Disclaimer: These guys belong to the people who thought of them first.

Author's note: I know that the massive aristocratic organization is traditionally spelled 'Romefella,' but the name actually came up on a screen in the anime at one point, and it was spelled 'Rome-Feraa' there, so I'm going with that.

Warnings: This is shonen-ai. It features two male-type persons who are into each other in a--well, in as romantic a sense as their screwed up little piloty brains are capable of, anyway.

In a Yellow Wood

by Nightfall

It was all because of Heero's eyebrow.

He didn't know why Heero had chosen to collapse on his bed in his room. Heero had his own bed and his own room. If he didn't like them--or rather, because Heero would never think that way, if there was something wrong with them--there must have been a thousand spares on a ship the size of the Peacemillion. But Heero was Heero. Heero had to have, he sometimes thought, a specific reason for breathing before he would draw in the next reluctant lungful of air.

Or maybe he'd come from wrestling with the Zero. Maybe he was confused.

But it was Trowa's room he stumbled into and Trowa's bed he collapsed on and Trowa he ended up mostly on top of. A hand and a leg and a corner of his ribs were hanging off the bed, and he must have been asleep before he hit the doorway, because nobody had seen him outside the hanger in three days. So maybe that was it.

He wouldn't have said anything or done anything, because Heero was Heero and so had a reason, and if it turned out to be a confused reason than the best thing to do was wait to move until Heero left and pretend he'd never woken up in the first place. The position didn't look comfortable, though, and Heero didn't look comfortable and his breathing didn't sound comfortable. Trowa himself was also uncomfortable. Despite the oddly soothing density that was Heero, there was also the bony protrusion that was Heero's chin in his shoulder. He heaved and shifted, and rolled Heero the rest of the way onto the bed, next to him.

Heero's hair shifted, showing a discreet and modest fork at the corner of his eyebrow.

He'd seen a lot of people in the circus's audiences lately with double eyebrows in imitation of the Rome-Feraa Foundation's new representative-- who, he had the wavering impression, had been important once before. They were drawn on with eyeliner, and sometimes they were thin halves of feathers glued on with spirit gum for extra effect, and he'd always found them disquieting.

But this was Heero, who did his laundry in the sink every night because he owned exactly two identical shirts, for whom dressing up meant mugged clothing for an infiltration, who ordinarily wore a pair of sneakers that might have been mustard-colored thirty years before Heero was born and could never have had any more respectable calling than as camouflage in a pale swamp, for which duty the rest of his clothes were very badly suited. Heero had nothing for fashion or fads, and besides, it looked real. Maybe that meant that the Representative's were real, too.

Since he was distracted by his musings, he didn't notice that his hand was caught beneath Heero's shoulder while he gazed at Heero's face. Since his hair protected him at the worst of times from mirrors, he didn't notice that the edge of tormented confusion he hadn't known he wore had smoothed away. Since the changes were invisible, he didn't notice Heero's eyes sliver open, or the shift from the contented I-am-here-and-here-is-safe to a blissful this-is-what-it-means-to-be-here to the tight realization of here-is-gone-and-not-safe to a confused how-did-I-get-here-and-why-did-I- come to a considering why-did-I-think-here-was-safe to a narrow something- is-wrong to the dreadful hope of wrong-may-be-right.

That was why he was taken by surprise when a low, neutral voice asked, without inflection, "You remember?"

Not being a fool, it only took him a moment to realize the position he was in, and what it might mean that Heero thought it might spark or indicate the return of his memories, and what it probably did mean that his pulse suddenly battered at his throat and his legs and fingers suddenly ached in wretched isolation. But to guess, with whatever confidence, was not to remember, so he drew his head once to the side and back, and answered, "Uh- uh."

But he didn't move.

And Heero didn't pull away. And after a long, long silence that grew to be daunting because he, at least, was looking for something to feel so that he'd have something to say, Heero found a word. In a curious, awful mix of despair and anticipation and satisfaction and regret that Trowa knew he had heard before because he knew what came next, Heero said his name--and stopped.

He waited for Heero to finish, but Heero didn't. Thinking it might be a test, he suggested, "You're gonna kill me?"

The grunt came immediately. It might have been a protest or it might have been disgusted, but what it wasn't was agreement. And if there'd been any confusion, there was Heero's smaller, harder hand suddenly wrapped around his, roughly forbidding him to consider it, and he understood that Heero, indifferent to who flew his invincible hallucinogenic weapon, had learned once that Trowa could be taken away, and found the idea ghastly and dismal and even important.

He understood that Heero had learned to fear for him.

That was why he lay down on his back without freeing himself, and why if he noticed that Heero's free arm had settled under his neck and come back to drape a cautious hand on his shoulder it was only placidly, and why he reached back to rest his own over it.

It may or may not have been why he wasn't surprised when Heero spoke again. That may have been because he suspected Heero took in his required allotment of air with reluctance, or because he had a firm conviction, which felt like he had once known something to back it up, that Heero would never speak the word 'honor' because it was what sewed his muscles to his bones.

Or it may have been because he was an animal trainer. It couldn't have been any clearer from Heero's drawn and restive silence if he'd had ears to lay back and a tail to thrash that he was arming himself to trample on instinct. For whatever reason, he expected Heero to speak, and almost felt that he could have spoken the first word, at least, along with him.

"Quatre's better suited to this mission."

Heero probably thought he was using the silence after that to consider it. Heero probably told himself he hoped for Trowa's own sake that Trowa was considering, because Heero believed himself. Possibly Heero prayed, if Heero knew the meaning of the word, somewhere deep under the thoughts Heero let himself think, that Trowa was doing something like thinking about the height of the spun-sugar pedestal Quatre had him on, and the tricky job even a balancing artist and a gymnast would have to get down from it without breaking his neck.

Ambition was foreign to Heero. Really, Trowa was only savoring the echoes of determinedly bull-headed nobility, with a gratified confirmation that cleaned out the last taste of ashes.

When he remembered that Heero thought that Heero was a killer who deserved nothing but voiceless instruction and remembered that silence now was cruelty to someone who didn't know how to scream, he let his head turn to the side, let his cheek rest against a modestly forked eyebrow. "Yeah," he agreed, workaday casual, indifferent and unconcerned. "Probably."

Heero grunted again, almost a hum and very far from displeased. His cheek was abandoned because Heero's lips had fallen aimlessly to his collar, and the strongest arms anyone would ever know were fixed steadfastly about him. Against his bones, Heero advised, "Go to sleep."

And it was advice he was glad that Heero himself was following, because nobody had seen Heero outside the hanger for three days. But he had no inclination to obey. Sleep might catch up with him, but he wouldn't invite it. Neither dreams nor memory could be better than this.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

--The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost