The Blood of Peace
First Movement, the Eighth Part: a Tango
It had been two hours since the birthday celebrations had begun. People had finally finished the lengthy seventeen course meal and getting to their feet to dance. The tables had been cleared away to make room for the dancing, and music had started up to help them along. Quatre sat along the long table on the dais and fidgeted.
All night, he had tried to get a feel on Duo and Heero but the sheer number of people and the distractions between them had prevented too much clear reading. But from where he was sitting, he could see Heero surreptitiously glance at Duo every once in a while and Duo just plainly staring at Heero more times than once. Maybe no one else noticed except for him since he was looking for certain signs. Gods, he hoped so. He had also been looking at the others to assess their emotional state.
From what he could tell, nobody on the dais table, with the possible exception of Relena, was having a good time. At the far end of the table, WuFei sat stoically and rigidly, just like he had sat in the red room for the introductions. He ate methodically and precisely, cutting his food into actual squares. WuFei was not having a good time, but he wasn't really trying to.
Now that the food was done and the dancing had commenced, WuFei looked positively bored. Quatre could almost see his left eyelid trying to droop into sleep. Poor guy. He moved his attention to Trowa who sat next to WuFei. He looked like a statue. Quatre suspected that even if he did surround Trowa to feel him, he may get the same thing as he would from a rock. Absolutely nothing. With an internal sigh, Quatre once again resolved to find Trowa later to talk to him. Even if Trowa seemed to have perfected the art of imitating an inanimate object.
Next in line was Milliardo Peacecraft. He definitely looked unhappy. He poked at his food and constantly looked over to his sister. That had to be a bit tough since he had to lean into the table to look at her. The king and Heero were in his line of vision. It also appeared that he was talking to no one. Trowa wasn't a conversationalist and the king seemed content to sit and say nothing. If boredom and annoyance were tangible things, Milliardo Peacecraft would have made his shroud out of it by this point. Not that the king was not a gentleman and a courteous host. It seemed that Odin was just preoccupied by his son and the young lady seated to his right. Or maybe he had fallen asleep with his eyes open. For all that, Heero may have been suffering more than Milliardo.
Relena constantly talked to him, probably asking questions about Earthian and political matters cleverly disguised to find out more about Heero's personal life. She was so busy talking to (or is it 'at'?) Heero that she probably didn't notice the murderous glint in his eyes.
Quatre had found out, from both the aura feeling and observation, that Heero did not like this party and the constant badgering. Correction, Quatre reprimanded himself, Heero did not like constant badgering unless it was Duo. That seemed to be an exception. That brought him back to the problem which he had been wrestling with all day. Shaking it off, Quatre switched his vision to Duo who sat between an oblivious Relena and himself. He looked like he was about to drown himself in the soup. Taking pity on Duo who had not talked very much tonight, Quatre spoke to him.
"Duo, are you enjoying the party?" Duo looked at him with wide eyes that betrayed his outrage.
"Oi, Quatre, how can you ask that? You're an empath! You know the answer already."
"I'm sorry Duo. I sensed that you were miserable but hoped that it was a wrong feeling."
Grumbling to himself, Duo looked at Quatre through his long bangs. He knew Quatre meant no harm, but Relena's total monopolization of Heero tonight had somehow annoyed the living hell out of him. It wasn't that he didn't like the girl. It was just thatů Duo never finished the thought. Down that path lied a dangerous feeling. Quatre sensed the turmoil and understood why it was there. Only if he could fix it. Only if it was just a one way fascination. Only ifs ran through his mind until they made his brain whirl. Then it happened. The one thing that made the evening worse.
"Heero, would you like to dance?"
Relena's question was innocent, even expected. But everyone on the dais tensed up like she had asked Heero something monumental. Heero had to accept, it would have been an insult not to do so. And so they went onto the dance floor, whirling in each other's arms to the music. Quatre looked at Duo who looked even more miserable than before. He felt bad for Duo but he could do nothing to help him.
On the dance floor, Relena and Heero danced. Relena was looking at Heero's chin since looking into his eyes would have been too bold. Heero was glaring at a space beyond Relena's right ear. He was feeling trapped, but at least he was moving. If he had to sit on that chair for another moment, he may have lost his shit and run out of the celebration. And Relena was not trying to pry answers out of him about his personal likes and dislikes while they were dancing. That was also a relief. From their dinner conversation, Heero gathered that Relena was a truly gifted leader, a girl with immense compassion and love for her people. Of course, some of her questions had cleverly concealed a hidden agenda. She kept trying to pry personal answers out of him with seemingly open questions about his policies and kingdom. That made her a good politician. Heero was impressed with her abilities which he had thought she did not quite possess from their earlier encounter. But for all that, she was also a girl who seemed to be infatuated with him. That was a new thing for him, someone being interested in him that way. Maybe that was what made him so uncomfortable and homicidal all night. Or maybe it was a pair of violet eyes which seemed to avoid his glances every time he looked over.
Duo sat and stared at his soup. Although the meal was over and everyone's plates had been cleared away, he had refused the servants when they tried to take his soup. So Duo stared at his soup and the pretty chunks of vegetables floating in it while Heero and Relena danced. If he hadn't been so intent on the soup, he may have caught Heero darting glances at him every chance he had. He may have even noticed that the cobalt eyes were yearning for him to look back. So it was too bad that Duo found the soup so very interesting. Quatre noticed, however. Of course, Quatre was looking at Heero for signs that he may be interested in Duo as more than just his Master of Assassins. And Quatre had no soup to distract him. As the glances got more frequent, Quatre's worries mounted. And Relena stared at Heero's chin oblivious to his glances, Duo's miseries, and Quatre's worries. She was overjoyed that they were dancing and that he was holding her close enough for her to smell him. It was a heady experience and she was at a loss for words. She permitted herself to think about the future with Heero while their dance went on, imagining a life that was just too perfect. She admitted to herself that as a girl, she was immensely lucky to have Heero. As a queen, she was proud of herself for her foresight and this treaty. It was the most wonderful party she had ever attended. Because her thoughts were running away with her, she did not see her brother on the dais looking at her with some concern. Milliardo noticed that Relena was definitely infatuated with Heero, but he could not find any signs of special regard from Heero to Relena. In fact, Milliardo saw that Heero kept looking elsewhere during the dance, as if he was trying to locate someone. Milliardo had a hard time trying to see where he was glancing since they were twirling a lot. But if it was some other girl, then Milliardo would have to have a little chat with the prince to make sure that he did not do anything to jeopardize his sister's newly found happiness.
And the dance continued.