A Gundam W mini-ficcie by
The Queen of Blueberry Toast (The KWOBT@hotmail.com).
*YAWN* I don’t feel like writing you a disclaimer. You know what
should be here by now.
It was the same clerk today he noticed, her peachy-pink blonde hair hanging halfway over her face made her unmistakable.
Not that he was doing any better.
Trowa’s hand slipped into his pocket and pulled out a five to pay for the soda. Two bottles of Amethyst Cola which really wasn’t anything close to cola. He’d tried reading the label the other day. The stuff had black pepper and strawberry nectar in it which explained neither the brilliant purple of it nor it’s cool, sweet taste.
“Thanks! Have a nice day.”
He smiled and tried to look at her like he wasn’t off somewhere else in his own considerations. Part of him wondered if she thought he was drinking it all by himself. Which he wasn’t.
Outside, it was balmy and still. Stuck somewhere between a little too warm in the sun and a little too chill in the shade. Another January day that looked like spring except for the winter slant of the sunshine as it rolled quietly down the city block. The trees on the street islands were bare and yet there were all the people about in light coats.
It was a quarter mile to St. Andrews from the little super-market and he watched his footsteps the whole way there, perhaps once or twice adjusting the way the plastic bag he carried was hanging on his hand, nothing more.
Coming up to the entrance to the hospital surrounded by it’s flowerless hedges as it was, he thought he heard a familiar voice and looked up to see Duo chatting away to Wufei, Heero trailing behind them like snowy shadow. Heero being the only one who really noticed him and so apparently pulled on Duo’s jacket to get him to stop.
“Why are you leaving so soon?”
“It was all Quatre’s idea! Really! Don’t look at me like that. He *told* us we should go since it was such a nice day and all. Probably woulda pushed us out too if he coulda gotten outta bed.”
Wufei was the one who nodded.
“You brought him some more of that soda he likes so much, huh?”
“Yes, and I’m going to take it up to him.”
“Ah, that’s Trowa alright. Always prepared. Well, if you want to come join us then, we’ll be down at the antique shops around the corner for awhile.”
Duo? Antiquing? The sheer novelty of it must have shown on his face.
“They’ve got some old alter-crosses down there I wanted to show Heero.”
“Alright then. I’ll see you later, I guess.”
“Sure thing. Bye!”
Quite alone again, Trowa trudged into the blank, white halls bedecked with flocks of nurses swishing about in some very old-fashioned uniforms. Up the stairs, three flights to a small, pale grey room overlooking the street, the sill of which was shimmering with empty soda bottles glittering like fond remembrances in the sunbeams. The bed had been pushed up beside it and on its nightstand were a few old lilies half hiding Quatre’s face as the small blond reached behind his neck and rubbed it a bit with an exasperated groan as his eyes remained fixed on whatever was resting on his lap.
“Hello, Quatre.” He spoke up after a bit.
“Oh! Hi! I didn’t hear you come in.” Whatever it was he had been doing was quickly forgotten and he at once went about being the very best host he could from his bed. “I’m sorry. I don’t know where my head’s been today. Duo moved your chair though, it’s over by the bathroom door.” Watching the other boy retrieve his rickety old stool though. “Oh! You brought me more Amethyst…”
“Of course. The market’s on the way here and it’s a little thing. If it makes you happy while you’re cooped up in here… Do you want yours now?”
“I would, please! Thank you, Trowa.”
“Absolutely not a problem,” He pulled the bottles out and took the caps off with his pocket knife, passing the other boy the one that was slightly more full. Quatre still drank out of the bottle as if it were a glass- holding his lips against the thing neck as if it was much wider. That and he took very tiny sips.
“I told the others to go out today.”
“I ran into them in the lobby.”
“You know you can leave then.”
“You don’t have to. I’ll be fine here.”
“Maybe I want to. And not just because you’re here.”
Quatre regarded him with gentle bemused eyes.
“I never much liked going out shopping anyway. I’d much rather talk.”
The little blond smiled and seemed to start to shake his head but winced a bit and rubbed his neck again instead.
“Oh no! I was just…”
“Come on, what the matter?”
“It’s just a little kink. I’ve… oh, it’s silly.”
“No it’s not.”
/You don’t even have any idea what I was going to say…/ “I’ve been reading all morning but I guess I’m not used to doing it sitting up. I used to always lay on my stomach but I can’t exactly do that now.” He would have made himself chuckle at this, but chuckling was one of the things that still hurt.
Trowa was quiet a moment but rather unexpectedly reached over and slowly took the book from Quatre’s lap. “I’ll read to you.”
“Oh you don’t have to!”
“Quatre, I don’t mind. It’s not a chore.”
“No, I mean, really! Please don’t!”
He glanced up from his skimming of the pages to see his companion quite desperately flushing and halfway reaching out to snatch away the black and creamy lavender volume. He cleared his throat anyway.
“Oh please don’t! It’s embarrassing!” Nervous giggles and a faint moan.
“It’s just a book. How bad could it be? Relax.”
The little boy cast himself back in the covers, masking an almost imperceptible wince that came with his sigh, and wished at once to put the pillow over his head, to hide form the smooth voice that traced over some of his favorite lines.
‘ “No, I like it here; it somehow seems more private,” Vanyel faltered, and covered his hesitation by looking around for a good place. He finally chose a spot at the base of one of the bigger trees beside them, between two roots that were each as thick as his leg. He put his back against the trunk and slide down until it was cradled where the roots joined the tree.
‘ Tylendel pondered his choice for a moment. “Well, I can only see two ways I can talk and look at you at the same time, and since I don’t fancy shouting across the clearing-” Before Vanyel had time to react, He’d stretched himself out along the ground and put his head in Vanyel’s lap. “-much better,” he sighed.
‘ Vaneyl froze.
‘ “Van,” Tylendel said quietly, closing his eyes, “*I won’t hurt you.* not for any reason. I like being near you, with you. I need to touch people. I won’t *ever* hurt you.” ‘
At those words, Quatre found himself blinking as if newly plunged into the sunlight, though the room had been pleasantly brilliant all day. Trowa wasn’t laughing, or joshingly whapping him with the book, asking if such mudh really interested him. Trowa was just reading, and with such a silken, even tone. /Maybe he could do this professionally./ The other boy though as he rearranged his pale form to fit his less tensed mood. Soft spoken Trowa though, actually inflecting gently into the words as if he was afraid to break them. But what words he had chosen…
“Am I doing alright?”
“Oh… yes! Really well, actually.”
Quatre let himself smile a little and Trowa read.
The following day was the same: it looked, felt just so much like the one before- half frozen, half sunny and unnaturally warm as if some icy storm lingered, waited for a sign to drive away the early temperance. Still to early for real spring.
Trowa found no signs of Heero, Duo or Wufei in the lobby and guessed that had gone again, though if it hadn’t been for yesterday, he would have supposed the upstairs already. Somehow he knew they weren’t now. Didn’t feel right for them.
So Quatre must have begged them to take their leaves. He himself was not upset with anyone involved though it might have seemed cruel if any of the positions had been switched. Maybe he was a little sad for Quare but it felt right inside. He remembered reading and sipping his cola slowly between chapters as the day wore on into evening.
Really, he had been looking forward to reading a bit more. Something had told him that today, as he closed the last page, that Quatre would smirk, just in time as a second volume appeared.
If anyone else was there, it would have been over in a way, and he couldn’t
say he wanted it to be over.
The door was slightly ajar as usual but his stool was just where he had left it. The open window gleamed behind it and the gate of old bottles. There were no curtains to drift in the breeze but the sheets and the sighing lilies did a bit along with some of the blond boys hair as he leaned over closer to the refreshing air. Some mourning doves had gathered in the hedgerow by the road and were cooing in voiced so dolorous and achy they just had to make one smile sadly.
“Good morning, Quatre.”
“Watching the doves, are you?”
“Umhm. Well, listening I guess. You know, I almost wish one or two would fly up here and talk to me where I *could* see them.”
“I’d bring you one if I could catch it.”
“But I *can* read to you, and I’ll do that.”
“You really don’t have to… I mean, if you don’t like it.”
“Why would I not like your books?”
“I don’t know… but in case you felt like that…”
Quatre gracefully flopped down on the covers and pointed to a pair of black volumes lying sideways by the vase on his nightstand. “Only if you want to… um… if you don’t hate it… then… what *do* you think of it?”
“I think it makes very good use of the reader.”
“How do you mean?”
“Not everyone would like this book the way it should be liked. It says more than it lets on, and you don’t see many books like that anymore. It’s hard not to like.”
“I always thought so to… about everything you said. I didn’t know you were into semiotics and all that… are you?”
“Is there anything that really struck you then? Besides the ice dream. that one’s a little…”
“… Obvious? And of course. A lot of things have struck me, but I should finish it first. Before I say anything that changes. About the bathing especially.”
“Stop beating yourself up about it. I’m just being selfish, wanting to find out what happens and all.”
“I won’t tell you.”
The little peach-haired girl was to the shop by 9:05 today which was ten minutes better than she usually managed to do. The manager was seldom about before nine-thirty, and today being no exception, no one congratulated her, or even knew she needed congratulating. *She* knew though, and if she soured at her loneliness in it at first it was soon forgotten, for a customer she recognized was standing underneath the awning.
“You’ve nearly bought us one of those sodas!” she teased him. He only smiled a little and nodded. “Usual two then?” as she unlocked the door. “I’ll get ’em for you.”
“Ah, looks like we’re going to have another one of these unseasonably warm days. And me in here to miss it all. Well, I’ll prop the door open. Here we are. Two Amethyst Colas.”
“You can keep the change if you like.”
“Hey thanks, Mr.! Have a nice day now.”
And Trowa went back to his usual daze, the concrete rolling away beneath him as he went along, half-seeing it at best. Maybe that was what he really liked about Quatre’s books, they kept his mind from so much, plunged it into warmer, bluer spaces. Somewhere he didn’t mind going for awhile. Escape was a small pleasure, yet worth every little thing.
Nothing seemed quite so bad as it would have before.
No others of their little coterie about, no chance of them. He was early. /Won’t it be nice if they haven’t served breakfast yet, and we can have coffee together then… talk about why Krebain looked almost like Zechs did and why one never sees the Tayldras servants. He asked if anything had really struck me… the forest! I’ll take that if he asks. A cool place in the heart of the world where time stands still./
Quatre was doubtless expecting that.
Though he was the one standing still as he reached the landing of the third floor. /How can I hear the doves so clearly already? Someone else must have their window open./ But he did recognize the noise truly and more from passages he had been reading than from any moments in his own life he recalled. He peered into the room solemnly.
The other boy was stretched out on his back, hands folded in his covers, wringing them a bit. His weeping was really very soft, easily left unnoticed, but there were tears sliding down his cheeks nonetheless, catching on his hair.
Trowa hung his bag on the doorknob, the bottles hitting the paneling with a faint clink. Then he slipped inside and forsook his chair, choosing a seat on the bed instead.
The fair boy quaked and nearly cried out.
“Quatre?” he asked gently as he could.
“What are you doing here!?” the words were spit out angrily between sobs. “Oh! It doesn’t matter! God, don’t look at me! Just get out!”
“I will not. Please, stop it, don’t…”
“You think I’m not trying!?” he gagged on his tears. “I can’t help it! I’m such a baby.”
“No you’re not.”
“I’m crying aren’t I?”
“How could you think that…”
“Please! Just go away! I’m alright! I swear I am. Please leave me alone. Please.”
Trowa sighed heavily and considered reaching under the other boy’s shoulders, lifting him up against his chest… but not with the stitches. He wouldn’t hurt him. In an earnestly consoling way, he stroked his shoulder and neck a bit, curling one tendril of blond hair about his fingers now and again.
But the other boy wept still harder at this, clenching his eyes closed and turning his face away. Trowa left his fingers creep against the damp cheek that was no offered but seemed to be, petting it for awhile. “I’m not mad at you, I never was. Why won’t you tell me what’s wrong? I’m your friend, remember? It’s Ok…”
“No it’s not. Look what I’ve done to you.”
This took him quite aback. “Done to me?”
“I’ve ruined your day! I’ve been keeping you shut up in this gloomy wreck of a hospital for so long and all I do is mope and moan and blather like some idiot. I can’t even read to myself. You just stay! How can you not listen to me when I tell you to go? Why can’t you go out and be happy? I’ve guilt-tripped you! It’s all I’ve ever done to you. And I’m sorry, Trowa! I’m so sorry even if it’s too late.”
“There is nothing whatsoever to apologize about.” And he stroked his slender fingers down Quatre’s arm, resting his hand on the his companion’s.
“You don’t have to come at all!”
“But I want to. I *like* being here with you. I *like* talking to you, and reading to you. It’s an honor.”
“Why would you be honored? I obviously upset you, made you worry about me. And you shouldn't have to do that. I'm just a liability. Just some co-dependant little brat.”
“You aren't a liability. And I hardly consider you a co-dependent brat. I’m not worried so don’t you worry either. And cry all you want. It’s nice… it’s nice to see someone who has a heart. Don’t be ashamed.”
“I wish you would go…” The words were cracking on his lips and had no force to them.
“Why? Why should I go? I can’t very well leave you there feeling all horrible and heartbroken, like this, not after you've been such a friend to me.”
“I’m not you’re friend. I’m just pain.”
Trowa gritted his teeth for a moment before making up his mind, leaning in as close to the other boy’s face as he could, he said with a gentle firmness. “Stop it. I say we’re friends, and this doesn’t change anything.”
Quatre gagged a bit on his breath and scrubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, before, in the serene, half silence of the morning he gazed pleadingly up at him with his wet irises, seeming to shrink or to fade, his lips murmuring slight nothings until finally. “Trowa?”
“I wish I could hug you…”
“I wish I could too. You look like you need it so badly. Do you…?”
“Maybe if I…”
“Don’t hurt yourself.”
The blond boy with the utmost delicacy, took Trowa’s hand in his and with a ginger slowness pushed himself halfway upwards, visibly biting his lip to keep from whimpering. Then he rather sloppily slung himself across the lap at the edge of his bed, curled completely backwards with his feet against the pillows. He sighed, ruefully it seemed and shuddered hard. He was really very cold, his heart pounding so hard his locks were quivering with each beat. “If you’ll let me?”
/This is all I really wanted from you. Even if I shouldn’t./ “You’re not… uncomfortable?” The choice of the exact term was staggered what meaning he meant for it was unsure. Two warm arms feel over his.
“Not at all.”
This time the doves outside truly began to sing and there was nothing but their chorus and the hiss of the breeze against the moulding for some time as Quatre whimpered silently, still shuddering as if plunged in ice water.
“Are you cold? I can ask the nurse for another blanket.”
He shook his head.
“If talking would make you feel better… I want you to talk… OK?”
“No… I’ll be alright. It was… just the medicine they gave me. Kinda made me weepy.”
“If you’re sure. I am a little worried about you, Quatre, my little Vaneyl.”
The body in his arms stiffened a moment, feeling about to tear itself away. And then the sighed reply. “Don’t be, my dearest Tylendyl. I’m just… lonely. And a little ashamed. But you can’t do anything about that.”
“Then I’ll just be there if you need me and you won’t be lonely anymore.”
“Trowa? Have you ever felt… alone, even when you were with people? That you just felt rotten about everything? I don't know why I just have this sense it's wrong no matter what. That I'm somehow dirty, or that I smell funny and everyone should just know then. I almost want people to hate me sometimes, even if it’s still imposing on them… I…”
“It’s not wrong to be lonely, if that’s what you’re trying to say.”
The reply to this was laced with degraded giggles and desperate gasps that brightened into a into a gentle, nervous honestly. “But Trowa I… I’m… I’ve been trying to tell you… I know it’s silly, but it’s true… oh please don’t hate me but… I want you to be my friend no matter what. I don’t want to loose you, even if it’s my own stupid fault. I want you to forgive me for something unforgivable if I say this because I don’t want to be without you, I just don’t but…”
Trowa looked steadily into his eyes and smiled comfortingly.
“I love you.”