Ch 9: Golden Beauty

"Welcome back!" Quatre looks up, smiling cheerfully as we race inside, hands over our heads in a vain attempt to shield ourselves from the rain that is now driving down outside.
I grin at him, flicking my braid to get some of the excess water out. "Konnichiwa, Q-man," I quip. "You feelin' better? Where's Wufei?"
Trowa is at the counter making sandwiches, not even bother to glance at us as he jerks the butterknife in the direction of the stairs. "Upstairs. Probably meditating."
"Yosh'." I inhale a deep breath, and before Heero can protest yell at the top of my lungs.
I grin cheerfully at my wincing friends. "How's that?"
"Baka," Wufei growls, walking irritably into the room. His slipper bounces off my head and I yelp indignantly. "You don't interrupt someone when they're *meditating*!"
"Owow, what the heck was that for?!" I lament, pretending to be mortally wounded and clutching my unharmed head. "You owe me an apology!"
Wufei just gives me a dirty look and turns to Quatre, who's sitting at the table shuffling cards. So Trowa kept him company while we were gone, huh? How sweet. ^_^
Wufei reaches for the bread and begins making a sandwich of his own.
"Oi, while you're over there, make one for me, will ya?" I ask impudently, plopping down beside Quatre. Heero ignores us all, walking over to the fridge to fetch a soda.
"Ne..." I glance sideways at Quatre, waiting until I have his full attention. He turns to look at me, still smiling and shuffling, but slowly his motions slow until his shuffling has stopped and he's staring into my eyes, smile gone, face blank. A slow smile curves my lips.
~~I want you to see something....~~
He blinks, then nods slowly.
My smile is lazy as I tilt my head towards the door. ~~Come...~~
Suddenly a hand falls on my shoulder, startling me and breaking the trance that I've put over Quatre. I look up, surprised, into Trowa's stony face.
"What are you doing to him?"
I offer a disarming smile. "Nani? Nothing. What do you mean?"
He glances towards Quatre, then back at me, his eyes narrowing slightly. "I saw that. His face. What are you doing?"
Quatre shakes himself and smiles a little hesitantly. "Trowa..?"
I sigh, shrugging him off and rising. "You're just imagining things, Trowa," I tease. "We didn't even say anything!"
I snort, rolling my eyes and lifting my hands helplessly. "Have you finally lost it, Tro? Take a chill pill. Don't be so overprotective, man!" I pad over to the fridge and nudge Heero aside playfully with my hip as I grab for an apple, tensing for the expected blow of annoyance and glancing at him in surprise when it doesn't fall. Instead of hitting me he refuses to meet my eyes and deliberately moves away. I feel a twinge of hurt that I quickly crush, grabbing an apple and shutting the fridge. "Well, I'm off to bed," I say loudly, grinning at them all. "OYasumi!"
Heero shoots me a look, obviously wondering what happened to my plan of letting the others see the mirror, but I brush past him and bound up the stairs, leaving my team mates behind me.


It's past midnight.
I walk down the hall silent as a ghost, my usual cheerfulness gone, replaced with a quiet kind of calm. I reach the room I was looking for and enter as the door swings open for me of its own accord. I drift over to the end of the bed and gaze down at the slumbering figure bathed in the moonlight for a few heartbeats.
No wonder he loves you...
"Quatre..." I murmur. ~~Quatre.~~
The golden-haired boy on the bed shifts slightly, murmuring in his sleep, but doesn't fully awaken. I smile slightly, walking over to the side of the bed and crouching down, reaching out and gently brushing silky hair from his smooth face, letting my fingers trail down his round cheek. So soft...
"Quatre..." I breathe, barely audible.
He moves again, but this time his eyes slide open, twin pools of sky blue, hazy from sleep and breathtakingly innocent.
I smile at him, and he blinks, his eyes slowly clearing. "Duo..?" he mutters, yawning adorably. "What are you..."
"Shh..." I place a finger on cherub lips and he blinks up at me, confused but obedient.
~~Come. I still want to show you something...~~
His face goes blank again, and he sits up. I move towards the door, glancing back and waiting until he climbs out of bed and walks after me, pajamas rumpled from sleep.
I smile again and turn away, leading him silently downstairs and to the kitchen door. I glance outside to make sure the rain has stopped before opening the door and stepping aside, allowing him to walk out first before following, shutting the door quietly behind us.
I take the lead again, walking through the wet grass towards the small shed out back. Drawing a key from my pocket I unlock the padlock keeping the doors shut and pull them open with a creak, reaching in and yanking on the chain that causes the dim bulb in the ceiling to sputter reluctantly to life. I grin at the covered object in the middle of the room and draw Quatre in.
He is slowly coming out of his daze, blinking and looking around, confused, as I leave him by the doorway and hurry over to my prize.
"Shh.. Come here."
He hesitates, glancing over his shoulder, then slowly walks towards me, face dubious. I smile reassuringly, twitching off the old sheet and revealing the mirror, the glass shining like new.
He stares at it, surprised, then shoots me a nervous glance. "This is--"
"I just want you to look," I breathe, standing beside it, one hand carressing the frame. "Look into it like Heero and I did."
"But.." he hesitates, almost afraid to look at it. "What did it do to you? What will it do to *me*?"
"It will show you who you really are," I say softly, gazing into the mirror adoringly. "A very handy tool, yes?"
"It revealed the Shinigami, and it revealed what Heero is. I want to see about you."
"But.. What *is* Heero? Is he really the Perfect Soldier?"
I can't tell if he's stalling or not.
"Iya.." I frown slightly, my mind drifting back to the times when he did acts that a 'perfect soldier' would not have done: not considering Kiniger as a valuable hostage... showing some emotion towards me... seeming a little more concerned with keeping his own life despite the mission. "But never mind that. I want to see what *you* are. I have a suspicion... I just want to confirm it. Go ahead. It's not like you'll melt." I laugh to ease the mood, and reluctantly he slides his eyes towards the mirror.
He steps closer, his expression going slack as he stares deeply into his reflection. I hold my breath, watching, waiting...
..he changes.
A shimmer moves through the air, a brush of sweet wind just barely tangible..
"I knew it," I whisper, reaching out to touch his face once more as he blinks and slowly turns to face me.

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