04_after: (out of focus)
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.

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Quatre Winner

April 2012

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