Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc
Category: AU, romance
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon
Notes: Duo’s looking for that someone special - Heero thinks he should work on a proper spec. Then Heero gets to spend a whole weekend in Duo’s company, and Duo gets to see another slant on life. Perhaps the spec will be re-written…
Feedback: If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!
What’s new, pussycat
It was Friday morning, the end to a busy working week.
“What’s new, Duo?” It was a casual greeting – the usual one for lunchtime.
“What’s new, Heero?” came the laughing reply. Duo Maxwell landed himself in his chair with a show of swift, exuberant grace that drew eyes to him from all round the crowded staff canteen. The trays rattled on the table in front of his companion, as he folded himself down comfortably, and very decisively.
He swiped up a half-cold cup of coffee, and dipped his head down for a mouthful. His shirtsleeves were rolled up to his elbows – the fabric was a jewel-bright blue colour, like the flamed irises of his eyes, and he wore no tie. Never did; never had! His pants were of an expensively silken fabric, and hugged at his long legs; his desert boots were low-heeled, and comfortable, and most certainly not the usual company attire. A wisp of chestnut hair sprayed out from his fringe, and he pushed it impatiently away. He had long, thick hair, but today it was caught back carelessly in a familiar braid. It was fastened with a twisted tie-clip. Even tied back, its length teased at the end of his spine; it was always a talking point. Combined with his handsome, mobile features, and a tall, supple body, Duo Maxwell was always a talking point!
“Great morning, Heero!” he grinned. “The Atlas project is really shaping up, y’know? Fantastic ideas for the standard image – excellent new screen saver! And the data dictionaries are smart and ready to go! Donaldsons is spitting blood that we’ll be ready to launch a month before them! Was that my coffee? Did you get me enough potatoes?”
The young man opposite Duo sighed at the non-sequiteurs. That was Duo all over! A mind that moved faster than most other people’s – a body that followed only seconds later. Everyone knew when Duo Maxwell had arrived. And felt the gap when he left.
The other man at the table was probably of a similar age, but with very contrasting looks. He had dark, tousled hair, and his whole build was tighter; his demeanour more controlled. He exuded physical strength and confidence – even under the smart suit that marked him as senior management. He leant forward towards Duo with something like a scowl on his face – he, also, was good-looking, though in a very different way. His skin was darker – his eyes a deeper sapphire colour. His lips much fuller…lips that were the subject of many a (hopeful) graffiti scrawl in the toilets. Of both genders.
“Sit still, for God’s sake, you’re shaking the cups! Yeah, I got you enough potatoes, and – before you ask – the dessert is ordered. Costs me a damn fortune when you bum lunch off me!”
Duo laughed again, and started to eat. Heero watched him, fascinated as always. Duo often talked as he ate – he always had one eye on the other people in the room, as if he was wary of missing out on anything. He regularly used just his fork, so that he could gesture with his other hand. Heero forgave him any bad manners, because he always stopped just this side of outrageousness – and because he was the best programmer he’d ever employed for the company.
And perhaps for other reasons that he’d seen written on those same toilet walls. Though not about him! Duo Maxwell had a reputation for generosity in many areas, and it seemed that other guys didn’t seem to mind boasting about the more intimate areas on anonymous, white-tiled walls…
“Gonna need more technicians for the Atlas contract,” Duo was gabbling. The food had almost miraculously vanished, and he was reaching for Heero’s dessert as well. Heero pushed the plate over, resignedly. “You gonna hire me some better ones this time? Ones that can keep up with me?” He grinned, broadly. “Ones with blond hair, six-pack and a tan?”
“Huh?” Heero was scowling again. Duo thwarted him, regularly, in his quest to recruit the best personnel for the company. Duo chewed the trainee guys up and spat them out for breakfast. Duo took all his meals most seriously! Heero would have to seek out more hardy ones; he wished sometimes that he wasn’t in charge of Human Resources.
“I don’t recruit on the basis of a hot body, Duo. Not technicians, anyway…”
Duo pouted. Then abandoned the gesture, in favour of a chocolate bar. “Need to loosen up the criteria, Heero! We need some eye candy round the place. And you need to date more. What happened to that guy you were seeing, just about the time I moved into your spare room -?”
“Trowa…” Heero sighed. That had been six – seven? – months ago.
“I mean - you’re young and fit, and you’re pretty damn good-looking! And it was going OK, yeah? I remember that night you both came back after that Samurai movie, and there were some serious sucking sounds from the hallway before you came inside –“
“Jesus, Duo, were you spying on me?” Heero looked furious. There was some shifting of chairs from nearby tables. A few heads leant back to eavesdrop. Maxwell and Yuy were arguing again – it was always good value!
“No!” protested Duo.
“No?” hissed Heero.
“Well – no, I mean –“ Duo was unusually embarrassed. “I wanted to make myself some café mocha, I was gonna read a book, I couldn’t sleep, you keep that damned air conditioning on so high –“
“And the percolator’s in the lounge? By the front door?”
Duo remembered his stealthy creep across the lounge carpet, and his crouching just inside the door to the hallway, and the way he’d pressed his ear almost painfully against the cold wood –
He hadn’t known Heero Yuy for that long. He hadn’t known whether he was gay, or bi, or whatever. It’d been research, hadn’t it?
“Nah, OK, you got me there – but actually, I thought it was already on, and boiling, due to those sucking sounds from the –“
“OK, OK, enough!” snapped Heero. The table fell silent. Duo toyed with the bar of chocolate – snapped the last strip in half and ate it.
“So what happened to him, Heero?”
“Hn?” Heero’s tone didn’t encourage further discussion. That’d never stopped Duo in the past.
“Your date. What happened to him?”
“It wasn’t gonna work,” replied Heero, offering an uncharacteristic burst of personal information.
“You didn’t give it much chance, man! Like – you’d only been going out a coupla weeks –“
“That was the last date, actually,” Heero interrupted. “I didn’t call him again.”
Heero almost laughed at the disgusted expression on Duo’s face. “Dammit, Duo, we don’t all have your riotous social life, you know! It doesn’t matter. I don’t mind, so I don’t see that you should.”
“It –“ Duo coughed, self-consciously. “It wasn’t ‘cos I moved in, was it? Like – I cramped your style? Got in the way?” He looked a little shocked – like it had only just occurred to him. It had been just a laugh, the sneaking up and spying. That’s all! Never mind the visions his imagination had conjured up in listening to Heero devouring some guy’s face. Never mind that memory keeping him warm on a couple of his – admittedly rare – nights in.
Heero stared for quite some seconds, until Duo felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t an easy state to provoke in him. He didn’t know why the hell he let Yuy get away with it! Damn guy didn’t even have blond hair. Though he knew his landlord had a pretty decent six-pack. Those were the dubious benefits of sharing an apartment, he supposed…
“Hn. No – you didn’t cramp my style, as you say.”
“So - what did he do? Your date? What did he do, to get himself dumped -?”
“Your inquisitiveness, Duo, astounds me…” Heero sighed. Only Duo could drag such a conversation out of him! “Trowa did nothing.”
“Yeah, right, but he must’ve –“
“No, Duo. You misunderstand. When I say he did nothing, I mean – for me. No -” he paused, and there was a challenge in his eyes. “No spark. No chemistry.”
Duo looked at him, curiously. “Right. Did I say you needed to loosen up? Dating - it’s just for fun, Heero…”
“No, it’s not,” said Heero, firmly. “I mean, it can be, of course, but not with the wrong guy.”
Duo was silent for a long time – or a period that qualified as such with him. “I shouldn’t argue with that, should I?”
“No,” said Heero, calmly. They caught each other’s eye, then grinned, companionably.
The listeners at the nearby table sighed with frustration, and turned back to their congealing lunches.
“Hi, Duo…” came a shy murmur, as a young, blond-haired man stopped by their table. He stared at Duo, a broad smile stuck on his face like it had been glued there. Duo grinned back, amiably enough. There was some rather uninteresting silence between them. Heero put his fork down with a sigh. It wasn’t as if this didn’t happen regularly.
He glanced briefly at the man – noted, wrily, a light tan, and the suspicion of a budding six-pack under the thin work shirt. Then he reached out a hand and righted the man’s tray, which was sliding dangerously down in his lifeless hands. A soda can rolled into Heero’s lap.
“Yours, I think,” he growled, and handed it back. The man was startled, as if he just realised who Duo was lunching with. His face was a combination of embarrassment and pure fear; with an apologetic grimace at Duo, he moved on to another table.
“Yo, you big tough Mr Manager!” teased Duo. “Damn near scared my date for tonight out of his cute little designer pants! What’s up – pissed ‘cos I ate your dessert?”
“Your date for tonight?” murmured Heero. “Do I know him?”
“Know him?” Duo continued, unmindful of the warning note in Heero’s voice. “What d’you mean, Heero? Like - he works for you? You work for him? Or do you know him in a biblical sense -?”
“Jesus, Duo,” groaned Heero Yuy. “Your speech is so ridiculously melodramatic…” He didn’t want to swivel round in his chair, but it had to be done, didn’t it?, to try to minimise any potential crisis. Lunches with Duo were always an event, and he so often had the feeling that he walked on a tightrope, stretched between the Chasm of Chaos and the Pit of Embarrassment. Why the hell did he let the damn man wind him up like this?
He checked out the blond guy, who was several tables away, and trying desperately to get an eyeful of Duo between some woman’s pigtails and an artistically positioned pot plant. “Yeah, I know him. That’s Evans, Duo. From Data Processing. He has a younger sister in Accounts, a pedigree cat, and he collects stamps of the world. I fail to see why you should suddenly show interest in him. What criteria are you working to? That he’s a male, and can walk, and hasn’t got cabbage growing from behind his ears? Shouldn’t you at least be looking at guys who might look back? As far as I know, he’s happily hetero…”
Duo snickered, and his eyes flashed with mischief. “That’s what you think! Some things are not on file, y’know?” He stuck out his tongue.
“Oh yes, and that’s very mature behaviour,” snorted Heero. “Like you could maintain a relationship as an adult!”
There was a brief scuffle involving a good-natured curse, some squashed peas flying off Duo’s knife, and an imminent disaster with the coffee cups, but then everything settled down again. Duo lounged back in his chair, munching through Heero’s apple, and flipped open a magazine.
The people on the table behind abandoned any chance of a proper fistfight today, and took themselves off to the lounge for the rest of the lunch hour.
Heero had finished chewing carefully through his lunch. Unlike Duo, he’d suffer crippling indigestion if he bolted it. Duo always arrived late, yet finished early. Ate on the run; never suffered for it. It was the way of things. They were getting very used to each other’s foibles.
“So where are you going tonight?” asked Heero. “You gonna be late back? Do I need to be so interested in something in my room that I don’t come out until morning?” He pushed out a smile, though he wasn’t sure he was feeling amused. He imagined what Duo and the boy Evans might get up to together – and he didn’t think it was on either of their CVs.
It had been a long – and celibate – seven months, since Duo moved in. For him, that was.
And then Duo sighed. It was an unusual sound for him. “It’s – no, it’s just a date. Dinner. A beer. Something. The guy’s OK, Heero. A bit keen, I know, but that’ll pass. Don’t worry – I won’t ravish him. Probably won’t even bring him home.”
Heero liked it when he said ‘home’ like that.
“You don’t have to go out so much, Duo. You can stay in sometimes. It’s your apartment as well.”
“Sure,” smiled Duo, as if he never doubted it. “It’s not that, Heero. I just – well, don’t wanna bring ‘em back, half the time. And I like being home with just you, just us suiting ourselves – you make good popcorn, y’know? If you’d just invest in a plasma screen TV, I may never go out at all…you think he’s cute?”
Heero’s mind had switched off at ‘I like being home with just you’, so he had to shake his head a little to catch up.
“Too young. Too earnest. Bites his nails.”
Duo sighed, theatrically. He chose to ignore Heero’s scathing précis, as a matter of course. He’d never known Heero to be impressed by any of his dates. If he didn’t know that Heero had once joined in such vulnerable human activities as snogging, he might have thought the man could exist without intimate contact, and sleep all the sounder for it. That wasn’t his way though. He liked company. Or whatever anyone wanted to call it. However…
“You may be right, Heero. I can’t seem to pick ‘em anymore. Nothing’s sparking for me, y’know? Just like you said. Can’t seem to find anyone who meets the Lurv spec…”
What a ridiculous way to look at such a serious thing! thought Heero. But he smiled, inside. That was another ridiculous thing – the way that Duo had that effect on him.
“So what is the spec, Duo?” His voice had grown a little husky. He was suddenly very interested in the emaciated core of his apple, the defenceless fruit having fought Duo’s sharp, white teeth and lost resoundingly. Heero seemed to be staring at it with some sympathy. Or was it envy…? “What are you looking for?”
“Dunno anymore,” Duo said. “Losing the heart for it, y’know…” He pursed his lips. Perhaps he was embarrassed. The pair of them didn’t often talk quite so frankly about the subject. They were meant to be bold, happy-go-lucky young men, weren’t they? He seemed a little distracted, though he was watching Heero’s fingers quite closely, as they traced the shape of the core. His banter appeared to have escaped him for a moment.
Heero’s voice was still soft. “Don’t you want someone who’s a friend – to share thoughts and opinions with? To spend time comfortably with?”
Duo’s mouth twisted. “Kinda pragmatic, eh? But guess you’re right. He must be a friend firstly.”
“And a damn hot bod!” laughed Duo. He flipped the core up from the table, and into a nearby bin. The serious moment had passed! “Back to that spark again – gotta have it, eh? We want the same, don’t we, Heero? Looking for the elusive Mr Right…”
Heero laughed, tolerantly. “Yes, I guess we do.”
“I get him first!” said Duo, slyly. He peered up at Heero from under his fringe. There was a smudge of chocolate by the side of his mouth. It was Heero’s turn to stare, and that’s where he was looking. With some fascination. “You can wait around for his brother, OK?”
“OK,” said Heero, slowly. Like he wasn’t concentrating on the joke.
“Though I guess I haven’t dated anyone remotely like that yet, have I?”
“No, you haven’t.”
Duo stared at his companion, a little suspiciously. Heero’s voice was strangely devoid of emotion. Very cool. More so than usual. “But you gotta give me credit - I keep looking for him, don’t I?”
“Yes, you do. Ad infinitum.”
“Whatever. I just I keep dating – until I find him.”
“But you don’t, Heero. Keep dating, that is.”
“No, I don’t.”
Heero slid his chair back carefully. His eyes sparkled with something very bright. And a little rueful. He smiled at Duo. “Gotta go…”
“Heero -! Just help me out a bit here!” Duo was blustering a bit. “If I’m still optimistically looking for Mr Right, why ain’t you…?”
Duo screwed his eyes up, like he did when he was working out a particularly difficult programming string. Heero looked at the bright, mischievous eyes, darted through with sharp intelligence and relentless wit. He found a different expression there every day. It never ceased to amaze him.
He wondered, as an aside, why they always overheated the canteen, when there was surely enough body heat to do the job adequately.
“Work it out for yourself, Duo,” he murmured. He stood, lifting his tray, the plates and cutlery stacked neatly, his lithe body unfolding gracefully. A couple of other diners scrabbled out of his way. He was great to look at, Heero Yuy – but not so easy to get to know. Most of them were a little nervous of him. After all, he held Ultimate Power over timesheets…
Heero laughed a little at Duo’s puzzled expression. He needed to lighten the mood. “So I’m pretty damn good-looking, am I, eh?”
“Did I say that? Maybe,” shrugged Duo. There was a suspicious smirk on Heero’s face. Duo cursed his loose tongue, and the fact he’d given him some ammunition – he had a feeling that lunch had cost way too much today! “You’ll do for some, I guess. For Mr Right’s brother, anyways! You gonna finish that biscuit you got with your coffee?”
And lots of hours
To spend with you
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you
Yes I do!
You and your Pussycat nose!
Later that night, and the door to the apartment slammed open forcefully.
“Shit! Shit! Shit!” came the furious yell from the lounge. Heero came out of the kitchen, a pair of scissors and a water jug in his hand. He was startled – he hadn’t expected Duo back for hours. He thanked God he’d never put the apron on – the look on Duo’s face would have been excruciating. Would he ever have heard the end of that abuse?
“What a cock-up! Achoo!” yelled a red-faced Duo. Heero wondered if he were still practising his Japanese, then he realised he was sneezing.
“Your hay fever?”
“Damn idiot brought me flowers!” gasped Duo, and sneezed again. And again. “What – achoo – juvenile jerk brings a guy – achoo – flowers on a date?”
Heero looked calmly at the wilting group of wildlife in Duo’s clenched fist. “It’s a nice thought. But there are too many ferns and grasses.”
“Like – achoo - what?”
Heero stepped forward, and took the bunch out of his hand. “It’s the seeds from the grasses that set you off. I remember from the summer. He should have got you blooms, not greenery.”
“Should have got me a PS2 game,” sulked Duo. “Achoo! Or a damn Ferrari.” But he felt his nose clearing as soon as Heero took the infectious growths away.
“You think you deserve some kinda gift, then? On a date?” Heero couldn’t help but notice that Duo seemed more annoyed at the offending bouquet than at cutting his date short.
Duo glared at him. Heero was back at the kitchen doorway, leaning against the frame. Arms crossed. That bloody smirk back on his face! Duo scowled. Heero looked cool tonight – low-slung track pants; sleeveless vest. He was in pretty fine shape for a pen-pusher. Duo wondered what he looked like, in comparison. He knew his clothes were good – the red silk shirt looked sexy against his skin; the jeans were tight and damned hot. But he’d just noticed he had mustard on his sleeve from dropping his food. His hair was all mussed from the sneezing. He reckoned his nose was bright red from it, too. He probably looked like Rudolph the Reindeer’s longhaired cousin come to the city…
Ahhh… it was Heero, wasn’t it? Didn’t matter. Not really.
He was still surprised at the plaintiveness in his voice when he spoke again. “It’s – just, tonight – well…I guess the poor sap was only trying – achoo - to be nice.”
“Evans? Where is he, then?” Heero looked over towards the door.
“Christ, not here!” growled Duo. “No – he wasn’t too impressed when I snorted half the contents of my nose over his hot dog…”
“OK, OK, so no big expensive dinner, but that was his choice, right? I told him it was just an evening out – nothing special.”
“But then the flowers -?”
“Yeah, and –“
“ – the sneezing –“
“Yeah. Ka–boom!” gestured Duo, with his usual expansive demonstration. His braid whipped across his back – picture frames trembled on the bureau by the door. Heero winced.
“That’s one way to cure a crush,” he murmured.
They looked at each other, and a smile started to grow on both their faces.
Half an hour later, and Duo’s sneezing had abated. He sat, a little forlornly, on the couch. Heero pottered in and out of the kitchen, clearing up his modest single supper.
“It’s my birthday, y’know?” said Duo, quietly, when Heero next passed him.
“I know,” replied Heero. He came back out to the doorway of the kitchen, and looked over at Duo.
“How?” said Duo, rather rudely. His mouth had fallen a little open. It was rounded into a large, lush ‘O’ shape. Heero’s gaze dropped away from his blue eyes, and down to the red lips. “Oh, yeah – you’re HR, aren’t you? Guess you know everyone’s birthday, what with your damn-near photographic memory –“
“I guess so,” said Heero, quietly.
He brought out a bottle from behind his back, and a pair of glasses.
“Come into the kitchen, sit down, and drink this.”
“It’s got bubbles,” said Duo, rather stupidly. He stared at the bottle, as he followed Heero into the kitchen. Looked like champagne. Looked expensive! He stared even harder, because something suddenly made him feel odd about staring back up at Heero. Then there was something else under his nose, and it was bright, and bold, and smelt good. And didn’t make him sneeze!
“This is more like what you want,” said Heero, confidently. Calmly. He put the vase on the table in front of them.
Duo gaped at the sight. A huge, spreading, richly blossoming clump of glorious blooms! It was the most fantastic splash of blazing colour he’d ever seen in one place; there were flowers he didn’t know; hues he’d never seen outside of CG-world. It was magnificent! – he felt his spirits soar at once. He loved colour – he loved extravagance in any form. That’s me, he thought. Too damn right it is!
“Christ, Heero, what sorta bunch is that? You mug a florist, or something?”
Heero had sat himself down, and was pouring champagne for them both – he took a long, leisurely sip. Duo’s head snapped up at the sound, and his eyes followed the drops left on the dark-haired man’s lips; the throb of Heero’s throat as he swallowed. He dropped into his own seat, rather heavily. His hand reached out, and curled around the stem of his half-filled glass. Squeezed it, unconsciously.
Heero was unfazed. “How do you feel about them, Duo?”
“Whaddya mean? They’re flowers, right?”
“They’re a gift. For you.”
“You mean – from you? Oh Heero, is this some kinda joke?”
Duo coughed, trying to clear rather more than his throat. “They’re – “
“Juvenile?” sighed Heero. He didn’t meet Duo’s eyes. He seemed busy with his glass, his fingers rubbing slowly around the rim.
Duo sighed, as well. “Ah… right. That’s what I said, wasn’t it? Sorry. Can’t say I’d ever use that word to describe you, Yuy. Are you trying to tell me something here?”
Duo knew there was something he was missing. It annoyed the hell out of him, because he was one smart guy! Though there were times he thought Heero Yuy was even smarter. In different ways, of course…
“I just wanted to know how you felt, Duo.” Heero’s voice was very calm. But soothing – like chocolate. Like velvet. Like a thick quilt could be, at the end of a hard day… “You told Evans that tonight was nothing special.”
“Well – that’s just my way. Don’t usually make a fuss with birthdays. But I guess I’m pleased with the flowers. Yours. I like ’em.”
Duo leant forward a little, and smelt them. They were glorious! He’d never seen the way his nose crinkled when he did that. Heero had. Heero had often noticed that.
“Look!” cried Duo. “No sneeze! I love ‘em, actually. Gotta thank you for noting my birthday, Heero, and for the fabulous display –“
“Feel anything else?”
Duo stared at him. Damn man was so persistent! Like a terrier. Like a Rotweiler. Like – Heero.
“I feel – well, yes that’s odd – I think a guy would feel – “
“You’d feel, Duo.”
“OK – I’d feel – I do feel – rather flattered, actually. And - yeah - special.”
“Special?” Heero’s voice was just a little less calm. His eyes sparkled.
“Mmm. Daft, eh? It’s just a bunch of flowers. Just a friendly gesture…”
“Hn. Sure. But that’s how it should be. That’s how you should feel, Duo. Special.”
“Cos it’s my birthday, y’mean?”
“If that’s what you want to think…”
“Right…” Duo leant forward again, suddenly, and grasped Heero’s arm. It was like he wanted to touch him – then he didn’t know how to go further. There was a high, tight flush on his cheekbones. He squeezed Heero’s arm, and slapped at his shoulder in a mock punch. “You’re a – you’re some kinda guy, aren’t you, Heero Yuy? Great friend. Guess I don’t always appreciate you.”
“That’s true,” replied Heero, and the flush was on his cheeks as well. But his smile was genuine.
Duo stared for seconds too long. Heero’s smile was wide, and rare, and Duo’s breathing felt strangely uneven. Don’t appreciate you… he thought. Don’t bloody understand you, more like! He looked back at the flowers – rolled the ‘special’ feeling around in his mind.
“So…” he murmured, slowly. “Now I’m stuck with nothing to do on a Friday night, and it’s another year to mark off on the calendar….”
Heero coughed slightly. His voice was even lower. “I’ve got time to kill. Let’s watch a movie here.”
“That damn Samurai one again?” protested Duo. He sprang to his feet, his contemplative mood swiftly passing. Back to something more familiar. More comfortable.
“And you want -?” scoffed Heero. He slipped back into his role, just the same. He stood up, and started to move back towards the lounge, carrying the remains of the champagne.
“OK,” sighed Duo. “So it’s not my turn again for the Matrix trilogy. We’ll have to find something we both like.”
Heero was looking at him, hard. “Guess we will.”
Duo shook off the shivering feeling. Probably the remains of the hay fever.
“Sooo - you gonna do popcorn?” he asked, slyly.
They both slumped down on to the couch, legs relaxing, arms stretching across the back. Their fingers touched, briefly. Then Duo slid his hand back to reach for the popcorn, and Heero leant forward to set up the DVD.
Duo didn’t speak again until the room had slipped into darkness – Heero had killed the lights, as was their usual watching environment. Duo was usually out of a weekend, but he found he was looking forward to the rest of this evening. It was – well, this was all rather pleasant!
“He is rather too keen, y’know…Eager Evans…,” he sighed. “He insisted I reschedule to tomorrow night. Kept tapping my arm – making those puppy eyes at me.”
“Not good,” said Heero. “It’s not a pet you need.”
“And when he laughs – it’s like a hiccup! Christ, my jokes ain’t that funny…”
“No, they’re not,” replied Heero. Duo could see his teeth glinting in the dim light, as he smiled.
“Shut up, Yuy,” he said, cheerfully enough. He took a mouthful of popcorn. “You don’t have to agree with everything I say!”
“Do I do that?”
“No,” sighed Duo. “You always give me hassle. You argue with me. You tell me I talk crap.”
Heero was silent. His body had tensed up a little. He sat very still on the couch.
“But you listen to me,” grinned Duo. “More ‘n that puppy and his hot dog!”
“Sure I do,” came the soft reply. “You don’t always talk crap.”
Duo paused. He wasn’t sure what kinda backhanded compliment that was. But it was warm and comfy on this sofa, so he didn’t feel up to arguing. And the popcorn was damn good! “If I didn’t have you as my best friend, Heero, what’d I do, eh?”
Heero was silent for a few seconds. Guess he reserved judgement.
“So – how is the spec going, Duo? Any further parameters?”
“Huh? Oh – you mean guys? Yeah – I guess I’m still looking…”
“You thinking of someone who will listen to you; spend time with you – bring you gifts sometimes? Make you feel special?”
Duo laughed heartily, and the couch shook. “Yeah, of course! Who wouldn’t? You were right to show me that Evans needs some more work on that front. Wasn’t that what you were trying to tell me earlier?”
“Maybe…” sighed Heero.
Duo snuggled down against the cushions, and leant against Heero’s shoulder.
“And that hot bod, of course! Can’t do without that secret ingredient, can we?”
“No…” murmured Heero.
The DVD whirred into life.
Duo chattered on – the trailers were off and running. “You’ve known me through all sortsa relationships, eh?”
“Yeah, that’s true…”
“Remember that guy –“ began Duo. Then he laughed. And so did Heero. Their memories were at one.
“The tall one -?”
“- with the woolly hat –“
“- and the dungarees, yeah!” Heero grimaced. “And the one who coughed all the time at the end of a sentence –“
“ – and the one who tried to turn me vegetarian –“
“- and the one who kept stroking your braid when he thought you weren’t looking –“
“ – God, and the one who couldn’t keep his hands off my crotch, even here in the apartment in front of you –!“
“I remember that one, especially.”
Duo turned, surprised at the harsh tone of Heero’s voice. “You mocking me, Heero Yuy? Poking fun at my cheap and chequered love life?”
Heero smiled, gently. Duo looked a little wary; a little crestfallen.
“The movie’s starting, Duo. Try and resist the desire to talk throughout, like you usually do.”
Duo nudged at his arm, protesting half-heartedly, and slouched down into an impossibly awkward position on the couch. Popcorn trickled out of the bowl and down between the cushions. Heero knew that later on, Duo would probably toe off his boots, and drape his legs over Heero’s thighs, in an attempt to make his lanky body more comfortable.
Heero still smiled, though the movie wasn’t a comedy.
There were hours ahead of them. And another bottle of champagne in the fridge, if they ran out of bubbles.
And I’m so willing
To care for you
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you
Yes I do!
You and your Pussycat face!
Saturday evening – and Duo’s hay fever had developed into something else.
Heero rolled his eyes at the sniffs and groans going on in Duo’s room. He stood by the bed, a glass of water and some proprietary painkillers in his hand.
“For God’s sake, Duo –“
“Fug obb, Heero!” came the garbled voice from under the quilt. “Show subb sympady, or gedda hell out!!”
“For God’s sake, stop being such a baby!” snapped Heero. “And what damn language is that, anyway?”
“Flu langidge,” grunted Duo. He wriggled in his bed, and his head poked up out of the bedding. His hair was hanging out of its braid in several places; his cheeks were unnaturally flushed; his nose was scarlet.
Heero put a cool hand to his forehead. “There’s some fever, but it’s dropped below 100 now. It’s just a 24-hour bug. You just need sleep and fluids, and to stop moaning.”
“Need subb TLC…” grumbled Duo. “Subb cute bod to sponge me down, and kizz me bedda…”
Heero’s cool hand stilled. “Sorry, Duo, no go. I called off your date for tonight. Evans – or Red as he said you called him. Was that his name? Or the colour of his neck?”
Duo groaned. “Shuddub, Heero, I can’t breathe ‘nuff to slabb you.”
“Slabb me?” snorted Heero. “Do you mean slap me? You and whose army?”
“Did he cubb round?” came a little moan from Duo.
“Who – Red? No - he rang. To confirm a time. I told him you were ill.”
“He was – well, there were some interesting excuses in amongst the stammerings.” Heero fought back the smile, though only because Duo looked so very sorry for himself. “Something about the fragile health of pedigree cats, and the risk of germs, and something about other plans, and after all, he didn’t know you well enough to be some kinda nursemaid –“
“OK, Heero, that’s enubb!” snapped Duo. “Subbtimes your honesty can be a real bastard, y’doh?”
“And sometimes your abuse is as clear as a bell, Duo. Even through the catarrh.”
Duo stuck out a furred tongue, and Heero shuddered.
“Bet I look li’ death…” groaned Duo. He seemed more distressed at that, than losing his date.
“Yeah, you do,” said Heero, bluntly. “Now sit up against the pillows, and I’ll fetch you a warm drink and one of your What Car magazines.”
“Big time Saddurday nide…” muttered Duo, bitterly.
It was quite late. Duo kept drowsing. Heero had moved quietly in and out of the room all evening. Duo’s temperature was at a reasonable level again, and his only complaint now was that he hadn’t eaten enough all day, and that his Saturday night was being spent in bed – alone.
“You think Evans would’ve been any company?” said Heero, calmly. He sat at the small table in Duo’s room, tapping occasionally on his laptop. He’d tried to get some work done during the evening, but Duo had been a demanding patient.
Demanding – that was Duo, all over.
“Doh…” sighed Duo. “Guess nodd.”
“His hands are too clumsy to look after anyone,” said Heero, pragmatically. “You should see the pounding his keyboard takes.”
“And he has a poor memory. How would he manage with rationing your painkillers?”
“Like you do…” it was almost a sneer from Duo. “So you’re subb damn genius Florence Nightingale ‘n Dr Memory, rolled into wum…”
“Wum -? Yes.”
And then Duo laughed. It was a heartening sound. Until he coughed. And groaned.
“Bedside manner leaves a lodd to be desired, Heero Yuy…”
“I wouldn’t do this for anyone else, Duo.”
“Yeah, too right!” Duo snorted. “Like the bedical profession would put ubb with that prodigious, intolerant brain obb yours…!”
“I mean I’d only do this for you. Look after you.”
Duo gave a weak grin. “Right… but we’re fredds, aren’t we? That’s what it’s aboud…”
“You’d look after me like this?” asked Heero, suddenly. He sat down on the bed beside Duo, who grudgingly wriggled his legs to the side to give him room.
“You’re never ill!” protested Duo. He’d never known Mr Professional Fitness to have a cough or cold, or any other ache or pain. ‘Cept me! grinned Duo, to himself.
“Would you?” said Heero, relentlessly.
Heero’s stare made his head start hurting again. He was rather too close for comfort. Duo felt his temperature start to climb again – he reckoned he needed more painkillers. Bet Dr Glare wasn’t gonna release him any more, anytime soon.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “Guezz so. Never thought aboud it before…”
“OK.” Heero seemed to relax. “So now I’d better sponge you down, eh?”
“Whadd?” gasped Duo.
“Your temperature’s up again –“
“No – I bean – “ Duo started to cough, as some strange visions plagued his imagination. He tried to remember if he was wearing his pyjama bottoms, or whether he’d bothered with them at all. He wondered why he wasn’t able to think clearly about such things. Why he thought it mattered.
But the damp flannel was very soothing on his forehead. He sank back into the pillows, and sighed a bubbling sigh. Guess he could put up with this, after all! Who’d have thought the head of HR - who made forty-two guys redundant in the legendary Maintenance Massacre of ’02 - could be so gentle-handed…?
“That’s – very goob, Heero.”
“Shut up. Lie back.”
“OK…” Duo settled back again, and his eyes drifted closed. The flannel stroked at his face – at his neck and shoulders. The quilt cover was pushed gently away, and the warm dampness bathed his arms, and his sides. The sweat had dried on his chest where he’d been tossing about in the bed; now Heero’s hands and the soft towelling were wiping it all away. He felt the edge of something catch on one of his nipples. He winced, but it was a pleasurable feeling. He felt the pressure from the other man’s forearms as he moved across his body; the occasional touch of his fingers on his muscles.
“Hodd…” he sighed. “So dabb hodd…”
“This is meant to cool you down, Duo,” came Heero’s quiet voice. A very quiet voice. “Not heat you up…”
Duo thought, dreamily, that he liked this; rather a lot. That it was astonishingly pleasant. That his body liked it as well. That he didn’t have any pyjama bottoms on tonight, and that if Heero pulled that damn sheet down any further, he’d realise that himself, and then realise another rising fact that was gonna be one symptom too far for the good ‘Doctor’…
“I’m ill,” Duo protested, weakly, his eyes flashing back open. “Dunno if I’m hodd or cold, do I?” He met Heero’s gaze – the guy’s face looked all flushed, like he was getting the bug himself! Duo dragged the sheet back up round him, and shrugged off the flannel. “Pass us the PJs, OK? Don’cha know thiggs ‘r all upside dowd when you’re ill…”
Heero stared, his eyes lit with something quite fierce; and then they calmed again. He threw over Duo’s pyjamas, and laughed. “You are incorrigible, Duo.”
“Incorrig – huh? Wazzat?” Duo was shrugging awkwardly into the top.
Heero raised an eyebrow. He knew Duo was as articulate as he, with a fine vocabulary. He just chose to play the fool…”Unquenchable, Duo.”
“Who – me?”
“Hmm – though nodd tonight, Heero…“
“Vivacious. Thrilling. Beyond belief …” The words trailed off.
Duo stared at Heero’s face. Guy looked like he had a temperature of his own! Something made Duo clutch his sheet like some kind of security blanket – he glared back at Heero, his mouth pursing itself. Ready for another flu-garbled witticism, if he could just call one to mind…
In the end, Heero spoke first. “You’re trouble, Maxwell. But you’re damned deli –“
Heero bit back the word that had nearly escaped. A very unmeasured word; and he didn’t really do unmeasured, did he?
“Deliberately annoying, OK?”
“Yeah,” groaned Duo. “Thadd sounds like me. Pass anudda painkiller on y’r way out, won’cha?”
Heero paused at the door, and looked back at the man in the bed, wriggling into his pyjama bottoms under cover of the quilt, looking pretty ridiculous.
“Better build it into the spec, Duo.”
“Someone to look after you when you’re ill. To find you still interesting. Despite the streams of foul stuff out of your nose –“
“Hey, thanggs for the su’port, Heero! Not! Like I said, you can –“
“- gedda hell out?” murmured Heero. He avoided the spray of scrunched-up tissues that followed him out of the room.
He had a wistful smile on his face.
Duo was groaning in his sleep. He was troubled with a blocked nose, and achy limbs. His dreams were strange, and vivid, and involved something very wicked and enjoyable with a glass of hot blackcurrant, a wet flannel, and some shadowy figure who knew Mr Right’s brother - in a very biblical sense. It all seemed strangely familiar…
Heero paused outside the room on his way to his own bed, and pushed the door a little way open. Duo lay sprawled half out of his quilt, his pyjama top thrown off again. One hand was tangled in the end of his braid. His skin was flushed; his lips moist with his dream-speak. The pyjama bottoms were twisted, and tugged down a little below his hips. There was a rather interesting bulge under the thin fabric that drew Heero’s eyes particularly.
Heero rarely noticed the clothes that Duo wore in the day. He knew there were constant complaints at work from his department managers, that Duo Maxwell never dressed appropriately. He just knew that he liked how the longhaired man looked, whatever he wore. But he had to admit that he quite liked this nighttime appearance. And the sponging-down had been a joy. A revelation.
There was a grunt from the bed. Then a murmur. A very definite ‘Heero’. It wasn’t even a call – just a sigh. Just a statement. Like Duo would expect him there, when he woke up. And then Duo would take his usual pleasure in filling in the rest of the conversation.
Heero moved quietly into the room, and looked down on his flatmate as he snored. Inevitable, of course, with such a cold. But even with his mouth open, and droning growls coming from every breath, Heero didn’t laugh at him. Or look disgusted.
He looked – fond. Perhaps he had the comfort of memories that had sneaked a long, lingering look under a certain quilt cover.
Perhaps he had a temperature of his own.
And if my wishes
Can all come true
I’ll soon be kissing your sweet little pussycat lips!
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you
You and your Pussycat lips!
You and your Pussycat eyes!
You and your Pussycat nose!
Sunday night, and Duo had made a spectacular recovery.
“So he called, did he?” said Heero, a little sourly. He was marking some pages in a journal, and jotting notes for work on Monday. “Scarlet O’Evans? Un-gummed himself from his stamp collection?”
“Yeah – and I convinced him I’d been nursed free from my lurgy!”
Lurgy?? said the pained expression on Heero’s face.
Duo was stumbling round the apartment, looking for a lost boot, half in and half out of a smart, purple silk shirt. Heero stared at him, watching his pale, bare chest lifting under the sensual cloth, the smooth skin still glistening from his shower. Duo flicked his damp braid over a shoulder, impatiently.
“Gave you full credit, Doctor Yuy! Y’know? I wouldn’t feel this good if it weren’t for you looking after me! But I need some nursing of a different kind now! Need some touchy-feely stuff. Going for a more direct approach…”
“You’ve reworked the spec?” came the sharp response.
Duo paused, one sock on his foot, the other in his hand.
“Look, Heero, I’m just out for some fun, OK? Just a bit of the ravishing after all – if the puppy’s up for it! He’s not gotta lot going for him, I know –“
“- but he has got the hot bod?” enquired Heero.
Duo stared at his companion’s sharp tone. Heero was too analytical, sometimes – damn man needed to get out more! Needed to loosen up, which he was sure he’d suggested a hundred times before. Needed…
“A guy just needs some physical attention, y’know?”
“Yes,” said Heero, devastatingly coolly. “I know.”
“Right…” said Duo, slowly. He tugged on a jacket. Heero turned back to his notes. Duo wondered if he should joke about asking Evans if he had a brother for Heero – they could double-date!
At the last minute, some watchful guardian above persuaded him to keep his mouth shut.
Midnight was long gone.
Duo had his boots in his hand, as he turned his key as quietly as he could, and crept into the dark apartment. Then he fell over a pile of his car magazines, swearing loudly and colourfully, so the whole effect was ruined.
A soft, square glow opened up along the corridor, and Heero appeared at the doorway of his room. He was wearing only his sweat pants. He yawned, though somehow Duo didn’t think he’d been asleep for long.
“Call 911, Duo, and bring over the Fire Brigade – they make less noise.”
“Sorry –“ gulped Duo. “Just lost sight of the time – the pool hall, y’know –“
“The pool hall?” Heero rubbed his eyes, but leant easily enough against the wall. He didn’t look like he was going to go back in to his bed. “You took your ravishee to the pool hall?”
“Ahh – well – “ Duo looked abashed. He looked frustrated. He shifted his body from one socked foot to another.
“Hot dogs one night…snot all over him and his gift…groping in a public place the next –“ muttered Heero, as he pushed himself away from the wall, and started moving towards Duo. “I thought you had more class, Maxwell.”
“Shut it, Yuy,” growled Duo. “I wouldn’t usually smack anyone after midnight. But I’ll make an exception for you, if you keep up those wiseass remarks –“
Heero was quite close to him now. He peered at Duo, looking for something in his dark eyes. Duo gripped hard at his boots. Glared back.
Heero’s next words were a surprise. “So you wanna talk? Drink? Eat?”
“Huh –“ One of the boots slipped out of Duo’s fingers, and hit the hall carpet with a thud.
Heero looked at the speculative light in Duo’s eyes, and he sighed. “Stupid question. There’s cheese in the fridge – I’ll make some sandwiches.”
They sat at opposite sides of the kitchen table. They often seemed to end up here; it was a comfortable room. The boiler whirred softly as it turned itself off for the night. The oven displays glowed in the dim room. Neither of them had bothered to turn on the main lights. Even in shadow, Duo’s flowers still boasted their glorious colour, the vase now set in a new position on the side of the worksurface.
Heero cleared a tight throat. “So what was it like?”
“Huh?” said Duo. He may have been deliberately misunderstanding Heero’s question. He may just have had a mouth full of cheese and tomato sandwich.
“The date,” sighed Heero. His words were coming out rather stilted. “The ravishing. The kissing. You did kiss, didn’t you?”
“Yeah –” blustered Duo, spitting small crumbs over the table. “Like, of course we did! He’s really hot, isn’t he?”
“So are you, Duo,” said Heero, softly.
There was a small silence, while Duo stared, and Heero brushed the crumbs off the table on to a plate.
“Well –“ Duo drew a deep breath. His eyes looked a little wild. “I don’t think Evans thought so!”
“Hn?” Heero looked startled. “But at the pool hall -?”
“He wasn’t at the pool hall.”
“But you said – “
“I was there on my own. Have been, since nine o’clock. Just with some of the guys.”
“No. He left.”
“Oh hell…” sighed Duo. “Got any more of that cheese?”
“You’ve been after someone like Evans –“
“Well – no, I gotta admit – I’m not sure I was – not sure I am - I mean -“
A tolerant sigh from Heero. “So what do you really want?”
“In a guy? Isn’t it a bit late for this soul searching? Doesn’t your superior being need its sleep?” Duo shifted, ungraciously, in his chair.
“Shut up,” said Heero, ignoring him. The fridge door opened and shut again, the bright light spiking across the room for a second. Heero filled up Duo’s glass with strawberry milk. Duo wondered absent-mindedly how he knew that was exactly what he’d wanted.
“So you want the care –“
“Yeah. I mean, that’s a given, ain’t it –“
“And the attention. Then the sharing – the –“
“- friendship!” blurted Duo. “And some kinda company! His conversation’s a bit limited, y’know? Evans? He never understands what I’m gonna say. He never understands when I say it! Not a lot of ‘em do, Heero.”
“You’re bright, Duo. Your humour is sharp. Your mind works swiftly. There’s not many can keep up…”
Duo peered, suspicious again. “You taking the piss? You’re not usually so agreeable… ‘specially when I wake you up in the small hours. What’s up?”
Heero continued as if he hadn’t heard him. “What else, Duo? You want fun –“
“Yeah, sure –“ the braided man was grinning again.
“And you need the challenge of an equal partner -“
Duo’s head stilled, suddenly. His eyes narrowed.
“Well, all o’ that, of course. But also – “
Heero’s eyes were the ones to flash, now. “Also -?”
“He’s gotta be hot,” murmured Duo. His tongue slipped out, and licked a drop of strawberry pinkness off his lips. He felt Heero’s gaze on him. “He’s gotta get my pulse racing – he’s gotta appeal to my bod as well as my razor-sharp mind…”
Heero grimaced. “I hate that word, you know. Bod. It’s undignified…”
But Duo just grinned. He was warming up now. Things were getting much clearer in his mind. Perhaps he didn’t register that he was staring really hard at Heero Yuy. Perhaps he did.
“I wanna go hot and cold when he touches me. I wanna be desperate to kiss him. It’s gotta be delicious, y’know?”
“Delicious…” protested Heero. “What sort of word is that, to describe a man?”
“You know what sorta word it is,” replied Duo. His voice was almost a hiss. “It’s flagged up in your vocabulary, I think. Didn’t I almost hear it – yesterday night?”
The air became very still, and very charged.
Heero stood up, and took the empty plate to the sink. The clatter of the crockery was very loud in the kitchen.
“So what happened tonight? With Evans?”
“Shit -” groaned Duo. “Wasn’t gonna tell you –“
“Tell me what?”
Duo made a tutting sound. He sat back with his glass of strawberry milk. Heero wasn’t offering to top it up, but he wasn’t that bothered at the moment. “It was going OK, y’know. I mean – a coupla dates, we all know the question’s gonna come up sooner or later, ain’t it? He kept bumping into me at the bar – put his hand on my arm. I gave him a bit of a squeeze. Had a few drinks – he’s gotta cute little ass under those grunge pants, y’know…” Duo sighed. His voice trailed off.
“You said you kissed. Obviously it was great –“ Heero wondered why he was being so damn helpful. His chest squeezed him a little too tightly. He wondered if that was how masochism felt.
“Well, no, it wasn’t, actually!” Duo sounded a bit amazed. Heero just stared.
“He was rather bland, y’know,” Duo rushed on. “Like kissing blancmange! Which is something I usually like, as y’know, for dessert, but not in a lover. And I kept thinking, Heero would have a field day with this! He’d probably wanna tell me ‘told you so’ – he’d probably wanna remind me I was meant to be working to that bloody spec, and I deserved whatever I got, if I just went cruising for the hell of it… He’d – you’d –“
Heero still stared.
Duo coughed, slightly. “Kept thinking about you all the time, actually, Heero Yuy.”
“Yeah. Damn distracting, it was.”
Duo looked straight into Heero’s eyes, and wondered how long they’d had that dark lusciousness, like the swirl in the top of a cup of hot chocolate. He liked hot chocolate even more than strawberry milk.
“I kept thinking…”
“Hn?” Heero’s voice could barely be heard.
“What it’d be like with you…”
“What? Me in grunge pants?”
“No, you dork – the kissing!” Duo spat out a final crumb in some kind of frustration.
“With me?” Heero heard his voice quite clearly, but it sounded like an echo. A hoarse, high-pitched echo. Nothing like the man who could carry off a presentation on workforce motivation in front of hundreds, with OHPs and slide show and twenty page handouts -
“Yeah…” said Duo. “Mad, eh?” He was staring hard at Heero now. And his mouth was starting to twist into a wide grin. A wide, sort of nervous grin.
“Mad – yes,” said Heero. He thought his mouth might be twisting, too.
“Don’t know why I should be coming round to that now, y’know…” mused Duo. “Do you?”
“No…” came the gargled reply.
“You’ll think I’m some kinda sex maniac,” continued Duo. With some kind of relentlessness – some kind of growing mischief. “Hitting on my best friend. On my flatmate. My landlord. The guy who could fire me tomorrow, if he chose! The man who’s fired many a guy who’s stepped out of line. The man who knows no compassion, so it’s written. On the toilet walls. Where they also say that the man or woman who can get Heero Yuy into bed is gonna have one hell of a time, s’long as they can deal with a control freak –“
“For God’s sake –!“ Heero mentally cursed his pathetic protest. Cursed the fact he didn’t seem to be able to move, when that was what he really wanted to do. Cursed everything.
Duo smirked a little. Guess he knew he’d gone too far with the graffiti jibe. Guess he didn’t care. “So now I daresay you’ll want to slap me about a bit, to put me straight –“
“Or kiss you,” Heero said, all in a rush. Quickly, before he lost the initiative. If he’d ever had it in the first place.
“Huh?” It was Duo’s turn to look surprised. Though it was rather a pleased look, as well.
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you
You and your Pussycat lips!
You and your Pussycat eyes!
You and your Pussycat nose!
Heero found that his legs were suddenly working, after all. He moved around the table, to stand next to Duo, who still sat in his chair.
Duo didn’t look as comfortable as before.
“What about Evans -?” Heero started. He didn’t need to finish. He knew Duo’s thoughts were on the same wavelength. As they so often were.
“He thought I lacked – enthusiasm,” Duo said, but he was grinning, like he wasn’t really bothered at the personal criticism. He stretched a little, leaning back in the chair; unfolding his long legs. “He looked rather disappointed. Left the bar, and went back to his stamps, I guess. Went to groom his pedigree cat. Went to scrub out those things about me on the toilet walls, that he reckons now are nothing but wanton lies…”
Heero’s face was alight with something from within. “It’s not just how you feel, Duo. You’ve got to look for someone who feels the same for you. Who thinks you’ve got a hot bod! Who goes hot and cold at the sight of you – whose pulse races when they touch you. Who –“
“ – who’s desperate to kiss me?” sighed Duo. He stood up suddenly, rather awkwardly, and his face was very close to Heero’s. “I can’t believe you said ‘bod’, Yuy, of your own free will…”
Heero didn’t answer. Instead, he put his hands to Duo’s face, cupping the pointed chin, and he leant his lips against the other man’s. There was less than a second of surprise – then Duo’s arms slid around his waist, and tugged him in closer. Heero’s hands pushed Duo’s head backwards, with a fierce gentleness; Duo’s mouth opened wider, as Heero’s firm lips nudged at him, more and more insistently. His tongue pressed in, greedily, and Duo sighed deeply.
There was a moan that may have been Heero’s – a definite groan from Duo as Heero’s hand clasped the back of his neck, and tangled into his braid. Their tongues were probing for each other; their breathing panting into each other’s mouth. Duo’s hands snaked up from Heero’s waist, savouring the warm, naked skin of his back; plucking at the muscles of the dark-haired man’s shoulders. He felt the backs of his legs slam up against the edge of the table; he felt the tight bunching of Heero’s thighs against his own. He felt a leg press against his knees, pushing them apart; a leg that tucked itself in between his thighs.
They broke away from each other, breaths rasping. Heero still clung to the end of Duo’s hair – Duo’s fingers gripped at Heero’s skin.
Duo gulped in some air. “Desperate, eh?”
“Yes,” came the whisper. “I am. So - how was it?”
“The – y’know -?”
“Yes,” hissed Heero. His eyes were wild; he didn’t seem to be able to tear them away from Duo’s mouth. A mouth that was red and swollen from his own hunger. He leaned back towards the longhaired man, his own mouth ghosting with silent words; or maybe just signs of desire.
“Christ, Heero, that was –“
“ – blancmange -?” gasped Heero. Still leaning…
“ - damn delicious, Heero…”
Heero grinned. “Yes, I knew that.” He pressed his grin back against Duo’s own smile. They kissed again, more familiarly, though no less greedily. There were hands at both of their waists; fingers stroking muscles, either bare, or under thin purple silk. Chests heaved with harsh breaths; hearts thudded hard against sweaty palms. Heero’s tongue batted impatiently against Duo’s lips, begging for entrance again.
Duo drew back slightly. “You knew? You knew what?”
“I knew it would be delicious.”
Duo shook his head, slowly, smiling rather stupidly. He didn’t seem to be able to stop touching Heero’s naked torso – even with just his trailing fingertips. He loved the way that Heero’s tongue was licking at the corners of his mouth, lapping softly at the moistness; when he opened his own lips a little, the invading tongue teased swiftly and assertively at his teeth. Like him, Heero was breathing very shallowly.
“You are some arrogant bastard, Heero Yuy, y’know? But then, I s’pose you’re allowed to be, when you kiss kinda forcefully like that… Guess the graffiti was right in a coupla respects –“
“Was it right about you?” murmured Heero. One of his hands stroked softly over Duo’s hip. “The notes about how you touch your lovers – “
Duo shrugged, carelessly, but he flushed and smiled with the flattery. He traced a fingertip over Heero’s chest – watched the dark brown nipples flex and harden.
Heero’s breath was sucked in, tightly. “ – And the scribbles about what you do to ‘em with your hair –“ His hips rocked gently against Duo’s.
“ – depends how many times you’d want it wrapped around…” murmured Duo, mischievously. His voice was very low, and very husky, and suddenly Heero saw the full force of his sensuality and attraction. Not that he’d ever doubted it, for a minute.
“And the claim that you kiss like a wet dream…” Heero’s voice was hoarse. He licked at his lips; they felt almost numb from kissing Duo. He liked that feeling – a lot.
“You wanna try some more?” hissed Duo. His hands were already sliding around Heero’s body again; his mouth reaching to cover Heero’s shivering words; the aggressor himself, now.
“I – want the whatever, Duo. Show me what you’d do with Evans. Give me a bit of a squeeze! Show me what the toilet walls say you’re so good at – show me what you’d do with one of your lovers –“
Duo was shoved back again, against the table, and the two men pressed more than mouths together, becoming a single silhouette in the dim room.
Fifteen minutes later, and although they were out of the kitchen, they hadn’t moved far at all.
They were in the lounge, where they’d pushed each other up against the arm of the couch, and then rolled over it to lie on top of each other.
Words were soft, and low, and intermittent around the sounds of heavy, hungry kissing. Not that there were any communication problems between them.
“Shirt off –“ growled Heero, and the purple silk was thrown over the back of the couch.
“You have one fantastic body, Heero…” sighed Duo. He gasped aloud, as their torsos met – as the hot skin met the slightly cooler one. As a nipple on one body brushed against its match on the other – as fingers and nails scraped softly, yet provocatively, down naked flesh.
“Took you long enough to notice it,” muttered his flatmate. His mouth was occupied with nipping at Duo’s neck – his fingers pinched around one of Duo’s nipples, now exposed, and twisted it.
“So sue me…!” Duo yelped. “Are you saying – ahh, yeah, that’s so damn good! – that this sudden physical development is no surprise to you -?”
“No surprise at all,” came the muffled murmur.
“Get outta here!” protested Duo. “I’ve been here months – we’ve been lunching four times a week ever since you hired me – I’ve been prancing half-naked in and out of your shower since the afternoon I moved in – I’ve been dating puppies and kittens galore, every weekend, since I – “ he paused. Heero still lapped at his neck – still caressed the planes of his chest. But he was very quiet on the conversation front.
“How long, Heero? How long you been thinking about me – like this?”
“Since I met you; since you moved in. Since ever since.”
“Shit,” Duo said, quite calmly.
He felt Heero’s lips curve into a smile; the warm breath changed direction on his shoulder. Heero’s voice was velvet against his ear. “Not such the bright guy, eh?”
“You – been laughing at me?”
“No!” protested Heero. He dragged himself up on to one arm; reached for Duo’s head and tugged it round to face him. “Never think that!”
“But you complain about me all the time –“
“Well, yeah, of course –“
“And I’m noisy, and clutter the apartment, and bring reams of work home, and eat up your fridge, and get hay fever, and –“
“Yeah,” grinned Heero. “You drive me mad. You’re Chaos on Legs, Maxwell.”
“You’re always telling me what I should do –“
“And you’re always telling me to go stick my head in a can –“ snorted Heero. “So what’s new there? You’re my friend, remember? And companion… I thought we’d come that far, in all these months. But it doesn’t mean we have to agree. I know that.”
“And all that crap about sorting out a spec for my Mr Right –“ Duo paused. Bit his lip. Heero thought how tasty that looked. He rather wanted to do that to Duo, himself.
“I meant it all, Duo. I’ve always been serious about that. And I knew – OK, I thought I knew, it should be me. But I – didn’t say anything directly. I needed you to see it. I needed you to get to the same page.”
“I’ve always had a spec, Duo. As you said it – a Lurv spec! You’ve always met it - in every way. I – just wanted you to think the same.”
“Whoa…” whispered Duo. “Guess you noticed before I did, eh?”
“Just for a while…” sighed Heero. His fingers paused at Duo’s loosened waistband, as if questioning whether he’d be allowed to venture any further. He started to pull Duo’s mouth back down on to his. “You wanna take this somewhere more comfortable?”
“Yeah,” agreed Duo. His lips welcomed Heero’s touch eagerly, because the man was a damned excellent kisser. Who’d have suspected, eh? And his body twitched to be taken somewhere warmer, and softer, and preferably more suited for nakedness and intimate investigation. Somewhere like bed looked good! Wasn’t that where people went, at this godforsaken time of night?
”So – you were ahead of the game, just for a while… but I think I was getting there myself, y’know?”
“Yeah, Duo,” said Heero. “Whatever you like to think.” He was standing up, pulling at Duo’s arm. He looked and sounded impatient. His face was flushed, and there were pink creases where he’d been squashed up against Duo. His sweat pants didn’t look as loosely fitted as they had done earlier in the evening. “Come on, now, you can apologise to me later for your dimwittedness – make it up some other way –“
Duo snorted. “Like that’s gonna happen!” But he allowed himself to be dragged up and out into the hallway. Heero kept stopping to hold him ,and to kiss him, and touch him, and a couple of times they almost fell over each other. “Besides, Heero…”
“For God’s sake, what now -?”
Duo smirked. He took a long, deep kiss from the tightly pursed mouth in front of him, and looked with self-satisfied pleasure at the way that Heero’s eyes slipped quickly out of focus. “You gotta admit, I catch up real fast!”
The bedclothes on Heero’s bed wriggled like they had a life of their own. There was a pile of discarded clothes on the floor at the foot of the bed; there were a couple of empty soda cans beside it, and several empty chocolate wrappers. Evidence that someone other than the almost obsessively tidy Heero had been in the room. Was still in the room! There was a muffled laugh, then a leg-shaped bump appeared at one end of the quilt. When a similarly shaped bump appeared at the far end, it was obvious that there were two pairs of legs in the bed.
The abandoned clothing, the wild movements, and the angles of the two bodies – well, that led to another investigation altogether.
“Hn?” Wriggle again. Sigh.
“As we’re in a confessional mood…guess I’ve not really been putting my heart into the dating business, recently…”
“You mean Evans? Little Red Riding Nerd -?”
A quasi-angry exclamation, then hot breathing that suggested a mouth had been shut up with another mouth’s bruising attack.
“Just going through the motions, you mean -?”
“Sort of –“
“These motions?” growled Heero, and there were more soft, liquid sounds, and tongues busy on things other than explanations.
“Been on a quest, y’know…yeah, like that…mmm…”
Heero’s voice surfaced next. A little serious. “Is that why you go out so much -?”
“Told myself I was just looking –“
A deep sigh from Duo. “Looking for something I shoulda known was here. Yeah, I know. Praps I’d guessed about this, as well. But I didn’t let it take a hold in my mind. I was - just scared.”
“Scared - you weren’t interested. In a guy who was just another employee. Another geek – a techie. A guy who fools around all the time – with you; with others. A guy who was just me…”
“But that’s what I was looking for. Just you, Duo.”
A gasp from Duo, and anyone watching would have seen that the legs had shifted round so that they all seemed to be entwined together in the same mound of bedding. Not that anyone was watching, of course. Though there’d have been a viciously competitive black market for the tickets, if anyone knew there was a chance.
“You found me, Heero – Christ, you’ve certainly found something, with unerring accuracy – oh Goddd… rub me again, man, OK?”
“There -? It’s good, Duo – it’s – I’m –“
“Shit…” There was a string of sexual profanities that had to be from Duo. “Find me again, y’know? There’s bits hidden – all over – and not remotely hard to find…look, I’ll show you, for God’s sake – “
“I can manage, you know -!”
Angry tussling again. Then a groan.
“Find me, Heero… Touch me…”
There was a lull in the proceedings. Duo had hopped out of bed for more milk. He nearly lost the whole glassful down the side of the bed, when Heero grabbed at his lithe, naked body to pull him back in.
“So – you won’t be out searching for Mr Right and his siblings so much now?” Heero was grinning, but Duo was close enough to feel the tension in his body. In his fabulous body. In his body that was slender, and tightly muscled, and covered with warm, smooth skin…
“Who – me?” Duo slid his hand in under the quilt, teasing between Heero’s thighs; taking Heero’s cock in a tentative, then firm grip. The dark-haired head shook with pleasurable shock.
“Yeah, you. Uhhh…God, have I dreamed about this -! But you like company, Duo – you like playing around.”
“Like this?” came the mischievous snicker. The hand moved in a regular, all-too-familiar motion around Heero’s aching groin. Though Duo’s motions hadn’t been familiar to Heero in quite this way before.
“Stop – no, for God’s sake, don’t stop –“ The quilt cover was thrown back, and the glorious sight of their naked bodies was out on view. Duo’s hand was clasping Heero’s very creditably sized shaft; his long, strong fingers stretched around it, and moved up and down, in a slow, sensuous rhythm. Heero clutched at his wrist, as if to stop him – but maybe to encourage him. Duo’s tongue peeked out of the side of his mouth; his own breathing was getting ragged. He gazed at Heero with an amazed adoration. His own body lay curled up against the other darker-skinned man’s - the erection between his own legs wasn’t one to be sneezed at.
And he knew plenty about sneezing.
“You suffering some kinda crisis of confidence, Heero? You gonna dash out ‘n buy a plasma TV screen, to keep me chained to the apartment?”
“Is – is that all it’d take?” gasped Heero. His back was arching off the bed – he bit at his lip to keep from crying out loud. “You can get one yourself – we pay you enough -”
Duo smiled. The guy still wanted to play…His fingers tightened on Heero’s throbbing cock, and his other hand slipped gently under his heaving buttocks. “But it’s your apartment, Yuy. You provide the facilities –“
“Noo – “ Heero’s voice broke a little. “It’s your home as well –“ Christ, where were those fingers going? The ones that were prising open his buttocks; the ones that were stroking at the entrance that had been hidden from entertainment for so long, that Heero felt a chill of ecstatic shock at the thought of what might happen there later…
“Is it my home?” Duo’s voice had softened. Like the touch of his fingers.
“Sure. Always has been. I never wanted a tenant. I wanted you –“
“You’re a schemer, Heero,” murmured Duo. But his eyes glistened with an unusual pleasure. He leant closer to Heero, and pressed his lips to his neck. “Why should I look for anyone else, eh? You’ve done such a good job of welcoming me. Who else makes popcorn just as I like it? Who else buys strawberry milk only because I drink it?” He laughed softly at Heero’s flush. “Like you said – I need challenge in a partner. Who else is gonna keep up with me, and my swift wit? Who else knows what I’m gonna say before I even say it?”
“And tells you it’s crap –“ groaned Heero. He was stretching out for Duo, pumping himself inside the possessive fist – letting his legs fall apart, wider than before; asking for attention from Duo’s slim, questing digits. He was burning with anticipation; he was cold with the terror that something would go wrong.
“Hush, Heero,” whispered Duo, as if he could read his mind. Their heads twisted, clumsily, to meet each other’s in a deeper, slower kiss than before. “Most of the time my talk is crap, OK? It’s just to get your attention – it’s just showing off. I just wanted you to loosen up a bit –“
Deliberately or not, he accompanied the last words with two fingers sliding firmly, yet carefully into Heero’s ass. Heero winced, and shuddered. But he clutched harder at Duo’s shoulders; his lips clung to Duo’s even more closely; his words were expelled on a mere breath, into the longhaired man’s mouth. “Yesss…”
“That’s gonna take some loosening up,” smiled Duo. “But I guess I could really enjoy that…!”
“You – you gonna -?” Heero bucked his hips up towards Duo’s hands, offering himself instinctively. He couldn’t say anything more - words failed him. Mind you, Duo liked that in a man – a lot. And especially in Heero. And even more especially when he’d caused it!
“Yes, I’m gonna – but not just now.” He slipped his fingers out, rather reluctantly, and returned to kissing Heero. His hand tightened up again on Heero’s tortured cock.
“Believe it, Heero. I’m gonna take my time with you. I’m gonna let you take your time with me, OK? All the way through the project plan, from development – “ (a squeeze to his cock), “ – to testing –“ (a suck on his tongue) “- and to post-implementation review!” (a gentle pinch to his ass, that just made Heero’s hole flex and ache for him).
“After all, who else is gonna feed me milk and sandwiches, and stroke my sick brow with those reluctant healing hands –“
“Not so bloody reluctant now, Duo,” Heero growled. He was wriggling with the pain of unfulfilled desire, and the incredible need to be touched. Duo’s hand had slipped away from his cock, and yet he still ached for completion. He’d waited so long -! Then he felt Duo’s firm hand take hold of his nearer wrist, and his arm was tugged over to the other man’s lap.
“So stroke something else now, Heero,” came the softest whisper, hoarse with another man’s desire. His palm was being held close to Duo’s groin – Heero felt the amazing heat from it; felt his fingers tingle with the need to touch…
He shook Duo’s hand from his, and closed his fingers joyfully around Duo’s erection. It was damp, and it was gently throbbing, and Heero felt like his hand had just been waiting to be filled in this erotic way.
“You wanna pull the covers over?” hissed Duo.
“No…” sighed Heero. “I wanna see all of us, when we come…”
“Great. A closet exhibitionist, as well…” groaned Duo. But he stretched happily out on the sheet, his limbs long and pale and appreciative of the intimate attention. “Stroke it real well…” came his gargled instruction.
Heero Yuy knew that, personally, he didn’t take instruction easily – something about being a control freak. But this one was gonna be easy to accept! He started to slide his hand up and down the smooth, straining flesh, thrilled with the excitement of it; thrilled to see Duo’s chest begin to heave; thrilled to see the braided man’s head thrown back, and his thighs begin to shake.
Then Duo’s hand snuck back across the sheet, and grasped at Heero’s cock in response. Heero gasped – he groaned, as the feelings rushed back to his arousal, with even less control than before. They began to move together. Duo was making soft, mewling noises, and his shaft leapt in Heero’s hand like it was trying to burst free.
‘I’m gonna last seconds, that’s all’…thought one of the writhing bodies.
‘I’ve never felt so good, and it’s all gonna be over in seconds, that’s all’…sighed the other.
“Shit…!” came a strangled cry, and it could have been from either – or both – of them. Whoever it was, it was the sound of sudden, shockingly brilliant satisfaction. There were thrashing legs on the sheets, arms clenching across each other’s shuddering bodies, and an impressive amount of warm, sticky mess on naked stomachs.
Total pleasure, all in all.
A couple of hours later, and Duo stirred in his half-sleep. Heero’s body was awake beside him, and warm with the softness of napping. Duo smiled, not caring if Heero saw it or not. He knew he’d feel it. Heero seemed to respond even as he, Duo, thought…
“We ain’t gonna get up for work in the morning, are we, Heero? O Illustrious Manager?”
“It is the morning, already, Duo. But I’m drafting your sick note as we speak…”
“So that’s what the tickling is around my ass, eh?”
“Wiseguy. I’m just amending a coupla core technical requirements for your project plan…”
Duo grimaced; and relaxed into the gentle, teasing touch. “What about you, Heero? You going sick as well? I’ve never seen you off sick in all these months…”
“Nah.. I’m gonna be working from home…”
Their bodies shook with laughter, free from any other worries or hidden frustrations. They were both awake now. Heero rolled over to stare at Duo, and Duo stared back. He stroked Heero’s arm, marvelling at where this evening had got them.
The same thoughts were occurring to both of them. The same stirrings were rising inside them. Duo snickered, softly.
Ten gasping minutes later…
“It’s true then!”
“About your hair –“
Duo laughed softly, and with pure wickedness. “Guess so! Though I can’t wrap it round you that many times, Heero Yuy -!”
“Guess you’re a pretty big guy –“ he smirked. “Just like the graffiti said!”
“Where’s it say that?” came a startled protest. “I’ll have to call Maintenance -!”
“Hush, hush –“ laughed Duo. He grasped at Heero’s soft, thick hair. Untangled a few strands of his own that were spread over Heero’s shoulders. “Just come here and put your huge member somewhere that’ll shut me up…”
Heero shifted round on the sheet, until he faced away from Duo’s head, and his hips were there instead. He felt Duo’s fingers untangling long threads of chestnut hair that lay around his thighs, and in amongst his pubic hair. Threads that were already sticky with pre-cum; some of which were still attached to Duo’s gorgeous head. Heero’s nerves shivered with the anticipation of delight.
God, was Duo going to return to the soul searching now? Heero Yuy had never whimpered in his life, but he was drifting that way tonight.
“I haven’t brought you any gifts, have I? Haven’t spent as much time with you as I might have wanted – all that stuff about going out, and dating, blah blah blah…”
“You feel guilty? So sort yourself out, Maxwell. Make it up to me. You can cook tonight – look after us both –“
“Something we can eat quickly –“ said Duo, slowly. “Then we can look for other things to do.”
“But you’re always hungry, Duo –“ Heero felt the breath on his tightening balls, and his heart almost stopped.
“Yeah,” sighed Duo, the words washing over Heero’s groin like melted chocolate. “For this – I guess I always will be –“
Heero wriggled closer, and Duo’s mouth sank down over him with something like reverence.
“Hn? Don’t you ever sleep for more than an hour at a time, Duo?”
“Some o’ that graffiti – some of it’s just talk, y’know? It’s not all true…”
“About me, you mean?”
“Nah! About me, you arrogant bastard!”
“What – even that bit about where you like to be licked? With long, strong, wet strokes?”
“Wha -? Heero, I never saw that anywhere –!”
“Ah, yes, sorry –“ Heero‘s laugh was low and from somewhere down behind Duo’s crinkling balls. “I gotta find that marker pen tomorrow and add that one…”
“Ahhhh…” Duo’s moan was angry and amused and just chock-full of sexual bliss.
As he rolled back over to take advantage of Heero’s new-found teasing skills, he wondered why the hell Heero had felt the need to teach him the finer points of a Lurv spec. It was all taken as read, surely?
All Duo had been waiting for was the unveiling of this damned hot bod!