DISCLAIMER: Bandai and Sunrise own all. I’m just borrowing the boys and their world. The story, however, is mine.

CATEGORY: yaoi, angst, sap
FEEDBACK: Always ^_^ dev_aki_jediknight@yahoo.com

SUMMARY: Heero has a secret he's keeping from Duo, causing Duo to worry over the future of their relationship.

NOTES: Takes place after EW

AUTHOR NOTES: The poetry is by yours truly. Thanks be to Sakti and Sharon for the beta. This idea came from a conversation with Sharon - she unwittingly unleashed this bunny on me and I wasn't going to succumb at first, but then the damn thing bit me and that was that ^_^ Hope you enjoy it!

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The Secret
by Dev-Aki Basaa
Part 2

The place felt peaceful, just a few people were even patronizing the restaurant and their murmurs of conversation hummed in the background, adding to the sedate atmosphere. Heero sat in the third booth of the first row of seating, facing the entrance - some preservation quirks never go away. Duo took a deep breath, Heero was engrossed enough in that book he probably wouldn't even notice him until he was upon him. He started walking toward him and each step he took felt overly deliberate, as if he might be marching to the end of the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. He didn't know what Heero's reaction to seeing him here might be.

He tried not to pause, he knew that would draw Heero's attention more than just what would seem like a passerby. Finally at the booth's edge, Duo didn't hesitate. He slid smoothly into the booth seat across from Heero, folding his hands on the countertop, settled in, like he was supposed to be there.

He'd surprised him; that was for sure. Heero's eyes were wide, his mouth open as if to speak, but nothing was forthcoming. Duo tried to gauge his expression beyond just shock. Was he shocked, but not necessarily unhappy to see him? Or was he shocked and upset at his sudden arrival? Maybe he was just surprised that anyone could have snuck up on him.

"Hey," Duo said. A pitiful opening, for certain, but he was feeling rather nervous and unsure and he didn't have clue one on how to proceed. He kind of hoped Heero would just lay into him so he could jump right into the fray himself - a technique he felt familiar with. His anger floated just below the surface of his calm, ready to come flying out, hurt and confusion a fuel to its fire. But what if they did just start hashing this out, no holds-barred? What could that mean for them later? Would they say things they shouldn't, hurtful things that could never be taken back? Duo winced as he watched Heero's brows draw together, the beginning of one of his infamous glares. Maybe this was a mistake; maybe he shouldn't have come. Mentally, Duo shook his head. No, he'd done the right thing by coming; he'd been such a wreck not knowing. In the end, he'd felt like he didn't have a choice. His sincerest hope was that they'd come out better on the other side of this - whatever *this* was about to become.

"Duo..." Even that initial tone in Heero's voice told him he was in for it. But before Heero could form his next words, that waitress in the dingy brown uniform interrupted them. She looked even older up close, a woman with her own grandchildren, perhaps. A woman who flashed Duo a comforting smile and a motherly look that reminded him of Sister Helen, of so long ago.

She kept her head bowed, focused on the notepad in one hand, a pen in the other, perched, ready to scribble down another order.

Duo wondered if it would be odd, under the circumstances, to order something. Could one make a serious argument with one's mouth full? Probably not.

However, she didn't say, "so, honey, what can I get'cha?", clichéd in its phrasing and tone. Instead her gaze darted to Heero.

"So's this your little man?" she asked.

Nothing else could have broken the tension better.

A small grin curled across Heero's face and Duo couldn't help but smile back. Heero could be so adorably shy sometimes, something Duo'd never expected of him but it sure was charming as hell.

"Yeah," Heero answered. He must have spoken of him to this waitress and already Duo was feeling less alarmed about these little excursions. Not any closer to understanding them, but at least he didn't feel so desperate as he had before.

Then Duo realized the waitress had shifted her gaze from Heero to him, giving him an appraising look - the literal up and down, eyes-to-ass-to-toes kind that made you feel so conspicuous even the most confident guy would have felt naked after. Duo tried to pretend he wasn't totally aware of each moment she continued to stare at him, but he also wondered if he should ask if she thought his kidneys looked healthy.

Her gaze finally went back to her notepad, her slight grin quirked a little and she nodded.

"Yup," she said, "you're right. He is pretty damn cute."

Duo gawked at Heero, his smile spreading as Heero turned an adorable shade of pink and looked away. Duo was so touched. It wasn't as if he didn't know Heero thought he was attractive - Heero's actions alone told him as much. In fact, with a few spontaneous (seemingly, anyway) exceptions, Heero's actions told him everything. Duo didn't get to hear too often what Heero had to say about him. It was really nice to hear, sometimes.

By the time the waitress had taken Duo's order for coffee - nothing else thank you - and left them alone again, all of Duo's anger had disappeared. Granted, his hurt and confusion remained, but those emotions were far more manageable and justifiable.


Heero looked back at him, his embarrassed flush had faded and the anger in his eyes was gone. He seemed...disappointed, instead. Duo found that to be puzzling, but he didn't let it give him pause, forging on just the same.

"Why couldn't you tell me about this?" He made a small sweeping gesture at the surrounding booths.

Heero took a deep breath, looking like someone resigned to a fate, and answered him. "I wanted it to be a surprise."

Duo frowned, his face crumbling with his confusion. "A surprise?"

Heero then looked down at the book that still laid open before him. He seemed to concentrate on it for a moment, then, with a sigh, he closed it and pushed it across the table to rest in front of Duo.

"Happy Anniversary," he said.

"Anniversary?" Duo shook his head. "Heero, we had our year anniversary 6 months ago. Quatre threw a party for us, remember?" He then leaned into the table a little bit and waggled his brows for effect. "They made us leave early because we kept making a scene." He couldn't hold back a grin remembering the scene they'd made. Heero grinned too.

"Not that anniversary," he said, a faint blush returning, but then his expression turned serious again. "The anniversary of the first time you told me you loved me."

Duo's eyes went wide in surprise. "Oh my God," he said in a gasped whisper. He remembered that? Duo had to think about it for a moment, but that was right. They'd been together for about 6 months before either of them had said the words. He was struck dumb that not only did Heero remember it better than he had, but that he'd also endeavored to mark the moment like an anniversary. A very special anniversary.

Heero nodded towards the book. "Read," he said.

Duo looked down at the plain covered book before him. The binding was black with a dark green front and back flap. There were no other markings, like a title or author, to distinguish it. The waitress came with his coffee then, setting it down off to the side of the book and retreating right away. Duo didn't even look up, though. He turned the book so it was upright and opened to the first page with writing. It was Heero's perfect script.

*Happy Anniversary, Duo. I Love You Too.*

He knew Heero loved him, that part didn't come as a surprise. He didn't say it often, but Duo did know how he felt. However, Heero hadn't said it that first time Duo had said it to him. It had taken him a few weeks before he said it back. But this, written here, honoring that first time, it was like it rewrote history.

*I Love You Too. *

It was as if he'd said it that day too, in that park, as they sat together watching the sunset.

He didn't ever need to move beyond this first page, this was everything to him; he could stare at it forever and never lack for another gesture from Heero. This was perfection. But Heero seemed to be growing impatient with him, stuck on the same page, and finally he reached over and turned it for Duo.

The book was - or had been - a blank notebook with ruled lines and little stationery-like accents in the corner. Now it featured Heero's penmanship and page upon page of transcribed poetry.

The classics: Shakespeare, The Bronte Sisters, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina and Dante Rossetti, Percy Shelly, Robert Graves, and more. There were even more recent, post-colony authors like J.F. Hilt, Katherine Mary, and Ashley "Baby" Angel.

Every poem was one of love - the beauty of it, the pain of it, the magnitude of it. All handwritten, all in Heero's penmanship.

Duo was in awe.

He looked up, eyes wide as he tried to gather his thoughts into speech. He took a deep breath and his words came out like a whisper.

"You are amazing, you know that? Far more amazing than I give you credit for."

Heero smiled a little more then reached over and turned several pages deep into the book. Duo watched as more and more poems passed by, maybe even some short stories. No wonder this had taken six months, the extent, the scope of the work here was huge!

Finally Heero stopped flipping pages and Duo focused on the poems now before him.

*Need - by Heero Yuy*
*Victory - by Heero Yuy*
*Charmed - by Heero Yuy*

Duo looked up, still awestruck, still amazed.

"You wrote your own poetry?"

Heero shrugged. "Sometimes even the best authors didn't capture exactly what I wanted to say."

'Oh my God,' Duo thought, resigned to just blinking and staring. 'How did I get this lucky?'

"Heero, I..."

But Heero shook his head, cutting him off.

"Read," he said again.

Duo looked down and began to read aloud, his voice touched with the wonderment he was feeling.

"I need your arms around me in ways I cannot explain.
Locked inside me is more fire and passion than words
could ever express,
Whether written on a page or flowing like a song from
my mouth.
But when I touch your face, kiss your lips and skin,
peer into the wild depths of your eyes,
I have all of what my heart yearns for.

Words of love may spill over our lips, but they are never necessary.
Speech can only contain pale descriptors of the love we know.
Peace comes only from the knowledge that you exist in my life.
So I will brush my fingers across your cheek and call to you, ever and again.
Echoing your own words to me, I will whisper in your ear, 'you are my love.'"

Duo looked up and Heero was smiling.

"That's beautiful," he told him.

Heero just reached across and pointed to another poem.

"I liked this one."

So Duo read.

"I have captured his fascination,
It is my greatest victory,
And equal obsession is my reward.
Together we live in perfect complexity,
Needing nothing but each other's arms."

When Duo finished, Heero asked, "Do you think it's true?"

"Yes," Duo answered immediately, breathless, still amazed and dumbstruck. He honestly didn't know what to say. He knew Heero was capable of such emotion, but to see it - so much of it - collected in front of him and in such a beautiful expression of it... He didn't even know where to begin to say how deeply it touched him. It made all his simple statements of, "I love you," seem so pale.

Heero reached across and pointed again.

"This one started it all." He pulled his arm back and went on. "I actually wrote that a long time ago, when we first got together after the war. I didn't originally mean to include it, but having written it, I had the idea of giving you a collection of poems that made me think of you. But I never found a poem that had said the same thing as that one, so I included it. The others stemmed from that idea."

Duo looked back down and read.

"I am charmed, completely charmed.
How did he mange to do that?
Delightfully twisted around his finger, I find myself
Tempting descriptions and my dreams spin light and
dark and inviting.
Subtle kindness and I strive to repay the gesture.
Open generosity and I give him everything I have.
He instills in me his trust and I return the favor.

Distant looks and people wonder of what I'm thinking.
Humored grins and everyone wants to know the joke.
Anxious glances and they ask me if the time passes too slow.
Eager steps and speculation murmurs on my destination.
He tells me he missed me and I find myself smiling.

I missed you too."

Even before the last syllable had passed his lips, Duo was sliding out of his side of the booth and into Heero's. He grabbed his face and kissed him, as hard and as deep as he could, expressing the completeness of his emotions in action alone. Distantly, he could hear chuckles and a few 'aws' from the other patrons. He figured that waitress was probably grinning from ear to ear.

After a moment or two of making a spectacle of themselves, Duo broke their kiss, leaning back and running his thumb across Heero's swollen lips. He always loved seeing them like that. With those lusty eyes and kiss-swollen lips, he couldn't think of anything more beautiful.

"Thank you," he whispered, brushing Heero's lips again. "Thank you so much." By the look in his eyes, Duo was pretty damn sure Heero knew he was thanking him for more than just penning this book. He was thanking him for his love, for loving him and for accepting his love. Oh yeah, he was definitely one lucky guy and he wanted little more at that moment than to express all this love, all that depth, with actions. Many actions.

He grabbed Heero's wrists and tugged as he started to slide out of the booth.

"We need to go *home*, Heero." He didn't even try to hide the needy whine in his voice.

Heero chuckled, pulling back on Duo's grip, a tug of war with his own arms. "I need to pay the bill."

Duo slid close again, slipping his arms around Heero's waist, rubbing his side the way he knew Heero loved it. He grinned even wider when he felt Heero's answering shiver of excitement.

"How much do you think it'll be?"

Heero nuzzled his nose along Duo's neck, making the tiny hairs all over Duo's body stand on end.

"My salad, your coffee - five or six dollars?"

"Great!" Duo reached into his back pocket and dug out his wallet. He grabbed two 20s out of the worn leather and slammed them on the tabletop.

"That should cover it."

Heero raised his brow in mild surprise, but he didn't say anything. He knew, as Duo did, that the waitress deserved it, whether she realized it or not. She'd saved them from what could have been a disastrous situation. They could have argued their relationship to its death. Instead, they were closer than they had been in a long time. Duo had finally gotten what he wanted. Heero, through this sweet, touching gesture had assuaged him of his own doubts. He had made him feel wanted and loved when he needed it most. Of course, Heero had - if unintentionally - caused the problem to begin with.

Heero had started to slide out of the booth, but Duo stopped him. He shoved his wallet away and reached across the table to grab the book. Glancing down at the bare cover, he smiled, then he looked up and caught Heero's now curious gaze. He tapped the book's edge lightly against Heero's chest.

"Listen," he said. "This is important. If you ever decide to do something like this again, you need to hide it much better. I followed you tonight because I thought there was something seriously wrong."

Heero nodded, glancing down at the book resting against his chest and brushed his fingers along the length of the spine.

"I know. I didn't do a very good job keeping this from you, but I didn't know how else to pull it off."

Duo nodded, understanding that Heero would think that. "But you could've told Quatre," he told him.

Heero looked up and frowned. "He would have told you."

"Better than him thinking we were breaking up and echoing all my fears."

Heero's eyes widened then and he shook his head. "No, never that. Look."

He grabbed the book from Duo's hands and opened to a little over half-way through and began thumbing through the pages - one blank sheet after another.

"See," he said. "I didn't fill the book because it's not done. We're not done." He looked up, his gaze very intense. "We have the rest of our lives together to fill this book."

Duo smiled, so wide his cheeks hurt and he reached over, taking Heero's face in his hands again and kissed him. So lucky. He then pulled back from the kiss and leaned his forehead against Heero's.

"Damnit, Yuy. We need to get out of here before I say screw self-control and just ravish you right here in this booth."

He then grabbed the book back, pecked Heero on the lips one more time, said, "I love you," and took off towards the door. Heero was right on his heels, the now empty tote-bag in his grip.

As they burst though the front doors, laughing and touching, they almost collided with an older couple, coming into the restaurant. Duo managed an apology, also while fending off Heero's roaming hands and as they took off, running for home, Duo could just hear the words of the older couple ring after them.

"Damn kids," the man grumbled, but the woman, her smile apparent by the tone of her voice, countered him, saying, "Let it go, Harold. Can't you see they're in love?"


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