Playing it by Ear

Playing it by Ear

Quatre Rabera Winner was about to play a song at a music festival. Unknown to him, Dorothy was there. She sat in the third to last row, behind people unknown to her. She didn't see anyone she knew. She wore a black velvet dress, with a hunter green skirt. Her knee-length ivory-blond hair was up in a half-bun. The rest of it fell freely, maybe the only part of her that felt free. She was enclosed in her on prison. Something was holding her back from all the things she wanted out of life, something that made her feel helpless. The prison she built for herself, chain by chain, bar by bar. There was something else that told her to see Quatre. She wanted to see Quatre but she didn't want him to see her. It's been two years since she saw him and that was on Libra, where she had tried killing him. What would he think of her now?

His fellow friends, the other gundam pilots were there and Hidle and Relena too. All in the front row.. They were in appropriate formal dress. Duo, wearing a mulberry colored-suit (AN: there's a picture of him wearing this colored suit) yawned and casually put his arm around Hilde's shoulders and then gave her his sheepish sexy grin. She blushed and smiled back. She wore a white silky blouse and black slacks. In her short blackish-blue hair was one shiny butterfly clip.

Heero, who wore a deep reddish brown suit, sat next to Relena in silence, he grumbled when he saw the move Duo pulled and didn't do the same. He just looked at Relena for a while and looked up at the stage. Her light brown mid-back hair was in a french braid. She wore a silver strapless dress made out of satin with a black scarf and gloves. Wufei, wearing a white tux, (AN: he wears a lot of white!) was looking through the program impatiently, murmuring to himself that he knows nobody on the list and wondering when Quatre was about to take the stage. Trowa, wearing a navy blue suit, sat just as impatient while playing with his bangs.

His Maguanacs were also there. They always loved to hear him play.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Quatre Rabera Winner!"

"Yeah, go Quatre!" Duo cheered. All of his friends clapped as Quatre made his way on stage.

Casually and confidently, Quatre walked to the piano and took a bow. He smiled at his friends then sat on the bench. He wore a black tuxedo with a shiny red vest, (AN: have you noticed how good he looks in red?) his blond hair slicked back with styling gel. He took a breath and put his music on the stand, pulled his fingers inward to exercise his dexterity and began playing his solo. It started out cool and calm, like a summer breeze, a grand symphony.

Dorothy watched intently as the man who she tried to kill was now stealing her heart with music. She sat with her hands in her lap and she focused on Quatre then closed her eyes, the music setting her at ease. She pictured him laying in an open meadow, looking at the sky. She was with him, her head on his chest. Lost in the day dream, she smiled, wishing it was real. Her eyes flew open as the cool and calm melody became stronger, like a battle hymn. She could picture Quatre in his gundam now, going to battle. She thought battles were beautiful and as she pictured Quatre in his gundam, they seemed more beautiful in her daydream. He was so elegant, so fluid, with everything, not just with his music, but in battle as well. When she challenged him to the fencing match, he was still elegant and gracious like a ballet dancer. He was kind too and that was made her cry that day. Kindness, which was something she didn't receive so often.

What is it about you, Quatre Rabera Winner? She thought to herself, looking at her hands. She held a program and she was wrenching it with her hands, asking herself questions. how is it that I knew you were the one foreseeing my every move during that battle in space? And how did you know I was the one controlling the mobile dolls? She stopped wondering these things and looked at the program, now all torn up. She sighed and looked up at Quatre, still in the climax of the solo.

Quatre ran his fingers up and down the keys, losing himself in his own playing. He could picture himself doing anything. Anything. He wasn't afraid of anything. His own solo gave him strength, just like his songs always have. Since he was a child, he loved music, it was a key that opened the door to himself, his own sense of peace. It was his music that kept him going, not even his Gundam Sandrock gave him as much strength as the music he played. Although it was hard for him to find peace in the world, he always, no matter how sad the song seemed or so majestic or happy, no matter what the tempo was, it gave him a sense of hope and peace and strength. He wondered if it did the same for others. Do the guys feel the same when I'm playing? He asked himself.

The Gundam Pilots felt the music within them. Duo was surprised when he felt a tear form in his eye. So he didn't want Hilde to see it, he quickly rubbed it out. He causually looked at Hilde and she moved her eyes toward him, smiled and looked back at Quatre.

Heero took a breath and moved his eyes to Relena and she turned hers to his. Feeling the same emotion, they both reached for each other's hand. Both were surprised by the action, were glad because of it. Relena smiled as she held Heero's hand through out the song.

Quatre turned the last page of his song and he was coming close to the end. He was happy but also saddened. It was his music that gave him an escape from reality. His fingers were becoming sore and tight, but he did not care. He wanted to keep on playing. He played the last few measures with everything he had and he held the last note longer that it should've been, the note ringing out to the audience, like a church bell telling everyone to come to church. He pulled his hands away from the keyboard and waited a few seconds, giving the people a chance to think "oh that was wonderful" before leaving. (AN: I used to be in band; I know these things J )

His friends in the front row began clapping and stood up. Duo knocked the air with his fist while cheering, "woof, woof, woof." Then Duo whistled. Quatre smiled and blushed. That's Duo being Duo, he thought. He stood up and took a bow and even more applause.

"Quatre Rabera Winner, ladies and gentlemen!"

Quatre stepped down to see his friends. He shook their hands and they told him how good he played. In the corner of his eye, he saw a familiar face. Can it be? He wondered. The figure turned from her seat, revealing her long blond hair. It is her! She gave a nervous glance at him, then quickly turned her eyes back and left the auditorium.

"Uh, excuse me guys," he told his friends, "I see someone I know."

Duo was confused, "I thought we were his only friends."

Quatre walked up the auditorium floor toward the doors and was stopped by people in the audience. An old woman grabbed his hand.

"Young man, I think you were just excellent." She told him. "I love young people with talent."

"Thank you," he said with a smile. He looked at the double doors, "thank you for coming, excuse me."

Dorothy had already made it outside and at the bottom step when she heard Quatre's voice. He was calling for her from the hall.

"Wait! Please, wait!" he shouted, running down the hallway and opening the door. He stopped on the top of the porch. "Dorothy, it's that you?" he asked, though he already knew he wasn't mistaken. "Dorothy Catalonia?"

Dorothy stopped in her tracks, stood still for a moment, "yes,." Then she slowly turned around, her face turned at the ground. She forced her head up and looked at Quatre's eyes, "Hello, Quatre Rabera Winner."

Quatre went down the steps, smiling with wide open arms. He embraced her and she was surprised by his greeting. An embrace, for her? No one has shown her such compassion, such kindness, such friendliness. He stepped back, his hands still on her shoulders. "What're you doing here? How did you know I'd be playing?"

"Saw it in the paper," she replied, "I didn't know you were such a talented piano player. That was," she stopped when she saw the way he was looking at her, his beautiful blue-green eyes so full of kindness almost made her melt, "wonderful. Just…wonderful."

"Thank you." He said, then laughed, "I'm so surprised to see you! Why didn't you stay?"

"Because, I only came to see you," she told him, "just you."

"I'm glad you came," he said, looking her over, "you look great, beautiful."

"Thanks, you look very sharp in that tux," she said with a smile. They stood in silence for a while.

Quatre decided to break the silence by bringing up the past, "when I left Libra, I thought I'd never see you again. And, here you are. How come you never tried to get in touch with me?"

"Same here," she murmured. "I had to force myself just to come here. I didn't know you if wanted to see me."

"Of course I do! I was worried about you."

"Worried? Quatre I fired a gun at you," she said, her eyes about to fill up with tears, "I fought a fencing match with you, I-I cut you, leaving you weak. I said some," she stopped to grasp the words that were at the back of her mouth. She swallowed, looking at her feet and then looked at his handsome face, "terrible things. I-I owe you an apology, Quatre. I'm so, so sorry!" A stray tear began to fall down her cheek, followed by another tear, and one in the other eye. Embarrassed, she turned around. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cry in front of you. I shouldn't cry. Crying is a sign of weakness, I didn't cry when I lost my grandfather, I didn't cry about a lot of things. I only cried once and that was on Libra after you left." She said, trying to puff herself up, "I should be strong, I can't cry."

"There's nothing wrong with it," Quatre said, turning her around. "When you feel a need to cry, you should do it." He wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumb. "Go ahead, I don't mind at all. It's okay, Dorothy. You've been leading a hard life, you got to let yourself cry, at least once in a while."

She was silent, but her lip trembled. She looked away, finding it impossible to look in his gentle eyes. No eyes were never so gentle, so warm, so friendly. She couldn't look at them. She couldn't talk to him and look in his eyes.

He turned her face, holding his fingers underneath her chin, "look at me, talk to me, let me help you."

"I can't," she said, closing her eyes.

"Why not?"

"Because you don't know what it's like! You can't possibly understand my pain!" she pushed him back, "you've had it easy, you grew up with a family, money, people that loved you! You had everything! I was always alone!" she started to walk off, but he grabbed her hand and spun her around fiercely but lovingly at the same time.

"You think that I am living a perfect life?" he asked, pointing a thumb into his chest, "I've had hard times too! Especially as a child, I always had to live up to my father's expectations. I lost respect for myself and others."

She nodded in understanding.

"I was a confused kid," he continued, "but I realized something, there's many people out there that have it worse than me."

"Yeah, like me." She mumbled.

"Yes, I want to help those people," he said, taking her hand, "so please, let me help you."

"I'm so confused," she said, looking up, biting her top lip, "I feel so alone, Quatre. I just don't know what to do! I want to change, but I don't know how!"

"Just play it by ear," he said, simply answering the question that was burning inside her for years, "one step at a time."

"I don't know if I can," she sniffed.

"Yes and I'll help you."

"All I have to do is play it by ear, huh?"


Her lip quivered, followed by closed eyes, revealing shimmery green eye shadow. "Oh, thank you!" she moved forward into his arms and he pulled her close. "Thank you ,Quatre!"

Quatre felt her body shake and he knew she was weeping, violently at that. All the pain she had was coming up to the surface and her soul was washed clean. "It's okay, just let it out," he whispered in her ear, "Just let it all out."

"I don't want to be alone anymore!" she sobbed.

"You won't be, I'm here," he said, holding her tight while he stroke her hair, "I'm here, I won't leave you."

She hugged his neck and kissed his cheek, leaving a faint lip print. She stopped crying and he let loose of her, just for a moment. She pulled back and looked at his kind eyes, and found them also wet with tears. Giving a small laugh of surprise, she reached her hand to his head. I didn't know soldiers could cry, especially Gundam Pilots! She thought to herself. They were both surprised by the action she made, all though they did not dismiss the feeling it left.

Lost in the moment and emotion, Quatre kissed her back, on her lips. His arms tightened around her and he felt bare skin beneath her hair. Her dress was back less, but unable to see with her long hair. She reached one hand behind his head as her other was flat on his chest, against his heart which was pumping a thousand times a minute with such force that it seemed to push her hand back at every beat.

Neither one of them had been kissed before, nor had been so close with another, feel another person's touch and have their heart flutter. Quatre held the kiss longer than he had expected and pulled back, somewhat disapointed when he ran out of breath. Dorothy blinked, smiled. Quatre smiled back, but kept his eyes focused on hers. They stood there, breathing hard, holding each other close.

"I know now," she whispered.

"Know what?" he asked, sliding his finger down her cheek.

"I knew it was you who was foreseeing my every move that time on Libra," she said, "but I didn't know why."

"And I knew you were controlling the mobile dolls," he said, and gave what he thought was the answer, "it was the ZERO system."

"No, it's not that," she said, "it's not the ZERO system."

"Then what else could it be?"

She opened her mouth to speak and the words didn't come out. She tried again, "Quatre….I love you."

The words surprised him and he pulled his head back, "you do?"

She nodded, "Yes, I'm sure. It's the only thing I'm sure about."

"I feel the same way about you," he told her, his eyes about to fill up with fresh tears, "I cared about you, but now…I realize that I've always loved you and I always will."

"I need you," she told him, pressing up against him.

"I'm here," he said, "I won't ever leave you."

"I'm not scared anymore," she said, happiness filling her voice, "now I just need to…"

"Play it by ear," he finished and then cupped her face to kiss her again.

Duo, Hilde and the others were looking for Quatre and about to walk out, then Duo stopped and turned, "I just found Quatre," he said shakily, "but he looks a bit….uh….busy."

Hilde peered behind him, "Uh, I see, let's take the back exit." She pulled him away, but Duo, being the silly American, looked back. She gave a playful slap on the back of his head, "Duo, let's go!"

"Ouch," he mumbled, "that hurt." Then he followed her.

Heero and Relena got a glimpse of Quatre and Dorothy kissing, they smiled then quickly turned back. Trowa smiled, "I knew Quatre could win that girls heart," he said to himself.

Wufei overheard, "women are weak," he grumbled.

"Really?" Trowa demanded, "well, actually, Wufei, some aren't!" then he followed the others.

Wufei took one last look at Quatre and Dorothy, shook his head with crossed arms, "well, at least she's not trying to kill us." His grim face made a smile and he walked away.

Unkown that they were being used as cheap entertainment, Quatre and Dorothy stole a few more kisses, smiled at each other for a moment and pulled back. Quatre put his arm around Dorothy's shoulders as he walked her to her car. "You don't need to be alone anymore, Dorothy," Quatre told her, "so I want you to call me when you need me." He gave her his home phone and his cell phone number, kissed her again and opened the door for her.

"You know Quatre," she said, starting the engine, "it's people like you that make the world and the colonies a better place." She smiled up at him and his eyes held her like a gentle wind, "thanks, for helping me change. I couldn't have done it with out you."

"Just remember to play it by ear," he reminded, taking a step back to give her room to pull out.

"Yes, play it by ear," she said with a nod, "like you and your music." They smiled for a few moments and she drove away.

Quatre walked to his own car and stopped before opening the door, he looked up at the stars and he said, "life is good."

The End:

I know I said I wasn't going to write anymore gundam wing. This came up on spur of the moment! I'm serious, I was just looking at a Quatre shrine and this idea came out of no where! So, I don't know when I'm really going to stop! There might be another fic of me sometime soon, might not!