Title: Christmas Camouflaged

Author: Waterlilylf

Synopsis: Quatre reminisces about Christmas holidays past, while waiting for Trowa to return from a mission, with plans for their future..

Note: a million thanks to Kaeru Shisho for editing and commenting and generally allowing her radiance to light up this story.

Pairings: 3x4, mention of 1x2 and 6x5

Christmas, Camouflaged:

Christmas hadn't really been celebrated on L4 when he'd been growing up. Discreetly, by the small Christian community and rather more flamboyantly by some of the wealthier families, who'd seized it as an excuse to throw lavish parties. He'd been invited to some and hadn't even bothered to show the invitations to his father. Akram Winner would never have permitted his son to attend.

Things were different now. The ESUN had declared the 25th of December a global holiday to celebrate the mark the anniversary of the war ending, and this year his sisters had insisted that he hold a Christmas Eve party.

By Winner standards it was fairly small; family and business associates and a few employees from the higher echelons of WEI, and a couple of his own friends. They hadn't even bothered to open the Grand ballroom.

There were Christmas trees, and garlands of greenery and berries imported from Earth, and white-jacketed waiters serving wine and champagne along with the juices and fruit punch and sherbets. There were non-halal meats and shellfish on the buffet. Quatre wasn't particularly devout; he was in love with another man, and he had an occasional glass of alcohol, and he'd once even tasted bacon, but he was too much his father's son to be entirely comfortable with such public flouting of everything Akram Winner had believed, in the house where he'd grown up.

As the official host, Quatre mingled with guests, and supervised the catering staff and smiled constantly and made charming small talk to the young men his sisters presented to him and, at regular intervals, made graceful excuses and sneaked off to check his phone messages. Absurd, really. He knew the precise amount of time it would take for the shuttle to arrive and wishing otherwise wouldn't change anything.

And it didn't matter anyway. It was just another day, really; a holiday that wasn't part of his culture and that he didn't entirely understand.

By midnight, his jaw ached from smiling and he very badly wanted to hit something. Or scream. At least, the guests were starting to go home, and he managed to produce genuine smiles as he wished them all goodbye, Happy Christmas; yes, they'd definitely meet up in the New Year.

His sister Shamin was the last to leave, quite predictably, insisting on giving the servants last minute instructions on clearing up, although she hadn't lived in the house for almost twenty years, before kissing Quatre on the cheek.

'A lovely party. Such a shame your friend couldn't make it,' she cooed, all sickly insincerity.

Quatre's jaw tightened, but he said nothing, taking a little sip of his juice instead. He was perfectly aware of his family's antipathy toward Trowa; perfectly aware of what prompted it. Trowa was too much of an unknown quantity; too unpredictable; had too much influence over him; didn't make nearly enough effort to be discreet and conciliatory; had never kow-towed to the Winners.

'I thought you said he'd promised to come,' Shamin pushed. 'You were looking forward to it, weren't you? Since you get to see him so rarely.'

'He's a Preventer,' Quatre said tonelessly. 'It's not his fault if missions don't exactly go according to plan.'

'Hmm,' his sister mused, lips pursed. 'Quatre, don't you think you deserve a partner who has you as his main priority?'

'I do.'

Shamin shrugged elegantly. 'Whatever you say. And perhaps it's just as well he didn't attend. It's hardly his sort of thing, is it? He'd probably feel uncomfortable. I suppose it's not really fair, expecting him to move in such circles.'

'Trowa Barton lives in this house, in case you've forgotten,' Quatre snapped because, Christmas Eve or no, there was only so much he could take. 'He's been to plenty of parties here. And he is perfectly capable of moving in any circles he wishes.'

'I'm only trying to help, dear.' Shamin gave him a pained glance. 'I'm your oldest sister, remember? I just think you'd be happier with someone a little more…suitable. I saw you talking to Arin Khan earlier, didn't I? Such a lovely young man. You two must have so much in common. He went to Oxford, you know, and his mother tells me he plays the piano quite brilliantly.'

'Does his mother know you're trying to pimp him out?' Quatre demanded bluntly.

Really, life had been so much easier when his sisters had disapproved of him being gay. Then, at some point, they'd presumably realised that a gay brother wasn't going to produce children, meaning there'd be so much more of WEI to go around for everyone else.

After that, they'd switched their disapproval to Trowa. Of course, a nice young man whose mother they knew would be so much easier to influence than a mercenary from L3.

Shamin's eyes widened at his directness. 'That sort of coarseness is unacceptable,' she said firmly. 'Quatre. We have all been amazingly tolerant. Of course, young men need to have adventures, to sow their wild oats, as the saying goes. That is understood. But that man is not a fit partner for you. You need someone who will grace the functions you hold, someone with breeding and background and manners.'

Quatre actually laughed at the absurdity of it all. 'You have not the remotest idea of what or who I need.'

'Do you think Father would approve of you dating that mercenary? He's so unsuitable.'

'Father, I hope, would approve of that fact that I'm in love with someone who adores me; who fought at my side to free the colonies when he was only fifteen, who's dedicated his life since the Peace to enforcing it. You have no idea, Shamin! Trowa's not here tonight because he's on a mission on X29608.' He saw her register the name. 'Yes, not so far from here, is it? He's not here because he volunteered to go on Christmas Eve, so the agents who have children could stay at home with them. He's not bloody here because he got shot and you have the nerve to say he's unsuitable for me! He couldn't be more suitable! What do you think he'd do if he were here; start shooting people for the hell of it and then fuck me over the dessert trolley? Well, I wish he damn well had been.'

'Quatre! There is no need whatsoever for that kind of language.'

'Actually, there is every need when you come into my house and insult my partner. Good night, Shamin. Good night,' he added forcibly. He all but pushed her out the front door, almost shaking. How dare she? He and Trowa had belonged to each other since they'd first stepped out of their Gundams and his sisters could damn well start accepting that.

He made sure all of the servants had received their bonuses for working late, and for Christmas, and did a quick sweep through the downstairs rooms, and went upstairs to change. He rummaged in Trowa's half of the dressing room, and then his own before he found a sweater of Trowa's; a dark blue polo shirt that had been presented to him by the Fire Department in Paris after a mission there. It was far too big; even with the sleeves rolled up, they still hung over his wrists. It felt good though. Wrapped in Trowa's sweater, he let himself cry for the first time since Duo had called him and then went down to the library to wait.

At least, he'd get to see Trowa soon. Duo, the only one of them for whom Christmas really meant anything, was facing the long flight back to Earth and Heero. He wouldn't be back in time.

They'd all been on Earth the previous year. Duo had insisted on them staying in his miniscule apartment, saying that hotels were too impersonal and it was Christmas. He'd been at the peak of his arts and crafts phase, and they'd made decorations and drunk eggnog – disgusting – and chosen a Christmas tree.

On Christmas Day, midway through a game of charades, when they were all teasing Wufei about Zechs Merquise making a play for him at the Preventer Christmas party, Heero had suddenly tossed back a glass of eggnog and kissed Duo.

About time, they'd all said, toasting him.

Duo, Duo, had actually been blushing and had hidden his face in the crook of Heero's shoulder, and Heero had wrapped an arm around him with an infinite tenderness totally at odds with the expression on his face as he glared at the others.

This year, they wouldn't be together. It was their first anniversary.

Quatre swore once, violently and sat down to wait, thinking about Heero who would be doing the same thing, on Earth. Life wasn't fair; they all knew that.

It didn't matter. It wasn't as if either of them believed in the religious meaning of the holiday. It was just another day; nothing at all special. The anniversary of the day Quatre had almost died. The day everyone had almost died. Officially the date of the war ending, because some bureaucrats in Amsterdam had decided so, but back then no one had really known. There had been armed factions out there still; it was why Preventers had been formed.

It had taken maybe a year before they started to realise that, just possibly, it was over, and there had been those few glorious months when Trowa wasn't flying off every other day, and they'd been able to take holidays and visit the others and make plans knowing they could keep them.

Officially, everything was still peaceful, because no one wanted to admit otherwise, but trouble still flared up from time to time, so maybe it hadn't really ended at all, and there was nothing to celebrate when people were still dying.

That made it just another day when a mission had gone to hell and back, and Trowa had been hurt, and Quatre hadn't been there.

No. He wasn't going to think like that. Even if he hadn't been needed on L4; even if Une hadn't flatly refused to let him join Preventers; even if he'd been able to pass the medical exam; even if he'd wanted to be a Preventer, there was no way that he'd have been allowed go in the field with Trowa.

Heero and Duo weren't allowed to partner each other either; there were Preventer regulations against couples working together.

Quatre swore again, an oath that burst into the room's silence, and then abruptly stood up to pour himself a small glass of neat vodka. He didn't even bother to take a small sip. He hated the taste, really, but Trowa liked it and, oh, the memories. He took it across the room and stood in front of the fire. It was artificial, of course. It was one of the things he missed about Earth; real fires.

Christmas hadn't really existed for any of them that first year. He'd been too tanked up on morphine after his duel with Dorothy; then there'd been months of surgeries and rehabilitation.

The second year, he and Trowa had been in Switzerland. Quatre had wanted to see snow; to throw a snowball. Even by Winner standards, that two week holiday had been obscenely expensive. They'd had their own chalet with a real log fire – mesmerising; the first one he'd ever seen – and a hot tub where they could sit and watch fat snowflakes fall, and a pony and sleigh to move around the resort and the nearby village.

Quatre had skied before; there were dry slopes on L4. Trowa hadn't, but it had taken him about ten minutes to figure out the basics. By the third day, they'd been racing each other down the advanced runs, Trowa sleek and sexy and sinister in a black ski-suit.

It was the first time Quatre had tasted vodka, naked in front of the fire on their last night before they had to go back and face reality, when they'd spent two weeks trying very hard to forget that the real world existed. Halfway through the bottle, they'd both lost any semblance of co-ordination and most of the alcohol had spilt, and had to be licked off. Trowa had confided, in the messy, pleasurable aftermath, that he'd always been just a bit turned on by the idea of bondage but by then neither of them had been capable of fumbling a halfway decent knot. They'd figured it out the next morning, though, with some of Quatre's cashmere scarves, before they'd had to leave for the airport.

During those two, perfect weeks, they hadn't once spoken about the fact that Trowa was on suspension, awaiting a formal trial, nor that Quatre's sisters and shareholders were vociferously demanding he break up with Trowa, before the scandal tainted the Winners and their company.

The third year, they'd all been in Sanque. There had been an official gala ball at the palace on Christmas Eve; that was the year Christmas had officially been designated a global holiday, to commemorate the anniversary of the war ending. There hadn't been much to celebrate, for them; twelve months in which they'd scarcely seen each other, and fought too often when they did. It was the year they'd come perilously, precariously close to breaking up.

Trowa – acquitted, reinstated, promoted – had been in the field for most of it, protecting the fragile illusion of peace. Quatre had been embroiled in his own battles on L4, against his family and board members who wanted to take his father's company and sell it off, piece by piece, for profit. They'd said he was too young, too inexperienced, too full of newfangled ideas about sustainability and ethics and accountability to hold a corporation together. Too wrapped up in an unsuitable love affair which could never be accepted on L4. People tended to forget he'd been brought up to take over WEI; that he'd flown a Gundam.

It was the year they'd almost lost Duo.

And then, last year, Duo had been the one to hold the party, to bring them all together. To start a tradition, he'd said; that they should all be together on that one day.

This year, he didn't even get to be with Heero. It wasn't fair.

Rashid rang after two hours, to say they'd landed, and he was just waiting for Trowa to clear Customs before driving him home. Then more waiting. He flitted from room to room, looking out of each window, and then opened the front door a couple of times, just to check, and finally went back to the library, to his glass of un-tasted vodka and his artificial fire, and sat on the window seat, imagining snow falling on Earth.

At some point, lulled by the warmth of the room and the soft sounds of Trowa's favourite jazz CD and sheer exhaustion, he dozed off, and woke to the door opening.

'I'm late.' Trowa Barton, as ever a man of few words, moved to stand in front of the fire, rubbing his hands.

'You're here,' Quatre said, with equal brevity, standing up.

'I didn't get you a present or anything.'

'You're here,' Quatre said again. The smile must have started when he was still half-asleep, when he heard the door click open; it had been plastered all over his face when he realised he was fully awake.

'Yeah.' Trowa wasn't smiling, exactly, but he hadn't taken his eyes off Quatre since he'd walked in. 'So I am. A drink would be really good.'

'Of course.'

He didn't say anything about how Trowa would be on meds and shouldn't be drinking. He just poured him the whisky they ordered from Northern Ireland; from a little family-owned peat distillery they'd actually visited.

Trowa tossed it down and held the glass out for a refill.

He would taste of whisky, Quatre thought, when they kissed. Second-hand alcohol. It made him smile.

'Glad I still amuse you,' Trowa said dryly.


It would probably have seemed a rather impersonal conversation to anyone else in the universe, except perhaps three other people who would have known that every breath, every look, every syllable was full of affirmation and assurance.

They would have seen Quatre notice that under the swirling, vintage-style military coat Trowa was holding himself far too stiffly, and they would note Trowa registering the hollows under his partner's eyes, because he hadn't slept properly since the first phone call two days ago, and the redness.

Later, Trowa would talk about it, but first there would be this slow dance.

'A kiss would be nice.'

That sent Quatre flying into his arms. He did taste of whisky and of something bitter; some sort of drug, and vaguely of cigarette smoke.

'You're here,' he said, for the third time, pressing closer. 'Oh. Is that a gun in your pocket or are you really happy to see me?'

Trowa grinned. 'Actually, it is a gun.' He kissed him again. 'But I'm really happy to see you.'

He took various articles out of his coat pockets, placing them carefully on the table, before shrugging it off, and then the sweater, and then..

'Oh,' Quatre said, breathless. 'And you said you hadn't got me a present.'

The vest was camouflage; mottled shades of brown and cream and clung to every curve of Trowa's body, leaving arms and shoulders bare and just skimming his hipbones, high enough to show the trail of dark hair heading south.

Quatre tried his best to keep fit, but these days it was an hour snatched between meetings, between long periods at his desk, to play a game of squash or work out in the little gym beside his office. Nothing to compare with the hours of training his partner still put in.

He ran one finger up each of Trowa's arms, fingers skimming muscle and tendon and cupping gently at his shoulder, and then down his chest, pausing to brush over each nipple, mapping him out. It was his back, Duo had said. Again. Sliding one hand under the hem of Trowa's vest, he stroked gently upwards, hissing at the size and location of the bandage.

A bullet, Duo had said. Again.

'Quat. I'm OK. It was a clean shot. Sally fixed me up.'

'She shouldn't have let you fly.'

Trowa snorted a little at that. 'Like she could've stopped me. Please. And it's not like I piloted myself; just sat on my ass and watched Auda. I told you I'd be here. And I am. Was the party as hellish as you thought it would be?'

'Worse.' Quatre made a face, not bothering to elaborate. Trowa would know.

'Poor baby. So, how many eligible young men were paraded in front of you?'

'Only two. They were very handsome, though, and oh-so-suitable for my position.'

Trowa laughed. 'Which position is that exactly? The one where you're bent double and screaming my name?'

'That would be the one, yes.' Quatre kissed him on the jaw, lips prickling at stubble. It felt good.

'Charming,' Trowa teased. 'I wasn't here and you probably spent the night noticing cute guys and flirting.'

'I did not flirt!'

'I bet you smiled at them.' He shook his head. 'Some boyfriend you are. Remind me why I don't beat you at regular intervals?'

'Because I'd never put out again if you did?' Quatre suggested, quite seriously, and then burst out laughing.

It felt wonderful. Everything did, all of a sudden. Trowa was home, and relatively unharmed and that was all that ever mattered.

'How's Duo?'

'Pissed off, last I saw. Hell bent on getting to Earth in time to fill Heero's Christmas stocking for him.'

'Is that some sort of kinky seasonal slang?' Quatre wondered.

'I'll give you kinky,' Trowa promised. 'Wait 'til I fill your stocking. Trim your tree. Pull your cracker. Stuff your turkey.'

'Oh, Allah. Did you and Duo spend the entire mission working on those?' Quatre choked on a laugh, and then on something that was nowhere near laughter. One hand had slid up Trowa's back again, feeling the bandage, imagining what lay under it, what lay under the skin. Trowa had been lucky.

Trowa just held him and didn't say anything and waited. They'd been doing this for five years. There was nothing to say.

'It won't be forever, Quat,' he offered finally.

He'd fumbled one hand under Quatre's clothes; the baggy sweater and the long-sleeved t-shirt he had on underneath, and pressed his palm over Quatre's heart. It wasn't in any way an erotic gesture; his hand was still cold and then one finger felt out the little scar from the sword-thrust that had almost ended his life, five years ago and destroyed any chances of him ever becoming a field agent.

'I know,' Quatre managed when he was fairly sure he could get the words out in a fairly intelligible manner. 'I know. I would have understood if you hadn't made it back tonight.' He pressed his lips into the curve of Trowa's throat. 'Love, it was silly. It's not even as if Christmas actually means anything to us. Neither of us believes in God.'

'I believe in you.'

'I'm sure that's terribly blasphemous.'

Trowa shrugged. 'It's true. Stop worrying. I'm fine. Oh, yeah. Maybe I do have something for you. Wait.'

Quatre's mouth was suddenly very dry as his lover tugged off his jeans. The thong was camouflage too, a triangle of fabric between his legs, covering a very pronounced bulge and a knotted string tied in a bow at each side.

'Ah. Is that underwear standard issue for all agents?'

'Only for undercover ops.' Trowa smirked. He was definitely spending way too much time with Duo these days. 'So. Like your present?'

'I think I need to unwrap it to be totally sure.'

'You're wearing way too many clothes yourself. My clothes, by the looks of it.' He shook his head, grinning. 'Quatre Winner. You own half the universe already and you can't stop stealing my stuff.'

'Blue's always been my colour, not yours.' He reached to tug the sweater over his shoulders, surprised when Trowa took him by the arms and turned him around. 'What are you doing? I thought you wanted to stuff my cracker or something.'

'Ooh, now that is kinky. Man, I love it when you talk dirty. Smile, babe.' Trowa's grin was purely evil as he pointed to his assorted gadgets and gizmos on the table. 'I guess I forgot to give back this little camera. Thought it might be fun to make some home movies. I hear it's a Christmas tradition; that you take shots of your family unwrapping their presents. What do you reckon?'

Quatre gasped, stepping quickly away from the camera. 'Trowa! You want us to make a porn film?'

Trowa shrugged. 'Just for us. Not porn. A souvenir. You know.'

Quatre knew; it was one of Tro's things, that he liked to keep records of them. It was because he didn't have any personal history of his own, really, unlike Quatre whose family had albums of photos of him from his birth, and movies of holidays and birthdays and school prize-givings.

'No one else would ever see it.' Trowa slid both arms around his waist, holding him.

'I know.' Of course, if it was what Trowa wanted, he'd go along with it. 'It's just … this used to be my father's office.'

'And now it's yours. We can take this upstairs, Quat. Or we don't have to. Not if you don't want.'

'I want…' Quatre hesitated, then picked a wish at random. 'I want to go back to Switzerland.'

'You'd spend the whole time bitching about being cold, like you did before.'

'I didn't. Did I?'

'It was OK. I liked getting to warm you up.' Trowa bent his head, brushing their mouths together.

'You were very good at it.' Quatre grinned suddenly. 'You should have made your porn film there.' They'd made love everywhere imaginable; the back of the pony sleigh, under a pile of fur rugs; the hot tub; the ski lift; a snow drift, when Quatre had wanted to make a snow angel, and Trowa had jumped on him; behind the very well endowed snowman they'd made one morning.

'That night I licked vodka off your cock,' Trowa agreed, pressing a light kiss, utterly tantalising, to that little place just behind Quatre's ear. 'Maybe somewhere warm next time. Tahiti?'

'I don't even know where that is. Do you?'

Trowa shrugged. 'You know what I mean. One of those places with palm trees and hammocks and water the same colour as your eyes. Somewhere we can go round naked.'

'I'd love that.' He knew better, after five years, to ask whether it was likely to be a possibility in the immediate future. He hadn't even dared to ask how long Trowa could stay, although if he was injured they couldn't send him out for a while and Quatre could cancel whatever appointments he had. They were used to that, now, at WEI; it had finally sunk in that their CEO's schedule was determined by Trowa's missions, and that was non-negotiable. 'I love you.'

'Yeah,' Trowa smirked at him, insufferably pleased with himself. 'I know that.'

'You're lucky you have a bullet hole in you, Barton.' It cost him something to say, but it made Trowa laugh. That was all that mattered.

'Oh, Quat.' He suddenly had Trowa wrapped around him. He was holding on far too tight; there'd be bruises in the morning, but that didn't matter. He had Trowa home and safe. That was the only important thing.

'Duo's talking about quitting,' Trowa muttered finally. 'Not Preventers. Just being in the field.'

'For a while now, yes.'

Ever since Heero.

'Made me think. There's other stuff out there, and they're expanding the L4 office next year. Heero likes working in Tech. I could maybe do something like that. Or 'Fei was saying his department's always looking for linguists.'

'Oh.' Quatre managed to jerk himself free, staring at his partner. They'd always said it wouldn't be for always. They'd never talked about a time frame, though, and Trowa was only twenty-one. 'That would be …I would like that. I would like to know you were safe.'

Trowa nodded. 'There'd be travel, probably, whatever I end up doing. A fair bit. I'd still be away sometimes.'

'Good. I obviously wouldn't want to have you under my feet all the time.'

'The money wouldn't be nearly as good. No bonuses for dangerous conditions; not so much chance of overtime.'

'Obviously a factor to be taken into consideration,' Quatre said gravely, and they both laughed.

'Lucky I get free room and board.'

'Not free, exactly,' Quatre amended, reaching to press his lips to the side of Trowa's throat, sucking hard enough to leave a little mark. 'I do get certain ….benefits in return.'

'So I'm, what? Your resident sex slave?'

'I thought you knew that.' He ran his tongue over the tiny bruise. 'I didn't think you objected.'

'I'm stuck with you, aren't I? You're lucky I'm the easygoing type.' He shivered as Quatre licked him again. 'Shit. Keep doing that and there's no way we'll make it upstairs. You know, I couldn't just quit; I'd need to make sure they had other agents in place. It wouldn't be happening tomorrow or anything.'

'Of course. Trowa, are you absolutely sure this is what you want? You're not just doing it for me? I know how much the job means to you.'

'You've got some ego on you, Winner,' Trowa chuckled, a low, husky sound that vibrated along all of Quatre's nerve endings, and then tugged him back into his arms. 'Nah. It's time, I think. I can do other stuff.' He shrugged. 'Besides, you mean more.'

Wufei, six months into his honeymoon period with Zechs, had once asked him if he didn't mind that Trowa never used endearments, almost never said how he felt about him, and Quatre had actually laughed in his face. He'd apologised immediately, of course, but it had been so ridiculous.

Trowa had only had to look at him, from the very beginning, and the occasional, off-hand endearments were just glorious, glowing perks.

'So.' Trowa took a deep breath and took a step back, placing one hand over Quatre's heart. 'Sooner rather than later, yeah? I was thinking, as well, we could look at making this permanent. Us.'

They'd talked about it, since it was legal on L4 now, but more as an abstract concept, something they'd get around to doing one day. 'It's always been permanent.'

'I know that. But you get presents, if you do the official ceremony thing. And a party. And a holiday where you have sex the whole time. What's not to like?'

'A honeymoon, it's called,' Quatre said absently, running fingertips up Trowa's bare arms, feeling the little shudders of pleasure. They could go back to Switzerland for it, to the same place on the same date; an anniversary of sorts. They could do a traditional L4 wedding and invite hundreds of people, or it could just be them, at sunrise, on Earth. Or both.

'Yeah. Would piss your sisters off no end,' he tempted, eyes gleaming. 'Maybe even make them realise they're stuck with me and stop them throwing nice L4 boys at you.'

Quatre pursed his lips, considering. 'I don't know. I quite like all the attention. And I do like keeping my options open.'

Trowa made a face at him. 'I should've stayed on that damn satellite. There was this seriously cute doctor looking after me. Just say yes, already, so I can take you upstairs and fuck you.'

'Well, if you put it like that. Fine.' Wufei, with all his overblown ideas about high romance, would be terribly disappointed to hear this story.

'Sheesh, Quat, don't knock yourself out accepting or anything.' Trowa protested.

Quatre sniffed. 'Well, it wasn't the world's most romantic proposal either. I've always dreamed of how it would be; candlelight, and roses, and gypsy violinists from Hungary, and champagne and you wearing a tuxedo and getting down on one knee and…' He broke off abruptly, partly because he was laughing too much, and partly because Trowa had bent him backwards for a tonsil-teasing kiss.

'You have actually met me, right?' Trowa retorted. 'Man, I should've listened to Duo when he told me you were going to be seriously high maintenance. You don't even like champagne, but if you do want all that stuff, you'd better marry Zechs.'

'And then Wufei would kill me,' Quatre said dolefully. 'I'm probably better off with you really. Do I at least get an engagement ring?'

Trowa smiled down at him; that smile that transformed his face, and made Quatre's heart beat just a little faster. 'Wasn't going to waste good money 'til you said yes,' he teased. 'Do you want one? A belated Christmas present?'

'No, not really.' He already had a ring on his left hand, the one his father and grandfather had worn until their deaths. 'Perhaps a wedding band; just a plain gold one.'

'That works,' Trowa agreed. 'Any kind of timeline?'

'I'll have to check my diary for an opening.' He was already juggling schedules and deadlines in his head.

'I'm free for the next month or so. 'Til Sally signs me fit for duty.'

Four weeks; that would be tight, when there'd be so much to plan. Location and guest lists and catering and entertainment and colour schemes and music and…

'Stop it!' Trowa ordered. 'I know what that expression means. No planning now. It's too late and besides, I've got plenty of plans for you for the rest of the night.' He gave Quatre a quick kiss on the mouth and swept him up in his arms.

'Trowa! I'm sure Sally told you not to do any sort of lifting! You're going to hurt your back more if you strain it.'

'I'm going to strain the hell out of it once I get you upstairs on the bed,' Trowa promised,

'You won't stay awake for five minutes!' Quatre scoffed, winding both arms around Trowa's neck.

'You won't be able to sit down for a week,' Trowa retorted, and then winced. 'Have you put on weight or something?'


'Yeah, you have. All that sitting behind your desk; all those corporate lunches. You used to be such a skinny little thing; now look at you. I hope you're planning to diet before the wedding.'

'I am not fat!' Quatre protested. 'If you're going to be mean, I won't give you your Christmas present.'

'You got me a present?' Trowa demanded excitedly, eager as a small boy. The small boy he'd been, who'd never got gifts. 'A sex sort of present, or a box that I get to unwrap?'

'Well, a sex present, but also a couple of boxes to unwrap.'

'Where are they; under the tree?'

Quatre shook his head. He'd let his sisters commandeer the house for their party; let them decorate it as they wished. It was only fair; they'd grown up there too and it was simply through an accident of birth that Quatre had inherited it. He hadn't been very comfortable with any of it though. They'd piled elaborately-wrapped gifts under the enormous tree; the real fir they'd ordered from Sanque, and tried to outdo each other with the most expensive presents. He didn't want the things he'd got Trowa to be left there.

'Upstairs.' They'd been hidden at the back of his wardrobe for weeks.

'Upstairs then.' Trowa carried him into the hall, and then paused at the foot of the staircase, taking a deep breath. He was a little paler than he had been. 'Think you can make it up under your own steam?'

'I can try.' Quatre slipped to the floor and held out one hand, showing Trowa the little camera he'd snagged. 'I thought you wanted to make your porn film. You'll need this.'

'Presents first,' Trowa decided, taking his hand. 'Then porn time. Then we can work the logistics out of everything else in the morning.'

'I do like logistics,' Quatre purred. 'I suppose you'll want Tahiti for the honeymoon?'

'Wherever. Maybe we just go somewhere like that and get hitched on the beach. You can do that in those places, can't you? Save all the hassle. I remember what your sisters' weddings were like?'

Quatre winced. 'There won't be any presents if we elope.'

'We have enough stuff. And we can have a big party when we get back. A cake and everything.'

'The others will never talk to us again.'

'Nothing to stop them coming along, if they want. It'd be great, Quat. We could do it at sunrise and then go straight back to bed. You pick the place; it's not like we'll get to see much of it.'

'But I love sightseeing!' It was a token protest only. Trowa's plan was perfect; they could say their vows as the sun rose. 'And we can't exactly have sex twenty four hours a day.'

'Want to bet, Winner?' Trowa suddenly had him pressed against their bedroom door. Oh. Well, maybe it would be possible.

Maybe anything was.