"It hurts… my heart hurts," murmured the blonde boy with a slight wince as he placed his hand over his heart. It felt as if it wanted to break free from his chest. "Trowa…"
"Trowa! You're back!" exclaimed Quatre happily, glad that his best friend was back home safe from his latest mission.
"Yeah, I'm back," mumbled the other boy without much expression or feeling. His face was a stony mask as always. He trudges into the living room and nearly toppled over but Quatre was instantly beside him, guiding the taller boy to a nearby chair.
"Trowa, what's the matter? Are you hurt?" Quatre asked with a worried expression.
"Aa. I'm fine."
"But - " suddenly the blonde gasped as he noticed a horrible gash at the side of Trowa's left calf where the fabric of his faded jeans was torn and was a little bit more than bloody. Quatre felt like kicking himself for not being observant towards his friend's well being.
"You're injured, Trowa. Wait here while I'll go get the emergency kit," said Quatre quickly before Trowa could protest and soon, he was back with the kit.
"I'm fine, Quatre. Really I am," protested Trowa as the blonde fussed over his injured leg like a mother would. "It's not that serious, you know - nothing I can't handle. Besides, it's like 2 am all ready and I should go to bed. I'm tired. I can take care of the slight wound tomorrow morning."
"Slight wound? That's not a slight wound, Trowa!" Quatre scolded his friend. "It's a good thing I was awake when the others are asleep or else there would have been nobody to take care of your injuries. What if, what if your injuries happened to be much worse than this? What if they got infected? What if you got gangrene and your leg fell off? Would you rather go to sleep than to take care of your fallen off leg?"
"Why are you being so passionate about this?" Trowa asked in an amused tone of voice. "You're acting like an overly fussy mother!"
"Because I'm your friend, Trowa," Quatre said matter-of-factly and with a smile. "Friends are supposed to be there for their friends and take care of them, you know."
"Yeah, but friends could betray their own friends," the tall boy pointed out somewhat bitterly. "And some people befriend others just for their own advantage."
"Then what if I were to say that I'm doing all this because I love you?" the blonde retorted, before he could even think of what to say in his head.
There was a stunned silence (mostly from Trowa but of course, Trowa being silent was never anything but unusual) and Quatre felt like kicking himself again. How could he have said that? That was supposed to be his ultimate secret only he himself should know!
"Um, ah… gomen," he stammered, feeling his face grow hot and turn into a shade that rivaled even that of a tomato's. The blonde didn't even have the guts to look up into the other boy's face because he could feel the intense green eyes watching him so closely.
"It just uh, sorta slipped. You don't have to believe what I said. It's just stupid, just an accident…" he babbled without even realizing it.
"Was what you said…true?" asked Trowa quietly. Quatre thought that he could detect a hint of wistfulness in that beautiful voice and forced himself to look Trowa squarely in the eye.
"Yes, it's true," he said softly, half hoping that Trowa would give him the answer he wanted to hear.
A look of longing maybe? Well, it flashed onto the other boy's face but it was only there for a second. His expression soon changed into the one he always kept on like a mask that hid all feelings from the rest of the world.
Then Trowa dropped the bombshell that would break Quatre's world into perfect little smithereens of broken glass.
"Why bother?" Trowa said coldly. "I don't love you."
The words were like a slap in the face to the blonde Arab. For a moment, he was frozen with shock. Sure…he didn't expect Trowa to tell him that he loved him too and then they would hug and kiss and live happily ever after forever and ever. But he didn't expect Trowa to reject him so coldly, either.
With a choked cry, Quatre fled the place with the pain of rejection and embarrassment in his heart.
"Why bother? I don't love you."
Those words kept repeating again and again in Quatre's heard like a mantra. Those cold words were eating away at his mind and heart and it wouldn't go away no matter how hard he tried to will it away. It was like an unwanted presence he couldn't shake off so easily.
"Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid!" he scolded himself as he paced about in his dark room. "I am such a baka! Look what I did? I probably ruined my friendship with Trowa and there is no way that he would dare to talk to me anymore after this. He probably thinks I'm a freak anyway. Aaagghh! I am so stupid!"
There was a sudden knocking at the door and Quatre froze before slowly calling out, "Who is it?"
"It's Duo. Hey, can I come in?" came the reply from the American pilot on the outside and hearing no answer, the braided American opened the unlocked door and slipped in inside.
"Hey, what's the matter with you? I thought I heard you talking in your sleep when I was going to the kitchen for a snack." Duo asked casually, as he walked towards Quatre's bed and plopped his form onto it. Quatre didn't say anything, but he went to sit beside his friend. "But I see that you weren't sleeping after all. What were you doing - talking to yourself in the dark?"
The blonde boy kept quiet.
"You're still dressed," Duo said finally. "Wait. Let me guess. You were waiting up for Trowa, weren't you? So, how's he?"
"He's fine, I guess," Quatre said carelessly. //He didn't want me to treat his injury so I guess he must be fine. He said that it was nothing he couldn't handle after all.//
"Are you sure?" Duo asked slowly as he watched his friend closely.
"Of course I'm sure. Why shouldn't I be?" Quatre said, trying to sound confident but he couldn't help fidgeting a bit under his friend's sharp scrutiny. "He's fine - he's probably sleeping in bed all ready."
"I guess I'll just have to take your word on that," Duo said with a shrug. "I wish I could say the same for you, though. You look like you could just kill yourself. That or you've just lost your bestfriend. I prefer the first one cos I don't think you're the type to ruin your friendship with other people."
//If you onlyknew...// Quatre thought miserably.
"No, I'm fine Duo," Quatre forced a smile as he said that but it hurt to stretch his mouth muscles upwards. He felt it much easier to just let his mouth droop into a frown. "Thanks for being concerned, though."
"Hey, I'm just doing what a friend should do. Who in the world would be around to take care of you if it weren't for your very own friends?" Duo said, flashing his most winning grin. The blonde felt a pang in his chest. He was touched to know that Duo considered him as a friend and not only an ally and he felt hurt at the same time because what the braided boy had said was just about the same thing he had told Trowa. "Anyway, maybe you're just tired and that's why you look so down. Get some sleep, will ya?"
Duo got up and ruffled the blonde's hair. "Goodnight, Q."
"Goodnight, Duo," Quatre answered back softly but Duo had all ready went away, leaving Quatre to mope in the dark silence once again.
The next morning Duo bounded happily into the kitchen, eager to get his fair share of breakfast. He was usually the last one up but he noticed that morning that there was somebody else who wasn't there at the table yet.
"Hey, is Quatre still sleeping or what?" he asked as he snatched a piece of toast with marmalade jam from Heero's plate. "He was up late last night, I remember."
"That seems very unlikely for him," Heero stated, spreading some marmalade on another piece of toast because Duo had stolen the one on his plate.
"Yeah, I know. Isn't he the one who keeps saying, 'Early to bed, early to shine or else I'll lose my worm' or something like that? Or was that supposed to be Wufei? I forgot," Duo said casually, munching noisily. "Who cares anyhow. But then again, doesn't Quatre always wake up early even when he goes to sleep late? Something about wanting to see the sun rise or was it Wufei again?"
"You make it sound like I'm a grandfather with nothing better to do," Wufei said half-crossly. He seemed to be in a good mood that morning and was sipping some orange juice - something he thought was only suited for little kids or people like Duo Maxwell.
"Hey, Tro - why don't you go and tell Quatre to come down for breakfast?" Duo suggested to Trowa who was quietly turning around the mug of hot black cofee in his hands almost absent-mindedly.
"He's probably still sleeping," Trowa said. "Let him sleep some more. It's not like he always sleeps for long hours and have long naps on the side like you do."
"Oh, but then his breakfast would get cold!"
"Duo, it's only toast we're having this morning," Trowa pointed out. "He can just stick the bread in the toaster when he comes down."
"Never mind, just wake him up and bring him down," Duo said with as he snatched yet another piece of toast from Heero's plate. Heero didn't seem to notice - he was too busy reading the day's paper.
"Well, it's not as if he's going to be late for school or anything - why don't you wake him up and bring him here if you want him to be up so much," Trowa retorted.
"Because I just came down, Mr. Clown Pants and I am having my breakfast. Didn't anybody tell you that it's rude to leave in the middle of an eating session?" Duo shot back. Then he muttered, "Seems like somebody's so full of excuses today."
"Look who's talking?" Trowa muttered back. "Anyway, I'm still not done with my breakfast either. See?" He pointed to the mug he held in one hand.
"You two are acting like two little brats bickering with each other to get out of doing chores," Wufei said with an amused smirk. "Maxwell, I can understand but Barton? It doesn't seem very much like you at all. Unless a lot of things had changed overnight. Or aliens had come and taken over your body."
"Anyway, I still think that Trowa should go and wake Q up and bring him down," Duo said stubbornly. "You are after all, the reason he is still sleeping."
Trowa froze for a moment. Did... did Quatre tell Duo about yesterday's incident? "What do you mean?" he asked cautiously.
"Well, Quatre was up the whole night waiting for you to come back from your mission, right?" Duo asked with a bit of a confused expression. "Or maybe he was talking in his sleep after all." Suddenly, Duo's mouth curved into a wicked smile. "Or maybe he's still sleeping because he was tired out from the night's activities. So how long did you guys go at it? Till dawn I bet - I thought I heard the bed creaking like it was gonna break. I didn't know you could be so violent in bed, Tro. And right after a very important mission, too!"
Trowa choked on his coffee and nearly sprayed the liquid out throw his nostrils. "What the hell are you talking about!" he demanded, blushing bright red. "We did nothing of the sort!"
"I was just joking, Tro," Duo said with a satisfied smirk. "You didn't have to get all hot and bothered about that! Unless what I said was true..."
"Hey, didn't realize you could become that shade of red," Heero snickered, putting away the newspaper. "You're almost as bad as Quatre when Duo talks about dirty stuff. So how far have you guys gotten to anyway? Point B, maybe?"
The other three at the table fixed their eyes on Trowa, waiting for the juicy answer they longed to hear. They waited expectantly and Trowa felt sick to his stomache.
"Aww, come on, Trowa! Don't act like you don't know what we're talking about!" Duo said with a grin. "I mean, we've all known since a long time ago that you an Q have a thing for each other. And we know that you guys have been keeping your relationship a secret from us, right?"
"You've all got it wrong. There's is nothing between me and Quatre."
"Eh? But why? You guys too afraid to have one in case we find out?" Duo asked, a bit disappointed with Trowa's answer. Wufei seemed a bit disappointed, too. "We're cool, man. I mean, we're not going to act all homophobic and try to break you two up if you guys really love each other."
"You got that one wrong also," Trowa said coldly as he stood up abruptly. "I do not know about Quatre but I do not love him."
It was as if time had stopped. Duo was staring at Trowa with his mouth hanging open in disbelief. Even the two Asians were surprised but didn't show it. Looking at their faces... Trowa felt trapped, like a wild animal caged in. He spun on his heels and exited the kitchen only to come face to face with Quatre who looked very hurt and heart-broken. He had obviously heard everything. If not, the last thing Trowa had said.
"I do not know about Quatre but I do not love him."
Unable to stand the pained look on the blonde's face any longer, Trowa fled.