Quatre had never been the type to take issue with a repetitive routine. He didn’t mind going to work every single day at the same time through the same traffic and doing things that varied very little from one month to the next, and he almost never thought, I need a vacation. Saturdays and Sundays were enough for him to relax on, and he was careful to accept only the social invitations that would still allow him time to do so. He’d been the same way during college, and the attitude had always alternately annoyed and impressed his friends and acquaintances. Heero called him a workaholic, at which Quatre just laughed (sometimes somewhat abashedly, depending on how many hours he’d been at the office that day).
But lately he’d caught himself thinking, upon awakening, I have to go to work again? It was taking an increasing amount of effort to stay concentrated on what he needed to get done every day, and he had significantly less patience with everything that didn’t involve going home and seeing Trowa. Quatre couldn’t decide whether this was because he’d never encountered a set of circumstances so interesting as the curse and its victims… or because his relationship with Trowa was more meaningful and engrossing than he’d realized. Or possibly just because of the death thing.
He remembered what his father had said, of course, and tried his hardest not to let this affect his effectiveness; he thought he did well, and that, even if his co-workers recognized that he was not quite himself lately, nobody except perhaps Heero was aware of the amount of impatience and tension coming gradually to a boil inside him.
That Friday had finally arrived he was incredibly grateful. Only the weekend and one more day of work remained before the night when the curse would supposedly break. But that was another thing… As if he hadn’t already had enough to think about, now there was the issue of whether or not anything would even happen at all on Monday evening. Of course if the curse didn’t break on Monday evening, Trowa certainly would not die on Monday evening, which was a relief… but what other effects would that have on the curse victims? Could either of them handle getting so close and then being let down? Would they be willing to try again?
He also still couldn’t decide if Duo was right about leaving Trowa in the dark. If Cairo’s little trick turned out not to have affected the curse-breaking process, Trowa’s awareness of it would be an entirely unnecessary source of worry for him. And if it had messed things up, was there anything Trowa could do? Surely the burden would still be on Heero’s shoulders, so would it matter if Trowa found out on Monday rather than today?
But Trowa seemed to believe so firmly now that the curse would break — the catalog on his study table was an ongoing testament to that — the only remaining uncertainty the question of his own fate once it did… Was that a belief in the curse breaking on Monday, or the curse breaking at some point? If Monday, then surely it would be better to warn him, guard against any false optimism… or would that shatter his belief entirely, return him to the despondency of before, all the worse now after that brief taste of hope?
Quatre just didn’t know. If it had been entirely up to him, he would have taken a chance on honesty and openness… but since he was so uncertain, and since Duo had made the request for silence, he was holding his peace at least for now.
It wasn’t as if it was the only matter of import he was keeping quiet about.
“I still think Duo needs to know,” he was telling Trowa; they had been debating across their lunch/dinner.
Trowa pursed his lips. “I don’t want to make him unhappy about something that’s unlikely to happen.”
Though the words ‘unlikely to happen’ in relation to Trowa’s upcoming death were music to Quatre’s ears, he wasn’t sure he agreed with Trowa’s point; and the thought process was all too similar to what Quatre had been going through all day in regards to the other secret.
“He’s your best friend.” If Heero’s theory was right, Duo might very well consider himself something more than that. “He may not be able to do anything about it, but he at least needs the chance to say goodbye.”
“But I don’t think it’s very likely that we’ll need a goodbye.”
“And that’s wonderful,” said Quatre vehemently. “But just in case, since you still think there is that chance, he needs to be told.”
“He’s looking forward so much to being human again…” Trowa was gazing at his food as if it was very interesting, which seemed to Quatre, at the moment, somewhat evasive. “I don’t want to spoil his happiness.”
“You don’t think having his best friend unexpectedly die the instant he’s human again will spoil his happiness?”
Trowa’s uncertain frown had slowly transformed into that pensive, repressive expression that suggested he had arguments he was reluctant to voice; he probably had some other, totally different reason for not wanting to tell Duo, and Quatre couldn’t even begin to guess what it was.
“Will you at least tell him on Monday?” Quatre asked, a little impatiently. It drove him crazy when Trowa did this.
“Quatre…” Trowa’s low tone was serious and sad. “If you were in a bad situation, and you learned that the only way out of it might kill your best friend, what would you do?”
There were further points Quatre had wanted to make, but at these words he was stunned and momentarily speechless. How he had never come to look at it from that angle he didn’t know, but now that he did…
What would he do? No experience in his life, he felt, was analogous to being a doll for eighty-seven years, so here was another of those circumstances where he didn’t know if his imagination was up to the task. But of course at the phrase ‘best friend’ his thoughts flew instantly to Heero, who had held that position for a decade, whom he wasn’t at all averse to admitting that he loved… the thought of seriously endangering Heero for any advantage of his own didn’t sit right, no matter what suffering was involved on his part.
Would Duo risk the life of someone he loved for his humanity? Or would he refuse… throw away the month’s progress and continue in his current form for Trowa’s sake, even if no one — including himself or Trowa — wanted him to? And what would Heero think of that?
“It’s my sacrifice,” Trowa said. “It should be my choice, I think.”
But didn’t Duo deserve some choice too? What if he didn’t want Trowa to take such a risk for him? Whose right was it to make this type of decision? In such moments, it was not unusual for a man to fall back on his primitive training… but no teaching Quatre could remember from the whole course of his life indicated how such a situation should be handled. All he was certain of was that he didn’t want Trowa to die, and that Duo would certainly feel the same. Who needed to know what when was rather beyond him at this point.
“I guess it is up to you,” he said softly at last. “I just hope you’re right.”
“So do I,” said Trowa.