Note: I've made some reference to the events in Blind Target.

The Aperture

The strong winds that swept through the artificial air of the colony didn't seem to bother the figure balanced on the narrow ledge of a tall building. Looking far out into the darkened sky, the figure closed his eyes and listened, attentive to the silent whispers of the trees that swayed with the wind.

It had been two days since he'd been transferred from the scarcely supplied medical wing of Peacemillion. After all, the ship had been meant as a temporary haven for the injured, a neutral ground for the soldiers of the recently ended war. The most critical patients had been rushed to the nearest colony in hopes that their hospitals would have the needed supply and the needed personnel. It was a relief to the injured when the much-needed help was offered.

Since then he had spent the following days in the sterile room, watching the blood drop into the IV tube. He watched as the red liquid slowly made it's descent until it reached the puncture of the needle in his arm. It had been hypnotizing at first. That was, until the process was completed. After that, everything became tiresome, the artificiality of the colony aggravating the situation.

The pain of the injury to his side was becoming dull. The last moments of the war were becoming a faint memory. However, there was an obvious distress that was plaguing him, causing his face to form a frown. The only one to notice his current state was hidden in the shadows, walking closer to the figure with a vacant look that neither revealed his concern nor his anxiety.

"The Winner heir has been reported missing," the newcomer said, hoping not to startle the figure. After all, he was standing precariously on the narrow ledge.

"He will remain missing until he chooses to return," the figure answered as if he'd known that the other had been there for quite some time.

"Or if he is found."

The figure opened one eye and tilted his head to face the newcomer.

"I figured that you would find me first Trowa. I'm hoping that I didn't cause too much trouble."

"I'm sure they could deal with it. Any reason why you've come up here Quatre?"

The figure named Quatre looked at him quizzically before closing his eyes again and raising his head to the skies. The dim light of the moon hit his face and the now claming winds blew his half opened gown, exposing his skin to the cold air.

Trowa chose to remain silent, watching and waiting for the answer. He was sure that the answer would come eventually. There was no need to pursue the matter.

"I'm not yet ready," came the whispered reply.

Trowa stepped closer to him and then examined him. The answer was quite odd but definitely intriguing. Being a patient man, he waited again. This time he had to wait longer.

"Don't you get bored just watching me?" Quatre asked with his eyes still closed.

"Don't you get bored when I don't say much?" Trowa said in reply.

Quatre chuckled and then looked at him. This time his frown turned upward. He held his hand out and coaxed Trowa closer, knowing that the other would come and join him. When they were settled comfortably on the narrow ledge, he looked at the dark green eyes that were glossy against the night sky.

"You have a strange way of obtaining answers. You don't say much but you're very persuasive," Quatre said.

"I eventually do get the answers," he answered.

"True. True. But are you sure that you've persuaded me enough?"

"I know you too well."

Quatre laughed again but still held on to Trowa, knowing that he could at least keep them balanced on their precarious perch. His legs were starting to give in to fatigue. His skin was starting to feel cold against the wind.

"Well, then. You have the honor of hearing what I have to say."

Trowa urged him to go on with a tug on his arm. He was careful not to tug too hard lest they both fall several feet down.

"I'm not ready to face the people. I'm not ready to be a leader. I'm not ready to lead my father's company. I'm not ready to become what he's always trained me to be."

"You will never be ready," Trowa said in reply. "You will never be ready but you eventually get used to it."

Quatre's brows started to furrow. He didn't exactly understand what the other had meant. He was anticipating a pep talk like all others usually do. He had forgotten that he was talking to Trowa. Trowa was always different from everybody else. He couldn't diffuse the meaning of his statement and decided to remain silent until he could at least grasp Trowa's purpose.

"Confused, are you?" Trowa asked and Quatre suddenly lost his balance, surprised that the other would say something.

He lost his footing while his other foot gave into exhaustion. He almost fell off but quick hands held him still. Trowa held on to him and guided him down the ledge and into the safer ground beneath them.

"Just what did you mean?" Quatre asked, his curiosity getting the better of him. "What did you mean by never being ready?"

"What I meant was," Trowa said while securing the undone knots on Quatre's gown. "We will never be ready for what is to happen next. We always anticipate possible outcomes and yet we fail to see that we can never predict fully what is to come next. That is, you won't be ready until you see through the aperture.[1]"

"And what did you mean by getting used to it?"

"You get used to your fated life just like you get used to rightful killing."

Quatre seemed surprised and stepped back, almost toppling over if not for Trowa's arm supporting him.

"You can't possibly have everything figured out to be that simple," Quatre said. "What am I to do? Accept my fate and live to the last day of my life wishing that I wasn't destined to become what I should be?"

This time it was Trowa's turn to look up to the night sky, smiling a bit as he did so.

"You should have more faith in your destiny."

Quatre didn't seem too convinced but he gave up for the time being. The night air was making his whole body feel numb.

"Ready to return?"

Quatre nodded a yes, too drained to stay and talk further. Trowa lead him back into the hospital while the multitudes of concerned nurses attended to him. After he was placed back in his warm bed, his light was closed. He looked around, adjusting his eyes to the darkness and did not find Trowa anywhere.

It was another several months before he thought of the conversation again, thinking to himself that he should have been more skilled now to diffuse the puzzle that Trowa had presented. The never-ending battery of conferences kept him busy. Little did he know that one of these meetings held the answer.

It was on the day of the unification conference that it all came together. The colony representatives were called upon to discuss the post-war conflicts and the unification process. Quatre had arrived late due some car trouble and he was only a few feet away from the target building when the hidden bomb exploded. He spent the next few hours in the medical wing being inspected for injuries. This gave him enough time to think.

Not long after, he met Trowa again. The other seemed surprised to find him alive and well, knowing that was one of the victims for sure. In fact, he seemed more relived than anything else. He looked like he wanted to say something more but he held back. Quatre was not surprised.

After that, their mission went on as planned. A few clever moves and the enemies' plans of rebellion were destroyed. Another brief reunion was celebrated before each of them went their separate ways.

Months later, in one of his busier days, Quatre received an unexpected visitor. This visitor came in unnoticed and hid in the shadows like he usually did. He was not surprised at the arrival but he waited. He waited for signs of an approach.

"I never expected you to visit me Trowa," he said without once looking up from his paperwork.

Trowa retreated from the shadows and allowed the light to reveal him. Quatre still did not look up.

"I'm glad you came. I wanted to thank you."

Trowa was puzzled at the statement but didn't ask for a reason. Quatre knew what he wanted to ask anyway.

"I'd like to thank you for teaching me something."

This time he lifted his head up and looked thoughtfully at his visitor.

"You are a wise man, Trowa. You've taught me how to deal with these endless responsibilities. Somehow, what I anticipated to be unpleasant has turned out to be quite pleasing after all."

He sat back on his chair and noted the puzzled look on Trowa's face. For the first time, he found himself on the right track.

"I'm never ready for these long, tiresome meetings and I'm never ready for my long list of responsibilities but I do however get used to them," he said and then continued. "There's also something else that I've found quite interesting. There's something I'm willing to get used to but I'm not quite ready for."

Trowa smiled after that and stepped forward. He leaned over the desk and moved his face closer to Quatre's.

"Ah, so you've seen through the aperture," he said. "I'm sure that you're ready now for what's on the other side," he continued and then kissed Quatre lightly on the lips.


[1] Aperture - according to Merriam Webster: a hole, an opening or an open space