by Dev-Aki Basaa
Heero closed the door to Preventers' South conference
room behind him as he walked into the dimly lit room.
He glanced around, shrugging his jacket tighter over
his shoulders with a tug on either side of his collar.
He was surprised to find himself alone. The note Duo
had left on his desk specifically said to meet him
here. Not that Duo had signed it, but after being
partnered with him countless times since they both
joined Preventers a year ago, Heero could easily tell
his handwriting - or, more accurately, he struggled to
decipher anything written by Duo. His scrawl was so
atrocious and unique, anyone would recognize his
penmanship instantly. Such as it was.
So when Heero had determined that the pencil
scratchings actually formed the words, 'Heero, come to
the South conference room, ASAP, it's important', he
didn't waste even the time to wonder why Duo would
leave him such a note. Or why he would want to meet
all the way over on the south side of Headquarters.
Heero walked deeper into the conference room and, for
a moment, considered raising the lights to a higher
degree of brightness, but then ultimately dismissed
the thought. The dim lights gave the room a soft
orange glow that he found to be rather calming and
comfortable. The lights here were not unlike the
lighting Duo had in the front room of his flat. And
Heero always felt peaceful there when he visited.
That thought alone made him smile.
He had just placed his hand on the back of a
conference table chair, intending on pulling it out
and settling in to wait, when he heard the click of a
door. He glanced back towards the door he'd entered
through - expecting that if Duo was meeting him here,
he'd have come the same route as Heero. Only, that
wasn't the door that was opening - it was the one on
the far wall, the one that exited towards the admin
offices of HQ. Why would Duo be coming from there?
Heero felt suddenly tense - was there something wrong?
Did Duo get some kind of reprimand?
But it was not Duo that walked into the room - not Duo
bathed in the soft glow of dim lights. It was Relena.
"Heero," she said, as she closed the door behind her.
She didn't sound surprised to find him there. She was
dressed in one of her more casual suits with a flared
skirt and a large bow at her neck. He'd seen it on
her before and thought that she looked pretty, in a
'perfect' sort of way - like a doll in a shop. But
the light pink of her clothes clashed with the
orange-ish lighting of the room, and Heero found
himself grimacing in response. Her coloring was all
wrong for the room. He then mentally laughed at
himself for even noticing such a thing. It almost
seemed absurd of him - if he hadn't already thought
how Duo seemed to glow in a room lit like this, how it
complimented him so. Relena belonged in her brilliant
spotlight, in more ways than one.
"Relena," Heero said, adding a simple nod of his head
in greeting. He sought out the collar of his jacket
again and tugged it even tighter across the back of
his neck. He had a sinking suspicion of what was
taking place. It wouldn't be the first time.
Relena's smile broadened and she brushed back the few
stands of hair that draped over her shoulder. "Duo
told me you'd be here," she said, her gaze softening
No, it wasn't the first time. But, dammit, it would
be the last.
Heero gave Relena another nod of his head.
"My apologies, Relena, but I can't stay. I have some
very important business to take care of."
She instantly looked crest-fallen. There was a part
of him that hated to disappoint her, that still strove
to protect her from all things. But what she hoped
for was doomed to failure - he could not give her that
which he'd already given to someone else.
Relena began as if to say something, but Heero didn't
give her the chance. He apologized again and then
swept out of the conference room as quickly as a
breeze. The strength of the door shutting behind him
probably even ruffled her skirt.
Heero paced the long headquarters' halls, in search of
the tell-tale braid. No room escaped his scrutiny.
Duo's office was empty; neither Trowa nor Wufei had
seen him; the cafeteria was closed at this hour; and
he wasn't in the gym or the pool. He even made a
cursory check of the admin offices, just in case Duo
was waiting somewhere for Relena to tell him how the
set-up had gone.
It was on his second pass of the North hall that a
glint of gold through the windows caught his eye. The
bright late-afternoon sun had reflected off of Duo's
earring - a new acquisition he took great pride in -
and the brilliant light had stopped Heero cold,
causing a bustling secretary to crash into him. He
apologized to her as she rushed past him and he caught
just a smidgen of her mumblings about the strangeness
of some of the agents. But Heero quickly dismissed
her and turned back towards the windows again, finding
his quarry. He was in the courtyard, helping with a
training session for new cadets, his face split wide
by a boisterous laugh that couldn't be heard from
inside, but Heero knew all too well the heartiness and
joy such a sound carried - especially when it was
Heero darted out the nearest exit and marched down the
sidewalk toward Duo, the wind rustling his hair and
making it fly into his eyes, stinging them terribly.
He squinted against the whipping strands as well as
the glare of the high sun. He took a quick moment to
curse that sunglasses were not regulation.
Heero saw the other agent, who was helping with the
exercise, give Duo a pointed nod alerting him to his
approaching company - the man's expression was quite
grave and when Duo turned around and saw Heero, his
grin faded right away. It was only then that Heero
realized he probably looked as if he was scowling, his
face scrunched up from his flying hair and the bright
"Um, hey, Heero." Duo gave a little wave, then
quickly shoved his hands in the pockets of his slacks.
He looked guilty as hell, and Heero had to wonder if
he'd done something more than try to set up a 'chance'
meeting between him and Relena. If he pushed him,
could he get him to confess to any number of sly
tricks and coercions? Perhaps, but that wasn't why he
He stopped in front of Duo, yet didn't speak. He knew
he wouldn't have to wait long - Duo was always quick
to break the silence.
"So, um," Duo began, tilting his head so his bangs
fluttered across his forehead, yet out of his eyes.
It caused him to be looking up at Heero though his
lashes, his eyes closed slightly. It gave Heero a
start for the way that look caused a flutter in his
stomach. "Anything interesting happen this
afternoon?" Duo finished.
Heero sighed to himself. There was a part of him that
considered just saying, 'no, nothing of any importance
happened today,' playing along and yet not. Yes, he'd
spoiled the plans, but that response would allow for
more plans another day. This had to end - even if he
didn't like the ultimate outcome. Somewhere inside
him a voice piped up and said, 'Enough! Go for it."
So, taking a deep breath, Heero went right for the
target. "Why do you keep pushing me towards Relena?"
For a moment, Duo seemed to consider just playing
dumb. The old, 'I don't know what you're talking
about,' routine. But much to Heero's relief, he
appeared to dismiss that idea and shrugged instead.
"She's a nice girl," he answered. "I just want you to
But Heero noticed the sadness to that statement - as
if he'd resigned himself to the prospect that Relena
would make Heero happy. He had to wonder what brought
Duo to that conclusion anyway? Had Relena convinced
him of this?
"What makes you think I'd be happy with her?"
Duo looked at him as if he was an idiot. He spread
his hands and his response sounded like he was
explaining the most basic of facts. "She loves you,
it's so obvious."
Is that all? "But I don't love her."
Duo smiled then, but as before, there was a touch of
sadness to the expression. He sighed and reached out
to rest his right hand on Heero's shoulder. "Heero,
I'm just doing what I thought was best for my friend."
The wind caught his braid, whipping it wildly behind
him. Strands of red-gold glinted in the sunlight and
made his hair shimmer. Duo gestured with the hand
he'd placed on Heero's shoulder, making a sort of
vague motion towards space. "You've been so focused
on the wars, you probably don't realize..."
Dammit! Heero cut him off. "I know what love is,
Duo, don't assume otherwise."
Duo paused for a long moment after, his face frozen in
a sort of blank regard of Heero. He looked as though
he didn?t know how to continue, uncertain of Heero's
response. But then he shrugged again, as before,
shoving his hand back into his pocket and letting his
gaze fall towards the ground.
"I'm sorry," he said, kicking the toe of his boot into
the dirt and digging up a stone. With another kick,
he sent it rolling into the surrounding grass. "You
just deserve some happiness, you know?"
That little voice returned to the fore of Heero's mind
as he watched Duo's downcast face.
'Enough. Go for it.'
And so, without much thought, he reached out and
brushed his fingers against Duo's right cheek and was
rewarded with a startled gasp. He let his fingers
linger, just barely touching Duo's skin as Duo slowly
raised his head and met his gaze. Duo's eyes were
wide with shock and Heero hoped it was because of how
he was looking at him. He hoped his gaze was softened
towards Duo, as Relena's had been towards him earlier.
"So I deserve happiness? What about you?" Heero asked
him, his fingers gently caressing his face, reveling
in the warmth of his cheek. "Don't you deserve
Duo almost seemed too shocked to respond with words.
He began shaking his head slightly; Heero's fingers
brushing more across his skin, before his answer came
out in a whisper. "I'm not worthy..."
At hearing just the beginning of what Duo was going to
say, Heero reached forward even more and fully cupped
Duo's face, his fingers touching his newly pierced
ear. The strength and intent of the motion seemed to
cut Duo off again and Heero knew the moment - the
perfect moment - was upon him.
"Let me be the judge of that," he told him as he drew
Duo closer to him, tightening his fingers to tip Duo's
head just enough. He saw Duo's eyes slip closed
before their lips even touched. Yes, Duo had wanted
and waited for this as much as he had. They'd been
fools to delay this long.
Heero kissed him deeply, lingering on the sweet taste
of Duo, of his sun-warmed lips and the very soft
rumblings of a moan. As they slowly parted, their
breath mingling and eyes opening again, Heero knew he
needn't say anything more. They now both understood
from where they each could find their happiness.
The moment continued to be so utterly perfect, their
gazes locked in understanding and awakening passion;
their lips already yearning towards the other for
The sudden applause, though, broke through the fa?ade
of solitude. They were still standing outside in the
courtyard and it seemed like the whole damn HQ had
stopped to watch them kiss.
Heero heard a cat-call that sounded suspiciously like
He was surprised when Duo crushed against him, ducking
his head in embarrassment, but then delighted when he
also took his hand. Heero squeezed his fingers
tightly, entwining them with Duo's, and caught his
gaze when Duo looked back up.
"Let's find some privacy, huh?" Duo said, his eyes
sparkling and reminding Heero of sunlight on the
ocean. He nodded his response and let Duo lead him
back up the sidewalk he'd marched down before and back
into the North hall. The secretary he'd crashed into
earlier had the broadest grin on her face as they
passed and kept any comments about strange agents to
herself this time.
As Heero glanced back down the hall behind them, he
caught sight of Relena. She was leaning against a
corridor junction, her arms folded loosely around her
waist. From a distance, she almost looked as though
she was grinning at him, a look of understanding on
her face. He sincerely hoped he was correct about
that. He hoped that she now knew why these set-ups
she and Duo planned always ended so badly. He hoped
she would understand completely - because one day he'd
like to credit her with being the one to bring him and
A matchmaker should get her commendation.