Title: Perks of Being a Good Listener
Author: Mookie
Rating: G or PG
Pairing: depends on how you interpret it, either Heero/Trowa or none at all
Warnings: unoriginal setting
GW500 Challenge: laundry


Trowa Barton plopped in a chair in the office he shared with Heero Yuy.

Heero was typing away furiously at his keyboard. He didn't look up as he asked, "who was it this time?"

"Charlene, from Building Three," Trowa replied wearily.

"The one with the high-pitched voice and all the make-up," Heero commented. He sounded amused rather than sympathetic.

Trowa nearly growled in response. "Funny you mention that. After hearing about her sordid sex life, she asked me if it was true that I used to 'prance around dressed as a circus clown.'"

"She wanted beauty tips," Heero said dryly.

"Got it in one."

Heero raised an eyebrow, looking at Trowa dubiously for a moment, then returned his attention to the computer screen.

Despite his annoyance, Trowa had to laugh. Heero had a way of anticipating the motivation of others, something he gave himself little credit for.

At times it surprised Trowa that Heero and Quatre had never gotten together. They were both smart, intuitive, and admittedly homosexual.

Of course, the occasion on which they'd come forth with that little tidbit of information was one that Trowa wasn't likely to forget anytime soon.

Recalling the incident with Quatre gave him pause for thought.

"Why me?" he asked with a resigned sigh. "Why not someone like Quatre?"

He was only musing aloud, doing a bit of complaining, rather than wishing the unpleasantness upon their friend. Heero, however, did not take it as a rhetorical question.

"Quatre is too solution oriented," he said. "People don't always want logical, sound advice."

"You're right. Airing of dirty laundry is like a competitive sport around here." Trowa paused, then added, "and Wufei has no tolerance for idle boasting. But Duo..."

Heero snorted. "Duo is too much a plain speaker."

"And yet they seem to assume he'll make a joke out of it."

"Idiots." Heero's disdain was obvious.

"Pot calling kettle black, Heero?"

"Ha."

Trowa laughed again. "I don't mean you're an idiot, Heero. I mean you're a plain speaker."

"I knew what you meant."

"Which is why they don't dump on you with all these problems," Trowa pointed out. "You tell it like it is."

He didn't have to come out and ask. Heero needed no prompting to confirm what he'd suspected.

"You are the strong, silent type, Trowa. The platonic best friend. You give them what they want."

"Being a good listener doesn't seem to have many perks," Trowa said.

Heero stopped what he was doing and turned his chair to face Trowa.

"People see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe," he said in all seriousness. "Wufei is no less a good listener than you are. Duo is a good listener, but he's prone to stating his opinion in return. When someone approaches you with a problem, they don't want you to point out they might be wrong. They don't want their beliefs shaken, because that's often all they have."

"They want validation through silence, conveniently taken as agreement."

Heero shrugged. "Changing someone's opinion once his mind is made up is fruitless. You know that as well as I do."

Trowa nodded, remembering his own ill-fated attempts at doing so. It was why he found it easier to refrain from volunteering his thoughts on most situations, unless expressly asked.

"If it's important enough," Heero continued, "you know the right words to say. That's one of the things people respect about you."

"People?"

Heero smiled then, one of his rare, open smiles that he bestowed only upon his closest friends.

Encouraged, Trowa went on. "Think I might get one of these 'people' to grab a bite to eat after work?"

Heero turned back to his screen, but Trowa didn't miss the slight nod he'd been given first.

Nor did he miss the quiet "I'd love to" that had followed it.

Brightened considerably, Trowa turned his monitor back on and pulled up the blueprint he'd been editing earlier.

Sometimes being a good listener really did have its perks.