Working at the salvage yard was a mixed blessing for Trowa. It was a decent job, but the pay wasn't much. His co-workers were friendly - but unfortunately, all of them were also technically his superiors - and fond of giving him contradicting instructions and advice, usually based on their diverging philosophies of how to do fairly simple things. Luckily, he had a mind of his own and a tendency to twist their suggestions into his preferred style of doing things. As long as the job got done, there was no reason for complaints. Working hours were limited to a standard eight, with a half hour break for lunch, sometimes extended to an hour, if the lunch run took longer than expected - but there was hardly any rest while working. The heavy lifting was taking a toll on his strength, but it was made up for the times he got to help break down larger machinery into components - with screwdrivers and monkey wrenches rather than sledgehammers and buzz saws.
Still, Trowa enjoyed it, overall. It was a break from his routines at the circus, and in keeping his body active, his mind didn't wander that much. Duo's jokes as well as Heero's usually sarcastic follow-up remarks made for good entertainment. Still, he couldn't help but notice how they were rubbing off on each other. They both smiled more often than he remembered from the war - although that could just as easily be due to the change of scenery. They weren't in a constant life-and-death situation these days - not counting the morning two days prior when the pair rigged Hilde's office chair, unfastening two of the five wheels at its legs. No sooner did she sit down, did it tilt, and with Hilde's added momentum and accompanying shriek, the chair - and her with it - fell over backwards. Heero and Duo got a good laugh out of it - and a run for their money afterwards. Hell hath no fury like a woman the victim of a practical joke. Or something like that.
They didn't let her fall all the way, of course; they weren't out to harm her. They snuck up behind her as she sat down, and caught her before she could hit the floor. She still hadn't been too grateful. She wrestled free from their grasp and vowed revenge as they fled her swinging distance. She got her payback at dinner. She took charge of the cooking - and in a guarded moment, she had cautioned Trowa to wait with the first bite.
Duo had gotten that dubious honor - and had taken a beeline for the faucet, attempting to drown himself in the onrush of water. When she wanted to, Hilde could make one mean spiced casserole. A little too spiced. Heero was saved only by his suspicious nature. While trying to comfort Duo, calling him an idiot for falling for her trick, he mentioned how Hilde's sizable grin should have tipped him off that something was wrong. Heero also complimented Hilde on a job well done. Not tolerating the mild resentment the words were spoken with, she merely added he'd get his share of her vengeance later. His smile vanished then, and he nodded solemnly. She'd broken out in a snicker, given him a quick peck on the cheek and told him to forget it.
Duo didn't. Apparently, he was somewhat protective of his boyfriend. Over the past few days, Trowa was sure he could see the outline of an ingenious master plan being formed - another practical joke to outdo all previous ones.
He expected it to be very simple, childish and utterly banal.
Other than incidents like that, life with the three was fairly quiet.
Lunch break was coming up again. Duo had run off to get some fresh sandwiches, and anticipating his quick return, Trowa, Heero and Hilde prepared a makeshift table out of an old wooden cable drum. Trowa swiped the sweat off his forehead and wiped his hands on his raggedy cut-off T-shirt. Heero had lent it to him; he had several pairs like it. For himself, he preferred a green tank top. "War surplus goods," he'd told Trowa upon being asked why. They had exchanged light chuckles.
Working with serrated pieces of metal wasn't without hazards, though. Trowa used gloves, but he'd already gotten a cut in his jeans right above the knee - but that didn't bother him so much. The pair of pants was worn close to the point of being thrown away, anyway.
While Duo wore similar ragged jeans and mucky T-shirt, Hilde dodged the workingman dress code. "The sole privilege of being the paper pusher," she'd said, grinning.
Trowa looked up at the huge colony lights; their form of sunshine. "Wish they didn't turn them on that much..."
Heero grunted. "Just be glad they temper themselves. Weather control is careful not to make the summer season too warm - but the consensus among colonists is a desire for just a small fluctuations in temperature throughout the year - preferably at that of a mild summer. That's why we're technically in winter according to the calendar, but still suffering-"
"Yeah, I get it," Trowa interrupted, smiling discreetly. "I miss the wind, though. Could use a gentle breeze right about now..."
Hilde nodded. "I'd drink to that..." She looked over her shoulder, towards the gate. "If only Duo was back with the drinks, that is."
They fell quiet again. Heero looked around, then slid off the barrel he'd adorned with a piece of Styrofoam. "We're missing a seat. I'll go look for something Duo can use." He was out of sight behind the piles of scrap before long, albeit they could hear him shuffling heavy objects in the distance.
Trowa turned to Hilde, keeping his voice deliberately low. "Uhm... Hilde?"
"Why did you move out? Seems to me like you and the guys are having a great relationship. Why-"
She pursed her lips. "Trowa, there are sometimes when friends... have to stay apart to remain friends, if you know what I mean. Too much of a good thing is no good at all."
He smiled. "Yeah... I can see how the two of them can be a bit overwhelming, if you're under constant exposure."
She stared at him for a second, then started laughing. "I suppose that's true..."
A brief pause. "I guess you have better luck with boyfriends now."
Impish grin. "Oh? Are you suggesting something, Trowa?"
He softly shook his head. "Sorry, no."
Hilde sighed. "Too bad..." She straightened up a little. "Yeah, I guess so. Not living with two other guys helps. I suppose you could say I walked out after walking in on them one time too many."
"Uhm... I heard there was an incident involving one of your ex-boyfriends and Heero..."
She stared at him. "How did you find out about that?"
Trowa shrugged. The best answer was no answer at all; if he could make her believe he knew it all, maybe-
Her brows closed. "They didn't tell you the whole story, did they?"
Again, Trowa didn't answer.
Snort. "I'm sure they didn't. Well, then I won't either. Heero swore me to secrecy, and I like to keep my promises." She winked. "For a while, anyway. Maybe I'll tell you sometime, if he pisses me off enough."
Trowa gritted his teeth, but kept the smile. So close, and yet so far...
Hilde reached out to touch Trowa's bicep. He glanced at her hand. She let go, snickering. "Sorry, couldn't resist - what have you done to yourself, anyway? Poured down protein shakes like they were water? I remember you as a tall, skinny thing in long-sleeved polo necks, not this rugged muscle man..." She said the latter three words in a somewhat mocking tone.
Trowa took it with good humor. "Duo asked me pretty much the same question some nights ago."
Nod. "And he couldn't keep his hands off, either."
She snorted, made a pretence of a slap to his face, missing by a mile as he dodged, chuckling.
"But seriously, I've done my fair share of work at the circus. I guess the job shaped me."
"What, did the circus 'strong man' sign you up as a protégé, or something?"
He shrugged. "Something like that."
"Sheesh, always with the secrets, aren't you, Tro'," a voice cut in. They turned to see Duo approach, grinning wide. "I saw you paw the new guy, Hil'. Aren't Heero and I enough for ya anymore?"
She huffed, ignoring the barb. "See, Trowa? That's why I moved out."
Duo chuckled. "And here I thought it was because you tired of walking in on Heero and me."
A most unladylike grunt. "Well, that's true too. I see you guys all hot and sweaty often enough at work. I don't need it when I go home to unwind."
Duo grinned, but refrained from serving a cocky reply. Instead, he put the tray of sandwich bags and paper cups on the makeshift table. Heero rounded the closest pile, rolling an empty oil drum before him. An upright tilt and a broken car seat later, Duo had a chair.
Lunch went down quickly and quietly - though at her last mouthful, Hilde chose to ask an uncomfortable question. "Trowa, what's up with you and Quatre?"
Trowa glanced at Heero and Duo, but given how they'd both stopped mid-bite on their respective sandwiches, he expected no help from them. They obviously wanted to know just as much as Hilde. Trowa gritted his teeth. "I told you, we broke up."
She shook her head. "That's not what you told me - you said you thought you'd broken up."
"And I thought you said the two of you had drifted apart over time," Duo cut in.
Trowa started saying something, but stopped himself, sighing. "I don't know... Both, I think. Quatre has always been busy with work, but it just kept piling up... Sometimes, he slept over at the office instead of coming back home - work took more and more control of him. There were days I didn't know if he even remembered I existed. So, I went back to the circus, first for a few days, then a week or two... finally, I ended up staying. Quatre and I... well, I guess we're still friends, but..." He bit his lip.
Hilde rolled her eyes. "Good grief, Trowa. Don't you give a damn about your relationships? How could you let a good thing fall apart like that?"
He frowned at her, all defensive. "It wasn't my fault. Quatre just wasn't there anymore, and-"
"You're the one who left, Trowa."
To that, he didn't want to answer, merely look away, disgruntled. "It doesn't matter. It was a good thing - but it's over now."
"Are you sure about that?" Heero cautiously asked.
Hilde nodded. "Yeah. Are you sure? Has Quatre ever said anything to make you think he-"
"We haven't talked much lately."
Duo threw his arms up, silently pleading the colony roof for patience. "Then why don't you call him, and find out for real, Trowa? It won't do you any good brooding over this - and if Quatre really has forgotten you like you seem to think, at least you can move on with a clear conscience, right?"
"You should find out for sure, Trowa," Hilde agreed. "You'll feel a lot better afterwards, no matter what Quatre's answer is."
"There's no harm in calling someone," Heero added. "Especially not a friend."
Trowa looked at each of them in turn, but saw they would not let this matter drop without his concession. He sighed. "Fine, I'll call him tonight, and find out what he thinks about... us."
The other three started applauding. It annoyed him at first, but soon enough they started laughing, bringing him along.
So it came to be that Trowa sat in front of the vidphone that evening, working up the nerve to dial the number he knew by heart - unless Quatre had already changed it. The other three had graciously granted him some privacy. There was no doubt in his mind that all three of them were leaning against the closed kitchen door, hoping to catch a stray word or two, if not the entire conversation.
They wouldn't let him get away with claiming he didn't get a response either - that, he was just as sure of.
Before he could regret it, he dialed Quatre's private number. Each hum took a toll on his nerves, heartbeat going just a little faster with each.
The screen came to life. Quatre lit up a smile. "Oh - Hi, Trowa!"
The enthusiasm in Quatre's voice was a little disheartening. Still... "Hi, Quatre," he replied as calmly as he could.
"It's been too long, Trowa - what are you up to these days?"
Trowa shrugged. "I... well, I'm on a break from the circus now... I'm calling from Heero's and Duo's place."
Quatre chuckled. "I thought I recognized the number."
"Yeah... They offered me a temp job here while the circus is closed for the winter, and-"
Mild surprise flashed Quatre's face, but he covered it well. "If you wanted a job, why didn't you come see me?"
Another shrug, narrow smile. "I... guess I didn't think about it. Besides, the circus ended its tour here at L2, and Heero and Duo jumped me right after the show."
"You don't say..." Quatre shook his head, grinning. "That's a funny coincidence."
"Well... I currently have a houseguest too - Wufei is here."
"Wufei is at L4?"
Quatre nodded. "He's here on Preventer business, so I offered him a place to stay while he worked."
Soft snort. "He's probably just exploiting your hospitality."
Sigh. "Maybe... But it's nice to have a friend around again."
That stung just a little, but Trowa didn't show it. He was trying to amass the courage to ask his question, flat out or veiled; whichever he could manage to force up his throat and out his mouth. "I'm sure it is..."
"Planning to stop by again soon? Now that Wufei is here, you're the friend I haven't seen for the longest time, and unless someone is planning a get-together and forgot to tell me-"
Trowa bit his lip, then cut in. "I... don't think I'll be in the L4 area any time soon. I'll probably go back to the circus once the break is over - I'm sure we'll stop by the L4 cluster on the way, but-"
There was another shrill sound, and Quatre was momentarily distracted. "One second, Trowa."
Trowa waited. Quatre was just outside of view now, and thus, Trowa couldn't read his lips. The low mumble wasn't possible to interpret, either. Waiting is always the hard part. He couldn't seem to find that guts he was looking for - but then again, it wasn't really necessary. He had his answer.
Quatre turned to face the screen again. "Trowa, are you still there?"
"Look, I'm really sorry, but I was just called to an urgent business meeting. I'll have to call you back, and-"
With a sad smile, Trowa shook his head. "No, that's okay, Quatre. I just wanted to say hi, anyway. I'll call you again some other time."
Quatre nodded. "Make sure you do that, Trowa - oh, and please let me know when your circus comes around L4. I want to come see your act, sometime."
Trowa nodded. "Sure. Bye, Quatre."
Black screen, dial tone.
After a few seconds, Trowa put the receiver down, muting the sound. He sighed, part relief, part disappointment, part familiarity. It was always business with Quatre. With some bitterness, he found it amazing Quatre had even had the time to pick up the phone when he called. Perhaps the blond had improved his priorities. A little, at least - but not enough.
He didn't get to brood for long; the kitchen door opened, and three curious souls emerged. They all wore polite, insecure smiles, but none of them dared ask. They just... hovered.
Hilde broke the silence. "Well, I guess I should head home... Night, guys. See you tomorrow." She walked to the door, put on her shoes and her jacket.
As Duo opened his mouth, Trowa pre-empted him. "I think I'll go for a walk - Hilde, mind if I follow you home? I could use the fresh air."
She looked perplexed for a moment, then smiled, nodding. "Sure. Get your jacket, the temperature drops a bit when they dim the lights. Environmental Control likes to cut heating expenses when they can get away with it."
He turned to face his hosts again. "I'll be back later tonight. Maybe I'll catch a late-night movie or something - don't wait up for me, okay?"
Heero nodded, reached inside his pocket, fished out a set of keys and tossed them to him. Trowa deftly caught them one-handed and was studying the dolphin figure attached to the chain when Heero started giving instructions. "Lock yourself in when you get back. The keys for the rear gate and the backdoor is on that key chain."
Trowa nodded, gave the keys a toss and grabbed them again, before pocketing them. "Thanks." With that, he went for his shoes and jacket, soon following Hilde out the door.
The walked side by side for a good five minutes, not exchanging a word. Hilde was soon fed up with it. "So... What's up, Trowa?"
He shrugged. "Wufei is with Quatre."
She stopped. "Huh?"
"Wufei is visiting Quatre right now. Apparently, the Preventers have something going on there, and-"
"That's not what I meant, and you know it."
She started walking again. He followed. "Look... Duo was dying to know back there, and I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't curious too. I know it's painful, but perhaps, if you share..."
Trowa hesitated, but finally caved. "I didn't ask."
She stalled just a little. "Huh? What do you mean, you didn't ask? Wasn't that the whole point of-"
He shook his head, sighed. "It didn't matter, anyway. I got my answer. That call... it was one between friends, not lovers. I guess... Quatre doesn't see us as together either - not that I blame him. I suppose I already knew, I just didn't want to admit it was all over. Hell, I've barely even spoken to him for-" He bit his lip. "For a very long time."
Hilde made a small, lopsided smile, and hugged him tight. "I'm so sorry, Trowa..." She let go in order to get a chance to look him in the eye. "But think of it this way - at least now you don't have to feel guilty for finding someone else, right?"
Trowa gave a lax shrug. Maybe she was right.
They started walking again, but not for long. They reached a small park, and Hilde stopped there. "Well, my place is through there and a few blocks further down..." She tilted her head. "Would you like to come over for a cup of coffee, or something?"
Trowa thought it over, but finally shook his head. "No thanks. I think - I think I'll just go back home." He flashed a thin smile. "With any luck, Duo will be asleep already. Maybe I can dodge the question until tomorrow."
She laughed. "Don't count on it."
He shook his head. "I'm not."
Again, a slight pause. Hilde folded her arms. As she had warned, the temperature went noticeably down at night. "Well... Have a good night, Trowa."
Nod. "Night, Hilde - and thanks for listening."
She reached out for his elbow, a light touch there. "Don't mention it, Trowa. It's what friends are for, right?" With that, she turned and walked into the park.
Trowa waited until she was well out of sight before heading back.
The gate was locked when he got home. For a brief moment, he wondered if he'd been lucky enough for his hosts to have gone to bed already. Once within the tall fence, however, those dreams were dispelled by the lights still burning in the living room. He sighed to himself, and went for the back door leading to the office. He deposited his shoes and jacket there, and headed through the kitchen. The racket of some action-intensive flick reached him, and for a moment he settled on the assumption Heero and Duo were watching TV. Then came a soft set of moans and muffled sounds to disprove that as well.
The hoarse outburst was unmistakably in Duo's voice. Trowa froze for a minute. Then, too curious for his own good, he shuffled as quietly as he could to the kitchen door, cautiously and very slowly opening a peephole of a gap.
The fluffy green couch faced him. As did its two occupants. Most of their clothing was strewn along his line of sight, though. Duo was down to a fully unbuttoned shirt, crumpled socks and Heero's mouth - the latter slipping on and off him at a slow pace, much to Duo's pleasure. Heero wasn't faring much better; his green tank top was all that was left, as far as Trowa could see - which he did quite well.
They didn't seem to notice him, though - and he had no desire to be detected, either.
Duo's hands were at Heero's head. Heero used his left to steady himself, while the right hand was reaching around to his rear. Trowa drew a slight breath when he realized what Heero was doing; preparing himself.
"Mnnngh..." Duo moaned. "Now, 'ro... Please..."
The plead did not go unanswered. Even at the distance and slight angle, Trowa could see Heero smirk around Duo's cock, slowly letting it go, licking its underside as he straightened up, then crawled in over Duo for a deep kiss, Duo's hands at his hips, coercing him into position. Heero willingly obliged, grabbed a hold of Duo's erection again, placed it against his buttocks-
Trowa stepped away from the door with a sudden pang of conscience. And a hard-on. He glanced at the gap again, then shook his head. No, watching them would be wrong... And yet... his room was clear across the living room, as was the bathroom. He glanced down. Through the gap came Heero's soft cry, no doubt already lowering himself onto Duo. Trowa felt the throb in his pants and took a quick look around the kitchen.
Flesh against flesh, Duos coaxing voice. "Yeah... Ride me, Heero..."
There, on the counter - the roll of easily disposable paper towels. Quick glance to the peephole. Egging moans through the same. Trowa took a few quick breaths, and decided to hell with courtesy and common conduct. He reached for the roll of paper, and waited until the action raised in volume in the other room - that of the unwatched TV set left on, that is. The other action did nothing to calm his blood.
He went to the door again, almost balancing on his toes, trying to be stealthy. He peeked through the gap in the door, rewarded with the sight of his friends picking up speed. Trowa unbuttoned his pants and shifted his underwear, his erection springing clear, desperate for the freedom, only to be in the shackles of Trowa's right hand soon after, paper towels at the ready to clean up the impending mess.
Sure, Trowa felt a little bad for being such a Peeping Tom, but on the other hand - his right, that is - it was such a good thing... And his friends didn't seem to mind. Or didn't notice. Trowa didn't care; the show was too good to miss.
The action flick died down. The action did not, quite the contrary. The green sofa had solid springs; they allowed for quite the ride, sound effects to boot. The couple practically bounced off the cushions now. Duo held onto Heero's hips as best he could, steadying him. Heero was left to tend to his own needs - but he did not seem to mind the slightest. A whimper started in his throat, steadily growing stronger, wanting out, and as he came onto Duo's chest, it had turned into his lover's name.
Trowa felt his own end coming, and he could see Duo's thrusts grow more desperate, craving, his face contorted, a cry of his own brewing, finally bursting out as he emptied himself deep within Heero. Trowa felt his own cock pulse, coming right along with Duo. Much to his regret, all he had to come on or in were the paper towels, not a warm body. His knees went week, and he sagged back against the wall, a little away from the gap, panting. He hadn't had a climax that good since- He squinted hard, shook his head, tried to regain his breath, all the while doing his best to mop up the slight mess at his crotch.
Reality finally returned to him. Damn, Heero and Duo were only right next door - what if they'd heard him, what if they came into the kitchen for an after-the-fact drink? He finished up as best he could, hiked up his underwear, buttoned his pants and disposed of the paper towels, pushing them deep down in the trashcan. As an afterthought, he took the spent coffee filter out of the percolator and tossed it on top of the soggy paper, along with a few more sheets from the kitchen roll. He tip-toed to the door again, and was rewarded with the sight of his friends, still pretty much naked, Heero collapsed on top of Duo, both of them breathing heavily, Duo rifling one hand through Heero's ruffled hair, the other well up under Heero's tank top. They kissed.
Trowa stepped away. Oh, this was great... He had to get to his room, somehow - and he had a feeling if he didn't do it soon, he'd get an encore.
...not that he would really mind that.
Even so, he decided to take another walk around the block. He could definitely use the cool night air right about now.
The sound of the door closing was almost imperceptible from where they lay - but they listened intently for it. Heero reached for the remote on the coffee table and muted the TV set. "Think we should tell him?"
Duo lazily slid a finger down along Heero's cheek. "What, that we noticed?"
"I don't know... You've seen the way he reacts when we kiss in front of him - that makes him uneasy enough. If he knew that we knew he was watching, not to mention-"
Heero cut him off with a kiss, and pulled back with great reluctance. "Fine..." He sighed. "Damn it, we'd better clean up before he comes back."
Chuckle. "Yeah..." Pause. "Heero?"
"You heard him first-" Duo saw Heero was about to object, so he pressed on. "Yeah, don't go denying it - you heard Trowa come in first, I noticed that little glance you made at the door while you were sucking me off, and-" He hissed as Heero latched on to one of his nipples, gently biting down.
"Your point?" Heero purred before swiping his tongue to soothe the mild hurt.
"Mmmm-my point... is that if you knew he was watching, why didn't you stop?"
Snort, smirk. "You weren't really keen on stopping either, even after you caught on."
Grin. "Yeah... Well, I guess we needed this."
Heero nodded. "Yeah, we did. It's been a whole damn week - remember the last time?"
Chuckle. "Yeah... That was the first night Trowa was here. We tried to be damn quiet. That was kinda fun, when I think about it."
Sigh. "I suppose we didn't think of this when we invited Trowa to stay. I forgot we'd give up a little privacy with a third boarder here. We can't have sex whenever and wherever we feel like it anymore."
Soft grunt, smile. "We'll find a way."
"Yeah, probably... Or we'll just ignore Trowa - I mean, if he stays here, he might as well get used to the idea that we're... active people."
Heero laughed. "Right..."
"Hey, it's not like we're his parents, or anything - and it sure didn't look like he found the prospect disturbing..."
Heero pinched the tip of Duo's nose and sat upright at the edge of the sofa. "Didn't think you were that much of an exhibitionist, Duo."
Wide grin. "Likewise - but I've got nothing to be ashamed of, and neither do you. Besides, it's just Trowa. He'll figure out a way to be discrete."
Grunt. "Or a way to watch."
"Or both." Duo sat up too, tilted his lover's head, kissed him. "Is that such a bad thing?"
Heero kissed him back. "As long as I'm with you, I don't care who's watching..."
Duo wrapped his arms around Heero's neck, put his forehead against Heero's. They stared into each other's eyes for a while, Heero giving an admonishing calm to the mischievous sparkle in Duo's eyes.
"We really have to clean up now. We don't have time for..."
Duo sighed... "I know..."
A kiss later, they were back at the horizontal.
Only expediency and luck would have it they were done cleaning up and even half-decently dressed by the time Trowa came back. This time, he made no attempt at a covert arrival; quite the contrary. The slamming of the door reverberated through the house.
Trowa couldn't quite figure out what his two hosts were softly snickering about when he entered the living room.
Even so, sleep came easy that night - but his dreams were all turmoil, with a dash or two of desire.
The next morning went about as most others. Trowa was a little uncomfortable. Images of last night - both those he'd seen for real as well as those of his dreams - kept dancing before his mind's eye. He kept envisioning his two friends, getting it on at the couch. He wasn't sure he could even sit in that sofa anymore without feeling uneasy - or aroused.
Work was a good distraction - at least as long as he didn't glance in Heero's or Duo's direction. Heero's tank top was flimsy enough, giving him the occasional glance at a chest shimmering slightly of sweat. Duo's tight pants were equally distracting, each time the braided man bent over to search the bottom of oil drums or dug down in an engine to find useful bits.
Trowa didn't notice he was being watched, too - not as intently, perhaps, but his soaked cut-off T-shirt was just as much appreciated.
Lunch break was very welcome. Heero and Duo volunteered to run off to get the goods. Trowa had his suspicions they were going to make a detour when Duo told them he'd forgotten his wallet and the both of them went up to the house, supposedly leaving through the front yard afterwards. Trowa didn't follow the faint urge to stalk them that far, though. Instead...
Hilde adjusted the rags softening her crate come makeshift chair. "Hm?"
"Uhm... when you lived with Heero and Duo... did... did you guys ever get on each other's nerves, living so close?"
It wasn't quite what he wanted to ask, but he couldn't very well be blunt about something like that - though the whole clandestine 'Heero vs. Hilde's boyfriend' incident was probably an indication he wasn't the only one to ever catch an eyeful.
She stared at him for a moment, then started laughing. "Well, yeah. If you live with someone long enough, you're bound to find something that'll annoy you, no matter how much you care about each other. So, yeah..." She paused a little, then wiggled her eyebrows. "What, did you get to see something last night?"
Trowa didn't answer with words, but that was okay. His blush and sudden study of the dirt ground was answer aplenty.
She grinned. "Thought you might... Fair warning, they're like bunnies. I guarantee you it won't be the last time you stumble onto them in a compromising situation."
He slowly nodded, cheeks still ablaze.
Much too amused, Hilde wouldn't let him go that easily. "So... were they startled? Did they scramble for their clothes?"
Trowa's jaw worked a few times, as his mind raced for a proper answer. "I... I don't think they noticed me - I left right away. Had to respect their privacy."
Wide grin. "Suuure..."
Hilde seemed to wait for him to say something more, but Trowa clamped down. Bad enough he'd slipped as much as he did. No need to tell her what he really did - although her gaze seemed to reach straight through him - or into him, at least. "Uhm..."
She shifted on her low pedestal, and crossed her legs up. "Yeah?"
"I did catch a glance, and..."
The grin turned into a big leer. "Yeah...?"
"Uhm... I always thought- Well, I mean-" Trowa suddenly had an itch at the back of his neck, and tended to it as best he could. "I thought Heero would be the one to... wear the pants, so to speak."
She chuckled. "Ah, that. Well, from what I can tell of their relationship, they dominate each other in daily life - but the bed, that's Duo's domain. Why that is, I don't know - and I don't want to know, either. I saw enough to know that's the way it is, and that's as far as my interest in the matter goes."
Trowa nodded, agreeing - for the most part.
It was Hilde's turn to sit on an uncomfortable question. She had less qualms about letting it go, though. "Trowa?"
"You don't have to answer if you don't want to, but... What about you and Quatre? He was the bum-boy, right?"
Trowa almost choked on his breath, then broke out in a smile. His cheeks spoke for him.
She all but gaped, staring at him, jaw working a few times before she dared ask. "You're kidding..."
His smile slid over in a sheepish grin. "Well... Quatre is used to being boss."
Trowa shook off the mild embarrassment with a shrug. "It's what he preferred..." Grin to leer. "And what I preferred too, I think."
"Ah-huh..." She gave him a once-over, from head to toe, and back again.
Playful grin. "Nothing... Just having a hard time visualizing it. Quatre looks so small, compared to-"
"Hasn't anyone told you size doesn't matter?"
She burst out in a laugh again. "Right..."
They went quiet again. Trowa fiddled with his chair. The Styrofoam seat wasn't all that comfortable, even though it had already begun shaping after his curves.
"Well, I suppose you'll just have to live with the walking-in-on problem - unless you want to tell them not to-"
Trowa put up his palms in defense. "Oh, no - wouldn't dream of it." Slight pause. "Hilde?"
"Did you ever-" He stopped himself, shook his head. "No, never mind."
She leaned in. "No, what? Did I ever what? Walk in on them? You know the answer to that..."
He shook his head, looked away. "No, forget it. It wouldn't be right to ask you, anyway."
Chuckle. "Well, if it's 'Hilde, could I please ravage you now,' I suppose I could agree..."
Trowa snorted, gave her a quick glance, then studied the dirt again.
"Okay, jokes aside - what's your question? Come on - I promise I won't be upset or offended, no matter what it is."
Trowa looked up to study her face, trying to determine if she was sincere about that. From what he could tell, he had nothing to lose by asking. "Okay... Hilde... Have you ever... ever felt left out when you're with them? I mean, ever wanted to - to be with them, instead of just watching?"
She grew a grin again. "Are you kidding? There I was, constantly between boyfriends, partly because of my two horny housemates - my two gorgeous horny housemates - and just about forced to witness their extreme affection almost all the time." Chuckle. "Yeah, you could say I wanted in on the deal. They wouldn't have let me, though. They seem too damn tight-knit for me to even try."
Trowa bit his lip. Nothing ventured... "Did you try?"
She paused, thinking it over. "Well... Not on purpose, at least - but there was this one time..."
Trowa leaned in, as she lowered her voice. He had a feeling it'd be a story worth hearing. He said nothing, waiting to see how much she'd volunteer, before he would be forced to pull the rest of the story out of her.
"It was a long time ago - must be almost a year now. Anyway, we'd just gotten a new big contract, and Duo had gotten a hold of a bottle of cheap bubbly for us to celebrate with. Problem was, it was a little too cheap - more bubbles than champagne, maybe. It got all three of us good and drunk. It went more to Heero's head than to mine or Duo's, though. I suppose Heero hadn't had as much experience with liquor as Duo and me."
She paused. Trowa took that as his cue. "What happened?"
Hilde shrugged. "Not much, really... There was some kissing, some heavy petting and a bit of groping between the three of us - nothing serious. Still, even if my mind was pretty much gone, it felt damn good to finally be noticed by the two of them." She leaned in just a bit further. "Between you and me - Heero is a really good kisser."
Trowa chuckled. "Well, I suppose he gets lots of practice these days..."
She laughed too. "Right... Of course, Heero fell asleep soon after, using my lap as a pillow." She grinned. "At least it gave me a chance to roughen up his hair a little. That was fun." Sigh. "Duo picked him up and carried him to bed a bit after that. Well, threw Heero's arm over his shoulder, grabbed a hold of his waist and staggered in almost the right direction, would probably be more accurate..."
"I can imagine..."
Hilde took a deep breath, rested her chin in her palms, elbows to knees. "It was the only really intimate moment the three of us ever shared as something more than friends..." She straightened up, grin turning impish. "Unless you count the follow-up the morning after, when we were all crowded around the toilet, puking our guts out."
Trowa snickered at that.
"We never bought unmarked bottles after that incident - Heero insisted we get Quatre's advice the next time, and-" She caught herself, pausing. The name had sparked just the tiniest of cringes on Trowa's otherwise calm face. "Oh, I'm sorry, Trowa - I didn't mean to-"
He shook his head. "It's okay, Hilde. I'm fine with it now, I think. Just a little... tender."
She nodded; she'd had that feeling many a time. A few too many, really. "It'll pass, Trowa. I wish I could tell you something to make it easier, but I'm afraid the best idea I have is a good movie and a bucket of ice cream."
"You're welcome - oh, and another piece of advice. The lock on the bathroom door acts up every now and then. I get the feeling Duo used it for lock picking practice." She saw him about to ask the question, but pre-empted him. "And no, I'm not gonna tell you how I found out it wasn't in order."
Amused grunt. "Spoilsport."
Chuckle. "One more thing. The sofa - that green thing they bought when I took the good couch with me?"
Trowa resisted the urge to inform her the old one was anything but good. Obviously, she had never had to sleep in it. "Yeah?"
"Well, they picked that because it was really soft and bouncy - and because the pillow casings could be taken off and washed easily. Three guesses as to why - and the first two don't count. Don't be surprised if you dig down between the cushions and end up with a tube of lubricant, a condom pack or worse, instead of spare change."
Soft smile, nod. "Duly noted."
"Between you and me, I don't think there's a single room in the house they haven't christened - repeatedly."
Again, quiet intruded upon them. They sat there, waiting. Finally, Hilde sighed, impatient. "Wonder what's taking them so long... They should have been back by now." She matched Trowa's eye glint. "Yeah, even counting any 'distractions' on the way there..." Wink. "Or on the way back."
Trowa gave a gentle laugh.
Another sigh, her tone of voice a blend between annoyance and playful exaggeration. "Damn... Why do all of you dashingly handsome pilots have to be gay?"
"What makes you think that's true?"
"What, isn't it?"
Trowa shrugged. "I don't think so. I'm not gay, for one."
She straightened up. "What, you're saying you're bisexual?"
Curt nod. "I think so."
Grin. "So, you swing both ways, yet you still resist my passes at you?"
He offered a lopsided smirk at the joke. "Well... yes, but... bi doesn't equal fifty/fifty, Hilde."
"Oh yeah? So, you're saying you favor one over the other?"
Soft blush, matching smile. "I suppose so... Ever since I met Quatre, I've been leaning towards guys, though - but I did have a girlfriend once... sorta." He took note of Hilde's pleading eyes, and chuckled. "And no, I'm not going to tell you about her."
"Not fair," Hilde mock-whined. "I told you my sordid little tales..."
"That's your problem."
She grinned and punched him lightly on the shoulder. "Bastard..."
"As for the other pilots... Wufei is straight. He has to be."
"Oh? Are you sure of that?"
Trowa nodded. "Yes - pretty sure. I've never seen him get close to anyone but Sally. I always figured the two of them were more than just friends."
Hilde shook her head. "It's dangerous to make assumptions, Trowa."
She shifted herself on her makeshift chair. "And what's your take on the other three?"
Shrug. "Well, Quatre and Duo are hard to pin down - they could probably go either way. Duo, because he's got an open mind, Quatre because he's got an open heart."
She thought about that one. "Maybe so... but Duo's very much taken, and Quatre... Well, he's Quatre. Sure, he'll be your best friend, no matter who you are - but your lover? I mean-" She stopped herself again. "Damn, I'm sorry - I keep forgetting-"
Trowa chuckled. He hadn't flinched this time. "It's okay, Hilde. I obviously don't deal with Quatre's love life anymore."
She nodded. "Well... that leaves Heero."
Grin. "So, of the five of you, he's the only one who is really gay?"
"Well, I don't know - but as far as my guesses go, that's the outline. But like I said, bi doesn't necessarily mean you like either sex equally. I imagine most have preferences."
"Because you do, right? Isn't that biased?"
Brief snicker. "Perhaps."
Silence returned. Hilde checked her watch, and groaned. "Damn it, what's taking them so long? I mean, even if they took three trips around the block and five stop-overs in the broom cupboard, they ought to have gotten back by now." Growl. "I want my lunch, damn it! What?!"
Trowa broke her tirade by pointing up at the house. He'd heard the distant slam of the door amidst Hilde's outburst, and soon enough her two 'most wanted' showed up, their appearance suspiciously disheveled.
"About time!" Hilde accused, snapping one of the sandwich bags from Duo.
Duo put the tray on the table, gave his best sheepish grin and itched a spot at his neck - until Heero took over. "Sorry about that, we-" A slight mewl. "Yeah, right there, Heero... Uh, like I was saying, we got a bit distracted."
Two snorts. "I can imagine," Hilde spat out, the words dripping of sarcasm.
Without further incident, they got started on lunch. The banter turned friendly, light and utterly without purpose beyond passing time - until Duo couldn't contain the question any longer. He finished off his sandwich and got rid of the crumbs left over. "So, Trowa... How did the call yesterday go, anyway?"
Trowa didn't answer at first, but stopped sipping from his coffee cup. Hilde and Heero both glared at Duo for even daring to ask. Trowa put the cup down, not facing Duo at first.
Duo sighed. "That good, huh... Sorry, man - Don't let it get you down. I'm sure you'll find someone else."
Trowa nodded. "Yeah... It's okay, though. It was nice to talk to him again. He sounded well. Wufei was with him, too." Upon seeing Duo about to ask, he hastily added "Visiting, I mean."
Hilde grinned, gave Trowa a light elbow. "Wouldn't that be interesting - what if Wufei didn't match that assessment you made earlier? I mean, what if he's bi, with just enough of gay in him?"
Negative headshake. "No, I don't think I'm wrong on that. Wufei is definitely straight."
Heero had stopped chewing on his sandwich at this turn of conversation. Duo had put down his paper cup. He cleared his throat. "Excuse me? Wufei, bi? Just what the heck were you spinsters chatting about in your little knitting circle before we got back, anyw- Ow!"
He reached for his head, nursing the double open-palmed thwack Hilde and Heero had served him.
"Sheesh... Here sits Duo, everyone's favorite punching bag..."
Trowa gave a thin smile. "You've got a big mouth, Duo. That's why."
Snort. "Heh - Well, my mouth fits Heero just fine, haven't gotten a single complaint yet, and-"
Duo keeled over just a little as Heero elbowed him in the gut - not hard, but still noticeable. Heero flashed him a grin. "Idiot."
Duo rubbed the site of impact. "Did you guys see that? He hit me! Heero, you hit me! I ought to call the cops on you." He extended his thumb and pinkie finger, shaping his hand into a phone. "Hello, officer? I'd like to file a report on my abusive boyfriend. Yes, physical and mental abuse." Mischievous grin. "He beats me off, talks dirty to me, mmph-"
His joke was stopped by Heero's hand covering his mouth, pulling his head in for a hug and a quick ruffle of bangs. By that time, there was snickers all around the makeshift table.
A quick kiss-and-make-up later, Duo was back on track, glancing back and forth between Hilde and Trowa. "Anyway... What were the two of you talking about while we were gone? What's this about Wufei playing both sides?"
Hilde waved him off. "Nothing..."
"Aw, come on. Trowa, tell me - please?"
Trowa shook his head. "It was nothing, Duo."
Snort. "Like hell, it was nothing..."
Hilde sighed. "I was just wondering if Wufei had a side he hasn't shown us yet, that's all."
Duo gave an amused grunt. "Yeah - and if he was planning to snag Quatre, right? Fat chance..."
Trowa's smile was fatigued, but a smile nevertheless. He figured he'd have to be the one to joke it away; he wasn't sure the other three would dare. "I don't know, Duo... If Wufei was disposed like that, it might happen. They have many things in common - unlike us, they both know their real birthdays, for one thing. They know their original names, too. They're both well-educated scholars, both were - are - part of 'high-society', both-"
Duo shook his head, snorted. "Right. So, you're pairing up the self-righteous, short-tempered bastard with the sword fetish with the cute, innocent looking kid with the cool and brilliant head and the greatest compassion that side of the moon..."
Trowa gave a wry grin and reached for another sandwich. By the looks of the faces around him, he'd gotten through. The topic wasn't even tender anymore, and nowhere near flammable. It was time to move on. "Oh, I don't know, Duo... Quatre might surprise you yet..."
-End Part #4-