Disclaimer: see part 1
Warning: Shounen ai. 3x4, eventual 1x2
AN: The entire chapter takes place over the period of a year. Most of the scene breaks have months between them.
Duo’s hand fished in his pocket for the key he knew was there. He’d been away for two days with an important client. Heero had been away for the past week on a mission he did every six months training a class of new recruits in which he put them through their paces, or as Duo liked to call it ‘lets scare the newbies shitless’. Duo couldn’t help but think Heero enjoyed those week long classes as he had seen the man up many nights, typing away at his keyboard, grinning maliciously while he thought up new ways to test the recruits. Heero had once said he wanted to make sure the recruits were up to Preventer standards. Duo thought it was just his way of getting back at the cops that always looked down on him since many of the recruits came from a police background.
Duo frowned as he pulled the empty pocket inside out. Maybe the key was in another pocket. He certainly had enough of them. His hand searched another pocket as he glared at the door. He really wanted to get in and see his child. It had only been a month since the final paper work came through, legalizing Hitoshi’s adoption. Duo had been amazed at the speed of the adoption. With the top lawyer and head of Preventers on his side it seemed like all the dreaded red tap was a mere tissue paper. Even Wufei had congratulated him on the speedy adoption. Oh, he still had social workers checking in, but he was told that it would only be for a few more months. Duo could handle that.
It was shortly after the adoption was finalized that Duo realized his son had a few… quirks. Like insisting on both Heero and himself putting the child to bed. If Hitoshi didn’t get a goodnight kiss and hug from both men, the child would throw a holy fit. For a child that had yet to say one word, Hitoshi definitely knew how to get his point across when he was displeased. He screamed, he cried, he beat the ground, but he never threw anything. Duo just hoped the boy hadn’t given Quatre too much of a hard time going to bed. It was just bad luck both Heero and he had to be gone for a couple of days. Thankfully he had friends like Quatre. Duo just hoped he still did.
Just as Duo’s fingers grasped the much sought after key, an identical key was dangled in front of his eyes. “Looking for something?”
Duo turned to see his best friend smirking at him, Heero’s own key dangling by his fingers in front of the violet-eyed boy.
Duo looked down sheepishly, his cheeks tinting a light pink, as he pulled out his own set. "Ano… actually, I… uh… found it. Thanks though."
Heero hn’ed as he watched Duo turn the lock and both entered the apartment to see their blond friend sitting calmly on the couch. Quatre smiled warmly, putting the magazine he had been reading to the side. "Welcome, home guys."
Both Heero and Duo froze as the door clicked shut behind them. Duo raised his eyebrow at the calm blond. "Any problems with him?"
Quatre shook his head. "Not really. He was a little upset that you weren't there when he woke up yesterday."
Duo looked down at the floor in shame. Duo blinked and looked up when he felt Heero's hand brush against his side, offering comfort the only way he knew how. Duo gave him a small smile before turning back to Quatre. "Anything else?"
Quatre smiled. "Oh no. He was a little upset when he realized you guys were not going to be here for bedtime, but he went down righ… what’s wrong guys?"
Heero and Duo exchanged a worried look.
Duo looked at Quatre before glancing down the hallway to Hitoshi's room. "It’s just Hitoshi doesn’t like to go to sleep without both of us tucking him in. The only times he’s gone to bed with no fuss was. .. “
As Duo trailed off he and Heero glanced one more time at each other before taking off down the hall at a brisk pace.
Listening to the softly worded argument, Quatre followed them in confusion.
Duo hissed quietly, "I thought you were gonna lock that thing up so he couldn’t get to it any more."
Heero growled just as soft. "I did. I left it at the office."
With that the two were heading through the door.
Quatre snuck in behind them, his body freezing as he got a good look at the boy and what he had found to cuddle.
Heero had his eyes narrowed as he approached the bed. Hitoshi’s eyes fluttered open and he smiled sleepily up at the man. Hitoshi frowned as Heero gently took the nice shiny object from his arms. He let out a loud wail and reached for it as Heero hastily checked it over.
“No, Toshi-chan,” Duo said as he picked up the distraught child. “That’s not something you should play with. If the social workers saw you with that, Daddy’d be in a lot of trouble.”
Hitoshi whimpered and looked up at Duo questioningly. The child began to settle down as Heero came over to help the tot back in bed. Quatre quietly left the two to their task.
It took ten minutes but both teens were finally out in the living room letting the frazzled Quatre know that things were fine.
Quatre watched as the two sat down next to each other. “Well he’s certainly loud when he wants to be.”
Duo couldn’t help but snort. “Yep. That’s how we knew he could make sounds. He seems to be able to get a hold of that thing no matter what we do.”
Both Quatre and Duo looked over to the silent Heero who was meticulously going over his prized object.
Duo shook his head and sighed. “Toshi-chan seems to think it’s his teddy bear or something.”
Heero growled, showing that he was listening to the conversation, no matter how intense his focus. “My gun is not a teddy bear.”
Wufei steadily worked through his taolu (1). He paused, feeling an intent gaze on his back shoulders. Looking behind him, he saw Hitoshi, perched on the couch he moved every morning to do his routines. When Wufei offered a small smile, Hitoshi gave a shy smile back. Deciding the child was fine where he was, Wufei went back to his routine.
He had agreed to watch the child when Heero had pulled a last minute assignment that couldn’t do without him the night before. Unfortunately, Duo had been out of town and wasn’t due back for two more days. Since Quatre was busy with business meetings all week and Trowa was with him, Wufei volunteered to watch the child for two days until Duo came back.
He didn’t know why Quatre had complained about looking after Hitoshi. The boy had been a little angel the day before. Even at bedtime, he had gotten the boy dressed in the pajamas Heero had packed for the boy. Then Wufei sat down beside Hitoshi on the couch he had made into a makeshift bed and picked one of the story books he had bought with the boy in mind and started to read a bedtime story. Hitoshi had given him an awed look and snuggled down to listen. By the time the story was over, Hitoshi was fast asleep.
After a few more minutes of going through the different forms of his taolu, Wufei looked back to the child and came to a stand still, his eyes blinking in surprise. A smile grew on his face as he watched Hitoshi attempting the hand movements he had just done.
Wufei walked over and crouched down in front of Hitoshi, who was staring at him with a curious look. “Would you like to learn the taolu (1) like I do?”
Shyly, Hitoshi ducked his head and gave a quick nod.
Wufei stood up and offered a hand to the boy.
Hitoshi studied the hand for a moment before placing his hand in it.
Wufei lead the child into his bedroom, he said, “Come, little one, I think I have a Duangua (2) that shrunk in the wash and may just fit you.
“How was the trip?” Trowa glanced at the frightened child who was clinging to Quatre.
“Fine,” Quatre said.
Trowa raised his one visible eyebrow, questioningly as Hitoshi continued to cling to his boyfriend.
Quatre sighed. “I don’t know what happened. He was happy and excited on the way up. Duo was telling him all about the fun things he would be able to do here when I picked him up. But when we got here, he didn’t want to leave his car seat.”
“Hmm.” Trowa studied the child, who turned his head slightly, looked around before squinting his eyes, as if in pain from the bright sunlight, and swiftly turned his head back to burrow into the blonds’ chest.
Quatre adjusted his grip on Hitoshi. “He’s scared, Trowa. And I don’t know why. This was supposed to be a fun experience for him!”
Trowa stared at Quatre’s face that was turned down in a cute pout before he glanced around at the circus grounds. He watched the normal hustle of an open circus. The Carnies with their game stalls yelling out enticements for the next prospective player, with food vendors yelling out their menus every few stalls all leading to the big tent which would hold the big shows later on. The brightly clad circus members racing between people, doing whatever duty they were assigned, as crowds of people moved around the fair ground, stopping to gawk at this or that while children tugged adults around wanting to get to the next great thing.
Trowa looked back at Hitoshi thoughtfully and pointed out, “He might be nervous about all the people, Quatre. He really hasn’t been out much.”
Quatre’s eyes widened and he took in the overwhelming crowd of people, each person concerned with their own pursuits, the bright colors, and loud noises. “Oh. Poor, Hitoshi. I thought this would be a great way for him to meet your sister when I suggested to Duo that I could bring him up here.”
“It is a good idea. Every child should go to the circus at least once,” Trowa said. “Here let me see him.”
Trowa gently took the child from Quatre and bounced him in his arms. Hitoshi meeped questioningly at the changing hands, seeing that his Unca Coco was holding him, he immediately threw his arms around his neck. The first time Hitoshi had met the green-eyed man, Hitoshi had immediately thought of warm Cocoa.
Adjusting his grip so he could hold Hitoshi with one hand, his other reached down to grasp the hand of his fretting boyfriend. “It’ll be okay, Quatre. We just have to find something to distract him so he can’t remember to be scared.”
As the two looked around for something to interest the scared child, they didn’t realize that the boy’s curiosity had already been raised, making him forget about everything else. Ignoring the bubbling crowd around them, Hitoshi peered down his Unca Coco’s arm to where his hand was entwined with the man Hitoshi thought of as ‘Unca Cookie’ as that what he reminded Hitoshi of, though he didn’t know where he had seen freshly baked cookies. Gazing intently at the joined hands, the child suddenly smiled to himself and nodded as if he had just discovered some hidden secret. Neither adult noticed this peculiar event, for in the next moment Hitoshi became aware of the jostling crowd once more. By the time Trowa glanced down, Hitoshi had a nervous look on his face as he looked around him.
“Oh look,” Quatre said, pointing at a nearby carnie game. “They have little gundam plushies.”
Trowa looked the game over. It was a simple bb shooter that allowed you one minute for three bucks to score as many points as you could. Behind the carnie were tracks that had cardboard cut out animals that moved back and forth in a simulated movement. The closest, the white painted bunnies, gave the least amount of points, while the farthest back in the third row, had fast flying geese that seemed to zoom along the track. Hanging above the stand were numerous stuffed animals, including a full collection of gundam plushies that even had the Epyon and Tallgeese. Trowa raised his visible eyebrow.
Trowa looked down at Hitoshi, who like Quatre seemed to be interested in the hanging gundam plushies. He looked at the crowd and then down at Hitoshi again. Finally he handed the child over to the blond and with the two sending him questioning glances stepped up to the stand and placed three bucks on the counter.
“Care to try yer luck then?” The carnie grinned at him as he handed over the BB gun.
Trowa gazed blandly back at the man, making him falter in his spiel of what each animal was worth. As Trowa calmly raised the gun, the carnie stepped to the side, his hand on a hidden switch. “I’ll… uh… just let 'er rip then.”
To the carnie’s amazement, Trowa quickly racked up the points and earned the item highest in point value, Wing Zero. Hitoshi, who had up till that point been clapping in glee every time Trowa hit the target, quickly hugged the plushie, smiling up at his Unca Coco. His hesitant glance at the yet to be won plushies had Trowa putting down more money.
After three more winning rounds, Trowa felt like he had spent enough and started to hand the gun back.
“Come now mister, surely you can win a few more fer the lil tyke.” The carnie said.
Trowa looked over at his lover who had his hand full with both the child and his gundam plushies. About to shake his head, he paused as both boys gave him puppy dog eyes that had him raising his eyebrow. “And how are we supposed to carry all these?”
The carnie grinned. “I might have a bag Ah could give ya folks.”
Trowa looked at him.
The carnie shrugged and nodded his head behind the trio. “You guys are great advertisement.”
Trowa blinked and turned around to see that they had gathered a crowd that were quietly watching him to see what he would do. Some already had money out to step in when his group left. He looked back at his lover and nephew, who were busily putting all the plushies into the bag, except for Wing which Hitoshi refused to let go of. Hitoshi didn’t seem to notice the crowd at all. Looking up from hugging his new favorite toy, Hitoshi gave his Unca Coco a pleading look. Trowa sighed and put down another three bucks.
After winning Shenlong, the carnie tried to get Trowa to play another round. “Come on, man. Just two more for the entire set.”
Trowa glanced at the last two plushies, Tallgeese and Epyon. He wasn’t sure he wanted those two. It felt almost sacrilege having them grouped with the other gundams. He glanced at Quatre and Hitoshi who had finally realized that they had gathered quite a crowd. Quatre was hugging the child close as he nervously clutched Wing and eyed the group behind him.
As Hitoshi was no longer distracted by the plushies, Trowa shook his head and turned to Quatre. “I think it’s time we meet up with Catherine. We don’t have much time before the show.”
“I think you’re right,” Quatre said as he looked down at Hitoshi’s white knuckled grip on the Wing plushie. Tossing the last plushie into the bag, Quatre handed the child back to Trowa and smiled at the carnie as they left. “Thank you, sir. For a wonderful game.”
The carnie grinned and nodded his head as the next person stepped up to play.
Trowa ushered Quatre and their charge to the backstage area. Performers were running back in forth in preparation for the show. Normally, when Trowa visited his sister, he’d be one of the performers, but after seeing how nervous his nephew was, he had spoken briefly with the manager about having his stand in do the performance. The manager had taken one look at the child clinging to the tall boy; head buried in his chest, and gave a gruff nod.
Trowa smiled as he spotted his sister by the mirror putting on some last minute makeup. “Cathy.”
Cathy finished painting her eyelid and turned around, smiling. “Trowa! And Quatre. You made it. And who is this?”
Trowa smiled down at the child, who seemed more at ease now that he was out of the crowds, though he still clutched his new Wing plushie. “This is Duo’s son, Hitoshi.”
Cathy frowned at the mention of that boy’s name. She knew he was friends with her precious brother, but she couldn’t help but feel he had dragged Trowa back into the war. She quickly wiped the frown from her face when the child’s piercing gaze turned toward her. When the child gave her a shy smile she couldn’t help but smile back. “Hello, Hitoshi. I’m your Uncle Trowa’s big sister, Cathy. You can call me Aunt Cathy, alright?”
Hitoshi just stared at her, still giving her a small smile. Cathy looked at Trowa in concern.
“He doesn’t speak, Catherine,” Quatre told her.
Cathy’s eyes widened and she glanced down at the child who was petting the face of his plushie. “Oh… Did your Uncle Trowa win that for you?”
Hitoshi glanced up at the nice lady in confusion… Unca Trow…. Oh, she meant Unca Coco. His smile widened as he nodded enthusiastically. Behind him, Quatre raised his hand to his mouth trying to stifle his laughter. Cathy and Hitoshi stared at him.
Quatre grinned sheepishly, holding up the bag he had been carrying. “His Uncle Trowa won him a whole set of gundam plushies, well except for the Tallgeese and Epyon.”
Cathy smiled and looked back at the child. “Well wasn’t that nice of him. You be sure to keep those green eyes peeled on me in the ring, okay kid?”
Hitoshi nodded seriously.
“Blue eyes,” Trowa said abruptly.
Everyone looked at him. “What?”
“Hitoshi has light blue eyes. Like Quatre.”
Quatre frowned. “No, his eyes reminded me of you Trowa, clear green.”
Everyone turned to the child who blinked his eyes in surprise. Why was every one looking at him? The adults watched as his green eyes began to darken to blue.
“Maybe they’re blue green,” Cathy mused.
Quatre gasped in shock, making his lover turn to him in concern. “Quatre?”
“I never noticed it before,” Quatre began, “but his eyes change depending on his mood. They become greener when he’s happy. . .”
“And blue when he’s upset,” Trowa finished.
Cathy gave the child a reassuring hug, which was quickly followed by hugs from his Unca Coco and Cookie. “Now, now. There’s nothing to be afraid of here. You three will watch the show and then we can all have a nice quiet dinner in my trailer. How does that sound?”
Trowa and Quatre shared a glance and then looked down at the once again green eyed child who was smiling shyly at the circus performer. “That sound’s perfect, Cathy. Just perfect.”
(1) Taolu is a set of predetermined movements that help the Chinese Martial artist memorize taught techniques for use in sparring.
(2) The type of shirt that Wufei would wear while working out.