For kiyasama - a very happy birthday, and 1x2 angst-come-sense for you…






Heero heard the rattle of the keys in the door and the slap of papers on to the hall table.  And the muttered curse.  Maybe not so muttered.


He sighed.  He placed his book down on the table and muted the background TV.


Duo swung into the lounge like a breath of angry misery.  Only he could combine the two emotions so effectively - and so vividly.


“Guess you didn’t get the job.”  Heero knew it sounded more like a statement than a question - but there was no point in being coy.


“Guess not,” snapped Duo.  Then he grimaced.  He knew he was taking it out on his flatmate - and unfairly.  But then who the fuck else was there to take it out on?  The bus that left him late for the interview?  The lace that broke and tripped him knee first into the dirt?  The lack of the appropriate qualifications, a path already set since a non-existent kindergarten?  The lack of a smart, short haircut?  The lack on his list of every God-damned thing that was on theirs?


He flopped down into the deep couch.  Wished the cushions would fold up around him and let him sink into a useless oblivion.


“Third interview this month.  All unsuccessful.”


“Obviously none of them was the right job for you,” said Heero, quietly.


Duo tsked.


“There’ll be another, Duo.  It’s just a matter of waiting for the right fit.”


Duo’s eyebrows raised rather melodramatically.  “Feeling kind of ‘square peg in round hole’ as it is, Heero.  That sort of fit may not be found without the use of a sharp knife and a couple of industrial chisels.”


Heero sighed.  The man was determined not to be consoled.


Duo wriggled impatiently on his seat, and frowned.  “The guy who got the job was better dressed than me.”


Heero snorted.  “Just clothes.  Probably family money.”  


“Smarter,” persisted Duo.  “Better qualified.”


“So he went to the right schools,” said Heero, dryly.


“No, not just that.”  Duo sighed.  “Well, yes that’s true.  But he knew all the relevant buzz words, too.  All the industry jargon.”


“OK - so it was the same school as the chairman.”


Duo’s brow furrowed for a second.  He sighed - again.  “Could be.  Nice try, Heero.  Or it could just be that I wasn’t good enough.  Couldn’t it?”


Heero grimaced.  “OK.  So it could be.”


“You trying to make me feel better here, Heero, or what?”


“There was high competition for this one, Duo.”


“Two others, that’s all.  And one of those was crying in the toilets even as I arrived.”


“The guy who got it - he was likely an internal candidate.  The decision might already have been made.”


“It was.  They chose the better man.”


“In their eyes, only -“


“No.  He was much better suited than I.”


“What are you talking about?”


“I met him in the toilets.  Consoling the other candidate.”


He looked over at Heero, and for the first time, a smile teased at the edges of his mouth.  “I grabbed some paper to mop up the tears - but he had a monogrammed handkerchief.  In the company colours.”


Heero grinned.  Duo thought - as he often did - how delightfully mischievous that made the man look.  Pity he never had the balls to tell him so.


“So maybe it was never the job for you, Duo.”


“I’m coming round to that conclusion myself, Heero.”  He started to laugh, softly.  His body began to relax in his seat.  Heero watched as he took off his jacket and loosened the top button of his new shirt.  He stretched out his long legs and rolled his shoulders to ease the tension. 


Heero stood up carefully from his chair, walked over to the couch, and placed himself deliberately beside Duo.  Snugly.


Duo looked at him, slightly bemused.  “I’ll go rework my CV.  I’ll call the agency.  I’ll work on a more assertive list of ‘what are your primary strengths and approach to teamwork’ responses…”


“You won’t,” said Heero.  His mouth was very close to Duo’s ear - the words were almost too clear.


“Hey,” said Duo.  He cleared his throat.  “I can learn from this rejection, Heero -“


“Hush,” Heero said.  “It’s not your loss.  It’s theirs.  You think you should beat yourself up about them choosing someone else?  It was never for you, Duo.  None of these have been - you need something very special.  Something very singular.”


Duo looked at the way Heero’s thigh pressed against his own.  Felt the pressure of Heero’s elbow against his arm.  “But I can’t help being depressed about it - “


“You mustn’t be,” Heero said, rather thickly.  “You’re still the same - still as precious.  Still as worthwhile.  Unique.  I don’t care what they think.  What they want.”


“Easy to say, Heero…”


“I only care about you,” he sighed.  And when Duo’s jaw dropped comically and his eyes widened, Heero leant in and kissed at the protest that had frozen on his lips, as if it were ice cream crystals.


“What’s that for?” Duo gasped.


“To see if you’re the man for this job,” replied Heero.  Very softly.  Very gently. 


Duo tried to stop the flickers of pleasure in his eyes but he knew he failed.  He opened his mouth instead and accepted the kiss.  When Heero showed no sign of tiring, he slid a hand round into the thick, dark hair of his long-adored flatmate and tugged him in closer.


Eventually they broke for air and to prise the remote control out from under Duo’s right hip.  They’d flicked through most of the satellite channels as they’d writhed together.


“So - the job’s mine?”  Duo was worried that he still seemed to be panting.  It was very unprofessional - at an interview. 


“Very much so.  I want you to start at once.  Full benefits package.  Total support from the management.”


“Until, of course, I find something more permanent –“


“No,” said Heero.  Quite sharply.  “That’s what you’ve already found.  The other job - outside of here, outside of us - that’s the one that can wait.  Hell, Duo - can’t you get your priorities right?”


Duo smiled.  His smile was slow; easy; hungry.  And  - after Heero had leant in against him once more and folded their bodies into one, deliciously compact unit - his smile was deeply satisfied.


“The right fit, Heero.”  He arched his back gently at the caress of a palm - he gasped with ticklish anticipation and the inexpressible joy of being back at home, and in Heero’s hands.


“That’s what this is.”