by Maldoror


Chapter Twenty-Three: Driving In The Nails

In the monitor room, Quatre was concentrating on the screen and sensor alarms, but couldn't stop thinking about other matters as well. Thank Allah Trowa had not asked him any embarrassing questions! He didn't want to lie to his love, but, well, he couldn't tell him about Heero and Duo without their permission. That wouldn't be right.

He heard the sound of protesting couch springs and the flip of a magazine. Duo, his instincts told him (nobody else flopped on couches like that).

Quatre hesitated, then slipped out of his chair, tuning the monitor alarm to his commlink automatically. He hesitated again in the doorway, his face already turning pink with guilt and embarrassment, but he squared his shoulders and approached the couch.


Duo glanced up at him and smiled tightly, mind still very much elsewhere and for once not really wanting an interruption.

Quatre felt the other boy's distraction and hesitated, licking his lips. He could feel himself blushing even more.

"Duo, a-about earlier... " Quatre coughed.

Duo grinned. Trust Quatre to be all flushed and embarrassed about getting caught in the woods with Tro. The jester automatically kicked in. "Well what is it, lover-boy? You know, red suits you." Of course, that made Quatre's cheeks explode.

Duo surged up on the couch and knelt, leaning against its back, faces a few inches from Quatre's.

"Duo, about what happened today... I mean, just earlier, you know, in the woods... "

Here we go, the lame-o excuse, Duo thought. "My memory is excellent, Q-ty. You don't have to remind me. But I can't believe you'd be, ah, crass enough to tell me what happened between you and Trowa after he cold-shouldered me out of the way. That would be a bit below the belt."

"N-no! I meant, before that!" Quatre fanned himself.

"Oh, before?" Duo smirked, then frowned. Before? Before what? What did that have to do with him? Or did he actually walk in on the end of the little, ah, making out session between the Quatre and Trowa and not the beginning, as he'd thought? Duo's teasing instincts pounced. "Before, hmm? You had fun, I hope?"

Quatre blanched, caught off guard. Had Duo realized Quatre had stumbled upon them? Did he think Quatre had *enjoyed* seeing-... "I-"

"Come one, little angel, don't look so innocent!" Duo dug a sly finger into Quatre's waist. "You must have enjoyed yourself! I certainly didn't hear any hollers of protest." Duo smirked. Too bad he hadn't stumbled onto the scene earlier or he might have heard some other kind of holler. Mind you, after three weeks of not getting laid, running into Quat' and Tro going at it, well, that would have been just plain cruel.

Quatre's mind was thrashing in confusion, and Duo bobbing up and down, bouncing around a bit on the couch and leering at him, wasn't helping. He caught Duo by the shoulders and, using his instincts and his empathy, stared into the boy's eyes for a few seconds - Duo blinked in surprise - and realized that there was no way he and Duo were talking about the same thing. Even Duo would show some signs of embarrassment at being caught rolling around on a blanket with his tongue down Heero's throat and his hand up his tank-top-... Quatre fanned himself again.

Besides, Duo couldn't know that he'd been watching, because if Duo knew then Heero probably did too, and Quatre was still alive, so-

"Duo, I don't know what you think happened back there- listen to me, I'm serious!" Duo had started to leer again. "I *am* serious, Duo." He decided to use a different tack, shaking the braided pilot gently by the shoulders. "This is no laughing matter, someone could get hurt, *is* going to get hurt."

Quatre was pretty sure he knew what had happened. A frustrated and lonely Duo had decided to have a fling with Heero, he couldn't imagine any other explanation, and though he could barely believe Heero had responded, he didn't think it could last. The fact Duo had been following close behind Quatre proved that their relationship hadn't gotten all that far yet. The empath had felt the hurt and frustration boiling from Duo's mind at that point, Heero had not let him get too far. No, Quatre didn't see this going anywhere nice and he didn't like to think of Duo getting caught on Heero's wrong side. He was heading towards a bruising - if not worse - or a broken heart and Quatre was too close to the braided pilot not to say anything. "You know I care about you. A lot. I need to know, are you really serious about-"

Something was niggling at the back of his mind, had been since the conversation started. He'd chalked it down to his own embarrassment at having to admit his unintentional voyeurism to Duo, but it had increased when he'd put his hands on Duo's shoulders. Quatre slowly lifted his head, then turned and looked around.

Trowa was leaning against the kitchen doorway, out of line of sight of both boys. His face was impassive, body language closed, Quatre could feel nothing from his mind at all, though he'd picked up his presence. Crap! Quatre was briefly annoyed at seeing his lover, then felt guilty at the annoyance. But he'd really wanted to talk to Duo about this, and now, of course...

"Yes?" Duo asked coyly, then followed Quatre's glance and jumped. Gah! He sunk back down on the couch in an unconsciously defensive position. He knew that Trowa did not take well at all about him teasing Q-man about their affair. He already had Heero mad at him today - and the conversation he'd overhead with Wufei still ringing in his ears - he didn't need any extra complications.

"Nothing, I need to go check the monitors." Quatre said quickly, and left before Duo could react.

Great! Duo kept a careful eye on Trowa as the taller youth walked slowly into the living room and sat down heavily in a chair. Duo watched him with a mixture of defensiveness and nervousness. But Trowa didn't look at him, he seemed preoccupied. Duo couldn't quite believe his luck. Should he leave? No, Heero would eventually be coming back to the house to get something to eat, since he'd skipped breakfast, and Duo didn't want to miss him. If he didn't find out what that thing with Wufei meant soon he was going to have an aneurism. He picked up the magazine, a fragile defence, and read the baby food ad again.


On to chapter Twenty-four

Back to chapter twenty-two

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