04_after: (out of focus)
Quatre Winner ([personal profile] 04_after) wrote2010-07-20 11:25 am
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Quatre's good at keeping his worries from distracting him at work. It helps that things are busy, right now. He's had to move a few trips around in order to be able to welcome some Earth officials to L4. It's not like Quatre’s an official political figure, but given many things (his friendship with Earth Vice Foreign Minister Relena Darlian not the least among them), his first cousin twice removed had politely requested he be around.

When one’s first cousin twice removed is the prime minister, "family obligations" start to become a little more important than might be expected. Fitting work around the meetings has been—stressful.

However, in the more than a week since his conversation with Enzo, Quatre finds himself slipping back into worries whenever he gets a few, rare moments of peace in his office.

(Quatre’s learned to decompress in the small moments. It’s like getting sleep when you can; two hours sleep will never be as good as eight, but it’s a lot better than none.)

He can’t formulate it into words. Or he can, but too many words. Not words he can say (not words he has any right to say), but the boy’s demeanor troubles him, tugs at his mind.

He wishes he still had the rubber ball Caton gave him when he started work here, to "keep his brain occupied while he was busy thinking". She uses one religiously; you can hear it bouncing in her office as she untangles a problem. Quatre’d tried to justify keeping it to himself - she was right, and it kept his ability to judge distances and angles.

But when it came down to it, Caton had been a grown woman with over 15 years in business when she’d given it to him. She was an executive who helped herself concentrate using a children’s toy. He was a new CEO, young and inexperienced; untested and untrusted. He had been a child, not much older than—whatever Enzo would be, if he were human. He hadn't the room to play with toys.

Still, it nags at him and it has been for long enough that he finally decides to do something about it.


Quatre calls Iria ahead of time, to see what her schedule for the night is; when she says it's free, he invites her to dinner.

This being Iria, who hates to leave the house after 3pm, what he's really doing is claiming the dark-paneled conversation room in the main wing, and ordering in Thai. Iria says that she knows he must want to talk, because he can’t possibly eat Thai while walking around.

Quatre almost says "Watch me," but she's right so he just laughs and says he'll meet her at 9.

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-20 06:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Ms. Mertens has already laid out dinner, and Iria is waiting in the entry hall with her, caught up in a conversation about Ms. Mertens' day.

When Quatre walks in, they both look up and Ms. Mertens smiles, ducking a half-nod to the two of them before going to finish cleaning up for the night.

Iria smiles at Quatre. "Evening," she says warmly, voice carefully cast to carry no further than the entry way.

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-20 06:47 pm (UTC)(link)
"I don't know about you," Iria says, primly, "but I make sure to eat it every night."

At Quatre's look, she laughs slightly. "Over half a year, under a full one? Too long, at the least. You don't have so many family members who live with you, you know."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-20 06:52 pm (UTC)(link)
"It's that bad," Iria's tone is doubtful.

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 03:11 am (UTC)(link)
Iria laughs, again, and pinches his elbow to hear him squawk.

(He does it so wonderfully.)

"I'm glad to be of service," she says, prim again, as they enter the conversation room. The table in here, already set with covers over the dishes to keep them warm, is too low to sit at comfortably with her wheel chair. She collapses the left armrest easily, and settles into one of the armchairs with Quatre's help.

Before he moves away, she grabs his left hand to stop him and smiles, uncertain and questioning.

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 03:44 am (UTC)(link)
"Well," she squeezes back and lets his hand go, arranging her napkin in her lap as he goes to sit, "you know I'm good at giving advice."

She's relaxed; she smiles at him once he's seated, leaning in slightly. "My first piece is this: eat first, so you'll be able to think clearly."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 04:34 am (UTC)(link)
After they finish, Iria sips the tea Ms. Mertens brought up halfway through.

She watches Quatre gather his thoughts, and breathes in slowly, not wanting to rush him to speech.

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 04:35 am (UTC)(link)
"How important is the decision?"

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 04:37 am (UTC)(link)
"Okay," she says, setting down her teacup. "I think you should err on the side of too much, then."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
Iria smiles, slightly. "I won't call anyone on you for the context," she promises, "but if you start showing more symptoms, and Trowa doesn't hold up, I can't promise to keep it secret."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
"It's good to know I don't have to worry about you disappearing for twenty years out of the blue."

(Maybe that's too calm of a response, but she's already decided to hold off on questioning the reality of the context until after this discussion is over.)

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 07:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Iria leans back slightly. setting her elbows against the armrests on the lounge chair (they're wide-set, but not so much as to make it uncomfortable).

"In a physical sense, or...?"

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 08:53 pm (UTC)(link)
"How old is he? The young man."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:02 pm (UTC)(link)
If it wasn't for how Quatre said it, and the context, Iria would be a little more disbelieving. What kind of name is 'megabyte' for a virus?

As it is, she lets out a slow breath and closes her eyes. "The poor boy," Iria says, quietly.

Her eldest was only five when the last war ended, but she can too easily see him tied up in the war. And she was the one who tended to Quatre after one of his worst battles.

She suspects she knows why he's talking over this with her.

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Iria opens her eyes, pained by the guilt in Quatre's voice.

"He's not you," she says, quietly.

"He needs to learn how to handle things for himself."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:14 pm (UTC)(link)
"It happens," she says, quietly, smiling at him slight and sad over the tea. "That's how we learn anything, by handling it wrong. You just have to trust him to be able to tell when he screws up. It's his right, as a person, to make the wrong choice now and then."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Iria can sense it, too. She sits up, and glares at him. "Quatre Raberba Winner, get a hold of yourself," she says, harshly. At his startled glance, and quick locking of his teeth, she says: "Does he have a history of psychosis?" His eyes widen, and she says, sharply, "Tell me!"

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
"Did he seem like it? Don’t say you don't know."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:20 pm (UTC)(link)
"How many people could he kill with the weapons you know he has access to before he was stopped, if he tried to kill this man?"

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
"Is it greater or less than one dozen?"

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Iria goes quiet, and smiles gently. She touches Quatre's hand. "See," she says, quietly. "He's not like you at all."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:28 pm (UTC)(link)
"Care," Iria says, squeezing his hand lightly. "And don't interfere unless you must. Listening and not pressing is sometimes the best thing you can give a teenager." She laughs, quietly. "Especially if you have the luck to not actually be one of their parents."

[identity profile] winnerfamily.livejournal.com 2010-07-21 09:31 pm (UTC)(link)
"Well, yes," Iria replies, voice gently mocking. "You are in fact the first person to notice."

A short pause. "You'll be fine, Quatre. I'm sure he will be, too."