Duo held the clippers carefully in his hand. He looked at the tree in front of him, squinting his eyes as if trying to see past the shape of the tree, to see what it would become if he snipped just *there*. He looked up at Heero who was watching him intently. Watching *him*, not the tree. He cleared his throat.
"Is this okay?" he asked, smiling as Heero blinked as if coming back to his senses.
Heero looked at the tree. "It is your tree. Any change you make will be the right one," he said, his tone inflected with timeless patience.
Duo sighed. "I just don't wanna mess it up, ya know?"
Heero shook his head. "Impossible. You are the artist. If the shape is not pleasing, make it better."
Duo hesitated, squinting at the tiny tree again. "I don't know... I don't think I'm good at this sort of thing."
Heero walked around the table to stand behind him. Duo breathed in deeply. He loved Heero's warmth, his sandalwood scent, the touch of his hand on his own as Heero placed his over Duo's.
"The art of bonsai is unrestricted. The object is to shape it with an appreciation to drama." He pressed his fingers down over Duo's, clipping the tiny branch carefully. "Make it your own without evidence of your presence. It is nature in miniature and a reflection of who you are."
Duo shivered. Heero's voice had a way of making goosebumps spread over his flesh.
Heero withdrew his hand. Duo did as well, setting the clippers on the table. He cocked his head and studied the tree. "Think it looks okay?"
"It is an expression of who you are." Heero's arms wound themselves around Duo's waist, his chin resting on his lover's shoulder. "Therefore, it is perfect."
Duo snorted. He wasn't perfect. But he liked it when Heero told him he was.
"I guess it's okay then," he said, leaning back into Heero's embrace.
"Is it what you envisioned?" Heero asked, his lips ghosting along Duo's neck.
Duo closed his eyes. "No. And at the same time, yes." He opened his eyes, turning in Heero's embrace to face him. He leaned up to rub his nose against Heero's.
"So what's it mean anyway?"
Lips moved across his own in the barest of touches. "What do you mean?"
"Bonsai. What's it mean? I mean, you always hear ninjas screaming it in those cheesy movies you like. Is it a battle cry or something?"
Heero laughed a little. "Those are samurai, and the word is 'banzai,' not 'bonsai.'"
Duo sniffed, feeling a little indignant. "Oh." His eyes fluttered closed as Heero leaned in to taste along his jaw. "So, what does 'banzai' mean?"
Heero's breath was hot against his skin. "It's an ancient word, meaning 'ten thousand years.' It was ... a way of expressing one's utter and deepest commitment." Heero's lips stopped speaking for a moment, becoming otherwise occupied in a way intent on making Duo's toes curl.
Duo clung to him, hands on Heero's shoulders. If he let go, he might fall off the world. "S-so ... why shout it?"
Lips moved over heated skin, behind an ear, torturous. "The warrior in battle is expressing his desire to trade eternity for a single moment."
"Oh." Duo pulled away, only slightly. He smiled at Heero and smoothed fingers through chocolate-brown hair. He leaned in, placing his lips on his lover's, not pressing, simply mingling their breaths in the warm space between their mouths. They hung there for a moment... a long, heated moment before Duo pressed his advantage.