GW500 #345: Planet - (Distant Rumbles)
Title: Distant Rumbles
Author: Meretseger
Pairing/Characters: Trowa, Quatre, vague pairing-ish hints because that's how I roll.
Rating: PG13?
Word count: 2881.
Warnings/Kinks: Not really.
Summary: A thunderstorm lightens up more than the night sky during an unexpected hotel stay. Written for gw500 prompt: planet.
Disclaimer: Standard refusal to claim any canon or characters as my own. Also, deleted/reposted because rich text sucks.



Soft sounds like taps at the back of his consciousness pattered away in the dark; little things, raindrops lightly battering at the glass of the window to the left of him. They slid through his mind the same as they did over the panes, twisting along in rivers and runs, working top to bottom in unpredictable patterns.

His thoughts followed them.

It was too difficult to sleep. He had accepted the stay at the villa, after a while, but there was something very... calming about that place. It was spacious, and very open, with few real doors. That alone gave him comfort; if he was to be in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, freedom to roam would be of the utmost necessity. Quatre had noticed, and given him permission to explore the grounds, out from under the ever-watchful eyes of the Maguanacs.

Yes, even there, surrounded by forty soldiers, a handful of staff, and a fellow pilot, he felt free.

But here... here, in this hotel room, with all the doors in so small an area, and blackout curtains shutting out any hint of light? With all the furniture crowded up on itself, jammed in where-ever they could make it fit, so that nothing could possibly be left out?

Quatre might have reserved the best suite they had, but it still resembled a cage.

What was he doing in this place? He'd declined the offer to stay, hadn't he? Figured it was just further proof that Quatre wasn't meant to be on the battlefield. And he'd left Heavyarms out there, too. The enormous tarp wasn't much cover for the 60' suit. Anyone curious enough would be able to take a peek. Someone was probably sneaking a look right that very moment. Sleeping in a truck wasn't anything new to him. He should've been down there, crashed out on the cot in the back of the cab. Not on the floor of a posh hotel room with no sheets and his arms for a pillow.

Damn him, anyway. Things had gotten so much more confusing since Quatre's arrival, and all because he'd surrendered to the guy at Corsica. Worse, he couldn't even tell if he was upset about that. Trapped deep down inside of him, his emotions couldn't separate themselves and float to the top, so they'd instead decided to whirl around and muddy his mental waters until they resembled a lake after a landslide.

Despite being a good few feet away, he could hear every movement Quatre made in his sleep - and it annoyed him to no end. He hadn't been around anyone long enough the last few years to get used to what they sounded like at night. No crowds of people in tents, no campfires, no rowdy songs till all hours. Not since the betrayal. Loneliness had been his lullaby. The sounds of blankets rustling and the mattress creaking every time Quatre shifted startled him, jolting him back to full soldier-style awareness.

Like now. Quatre was rolling around again, and -

- And getting out of bed?

Trowa tilted his head, watching through his bangs to try and see where Quatre was going. It didn't seem like he'd been having nightmares, after all. Certainly wasn't the bathroom. The floor space he'd picked out was right nearby it, and the footsteps weren't coming his way.

Ah. The patio door? Why out there? He'd already checked the balcony. Nothing of interest, other than a good view, and there wasn't any of that going on at midnight in the rain.

He waited until he heard it slide shut again before sitting up and running his hand through his hair twice. It was as good as it was going to get without involving a comb, and it didn't really matter anyway. Again: midnight.

Seeing that the curtains were obscuring his view, he scowled and got to his feet, creeping over to the patio door. The carpet seemed like it would have been lush. It muffled him well enough. Part of him wondered what it would feel like under his bare skin, but he hadn't been willing to take off his boots before laying down, and he didn't want to now. The night before a mission, anything could happen.

Trowa nudged the curtain aside and peeked out through the glass, searching for Quatre. Surprisingly, he found the young man standing right there, pressed up against the door with his arms wrapped around himself.

Quatre noticed the movement of the curtain and straightened up, turning to grace him with one of those ever-radiant smiles, though the effect was slightly lessened in the dim lighting. A tap on the glass caught Trowa's attention, and he raised an eyebrow, curious.

It's raining.

He gave a soft snort. It was the most useless thing Quatre could have mouthed at him.

Well. He didn't know why Quatre wanted to be out in a storm, but whatever. Provided nobody got wise and took it as the chance to attack the Winner heir, it wasn't any of his concern. He needed to rest before the next morning.

Trowa spun on his heel.

The mission was important. If they were lucky, they could end the impending war. Take out all the dangerous people in the organization before they could -

Another tap.

He froze, brows furrowing, and waited. When he didn't look, he heard it again, more insistent this time.

Trowa pressed his lips into a thin line and glanced over, only to find that Quatre was facing the other way once more. As if he hadn't done anything at all. Made no attempt to catch his attention and play on his curiosity. It was almost maddening.

Huh. So there was some deviousness behind that gentle exterior.

He reached out to slide the door open just wide enough to allow him to slip through, bracing for the cold, and found himself quietly grateful for his preference for turtlenecks.

"What are you doing?" he asked, voice low with mild irritation.

"Watching the storm," Quatre replied, nodding his head toward the rain falling on the far end of the balcony. Something that neared awe seemed to thread through his words as he spoke, a jagged bolt of lightning lighting up the night sky just as he finished, tearing a brilliant line of white into the blackness.

Trowa looked up when the flash had faded, waiting patiently and counting, lips silently half-forming the numbers.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven.

The boom was relatively late, but still loud. They were going to have one hell of a proper storm once it got overhead, and that wasn't going to take long.

"Trowa?"

"The distance," he said, glancing over. "It's based on the interval. Three seconds to a kilometer."

"Oh."

They stood there in silence for a while, listening to the cracking and rumbling that followed each strike. Privately, Trowa thought it less bothersome than the earsplitting whine of Heavyarms' gatling. He could still hear that through all the layers that protected the cockpit from the outside; sometimes, he wondered if he'd damaged his ears by fighting inside a mobile suit for most of his life. It wasn't as though he'd ever had his hearing tested.

After a few moments of deep consideration, he decided that - for now - they were probably no worse off than anyone else's. He could still catch the tiniest of sounds. His night of sleeplessness had proved it.

He'd just started to think back to some of his earliest memories, standing out in fields and walking along by long, twisting roads without anyone to accompany him, when Quatre's voice broke his concentration.

"It's not like this on the colonies," Quatre said. Trowa couldn't tell if it was meant as a comment or an ice breaker, and so chose to err on the side of caution, saying nothing in return. He didn't have long to wait, in any case, as Quatre soon clarified himself. "Lightning and thunder. We don't have those."

It wasn't anything Trowa didn't already know. Simulating bolts of electricity would have taken up a massive amount of energy that no colony could spare, and in the enclosed space, it would be beyond dangerous. A puncture would be devastating. Besides, how could they control something like that? How could anyone possibly predict where it would strike when the entire city was encased in a metal shell? Sure, recreating thunder would be relatively easy. It didn't threaten anyone, either. But why bother with it when there wouldn't be any lightning?

"You've seen videos," Trowa said. A sheltered colonist with no access to education might be surprised by the thunderstorm. The son of one of the richest men alive, however, had no right.

Quatre shook his head.

"It's not the same in person," he insisted. "I can feel it in the air." Another thunderclap, and Quatre grinned. "Speakers can't get that loud, either."

Trowa had to (grudgingly) admit that he had a point.

An idea took hold of him then, and he pushed off from the door, stepping forward and over to the far end of the balcony, where the rain was sheeting down. The thick sweater quickly grew even heavier, weighed down with water as it was, but he didn't care; there were extra clothes in his duffel bag. His current ones probably needed a rinsing out anyhow, since it'd been a couple days since he'd had access to a washing machine.

"Trowa! It's not safe to be out in a thunderstorm!"

He shot Quatre a look of mild disbelief - or tried to, despite the curtain of bangs presently and rather wetly plastered to his face. There they were, a handful of hours from heading out to get either themselves or government leaders killed - with odds leaning heavily toward the former - and Quatre was being cautious about the weather. That wasn't even taking into account the fact that they'd already been out in it for fifteen minutes, on a balcony, and more or less at the top of one of the tallest buildings in the city to boot.

Something about Trowa's expression must have pointed that out to Quatre as well, as he managed to look amused and sheepish all at once. He gave a quiet laugh and padded forward; Trowa noticed that he hadn't any socks or shoes on, and privately wondered whether or not that was a bigger reason for his hesitation than any perceived dangers.

Quatre had only been standing there with him for a few seconds before remembering something. It was almost like the last bolt of lightning had jarred the realization free.

"This was silk," he said, looking at his sleeves with a kind of resignation. He hated waste.

"You can buy another," Trowa replied, effectively dismissing the concern. If the hidden barb about Quatre's wealth and the way he used it - say, for posh suites while hiding his identity as a Gundam pilot - was intentional, he wasn't saying.

"I suppose," Quatre acknowledged, trying to push his hair out of his eyes and having little luck as the rain did its best to keep it there. He didn't show any sign of having picked up on the secondary meaning in Trowa's remark. At least, not outwardly. "I should probably do that anyway. Cotton would be more durable."

That earned him an approving nod, and he shivered, opening his mouth to say something just in time for a thunderclap to drown him out. Trowa tilted his head, and Quatre patiently waited for it to end. It was a particularly long one, all constant roiling and grumbling, and it was closer than the previous ones. He'd only counted to six.

"It's cold," he said, turning his face up to the sky and squinting, blowing out between sentences to keep the water out of his mouth. "Colony rain is always warm. The Earth is so different."

Trowa gave a noncommittal hum, only paying partial attention. He hadn't been out in the rain in a while. Drizzles were irritating - the drops falling were not enough to get anything properly soaked, but somehow still made it impossible to do anything in a normal fashion. Plus, it couldn't do any more than make his hair slightly damp, which left him feeling sticky, hot, and a touch uncomfortable. He preferred a good torrent any day of the week.

"Too cold," Quatre finally announced, shaking Trowa out of his thoughts. They'd already been standing there for a handful of minutes.

"Oh. Sorry." Making the smallest hand gesture he could and directing it at the general vicinity of the sliding glass door, Trowa waited for Quatre to head in first, just so he could check the area out one last time to reassure himself.

By the time he had gone back inside as well, toeing his boots off to keep from tracking big wet footprints on the carpet, Quatre had already acquired towels and gotten himself changed into dry clothing; Trowa noticed that he had on a different set of trousers and a clean shirt that was only partway buttoned and hadn't been tucked in on all sides yet. He allowed himself to watch for a while, vaguely interested both by just how scraggly and wavy the blond's hair was and how generally disorganized he now looked. For some reason, it made Quatre seem less distant - more like a regular person with regular wartime troubles, instead of some anonymous rich kid who'd probably never even scraped his knee.

Finally, a long stare directed his way made him turn around, snatching up one of the towels for himself; grabbing his duffel bag, he marched into the bathroom to get himself back in order, outside and in.

Draping his waterlogged clothes over the shower curtain rod once he'd finished toweling off and shrugging into drier ones, Trowa cracked the bathroom door open and peered out into the main room. Quatre was resting on the left side of the bed with his hands behind his head, buried beneath a pile of blankets and looking up at the ceiling, mouthing numbers to himself every time the room lit up a little more from the outside.

Trowa counted, too, and noted that the storm was moving away again before padding back out.

The carpet really was rather nice, now that he was no longer wearing socks or shoes.

As Trowa approached his sleeping spot, he shot Quatre another glance, still trying to match up the person he looked like he would be with the person he'd actually been while Trowa was around and failing. The longer he was around Quatre, the less the expectation and the reality seemed to fit together.

Quatre noticed him watching then and sat up, hands in his lap, raising an eyebrow.

Trowa's gaze flicked from him to the empty right side and lingered there just long enough for two trains of thought coming from separate stations at different speeds to successfully crash into each other in the middle with a spectacular explosion, then down to his own space and back to Quatre once more.

And that was where it stayed while he stood there like a lemon for one of the longest minutes of his life.

At least until Quatre abruptly lay down and turned onto his side, obviously meaning to go to sleep whether or not there was someone hanging about watching him.

Trowa took the final few steps toward where he'd been resting on the floor earlier that night and settled himself down as well, closing his eyes and trying one last time to go over the basic guideline for the upcoming mission.

...will be finished at New Edwards. Conference leaders to leave by aircraft. Enemy target will present OZ signature. Take it down by any means necessary. Completion of mission will result -

"Trowa."

He paused his mental recitation and rolled over to find Quatre leaning over the edge of the bed and looking down at him.

The sequel to the previous longest minute of his life came and went with equal amounts of uncertainty and wordless questioning, a kind of faintly unnerving hush falling between them again. Like there was something he thought he was supposed to say or do, but he couldn't put his finger on it no matter how hard he tried.

At last, Quatre reached behind himself and dragged some of the sheets and a pillow from the bed, sporting a grin as he pushed them over the edge and toward where Trowa lay. Trowa stayed motionless while Quatre moved back to where he had been and settled, waiting for the soft breaths and occasional snore that meant Quatre had finally gotten comfortable and dozed off. When he was satisfied that Quatre wouldn't wake up, he took the bedding, shoving the pillow under his head and spreading the comforter over himself, grateful to have the extra warmth after the icy rain.

Trowa slept.

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Comments
darthanne From: darthanne Date: May 30th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice. Very nice. You've captured these two so well. I love their interaction in this, and their different reactions to the storm.
From: meretseger_7 Date: May 30th, 2012 11:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I appreciate that. The idea bit hard and wouldn't let go - I'm glad it turned out to be a good one.

I love to play with the idea that there are a ton of things about Earth that would just fascinate Quatre. Like a sunrise, or a tornado. And Trowa's just so jaded, heh. It's a fun combination to write.
lil_1337 From: lil_1337 Date: May 30th, 2012 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was lovely. Despite the impending mission there is a sense of peace here. You captured so well the way that Trowa talks without words as well as how Quatre views the beauty of the Earth. I really enjoyed this. Thank you for writing and posting.
From: meretseger_7 Date: May 30th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so much. And it was a wonderful prompt! Sparked the thought right away.

It felt like it would be an interesting take on fandom's belief that Trowa went back on his denial at New Edwards. Plus, it's been raining here so much lately, thunderstorms were just... on the mind.

(I love digging around in Trowa's head more than anything else, honestly. Y'all are probably gonna see a lot of stuff about him from me. Oops?)
lil_1337 From: lil_1337 Date: May 30th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I envy you your rain. It is bone dry and hot here.

Trowa's head is an interesting place to wander around in. I've spent quite a few hours doing the same.

scacao From: scacao Date: May 31st, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was so fantastic, my gosh. I love your characterization of Trowa. Please never stop writing, thanks.... lol
From: meretseger_7 Date: May 31st, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm really glad to hear that. I promise you'll see more from me in the future. :)
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