All of the colonies knew of Quatre Winner's annual tour. Once a year, the youngest son and heir of Winner Enterprises flew to every colony where the Winner family owned property. He toured plants, checked on the local economy and oversaw testing of young people for admission to Ganymede.
This annual event included a faire and presented a chance for children that did not attend public school to gain entrance to the elite center. Families saved all year for the chance to attend the faire itself, though the testing itself was free. The very thought of joining Mr. Winner on his journey was something children dreamed of.
Heero Yuy felt like the children were not aware of what it was they were missing. If they were aware they would run screaming the other way rather then join up with this mad house. He winced suddenly as his hearing spiked. As a Newtype Sentinel Heero had lived at Ganymede Center since he was five years old. This year he had agreed to leave it in order to accompany Quatre and several of his other friends on the yearly tour. Thus far it had been hell. The constant traveling and changing of his normal environment compounded by his unbonded state was wreaking havoc on his senses. Quatre was an empath and he had been trying to help, but what relief he could give was fleeting. He was so busy with other business Heero couldn't ask for more of his time. Trowa and Wufei, their other friends, were also doing what they could to assist both Quatre and Heero. But now all he wanted was to go back to Ganymede and resume the search for his Guide.
Quatre sighed softly to Trowa as he walked past Heero's quarters on the Andante, “Any luck with Heero? I know this is hard for him but that's no reason to lock himself in his quarters whenever possible. I haven't seen him in the mess hall for days.”
Trowa shook his head and walked up along side Quatre, trailing his hand along the pale blue wall, “I think the spikes are getting worse. He seemed fairly stable when we left Ganymede but the last few times I've seen him he's complained of a headache. Once he told me that Iria's baby was driving him crazy.”
“But the baby's in a sound shielded room. To hear through that . . .” Quatre shook his head, “Why hasn't he said anything to me?” He twisted his face into a frown, and started to turn around, heading back down the corridor to Heero's quarters.
Trowa held out his hand to stop him, “He knows how busy you are with the tour. He doesn't want to disturb you. Plus, well . . . he just doesn't like to talk about himself, much less complain.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Quatre asked, stopping and walking back up to Trowa's side, “I've been using my empathy to stabilize his senses for him but I know it's not doing nearly enough. He seemed to be doing so well back on Ganymede. Startlingly so, for an unbonded Sentinel of his age.”
“He was also hardly leaving his room except for meals and adult training courses. I doubt he was doing as well as he pretended. So, add already unstable senses to suddenly being in a strange and crowded place. His stress levels are probably through the roof and the more stressed he gets the more his control slips.” Trowa nodded his head, slipped his hand behind Quatre's back and lead him down the corridor, “It's a viscous cycle. And don't you have a meeting soon?”
Quatre sighed once more. “Yes, and you're right, of course. But this is our last stop, the L2 cluster, and then it's only a five-day journey back to Ganymede. There's also a Ganymede branch office on L2 RC54VH9 where we could spend the layover after the Faire opens if he wants.” Quatre looked up, a smile on his face.
Trowa smirked and shook his head, “I'll mention it to him. Probably the quietness of the Sentinel quarters will appeal to him and L2 RC54VH9 is one of the nicer colonies in the cluster. The Faire is on L2 G117L66, but intercolony shuttle is fast,” Trowa stopped walking and removed his hand, “Well, I'll mention it to him. See you after dinner.”
“See you,” Quatre laughed and continued down the corridor, “Now if only the board meeting could be as pleasant.”
Heero looked up from his book suddenly and removed the headphones from his ears, “Come in, Trowa.”
Trowa smirked and entered the room, “You do that just to be a bastard, don't you?” He said, gazing around at the sparsely decorated, sparkling neat room.
“Hm?” Heero set his book on the table, and then placed the headphones on top of it.
“Announce who's at the door before they even knock.”
“Sometimes. Today I just didn't want to hear you knock.”
“That bad?” Trowa shook his head, “You could just tell us these things straight out.” He walked over to Heero and ran a soothing hand across his arm.
“Hn.” Heero closed his eyes, relaxing beneath the touch.
“Right, I forgot who I was talking to. Quatre suggested that we spend the L2 layover at L2 RC54VH9. The cluster Ganymede branch office is there and they would have Sentinel quarters,” Trowa quirked an eyebrow, stepping back, “Interested?”
Heero opened his eyes lip quirking wearily, “Yes, aren't you?”
Trowa nodded quickly, “Ready for shielded quarters? Of course. I've been holding shields day and night for how many weeks now? They're starting to get seriously frayed, but I don't dare take them down long enough to rebuild them. I don't know how Quatre handles it.”
“He's an empath, not a telepath. It's not as vital that he keep shields up constantly. And I rather suspect that he has been using the time while he has been inside my shields realigning my senses to rebuild his own shields.”
“Probably,” Trowa shook his head, a slight smile on his lips, “Devious little thing. Is there anything you need?”
“No.” Heero canted his head, “Is Wufei coming to L2 RC54VH9 with us?”
“Don't know. I haven't talked to him yet.” Trowa paused for a moment, lips pursed, “Probably. You know he's only coming along because Quatre needed a bodyguard.”
Heero snorted, “And because Quatre used those damn eyes of his.”
Trowa's lip quirked, “Naturally. Are you joining Quatre and I after dinner?”
“Maybe.” Heero picked his book back up, and resettled the headphones on his ears.
Trowa walked over to the door, “Right. See you at 1900. Bye” The door swung shut behind him.
Dinner was a quiet affair, though Quatre smiled brightly when Heero showed up in the mess hall for the first time that week. Afterwards the four of them met up outside the mess hall and headed down the corridors to Quatre's personal quarters.
Quatre smiled brightly as he opened the door to his quarters, “Come on in guys. It's been so long since we had the chance to meet and talk and I figure today is as good a time as any right?”
“It is not terrible at least,” Wufei smirked, “Although your planning has clearly deteriorated with time. An e-mail message, really? Whatever happened to sneaking around at all times of the day and night to deliver each message personally?”
“It met with the indomitable force of time,” Quatre reclined on a pile of cushions, “I had three different meetings yesterday and my free time was spent arranging for testing at some of the L2 orphanages. Why I ever agreed to do work for Ganymede in addition to my business as Father's heir I will never know.”
“You like to stay busy,” Trowa was curled into some unfathomable contortion on the floor, though he seemed to be comfortable, “And Ganymede is very important to all of us. With all this new unrest stirring between Earth and the colonies you felt that taking a more personal stand was advisable.”
“Did I actually say that or are you making things up, Trowa?” Quatre stared at him oddly, “And please straighten out. You're making my back hurt just looking at you,” turning to the fourth member of their party he smiled, “How about you Heero? Any smart ass comments for the one paying for your trip out here?”
“Hn. Do I look like an idiot? If I say something I may just find myself stranded somewhere only marginally habitable. Unlike Trowa I don't necessarily prove advantageous to have . . .” Heero suddenly stopped and bit down hard on his lip.
“Heero?” Quatre stared at him, “Is something wrong?”
“It's nothing. Just a little spike . . .” Heero turned his head to the side and glanced down as if embarrassed.
“Just a little spike? Heero!” Quatre rolled over and crawled over to where Heero was sitting on the floor. Reaching out, he pushed up the sleeve of Heero's shirt, “Just a little spike my ass! You're reacting to your clothing! I can see the rash! You need to tell me these things so I can help you. How long have you been spiking?”
Heero turned his head back and glared, “Does it matter?”
“Of course it matters. How long?” Quatre glared right back.
“Most of the evening. I shouldn't have gone to the mess hall,” Heero pulled the sleeve of his shirt back down and stood up, then swayed as his vision suddenly spiked, zooming in on the fibers of Quatre's shirt.
Trowa grabbed Heero's arm, “Are you going back to your quarters or do you want Quatre to help you?”
Heero straightened and yanked his arm back, “I'll be fine. Don't worry about me.”
“I repeat: are you going back to your quarters or do you want Quatre to help you?” Trowa added his own glare to Quatre's.
“I'll just . . .” Heero suddenly swayed again as his hearing spiked, the noise of the ship overwhelming him and causing him to fall to the ground.
“Both then,” Trowa picked Heero up, “Hang on. Quatre?”
Quatre opened the door and gestured in front of him, “Go.”
Wufei led the way as they headed out into the corridors.