July thirteenth, AC 207
Avoiding Quatre without avoiding suspicion is close to impossible. Instead, I have to pick my battles. The beach trip yesterday was a little too much, so I talked Rashid into showing me the bunker system. I'm glad I did.
It wasn't as if the tour itself wasn't interesting. There might not be any mobile suits around, but their armory is still plentiful, if it ever came to another guerrilla war. It wasn't as if Rashid bored me with the details of what they'd changed since the battle here two years ago, what they'd repaired, how they'd converted the top levels to habitats for the Maganac families.
The reason talking to Rashid made me happy was the way the conversation always returned to one topic; Quatre. The Maganacs care for him in a way I have trouble fathoming. None of the mercenary bands I was in, formed such a fondness for any member of their team. Some were brothers in arms, sure enough - but the man in charge was someone you feared and respected, not necessarily someone you'd lay down your life for, because if you did, no promotion for you. Sucks for him that he was careless, and got killed, that sort of attitude.
The Maganacs and Quatre are far beyond that. I really don't understand it - I don't know what Quatre did to win such affection, such dedication, but it must have been spectacular. I want to ask him, but I couldn't. I asked Rashid, but he said that was not a story for him to tell.
I think he knew I wouldn't dare ask Quatre directly. Rashid might not have Quatre's empathic sense, but he felt enough like a mind-reader just then.
Somewhere in the conversation, I tried to off-handedly insert a remark, a question; 'so, the Maganacs must really like Quatre...'
"We all love him," Rashid answered so quickly, so matter-a-factly that I just couldn't believe it. "He's the son or brother of every man in the company. He's their leader. He's their friend. That he is also their benefactor is almost trivial beside that."
I took him to mean with that last point that the feeling was definitely mutual - and I know he's right. I've seen him talk to Rashid, seen him light up with the man enters the room - and I've wanted so badly to kill Rashid and take his place.
The fact is, though - Rashid has the guts to voice his feelings for Quatre, even to strangers.
How can I compete with that, if I remain dumb?
Another note... once I've thought about this a while.
- T. B.