Foreword: Finally shook off EtO long enough to work on this. It's the 3+2 companion fic to "Anything but Ordinary", the 1+5 fic. (w00t, my first Tro/Duo fic!) Enjoy. ^_^
Relena seated herself at the dining room table across from two wartime friends for the second time in just under a week. As she adjusted her napkin on her lap, she glanced inconspicuously at the spread. Good, Pargan had been sure not to bring out the real silver. She liked Duo, but she trusted him about as far as she could throw him.
She lifted her face to beam at her two guests. Duo gave her his best "this is gonna be great" grin that made her cringe inwardly. This was certainly going to be a story to remember, whether she wanted to or not.
Duo had discarded his customary priest outfit shortly after the war, though he still preferred to wear dark colors. He may work as a mechanic, but Relena had reason to believe from rumors that the braided ex-pilot had a few side jobs that weren't exactly.. legal. He was currently wearing a tight black tanktop that fit over his torso like a second skin. Black bellbottoms and heavy army boots, along with a small gold cross medallion, a clunky steel bracelet, and a single gold stud in one ear completed the ensemble. All in all, he looked quite mysterious and handsome. He fiddled absently with the tail-end of his braid as his eyes darted curiously around the large room. She'd rearranged a few months ago, and even though it had been at least a year since his last visit, he'd noticed. He kept absently toeing the small paper bag by his feet that he'd brought in; Relena curiously wondered what was in it.
Duo's final growth spurt had hit around seventeen, and while his American heritage gave him a slight height advantage over the Asians of their team- Wufei and Heero -Trowa had also grown a little. The two were now the tallest of the original Gundam team, standing nearly eye to eye, with Duo maybe just a shade shorter. Relena shifted her gaze to the young man beside him.
Trowa Barton remained slender and willowy, but his chest and shoulders had filled out a little. In place of the customary green turtleneck and beige slacks he'd worn during the war, his dress was more casual: tight jeans and a loose-fitting t-shirt with a faded logo for a rock band. Relena assumed it was an old one of Duo's. His bangs had been cut a few inches shorter, but still strayed out and to the side, hiding one calculating jade eye. He was a lot more expressive than he'd been several years ago; the poker face slipped more often than it ever had during the war, allowing smiles and other more human expressions to show. Duo's influence, no doubt, Relena thought approvingly as she sipped at her tea and waited expectantly.
Duo was lounging in his chair, picking at the skin of an orange and grinning at her. Beside him, Trowa inspected the sandwiches Relena had provided; at her curious glance, Duo explained off-handedly, "He's a vegan. Makes dinner at home a pain in the ass." Despite the words, his tone was affectionate, and Trowa didn't look offended. Duo leaned forward on his elbows, munching at his sandwich, his eyes twinkling with mischief as he studied the former princess. Relena found her gaze drifting to the gold band on his left ring finger. Duo's grin only widened at her look.
"So how did Catherine take it?" Relena asked, knowing Duo was dying to get past the small talk they'd indulged in upon their arrival. He'd come here to fill her in on not only the relationship between himself and the former pilot of Heavyarms, but to tell her how their friends had taken the announcement of their.. marriage. The word still sounded funny in Relena's mind as she looked at the two men across from her. It had been his idea, she reminded herself, for Wufei and Heero to follow their example and get hitched.
She remembered something Heero had told her years ago. Always expect the unexpected from Duo.
"Not as well as some of the others," Duo admitted with a little one-shoulder shrug. Trowa, evidently finding nothing wrong with his sandwich, began to nibble on it, watching Relena intently with his best impassive mask.
"Others?" Relena echoed, eager despite herself for the gossip Duo was only too willing to share.
Duo stuffed the rest of his sandwich in his mouth and swallowed it with a gulp of juice. "Yeah. When Sally found out about Heero and 'Fei, she thought it was funny as hell. I thought Wufei was going to gut her right there in the cafe. He hates being laughed at, y'know." His grin was just this side of malicious. "She laughed her ass off. But in the end, she said she was happy for them, so Heero managed to calm 'Fei down." He snickered at the memory. A faint smile crossed Trowa's face.
Relena coughed to hide her own smile, reaching for her tea again. "I see. So, who else did you tell?"
"Well, me an' Tro tied the knot a couple weeks before I weaseled the twin grouches to do it, so we'd already told Noin and Hilde."
"Hilde?" Relena blinked. "How did she take it? I was under the impression that..." she hesitated.
"Huh? Oh- you mean me and her?" Duo waved it off carelessly. "Most people assume that. Nah. She's more like a sister to me. I think she had some kind of crush on me back when we first met, but we were apart a lot. I started getting closer to Tro, she met some guy on L2... So she was happy for us, too. A little startled, but she said she just wanted me to be happy."
Relena took a sip of her tea. "And Noin?"
"You would've thought I'd just told her the sky is blue." Duo's brows arched. "She congratulated us without so much as an eyetwitch. Fuckin' freaky. Does she have gaydar or somethin'?"
"Well..." Relena looked into her cup, stalling. To tell or not to tell? She wasn't keen on spreading other peoples' business. That was Duo's job.
"Treize," Trowa guessed, nibbling at his sandwich some more. Duo looked at him blankly, and he elaborated, "Zechs and Treize."
"Ohhhh," Duo exclaimed, looking towards Relena quickly. "I always kinda wondered about those two. So.. what, they had some kind of affair and she knew about it?"
Relena cleared her throat. "Well.. something like that. I don't know the specifics when it comes to Kushrenada and my brother," Duo winced in silent apology as if he'd temporarily forgotten just who Zechs was related to, "but they were very close. Noin knew about it." She shrugged. "I don't think it could have been very serious, because it never seemed to bother her much. And she and my brother are married now, so..."
"Oh, okay. That makes sense... I guess." Duo reached out and snagged a biscuit, popping the entire thing in his mouth.
Relena set her cup down on its delicate little plate, looking at Trowa expectantly. "So how about Catherine? How did she take it?"
Trowa frowned slightly. "Not well," he admitted softly.
Relena's eyes widened and she glanced from one man to the other. "Oh! ..You mean..."
Duo swallowed his biscuit and said bluntly, "Homophobe."
"Duo," Trowa murmured in protest, flicking his lover a narrow glance.
"Well she is!" Duo said in his defense, flicking his braid over his shoulder. "You heard her- 'my brother is not gay', 'men belong with women', 'you've corrupted him', blah blah blah... I thought she was going to skin me with her throwing knives." He scowled darkly. "She's ridiculously overprotective of you, man."
Trowa frowned slightly and didn't respond.
Relena's brow creased with concern as she turned a sympathetic look Trowa's way. "So she didn't know that you two were dating?"
Duo shook his head when his spouse didn't answer. "No. We both kinda had a feeling she wouldn't approve. She doesn't like me much, anyway. Used to give me mean looks when I'd come by the circus, and watch me like a hawk. We had to go over to my place just to get a little privacy. But after we tied the knot..." he blew out a sigh. "Well, we knew we couldn't keep it a secret forever. We were planning on telling her, but then she saw his ring and went bonkers. She was eager to meet whoever the 'lucky girl' was, but really upset that she hadn't been told or even met 'her'." He rolled his eyes. "So Tro called me, and it became MY job-" he shot his lover a dark look that was breezily ignored -"to come over and drop the whole explanation in her lap." He offered Relena a wide-eyed stare. "Catherine can be really fuckin' scary when she's pissed off," he informed her soberly.
Relena arched a brow at him and sipped at her tea to keep her comments to herself.
"Catherine does not approve of Duo," Trowa explained quietly. "More than the thought of it being another man, I think it bothers her more that it's Duo."
"Nobody trusts me," Duo grumbled.
"What if it had been any of the other pilots?" Relena asked curiously.
Trowa frowned slightly, thinking on that for a minute, then shook his head minutely. "She thinks Heero's creepy and Wufei is a jerk. She might have approved of Quatre after getting over the fact that I was with another man, but..." he glanced sideways at his sulking partner, "she's never trusted or liked Duo very much. She relies heavily on first impressions. And she thinks he's a.. bum and a potty-mouthed thief," he quoted tonelessly.
"Um.. I apologize if this offends you or anything," Relena said hesitantly, plucking at her napkin nervously as she glanced from one ex-soldier to the other. "But.. I always assumed you would end up with Quatre, Trowa."
Trowa looked vaguely amused. His eyes shifted away, and for a moment he seemed to be lost in another place and time. "We almost did," he admitted softly.
"After the war," Duo explained, losing his scowl instantly at the mood change in his spouse, "Quatre was really caught up trying to pull his father's company together. He and Tro couldn't see each other very often, and Quatre was still unsure about a lot of things. I started dropping by the circus to check on my buddy.." he grinned, reaching up to tweak the acrobat's bangs fondly, his eyes softening a little as their gazes caught and held for a moment, "..and the rest is history."
"Then.. what about Quatre?" Relena asked, suddenly worried that one of her friends had been left alone and unhappy- forgotten.
"He was very supportive about the four of us," Trowa said.
"Not that," Duo snorted, giving him a light push before turning his attention back on Relena. "Quatre's been so busy with the company for the last few years that he hasn't had time to even think about romance. We were pretty worried about him, but didn't really know what to do for him except keep in touch and drop by every now and then when he wasn't insanely busy." His grin widened, but something in his eyes was bright with affection for his friends. "Then Wufei, of all people, took steps. Can you believe it? He acts like such a jackass sometimes, but I guess he really does care about us. He went and visited Sally for a few days, and the next time he went to L4, he had someone with him."
Relena realized her tea had grown cold, she'd gotten so engrossed in the young man's words. She pushed the cup absently aside, eyes locked hopefully on the grinning pilot of death. "Who?" she demanded impatiently.
It was Trowa who picked up the tale in his soft voice. "Sally is half Chinese, although you can't tell at first glance," he said. "She knew a girl that it turned out was distantly related to Wufei. Her family moved to Earth long before L5 was destroyed. She's about a year younger than we are."
"Her name's Mya," Duo said with a broad wink. "Hot Chinese chick- awesome body, and one helluva smile. Real good personality, too. Polite, nice to everyone, but she can be damn stubborn, too. Wufei introduced her to us beforehand- I think he wanted our approval on some level or something. We all liked her, so when he went to visit L4, he suggested she come." He leaned back in his chair with an earsplitting grin. "According to 'Fei, Quatre and Mya hit it off real well. They started dating just before Tro and I got hitched."
Relena smiled in relief. "Yokatta," she breathed, happy at the news. The thought of the kind Arabian being alone had made her heartsick. "I'll have to talk to Wufei and tell him how kind that was of him."
"Don't do that," Trowa suggested with a faint smile, reaching for another small sandwich. "He'd only get mad. He doesn't like to admit to things like that. He's pretending it was all just a coincidence- that he was only bringing Mya there on a whim." Relena couldn't help but smile at that. That certainly sounded like the fiercely proud man she'd met just a few days ago. "Heero insisted we all play along. No one wants to ruffle Wufei's tail feathers after he went to all that trouble just to look out for Quatre."
Relena nodded, still smiling.
They finished the simple lunch in companiable silence, and when they were done Relena leaned back a little in her chair and fixed Trowa with a concerned eye. "Do you think Catherine will ever come to accept your choice?" she asked hesitantly.
Trowa wiped his mouth with a napkin, setting it neatly by his plate as he considered it. He finally looked up, meeting her gaze calmly. "I think when she realizes that I'm happy, she'll be able to accept Duo and give her blessings on it. It just is going to take some work."
Relena nodded sympathetically. Duo wisely kept his comments to himself by slurping noisily at the last dredges of his juice. He smacked his lips appreciatively, glanced at his watch, and flashed their host his most charming smile. "Well, thanks for the snack and the time, Relena," he quipped, shoving his chair back from the table. "We should do this again sometime." Relena looked around at the plates that had been full of sandwiches and fruits and thought to herself that if this had been what Duo thought of as a "snack", the next time she would have to have a six-course meal prepared. "Unless you have any more questions or anything, me an' Tro need to catch our train."
"Actually, there is one more thing," Relena said abruptly, and Duo paused in the act of getting up from his chair. She smiled impishly at them both. "I caught Heero and Wufei kissing. I think it's only fair if I see a kiss from you two, as well."
Trowa's eyebrows shot up to his hairline. Duo's mouth dropped open, then he laughed. "Fair, huh?" He sat back down- this time, in Trowa's lap. He wrapped his arms around his spouse's neck and cut off the half-hearted protest effectively by gagging the open mouth with his own in a deep, enthusiastic kiss. After a moment's hesitation, Trowa's slender hands rose and lay against the braided boy's back, pulling him a little closer. Relena found herself blushing despite herself at the long kiss; when Duo finally pulled away and grinned at her over his shoulder, his eyes were twinkling wickedly. "Never knew you were a voyeurist, Relena," he teased, rising gracefully to his feet.
Relena made a face at the American as Trowa rose, hair a little mussed from Duo's fingers, but his face carefully composed.
"So now everyone is with someone and happy," Relena said with a bright smile as she got to her feet to show them to the door.
The two ex-pilots exchanged a quick glance. Duo picked up the bag he'd brought with him, giving her a little grin. "Well, not everyone..." he reached inside and tossed the contents at her.
She squeaked in surprise, catching the bundle on reflex. She stared in bewilderment at the simple bouquet of daisies in her hands. "Nani..?"
Duo pointed at it with a crooked grin. "That's as close to a wedding bouquet as I'm willing to go. Looks like you've got a wedding in your future, ojousan."
Relena blinked, looking down at the bouquet she'd unwittingly caught, then back up at the two men.
"Hurry up and find a knight in shining armor to be your beau, or Heero's gonna start scouring space and earth for someone," Duo warned. "He keeps getting that 'mission accepted' look in his eyes when we talk about your- ahem -lack of a love life."
Relena's mouth fell open a little at that. The fact that her friends had been just as worried about her well-being as she'd been about theirs caught her a little by surprise.
Trowa offered one of his small smiles, lifting his hand in farewell.
"Ja~ Relena," Duo called cheerfully as he dragged his lover towards the door. "Keep in touch!"
Relena took a quick step forward, finally finding her voice. "Ano-" Her grip tightened possessively on the bouquet in her hands as she met Duo's bright amethyst eyes across the room. "Arigato.."
Duo winked at her, and Trowa gave her another one-sided smile over his shoulder. With another cheerful farewell, the American mechanic bounded out the door with his calm spouse in hand.
Relena stood there for several moments, clutching the daisies to her chest and smiling happily to herself. Her eyes stung, and at the sound of footsteps behind her, she reached up hastily to wipe the threatening teardrops away.
"Are your guests gone, Relena-sama?" Dorothy walked up, eyes flicking towards the open door as she reached up to tuck platinum blond hair over her ear. "Your two o' clock is here."
"Aa. Arigato." Relena took a deep breath to compose herself, but was unable to completely wipe the dopey grin off her face.
Dorothy paused, looking at her strangely. "Are you all right, Relena-sama?"
"Mm." She nodded quickly. "Just... happy, that's all. I guess I never fully appreciated the friends I had as much as I should have." She smiled up at the slightly taller girl.
Dorothy blinked, obviously a little confused. Her eyes drifted down to the bouquet in the other girl's arms, and before Relena could say anything, reached out and plucked a daisy free. She tucked it behind her ear, offering a strange smile so unlike her usual smirk that Relena caught herself staring.
"Yes, Relena-sama. Sometimes people should just stop and appreciate what's right in front of them, don't you think?"
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