Trowa found his way to the river easily. It was almost a half hours walk but the terrain was pleasant enough and there were few trees to hinder his view. The noises and smells of the flowing water were a comfort to him and he wondered about its temperature. A swim would clear his mind.
He stepped precariously onto the bank, using stones to balance on instead of wetting his feet. The water here was quiet, smooth, and he peered in its crystalline surface finding green eyes staring back up at him.
He whispered to himself, as if he were asking his reflection what it thought of its newly appointed name. It had been surprisingly easy to adapt to. All through breakfast he had not faltered when someone spoke to him. Treize had obviously let Netti and the rest in on the ruse, only Milliardo had yet to speak. The man had seemed perturbed at breakfast, even more so than usual. Treize on the other hand, was back to his normal imperial manner. Trowa wondered how these people could be so elusive with their feelings.
Careful you dont fall in.
At the sudden interruption, Trowa wavered, his foot slipping on the slick surface of the rock. His arms flailed a little and he felt himself tipping forward, falling, the river water beneath ready to accept him.
And then he was stopped.
He felt something wrap around his waist and he was pulled backwards. His feet scuffled around a bit more before strong arms steadied him, still standing on the rock.
He looked down and saw Heeros arms gripping tightly at his midsection; Heeros feet, ankle deep in the mud; Heeros face, inches from his own.
Are you okay? Heero looked genuinely worried, and wet. His hair dripped river water and his bare brown shoulders were sprinkled in watery diamonds. Trowa felt the warmth where Heero held him, and the water that was soaking into his clothes.
I . . . yes, Im fine.
Heero released his grip and Trowa stepped down from the rock, tip-toeing onto the grass.
Your shoes. Trowa regarded Heeros bare feet as he pulled them from the rivers silt.
I was barefoot already. Swimming. Heero stepped into the calm water at the bank, rinsing his feet and exited the same way Trowa had.
Thank you. Trowa said when the dark haired boy came to join him on the grass.
It was my fault, I startled you.
Trowa was finding it difficult to look at the boy, even more difficult not to stare, Thank you all the same, and he risked a glance at cobalt eyes.
Heero was smiling slightly, his eyes dancing over the seemingly shy boy before him.
Youre cute. He said lightly, the smile audible in his tone.
Trowas eyes grew large and he looked at the ground a blush spreading across his cheeks. What was wrong with him, he thought for the second time that day, he didnt blush.
Heero was laughing lightly as he took one of Trowas hands, Come on. Ill show you something.
Treize watched the two boys from an upstairs window. From this far he couldnt tell what was going on but he saw when Heero grabbed Trowas hand and watched as he drug the boy into the woods. It stung pangs of jealousy in his heart, and envy, and of course, regret.
It reminded him of a very long time ago; France, summer, and a petite blonde. The memory was fresh in his mind, he had relived it a lot as of late. But he resisted it this time. That was far in his past, and even further from a happy ending.
He stood for a second more, watching the bushes rustle where the two had just traveled, and turned from the window, disappearing into a darkened hallway.
Are you always so quiet? Heero asked Trowa as they entered a small clearing in the woods. They were walking now, a relief after the ten minute jog they had taken earlier. Heero had pulled Trowa through dense undergrowth, stray branches and briars scratching at his legs from time to time. Trowa could only imagine what they were doing to Heeros bare feet.
Are you? Trowa countered, neither he nor Heero had spoken since the river.
Heero laughed slightly, Touche.
They stopped as they reached the center of the clearing, Heero pulling on Trowas hand to halt him, having yet to release it. Trowa turned to Heero who nodded in the direction ahead of them. Trowa looked that way.
The area in which they stood was shrouded in a dome of trees, the sunlight through the leaves, dappling the ground, and kissing their shoulders. Ahead of them Trowa saw a wall of vegetation, reaching well above his head and blocking all passage. He looked again at Heero. What was he supposed to be seeing.
Look harder, Heero replied to the unspoken question and after a second look, the thing he had been brought to see became visible.
Beneath the layers of leaves and grime, behind the invading branches and twisted vines, Trowa found splotches of gray, crumbles of concrete, shapes and forms even mother nature could not devise. A head appeared from the jigsaw as if by magic, and then an arm, and a wing.
What is it? Trowa asked, clearly affected by the otherworldly nature of the sight.
The building ahead of them was small but impressive, and could barely be seen by the common passerby. Its walls were round and surrounded by columns, which held between them small statues of angels and saints. Its concrete surface, or what one could see of it, had been marred by the passage of time, stained and cracked in many places, yet flawless in others.
A mausoleum, Heero remarked, and tugged at Trowas hand, pulling the boy closer to the building. Trowa resisted.
Come on, Heero encouraged, Trowa was still, looking up at the small building before them, only now with a degree of reverence.
Whos in there? Trowa asked cautiously.
A long list of dead Khushrenadas. Ive never been in the catacombs, theyre sealed now, but mother tells me there are nearly twenty generations in a maze below our feet.
Whos up here?
Thats what I wanted to show you, Heero said and he grinned as he released the hand he held and walked to the entrance.
Trowa watched as he pulled aside branches, moved chunks of fallen concrete and began a losing battle with the door.
Would you help me? Heero grunted.
Trowa didnt want to. Wasnt this desecration? But then, what else were mausoleums for? Even the dead needed visitors from time to time.
He moved beside Heero and began pushing on the more than solid oak. It groaned its complaint at the forced entry and then gave suddenly, Heero tumbling in first and onto his back. Trowa came after, toppling onto Heero.
The room was dark save for the pale sunlight that spilled in from the door. Dust motes danced in the stale air, buzzing with the activity. Trowa looked up quickly after his fall to assess their surroundings, his eyes falling immediately upon the central figure of the room.
Standing four feet in front of them, its outspread wings reaching over nine feet, stood a glorious marble angel. Its gaze was sent toward the tomb below it, its hand reaching out as if to plea the dead back to life. And perpetually stilled on its cold stone cheeks lay sparkling diamond tears. They caught the light and sprinkled it around the room, a starry midday sky.
Ohhh, Trowa breathed, the sight before him startling in its depressive environment, its beautiful.
My sentiments exactly, he heard the nasally tone from below him, and felt a warm hand brush his face. He looked down at Heero, he had almost forgotten him. Heero was not looking at the the statue. Instead, the intense cobalt glare came directly up at him.
Trowa got up quickly.
Im sorry. The door opened so fast--
I know, Heero replied brusquely, and got up. He seemed bothered suddenly.
Trowa ignored the tone, and was once again caught in the beauty before him.
Whose tomb is this? He asked, bending to look the angel directly in the face.
I dont really know, Heero answered halfheartedly, kicking at the rubble scattered on the floor, they were the last person laid here.
Well, who buried them? Surely they would know.
Mother told me once that it was uncle Treize, but he wouldnt say who it was, not even to her. I didnt even know that was in here until I broke in a few summers ago.
She looks so sad. Trowa remarked meeting the angels gaze.
So do you, Heero returned, moving closer to Trowa, touching his hair.
Trowa ignored the advance, Was Treize ever married?
Did he have a lover, I mean, could this be a woman he once loved?
I dont know, Heero sighed.
Trowa ran his hands along the cold face, thumbing the diamond tears, He must have loved them very much, dont you think, Heero?
How in the hell should I know? Heero muttered, moving away from Trowa and heading toward the door. Heero was no longer in the mood to answer questions, something had changed in him. The inviting boy Trowa encountered at the river was gone.
Its getting near lunch time, he said as Trowa looked at him oddly, lets close it up.