Warning: Happy ending in progress. Not in the mood? Don't read.

An Invitation
by Dyna Dee

Coming slowly to a sense of awareness, his internal clock told him it was well into the day. Rolling over from off his stomach to his back, he felt the ache in his arms and lower back muscles as they complained about the long hours of grueling work he'd been put them through.

The soft sound of raindrops on the gutters and deck outside the bedroom window was a further reminder as to why his body was in less than top condition. All the rush, strain and frantic work had happened because of this impending storm, coming at a very inopportune time.

Reaching an arm out, he was a bit disappointed but not surprised to find the space next to his own empty, the sheets cool to the touch. He sighed with regret at the absence there, then moved to stretch his body, feeling once again all the sore muscles he'd acquired from the hard physical labor of the last three days. A slow smile spread across his handsome face as he realized that all his efforts and lingering soreness had been worth it.

Hearing movement in another area of the house, his smile deepened. His lover was no doubt up to his usual romantic tricks. He'd come to expect some form of reciprocation from the man who held his heart whenever he took time away from his job in the city to help him in the vineyard. The last three days had been nothing short of hell, but he was sure he was about to be compensated for it.

It was harvest time, the grapes were only days away from reaching their full, robust maturity, ready to be picked and sent to the wholesale market. Then came the ill-timed forecast for rain and the mad rush to beat it. In a flurry of activity, they'd gathered all Duo's hired workers and any of their extended family willing to earn some quick money in order to harvest the grapes before the rain came. Any significant amount of rain this close to the harvest would cause the grapes to burst, ruining the flavor and quality of the crop. So for three days he and his partner had worked alongside their hired hands, many of them non-English speaking Hispanics, some legal and others not, all of them hard workers.

He'd called into Dreamwaker, the digital arts studio he worked at in Marin County, and took a few of his sick days in order to stay home and help. Despite the long hours and grueling work in the fields, he'd enjoyed every minute that he'd spent with his lover of four months.

It hardly seemed possible that four months ago he'd been living and working half a world away. His life had dramatically changed at the arrival of postcards with a simple hand-written invitation by a then mysterious person to ‘Come Away'. He could hardly believe that his most heartfelt wish was fulfilled when he found the writer of those romantic cards was the one person he'd longed for.

He was right when he'd told Relena that going with Duo could be his chance at finding happiness. Without a doubt, he was happier than he'd ever been in his life. And if Relena thought the postcards were romantic, she had yet to learn the true meaning of the word. He'd enlightened her, by way of their many phone and e-mail conversations, that his lover was a born romantic and he was more than happy to be the recipient of Duo's romantic nature.

Since his arrival to the home on the hill, he'd enjoyed moonlight walks, usually ending up in a secluded part of the vineyard where blankets had been laid out with food, drinks, soft music or massage oil awaiting them. They'd spent many a warm evening on that blanket with the stars above them blinking brightly in cloudless skies as they continued to discover each other.

The double hammock at the back of the house was also a gift he'd received from Duo. It comfortably held the both of them on other lazy summer nights as they stargazed and talked of their lives, past and present. Special treats, computer programs, clothing and gardening tools for his newly discovered talent, were always presented to him in clever ways.

He in turn, proved to be a quick study in the subject of romance. With such a good example to follow, he found himself searching the internet and stores for gadgets, gizmos, clothing and treats for the man he left at home five days a week as he went to work in the city. Each gift was carefully selected and was received enthusiastically, making any effort he'd put into the finding and purchasing of the gift more than worth it.

Though they'd hit a few bumps in their new relationship, he was satisfied with the progress they'd made. He was as close to being as happy as he believed a man could be, and it was no wonder his friends' expressions displayed shock when they called to chat on the vid phone. It appeared that they weren't used to him smiling as much as now did.

Hearing the sound of slippered feet approaching the bedroom door, he quickly closed his eyes and relaxed the muscles of his face in order to hide his smile.

A slight creak of the door, that he had forgotten to fix, announced the return of his lover. Though Duo had been a terrorist and thief and knew how to move silently, Heero could sense his movement toward the bedside table. The soft sound of a tray being set down on the bedside table told him Duo had most likely brought him breakfast in bed, or maybe lunch considering the day was more than half over.

He kept up his pretense of being asleep, not wanting to spoil whatever surprise Duo was up to. He recognized the soft snapping sound on the latches of the guitar case being opened, and his smile became harder to hide.

It didn't happen often, but when they had a day home together, Duo would sometimes play his guitar, displaying his newly acquired talent and the results of practicing for many hours. He thought Duo had an exceptional voice and enjoyed the fact that his lover often wooed him with a private serenade.

The soft strum of the six strings signaled not the start of the chosen song, but that Duo was testing them for pitch. Knowing Duo would expect him to wake up to such a sound, he opened his eyes and immediately focused on the object of his more than considerable affections. Duo was sitting on the corner chair, wearing his knee-length, dark blue bathrobe, with his guitar on his lap and his long hair unraveled from its braid and pulled over his right shoulder. Heero thought his lover was beautiful, and at that moment he looked like a wet dream come to life. A familiar warmth began blossom in his chest as he realized once again, and with no small amount of disbelief, that the vision before him was his, all his.

He recognized that the warmth he was experiencing was centered in his heart and it spread slowly through the rest of his body at the thought that Duo was his, his lover, his partner, his friend and, if thing kept going well for them, his life companion. There was no one else in the world he needed like he needed Duo, no where he wanted to be than where he was, and at that moment, no sight on earth or the colonies more wonderful and welcome than his lover bending over his guitar, the hem of his robe riding up his wonderfully tan and trim legs.

As if sensing he was being visually devoured, Duo looked up and their eyes met. "Morning," he said, his voice warm and alluring, his smile engaging.

"What's this?" he asked, knowing full well the answer.

"Just a small thank you for helping out the last three days... and nights." The smile and honest blue eyes shined with sincerity. "Really, Heero, I appreciate your being here for me."

"There's no place I'd rather be," he answered, his eyes going back to watching the robe slowly hiking a bit higher up the slender thigh. He held himself in check, denying the growing urge he felt to get out of bed and run his hand up those thighs to find the treasure above them.

Duo smiled at him, then began to strum his guitar. The beat of the song was slow and easy, his voice smooth and sultry as he began to sing.




He smiled. Duo had once again found an appropriate song for the occasion, something he excelled at. He hadn't heard this particular song before, so he guessed it was one of the older songs Howard enjoyed and had given copies of it to his favorite former gundam pilot. He liked the song already.






Propping himself up on his elbows, he took in the picture his lover presented. The width of the guitar sat in his lap, strategically hiding the body behind it, and a nice body it was, too. He enjoyed the California sun had brought to Duo's appearance. A glow of health radiated from the former thin and wiry colony brat, and Duo's once pale skin was now a touchable, kissable golden bronze tone. From hours working out in the summer-long sunshine, he had also acquired a smattering of freckles on his shoulders and nose that Heero found attractive, endearing, and absolutely sexy. The long hair that always captivated him and had so many colors of brown and red throughout, now also had a golden sheen to it from hours of being outside and kissed by the sun.

But of all the things that he'd come to admire about the man he shared his life with, it was those wonderful hands, presently busy playing the guitar, that had once wielded Deathscythe Hell and numerous lethal weapons and now worked daily in fields, that he adored. They were probably just as calloused as they'd been during the war if not a bit more. But he didn't mind. No, not one bit. Those ten fingers, hardened from playing the guitar, and the palms of both hands made rough from good honest work, felt incredible on his skin and as they traced across his body. He decided he'd never be content with anything but a working man's hands touching him, and without a doubt, his knew it was only Duo's hands that he'd ever crave or give in to. All of the physical changes and attributes added to the already handsome package that made the man he'd dreamt about and longed for well before their separation after the wars. But no matter the dreams or how good there were, nothing compared to the reality of living with and loving Duo Maxwell. He was just glad that they both had healthy and hardy libidos that equally matched the other's.




Well, he wasn't sure that line rang true. Every day he woke up next to the other man, each time they shared a meal together, kissed or made love, he was pleased and more than a little surprised that he ended up finding such happiness in a ranch house that sat on a hill in Northern California surrounded by acres of grapevines. It all seemed too good to be true.






Shifting again to lie on his side, still facing his lover, he rested his elbow on the mattress and his head on the upraised palm of his hand. While Duo was concentrating on the bridge of the song, his fingers working the strings, biting his lower lip as he focused on the bridge of the song, he rearranged the blankets so they draped seductively low on his hips. He told himself that he was just setting the scene to tempt his lover when he looked up. He was more than ready for Duo to finish the song and get back into bed to enjoy the rest of the day off now that the harvest was done and the rain had come.







The music stopped abruptly and guitar was set to the side, but his lover continued to hum the song as he stood from the chair and made his way to the bed. The last line of the song came from his lips again, and Heero knew the truth of it. He'd gotten a job in the next county and the commute was murder. But when he got home at night, the day and the world outside melted away and the night became theirs. He'd come to love the nights.

He reached towards his lover as he came to stand by the bedside, Duo's eyes showing his growing hunger as they searched his half-draped body while still humming the last line of the song. He wrapped his hand around the terrycloth and loosened the belt holding the robe together. A slight shrug of those slightly freckled shoulders and the blue robe fell forgotten to the floor. His breath caught in his throat at the beauty of the man before him; he knew that he'd never tire of viewing his lover's body. It was like looking at the statue of David, housed in Florence, Italy.

Holding up the covers as an invitation, Duo smiled seductively, threw his long hair over his shoulder and climbed in, immediately pressing his slightly chilled body up against him, chest to chest and legs immediately entwining.

"I brought you breakfast," Duo whispered in his ear as his tongue traced its outer shell, sending a shudder of delight from that point down to his groin.

"Later," he replied, his hands moving over the curves and planes of the body he worshiped on a regular basis. "I believe I'll be having dessert first."

"I like your way of thinking," Duo chuckled, pressing his hip and his obvious desire up against his own needy body.

"Besides," he continued. "We're done with the harvest, it's raining, and you're all mine."

"All yours," Duo agreed in a whisper that sounded both awed and pleased at the same time.

And Heero spent the rest of the afternoon and evening proving his claim.

Short but sweet, maybe a bit too sweet. I decided to take a break from the angst for a while and hope you don't mind. The song Sunrise is also from Nora Jones. Blame my family for the mellow inspiration, the CD was a gift.


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