Story:               CREATURE OF HABIT

Author:              FancyFigures (fancyfigures@hotmail.com)

Disclaimer:        I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc

Pairings:           1+2

Category:          Heero POV, AU, romance

Warnings:         Yaoi, (light) lime

Spoilers:           None

Notes:               When habit isn’t the only thing that underlies a friendship.

Feedback:         If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!

 

Written for the Vault’s Spring Songfic Challenge, and inspired loosely by Gabrielle’s ‘Should I Stay’.

 

 

 

*

 

 

The bell rang inside his apartment door and I could see my hand shaking.  I snatched it back to my side, quickly.

 

The door opened - he stood there, laughing.  He was always laughing.  It cheered me so much; I’d never considered that it might be at me rather than with me.  He wasn’t like that, not with anyone.

 

I hoped that if anyone knew what he was like, it would be me.

 

“Hey,” he said, slowly, still smiling.  “You look kind of odd.  Didn’t they have pepperoni and chilli peppers tonight?”

 

I forced out a smile.  “Wouldn’t be Saturday night without it,” I replied, brandishing the pizza box I clutched under my arm.  “Even if I had to go fix it myself.”

 

“And with your cooking…” he grimaced.

 

“Yes.”  I was still smiling, though my cheeks were starting to ache from the effort.  “So I guess it’s lucky they still run that choice at the takeout.  We can live another night without the food poisoning.”

 

He laughed, but it wasn’t as strongly as before.  His eyes followed me as I walked through to the kitchen, his mouth pursed as if he’d wanted to say something else but had decided not to.  This was our Saturday night routine.  We usually had a beer in the kitchen and ate some of the pizza while we decided which place to go for the evening.  We’d done this most Saturdays for a long, long time.  Creatures of habit, I suppose you’d call us.

 

He reached into the fridge and snagged us the beers, setting them down on the breakfast counter with almost exaggerated care.  Then he sat down on a stool opposite me.  “So what is it?  What’s up?”

 

“Nothing,” I shrugged.

 

“Stupid,” he said, kindly enough.  “I’ve known you for years, Heero.  You don’t do moody.  You don’t do grudges.  You have a clear, honest mind and you speak it when you need to.”

 

“I don’t need to speak anything,” I said, a little dully.  I mentally kicked myself; this wasn’t at all how I meant the evening to go.  “We’ll be late for a movie if we don’t get going.  Or we could watch the game, it’s on widescreen down at the bar…”

 

“I don’t give a shit about the game - or a movie,” he said, sharply.  He was the only guy who could grab my attention like that.  “If something upsets or annoys you, Heero, you usually tell me about it.  So you can do that tonight.”  His voice gentled a little, and if I’d had the courage to look him fully in the eye, I probably would have seen kindness there.  I was straightforward, that was true - but Duo was compassionate.  All his friends said so.  I was so grateful to be one of those that I embarrassed even myself sometimes.  “Heero, I’ve seen this uncertainty in you a couple of times recently.  You bothered about work?  I thought you were doing OK with that new contract.  It’s such a good opportunity, to work overseas - you’ve earned the promotion -“

 

“A year,” I said, quickly.  I pushed at the beer bottle, watching the condensation wrinkle its way down the green glass.

 

Hm?” He frowned slightly, but I was sure he knew what I meant.  He usually did.

 

“I’ll be away a year.”

 

He breathed a little shallowly, but his voice sounded steady.  I didn’t want to disturb him, after all; he had his own life to occupy him.  “Sure.  Are you worried about that?  I’ll look after your apartment, I said that already.  The tenants - the financial side - hell, I’ll even water the plants now and then if you like!”

 

I looked up again, this time catching his full gaze.  The amusement was in the creases of his mouth, though his eyes were strangely blank.  They’d never held back from me before - or so I’d always thought.  “I can’t be calm about this, Duo.  I can’t see things quite as clearly as you do.  I’m not like you.”

 

He frowned again.  “I don’t want you to be.  Shit, that’s the last thing…”

 

I interrupted him.  The bottle rattled on the vinyl counter, startled by my sudden movement, as indeed I was myself.   “Sometimes I wonder why we still keep in touch, and so regularly.  I’m not at all like you.  Sometimes I think you need to move on to a different kind of routine; a livelier kind of society.  You have the confidence for it - you have the charm.  This overseas posting of mine - it’s a natural break, I think.”

 

He was silent - it was a bad move, because it encouraged me to go on.  “I want only the best for you, Duo.  I’ve never wanted your company from habit alone - never wanted it just because of our shared history.  No, what I want is for us to be honest with each other.”  I swallowed because something seemed to be awkwardly tight in my throat, when I’d not even started the pizza yet.  “You’ve always been fair, Duo.  To everyone.  I think it’s only <i>fair</i> now that you let me know if I’ve been selfish; if I’ve held you back from other friends - other ambitions.  Then I think I’ll feel better about going.”

 

“Better?” he said, quietly.  “How so?”

 

Did he make it deliberately hard for me?

 

“Things have changed,” I said, slowly.  And this time I deliberately kept my gaze away.  I could feel a warmth on my cheeks and I felt a fool.  Duo didn’t suffer fools gladly, I knew that.  “I haven’t accepted the post yet, because I don’t know how I feel about it.  I don’t think I can bear to be away that long -“

 

“- just a year -“ he murmured.

 

“- can’t bear to be away that long, from you,” I continued, my determination strangled by its own suicidal instincts.  All I heard in response was a gasp of breath.  Neither of us touched our beer.  The pizza remained on the counter beside us, its box not even opened, the pepperoni growing cold.

 

“I know what you’ll say,” I continued.  My voice sounded like it spoke from a far distant room.  “You said it when the offer first came up.  That it’s a chance for me to change my routine, too.  To find new horizons - new friends.  Perhaps… new relationships.”  It was the first time I’d ever talked about such personal things, except in jest.  He’d think I’d had some kind of seizure.

 

Perhaps I had.

 

“I don’t want anyone else, Duo.”  I paused.  I wanted to know what he thought about that.  Then at the same time I didn’t - or I was afraid to know.  I stared at the folded paper napkins on the counter and the small puddle of drops at the base of the bottle.  Anywhere but at him.  “Sometimes I thought you might think the same - but I’ve never been sure.”  And I’d never been brave enough to challenge him on it; just drawn back to the familiar routine, and the safety of a beer and pizza on Saturday night.  When what I really wanted to do with my leisure time was far more exciting; far more terrifying.  But it would be with him. 

 

“I don’t want new friends, new relationships,” I whispered.  “I want the one I have with you.  Just the same - and more so.  And I want it all the time.”

 

Duo’s hand was moving over the counter.  Hesitantly.  I’d rarely seen him hesitant.  It was odd.

 

But then I could see things hurtling towards disaster, anyway - the whole damned evening was going to be odd.

 

“I can’t imagine being without you, Duo.”  In a small corner of my mind, I was surprised that my voice sounded so soft.  “So you see - things have changed.  Rather awkwardly, I expect you’ll say…”

 

“No.”  His voice startled me.  There was something unusual in it - there was a tremor like fear; like distress.  Like his throat was constricted as badly as my own.  “Not awkward at all.  I’ve got no problem with that.  Not at all.”

 

I think I laughed then - it was like a release of the tension.  I thought we were still jesting.  Or at least he was. 

 

“Heero -“ He sounded a little more urgent.  “You think I was happy about you going away?  But I didn’t think you deserved to suffer my moans.  You said it yourself - I want only the best for you.”

 

“You’ve never had a problem saying what you think, either,” I said.  It started as a joke, but it fell a bit flat.  His hand reached out and closed over mine.

 

“But I do with you.”

 

I frowned; I was a bit confused.  “Some kind of friend I am, then…”

 

“Because it matters,” he interrupted.  That urgency was still in his tone.  I looked into the eyes again, and this time the emotion was reflected all the way down.  “It matters a lot to me.  You matter.”

 

“I thought I might get in the way,” I said, not really thinking.

 

“Of what?” he countered.  “What the hell do I have in my life that I’d want without you?”

 

I just stared.  At his earnest face and the shy, nervous smile.  At his searching eyes.  “You’ve changed too, then?” I asked.  The cool kitchen felt as if it were warming up around us; I wondered why I felt the need to fill it with nonsense, too.

 

He shrugged.  His laugh was even gentler than before - it was pure pleasure.  “I feel the same way I always did.  Just didn’t think it went so deep.  Didn’t realise - until you told me about the job.”

 

“Better ring them about it,” I said, groping for my cell.  I felt light-headed; I felt deliciously goose-bumped.  I couldn’t stop grinning into Duo’s face.  “I can leave a message - they need to know I’m not going, sooner rather than later.  I’ll make a quick call now -“

 

“No you won’t,” he said.  I didn’t mind the sharpness this time.  “We have other ways to spend this evening.  Other things to get straight between us.”

 

“And the movie times are almost done -“

 

“Forget ‘em.”

 

“Pizza’s all soggy now -“

 

He lifted my hand and kissed at the fingertips, like he wanted to memorise the prints on his lips.

 

I fell silent at last.

 

I wanted to become a creature of this habit.  So much, that it hurt.

 

I reached for the cure to my hurt. 

 

He was still laughing, and his eyes were bright with delight..

 

 

 

 

End

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

Should I Stay (Gabrielle)

 

Here I am, waiting for a sign, I never seem to know

If you want me in your life, where do I stand

I just don’t know

I never feel I know you

cause you blow hot and you blow cold, it seems I’ve grown attached

though we’re not the perfect match

I just can’t explain

Should I stay, should I go

Could I ever really stand to let you go

Can you now find the right words to say

That maybe I’m getting in your way

I feel your warmth, got me wanting more, you’ve left the door half open

I’m in two minds to explore, but then again

Am I being honest, being truthful to myself, can I see my life without you

Could I be with someone else

It seems I’ve grown attached

Though we’re not the perfect match

I just can’t explain

Should I stay, should I go, could I ever really stand to let you go

Can you not find the right words to say

That maybe I’m getting in your way

Should I stay, should I go

I really think it’s time that you should let me know, can you not find the right words to say

That maybe I’m getting in your way

It seems I’ve grown attached

Though we’re not the perfect match.