It has been two weeks since Quatre Rebarba Winner married Arabella Buckley - now Arabella Buckley-Winner. Trowa stared at the white ceiling in his room as he lay awake in bed. It was past 2 a.m last time he checked his digital alarm clock and he didn't even give a damn that he'll end up like a zombie in the day. Nothing mattered much anymore.. with Quatre gone, he might as well be dead.

He wondered how Quatre was doing. Was he happy with his wife? Or was it the other way round? If that was the case, he would be happy knowing that Quatre wasn't happy living with Arabella because that meant that the blonde was still attached to him. But on the other hand, Trowa didn't want Quatre to lead a misreable life either. Well, you can't win 'em both ways, huh?

Anyway, as Trowa did not keep in touch with Quatre ever since the day he left the blonde, he had to rely on the media to find out whatever it was the blonde was doing those days and even that wasn't enough for him to know - the reports was usually about Quatre and WEI's involvement in funding projects and stuff. Other than business, the only news had been about Quatre going with his wife to Paris for their honeymoon. That was all there had been in the news.

The green-eyed man wondered if his ex-lover had fun during his honeymoon. He wondered if he had sex with his wife on the first night. He wondered -

'Stop! Don't think about it anymore!' he yelled to himself in his mind. It wouldn't do to keep remembering about someone he can't have anymore. He focused his mind towards his relationship with Duo.

They weren't really lovers, he reflected. They were more like two people who depended on each other for solace and the love they can no longer recieve from the ones they truly love. But they were taking the step - a little by little each day - to deepen their bond and to learn to love each other. That was probably the only way.. there was nobody else who could share the pain and the hunger for love that they feel.

Trowa quickly sat up when he heard crashes coming from the guestroom in his apartment. Duo was occupying the room since he had nowhere else to go. Before Trowa had found the American drunk in a park, Duo was staying at sleazy motels and constantly job-hopping because he usually gets fired for being drunk on the job. It was amazing how the braided man could manage to live like that all those times since Heero hda ditched him for Relena.

The tall man crossed towards the guestroom in long strides and yanked the door open. He saw that Duo was rummaging around in the closet and all the drawers were half-open and clothes were strewn all over the place.

"Do you even know what time it is?" Trowa asked and Duo jumped in surprise.

"Oh, it's you," Duo gasped, clutching at his heart. "You nearly made me have a heart-attack! Oh, um sorry about the noise. Did I wake you up?"

"No, it's OK. I wasn't sleeping anyway," said Trowa. "I've been having insomnia these days."

"I know what you mean," said Duo understandingly. He knew that his friend was still heart-broken at the prospect of having his love marry somebody else. He understood that perfectly seeing that he had also gone through the same thing.

"So, what are you doing?" asked Trowa with an amused smile as he scanned the room which looked more like a disaster area. "I doubt that the cleaning lady's gonna be happy when she sees this place!"

"Oh, she'll be thrilled. Her job is to clean up messes after all!" joked Duo. "I'm just excited, I just couldn't sleep. Plus, I hafta find a suitable outfit to wear to today's audition you know. And in show biz, image is everything."

It was maybe a week before that Duo had been scouted by a talent-scout to join a modelling agency. It had been great for Duo since he wasn't one to shy away from cameras. In fact, he seemed to have a flair for modelling and he decided that he wanted more so he had decided to audition for a role in an upcoming tv series.

"Well, good luck then," said Trowa.

"You know, you really should come with me and audition for parts," urged Duo. "I mean, it would be so cool, you know? Once we become rich and famous, all the girls will be squealing over us and there'll be so much fan mail and presents we'll be getting. We'll be on all the covers of teen mags and we'll be icons!"

"I'm not interested," said Trowa with a shake of his head. "Besides, I all ready have a job at the circus."

"So? You can have two jobs at the same time," the American pointed out. "Anyway, I thought you didn't feel like working at the circus anymore because of Catherine's husband."

Just recently, Trowa's sister Catherine had just married the ringmaster's nephew who now owned the circus because the former ringmaster had retired and since he had no children of his own, he had handed it over to his nephew. It wasn't that Trowa was miserable seeing that Catherine was happily wed when he was still single and miserable. He was happy for his sister..

It was just that Catherine's husband had hair nearly similar in colour with Quatre's and it always made him remember about the blonde Arab everytime he glimpsed the new ringmaster's hair. He couldn't even concentrate on his performance at the circus and twice he nearly fell down from the tightrope and there was a time when he had a nasty fall doing his somersaults. In the end, Catherine had sent him away so that he could have a long vacation.

"Hey, you really should come to the audition, man," pleaded Duo, breaking Trowa's string of thoughts. "Even if you don't wanna audition, you should at least come to give me some moral support and see a new star in the making. Please? OK?"

Trowa agreed at last. It was hard to say no to Duo when he pleaded. It made him think of a little boy beg for some ice-cream.

"Great! And just you wait Tro, I'm gonna be a tv-star."

~*~*~*~*~*

"Quatre-sama, you really should take a rest from all your work and spend more time with your wife," adviced Rashid, the head of the Maganacs and also loyal follower of Quatre R. Winner. "Your wife, she must be very worried seeing you always away from home just to work at the office."

"I appreciate your concern, Rashid, but I really have a lot of work I must finish," said Quatre politely but firnly. "Arabella must understand that my work is important."

"But then, is she not important to you also?" asked Rashid. The big, burly man knew he was probably pushing it but he felt sympathy for his master's wife. Everyday Arabella would call Quatre at work to ask how Quatre was doing but Quatre would just say that he was too busy to answer any non-business related calls and would just hang up.

Rashid had known all along about how Trowa had left Quatre, the will, and the fact that Quatre had married Arabella out of duty and not love. As Quatre's confidante and advisor, the Winner heir had told him most of the events that had happened before the wedding - right when he was feeling most vulnerable after Trowa had left him. After the wedding however, Quatre had grown to become tense and driven with intensity to just get involved in mountains and mountains of paperwork.

It was driving Rashid crazy seeing the once sweet young man become into a cranky workaholic. He knew that Quatre would rather busy himself with work and go away on business trips because he didn't want to see his wife at home. Even though the blonde hated his wife, Rashid felt that it wasn't fair at all for Arabella who didn't know why her husband was acting the way he was.

"Yes, Arabella is important," said Quatre after a while. "I need her to have my heir."

"Is that all she's worth? Only as a tool to have your child?" asked Rashid incredulously. "Yous should treat your wife with more respect! That is what our religion commands."

"Who gives a damn to what religion says?" shouted Quatre, flinging the paperwork he was working on angrily. "I wouldn't have married her if it wasn't for that stupid will."

Rashid fell silent. He didn't know what else to say. No, actually he wanted to grab his young master by the collar and shake him hard and yell at him to stop being a brat and grow up. He wanted to yell at Quatre that people have to get on with their lives instead of moping around. He wanted to shout that there were people with much worse problems. But he didn't say any of those.

"Rashid. Gomen, I shouldn't have yelled at you," said Quatre, hanging his head from shame.

"It's all right. You were just... stressful. That's all," the burly man said carefully, not wanting to get the blonde worked up again. "I think it would be better if I left you in peace for the time being." He politely excused himself and lte himself out of the room. The last thing he saw before shutting the doors behind him was the sight of Quatre burying his face in his hands.

~*~*~*~*~*

Trowa looked around in the huge studio where Duo dragged him for the auditions. The place was packed with tv-star wannabes, technicians, make-up artists, hell, practically everybody was scurrying around the place. It was kind of interesting, Trowa thought as he observed the various sorts of equipment, props and the rows of brightly coloured costumes hanging on racks in a corner.

"Man, when is it gonna be my turn to audition?" muttered Duo impatiently. He looked at the piece of paper in his hand with the number 109 on it. "Why did I have to get a large number? Why are there so many people auditioning for this part?"

"Maybe because they want to be the lead, too?" said Trowa dryly. "Have you practised your lines? What kind of role are you auditioning for anyway?"

"I'm gonna try out for the part of this guy called Trent Andrews," said Duo, his eyes lighting up. "He's the lead and he gets to have a lot of girlfriends in this series. And man, he get to drive a red Porsche! That is so totally cool. If I got the part, I'll be rally famous no doubt and all the girls would be fighting over me. I'll be a celebrity, an icon!"

"I think it would be better if you didn't get too excited about it," remarked Trowa. "After all, there are quite a lot of talented people in here that would probably bag the part."

"Ooh, I have loads of talent. 'Sides, who could ever resist the famous Maxwell charm," said Duo with a wink.

Trowa just shook his head.

After waiting for quite some time, Trowa was getting really bored. He wanted to get out for some fresh air but Duo wasn't letting him claiming that he needed the unibanged ex-pilot to keep him company and all that even though Duo was striking up a conversation with a sexy make-up artist.

Suddenly, the person who was two numbers before Duo was called to the front to audition. "Oh goody! It's gonna be my turn soon!" he said with a grin.

"Hope you get the part, suger," said the make-up artist in her low, throaty Southern drawl. "I really look forward to working with a great-looking gentleman like you."

"Me, too Linda babe," said Duo and the pair laughed. Flirting with each other all the while. It kinda made Trowa sick.

There was a thud and they looked at the ground near them to see the guy whose turn was up next lying still like a corpse. Linda gasped and a hand flew to her mouth. "Is he dead?" she whispered.

Everybody was standing around the man on the floor suddenly, whispering amond themselves. Trowa had the urge to roll his eyes. Nobody was bothering to check on the man because they were afraid to. They thought that the man was dead. Yep, he really felt like rolling his eyes.

So, he stepped forward and crouched down to check the man's breathing and pulse. "He's fine. He just fainted is all," he said without much expression on his face and in his voice. There were relieved sighs and some men hurried to the unconscious person to bring him to somewhere more comfortable.

"Well, I guess it's time for me to knock the socks off Mr. Director," said Duo with a weak grin. He had been shocked, too, like the rest of them when that man suddenly fell onto the ground. He too had thought that the man was dead but he wasn't going to tell that to anybody else!

"Good luck, then," said Trowa.

"Thanks. But I don't need it cos I will get the part. I am the part," said Duo confidently before he ran off to audition. The green-eyed man hoped his friend was right or else he would have to endure listening to the American ranting and whining forever.

With Duo gone, Linda tried to talk with Trowa but soon gave up when she saw that the tall man was not so talkative and seemed to want to be left alone. Minutes later, Duo was back with a big grin on his face.

"Hey, Tro-man!" he yelled. "Guess what?"

"What? Did you get the role?"

"I don't know. They will inform us after everybody has finished auditioning," Duo said with a shrug. "I'm sure that I'll get the part anyhow. Anyway, you won't believe this but the director is one of Q-man's sisters! Now, I'm really positive that I'll get the part. I just know she's gonna choose me for the lead!"

"That's.. great," managed Trowa.

Great. Just great. He was trying hard to forget about Quatre but now his sister was here to remind him of the memories he wanted so badly to dispose of.

"Which sister?"

"It's Kalila," said Duo. "You know, that cute blonde with the blue eyes." He slapped his forehead. "Duh. What am I saying! All of Quatre's sisters have blonde hair and blue eyes even though not all of them have the exact same shade of blonde and blue! She's one of the youngest sisters - the one that um, always used to visit you and Quatre before."

Trowa did remember. He remembered Kalila quite well. Yes, she was one of Quatre's favourite sisters and she used to visit them frequently. He liked her because she was cheerful and carefree like Quatre himself. In fact, she looked a whole lot like Quatre but the only difference was that her eyes were a mixture of blue and green instead of cerulean and her hair was honey-blonde instead of light-blonde.

"Duo. I think I have to go home," Trowa said quicly. "I have uh, some important things to take care of."

"No way! I told Kalila that you're here and she wants to meet us for some coffee later," said Duo, tugging Trowa's arm stubbornly. "Come on, Tro! It's rude to decline a lady's invitation."

"Then tell her that I'll have to take a rain check!" Trowa growled through gritted teeth as he tried to pull his arm away from the braided man's vice-like grip. "Duo! Let go of my arm! NOW!"

"Playing tug of war?" came a woman's voice, sounding as if she were teasing them.

"Kalila! Glad you came at the right time," said Duo with grin. "Trowa was afraid of meeting you - he was gonna bolt!"

"Why, Trowa Barton afraid of lil' ole me?" said Kalila with a laugh. "Am I much more savage than those lions of yours?"

"Um, no," said Trowa with a small, forced smile. "It's good to see you."

"It's good to see you, too," said Kalila smilingly before she suddenly gave the taller man a hug. "It's been a long time since I last met you. How long? Two months? So how are you doing now?"

"I'm still working with the circus," Trowa paused, not knowing what else to say. "And I guess I'm pretty much being dragged to everywhere by Duo."

"So... are you and Duo an item or what?" she said. "Ah, gomen. I shouldn't have said that. Stupid, stupid Kalila!"

Trowa had to smile at the sight of the blonde looking totally flushed from embarrasment. She looked just like Quatre when he was embarrased. "It's all right - you were just.. curious."

Duo cleared his throat. "I think I hear nature calling," he joked. "I'll be back in a sec and in the meantime you two can do a little catching up on things." Then he went in search of the bathroom.

There was a moment of awkward silence. Without the presence of Duo, it seemed as if the friendly atmosphere that was there moments ago had disintegrated into thin air.

"So how are you doing right now, Trowa?" asked Kalila softly, more seriously, hesitantly. "Really, I need to know the honest truth. Duo told me you've been having difficulties sleeping at night and you don't feel like going to the circus to work anymore."

'Damn that Duo,' cursed Trowa in his mind. 'I should have known that a person like him cannot keep my problems a secret.'

"Why do you want to know?," Trowa said, more of a statement. No, a demand rather than a question.

Kalila bit her lower lip.

"I-I just feel sorry for you... for all the things that has happened," she said slowly. "I just want to make sure you're fine. Quatre.. things are not good with him nowadays. He isn't like the Quatre I used to know and love anymore."

"What do you mean?" said Trowa a bit too coldly. He didn't want to listen to all this. He just wanted to get on with his sorry life and forget the past - everything that has ever happened to him when he was still with somebody called Quatre Raberba Winner.

"He... He keeps flinging himself in his work and he rarely comes home, preferring to work late nights in his office and going away on frequent business trips when he knows fully well that there are a lot of people who can represent WEI at those business functions." The blonde woman shook her head sadly. "He doesn't even care about his health anymore. All he does is to work and work and work. All of us - even Iria and Rashid - can't get through to him anymore. I hate watching my brother's life falling apart, Trowa. But I don't know what to do..."

"Why don't you ask his wife to advise him or something?" Trowa said bitterly, looking away. "Isn't that what a wife's supposed to do? Do provide comfort and love for her husband and makes sure he has a happy life?"

"How is Arabella able to do that when Quatre won't even come home to her or recieve her calls from the office?" retorted Kalila. "He has pushed away what's important to him. He won't listen to us, won't even rest from his damned paperwork!"

"Then that is not my problem," said Trowa. "Now if you'll excuse me, Duo has been gone far too long and I need to get home." He started walking away but Kalila had all ready gripped his arm, restraining him from moving another step forward. surprisingly, Kalila was quite strong for a woman.

"Y-you bastard!" spat the angry blonde and she slapped Trowa on his left cheek. The force made Trowa take a small stumble backwards and there was a red imprint of a hand on his cheek. "I can understand that you're feeling bitter because you can't spend your whole life with Quatre anymore but I think you're nothing but a selfish bastard. Haven't you ever thought that Quatre might be suffering, too? Even though you're both aren't lovers anymore, can't you still be his best friend and help him out?"

"I understand that he might be suffering like I am.. but his problems are not for me to solve," said Trowa in a low voice, seeing that some of the people were staring at him and Kalila. "I have my own problems to take care of."

"Did you even know that you left him in tears?" Kalila challenged.

Trowa froze, a cold chill stabbing at his heart. He had made his dear angel cry?

"You didn't know, did you?" asked Kalila, more softly. "You just thought if you left him, then that's that but you made him suffer, Trowa. You broke Quatre's heart. If you hadn't just left like that..."

The sentence was left unfinished but Trowa could only guess what she wanted to say. If he hadn't just left Quatre, then his blonde angel wouldn't be in the state he was in right now.


Uh-oh.. I was planning for this fic to be 11 pages at the most but guess what? This story has not even reached 1/8 of the whole plot.. Man, that would mean that there would be more parts to write!! Aaarrgghh!! Where's amuse when you need one anyway? *grumbles*

Feedback always welcom at blue_violet@gundamwing.org.


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