This is the sequel to "Music to My Ears" (obviously, looking at the title ^.^;).
It's 2X4 ^_~ Enjoy, minna-san! Glad you enjoyed the 1X3 and hope i don't disappoint ya w/ this one~!
Quatre halted, a feeling of dread washing over him as he glanced warily towards the kitchen where Duo's voice-- accompanied by much banging of pots and pans --was coming from.
"Where do you keep the sugar in this joint, man?"
Taking a deep breath to prepare himself, Quatre peeked inside the doorway to his kitchen.
Or what *used* to be his kitchen, anyway.
It resembled a decimated bomb shelter, now.
Smashed eggs, spilled flour, bowls, cups, oil, chocolate, batter, spoons, milk...It was as if his refridgerator had exploded on his countertop, some of the mess extending to the floor and even the walls. And there stood Duo in the middle of it, white chef's hat (god only knew where he'd dug *that* up) placed jauntily on his head, batter smeared across one cheek and on the tip of his nose, a ridiculously large mixing bowl tucked under one elbow at an angle so that the contents inside were slowly oozing towards the rim, threatening to spill onto the floor. In the other hand he brandished a sticky whisk spoon like a sword, ignorant of the batter dripping from it to his shoes. "Wussup?" he offered a wolfish grin. "I was gonna make cookies, but I can't find the sugar. Where's it at?"
Quatre gazed in disbelief at the scene. "Cookies?" he echoed meekly. "*That's* what you're trying to crea--er, make?"
"Yup!" Duo grinned proudly, nodding towards a nearby cookbook splattered with..stuff. "I was bored and I figured what the heck.." The bowl in his arms tilted more, and Quatre dove forward to grab it before the entire mess could fall to the floor. He immediately slipped on some egg and crashed to the ground. Startled, Duo leaned towards him. "Quatre! Daija--"
Quatre closed his eyes in resignation, fighting to control his usually calm temper, reaching up slowly to shield his eyes from the bowlful of batter sliding down his head.
Duo eeped and quickly placed the now-empty mixing bowl on the counter, crouching by his friend and babbling apologies, looking sheepish as he clumsily tried to wipe the batter out of his friend's hair, making it worse-- if possible --by brushing it onto the smaller boy's shoulders and hair.
"D-Duo!" Quatre sputtered, pushing Duo's hands away frantically. "Stoppit! What on earth were you *thinking*?!"
Duo snapped his mouth shut.
"*Look* at this!" Quatre gestured wildly to the enormous mess all about him, blue eyes narrowed in accusation. "How am I supposed to clean this up?!"
"Uhh.." Duo looked down at himself, at his dirtied clothes, then at the kitchen, a helpless look on his face. "G-gomen.."
Quatre sighed, shaking his head and carefully climbing to his feet. Duo scrambled up quickly, taking Quatre's arm and helping to steady him.
"Daijabou, Q-man, I'll clean it up." His grin was cocky but with the faintest suggestion of sorrow. "I shouldn't have tried to cook anyway, ne? Heh.."
Quatre shook batter off his arms, looking around. "I'll help," he sighed, knowing that if he left it to Duo..well, he wouldn't even go there. He reached for the mop by the fridge. "Why did you want to bake, anyway??"
Duo looked down at his hands and mumbled something.
Quatre frowned slightly. "Nani? What did you say, Duo?"
"'Cause it's your birthday."
Quatre's eyes widened. "H..how did you..."
Duo peeked out at him through ragged bangs. "Your big bodyguard dude told me. You know, Rashid or whatever."
"I.." Quatre looked slowly around at the mess. "You mean..you were doing this...for *me*?"
"Hai.." Duo shuffled his feet, avoiding the blond pilot's eyes. "I shoulda just stuck to my orig'nal plan or sumfin.. messin' up your kitchen's not much of a gift, but.." He laughed a little, putting his hand behind his head sheepishly. "I don't got much cash, ya know?"
Quatre's anger melted like snow in the sun, his bewildered face softening into a smile. "Arigato, Duo," he said with quiet warmth, squeezing Duo's hand briefly. "Come on, I'll help you clean it up."
Duo perked up as the blond brought out the mop. "Hey, maybe you can help me with a cake later, ne?"
"Hee.." Quatre shook his head hopelessly. "Sure."
Duo drew his head in from the window where he'd been yelling down at the two other gundam pilots and bounced downstairs excitedly, skirting around Wufei as the Chinese pilot was headed upstairs.
"Wh-- Maxwell! Watch where you're going!!"
"Beept!" Duo returned, and hurried into the kitchen, grinning at the blond standing over the stove. "Oi, you know you really shouldn't be cooking on your birthday.."
"That's ok," Quatre said hastily, holding the ladle out of Duo's reach. No telling what his kitchen would look like if Duo tried his hand at stew. "What were you yelling about?"
"Tro and Heero are back," Duo chirped, plopping down in a chair at the table and picking up his knife to continue cutting the washed potatos by his arm. "I told 'em to get their butts in gear."
Quatre glanced over his shoulder at his friend, raising his eyebrows. "Duo..do they seem to be...acting a little *strange* to you?"
"Eh?" Duo looked up at him blankly, dumping a handful of potato cubes into a nearby bowl. "Whaddyou mean?"
"Well.." Quatre hesitated, stirring the bubbling stew before him. "It's like... Well, they look at each other a lot. And I caught Heero looking at Trowa's hair the other day."
"Huh?" Duo said brightly. "Hair?"
"He was..touching it. You know," Quatre floundered. "They were sitting at the table looking over blueprints or something and Heero just reached out and kind of ran his fingertips through Trowa's bangs. Then he pulled away real quick like he'd been burned and looked kind of mad at himself."
Duo's eyebrows shot up to his hairline, his lips twitching with a muffled grin. "Oh ho..and what did Trowa do?"
Quatre shrugged, reaching for the bowl of potato cubes. "He didn't even look up. He just acted like nothing had happened."
"Whoo hoo!" Duo hooted, startling the other boy. He cackled, rubbing his hands together. "Hee-chan has a thing for Tro! Bwahaha!" He leered at the apprehensive blond. "Ain't it cute? Ne, I just *gotta* play matchmaker on this one!"
"D-Duo!" Quatre was stunned. "Heero..he's.... I mean, do you really think the perfect soldier could feel for anyone like that?"
Duo shrugged, unable to shake off his wild grin. He pushed back his chair and rose. "I dunno. Maybe cuz they're both so damn *quiet* all the time-- that's not natural, I tell ya --they're perfect for each other. I'm gonna go get 'em for dinner."
Quatre didn't reply, his eyes glued to the pot before him, lower lip drawn between his lips. Duo hesitated in the doorway, his smile faltering. "Q-man..?"
"Uh, hai?" Quatre looked up quickly, smiling. "Nani?"
Duo tilted his head a little. "What's wrong, man? You got real quiet all the sudden." His eyes widened suddenly. "Ack! Is it Trowa?? You've got a thing for Trowa, don't you!!" he yelped.
"Of course not!" Quatre waved frantically in an attempt to quiet the braided pilot. "He's just a friend! He's too stone-faced and emotionless. Keep it down, will ya?!"
"Then why the long face?" Duo bounced over, leaning in and grinning madly into the other boy's startled face. "Who d'ya like, ehhhh? Tell me, I won't let anyone know! I'll just hook ya up, y'know?" He waggled his eyebrows encouragingly.
Quatre's face flushed, and he pushed Duo away hurriedly, avoiding the other's eyes. "D-Duo! Stop that!"
"Ne, ne, who is it, Q-man? Is it Wufei? Hahahaha!"
"Don't be silly!"
Duo smirked, flapping his hand as he strode out of the room. "You can't keep it from me long, Q-chan~! I'm gonna go fetch the lovebirds, ja!"
Quatre drew in a deep breath, hoping to god his face wouldn't be so red when dinnertime came.
As long as Duo kept his hands to himself-- the braided baka had the annoying habit of touching, punching, and glomping everything that moved --Quatre would be able to keep his composure.
And his secret.
He dipped the tip of his finger in the stew and tasted it.
Just about done.
"Duo?" Quatre knocked quietly on the door to his friend's room, his other hand clutching the hem of his pajama bottoms to keep them from sagging. The outfit was a gift from one of his sisters, and a little too big, giving him the adorable impression of a little boy drowning in his father's pajamas.
Once again he heard the whimper, and frowned, cautiously opening the door. Everyone else was asleep, supposedly. He blushed, recalling the muffled cry coming from Trowa's room an hour before. Apparently Duo hadn't been wrong on his guess of the two stoic pilots.
"Duo?" he whispered, stepping into the darkened room and carefully closing the door behind him. The curtains were drawn back from the windows, allowing the soft moonlight to illuminate the figure sprawled on the bed above the sheets, bare chest glistening with sweat, head tossing and turning. He was dressed only in his black boxers, revealing his well-toned body and long legs. Quatre quickly shut out the embarassing ecchi thought that crept to his mind, concern for his friend overriding this as he stepped quietly forward. Duo tossed his head back and forth a few times, breathing harshly, his face screwed up anxiously as he moaned and whimpered in his sleep.
What on earth could Duo be dreaming about to agitate him so?
Quatre knelt by the bed, reaching out tentatively to touch the boy's shoulder. "Duo..?"
Quatre yelped in shock, falling backwards and tumbling onto his back as Duo suddenly shot up in bed, eyes wide, mouth opened in a silent scream.
Duo jumped, turning his wild eyes on the gaping blond on the floor. Slowly the anguish seeped from his eyes and his breathing calmed a little. "Q..Quatre? What are you doing here?"
The blond pushed himself up into a sitting position, looking up worriedly at his friend. "Daijabou ka? Duo, you were having a nightmare." He hesitated before asking tentatively, "Was it about the Maxwell Church?"
Duo looked down at his hands, face growing solemn. "....Hai."
Quatre hesitated, searching his friend's face nervously. "Do you...do you want me to stay here for a little while?"
Duo didn't respond, simply staring dumbly into his lap.
Quatre waited for a long tense moment, then tightened his jaw determidely, scrambling to his feet and seating himself on the bed so that he was facing Duo, reaching out to grasp the other boy's shoulder, forcing dead violet eyes to meet his own. "Duo. You know it wasn't your fault. Right?"
Duo shook his head slowly, giving a mirthless smile that was almost eerie. "Oh, but it was, Quatre," he said quietly, reaching out to trace his finger along Quatre's lips, startling the blond enough to prevent him from arguing. "Now go to bed, Q-chan. I'll be fine, I promise. See you in the morning, kiddo."
Quatre opened his mouth to argue meekly, but Duo slid under the covers, turning his back on him so he couldn't see his face, his voice close to casual. "Oyasumi, Quatre!"
"O..oyasumi, Duo," Quatre mumbled, rising and hurrying out of the room, one hand reaching up to touch his lips, his cheeks reddening. "Sweet dreams.."
Quatre yelped in shock as a hand reached out to grab his ass, scrunching himself as close as possible to Duo and clinging to his arm frantically. "What kind of place *is* this?!" he whimpered, looking around with wide eyes at the sight of swaying bodies under flashing lights. "Why a *club*??"
Duo laughed easily, his eyes sparkling as he glanced around. "Everyone needs to loosen up! Even you, Wu-man!"
Wufei scowled, arms crossed over his chest. "Hn."
Heero was looking dispassionately around, while Trowa stood beside him, his one expressionless green eye on the DJ, probably wondering what trash the man would pick next to blast from the stereos.
Duo had dragged them all to the club after a successful mission after a long argument and much weedling. It was obvious Wufei was seriously reconsidering his overly-reluctant agreement to tag along.
"C'moooon," Duo half-whined, turning to them all. "Loosen up! Get a drink! Or two! Dance, have fun.." He leered in Heero and Trowa's direction, "..or just make out."
Trowa's eye widened slightly, and Heero offered the braided boy a withering glare that made Duo sweatdrop and laugh nervously.
"Ooor not," he said meekly, seizing Quatre's hand.
"C'mon, Q-man! Let's meet people!"
Duo dragged him into the thick of the gyrating, flashy throng, finding a small space and releasing his partner. He began dancing like one who knew what he was doing and knew he was drawing appreciative glances. "Come on, Q-man, dance," he called cheerfully over the noise. "It's fun!"
Quatre looked around nervously. "D-demo.."
Duo moved in, grin flashing in the strange throbbing lights. With the press of bodies all around them, Duo was forced almost nose to nose to the startled pilot. "But what?" he teased, still dancing.
Quatre tried to back away hastily, a blush rising to his cheeks. "D-Demo..I can't dance, Duo!" he stuttered frantically. Someone bumped into him from behind, and the small boy squeaked as he stumbled into Duo's arms.
Duo's laughter sounded heartily in his ear, hands going up to clasp Quatre's shoulders, supporting him. "Dance with me," he insisted, still grinning down at the blond. "You don't have to be perfect. Come on, I'll teach you."
Quatre took one look at the bodies swaying around them and shook his head quickly. Duo's grin faltered a little, then he perked up suddenly, winking knowingly. Taking Quatre's hand once more, he pushed his way towards the bar. "You need a little something in you to relax your muscles," he said in mock seriousness, snitching an unattended drink from the countertop and sniffing it before shoving it at Quatre. "Here, drink this!"
The Sandrock pilot blinked, looking distrustfully into the amber liquid. "Ano..what is this, Duo?" he asked suspiciously.
"Just a little happy fluid, my man," Duo insisted, flapping a hand carelessly. It may not taste too great at first, but it'll make ya relax, trust me! Just drink the whole shot."
One shot turned into two, and then into three.
When Duo judged his young friend was sufficiently relaxed-- he waited until Quatre fell off his stool --he grabbed the boy and dragged him onto the dance floor once more. Taking the other's hands in his, he began dancing easily, grinning encouragingly. "C'mon, dance," he shouted happily over the noise. "Just do what comes natural. Follow the beat."
Quatre blinked up at him with eyes that were slightly glassy, a little nervousness still in his expression. He began moving timidly, allowing Duo to move his arms and pull him closer. His courage grew at Duo's encouragment, and it wasn't long before he was dancing with his teammate, laughing so hard it hurt, relishing in the sound of Duo's laughter and the feel of the firm chest pressed to his cheek.
Quatre blinked. Cheek to chest.. When..
When had that happened?
They were so close together as they danced that they were practically one, their bodies stretched against each other, hands clasped together. He could smell the unique scent that was Duo, the smell of sweat, booze, and more than that, the tangy sweet smell that was uniquely Duo. He rested his forehead against the other boy's shoulder, breathing in the scent like a heady incense that he couldn't seem to get enough of. Their dance seemed to slow, then come to a stop. At first he couldn't tell if he was still moving or not, but after he'd blinked a few times and checked his feet-- yup, rooted to the ground --he looked up at his partner blankly.
And drowned in violet.
Duo was still holding him, but they were no longer dancing. He was gazing down at Quatre with a strange expression on his face, and for some reason Quatre could tear neither body nor eyes from him. He managed to open his mouth to ask what was wrong, but nothing came out.
Then there was a hand on his face, brushing his bangs from his face, and after that nothing seemed real anymore.
The hands slid from his forehead to his cheek, thumb brushing lightly against his bottom lip before the fingers slid softly down his throat, trailign down his shoulder and down his side to clasp a narrow hip while the other hand cupped a smooth cheek. Quatre sighed quietly, leaning into the touch, eyelids fluttering at the feeling of nirvana coming over him. Everything seemed softened around the edges, noises dimming, the floor seeming to sway slightly. But all that mattered were the twin pools of violet burning into him with a gaze both hungry and tender. He relaxed against the lean body of his fellow pilot, allowing his chin to be tilted, his eyes falling instinctively closed as he allowed lips to brush tentatively against his own, then more firmly.
He wanted to say 'I've never been kissed before.' He wanted to apologize for not knowing what to do. But before he could, his body reacted of its own accord, his arms stealing up to wrap themselves around Duo's neck as he opened his lips to the warm tongue prodding against his mouth, searching for an entrance, allowing the invasion with a muffled half-groan, half-whimper.
Then Duo's hand was burying itself in his hair, cupping his skull, his other hand sliding into the back pocket of the slacks he had insisted on wearing, even to a club, tugging their bodies even closer together, countering Quatre's groan with a deep moan of his own that made the blond's lips vibrate and sent a shiver through him. If he hadn't been tipsy he would have noticed the hardness pressing into his thigh and the throbbing in the front of his pants, but all his fuzzy mind could comprehend was that he wanted Duo to kiss him, and he didn't want him to stop.
He realized they were swaying slightly, but it wasn't to the music pounding from the speakers. Hearing Duo's heartbeat, he quickly picked up the rhythm Duo was dancing to, kissing the gentle mouth back with all that he had, clinging even tighter.
He didn't want it to end.
From their booth in the shadows Trowa happened to glance up as Heero's lips slid away from his own for a breath of air. "Heero," he said quietly, breathing hard but looking calmly over the other boy's shoulder.
The perfect soldier turned his head, quickly spotting the two figures swaying on the dancefloor, lips locked and bodies pressed tight to each other. He arched a brow. "Is that..?"
"Hai." Trowa looked dispassionately into the cobalt gaze that turned on him. "I suppose we shouldn't say anything."
His partner merely grunted, reaching for the drink the flirty waitress had left for him. "Hn. We'll see."
"Do you think Quatre will regret it when he's sober?" Trowa questioned, still watching the couple.
Heero turned a steady gaze on his lover, and was silent for a long moment before shaking his head once. "I don't think so."
The Heavyarms pilot turned his attention back on the wirey boy, arching his own brow. "Neither do I," he agreed quietly, allowing Heero to capture the back of his skull and draw him in for another kiss.
Author's Notes: whew! finally finished it! ^^; i'd started this ages ago, but stopped working on it for a long time. =p It turned out longer than the 1x3, and it had a different ending than I'd thought it would have, but I hope it didn't turn out too bad, considering it was my first 2X4. =p well, ja ne ^_~