This landscaping could use some work, Heero thought. The grass had recently been cut, in the interest of selling the place, but the line of bushes separating the driveway from the lawn was straggling a bit and possibly not a good choice for that spot to begin with. It was all the generic type of outdoor design you got on a new property, progressed far enough that he judged the house had been built four or five years ago and the previous owners hadn’t given much consideration to the layout of their yard. Of course he was far from an expert, but he had his opinions.
They’d come by car rather than magic for a few reasons: first, to get to know the mundane route between Heero’s apartment and Trowa’s new house; second, so they could form an impression of the place properly, from the outside in; and third, because they had already brought a load of stuff — smaller things that would fit in Heero’s trunk and back seat — even on this first visit.
It was, Heero had to admit, exciting to look at the empty residence Trowa was free to alter as he chose, and consider what Heero might do with it if the choice had been his. His imagination couldn’t help wandering off to the idea of him and Duo buying a house together. That was nothing they needed right now, but daydreaming about it made Heero understand Trowa’s persistence on Wednesday when he’d been thinking so fixedly (and texting so interminably) about aspects of the new home he’d like to share with the man he loved.
They’d made plans yesterday to spend as much of Sunday as was necessary getting Trowa moved, and it hadn’t been merely the aforementioned excitement about a new house driving that conversation. Trowa’s eagerness to get back into a place of his own was poignantly obvious, and of course Heero and Duo had their own reasons to want their friend transplanted and their privacy restored.
It amused Heero to see that Trowa didn’t bother to pull out the keys he’d obtained yesterday at the expense of half his real estate agent’s weekend; as they approached the tan door in the beige brick, he spoke a quiet unlocking spell as casually as if that were the most natural way of getting in. Then he stepped inside and gestured his friends to follow and begin the tour.
A large entry or front room stretched all the way up to a twenty-foot ceiling, overlooked by a flight of stairs and the second-floor hallway balcony it led to. Tall windows in two walls made the space bright and warm, but Heero had to think it a bit excessive, even ostentatious, until Trowa, with a gesture at the openness above and around them, remarked, “Good acoustics in here.” Then Heero imagined a grand piano taking up a third of the room, with Quatre seated at its bench, and nodded.
Of course plans to come see this place had only been made after discussing the phone call from Mr. Winner and how his contacting the police might complicate things. The mood of that conversation had been bizarrely eclectic, what with lingering awkward camaraderie between Trowa and Heero that neither was sure how or even whether to express, concern about Quatre and where he might be and how they could go about getting him to emerge and be exorcised, worry and even some irritation regarding the potential police involvement, and Duo’s amusement in inventing stories for any cop that came around to question them about their missing friend.
None of Heero’s ideas on the latter subject had made the cut, and Trowa had contributed very little, but Duo’s energy and inventiveness had served to provide answers to any queries the law might have in the course of a missing persons investigation. Even Trowa had been entertained by some of the more outlandish of the excuses Duo had suggested, and they’d all been surprisingly cheerful at that point.
The same attitude, though a little precarious, remained as they looked over the lower floor of Trowa’s new house. “A long corner sofa there,” he said, pointing along both walls of the living room, “with a few matching chairs facing in around a coffee table for…” Vaguely he finished, “…board games or… that kind of thing…” in a tone that indicated he really had no idea what people did with comfortable couches and coffee tables in living rooms, but was determined to achieve the effect nonetheless.
“Quatre will help with that,” Duo reassured with a grin.
Trowa smiled faintly, and gestured them on into the kitchen. “Heero, does this meet your approval?”
Even in dimness, Heero was already nodding before Trowa found a light switch. It wasn’t granite countertops or anything, but a lovely, commodious kitchen nonetheless, with plenty of room for some friend that happened to love cooking to come over and experiment. There was even space for a small table for casual meals, as Heero had suggested; evidently Trowa had taken him seriously about finding that in addition to a separate dining room — which was what they looked at next.
Yesterday’s discussion of the local police had inevitably led to some questions about Trowa’s current relationship with the police in his previous hometown. Naturally it had been good news that, though a few more conversations with both them and his insurance company had been required, there had yet to be any suggestion that his old house hadn’t really burned because of wiring from the 40’s… but some discomfort remained in the lack of full understanding of that situation. Trowa still didn’t know whether the moon cult representative that had brainwashed everyone had done so thoroughly enough that he would never face any further trouble relating to the arson, or whether things over there were teetering on the edge of severe inconvenience and possible legal ramifications.
And this, of course, had finally led them back around to discussion of Trowa’s new house and what needed to be done for him to inhabit it.
“I envision this as an office,” he said of a sunny upstairs room that looked out over the deck and the plain expanse of grass that formed the back yard. “And this as a spare room,” he added with a gesture to the next empty chamber.
They came to a halt just inside the master bedroom, the last stop on the tour, observing its pleasant corner windows and broad space as well as the touch of a frown on Trowa’s face. This latter, though certainly not like it had been under the influence of the curse, was still fairly pale, so even a very faint blush showed up clearly. In response to the one there now, Heero guessed his friend was specifically wondering whether or not he would be sharing this bedroom.
This guess was echoed in Duo’s head. Instead of bringing it up directly, however, Duo declared, “I love your new house! It’s gorgeous!” He really did want to keep Trowa from melancholy, but he was also a little distracted thinking that he might like to live in such a place. Remembering helping Relena paint the one she’d moved into back in June, he was considering how fun it would be to decide where to put things and how to decorate in a new home. Heero might have been somewhat concerned at these thoughts, except that they didn’t seem to arise from any serious desire and were unaccompanied by any discontentment.
“It is really nice,” Heero agreed. “Seems like a good choice.” Pointedly he added, “I think Quatre will like it.”
Trowa nodded his thanks with a slight smile. “We’ll see.” And Heero didn’t need to hear his thoughts to know what went through his head: he wished Quatre were here right now, that Quatre could have been the first person Trowa had shown around this place, rather than friends that, while certainly close, were not as close or directly concerned.
“So let’s go grab stuff so you can decide where to put it!” Duo added enthusiastically. Again Trowa nodded, the cheer in his expression more pronounced this time, and they all headed out of the master bedroom and down the stairs toward the front door.
Quatre would like this neighborhood, Heero reflected several minutes later as he returned to the open rear of his car for another set of things to bring inside; he’d already caught sight of four or five people walking dogs or jogging past. Now, a man across the street smiled as Heero glanced over at him, and Heero gave him a polite nod. Admittedly this particular guy, suited and sunglassed, looked like an FBI agent more than a friendly neighbor, but the point remained that there were a lot of people around that Quatre would love meeting and making friends with. If only he could be gotten here in a frame of mind appropriate to start that process.
After they had this small load unpacked, they would go back to Heero’s apartment, where Relena and Colin were to meet them with a borrowed pickup and they could begin the tricky task of negotiating Trowa’s larger pieces of remaining furniture (mostly bookshelves) down the apartment halls and stairs so they could be brought to the new house. Conceivably, Trowa could teleport the smaller things, but not only would it exhaust him to be jumping back and forth all day, it seemed to his friends like a more proper move if done the traditional way.
Heero hadn’t mentioned that he’d given Relena a shopping list of essential items Trowa would need — such as an air mattress, toilet paper, a couple of cheap lamps, and some non-perishable food to stock his new kitchen — for which he would pay her back later. Trowa probably hadn’t considered what he would sleep on here, or what to do in the event he needed to use one of his nice new bathrooms.
Of course Trowa might not be doing anything nearly so human any time soon. He’d mentioned that he intended to outfit one of the upstairs rooms (at least temporarily) for divination, explaining that having a space specifically set aside for a magical purpose tended to strengthen that particular magic, and hoping that he might be better able to find Quatre thus. Some candles that hadn’t been destroyed in his old house were already up there, in fact, having been part of the first load to come over.
So it was entirely possible that, happy as he might be to have a new home of his own, Trowa wouldn’t really be conscious of much of it for the next few days. Heero was already pondering how best to go about advising moderation in magical activities and a healthy amount of sleep. Quatre would probably emerge eventually, and his mood wasn’t likely to be improved if he found that his boyfriend had worked himself mostly to death trying to locate him earlier.
Heero knew that in this he would be behaving very much like that same Quatre, but at the moment they all needed some reminders of the better of Quatre’s personal characteristics. At the very least, he would be doing his part, alongside Duo, to keep Trowa relatively cheerful while they went about the rest of the weekend’s work.