AN: Surprise! I have, in fact, not given up on this story, contrary to all appearances! Previously, in SD, we found Duo escaping his high school reunion with Heero in tow. The pair ended up in Tacos & More, where Duo insulted Heero, Heero got a mystery phone call, and, after taking said call outside, promptly broke his phone. The two went to pick out a new phone when someone found them and decided that Duo must die. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Chapter 15: The Secret of Puppy Chow
I flinch at the sound of my very best friend's voice. Slowly, I turn around and there he stands, with a stern, parenty look on his face and a very amused-looking Trowa directly behind him.
"Hey guys! You found us!"
He rolls his eyes. "How long have I known you, Duo? I figured you'd bail on the reunion at some point and the most probable place for you to go, since you hadn't even stayed long enough to eat, was Tacos & More. I tried to get a hold of Heero, since you turned your phone off, but his line was busy. So Trowa and I went there, only to find you'd left. So we tried to call Heero again-"
"Wait, wait, wait. How do you know his phone number?"
"It's my job to know."
I arch an eyebrow. Exactly what is it that he does now where it would be 'his job to know' crap like that anyway? Just what has he gotten into? "All right, that sounds really creepy."
"I'm well aware of that."
"Anyway, we tried calling him again, only this time his number was out of order, so I formed the next most logical conclusion… that you guys ended up here." Quatre drew in a deep breath. "And now I plan on killing you. How could you bail on us like that?" he snaps.
"Well, considering you knew I'd already run I don't get why you're so upset."
He growls again.
"Besides… you're not at the reunion anymore. Why is that?"
"It ended unexpectedly early," Trowa explains, smirking faintly.
I hum. "How come?"
"Sally's water broke," Quatre says.
"Well I don't see why that's any reason to stop a reunion. It's just a glass of water," I say seriously.
Rolling his eyes, he says sharply, "Don't play dumb, Duo, you know what I meant. She's having her twins!"
I can't hold back my grin any longer. "Ah, right, right. Birthing children is quite a party killer."
He smacks me hard over the head.
"Ouch! Seriously, man! That hurt!"
At that moment, Heero grabs hold of Quatre's wrist and everyone stills. The look on his face hasn't changed, but the mood certainly does.
"Let him go," Trowa growls. My God he looks fierce.
Then Trowa surprises me by responding in Japanese. Since when could he speak Japanese?
Heero looks at him, also in obvious surprise, and drops Quatre's arm. "I apologize." He bobs his head in a brief bow.
I stare at the two of them. What. The. Hell?
Quat waves his hand through the air. "It's fine. A misunderstanding, I'm sure?" He gives me a questioning look and I shrug. Like I would know what that was all about…
So we stand there in this incredibly awkward silence. Over Heero's shoulder, I notice the sales guy making his way towards us with one of those looks on his face. Maybe you've seen them before? Those 'get out or I'm calling the police' kind of looks. Yeah, we made a scene all right—or Heero and Trowa did, at least.
Looping my arm with Quatre's, I say in an overly cheery voice "Well, I'm all shopped out!" and I march him straight out the door. Hopefully, the two Neanderthals will get the hint and follow.
As we step into the cool evening air, I glance at Quat. "Since when did Trowa learn Japanese? That was Japanese he was speaking, right?"
He nods. Then smiles faintly. "He's very interested in Japanese dramas. He learned the language so he didn't have to bother with subtitles… though I really don't know how well he can actually speak it."
I quirk a brow, smirking. "You don't say? Japanese dramas?"
His fond smile grows a little more. "The cheesier, the better."
He casts me a sidelong glance and gives me a pained look. "Duo, don't tease him about it."
"But it's so weird! Who watches Japanese dramas?"
"I join him sometimes, though I make Trowa use subtitles for me…"
He elbows me in the ribs.
"Careful. Don't want Heero to see that."
"Ah, yeah. About that…" Quatre gives me a concerned glance. "He treats you okay, doesn't he?" he asks in a low voice.
His voice drops lower. "Well, his reaction in the store was a little… intense—"
"That's just the kind of person he is." I think?
"Yes, well, his grip was strong enough that I thought he'd snap my wrist…" He rubs said wrist and frowns. "But as long as he's not that kind of person towards you…?"
"He's not knocking me around, Quat." Of course, we've only been together for, what… two weeks? It's as good a time as any for him to start, I guess. People have done worse things to each other. "If you didn't notice, I think he was angry at you for hitting me. So don't worry about me."
He gives me a once over, hums, and then nods. "Just let me know if—"
I wave my hand to silence him. "I know you've got my back."
"Are you two done getting cozy?" I hear Trowa call out.
Glancing back over my shoulder, I see him standing beside Heero in front of the shop, looking very impatient. I grin. "Nah, I thought I'd keep him for a while."
"Over my dead body."
"Oh? Well, that could be arranged. Cradle Robber."
"Duo, don't start that again!"
"What? He likes it."
"Maybe in your dreams, Short Bus."
"How do you know what I dream about?"
"What does he mean, calling you a short bus?"
"Don't ask, Heero."
"Enough!" Quatre snaps. "You three are seriously giving me a headache!"
I arch a brow. "Heero didn't do anything."
He makes a noise that sounds something like 'meringue!'
Grinning, I give him a quick side-hug. Poor guy. "You know you love us."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that…"
I laugh. And then pause. Just behind Heero, I see a guy walk into the cell phone shop. One who looked oddly familiar…
"Is something wrong?" Quatre asks.
I shake my head. Okay, so what the hell is with me being so paranoid? It isn't unnatural to see someone in different places, even if they are kind of weird. "Just over-thinking some stuff. Why?"
He looks at me, then at Heero, quirks a brow and shrugs. "Nothing, I guess."
Trowa gives us all a strange look. "Are we going to stand here all night?"
"That was my plan."
"Do you two ever stop?"
I laugh. "You know you'd freak out if we did."
"How about this? Let's get some junk food, some beer, rent a couple of movies, and go back to your place?" I jerk my head towards the street. "That sounds a lot better than the reunion, anyway."
After some thought, and an obviously failed attempt to stay mad at me, Quat exchanges glances with Trowa, then nods. "Sounds good."
Aside from announcing he was going to take a shower when we got back to Quatre and Trowa's, Heero had been quieter than usual for the remainder of our outing. As I take Skylar out for a potty break, I wonder about his silence—Heero's, I mean. When we were buying his phone, he seemed pretty… I don't know, content, I guess. A little flirty, which was ridiculously cute. Maybe he's being shy? After all, I did drag him off to meet my friends when he'd only known me a whopping two weeks. He had a day to get to know them. Then I drag him to a class reunion where everyone was a stranger to him. If I really think about it I've been pretty inconsiderate.
Skylar bumps my hand with her cold, wet nose, signaling that she's ready to go in for a treat, so I bring her back into the house, feed her said treat, and head into the kitchen. Trowa's busy popping popcorn. He was even kind enough to start melting chocolate chips and peanut butter together for me for the snack Quat suggested (to be read as 'demanded') I make.
"Thanks," I say, giving the concoction a stir before pouring out a heaping helping of corn-check cereal.
"No problem." He hands me a paper bag and a container of powdered sugar. "You think I'll stand in the way of Quatre and your Puppy Chow? Not a chance."
I laugh. "It's like crack to him."
"He loves it, all right."
"More than he loves you?"
"Maybe you should cover yourself in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar?" I smirk
"And let him lick it off." Trowa grins wickedly.
"But sex is best when it's kind of messy, right?" The peanut butter and chocolate have become one, so I pour it over the cereal and gingerly mix it all together.
He laughs. Cracking open a beer, he hands it to me. "So anyway, what's up with this Heero guy? You guys close?"
If you call being married close. "Thanks." I take a sip, belch louder than necessary, and grin sheepishly. "Whoops. Well, we haven't banged, if that's what you mean" is my evasive reply. Then I give him a pointed look. "Did Blondie put you up to this?"
Trowa shrugs. "Sort of."
I roll my eyes.
"That's just how he is."
"Believe me, I know."
After a couple minutes filled with companionable silence, I deem the corny-chocolaty-peanut-buttery mess to be ready for the sugar so I dump it into the bag with plenty of sugar and give it all several hearty shakes.
"But we're both…" Trowa begins. He pauses for a long moment, screwing up his face. "We're both worried about you, I guess."
"I don't know what you're worried about. Puppy Chow?"
"Don't mind if I do." He reaches into the opened bag and grabs a handful. "Anyway, we all know your track record of failures." He pops a couple of pieces into his mouth. "Mmm, this is good."
"Thanks. And, seriously, shut up yourself. If I have a track record of failures… no, just shut up."
Trowa shrugs again. "I'll put in the movie and bring all this crap out to the living room. You grab Quat and see if your lover's out of the shower." He winks. "Don't take too long helping him dry off."
I wave him off and do as I'm told. Anything to avoid the rest of that conversation. I mean, come on… Track record of failures? I feel my face burn a little. Okay, so maybe it's a little true. But for Christ's sake, they had a hand in a lot of those failures!
Having no idea where Quatre went, I go to check on Heero first. The door to the room we are sharing is cracked open and I hear voices. I frown slightly, pausing.
"He's been through enough and if you hurt him, so help me, I'll—"
"You didn't answer my question." Heero sounds irritated.
"Of course I didn't! You're changing the subject!" It's Quatre and his tone is so accusatory. "Don't think you can avoid this!"
Don't tell me they're fighting! After all of Quat's squawking about Trowa and me? I should stop them. After all, I'd like my best friend to accept this guy. It would sure make friendly visits a lot easier. But curiosity wins over necessity. Not like I thought it'd lose. I'm a pretty curious guy. And I have the feeling they're talking about me. So I lean against the wall, listening.
"I do not intend to hurt him."
Quatre mutters something I can't quite hear. Speak up, dude! There are eavesdroppers present!
"You are very protective over him," Heero says dryly.
Don't I know it.
There is a loud sigh. "Well, he's my best friend. And a really good guy. He's been screwed over enough for a lifetime and I don't want to see it happen again."
I roll my eyes. Very overprotective.
"It sounds like you are guilty as well."
"Well, I am."
I blink. Quatre? Guilty for what?
"See, back in high school, I… sort of stole Trowa out from under him."
Oh God, seriously! That's enough! I shove the door open. "Hey guys, what's up? Quatre, you sure talk a lot."
He and Heero look at me so quickly it's like something out of a comic movie. I chuckle a little.
I wave my hand at him. "Movie's ready. Popcorn and Puppy Chow are ready. Everything's ready but you two. Come on. Your spouse is waiting for you." I push Quatre out the door.
Turning back, I see Heero watching me intently. It makes me feel like I have to explain something, though I don't know why. It's not like I've done anything wrong. Quatre just had to shoot off his mouth. "Listen… what he was saying. We were high schoolers. Everything was drama back then. Besides, he's exaggerating. Don't listen to him."
His left brow lifts a little.
Looping my arm with his, I pull him out the door. "Let's go eat some Puppy Chow, eh?"
"But I am not a puppy…"
That little statement makes me laugh so hard my ribs start to ache. "Of course you're not," I sputter.
I'm not stupid. I know this isn't over and I know he's going to ask me what the hell Quatre was talking about later. Assuming my dear friend doesn't decide to finish his story. But until that time comes, I'm not saying a word. No use poking through bullshit if I don't have to.