonder, if he was making a twenty-minute drive to Heero’s apartment and another one back — and today seemed to be no exception, as the email Heero received from him that afternoon came at around two thirty. The subject read, Personal stuff I probably shouldn’t be emailing you about at work, at which Heero smiled faintly as he opened the message. Then the latter started out with, Insofar as the word applies, Trowa and I are now dating, and Heero got no farther than this for a very long time.
Stunned, he read that line over and over and over until eventually the symbols on the screen in front of his eyes lost all meaning, after which he simply sat and stared. Finally, though, dragging himself out of that red-hot rut, he forced his eyes and brain to concentrate, and read on.
This started last Tuesday, and I’m sorry I haven’t let you know sooner. I’ve meant to tell you every single day, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to announce right in front of Duo that it’s OK for you to put the moves on him, and when you two weren’t around I’ll admit it just slipped my mind. Please understand that I was distracted, not indifferent.
Trowa says that he and Duo were in love in the 20’s (god, that’s strange to write), and that the whole argument that started all of this was about each other, not about the woman. But they were never actually together, and it’s all over now.
So my point is that I hope things go as well for you as they are for me.
Heero sat back. He restrained himself with an iron will from looking down at Duo, who would surely remark upon it if Heero turned a shocked and horrified gaze on him.
Trowa and I are now dating.
He and Duo were in love in the 20’s.
“Move in with Trowa, I guess.”
He remembered what Duo had told him about Trowa on Saturday: “He seemed really… agitated. But not in a bad way. He didn’t tell me anything that would explain it.” Well, now Heero had the explanation.
Quatre may have thought he was giving Heero good news and a green flag; not having spent nearly as much time with Duo, he couldn’t have known the burden he was placing on his friend’s shoulders. Because this was obviously going to be just as much news to Duo as it was to Heero, and not the good kind.
But they were never actually together, and it’s all over now.
Could Quatre really know that? Heero found himself grinding his teeth. He had a feeling Trowa understood the situation better than Quatre did; Trowa must be aware of how Duo still felt about him, or else why hadn’t he mentioned his involvement with Quatre on one of the several occasions when he’d talked to Duo since last Tuesday? He knew — he knew, and he’d been too cowardly to say anything about it.
Unfortunately, this was a cowardice that Heero could easily comprehend. Duo had been waiting so long, putting that cheerful face on just about the worst situation Heero could imagine, probably staving off insanity only with the hope that he and Trowa would someday be together again… how on earth could you tell someone in such a predicament that the man he’d been waiting for, putting all his hope in, faithfully thinking of for eighty-seven years… the man he was in love with… had abandoned him for someone else?
And how on earth had it fallen to Heero’s lot to be the one to tell him?
He did spare a thought or two for Quatre, wondering vaguely whether this would turn out well for him. Quatre had a history of attracting emotionally high-maintenance guys that wanted their lives lived for them — people with huge issues they weren’t willing even to attempt to solve for themselves, boyfriends that would request Quatre’s presence at any inconvenient time for support and comfort but offered very little (if anything) in return… Heero couldn’t help feeling some doubt that Trowa would be any better than the previous lineup.
But Quatre could — and did — take care of himself. Heero couldn’t dwell on this subject long, since the issue of the doll sitting on the desk beside him was nearly all-consuming. He risked a look down at Duo, who at that moment happened to have his head turned in another direction and didn’t see, and felt his heart clench with a stabbing sense of pity and sorrow. He couldn’t do it; he couldn’t bring himself to hurt Duo by telling him this news. It had to be done, of course, but right now, today, Heero was certain he could not manage it.
“Move in with Trowa, I guess.”
What was he going to do about this?