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27 May 2006 @ 12:07 am
The Unicorn- Chapter 4 part 2  
    

Trowa shut the door behind him and walked, shoulders hunched, towards the bedroom, yanking at the knot in his tie.

 

            “Hi, Trowa, how was your day?” Quatre asked from where he was lounging on the couch. 

 

Trowa groaned something unintelligible and kept walking.  It had been a bad day.  The bus he took that morning broke down, and after a three block dash in the heat and humidity, he made it to the subway platform just as the train was pulling away.  Hailing a taxi in the middle of the morning rush hour was almost impossible, so he walked the rest of the way to work.  He arrived at his office building almost an hour late, his feet throbbing from the effort.  If that wasn’t enough to ruin his day, he managed to spill his coffee all over his work, gave himself a nasty paper cut in the webbing between his index and middle fingers, and bashed his knee hard into the metal bracket under his desk.  

 

“That doesn’t sound good,” the unicorn said as he sat up.  “What happened?”

 

“Bad day…don’t want to talk about it.” Trowa mumbled as he walked into the bedroom and flopped face first onto the bed.  Quatre leapt up from couch and sprinted after the green-eyed boy. 

 

“Oh, Trowa, it couldn’t have been that bad,” the unicorn said as he climbed onto the bed and smothered Trowa’s body with his own.  Quatre let his head rest between Trowa’s shoulder blades and listened to the sounds of his breathing.

 

“Trust me, Quatre, it was that bad,” Trowa’s voice was muffled by the mattress.  Quatre sat up so that he was seated on Trowa’s backside and began to massage the tense muscles in the boy’s back and shoulders.  Trowa moaned in appreciation as the unicorn pressed his palms into a particularly tight knot at the base of his neck.  Trowa found himself relaxing, the stress being pushed from his body by Quatre’s skilled fingers.  Just as he began to drift off into bliss, he heard a loud knock at the apartment door.  Quatre’s hands stopped and Trowa propped himself up on his elbows.

 

“Was that a knock at the door?” he asked the unicorn.  When the banging came again, Trowa disengaged himself from Quatre and made his way out of the bedroom and to the door.  He noticed the unicorn following him in all his naked glory and he gestured for him to stay in the bedroom.  “Stay there or put something on,” he whispered harshly.  “I’m not explaining to whomever it is why you have no clothes on.”  Quatre ducked back into the room and closed the door.  It came as a surprise to Trowa when he received no argument.     

 

Unlocking the deadbolt and unhooking the security chain, Trowa pulled the door open slowly to reveal Duo standing on the other side.  Panic immediately flared in his belly at the unexpected visit. 

 

“D-Duo, hello.  What brings you here?” Trowa asked.  The shock of seeing the other man was responsible for the unconscious stutter.  The braided young man wore a smile that reached ear to ear. 

 

“I just got the best news and some friends and I are getting together to celebrate.  I was wondering if you’re interested in coming,”  Duo stated brightly. 

 

Trowa blinked at him for a few heartbeats.  He just asked you to go somewhere. Relax and don’t panic.  This is what you’ve been waiting for.

 

“Yes, I think I would like that very much,” Trowa answered a little unsteadily.  His own voice sounded strange to him, but he managed to get the words out.  Duo’s face beamed with joy.

 

“Great.  Um, yeah, that gallery agreed to show some of my work.  This is my first real showing and I’m super excited, and when I told some friends, they wanted to meet up for drinks to celebrate and I told them yes, but I wanted to see if you wanted to go and…and I’m babbling,” Duo said as he rocked back on his heels.  “Sorry, I tend to do that when I’m nervous or excited about something.” 

 

“It’s okay,” Trowa said.  “Do you mind waiting while I change?  I just got home from work.” 

 

Duo shook himself as he realized what Trowa was wearing.  “Oh, yeah…sorry.  I didn’t realize.  My head’s in the clouds.  I’ll come back in fifteen minutes.  Is that enough time?”  Trowa nodded once.  “Okay, cool, I’ll see you then.  Oh, is Quatre around?  He can come too if he wants.”

 

“I’ll ask him.”

 

“Great, I’ll see you in a bit,” Duo said and then turned to walk back to his apartment.  As soon as the door was shut, Trowa sprinted towards the bedroom.  He burst into the room, startling the unicorn and causing him to stumble backwards onto the bed.

 

“Did you hear what just happened?” Trowa asked elatedly.  Quatre nodded his head.

 

“Yes, I was listening at the door.  See?  I told you he was going to get in touch with you.”

 

Caught up in the moment, Trowa threw his arms around Quatre, lifted him off the bed proceeded to sweep him into a bear hug.  “I was so nervous.  I hope I didn’t sound like an idiot,” he said as he spun the unicorn around.

 

Quatre was practically vibrating with glee.  “I’m sure you were fine.  Oh, this is so exciting.  I’m so happy for you,” he said as he squeezed Trowa harder.  Quatre pushed on the auburn-haired boy’s shoulder to signal him to release his hold.  “Let’s get you ready to go.” 

 

Trowa immediately stepped back from the unicorn and pulled his tie off and threw it on the bed.  The blonde began to help him with the buttons on his shirt while he pulled his pants off.  Too excited to care about hanging them up, Trowa just threw them on the bed with the rest of his clothes.  He turned to open a dresser drawer and pulled out a fresh pair of jeans. 

 

Quatre, in the meantime, went through the shirts hanging in the closet.  The unicorn decided that a simple, casual outfit would be best in this situation.  He pulled a royal blue Old Navy T-shirt off a hanger.

 

“Here, Trowa, you should wear this shirt,” he said as he handed the shirt over.  Trowa regarded him a skeptically.

 

“Why this shirt, Quatre?”         

 

The unicorn didn’t answer. He just flashed a smile and winked. 

 

“I suppose I’m just going to have to trust you on this, huh?” Trowa asked as he pulled the shirt over his head.  The unicorn nodded knowingly. 

 

Quatre followed Trowa to the bathroom and watched the other boy as he brushed his teeth and combed his hair.  When Trowa continued to fuss over his long bangs, the unicorn slid next to him and gently pulled his hands away from his face.

 

“You look fine,” he told Trowa.  Quatre still had a firm hold on the other boy’s hands as their eyes met.  “Are you nervous?”

 

“I’m scared shitless,” Trowa admitted.

 

“Well, don’t be.  Remember what I said about trying to be something you’re not.  Just be yourself and Duo will respond to it.”  The unicorn smiled warmly.

 

Trowa took a deep breath and tried to calm the butterflies that were attempting to burst out of his stomach like the creatures in Aliens.  He walked slowly from the bathroom to the front door. 

 

Quatre trailed behind him, tying the belt of his robe loosely around his narrow waist.  When Trowa’s hand paused on the doorknob, he embraced the boy from behind.  “You’ll be fine,” the unicorn reassured.  He felt Trowa inhale slowly and when he heard the door open, Quatre loosened his hold. 

 

“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” Trowa asked as he crossed the threshold.  There was a nervous tremor in his voice.  The unicorn responded with a gentle nod of his head.  When Trowa began to linger in the doorway, Quatre gave him a shove and sent the auburn-haired boy the rest of the way into the hall. 

 

“Go now, your prince awaits you.”   And with one last, hopeful smile, the unicorn shut the door and left Trowa standing alone in the hall.

 

The tall boy stared at the closed door to his apartment for a moment.  This was the moment he had been waiting for.  He was about to spend some quality time with Duo, the one person in the world who could, with an easy smile or a soft laugh, send his brain into sensory overload.  There was a feeling of trepidation, there was no doubt about that, but there was also excitement and exhilaration.  The realization that he wanted Quatre to accompany them to act as a safety net was not a surprise, but it still made him feel like a child for entertaining such thoughts.      

 

Trowa took one last, cleansing breath to center himself and began to walk down the hall towards Duo’s apartment.  He had only taken three or four steps when the door to Duo’s apartment opened and the dark-haired boy stepped through.  Trowa paused and watched the longhaired man pull the door shut and turn his key in the lock.  The end of Duo’s braid swayed slightly with the motion of his body.  He had yet to register Trowa’s presence and it gave the tall boy a chance to give the shorter man a once over.  Duo was wearing a pair of black jeans that were tight enough in all the right places and accentuated his firm and nicely rounded ass.  A loose fitting black t-shirt was tucked into the waistband of the jeans and on his feet he wore a pair of black suede work boots. 

 

            Dressed head to toe in black, huh?  It suits him.  I don’t know why, but it does.

 

            Duo turned from the door and started to walk while he tucked his keys into his pocket.  He looked up and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Trowa.  His eyes went wide, but when he recognized the figure before him his lips curved into a half-smile.

 

            “Jeez, Trowa, give a guy a heart attack why don’t you?” Duo jested.  “Make some noise next time so that I don’t think I’m about to get mugged.”

 

            “Sorry about that.” 

 

            “Don’t give it another thought.  I just didn’t want to have to get medieval on your ass,” Duo said as he dropped into a mock Kung Fu stance. 

 

            “As long as you don’t come after me with a blowtorch and a pair of pliers[i] I think I’ll be fine,” Trowa responded.  Duo’s grin became even wider.

 

            “You know that movie?”

 

            “It’s one of my favorites.”

 

            “Wow,” Duo said as he exhaled.  “Good looks and good taste in movies…must be my lucky day.”  Trowa averted his gaze as a blush blazed its way across his cheeks.  “Cat didn’t want to come?”

 

            It took Trowa a second to realize who Duo was referring to.  “No, uh…”  He panicked for a second while trying to come up with a good enough excuse as to why Quatre didn’t want to come.  “He…uh…said he didn’t feel like going out, but he wanted me to congratulate you.”

 

            “Oh, okay,” Duo said with a shrug of his shoulders.  It caused Trowa to take note of the words Got Blood? printed in red letters on the front of Duo’s shirt.  The braided boy followed the line of Trowa’s gaze down to his chest.  “A vampire friend of mine gave me this shirt.  Cute isn’t it?”

 

            “Vampire friend?” Trowa questioned.

 

            “Well, not an actual vampire, but…well you know the type: black clothes, pale skin, hates the sun.  In fact, you’ll get to meet her tonight.”  Duo looped his arm around Trowa’s elbow and began to walk him towards the elevator.  The action seemed second nature to Duo, but Trowa’s body stiffened reflexively. 

 

            Duo sensed the tension in Trowa’s body and immediately let go of his arm.  “Sorry,” he apologized.  “I tend to act without thinking sometimes.  If you are uncomfortable with anything that I do, please tell me.  I know you’re the quiet type and I don’t want to scare you off or anything.”

 

            Trowa blinked at him in astonishment.  He’s worried about scaring *me* off?  I think he’s got that backwards.  “It’s okay, Duo.  It’s my fault, really.  I’m not used to people touching me.  You just took me by surprise.”  Especially since I happen to have the biggest crush on you.  You would think that Quatre’s constant attempts to cop a feel would make me less jumpy.  I guess I’m just really nervous.

 

            Duo seemed to consider that statement for a moment before shrugging.  “No prob, I’ll take that into consideration the next time I want to touch you,” he said with a cheeky grin and walked to the elevator and pressed the down button.

 

            Trowa felt his face go red-hot once again and cursed himself for having this reaction.  It made him feel like a stereotypical “blushing virgin” whenever it happened.  Men are not supposed to blush like little schoolgirls; it’s demeaning.  Trowa realized that the voice in his head just now sounded an awful lot like his father and that thought saddened him briefly.  But he shook off the melancholy and moved to stand beside Duo.  When the elevator doors opened, the two stepped inside the car.  The ride down to the lobby was in silence, but the two would occasionally glance in each other’s direction and share a warm smile.   The knots that had been twisting inside Trowa’s gut began to loosen and as he looked over to the boy beside him, the feeling that he was about to make a fool of himself dissipated. 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

 

            They met up with Duo's friends at McSorley’s pub three blocks south of their apartment building.  It was a small, cozy bar and not one of the loud and obnoxious sports bars or snobby micro-breweries that seemed to be popping up all over the city.  This establishment catered more to the local crowd and not the tourists.  Happy Hour was in full swing when they entered, and Duo and Trowa were greeted by the sounds of classic rock piping from the jukebox and the din of patrons attempting to converse over it.

 

            Duo’s friends were waiting at the bar, and Trowa sidled a little closer to the braided boy as they approached.  After the hugs and congratulations, Duo introduced the shy green-eyed boy.  It came as no surprise to Trowa that Duo would have friends as eclectic and interesting as he was.  Ted was a typical technophile with short, spiky blonde hair and soft brown eyes.  He had attended film school with Duo before the two of them decided that they were never going to be the next Scorsese and dropped out.  Karen was the vampire friend that Duo had mentioned earlier.  Her hair was dyed jet-black and she sported a ring in her left eyebrow, a stud in her right nostril, and one on her bottom lip.  She was dressed completely in black, and Trowa noticed an intricate tattoo that circled around her right wrist.  Despite her shocking appearance, Karen was incredibly sweet-natured, and Trowa found himself speaking with her for a good portion of the night.  He didn’t fail to notice how she was sizing him up.  The group toasted Duo’s first big step with shots of Black Haus and followed that with a few rounds of beer.  Not once did Trowa feel uncomfortable or out of place.  Duo made sure that he didn’t leave Trowa hanging for too long with his friends, and when they left the pub later that evening still buzzed from the alcohol, it was as if they had all been hanging out for years. 

 

            Duo and Trowa said their goodbyes to Ted and Karen with the promise that they would all get together again soon and headed back to their apartment building.  The conversation between the two of them never lagged, and even when there was a pause between topics, it was comfortable and unstrained. 

 

            “So, I left home and moved in with a friend of mine,” Duo said as they stepped off the elevator.  “If my father couldn’t accept me for who I was, then I wasn’t sticking around for more of his insults and hatred.”

 

            “Have you spoken to him since?” Trowa asked as they lingered in the hall.  He wasn’t sure if he should head to the left towards his apartment or go to the right towards Duo’s.

 

            “I talk to my mom every once in a while, but I have to be careful to be sure he’s not around.”  Duo rubbed the back of his neck in what Trowa was beginning to recognize as a nervous gesture.  “Say, you mind coming back to my place?  I’ve got something I want to show you.”  Trowa arched one questioning eyebrow and Duo chuckled softly.  “Nothing like that,” he quickly admonished.

 

            “What do you have to show me?” Trowa asked.  His curiosity was piqued. 

 

            “Well…it’s something that’s going to be part of my exhibit, but I kinda need your permission.”

 

            “My permission?”  Trowa was definitely intrigued now.  He followed Duo down the hall to the door to his apartment.  The braided boy pulled his keys from his pocket to unlock the door, but paused just before he slid the key into the lock.

 

            “Uh, please excuse the mess.  I don’t do a lot of entertaining, so it pretty much resembles the epicenter of an earthquake,” Duo said with a sheepish grin.  And he was right.  When he opened the door and flicked on the light switch, Trowa was treated to quite the spectacle. 

 

The first thing Trowa noticed was the absence of the usual pieces of furniture one would expect to find.  There was a small television against the wall to their immediate right with a small sofa directly opposite it.  That was it in the way of “normal” furniture.  The rest of what should have been the living room was bare with the exception of a mattress stuck in the corner under the window and against the bedroom wall.  There were tripods, lights on stands, lights mounted to the walls, various colored screens, and other photographic paraphernalia scattered all over the room.  Trowa’s first thought at seeing the mattress in the living room was that Duo might be using the bedroom for other purposes, but seeing the way the lighting gear was set up he realized that this was some sort of makeshift studio.  The walls were covered in various photographs, some framed, and some stuck up with push-pins.  From what Trowa could see, the apartment wasn’t filthy or dirty, just cluttered and unorganized, but then again he had not seen the kitchen or the bathroom yet, and those rooms were the true test of a person’s hygiene.     

 

“I know, pretty scary, right?” Duo said as he closed the door behind them.

 

“No, I wouldn’t say it was scary, but it’s definitely…you.  Did you take all these?” Trowa asked, gesturing to the pictures on the walls.   

 

“No, not all of them.  The framed ones over there were a gift,” Duo indicated with a flick of his wrist.  “The ones here…are mine.  I’m still trying to figure out which ones will go in the show.”  Trowa stepped closer to the wall that was covered in with 8-by-10 prints of various subjects.  As Trowa’s eyes roamed the myriad images, Duo stepped up next to him.

 

“I want to show my range,” he began quietly.  “These pics here were an experiment in negative space.”  Trowa looked carefully at the pictures.  They consisted of mostly inanimate objects; statues, buildings, cars.  “The ones here,” Duo indicated the next grouping of pictures, “were my portrait studies.”  Those pictures were of different types of people in obviously planned poses.  It reminded Trowa of the type of pictures you might get from a department store and he chuckled when he saw a head-shot of Karen mixed in the bunch.  The braided boy shrugged and smiled.  “She works cheap, can’t ask for more than that.”  Duo pointed to the final cluster of pictures, and Trowa leaned in for a closer look.  “These are my candids.  I like to go out and try to capture real people in real situations…you know, nothing staged.”

 

Trowa glanced at Duo from the corner of his eye and noticed that he seemed a little anxious, like he was waiting for something to happen.  The green-eyed boy paid it no mind and continued to peruse Duo’s work.  He found himself liking the candid shots the best.  Duo really did have the knack when it came to expressing real human emotion.  The pictures seemed to come to life.  There was a shot of a middle-aged women dressed in a power-suit seated on a park bench.  In one hand she held a cell phone to her ear, and in the other; she was idly rocking a baby stroller.  There was a picture of a little boy trying to keep his ice cream cone out of reach of a dog that was twice his size.  Trowa continued over the pictures until he stopped at one and his eyes nearly left their sockets.

 

“This is…me,” he said and he turned to Duo for an explanation.    

 

 

 

TBC……..



[i]  This little exchange brought to you courtesy of the movie Pulp Fiction.  If you know the movie, then you’ll know the scene.

 

 

 
 
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
 
 
 
dmnutv_archer: Cuties - Winedmnutv_archer on May 27th, 2006 10:26 am (UTC)
Wow. You just broadened the plot with that unexpected discovery! I sense possible bonding through slight angst perhaps? ^^ Of course I might be very wrong... But I can't wait to find out!
I loved the first part of this chapter too. You did an amazing job at showing the self doubt Trowa experiences when he is waiting for Duo to contact him. Haven't we all been in that gut twisting place? I felt so bad for him...
I am going away sailing until late Monday, but had to leave you a quick comment before I go pack.
Have a great weekend! *hugs*
evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on May 27th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
My lips are sealed. You're just going to have to wait^^

Hope you had a wonderful time sailing!
lycheelycheedreams on May 27th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
dude. I'm bored.
have fun on your trip to brazil.
*snicker*
evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on May 27th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Har har. That's in another hour O_O If you're bored, read this story that I'm reposting. It fun with just a pinch of angst^^ And it's completely alternate universe so no need to know the anime.