Quatre shoved the last Gatling gun round into place and exerted himself to ensure the massive barrels spun freely. Satisfied, he rubbed his palms together and stepped back. "Okay, done up here."
Trowa leaned out of Heavyarms' cockpit, glanced up. "Great - all looks good from in here too. Thanks, Quatre."
"Don't mention it." He reached for the winch and lowered himself to the open hatch. He looked up as Trowa closed Heavyarms' chest. "Don't you find it awfully inconvenient to have a Gundam armed like this? When you run out of ammo, all you've got left is that oversized Swiss Army knife..."
"Don't underestimate the power of the Swiss Army." Faint smile. "Besides, I didn't choose this ordinance. I only helped build this thing."
Quatre shook his head. "I really wonder what Doctor S was thinking..."
"This mobile suit wasn't made for me. It was made for-" He stopped himself short, not wanting to share that with Quatre just yet. "I suppose Doctor S designed Heavyarms this way as a trade-off for building it for someone he knew would abuse its power."
Quatre raised a brow at that, sensing there was more to Trowa's story. As many times before, he decided to wait until Trowa was ready to tell him rather than attempt to force it out. They had time. Thinking of which... He glanced at his wristwatch. "Where's Heero and Duo? They should have been back by now..."
Trowa shrugged. "Maybe Duo hung around to give Howard detailed instructions on Deathscythe's repairs."
Weak bite of lower lip. "You don't think something happened, did you?"
Standing up, Trowa went over to place a hand on Quatre's shoulder. Briefly, he closed his eyes, listened- He looked off in the distance, out the open hangar doors, and pointed out what he'd already heard. "Look."
Quatre did. Wing was approaching in bird mode. The blond's initial smile soon turned faded away as he noticed the aircraft start to roll, only to quickly recover, overbalance and straighten up again. Even at this distance, Wing's fuselage appeared to be shaking.
They shared a glance, a thought. They reached for Heavyarms' portable fire extinguishers. Carrying one each, they winched to the ground and ran outside. They couldn't see any smoke trails or obvious signs of damage - but looks could be deceiving.
On its final approach now, Wing steadied out, transformed and touched down, going down on one knee in the process. The hatch opened as Trowa and Quatre approached, their run slowing to a trot.
Duo waved down at them, grabbed a winch and headed down, Heero following.
Quatre put his extinguisher down. "What happened up there? Is something wrong with Wing's controls?"
Duo gave him a puzzled look, then turned to give Heero a grin.
Heero nursed his right ear with a palm, something he'd done all the way down as well. "I had a slight situation with my inner ear, that's all."
Trowa smiled softly. "Ah - I've had that happen sometimes, through abrupt altitude shifts. I've got some pills that work wonders for earaches like that. If you want-"
Heero raised a flat palm, shaking his head. "No, it's nothing like that."
He finally let go of his ear, slapped the left side of his head before poking inside the afflicted ear with his pinkie, glaring at Duo all the while.
Duo chuckled. "Oh, come on - it's not like I spat in your ear. I just... wiggled inside a bit."
Trowa flagged a brow. Quatre tried to conceal a snicker behind his palm.
Half a smirk, grunt. "Next time, be content with nibbling my earlobe."
Duo poked Heero in the chest, still grinning. "And what makes you think I'd ever do it again, when you talk to me like that?"
Heero paused for a second. Smirking dangerously, he took a step closer, reached around Duo's neck and leaned in to kiss him thoroughly, meeting no resistance.
Only Quatre's polite cough broke the moment.
As Duo struggled to recover his breath, Heero asked "Good enough reason?"
Grin, breath. Duo slapped his hand down on Heero's shoulder. "I'll accept that," breath, "as an advance." Breath. "I'll collect the rest later."
Snort. Heero put an arm around Duo's shoulder and guided him away. "We're heading back to the safehouse," he called out over his shoulder.
"Okay - we'll put Wing away before we follow you."
Heero nodded. "Appreciate it."
As their friends retreated, Quatre took a tentative hold of Trowa's hand, slowly tightening his grip while he smoothed the back of Trowa's hand with his thumb. "Trowa...?"
"When was the last time you washed your ears?"
Trowa gave him a questioning glance at first, but broke out in a smirk as be began pulling the blond towards the small hangar washroom.