Sweeter Each Season 1


We don't even have pictures / Just memories to hold

That grow sweeter each season / As we slowly grow old

--John Mayer (Toad the Wet Sprocket)


Quatre glared when Eliza opened the door to the front parlor; she left a tray with tea and cookies set on the table near the door and slipped away, as quietly as she'd come. He ignored the staff's attempt to cheer him up -- did he look like he was five? -- and instead poured himself another shot of vodka, sloshing a little as he berated himself. What the fuck had he been thinking, just dumping it all on Trowa like that? He'd been so exhausted, yeah, but he was always exhausted after a day of work, and the idea of having someone he could share chores with...because the bills really were a chore, just more of the same of what he dealt with at work. Sometimes he felt like he never got to leave work, except for the time he spent with Trowa, when he could be himself, and not Director Winner, the boss, the man whose yes or no could change people's entire worlds for better or worse, the man in charge, more of the endless battlefield but with money on the line as well as lives--

The front door's soft click as the latch fell open brought Quatre out of his pacing, and he couldn't help but check his back pocket again, for the letter Trowa had left on the study's loveseat. His lover had said he'd wanted to celebrate, and what had Quatre done? Shoved in Trowa's face just how wealthy he was -- how could he forget how sensitive Trowa was to such things? He'd been an idiot, and cursed himself six more times in the three heartbeats between the front door's announcement and the soft footsteps passing the front parlor. Quatre held his breath, not sure whether to say anything, and then came a soft rapping, more a brush of knuckles but it was enough to make the door swing open, revealing Trowa's downcast face... and what the hell was that?

Quatre covered the length of the room in seven strides, taking Trowa's face in his hands. "What happened?" Shit, had Trowa gone and gotten himself roughed up at a bar? Wufei and Heero did that when they had issues, out to pick fights for the sheer thrill of fighting -- at least Heero did, until Duo jerked him out of that habit with a few well-pitched battles. Trowa winced when Quatre prodded gently at the bruise, already darkening to a rich purple. He couldn't help but be a little annoyed, after all his worrying. "Is this where you tell me the other guy looks worse?"

"Actually, no, she looks fine." Trowa calmly removed Quatre's hands, pulling them away from his face with a sigh. "Cathy sends her greetings."

"Cathy did this?" Quatre blinked. She was quick with the knives on stage, certainly, but she had to have a vicious right hook to get Trowa that solidly. "What did you say to her?"

Trowa mumbled something, and looked away with a slight shrug. It seemed to amount to a concession that he'd told her about the evening, and something in there had made Cathy deck him. Quatre wasn't sure whether he agreed with Cathy's response, or wanted to haul ass across town to her apartment to tell her to lay off on abusing his lover. That was his job...and the idea of cracking such a joke was suddenly not quite as amusing.

"I need to apologize," Quatre finally said, refusing to let go of Trowa's hands. "I just...there's never anyone to share things with, some parts...and you're someone I feel like I can. I want to. Everything. I just..." He could feel Trowa's hesitation, in the way Trowa's hands shook against his, and the furtive, ashamed glances Trowa kept giving their clasped hands. Quatre tugged Trowa forward, pulling him into the parlor and closing the door behind them. Leading Trowa to the sofa, he settled Trowa down; when Trowa demurred, looking like he wanted to pull away, Quatre growled and straddled Trowa's lap. "Now you're not going anywhere until we talk."

"It's been a long day," Trowa whispered, chin down. "I just want to go to bed."

"No, I let you walk out of here, but you walked back in, and that means we figure this out. You've always known I have money. I'm sorry if it was a shock, but I'm not entirely certain I get why it was that big of a shock."

"You have a lot of money."

"Yes. I have more money than God, Sanq, and all of L2 put together." Quatre went for blunt. "Wasn't the apartment, the car, the villa in Italy, the home on L4, the private shuttle all a clue?"

Trowa's shoulders slumped. "I'd never really thought about it, in concrete terms. Saw it in black-and-white..."

"I'm still me. I'm still here with you." Quatre tilted his hips, grinding himself against Trowa, and hardened a little at the movement. "I'm not leaving. You can go and come back as many times you want, but I'm here, and I want you to stay here. With me."

"But I--"

"No buts. What are you scared of?"

Trowa's quick glance, nettled, told Quatre he'd hit the mark. But Trowa merely pursed his lips and looked away, eyes settling into that wary, sulky expression Quatre wished he could wipe away permanently. No, not wipe; he'd rather just replace it with one of Trowa's rare, open smiles, and then replace it again, and again.

"I found your letter." Quatre pulled the now-crumpled paper from the back pocket of his slacks, and set it on the seat beside them. "Why didn't you tell me as soon as you got home?"

"I don't know," Trowa murmured. He shifted, probably trying to hint that he didn't want to be pinned down, but Quatre didn't move; he only settled more fimly onto Trowa's lap, and Trowa gasped softly before shutting his lips into a firm line.

"Look at me," Quatre said, at first intently, then softer: "look at me, please." Only once he had Trowa's gaze on him did he lean forward, cupping Trowa's face in his hands. "I make a lot of money. I work hard. I try to have fun when I can. But I will trade all that if that's what it takes to keep you in my life."

"Quatre," Trowa breathed, then frowned, trying to look away. "Don't make empty promises. It's a lot harder to walk away from--"

"I have before. I walked away for love of peace. Why can't I walk away for the love of my life?"

Trowa's frown grew deeper.

"Stop thinking I'm a romantic fool," Quatre chided. When Trowa glanced at him, quickly, then away, Quatre had to chuckle. "And while we're at it, stop thinking that I would ever think you're unimportant for any reason. Knowing I'll see you at the end of the day is what gives my days purpose, Trowa Barton."

"I don't want people thinking..."

Quatre snorted, then, leaning back just a bit to give Trowa a skeptical look. The movement also pushed him square up against Trowa's groin, and he was rewarded with another soft gasp, and fingers tightening on his thighs. "Since when do you give a good god-damn what anyone thinks?"

Trowa opened his mouth, was silent, closed his mouth, and dropped his chin. His only answer was a slight one-shouldered shrug, the merest hint of the gesture.

"Exactly. What do I have to do to prove it to you?" Quatre smiled, and leaned forward again to kiss Trowa, softly, then deeply. One of Trowa's hands slid up Quatre's thigh to settle at the small of his back, fingers scratching lightly through the soft cotton shirt.

"I don't want anyone thinking..." Trowa sighed, kissing Quatre again, before smiling a bit ruefully. "I don't want any of this. I don't need a villa in Italy, or a home on L4, or all these rooms. I just want you. That's all I want."

"Just me?" Quatre tilted Trowa's head back, mindful of the bruise on Trowa's cheek, and mouthed kisses along Trowa's jaw. Was that a soft moan? He nipped, then bit, and Trowa's fingers fluttered against his hips, groan half-caught in Trowa's throat. Around the kisses, Quatre whispered, "I'm told I'm quite a handful, I should warn you, even when I don't have any money."

"I'm sure the former..." Trowa moaned again, and tilted his hips up, sliding down a bit more on the seat, head thrown back. "...Alliance would agree..." His grip tightened on Quatre's hips, pulling them closer together with a sudden yank. "I like your handfuls..."

"It's a package deal." Quatre smiled, pleased he'd coaxed Trowa out of the dark, worried mood, and ran his tongue up Trowa's neck to lick with pointed tongue at the skin just behind Trowa's ear. The body beneath his grew soft and pliant suddenly, while other parts became hard, and Trowa whimpered, a sound only Quatre had ever heard, he was certain, and he never intended to share it, either. "I want you with me, always. What's mine, is yours. We'll share. There is no my-money, your-money, my-sofa, your-sofa, my-car, your-motorcycle..." He paused, grinning as he flicked his tongue back and forth across the shell of Trowa's ear. "Okay, car and motorcycle are negotiable."

"Mmm." Trowa's eyes had closed; his mouth had fallen open, and he writhed slowly, hips coming up to press against Quatre's before sinking away and then rise again. "Car. Cycle. 'Kay..."

"Mine, yours, ours," Quatre murmured, and the words came to his lips before he could stop himself, and he realized he didn't want to. "Marry me." He slid one hand into Trowa's shirt, angling down and across to run a finger around Trowa's nipple.

"Mm, yes," Trowa moaned, arching his back. He turned his head, blindly kissing whatever he could reach, craning his neck to reach Quatre's mouth, pushing his tongue between Quatre's teeth, probing -- and then suddenly he jerked back, completely frozen, eyes wide. "Did you--"

"Propose. And you said yes."

"I did?"

"Just now." Quatre rocked his hips. "So did the rest of you."

"But--"

Quatre sighed, and sat back, dropping his hands to his thighs. "What now?"

"Marriage."

"Yes. That's what it's called when two people stand together in front of a judge and do the whole I-do routine. You do not, however, have to wear--" He broke off, seeing his other favorite smile from Trowa -- well, one of his many favorite smiles, although they all were -- and Quatre gave Trowa a suspicous look. "What?"

"Duo says wedding cake is the anti-viagra," Trowa murmured. He brought up one hand, and undid the top button on Quatre's shirt, then the next button, and then a third; that tiny almost-smirk never left his lips. "I can never resist a chance to prove him wrong..."

"Hunh?" Quatre frowned, not entirely certain whether Trowa had just said yes, no, changed his mind, or was perhaps still tipsy from the two shots, an hour before. "Tro--"

Trowa sat up, pulling Quatre's chest to his lips, and Quatre made a rather embarrassing gurgling sound as a confused protest died and was reborn as a startled moan when Trowa's mouth came down around his nipple, and began sucking hard. God, Trowa always went for his weakest points. He shivered, hips beginning to buck, seeking friction, anything. He wanted to ask Trowa one more time to clarify, but the words kept falling away from him, especially when the top button of his slacks fell open and the room's cool air hit his stomach -- then Trowa's long fingers, digging into his boxers. Only when Trowa raised his head to take a breath could Quatre manage to ask, "so is this a yes or a--"

"It's a yes," Trowa growled. "Yes, I want you to marry me, yes, I was an idiot and I'm sorry, and yes, if you don't fuck me in the next thirty seconds I'm heading back to Cathy's and I won't come back."

"Are you threatening me?"

Trowa looked up at Quatre through those long eyelashes, a quick glimpse of smug green. "Are you going to fuck me or not?"

"I could, and I could make it a regular thing, too."

"Pencil me in." Trowa smirked, and wrapped his fingers around Quatre. "I have the instrument right here."

Quatre snorted. "That's hardly a pencil."

"Why? You running on unleaded--"

Quatre laughed, cut Trowa off with a kiss, and wondered if the tube of lube was still under the sofa's cushions. Hopefully the staff had the presence of mind to leave it where they'd found it, and hopefully Trowa wouldn't put two and two together and realize that Montgomery was probably quite aware of every place in the entire apartment that Quatre had stashed lube, just in case. Trowa slid sideways, bringing Quatre with him and angling his hips up to let Quatre yank his jeans down, and arched his back with an appreciative groan when Quatre wriggled down to press his lips against Trowa's hipbone. Quatre's fingers finally located the lube between the two back cushions, and brought it out, snapping the top open. At the sound, Trowa raised his head, glazed eyes seeming to focus momentarily on the clear bottle in Quatre's hand.

"Where did you hide that?"

"In the sofa." Quatre lowered his head and began to suck. Please don't ask, please don't ask--

"Does Montgomery know?"

Quatre had to laugh.