Plastic 85

Duo was not terribly sensitive to G-forces, but he got the feeling Heero was driving significantly faster than usual. And no wonder, really… Duo doubted Heero could be as anxious as he was for what would hopefully happen tonight, but still he must be pretty eager. The silence between them in the car, into the building, and up the stairs was tense, though not necessarily in an uncomfortable way.

“Shouldn’t Quatre have gotten here before us?” Duo wondered when they entered Heero’s empty apartment.

Heero gestured to the door across from the one they’d just used. “He probably went to get Trowa. His car was in the parking lot.”

After Duo’s noise of comprehension, the silence returned while Heero changed clothes in haste that wasn’t necessary but was definitely understandable. When he emerged from his closet in jeans and a t-shirt, he looked down at Duo where he’d put him on the end of the dresser as usual. Pensively he asked, “Are you going to tell Trowa about the dog?”

Duo sighed. “No, I don’t think so. Just keep your fingers crossed that I won’t have to. I’d cross my own, but… you know…”

Soon Quatre entered with Trowa, both of them looking quite agitated. Quatre threw himself down onto the sofa, and Trowa came to stand stiffly beside where Duo now sat on the kitchen counter.

“Dinner?” Heero suggested. He’d already been looking through what he had available when the other two arrived.

“Do you want to cook?” asked Quatre from the couch. “Or should we just order a pizza?”

“I don’t mind,” Heero said. He moved Duo across the kitchen and continued digging through cupboards. “I’ll make something easy.” Duo thought Heero actually rather preferred it this way, as it would give him something to think about.

“Can I help at all?” Trowa asked cautiously.

Duo couldn’t see Heero’s face perfectly from where he sat, but at these words it seemed to take on a somewhat skeptical expression. Heero smoothed it away as he glanced over his shoulder at Trowa, however, and said, “If you want to find the biggest pot in the cupboard behind you and fill it with water…”

Trowa nodded and obeyed.

“Heero, can I help you at all?” Quatre echoed Trowa’s offer from the living room without, as far as Duo could tell, rising from the sofa.

“You stay out of my kitchen,” Heero replied with mock severity.

“He can’t be that bad,” Duo laughed.

“Wanna bet?” called Quatre.

“Heero, did you want this boiled?” Trowa asked.

“Yes, if you can figure out the stove.”

Trowa made a faint disdainful noise as he set the full pot down on the stove, and spoke a water-boiling spell.

Heero turned in surprise from what he was doing, which involved various vegetable-type substances. “Did you just tell the water to boil?”

“Aww!” said Duo gleefully. “Heero’s hit understanding!”

“I did,” Trowa said.

Heero stared at the now-boiling water for a moment, then reached for a tall plastic container nearby that held colorful noodles. Handing it to Trowa, he next pointed to a drawer and said, “Put four cups of noodles in.” He pulled a large spoon from a closer drawer and added, “And stir it.”

Trowa nodded and obeyed, accepting first the noodles, then the spoon, then looking in the indicated drawer for a measuring cup.

“So magic is really that simple, is it?” Heero mused quietly.

Duo had become somewhat hypnotized watching Heero’s hands dicing a variety of edible items into precisely similarly-sized pieces. When he realized that Heero had asked a question Trowa was not going to answer, however, he finally said, “Yeah, you pretty much just order things around. That’s why it’s called ‘command magic.'”

“Is it?”

“When you order stuff to happen, yeah. There’s other kinds too; Trowa could probably tell you better.”

But what Trowa said was, “Did you need more water boiled?” as he gestured with his empty hand to what Heero was chopping.

“No…” Heero smiled faintly; he obviously wasn’t used to this kind of assistance in the kitchen. “But if you want to pull out a frying pan from that same cupboard and grab some margarine from the fridge… there should be half a stick sitting in the door…”

“You know, Heero,” said Duo thoughtfully, “we could help you start casting spells if you wanted. Once you’re awake enough where you can understand the magical language, you’re usually ready to start–”

“Not tonight,” Heero interrupted firmly. “Maybe sometime, but not tonight.”

Duo laughed. “Yeah, OK, you’re probably right.”

At Heero’s request, Trowa cast a few more spells to move the cooking process along, which Heero watched in cautious fascination. Duo wondered whether he was really interested, or whether it was simply another way of distracting himself from the concern and impatience he felt for tonight.

The dish in progress turned out to be pasta salad with shrimp, which the humans ate with wine because there was general agreement that they needed it. This was the first time Duo had ever seen Heero and Quatre drink, and hopefully the last time he would ever have to watch them eating without being able to join in.

And as they were dining and Duo was looking on, it occurred to him for the first time to wonder, “Hey, Heero… how come you don’t have a table?”

“See?” said Quatre triumphantly.

“Apparently,” Heero said dryly, “it’s because I have poor taste.”

“Well, if is kinda weird that you have an end table and not a dining table.”

See?” said Quatre again.

Heero gave a defeated laugh. “I’ll get one one of these days.”

“He’s such a bachelor,” Quatre commented wisely.

Duo was so agitated that he didn’t consider himself up to any of the flirtatious lines that came easily to mind at this.

Once the humans had finished eating and cleaned up after the meal, there was some aimless wandering of the limited space available (which would have been even smaller if Heero had possessed a dining table), and then Heero and Quatre settled onto the couch (as far as their agitated and rarely lengthy seated spells could be called ‘settling’), while Trowa remained behind and, seeming unaware he was doing it, paced slowly. Heero did invite him to take a seat, but Trowa declined almost without a word.

A heavy silence fell over all of them, in fact, as time dragged on. It was one of those moments when Duo experienced all the mental effects of something typically considered physical without any of the actual associated sensations — in this case of stifling, of suffocating, of being slowly crushed by something he could not throw off. There came with this a raging, swelling impatience, both anticipatory and fearful, which was quickly swallowing up all else.

They tried to watch something to pass the time, but TV seemed even stupider and more aggravating than usual tonight, and they couldn’t agree on a movie. Besides, the others seemed more interested in watching Duo anyway. Whether Quatre was seated and fidgeting or making yet another restless circuit of the room, he was turned toward Duo about half the time; it was no surprise that twice he ran right into Trowa. The latter was pretty consistently staring too — Duo didn’t look around from his seat on the end table very often, but he was nevertheless aware of Trowa’s gaze. And Heero simply never took his eyes off Duo.

Under different circumstances Duo would have been pleased by such undivided attention, especially from Heero, but right now it was as if they thought they might miss something if they looked away. As if they wouldn’t know the moment he turned human if they weren’t actively watching for it.

And all the while, Duo himself grew more and more nervous and concerned. Surely it had been earlier in the evening than this…! Actually, hadn’t he and Heero been within the requisite five feet most of that day? Maybe the dog thing really had messed this up… But what would that entail, exactly? Trowa would undoubtedly know, but to ask him would involve telling him, and Duo didn’t even want to be thinking about it himself.

And they just wouldn’t stop staring…

Finally he snapped. “I swear to god, you guys, if you don’t all quit ogling me, I’m going to kill you all as soon as I’m human!” He thought he saw Quatre wince as he said it, and sighed harshly. “Heero, pick me up, would you? If I sit still in here for one more second…”

Wordlessly Heero obeyed, taking Duo in hand and striding down the hall toward the balcony door with every bit as much impatience in his movements as there had been in Duo’s voice. Past the door, he set Duo on the balcony railing, though for safety’s sake did not release him. “At least out here,” he muttered, staring up into the sky, “we can see the damn thing.”

Duo also turned his eyes toward the moon, and felt himself calm a little. It was a partial moon, not too far from the full, he thought, placid and distant, and not even the brightest source of light in the vicinity. A faint cool wind was blowing, and the night was quiet.

“It’s funny…” he remarked eventually in the most subdued tone he thought he’d used all day. “The moon doesn’t really annoy me, even though I know it’s got all this to do with me being a doll.”

“You probably haven’t had long enough,” Heero theorized. “If you’d spent a few years knowing that this magic had to do with the moon, you’d hate it.”

“Yeah…” A long silence followed while Duo thought about those hypothetical years and the very real ones that had already passed. Finally he said slowly, “Listen, Heero…”

Heero looked abruptly toward him.

“Thanks for all of this.” Duo’s meaning wasn’t really enhanced by the gesture he made here, but at least he got to use one of his elbows. “I want you to know that, even if this doesn’t work, I’ll still appreciate everything you’ve done for me just as much. OK?”

“Don’t talk like that,” Heero ordered. “Give it a little while longer, and you’ll be human again.”

Duo made a sound of longing, which didn’t even begin to express the strength of the emotion that filled his entire spirit, and turned his eyes back up toward the moon. Afterwhile, without looking away from the light in the sky, he murmured, “But seriously…”

And it almost came out right then and there. He almost told Heero everything. It was on the tip of his nonexistent tongue, and only with difficulty and indeed some reluctance did he restrain it at all. Not yet! he reminded himself. Don’t ruin this!

“Thanks a lot,” he finally managed.

Heero squeezed him. “You’re welcome.” And then they both went back to watching the moon in tense silence. Watching and waiting.

Previous (Part 84) | Chapter Index | Next (Part 86)

21 Replies to “Plastic 85”

  1. First of all, this was a wonderful chapter. I’ll admit, I was geared up for plodding through just Trowa and Quatre, so I was happily surprised we stuck with Heero and Duo. I’m worried why Trowa and Quatre seem so tense with each other, though…

    The balcony escape seems so romantic-y… and then Heero puts Duo on the balcony railing?! I just cant help but fear Duo will pop up, all human like, only go SPLAT all human like when he goes over the railing (unless Heero lives on the first floor, but even then, people have died making bad exits from first floor windows!)

    The interaction between Heero and Trowa was priceless! Duo’s line “Awww, Heero’s hit understanding” reminded me of a 12 step program, perhaps one designed to make you believe in magic? I read the Trowa line “did you need more water boiled?” as being facetious, is that correct? Heero does smile afterwards, like Trowa’s letting Heero know his using-the-stove comment was patronizing… they’re gonna be best friends XDDD

    1. I’m afraid I’m going to have to hide from you after the next chapter XD Though, honestly, y’all’s response to this part has made me think I may go to daily posts for the remainder of the Monday parts.

      Da ha, the kind of irony that kills off characters just at the end of their long struggle for a better life is not my type of storytelling (most of the time). I promise Duo will not be falling off anything and dying in this fic, heh.

      XD There probably are 12-step programs for various aspects of magic. And Trowa’s line may indeed have been spoken with somewhat facetious intentions (for the very purpose you mentioned), but there was also the legitimate desire to know whether or not Heero needed more water boiled (for the stuff he was chopping up at that point). And I do hope they’re going to be best friends! We’ll see how they progress from now on…

  2. Need. Next. Chapter. NOW! Seriously, I’m about to go crazy having to wait. Then again, maybe it’s good to have something to look forward to. I just know it’s going to be worth all the waiting.

    I loved seeing the guys anticipating Duo’s change together. I like that you spent a whole chapter on that. It really builds up the tension. I also got a kick out of Trowa helping Heero cook. I’m picturing Heero learning some magical tricks once this is all over.

    1. I’m considering going to daily posts for the remainder of the Monday parts. I have a couple of hours left to decide…

      I’m glad you liked this part. I honestly don’t think there could possibly be too much tension built up for something like this. After 87 years of suffering, how would you feel at this point? I think I actually let them off somewhat lightly, considering that circumstance.

      Thanks for your comments!

  3. Ok! The tension was so vivid that I can picture them pacing and staring.
    Great chapter. I liked how they were staring at the moon waiting for something. Very poetic. Thanks for sharing. *^_^*

  4. I enjoyed the interaction between Trowa and Heero! Heero has been so jealous of Trowa and he’s still tense, but I laughed when each of them got a chance to sorta… show off to the other in a way.

    I also loved the dining-room-table argument! HAHAA! It’s mentioned and all Q has to say is “see!” And i can already imagine how many times they’ve had this discussion! Haha! Love it!

    1. We can just hope that Trowa and Heero continue to become better friends. Heero knows by now that he’s got no reason to be jealous of Trowa, but Trowa doesn’t know yet why Heero was being so cold to him before.

      :D I’m so glad you liked the dining-table exchange. I found it rather amusing, myself. I’m sure Quatre has offered a number of times to buy Heero a dining table, and Heero’s always been like, “Eh… nah…” XD

  5. Oh how the cliffhanger kills.
    And I was thinking we would finally have an answer about Duo!
    Silly me. ;p

    Great chapter; ending especially. Makes me wonder what happened between Quatre and Trowa too..

    :D

    1. Silly you, indeed! This is a 250-page story; I wasn’t about to resolve the buildup to the climax in a mere two and a half or five pages :D But I am considering going to daily posts for the rest of the Monday parts. We’ll see. Anyway, thanks for your comments; I’m glad you liked it!

  6. WAIT WHAAAAAT?! We STILL don’t know?! XD Aww damn it! XD

    More and more I’m getting a feeling that it’s somehow going to be important, that they state their feelings for eachother, like ‘the curse will be broken when you fall in love and are loved back’ kinda way x)

    *huffs* WELL ANYWAY, I can’t wait for the next part! (which is obvious) And I must say I enjoyed this one a lot, even if it was a) way too short for my greedy, needy mind b) brought no answers, you evil thing you c) had no making out involved. x)

    You could really feel their tension, and nervousness. I particularily liked Duo’s reaction. Yet my favourite part was Trowa boiling the water, and ofcourse Duo telling Heero they can teach him magic :D

    1. Nope, sorry — no answers, and no making out XD This isn’t something that can be resolved quite so quickly. I’m considering going to daily posts for the rest of the Monday parts, though… I have to decide within the next couple of hours whether or not I want to.

      I’m glad you liked this part, and could feel the tension! I worked hard on it ^__^ Thanks so much for your comments!

  7. Wow! The tension sure did ratchet up even higher in this part.

    First of all, my favorite line of the chapter:

    “See?” said Quatre triumphantly.

    This is obviously a topic that has come up before – I’d bet numerous times. XD XD

    And wow – Heero can understand what Trowa is saying! That is super exciting. I keep wanting Heero to become a magician too, even though there are probably not enough parts of the story left for that.

    Tangent: that reminds me of the message board that Heero posted on at the beginning of the story. Did he and Quatre ever go back to that post after they met Trowa?? Knowing the internet, I bet it’s at 20+ pages of replies by now. XD

    And the anticipation, so intense! Duo is almost human again – I hope! *laugh* If I were Duo, I would probably not be able to stand everyone staring at me either. XD

    1. Heero’s lack of dining table is an issue that I imagine comes up between him and Quatre about once a month — and, actually, that’s probably part of the reason he still doesn’t have one: he’s being perverse in response to Quatre’s prodding.

      I don’t believe Heero ever did go back to that message board, no. Maybe Duo will once he’s comfortable with computer use :D

      1. Random thought!! *bounce* What if Wufei just happened to find the message board post about the ‘talking doll’ while he was doing ‘research’ on the internet!!!!! *dies* Oooooh, I’m so going to play around with this little scenario. XD XD XD Your Wufei in this story just amuses me to no end, but in a fun way, not a making fun of way. *nod*

        Uh… you know, I think I’m a bit of a nerd myself and I just want Wufei to find a good set of (nerdy) friends that he can relax around. XD XD XD XD ^______________^

        *goes off to contemplate new scenarios between Heero, Duo and Wufei*

        1. You’re right; that is indeed a very interesting possibility. What I think is most interesting about it is that Wufei would probably figure almost everything out. He knows Heero’s new boyfriend looks like the doll Heero was previously bringing in; he knows at least to some extent what Heero’s style is when composing electronic communications (and, for all Quatre prodded Heero into giving all the necessary details back when Heero was writing the post, I’m sure the latter still turned out fairly terse); and he overheard Heero’s “Didn’t they have phones back then?” statement… that might be enough for someone far less nerdy than Wufei to make an educated guess. Of course, you’d have to be as nerdy as Wufei (or someone that already knew magic was real) even to start to believe in something like that… so Wufei would probably try to find out whether it was true in some manner he at least thought was circumspect. Which definitely does open amusing avenues of thought XD You keep having the best ideas about that guy!!

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