++Ch. 14++
"An Offer of Love"

"We need to find Neo and Atreusio," Wufei said, pacing.
Trowa glanced up from where he was standing at the window, watching him silently.
"They're the ones who know who has Quatre," Wufei continued, "and why everyone wants him."
They were alone in one of the small, empty rooms upstairs. Across the hall he could hear Gable and Duo talking in low voices, and resisted the urge to eavesdrop. He wasn't sure how to feel about the blond yet. Could he be trusted? He had acted trustworthy so far, and Duo seemed to like him... so he let the matter drop.
"They don't act like two people who could be found if they didn't want to be," Trowa pointed out quietly. He still seemed a little out of it from Gable's earlier revelation.
Wufei paused, looking at him.
Even with his shields put shakily back in place, there was still an air of vulnerability to the other boy. The way he kept his arms crossed tightly, the wary look to his eyes, and how he avoided getting too close to anyone but Wufei all gave it away to anyone that took the time to actually *look* at him.
Wufei walked over to stand beside him, hands on his hips as he stared out of the window, sighing. "We'll find them," he said firmly. "No one else seems to know where the hell Quatre is."
Trowa glanced outside. "What about the other covens?"
"Nani?" Wufei frowned. "What other covens?"
"Duo and I got promises from those other two covens," Trowa reminded him. "Maybe three. There was a small boy, too."
"Yeah," Wufei said in realization, "maybe they can show us where Quatre is."
Trowa hesitated. "They said they would help if our lives were in danger," he said slowly. "They didn't seem to want to tell us anything about Quatre."
"We can always try," Wufei pointed out. "What were they called again?"
Trowa thought for a moment. "Earthfire and... Red Crystal, I think."
"Good. We'll tell Gable to find them for us. If he wants to help so badly, that is." He glanced meaningfully at Trowa, and the other boy nodded minutely. So Trowa was wary about Gable, as well. That was good. Wufei relaxed. So maybe he wasn't just being paranoid. He smirked, remembering the angry look Heero had given the blond Wiccan when he got too close to Duo.
"What's so funny?" Trowa mumured, looking over his face.
Wufei grinned. "Heero," he said with malicious glee. "He's jealous of Duo and Gable and he doesn't even realize it. Did you see how mad he got when that kid put his arm around him?"
Trowa gave the barest hint of a smile. "Aa. Heero doesn't know how to deal with those emotions." He turned his eyes towards the window again, smile almost sad. "Duo doesn't know."
"How does Duo feel?" Wufei asked, knowing he was being nosey and not caring. Trowa didn't have to answer him, he realized, but he was asking anyway. Having an actual conversation. There was a closeness between them now that could not be denied, and he found some kind of warm comfort in the fact. It was nice to... be openly close to someone else besides Quatre.
"He called for Heero," Trowa said, glancing at him and arching a brow. "When he was with Davarius."
Wufei grinned at him, and Trowa smiled back. It was a small smile, but it was genuine. I am, Wufei realized vaguely, comfortable around him. I never thought I would be.
His face grew sober after a moment. "Davarius.. he tried to..." he struggled to say it. "He did something to Duo, didn't he?"
Trowa looked away, his own smile gone. "He tried to," he murmured. "Duo says he didn't get to."
Wufei clenched his teeth. "If Heero knew, he'd go after him with a bazooka," he said only half jokingly.
"Which is partly why Duo won't tell him," Trowa said pointedly.
Wufei frowned at him. "I won't tell him," he said defensively, resting his hands on the windowsill.
Trowa nodded. "Heero doesn't need to be distracted with focusing solely on Davarius. Duo knows that. He might never tell him. I told him enough: that I suspected Davarius had tried to rape him. But that was all I said to him. The rest is up to Duo."
"It's not something someone would want to talk about," Wufei agreed, watching Trowa's face carefully. "You of all people know that."
Trowa nodded minutely in understanding. "I think," he said slowly, "Gable might be good for him. He's support. He knows what Davarius tried to do to him. Perhaps Davarius did the same thing to him." He seemed to hesitate, then placed his hand on the windowsill beside Wufei's, gazing outside contemplatively.
Wufei glanced at him out of the corner of his eye before carefully placing one of his hands over Trowa's.
Trowa flicked a quick look at him, but the touch was light and demanded nothing, and so he relaxed, allowing the comfort as he stared outside once more, lost in his own thoughts.

Duo glanced from where he was sprawled on the floor, arching a brow in question. "Nani?"
Gable bent down to crouch beside him, examining his face, his own expression sober. "Do you have any idea why Trowa might be hearing just you? Didn't Wufei-kun say Quatre-kun is very important to him?"
Duo frowned, throwing one of his arms over his eyes. "How should I know?" he mumbled. "I don't get it either. Trowa and I are cool, sure, but it's not like we're all close and shit."
Gable smiled down at him silently for a moment. He reached out, tracing the other boy's face with his fingertips. "Do you remember what I asked you earlier?" he whispered.
Duo lifted his arm from his eyes, staring up at him.
Gable leaned over him so that their faces were mere inches apart, giving a sultry smile. "From what I've seen so far," he murmured, "your friend Heero doesn't seem to even know the meaning of love, much less care to try it out."
Duo glanced away, frowning. Something in him twisted painfully at the other's words, but he hid it beneath a casual tone. "Is that what you're offering me, Gable?"
Gable's smile widened, trailing a finger across Duo's mouth. "If you'd only give me the chance."
Duo looked back at him, staring into his intense dark eyes, feeling hesitation and uneasiness.
It was something he wanted so desperately from Heero, and yet here was this boy before him offering it freely. Maybe he was being foolish, pining after a soldier who truly didn't know how to feel.
Gable leaned in, capturing him in a soft kiss, then letting his fingers tangle in Duo's hair, deepening the kiss.
Duo tilted his chin, inviting more, feeling a thrill at the older boy's talented ministrations. His own hand rose to cup Gable's jaw, and he pushed past teeth to sink his tongue into the hot cavern of Gable's mouth.
Gable's free hand crept downwards, fingers splayed on Duo's abdomen, and he broke away for air, smiling silkily. "I keep thinking about last night," he murmured. "You were quite impressive, Duo Maxwell."
Duo felt a smile pull at his own lips. "Mmm is that so?"
Gable's nimble fingers slid under the waistband of Duo's pants, and he glanced up at Duo's face with hooded eyes, giving a small smile. "Now why would I lie?"
Duo smirked, tugging Gable down for another kiss.
"Am I interrupting something?"
Both boys jumped at the cold voice, jerking away from each other like guilty lovers.
"H-Heero," Duo gasped, feeling his face heat up in humiliation as he wiped hastily at his mouth with the back of his hand, propping himself up on his elbows. "W-we were..just-"
"Don't you know how to knock?" Gable demanded quietly, glaring at the boy in the doorway from where he was crouching.
Heero's face was a carefully controlled mask, but the glare he returned was full of hate. Duo felt his breath catch at the unbridled animosity in that one quick glance. It was as if he was trying to kill Gable just with a look.
"What do you want, Heero?" he asked, irritation swirling with his embarrasment. He felt his own eyes narrow as he sat up. "Mind your own business."
Heero's gaze locked on him, and Duo gulped, swallowing his next words. The last time Heero had turned that furious, impatient look on him, he had ended up with a bruised jaw. He kept his comments to himself.
But Gable did not seem inclined to do the same. He rose to his feet, still glaring at the other boy. "Did you come here just to spy on us," he said snidely, "or do you actually have a good reason?"
Heero's fists clenched by his sides as the two locked glares in a silent battle of wills for a few tense moments.
Heero was known for his famous death glare- but Gable was stubborn and ignorant to what Heero could and would do. He did not back down.
Finally Heero turned sharply on his heel, but not before Duo caught the way his lip curled in disgust. "Never mind," he said shortly, and strode off angrily.
Duo stared at the doorway numbly.
That fleeting look... the absolute disgust he had seen on Heero's face...
Idiot idiot IDIOT.
He looked down into his lap, his hands shaking. That's why Heero can never love you. That's why he's so damn dense, you IDIOT.
He's not like you, Duo. He never has been. He's disgusted that he caught you kissing another man.
"Geez, what a homo-phobe," Gable muttered in a huff.
Duo gave a strained laugh, tightening his hands into fists in his lap to hide their shaking. "Yeah," he said said in a voice that was strange to his own ears. "I guess... that explains a lot, ne..?"
Gable looked at him quickly at the strange tone to his voice, frowning. "Duo," he said quietly after a moment, "I'm sorry."
Duo shook his head quickly, shame washing over him in painful unmerciful waves. "No, it's ok," he whispered hoarsely. "I should have figured it out sooner." He took a deep breath and looked up, trying to dredge up a shadowed version of his usual cocky smile. "So, Gable... what do you think about you and me?"

Heero grabbed the nearest thing and threw it.
The flimsy card table crashed against the wall with a deafening sound, but he ignored it. All he could hear was the impossibly loud, angry beat of his heart thudding in his ears as he stalked from the house, letting the door slam behind him.
He walked quickly through the tangled garden in the back, struggling to get his harsh, furious breathing under control, trying to calm his heartbeat.
Wild fury roared inside of him, eager for any release.
What he really wanted to do was put his fist through Gable's infuriatingly handsome face.
He made do with an old watercan sitting on the garden wall, smashing his fist into it hard enough to dent it as it flew from the walltop, clanking against the stone steps.
He'd gone upstairs after calming himself, scolding himself at his display of anger, to talk to Duo. To... hell, he didn't know what he'd been going to say.
But it was a damn good thing he hadn't said anything.
He had walked in and seen... seen..
He'd watched that BOY put his hand down Duo's pants, kiss him.
He'd watched Duo kiss him back.
He pulled back his fist, ready to bloody his knuckles on the sturdy brick wall.
So what?
The thought rose out of the back of his mind, fighting its way frantically to the surface, and it gave him pause.
So what?
So what, so what?
So what if Duo's kissing that boy? So what?
Why should YOU care?
He lowered his shaking fist, staring dumbly at the wall.
What the hell is WRONG with me?
He stood there panting as slowly his fury began to smoulder and die. Cold reality struck him like a slap to the face.
Someone.. WAS slapping him??
He staggered a little at the unexpected blow, blinking as his head cleared. He stared in shock at the boy standing before him.
Trowa lowered his fist, staring at him coolly. "Get ahold of yourself," he said quietly.
Trowa's calm voice washed away the rest of Heero's reckless anger, and he felt his body relax as he gazed at him, breathing slowly coming under control.
Trowa regarded him silently for a moment. "This never would have happened if you had just told Duo how you feel," he said finally, tone as inflectionless as always.
Heero stared at him. "What are you talking about?" he demanded finally.
Trowa's eyes flitted towards the ruined watercan. "You tell me," he said quietly. Then he was gone, turning and going back into the house as silently as he had come.
Heero stared down at the watercan, thoughts churning.
It was a long time before he went back inside.

Back to Amiko's fics
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
Ch. 10
Ch. 11
Ch. 12
Ch. 13
Ch. 15
Ch. 16
Ch. 17
Ch. 18
Ch. 19
Ch. 20
Ch. 21
Ch. 22
Ch. 23