A HARD DAY
3+4, yaoi, for jania’s birthday
Trowa sat in the lounge and listened to Quatre coming home to the apartment after a hard day at the office. He knew that was the case because of the way that the door was slammed; the way that Quatre’s car keys were thrown down on the table rather than placed carefully; the way that Quatre kicked his boots off in the hall, without waiting to change in the bedroom.
Trowa had learned a lot about his partner in the last few months. He took a careful breath and stood up to greet him.
Quatre came into the lounge, tugging at his tie as if it choked him. He shrugged his jacket off on to the couch and walked straight to the drinks cabinet. He didn’t meet Trowa’s eyes.
“What was it today?” Trowa kept his voice deliberately soft and calm.
Quatre shrugged, his back to Trowa. “The damned takeover just drags on. The due diligence report has uncovered all manner of undisclosed loans. Half of the staff members are without legal contracts. The building failed a structural inspection only six months ago.”
Trowa nodded, though Quatre couldn’t see him. “The stress continues, right up until the very day of signing. It’s happened before.”
Quatre gave a slight grunt of agreement and turned to face Trowa.
Trowa knew that Quatre’s face was pale from too little sleep, and his shoulders knotted with tension. Yet he concentrated instead on the other man’s wide blue eyes and the spark of pleasure that he saw there, greeting him in return.
“Doesn’t make it any easier to cope with,” Quatre sighed. “I don’t want to dwell on it, Trowa.”
Trowa frowned. He knew that Quatre wanted to talk about it, but that he worried about carrying over a bad day into their private evening. Quatre struggled all the time with balancing his work responsibilities and his personal life with Trowa. He had yet to understand that Trowa didn’t care about that – that he could absorb a lot of the angst without it ever disturbing his affection for Quatre himself.
Trowa walked over to stand beside him, picked up a cut glass tumbler and started to make Quatre his drink. “What else happened?” he asked, gently. “Tell me.”
“Nothing much,” Quatre replied. “Really.” His eyes flickered guiltily away from Trowa’s face.
Trowa put the drink into Quatre’s hand, and then ran his fingers along the strong line of Quatre’s jaw. “Crap. I said, tell me. I want to hear.”
Quatre smiled, just a little. He was still very tense, but his head tilted slightly, nuzzling against Trowa’s touch. “You’re persistent.”
“Very,” agreed Trowa. “In many, many ways. So if you know what’s good for you, you won’t try to resist me, OK?”
Quatre smiled fully, then. “Hey. I’m scared. I’d better surrender.” He took a generous sip and leaned back against the cabinet. His free hand swung at his side, brushing against Trowa’s hip. It seemed to ground him. “It was just… a hard day. The car broke down on the way to the lawyer’s office, right in the middle of four lanes of traffic. We pushed it to the side and caught a cab, but I was very late.”
Trowa nodded. Quatre hated being late for anything. The stress would have started right then.
“Then…” Quatre sighed. “Rozanne resigned, did I tell you? I mean, it’s all for the best, now that she’s moving away, but I don’t know what I’ll do without her help around the office. The lawyers billed their interim account – 150% higher than the budgeted amount! – and she’s the one who’d usually take them to task on that. Then no-one could contact the building inspector to query the survey – and the Human Resources manager at the new company is on long-term sick, apparently with all the personnel files for company at home, because none of them could be found in the office.”
Trowa smiled. “And then you had the monthly Board meeting to attend, as well. Hell of a day.”
Quatre flushed. He rolled the glass around in his hand, almost as if he were embarrassed.
“What is it?” Trowa was intrigued, and a little concerned. “Was there trouble there, too?”
“Depends what you mean by… trouble.” Quatre was looking anywhere but at Trowa, despite the fact he stood right beside him. Trowa put a hand on his shoulder.
“I made an announcement,” Quatre said, abruptly. His eyes looked right into Trowa’s at last, as if looking for support. “I told them that I’d be able to attend the annual Business Awards Dinner after all – and that you’d be accompanying me as my personal guest. As my partner.”
“I…?” Trowa was startled. “But I thought you didn’t want it made public?”
Quatre grimaced. “God, did I ever say that? Sounds like I’m ashamed of it; like I’m ashamed of you as my partner.”
“No, that’s not how it is.” Trowa rushed to reassure him, though his heart was starting to beat more fiercely. “I understand why. You’re in the public eye – there’s a certain expectation of you. You shouldn’t even need to share your personal life, but of course the paparazzi are greedy for anything about you. You just need to find the right time to let people know…”
“That’s now,” Quatre interrupted. “I’m tired of pretence. I’m tired of making excuses for social events – for having to smile at young ladies as if I might be romantically interested in them. For listening to the puerile jokes of some of my Board members. It’s time that they all grew up, that they accepted me as I am. And you, alongside me.”
Trowa stared. His heart was full, his throat tight with words unspoken. He and Quatre had found something very special and very private, and for a while he’d considered it enough for him, just to share it between themselves. That was all that mattered – he and Quatre, together in the dark hours, touching and kissing and laughing under their breath. Quatre’s hand on his neck and his legs wrapped around his thighs. The breathless excitement of the night, and the shock of delighted emotion that tightened in his chest each morning, whenever he woke to find Quatre beside him in bed.
Quatre said he never felt more at home than when he was with Trowa: wherever they were. That was what mattered, Trowa thought. Not any public declaration, not any political or lifestyle statement to the press.
Or at least, that’s what he’d persuaded himself into believing.
“Trowa?” Quatre was staring at him. “You’re everything to me. You’ve offered your whole life to me – adapted everything you do to fit in with me. I don’t want that to be the case anymore. But… did I misunderstand?” He looked suddenly nervous. “Shit, if that’s not what you want -”
Trowa moved quickly, sliding his hand around Quatre’s waist and pulling him in for a long, deep kiss. His mouth swallowed Quatre’s words, seeking to caress his worries away. “I love you,” he said, simply. “I love you here with me, alone, or out there in your other world. I love you when you worry – and I love you just as much when you kick ass. I’m proud of you, whatever you do: but I’ll be especially proud to be with you in public.”
Quatre’s eyes softened. “Hell, didn’t I already say I surrender? You don’t have to keep on with the scary stuff.”
Trowa laughed. Of course he didn’t need to say it all, but it was good to do. They kissed some more, and did some loosening of clothing. The temperature in the room shifted up a couple of degrees; they started panting, softly and hungrily. Then Quatre tugged at Trowa’s hand, signalling that they both needed to move to somewhere more relaxed, somewhere that included a bed. For a second, Trowa hesitated.
“Hm?” Quatre looked sleepily sexy, his breathing quick and restless. “You want to eat first or something?”
Trowa grinned and leaned in to nip at Quatre’s lower lip. The evening was turning into something a hell of a lot more enjoyable than the day just gone. “No way. You can be just as persistent, yourself. But I was just wondering…”
Quatre pulled at his arm, impatiently. They stumbled up the hallway towards the bedroom. Trowa’s last words before he was pushed down on to the bed were muffled by kisses and drawn out around more laughter. “I was just wondering what the hell I was going to wear!”