Author's note: This is set during the timeline of my other GW fanfic Kimi no Koto wa Itsudemo Mamoru. To read this please go BACK to the Gundam Wing Index.
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing and all the characters belong to Sunrise, Bandai... etc etc. Sophy Winner belongs to me!
"Trowa! TROWA BARTON!!!"
Trowa calmly turned around as Catherine's voice rose to a shriek of frustration. "Is something the matter?" he inquired in a serene tone.
Catherine planted her hands on her hips and glared at him. "Don't take that innocent tone with me!" she growled. "You know perfectly well what's wrong! You did it _again_!"
Trowa raised one eyebrow. "Hmmm?"
Catherine seethed. "Quatre and I waited for you for ages! We had to go to the late afternoon session of the movie because we missed the one we _planned_ for!"
"Was the movie good?"
"Eh?" Catherine blinked. "Why yes, but... Argh! Trowa, that's _not_ the point! For the past three days you have managed to either miss meeting us or 'something' has come up that you _have_ to attend to! It's getting silly. I thought Quatre was your _friend_!"
"He is," said Trowa. "Catherine, haven't you had a good time? With Quatre?"
Catherine spluttered. "I-I... well... yes... but..."
"Good," Trowa turned and left her.
Catherine blinked and realized that her sneaky brother had escaped her again. "This is getting to be a habit!" she muttered and stomped off to her trailer.
Once inside she sat at her dresser and leaned on it, her chin resting on her hands. She stared crossly at her reflection.
"I can't believe Trowa!" she said to herself. "I think he's taking revenge a bit far now, surely all this has more than paid me back for all the girls I threw at him?" she sighed. "And it's not fair to Quatre, to be manipulated like this, he gets enough from his sisters... although, I have to admit, I do like him..."
Catherine slumped slightly and made a face. "I mean, he's a nice guy - sweet and intelligent. I get on well with him and I do enjoy his company, but... a relationship between us is a bit unrealistic, right? After all, he's the owner of the Winner Corporation and I'm just a performer in a circus! Talk about your different worlds! It would never work..." her voice trailed away and she let out an even bigger sigh.
"And now I'm talking to myself!" Catherine said in disgust as she pushed herself upright. She glared at her reflection. "Ooooh! I want to get Trowa _so_ badly! But how? I don't know of any eligible girls I could set him up with, and he's definately not interested in any of the girls who work here! The only single person I can think of is..." an evil smile crept across Catherine's face. "Actually, that's not a bad idea," she mused. "I'll bet she's been hassling Quatre just as much as Trowa has been annoying me! Revenge for _both_ of us... although I won't tell Quatre, his conscience might get in the way!"
With renewed vigour and a plan of revenge, Catherine sprang up to set things in motion.
"And that's the last of it!" said Sophy triumphantly as she dumped a pile of papers on Quatre's desk. "Now all you have to do is stamp them."
Quatre looked at the large pile and sighed. "I'm going to be here all afternoon, aren't I?"
"And I'm _free_!" cheered Sophy punching the air in delight. She stopped bouncing and tapped her lower lip thoughtfully. "Now... what mischief can I get up too?"
"None that involves _me_ if you please!" said Quatre recalling the last time Sophy had stirred up trouble. He still had nightmares about the lime jelly and the police sometimes.
"As if I'd hurt my cute little brother!" Sophy reached over a ruffled Quatre's hair.
He gave her a pained look. "Do you _have_ to do that?" he asked.
"My my, but we _are_ gloomy today!" said Sophy. A sly twinkle appeared in her eyes. "Feeling down because the circus and the lovely Catherine leaves tomorrow?"
Quatre flushed and pretended to be _very_ interested in his work. Sophy wasn't fooled for a second and was about to tease him further when her phone rang. She answered it and laughed.
"Why Catherine! We were just talking about you!"
Quatre looked up in alarm. Sophy wouldn't say anything to embarress him would she?
"Quatre's really miserable because you're leaving..."
Who was he trying to kid? Of _course_ she'd embarress him! It was her sole mission in life... oh and to get him married to the right girl!
"What was that? Meet you?" Sophy grinned. "Sure, I'm free this afternoon... where? Oh yes, I know it... okay, one o'clock it is... on the dot... see ya!" she hung up.
Quatre tried to ignore Sophy's theatrical sigh. "Oh Quatre... I should have let you talk to her! I'm such a bad sister!"
Quatre feigned nonchalance. "We spoke quite extensively yesterday," he said calmly. "I'm sure there really isn't anything new to discuss."
"Not even that you're going to miss her like mad?" Sophy waggled a finger at him. "You'll lose her if you carry on like this!" she said seriously.
Quatre let out an exasperated sigh and got to his feet. "I'll finish this later," he said. "Right now I'm going to check on the construction site and talk to people who are _not_ trying to run my life!"
Sophy picked up her bag and coat. "I'm just being a good sister!" she sang out as she left.
Quatre groaned. "With sisters like that I don't need enemies!"
"A cafe?" Trowa frowned very (very) slightly. "Why?"
"Because Sophy told me it was really good and I want to try it before we leave tomorrow!" said Catherine. She looked pleadingly at Trowa. "And I want you to join me."
Trowa shrugged. "Very well, if you insist."
"Oh I _do_!"
Catherine took Trowa to a cute, cosy cafe in the heart of town. They took a seat at a window booth and examined the menu.
"Mmmm... the triple chocolate fudge ice-cream with nuts and chocolate sauce looks _good_!" said Catherine. "Waitress! get me one of those."
"Aren't you going to eat any real food?" Trowa asked as he ordered a salad.
"Trowa, if I wanted to eat healthy food I would've eaten back at the circus!" retorted Catherine. She surreptitiously checked her watch. Five minutes to go.
"Trowa?" Catherine got to her feet. "I have to go to the Ladies, I'll be back soon." she paused. "I think I'll order a milkshake while I'm up."
Trowa raised both eyebrows, but nodded and Catherine left, stopping on her way to snag a waitress.
Five minutes later Sophy Winner hurried inside the cafe. She spotted Trowa and waved.
"Hi!" she said depositing herself opposite him. "So what's the big thing that I have to be _exactly_ on time for?"
Trowa stared blankly at her. He was positive that Catherine hadn't mentioned that Sophy was going to be joining them. Still, it could have slipped her mind... although that was highly unlikely.
"So do you know?" Sophy pressed him.
"Can you guess?"
Sophy looked around. "And where is Catherine anyway?"
Catherine wriggled... and twisted... and wriggled again.
"Okay," she muttered in a determined voice. "I can _do_ this! I work in a circus, I can do flips, balance on a high wire and throw knives with 100 percent accuracy... oof! I am _going_ to get out of this @$#*&! window!"
With this positive reinforcement, Catherine pushed at the edge of the window again. Her lower body squeezed further out of the small window in the Ladies room and she prepared for the final shove that would take her to the ground outside.
"At least no one came in... that would have made things hard to explain! Okay, here goes... one, two... EEEP!!!"
Catherine yelped as someone grabbed her legs and yanked her out of the window.
"OWW!!!" Catherine cried as she was pulled out and into the arms of...
Quatre stared at her. "I thought I recognized those boots and that voice," he said. "But _why_ are you coming out of a window?"
Catherine smiled nervously. "Er... heheheh... can I explain as we walk away? What are you doing in this alleyway anyway?"
"It's a shortcut from the construction site," said Quatre as they walked towards the street. "So, what's your story?"
Trowa looked at his watch. "Ten minutes."
Sophy blinked. "What could she be doing in there for ten minutes?" she wondered. "I'll go and check," she said and left the table.
She was back soon, a puzzled expression on her face. "She's not there. You didn't see her leave did you, Trowa?"
"How weird! Are you sure?"
Trowa didn't respond, he was too busy looking at the group of people coming towards their table. There were two waitresses carrying a large cake in the shape of a heart while another one carried a large bottle of champagne and two glasses, and two men carrying a violin and a concertina respectively. Trowa began to have a _bad_ feeling.
Sophy turned and saw the group. "I wonder who that's for! How embarressing... wait a minute... I think they're for..."
"Us," finished Trowa in a leaden voice.
The waitresses put the cake, champagne and glasses down in front of them.
"Congratulations!" said one.
"Have a romantic anniversary!" said another.
Sophy's eyes went very, very wide and Trowa twitched.
"What...??" Sophy stuttered.
The two muscians stepped up and began to play and sing.
"Oh this is the night... it's a beautiful night and they call it Bella Notte..."
Sophy went brick-red. "I-I think there's been a mistake..." she tried to say.
Trowa simply closed his eyes and tried to will the voices away. There were two thoughts upmost in his mind. The first was that he was going to get Catherine for this. The second was _why_ were they singing a song about a beautiful night when it was still daytime?!
Trowa groaned faintly.
"You did WHAT to my sister and Trowa??" Quatre halted abruptly and turned to gape at Catherine.
"I told the management at the cafe that they were a young married couple celebrating their first anniversary," Catherine explained again. "I specified that they wanted a heart-shaped cake, champagne and to be serenaded."
Quatre shuddered. "Serenaded? That's cruel..." he shot her a puzzled look. "Why?"
Catherine was confused. "You know why," she said. "Because of what they've done to us!"
Quatre still looked puzzled. He leaned back on the park railing and frowned. "I know that Sophy's been a pain in the neck recently, but that's only to _me_. What has Trowa done to you?"
"He's the one behind all of this!" Catherine gestured wildly. "The whole reason why we're seeing so much of each other!"
Quatre shook his head. "I don't believe that," he said slowly.
Catherine looked down at the ground. "Quatre, Trowa has been manipulating us so that we'd... ah... go out. It's his revenge on me for throwing girls at him in the hope he'd start dating."
Catherine smiled sadly. "And the fact that he mixed you up in this makes it worse." she sighed. "I'm sorry."
Quatre turned a hurt face to her. "Apart from the very first suggestion, that I should take you to the function, Trowa has _never_ manipulated my wish to see you! I was always the one inviting _you_ out remember?" he said. "I thought... I believed that you and I were... connecting..."
Catherine's heart constricted at the expression on his face. "But you always invited Trowa too..." she murmured. "And he kept staying away and... I never thought..."
Quatre sighed. "If I invited him it was because he _is_ my friend and I didn't... feel that I could just... ask you... by yourself...I was hoping that you were happy to spend the time with me, but if you were feeling obligated, then... " his eyes shimmered with a mixture hurt, loss and anger.
Catherine felt a hot wave of sheer embarrassment wash over her. "Oh God... what an idiot... I'm such a moron... I'm sorry... I guess this just proves that we aren't compatable... Quatre... I'm sorry, I'll leave now... before I make even more of a fool of myself!" Catherine turned on her heels and walked swiftly away, breaking into a run when she reached the edge of the park.
"Catherine!" Quatre flung out a hand and then let it drop. "Maybe... maybe she's right... maybe." he covered his eyes with his hands. "Damnit... damnit..."
The serenade had finally ended and the musicians were gone. Sophy was no longer red with embarrassment and was now merely amused. She eyed Trowa who was eating a piece of cake.
"You and me, huh?" Sophy chuckled. "That's quite a good joke on Catherine's part!"
Trowa swallowed his mouthful. "Yes."
"Do you _ever_ speak a word of more than one syllable?"
A glimmer of a smile crossed Trowa's face. "No."
Sophy stabbed a piece of cake with her fork. "How annoying you are!" she said. "I don't think we're compatible at all, and I'll tell Catherine so next time I see her!"
At that moment Catherine ran past the window. Sophy and Trowa both blinked in surprise (well, Trowa's eyes flickered slightly).
"Wasn't that Catherine?" Sophy asked.
"She looked very upset."
"Are you going to find out what's wrong?"
Trowa got to his feet. "Yes," he fished some money out of his pockets and laid it on the table. "For the food," he said as he walked away.
"See you later... darling!" Sophy carolled after him.
Catherine slammed the door of her trailer shut and threw herself on her bed.
"Dummy! Dummy! Dummy!" she yelled into the pillow. "Why'd I have to go and open my big mouth like that?"
With a half-groan, half-sob, Catherine rolled onto her back and stared miserably at the ceiling. Quatre's hurt eyes were imprinted on her mind. She sighed and shut her eyes.
"There's no way he'd want to be involved with me now..." she said sadly.
"That's a defeatist attitude, sister."
With a startled gasp, Catherine sat up. "Trowa!"
He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. "What happened?"
Catherine hesitated at first, but the pressing desire to unburden herself overwhelm her initial reluctance and she told Trowa what had just happened between her and Quatre.
"And now, I bet he hates me! Or at the very least thinks that I'm a complete idiot!" Catherine slugged her pillow in frustration.
Trowa caught her arm. "You misjudge him," he said quietly. "Quatre probably feels hurt and confused right now, but he won't hate you."
Catherine sniffed. "Yeah, you're right... Quatre's too nice a person to do that."
"Catherine, do you..." Trowa paused. "Do you like him that much?"
Catherine stared at her hands. "Yes... no... I don't know... I think so..."
Trowa sighed. "Then you should tell him how you feel," he said. "Otherwise he will think that you don't care and that it is best to let you go, no matter how much he cares for you."
Catherine stared at him. "Why, little brother, that was quite a speech!" she shook her head. "Thank you... you've given me a lot to think about and I need time to think this through."
Trowa stood up. "Don't take too long," he warned. "Remember that we leave tomorrow. Don't leave things unresolved."
Catherine smiled up at him. "Don't worry, I won't."
Sophy opened the door to Quatre's office and paused at the threshold.
Quatre was seated at his desk, his head in his hands, a look of despair on his face.
"Quatre..." said Sophy softly. She stepped towards him. "What is it? Why do you look so sad?"
Quatre looked up at her. "Oh... Sophy... did you have a nice lunch?"
Sophy put her hands on her hips. "I think I can guess what's going on!" she said. "First Catherine runs past looking all upset and then I find you here, looking as if your world has collapsed! Did you two have a fight?"
Quatre rubbed his eyes. "Not... exactly. I just... she... she doesn't care for me, not the way I..."
"The way you do?" Sophy pressed him as his voice trailed away. Quatre nodded mutely and Sophy let out an exasperated growl. "And _what_ makes you think _that_?" she asked.
Quatre told her what had passed between him and Catherine.
"So you see," he said. "We really aren't compatible."
"CRAP!" yelled Sophy slamming her hands on the desk and making Quatre jump. "Absolute _crap_! She _does_ care about you and you care about her! You've just been getting confused because of the meddling of your siblings! Namely me and Trowa!" Sophy's expression softened and she walked round to Quatre and hugged him. "Quatre... I'm sorry, I've been pushing at you so hard, but I can tell that you love Catherine and losing her would make you unhappy."
Quatre looked at her. "Is it possible to fall in love in such a short time?" he asked.
Sophy smiled. "Hey, maybe you were in love with her for a long time but you didn't realize it until now. Just don't give up so easily, okay?"
Quatre rubbed the back of his neck. "Oh dear..." he muttered.
Sophy straightened. "What do you mean by that?"
"I guess I was a bit hasty in sending the flowers and the goodbye note..."
Catherine opened the door to her trailer and stepped out. She had had a good think about what had happened and decided that she had to take up Trowa's advice and talk to Quatre and tell him that she _did_ like him. She smoothed the front of her red sweater and tried to quell the butterflies in her stomach. Ergh... she felt even more nervous about this than performing in front of a crowd of six-year olds!
"Catherine!" The Ringmaster came up to her. He was holding a bunch of yellow roses. "This was just delivered for you."
Catherine's heart leapt at the sight of the roses. *They _must_ be from Quatre!* "Thanks Boss," she took the bouquet and saw the note attached. With trembling fingers she opened it.
One minute later the Ringmaster touched Catherine's shoulder. "Er... Cathy? Are you... alright?"
Catherine looked up from the note, her eyes sparkling with rage. "Why that little... if he thinks he can get away with this he's got another THINK COMING!!!" she yelled and dropping the roses she ran away.
The Ringmaster blinked. "I wonder what that was all about!" he muttered.
Trowa, who had been watching, was thoughtful. It looked as if things could be fixed, but he was going to leave this in Quatre and Catherine's hands to sort out now. His matchmaking days were through.
But that didn't mean he wasn't going to follow and find out what was happening.
"You sent her a _goodbye and let's be friends_ note?" Sophy repeated. "Quatre! How can you be so brilliant and such a fool at the same time?"
Quatre looked pained. "I thought it was for the best, that everything was over!"
Sophy sighed. "You sent the flowers in a fit of pique you mean!"
Quate flushed and Sophy folded her arms.
"I DON'T CARE IF I DON'T HAVE AN APPOINTMENT!!" an angry female voice filtered into the office. "I'M GOING IN!!!"
Sophy blinked. "I'd say she got your note," she said. "I think I should leave now."
Quatre stared at his sister as she bolted for the emergency exit, uncoded it and left. "Sophy..."
The office door slammed open and Catherine marched into the room. Quare gulped. "C-Catherine?"
"_What_ is this all about?!" Catherine demanded stalking up to the desk and waving a piece of paper at him. "What did you mean by this?!"
"'Miss Catherine Bloom...' Really, Quatre! _Miss_?! 'I regret that I have been unclear in my feelings and have therefore caused you embarrassment. I agree that we are incompatible and should keep our relationship on a purely platonic level. Your friend, Quatre Raberba Winner.'" Catherine screwed the note up and chucked it over her shoulder. "Okay, so I messed up!" she said glaring at him. "But I didn't immediately write off all hope! That has to be the most prissy, most cold note I have _ever_ had! Didn't you stop to think..."
"I thought _you_ didn't care!" Quatre flared suddenly. He got to his feet and glared back at her. "You kept going on about Trowa manipulating me to take you out! Did you have that little faith in my resolve?"
Catherine was so taken aback by the normally even-tempered Quatre yelling that she was shocked into silence. The short pause allowed her to get a lid on her rage over the note and to analyse her reasons for storming over.
"Quatre... I'm sorry..." she said softly. "I guess I was a little bit afraid to own up to my own... feelings towards you..."
Quatre's anger died as quickly as it had flared and he came round to stand next to her. "Catherine," he said. "I like you, I like you alot. I realize that now... and if Trowa _did_ push us together in the first place, then I'm glad, because I would have never got to spend time with you and realize that I..." he swallowed and said quietly. "I love you."
Those words clinched it. Catherine looked at him. "Oh... Quatre..."
He gently stroked her cheek and leant in close. She tilted her head and he kissed her.
After a while they parted and smiled shyly at each other. Quatre sighed. "I'm going to miss you," he said. "When will the circus come to L4 again?"
Catherine smiled. "Not for a while, but don't worry!" she said as his shoulders slumped. "I'm staying here." she told him decisively.
Quatre's eyes widened. "What?"
Catherine hooked her arms around his neck and laughed. "I think we have alot to talk about," she said. "And I don't want to wait until I see you in four or five months!"
"B-but what about your job?" Quatre asked as his arms encircled her waist.
"Oh, there are plenty of new girls who can take my place, and the circus can survive without _me_ for a little while! I don't want to give up the circus life just yet," said Catherine and she stroked his cheek. "But I'm not going to make the same mistake twice and make you think I don't care."
Quatre grinned. "I'm not in any doubt now!" he said and kissed her again.
Sophy pressed her ear against the door of the emergency exit. "Oh... it's all so sweet!" she murmured to her companion in the darkness. "They're finally getting their act together!"
Trowa sighed in relief. "And about time to!"
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