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11 April 2005 @ 09:15 pm
"What do I expect from a car built by Hitler?"  

My sweet, little Jetta has been giving me trouble. According to the mechanic there is something wrong with the fuel injection and the ignition system.  Because VW's require special tools and diagnostic equipment, the mechanic couldn't give me a definite answer.  I now have to call VW to make an appointment to have them figure out what was wrong.  Grrrrr....I just want my car to work.  I hate this crap, its such an inconvience. 

In other news the new chapter of "The Unicorn" is up for everyone's enjoyment.  LJ doesn't want to let me post the whole thing, so I'll break it into two parts. 


The Unicorn- Chapter 5






            Trowa stared at Duo expectantly, and the braided boy gave an uncharacteristic nervous laugh as his hand went to the back of his neck.  Trowa’s reaction to the picture was just as he expected, but he still felt a little guilty and a tad bit stalker-like for taking the picture in the first place.


            “Yeah, well, I was coming off the elevator one day…you know, on my way to the park to take some pictures.  Did you know that’s where I get most of my best shots?” he questioned, straying slightly from the subject.  Trowa nodded his head, eyebrows raised, still awaiting an explanation.  Duo shook himself and continued.  “Anyway, as I said, I was coming off the elevator, and when I rounded the corner to the lobby, there you were standing in front of the mailboxes.  You didn’t seem to be paying attention to anything; you were so absorbed with what you were reading.  You had this look on your face…kind of, I don’t know…really happy and…content.”  Duo shrugged his shoulders when he couldn’t think of a better description.  “I snapped off a few pictures and you didn’t even have a clue that I was there.”


            Trowa turned his attention back to the photograph, and Duo took a step closer to him.  He stared at the image for a few moments as Duo fell quiet.  The black and white picture was a medium shot, showing his body from the waist up.  In his hands was a small pile of mail that he had just removed from the open postbox, visible in the background.  Trowa’s head was cocked to the side as he read from an opened letter on the top of the stack.  But that wasn’t what made the picture so endearing.  It was the easy smile that lit up his photographic doppelganger’s face.  It was such a pure moment of genuine pleasure, so hard to truly capture on film, which made the eight by ten glossy demand attention.  If Duo had snapped the picture one second later then he did, the moment would have been lost forever.     


            “That first day, when you moved in and I helped you with some of your furniture,” Duo said softly, breaking the short span of silence.  “You were so shy…it was so cute.” 


Trowa took a quick glance at Duo and then looked away as he felt a familiar burning sensation surge across his cheeks.  Duo smiled at the reaction and continued speaking.


            “Even though you were always very nice to me, there was this…I don’t know…sadness that seemed to be hanging over your head.  I kind of figured that was why you were so withdrawn all the time.”


            “I’m not always sad,” Trowa said a little defensively.  Duo gave him another half-grin.


            “I know, but that day, when I saw you standing there with that smile, I just knew that I was getting a look at the real you.  I was so glad that I had my camera out of the case or I could have missed such a beautiful moment.”  Duo paused for a moment before beginning again with an uncharacteristic shyness.  “Do you hate me for taking this picture?”


            Trowa turned his head to meet Duo’s indigo eyes and the serious expression held within them, a little surprised at the question.  “No, I don’t hate you,” he answered softly.  Duo let out a relieved sigh.


            “That’s good.  Do I have your permission to use it in my show?”


            Trowa gave a slow nod in the affirmative as he leaned in to take a closer look at his picture.  He never liked the way he looked in photographs.  He always thought his smile seemed weird or that his nose looked too big.  But he couldn’t deny that what Duo had managed to capture was nothing short of breathtaking.  This is me? Is this what I really look like?  Trowa never thought of himself as anything special as far as looks go.  He figured he was painfully average, judging by the way others had reacted, or, should he say, didn’t react to him.  But, staring at this image, he was able to see the changes that were happening as his body crossed over into adulthood.  He had always been a skinny kid, but his face had lost the roundness of adolescence, and given way to a sharper, more chiseled jaw line.   


            “The camera loves you, did you know that?  You’re very photogenic.” 


Caught off guard and stunned into bewilderment, Trowa could do nothing more than blink at Duo for a few heartbeats.  “Me?” he replied when he found his voice.  Duo smiled sweetly and lightly shook his head.


“Most definitely…and I’m a professional.  I know these things.”  Duo watched the green-eyed boy’s gaze go back to the picture.  He couldn’t help but observe the way Trowa reacted to the compliment, almost as though no one had ever said such things to him before.  He also loved how easy it was to make the quiet boy blush and doing so was quickly becoming a favorite pastime.  It was quite refreshing to meet someone as- he didn’t want to use the word innocent, but found there was no other word to describe the person standing next to him. “Okay, you’ve got to tell me because I’ve been staring at this pic for months now trying to figure it out,” Duo said, interrupting Trowa from his thoughts.  “What were you reading?”


            Trowa smiled at Duo’s playful curiosity.  It hadn’t even occurred to him to feel embarrassed at the fact that the long-haired boy had just admitted that he spent a lot of time studying his picture.  “It was a birthday card…from my aunt,” he said and turned back around so that he was once again face to face with Duo.   


            “Well, it must have been a really funny card to get a reaction like that.”


            “Yeah,” Trowa said wistfully.  “It was.  She’s been looking after me since my parents…”  He trailed off, not really wanting to discuss that particular subject at this time. 


            Duo caught the hint and backed off.  “Oh, hey man, I’m sorry for bringing up something painful.”


            “It’s okay.  How were you supposed to know?”  How were you supposed to know my greatest pain?  The one I’m so desperately trying to put behind me? The green-eyed boy turned his attention back to the picture.  “It’s funny how everything can change in the blink of an eye, and that moments like the one, here, can be so fleeting.”  Trowa sighed heavily and his gaze went down to the floor.  Against the wall, directly under where Duo had the pictures tacked, was an uncovered box of comic books.  “Hey, you’re an X-Men fan too?”


            Duo stood there for a moment, taken aback by the rapid shift in the conversation.  “Uh, yeah…been for a while,” he said tentatively.  He had a feeling that Trowa wanted off that subject in the worst way.  “My friends think it’s a waste of money, but I can’t help it.  I fell in love with the characters.  You know, the whole ‘living in a world that hates you’ sort of thing.  I guess it appealed to me.”


            “Me too,” Trowa answered gleefully as he knelt down and began to rifle through the box.  “Wow, Wolverine 75. This was the one where he loses his Adamantium skeleton…a personal favorite.  The storyline was incredible.  Do you mind?” Trowa asked. Hands paused in the act of pulling a stack out of the box.  Duo flicked his wrist to indicate that it was alright.  “Thanks.  I’ve been collecting since I was a kid.  I found a comic someone left on a table at school and it snowballed from there.  So, who’s your favorite character?  And please don’t say Wolverine; everybody always says Wolverine.”


            Duo laughed brightly and knelt down beside Trowa.  “No, Gambit was always my favorite.  I like smart-ass Cajuns who can charge items with kinetic energy.  It also doesn’t hurt that he’s drop-dead gorgeous either.  And you’re right, Wolverine is overrated.”    Duo felt his chest tighten when Trowa glanced back at him with a big grin.  It was the same one in the picture, and he almost fell over from the realization that it was for him.  It had been a long time since he felt excited to be in the presence of another person.  


            “Yeah, he’s one of my favorites too.  I think his red and black eyes are cool.  Nightcrawler is my favorite.  It used to be Psylocke until they killed her off.”


            “Wait, Psylocke’s dead?”


            Trowa nodded his head.  He was incredibly enthusiastic over the prospect of having another person he could talk to about his interests.  “Yeah, it was about two years ago, I think.  I guess you haven’t been following it recently.”  Trowa sat back on his heels to thumb through the small pile he pulled from the box.  “It was disappointing because it seemed like they killed her off for no good reason, but you know how these things are…nobody stays dead for very long.  I mean, how many times have the killed and resurrected Jean Grey…who, by the way, is dead again.”


            “No way!  I guess it has been a long time,” Duo said with a chuckle.


            “I have all the most recent issues back at my apartment if you want to stop by and…” Trowa stopped speaking, eyes going wide as he realized what he was about to say.  Duo stared at him, waiting for him to finish.  “Uh, that is, if you want to come by sometime and read them, you can.”  Good cover, idiot.  Now he probably thinks you’re desperate. 


            Duo eyed him for a moment and Trowa suddenly became aware of the temperature in the apartment.  His whole body seemed to break out in a sweat all at once as if he had just run in a marathon.  Trowa felt his shirt begin to cling to his back and became vaguely horrified at the thought of Duo noticing his sweaty arm pits.  He felt like he was living up to every bad date trait he possibly could all in the course of one evening.  The attraction he felt towards Duo was nearly too much for him to bear.  It was frightening in its intensity and Trowa’s inexperience was causing his body to short-circuit from the strain he was putting on it.  The braided boy tilted his head to the side and brought his hand up to rub his index finger against his chin thoughtfully.                      


“If I should happen to stop by one day to catch up on my X-Men reading,” he ventured with a casual, but cautious tone. “Will that get me another dinner invitation?”


Trowa nearly fell over in shock.  Duo sounded hopeful that he would say yes to the request.  “If you would like…I mean you’re always welcome to come over for dinner.  It doesn’t always have to be just for dinner. If you want, it could be for lunch, or maybe a late afternoon snack, or dessert.  You can come over anytime you want, I don’t mind.  I’ll make anything you want.  If I don’t know how to make it, I’ll find out because I really like to cook, and I’m always willing to try new recipes so, don’t think that you can’t ask for something, because you can.”  Trowa paused when the necessity to breathe stopped him.  It was about three seconds later that he realized he had just been babbling like a little schoolgirl again, and instinctively jerked his head so that his long bangs would obscure his embarrassment. 


Can I possibly make myself look any worse?  He must really think I’m immature now. My mouth is working on auto-pilot because my brain stops functioning the second he looks at me. How the hell does he manage to act so calm and collected all the time?  I’m sitting here, sweating like some kind of farm animal and he’s as cool as a cucumber.  Gross, my eyelids are starting to stick every time I blink. 


“Are you feeling okay?  You look a little flushed,” Duo asked.


“Yeah, I’m fine, but is it a little warm in here?”


“Oh!” Duo exclaimed as he jumped up to his feet.  “Sorry about that, it’s the lights.  They give off a lot of heat.” 


Yes, the lights.  That had to be the reason behind Trowa’s sudden hot flash and not the fact that a certain long-haired boy was actually enjoying his company.  He watched as Duo scurried around the room, switching off some of the powerful photography lamps.  Trowa liked watching how his braid would sway behind him like a tail with every movement.  Back and forth, back and forth, the tousled end passed over his tailbone, hypnotic and alluring.  It filled Trowa’s head with all sorts of naughty visions that he had no business contemplating at that moment.  When Duo was finished, he sat back down on the floor cross-legged, facing Trowa.


“So, where were we?” he asked with his ever-present cocky grin. 


Not quite sure how he should answer, Trowa said, “You were inviting yourself over for dinner?”


“Yeah, I guess I was,” Duo said with a laugh.


Trowa was completely out of his element now.  He had never gotten to this point with anyone he had been interested in and was at a loss with how to act.  Even though this wasn’t officially a date, he didn’t know if Duo was under the impression that it was.  But he was in Duo’s lair now, on his turf, and that was making the situation more tense for the green-eyed boy.   If they had been in his own apartment, perhaps he wouldn’t have been as nervous and overly conscious of his every move.  The conversation seemed to be stalling, so he began to occupy himself with the comics in his lap.  If they had nothing else to say to each other, at least they could talk about the X-Men.  Duo seemed content to sit there and watch him as he rummaged through his books.


“You have a lot of the big story arcs.  You can probably get some money for these,” Trowa said with a sidelong look in Duo’s direction.  Days of Futures Past; God Loves, Man Kills; The Extinction Agenda…all original issues too.


Duo nodded knowingly as Trowa read off the titles.  “This is…was…is my emergency stash,” he said softly with a quick, almost non-existent grin, but his voice had suddenly taken on a somber tone.  Trowa looked up from flipping the books into his chest to see what had caused the mood change.  The braided boy stretched his arms over his head and then slumped with his elbows on his thighs.  “With photography, the money can be good…when it’s coming in.  When it’s not, let’s just say that things can get pretty tight.”  He paused once again and drew in a deep breath.  “There were a few months where I didn’t think I would be able to make the rent, so I was going to sell them off.  I packed them up to take them down to the comic book store, but as luck would have it, I got a paying gig the very next day.” 


Trowa leaned forward to place the comics back in the box carefully. “Then I guess it all worked out for you in the end,” he said when he sat back on his heels.  Duo shrugged his shoulders. 


“We’ll see, but I keep the box here just in case.  You know, it’s a fickle industry and things can change like that,” Duo snapped his fingers to emphasize his point.  “And I don’t want to end up eating cat food or working in the neighborhood One Hour Photo,” He caught Trowa’s surprised look at his candor and reclined his body into a more relaxed posture.   “Don’t mind me.  I’m just trying to keep myself from getting my hopes up too far.  That way it won’t a huge, crippling disappointment and I can maintain some shred of dignity.”


Trowa wanted to shake his head in disbelief.  Duo just verbalized everything he had been internalizing for…forever it seemed.  This was just another example of how much his agoraphobia really limited his knowledge of how people interacted with one another.  Any normal would person would have realized that it was completely reasonable for Duo to feel insecure and apprehensive about his career choice and what the future would bring.  God, am I really this pathetic?  Duo speaks about his feelings so easily, and to *me* of all people.  I’m a casual acquaintance at best.  I hate the fact that I’m so shy.  I wish I could think of something better for us to talk about.  I *am* a huge disappointment and I don’t know why he’s still talking to me.  Can’t he see that I’m boring and have the interpersonal skills of a Three-toed sloth? 


“Hey, Tro,” a voice whispered.  Trowa blinked himself out of his daze to find Duo on his hands and knees with his face inches from his own.  He couldn’t help the instinctive, backwards flinch.  Duo was very much in his personal space and he had been so deep in thought that he hadn’t noticed the movement.  “I’m not one for beating around the bush, so I’ll come right out and say it.” 


Trowa could feel the long-haired boy’s warm breath on his cheek.  Sirens and alarms were going off in his head.  So close, Duo was so close, closer than anyone ever had been, save Quatre.  Trowa could smell the sharp tang of cologne and the somewhat fruity smell of whatever shampoo he used.  And his eyes, those unique, indigo eyes, were staring at him- no, through him, past any protective barriers he had erected for himself. 


“I would very much like to kiss you,” Duo said in a low, husky voice.


Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Franfranwi on May 31st, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Eeeeee! And this is only the first part! I'm learning so much about Trowa and Duo AND X-Men! Hee. I love that they have something in common. But oh my word, the picture stuff - LOVED it. The whole idea of Duo snapping pics of Trowa unaware, and then studying them... yeah, no wonder why he seems a little closer to the other boy, considering that. Even though this is a lighter fic, I enjoy that touch of angst you give Trowa. Mmm, Duo's last remark... I'm savoring it and will read the second part a little later, considering it's the last portion we'll get for a while! Unless you plan to spare us a long wait for 6? ;)
evilkat_meowevilkat_meow on June 1st, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
Heh, a friend of mine told me that the Trowa in this story reminded her so much of me...and it's true. I love X-Men therefore Trowa loves X-Men^^ And you have to believe me when I say I tried to keep the angst out of the story, but it just wouldn't be one of my stories without a touch of evilkat angst® As for chapter 6....summer, hopefully. As soon as bunny-smut and the next chapter of "P&C" are finished, I'll see what the muses conjure up.