- The Fifth Encounter -
Quatre and Trowa met us at the Five Pence, a small but
tasteful bar filled with expensive liquor and imported
beers. I was feeling a bit out of sorts and the fact
that Heero Yuy was closely following me had a lot to
do with my unusual feeling. As soon as I walked into
the bar, I saw Quatre waving at me from a table in the
corner. I waved back, admittedly not too
enthusiastically, but I tried to put up a good front
that no one would suspect anything was amiss.
When I got to the table with Heero right behind me, I
could see curiosity blazing out of my friends’ eyes.
Quatre looked at me expectantly, his right hand nearly
extended in greeting to my new ‘friend.’
Without polite introductions which I was sure was the
proper thing to do, I sat down across from Trowa and
Heero slid into his seat next to me. Before I could
say anything, Heero took command of the situation.
“Hello. I’m Heero, an acquaintance of Duo’s from
Handshakes and names were exchanged shortly thereafter
and I had to give Heero bonus points for his
introduction. He had not presumed to introduce
himself as something more than a mere acquaintance for
which I was immensely glad. I was not yet ready to
disclose to my friends exactly how I had come to meet
Heero. He had rescued me from long explanations by
his simple intro.
“What do you do, Heero?” Quatre asked in a friendly
tone. If anything, Quatre is a very polite and
amiable guy who would do anything to make someone feel
comfortable. I could have told him that he was
wasting his efforts for it seemed to me that Heero was
never uncomfortable in any situation.
“I’m a psychiatrist. I was Duo’s expert witness in
the last trial.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Quatre replied, “because I
think Duo needs a psychiatrist! He has been acting
I must forgive Quatre because I have not told him why
I have been abnormal lately. My best friends have not
the faintest clue that the reason for my abnormality
is sitting across from them, trying his hardest to
contain a smirk. Of course Heero knows why I have
been out of sorts, he is a damned shrink after all.
No wonder he read me so well that first night we spoke
– I was probably giving off hints that a trained
psychiatrist would have picked up on without even
Trowa looked at me with his left eyebrow slightly
raised and I realized that I had been gripping the
table with a white knuckled grip when Quatre had said
that. I mentioned before that I’m pretty thick
skinned and it takes a whole lot to make me come off
my hinges. Well, I was coming off my hinges right now
and Trowa had noticed. How to explain, how to get out
of this situation before it got messier?
I thank god daily for timely waitress service.
Thankfully, the waitress broke up the awkward moment
which I am sure was mostly in my mind since my friends
seemed so oblivious. She was a cute woman, probably
in her early twenties, brunette with a striking pair
of.. eyes. I winked at her, made some flirty
comments while ordering my drink and sent her off to
get our drinks with a wide smile on her face. After
that, I was feeling more or less back in my element
when I met Heero’s eyes and saw amusement and
understanding in them.
I really needed that drink.
As soon as the waitress was out of earshot, Trowa
spoke to me in a low tone disguised as a whisper, but
designed so that everyone at the table could hear.
“I don’t think you need a shrink, Duo,” he said in his
usual bland tone, “but it might help with your
Quatre just lit up at that one. If I didn’t love
these guys so much, I may have resorted to physical
violence to make them shut up.
“The project. How is that going, Duo? Find anyone
I wonder if I’m blushing or just getting feverish.
How could my best friends bring up something so
personal in front of Heero? They had just met him for
the love of god and here they were, divulging my
innermost secret which I had accidentally blurted out
“Quat, Tro, do you guys mind not talking? That’s
really private, you know!”
I sounded aghast, completely stricken. I suppose that
it did put a damper on their efforts to gain amusement
by embarrassing me and it made them feel somewhat bad.
There was a moment of awkward silence while my friends
tried to find a different subject for conversation and
Heero tried to look uninterested in their previous
comment. I did not contribute towards diffusing the
situation because I honestly had no idea what to say.
Then my savior, the cute waitress, arrived with my and
I grabbed at my lifeline with both hands, thanking the
waitress more profusely than she was obviously used
to, and got her to smile extremely flirty at me before
she sauntered off. I took several gulps out of my
martini, letting the coolness of vodka burn its way
down my throat. It felt phenomenal and I felt as if I
could last out the night.
By that time, Trowa had come up with an acceptable
topic of conversation and then we were all talking.
We, Heero included, discussed the interesting yet
inexplicable concept behind pro basketball, arguing
the teams as if we owned them. We talked statistics,
play off records, recent trends in drafting. It felt
nice to talk of things as mundane yet fun as sports.
Drinks came and went, I flirted some more with the
waitress and ignored the strange way Heero kept
looking at me. Quatre and Trowa laughed at my strange
behavior that had pervaded my life in the recent past,
throwing out silly theories as to why I had acted that
way. They made me laugh with their alien abduction
theory and Heero contributed some zany comments about
hitherto unknown psychiatric problems that I could
have been suffering.
I hated to say it, but after the initial moment of
introduction, I had a good time. Heero was a decent
guy who knew a lot about everything, just like me. If
I didn’t dislike him so much, I think we could have
been good friends, maybe even best of friends.
But I will not forget that I do not like him.
Some time during the night, Quatre brought up
something that I had forgotten. Apparently, in my
dizzying rally to forget entirely about Heero, I had
forgotten a few other things as well, such as the
party tomorrow night for our friend Wufei.
“You forgot?” Quatre exclaimed when I admitted that I
had, “you, Duo Maxwell, who lives with his palm pilot
tattooed to his right arm, forgot about a party?”
I chuckled in embarrassment for I had forgotten
entirely. Trowa laid into me with his heavy gaze,
telling me with a reprimanding gaze that I should not
have needed a reminder.
“Okay,” I say before I can get even more guilt tripped
by the two, “I’m sorry I forgot, but thanks for the
reminder. I’ll be there. Can’t miss Wufei’s debut.”
The three of us snicker at my comment while Heero
looks on politely with a smidgen of confusion on his
face. I realize that the joke is an inside one that
could only be understood by those involved, but it was
not my job to make him feel like he was included.
So then why did I open my big mouth? I blame my
“You see, Heero, Wufei’s our friend who’s finally
coming back after his two years stint in China. We
haven’t seen him in a while and tomorrow’s the welcome
“Oh,” Heero replied quickly, “so why is it a debut?”
The three of us busted out in laughter and somehow, in
drunken unison, we answered him.
“Because we’re going to meet his wife!”
I was laughing so hard by this time that I was
gripping my stomach with my left hand while my right
one was hitting Heero’s shoulder. Quatre laughed
right along with me, nearly falling into Trowa in his
efforts to remain upright.
“Why is it so funny that you’ll meet his wife?”
Heero still sounded puzzled, but I think I see
amusement in his eyes now. He must have gathered from
the way we were acting that Wufei’s marriage was
somehow a comical event, but as to why probably
“Because,” Trowa replied since Quatre and I were still
laughing, “Wufei hasn’t met her yet either.”
If Heero thought we were a bunch of basketcases, he
did not say. However, he did start laughing with us
and it caught me off guard a bit. It was a generously
rich sound, across between a rumble and a tenor, a
deeply masculine sound that made my heart skip a small
First his looks, then his smile, now his laugh. They
all appealed to me so much and I had to remind myself
once again that I did not like Heero.
Sometime after one, Quatre and Trowa excused
themselves and went home, leaving me so very alone
with Heero. They reminded me once again of the party
and I was left to ponder if I should just go home too.
I sneaked a glance at Heero through my martini glazed
eyes, trying to think of a good excuse to go home
instead of staying and talking.
If Heero had been a normal person which I’m beginning
seriously doubt, as soon as Quatre and Trowa left, he
would have shifted his seat so that he’d be facing me.
However, he still sat next to me, ignoring the
perfectly empty sets of seats across from us. I would
have moved if I could, but I was trapped by the wall
I had a feeling the wall might be easier to move at
this point in time.
“I like your friends. They are very laid back.”
I cannot fault him for liking my friends so I should
not be rude to him.
“They are great guys,” I hear myself say, “and you
won’t find any better.”
Heero tilted his head and looked at me then. I mean,
really looked at me, as in staring into my eyes with
his lovely blues, focusing entirely on me and drowning
out the surrounding environment with the intensity.
“I like you too, you know. I just wish you would stop
being afraid and give me a chance.”
“That does it! I’m leaving.”
I practically shoved Heero out of my way to get out of
the corner. The world was slightly askew, but I
managed to stay on my feet and toss down money on the
table. This situation seemed an awful lot like the
coffee house incident.
This time, however, I did not get to make it out of
the bar because Heero latched onto my arm with his
surprising strong grip and forced me back down.
“What is your goddamned problem?” I blurt out, trying
my hardest not to start a fight in the middle of a
His eyes became a bit distant then, almost as if he
was contemplating my question a little too closely.
When they refocused on me, they seemed a bit shy,
perhaps even a bit uncertain.
“I don’t know,” Heero said quietly, “but I would like
to find out. My policy is that I leave the straight
men alone, but for some reason, I can’t do that to
That caught me off guard. In our short past, whenever
Heero had spoken to me, he had been filled with a deep
sense of confidence, as if he knew what I was thinking
before I did. Not this time, though. This time, he
sounded as uncertain as I felt. And yes, as afraid as
I felt, too.
That deflated my anger and annoyance, leaving me with
a hollow feeling.
“Only if you’d stop pestering me about having an
I sounded absolutely defeated. Maybe I was.
“You don’t really hate me.”
I snort which I guess could mean anything, but he took
that as an affirmative.
“You are attracted to me.”
“That’s your opinion,” I ground out, never denying the
Heero opened his mouth for what I was sure would be a
psychological analysis of my behavior, but I cut him
“You know, Heero, it’d be damned nice if you stop
being a psychiatrist for a moment. I can’t deal with
people analyzing every move I make, okay?”
He did look contrite then.
He apologized. And I knew without a doubt that he
meant it. Now I felt like a nasty person for snapping
“Look,” I say keeping the frustration out of my voice,
“I know what it is like to have your job define how
you interact with people. Hell, I do it a lot, too.
Apology accepted. Just.. stop hitting on me, okay?”
“I’ll try,” Heero replies, a small smile lighting his
face, “but you interest me. I just want to get to
“Huh? Why?” was my intelligent answer. Why would
anyone want to get to know someone who was not
interested in them in the way they were interested?
Why would Heero want to expend his time and efforts on
getting to know me when I had told him that I wished
no romantic involvement with him?
“Because..” Here, Heero pauses for a moment as if to
gather the proper words. I wonder what they are. Why
do you want to know me, Heero?
“Because,” he finally says, “I think you’re special.”
I think I stop breathing. I think my heart stops
I think I need another drink.