by Dyna Dee
As he returned to his room, Heero checked his watch to see that it was just after midnight. The piece of paper with Duo's cell number was held firmly in his hand. He stared at it in disbelief. He'd spent three years desperately wanting, no, needing to contact Duo, and now he had the means to do so. He felt the familiar twinge of fear tighten his chest, a feeling that usually accompanied the other overwhelming feelings he felt for the long-haired gundam pilot. He'd tried to shove those emotions deep inside himself during the war, seeing it as a danger and a detriment to his mission. Along with his never spoken love for Duo, he also silently bore the fear of rejection of those feelings should Duo discover how deeply he felt. He knew he loved Duo profoundly, and in doing so, risked the chance of hurting Duo or of being hurt by him. The fear of loving and the fear of losing went hand in hand with him where Duo was concerned. Now added to those fears of the past was the added anxiety of taking a first step all over again in order to win his former lover back.
He reflected on his first response to the long haired teenager's flirting years earlier at the beginning of the war. It was after a battle and they were in the first of many dorm rooms they would share. The battle had been a success and the adrenaline was flowing through both their bodies, giving them both excess energy to burn off.
Duo had stripped down to his boxers in preparation for bed, and unfastened his glorious mane of hair and, leaning his head back, shook out the plait of wondrous hair. Heero remembered the creamy, smooth column of neck displayed, the trim body that held not an ounce of fat but of trim muscles just under the pale skin. He remembered clenching his fists, willing himself not to reach out and touch the beauty that stood before him. But when Duo lowered his chin, their eyes, each displaying their normally hidden desires and passion for the other, met and locked. Putting his hands on his hips, the violet-eyed vixen lowered his eyelids halfway, and with his hair free and flowing around him like a virgin's veil, he said in a deep, bedroom voice. "So Heero, what would you like to do tonight?" Just a simple, everyday question really, but the tone of voice and the body language proved too much for even the teenager who had been trained to be the perfect soldier. It hadn't been lost of the pilot of Wing that for the couple of weeks they'd been partnered together, Duo had been subtly giving slight physical and verbal hints that he felt more than just friendship towards him and, even though he had argued relentlessly with himself that he and Duo were too opposite in personalities to have a satisfying relationship, he found himself drawn like a moth to a brilliant, hot and devouring flame.
Taking the few steps forward to stand in front of the male version of a siren, Heero more than invaded Duo's personal space by standing with only a fraction of an inch between them. He licked his lips as he gazed at the forbidden fruit that was Duo's lips. "I have an idea, if you're sure you're up to it," he replied in an equally sensual voice and saw Duo's slim body shiver in response. The long-haired boy from L-2 then gave a knowing smile that assured Heero that Duo knew exactly what he had in mind.
Duo make the next move as he slowly reached out with his right hand to gently touch Heero's left hand and moved it down the sleeve of his t-shirt until their hands met. Taking Heero's hand in his own, the long-haired boy turned the Japanese boy's pl hand and placed against his boxer covered erection. "Yeah, I'm definitely up to it," he replied in a sultry voice.
Heero remembered crushing his lips to Duo's, and knowing Duo knew of his inexperience, he let the long haired pilot guide him, teaching him how to kiss properly. They spent a good ten minutes standing in the same spot, pressed together as they perfected the dance of lips and tongues before Heero growled deep in his throat and picked up Duo's legs, leading him to wrap them around his waist as he carried him to his bed.
It was the first time either of them had engaged in sex with a male, and though it was not as gentle or performed as smoothly as it could have been had they been more knowledgeable, Heero always remembered it fondly as one of the few bright, illuminating moments of the war.
Remembering that night and feeling aroused by the memory, it spurred his next action. He walked to the bedside table and picked up the phone. Placing the piece of paper on top of the table, he carefully dialed the numbers, memorizing them for future use.
The line was busy. He looked at the receiver questioningly. Who could he be talking to this late at night? Heero's eyes drew down to a narrow, angry slant. "Marcus," he growled out. He sat on his bed to think of a strategy, then looked at the phone again. Well, his position as Relena's bodyguard did carry some privileges, he thought. He promptly hit the flash button and dialed the operator.
Duo ran into his bedroom, having heard his phone ring. "Hello!" He answered it in a rushed voice.
"Max?" The smooth voice on the other end clearly identified the caller.
"Hi Marcus," Duo replied, slipping off his shoes and undoing his tie while he held the phone to his ear by resting it between his shoulder and head.
"So how is it being back?" Marcus asked in a casual manner.
"Kinda weird," Duo answered, shucking off his jacket and tossing it onto the bed. He then flopped backwards onto the down comforter, the phone still at his ear. "I mean, I was really nervous seeing my old friends as they were the reason I left in the first place." Three years ago, he had told the older boy, as they attempted horseback riding, of his hurt resulting from rejection by his closest friends, so he felt comfortable speaking to him of the subject now. He laughed suddenly into the mouth piece. "The look on their faces was priceless. Wish I had a camera."
"Where'd you disappear to with that bodyguard of Relena's?" Marcus asked, his manner still easy.
"That's Heero," Duo said, a definite change in his voice. "Umm..." he paused for a moment thinking about what he should say to the person on the other end of the line. He didn't know Marcus very well, but they had exchanges letters and the older boy, now a man, had always been upbeat and humorous. "He and I have some issues to resolve."
"Were you two involved?"
"Is it over?"
Duo paused. "I'm not sure. Things are pretty unsettled and in his court at the moment."
A long pause came from the other side of the phone. "Do I have any chance?" Marcus asked in his deep voice.
"I... I don't know Marcus. I was pretty much head over heels for him. I'd be lying if I said just the sight of him didn't affect me tonight."
Duo touched his lips with his free hand, remembering the electrifying kiss. It had been one of the hardest things he'd ever done, turning Heero down, especially when he'd gone weak in the knees at the feeling of Heero's lips against his, and the feel of his strong, hard body pressed against his own.
"Tell you what," Marcus suddenly sounded brighter. "Why don't you give me a chance? A couple of dates with no pressure. Just to see if we can get along."
"I don't want to lead you on," Duo replied hesitantly while lifting his hand to comb it though his loose hair.
"How can you lead me on?" Marcus asked. "You've been up front with me about Nero."
"Heero," Duo corrected.
"That's right," the other chuckled. "You can't lead me on when I've been told the situation. All I'm asking for is a chance. If nothing else, I could be someone to give you a choice, a chance to see if the bodyguard is really the guy for you. You might see something in me you like better."
"Please Max. I don't usually beg for a date, but I feel you're worth it. Hell, I've been waiting nearly three years for that date."
"Waiting?" Duo asked dubiously with a wry grin on his face. "Don't tell me you held your breath and went dateless waiting for my return."
Marcus barked out a laugh. "No, I can't say I have. But then I doubt you and Zero have been dateless either."
"Heero," Duo corrected Marcus once again, then there was silence.
"You didn't?" the older of the two asked in surprise.
"It's not like there was a lot to pick from on Mars," Duo answered a bit defensively. "Besides, my studies took up most of my free time. That and work on the terra forming project left little time open, not to mention there wasn't exactly any fun place to hang out."
"All work and no play, huh?" Humor was heard across the phone line. "How about I remedy that, starting tomorrow morning?"
"What do you have in mind?" Duo asked a bit nervously, which the other detected easily.
"Tennis. My house at nine, followed by brunch."
"I'm not very experienced at playing tennis," Duo replied tentatively.
"Then I'll be your coach. Come on Max, it'll be fun."
Duo paused, then thought, why not. "Alright." he answered just as he heard a click on the line.
"This is the Sanq Communications Operator with an emergency call for Mr. Duo Peacecraft from the Sanq Palace."
"What?" Duo asked in alarm and sat upright on his bed.
"Please terminate your present call and I'll put the emergency call through," the operator instructed in a cool, almost mechanical sounding voice.
"Gotta go Marcus," he told the other as his heart began to race at the possibilities behind such a call.
"Alright," the other answered. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Bye." Duo clicked off the phone in a hurry and waited approximately ten seconds before it rang again.
"Hello!" he answered anxiously.
"Duo?" Heero's voice carried well over the line.
"What's wrong Heero? Is everyone alright?" Duo asked in a rushed and worried voice, fearful that someone had been in an accident on their way home from the party.
"Everyone is fine," the voice on the other end of the line replied calmly.
Duo frowned, puzzled at the call. "Then what the hell is the emergency?" he asked, feeling exasperated.
"I needed to talk to you and your phone was busy," Heero answered in a matter-of-fact tone.
The former Deathscythe pilot paused, took the receiver away from his ear to look at it in disbelief, then replaced it next to his ear. "Heero?" he questioned.
"I wanted to see if you would go out with me tomorrow afternoon."
A look of utter shock was on the young man's face. "You had the operator place an emergency call for you in order to ask me out?" His voice sounded slightly incredulous.
There was a pause before Heero answered with a simple "Yes." Then after a moment he continued. "I thought it important enough for such an action."
"Heero, I'm... surprised and... flattered," Duo managed to stammer out.
"Enough to say yes to my invitation?"
Duo wondered if there wasn't more than just a hint of hope in his former lover's voice. "I guess that depends on what you've got planned. Care to tell me?" he teased as he lay back on his bed and closed his eyes, picturing Heero in his room at the palace talking to him. In his mind he envisioned that the handsome Japanese man would still be in his suit, in a state of half undress, as he himself was, and clutching the phone maybe as tightly as he did.
"I thought we could double date with Relena and go to the water park. It was completed after you left and I'm told it's rather...entertaining."
Duo's eyes opened. "A water park, with Relena?" He wondered if wonders would ever cease. He never pictured the Sanq Princess, former Queen of the World, and a place like a water park ever being acquainted.
"Actually, she suggested it," Heero confessed. "She said a first date should be something public, making it more comfortable for the two people getting to know each other."
"She knows about us?" Duo asked, not sure how many more surprises he could handle in one conversation.
"I told her shortly after you disappeared. She had said something about you that needed to be corrected, so I told her. I also felt the need to explain my despondency and dedication to following up leads as to your whereabouts. You virtually left no trail behind," he said, sounding slightly accusing.
"That was the plan, Heero," Duo replied in a dry tone of voice even as the thrilling sensation filled him when hearing of Heero's admission and search. Maybe he did care for him more than he'd ever let on, verbally at least. Physically, Heero had proved over and over that he had wanted him. Suddenly Marcus' words came back to him.
"Heero? Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?"
There was only a moment's pause before Heero replied. "Go ahead."
"Were you involved with anyone while I was gone?" he questioned, not sure he was really ready for the answer.
"Why?" Duo couldn't manage to keep the sound of surprise out of his voice. Heero was wickedly gorgeous and as virile as they came. He couldn't imagine him abstaining for three years.
"Were you?" Heero asked, avoiding the question.
After a short pause, Duo answered. "No."
Silence hung between them on the phone, a slow smile crept up on the faces of both at the hope that sprung from the other's revelation. The silence more or less answered the questions.
"So, is this your first date?" Duo asked, knowing he and Heero had never been on an official one before.
"Yes. That is if you accept." Heero sounded slightly unsure.
A sigh came from Duo's side of the line. "Guess we should maybe have started off this way instead of jumping into bed with each other in that dorm room," Duo said in a tone of regret. "Maybe we could have avoided a lot of heartache that way."
"I have no regrets, Duo," Heero said in all seriousness. How could he ever regret a moment of the time he'd spent with the only person during the war who could penetrate his training. A smile came to his face as he continued. "And it wasn't always a bed," he said with a snort of laughter. "I remember quite well your pilot's chair in Deathscythe."
A devilish smile crossed Duo's lips as the memory sprang to mind, along with one of his body parts. "Are you remembering that time after the wild battle with those Leos?" Duo chuckled. "Man we were so adrenaline charged from that victory. I remember you almost fell out of Wing in your rush to get to my gundam."
"I thought you were injured." Heero also remembered the moment clearly. "And I was livid that you'd taken such a chance in that battle."
Duo's laughter sounded throughout his bedroom. "When the cockpit door opened, I didn't know if you were going to kill me or just throttle the daylights outta me. But I was more than pleasantly surprise and shocked out of my socks when you kissed me instead. Well," he drawled, "you actually shocked me out of more than my socks."
A few moments passed in silence as both of them thought of the warm memory of their lips desperately devouring, hands frantically removing each other's clothing, and the two falling into the pilot's chair to share yet another of their many intimate trysts.
"I'll do it right this time, Duo," Heero said, his voice deep and conveying his honest intent.
"Alright," the long haired young man answered softly, causing Heero's heart to soar with hope and happiness. "What time tomorrow?"
"Perfect," Duo's voice purred and his smile could be heard through the phone line.
"I'll pick you up."
"Alright. I guess I'll see you at noon then."
There was an awkward pause, neither of them quite knowing how to end the call.
"Thank you, Duo." Heero said quietly.
"You're welcome. Sleep well, Heero."
"I think for the first time since the night you left that I will," Heero confessed, and then quietly added, "I love you."
"Good night, Heero." Duo replied softly, hugging the phone to himself.
The phone receiver slowly came down from Duo's ear and unconsciously he held it to his chest. His heart was beating quickly and the smile on his face wouldn't go away at the revelations the phone call had brought. Heero had not only searched for him, but he'd waited for him. Despite three years of trying to put the former Wing pilot behind him, he recognized the strong stirring of love rising in his heart. His smile slowly began to slip. "Go slow," he cautioned himself. With a deep sigh he reaffirmed his original strategy of being cautious, to wait and see what if anything developed between Heero and himself before giving up or giving in, though, he thought with his smile returning, the evening had been promising.
He sat up abruptly at a familiar sounding knock on his door.
"Come in," he called out as he moved to replace the phone on its jack. When he turned back, he saw his adopted father and friend enter his room and shut his door.
"Hi." He greeted him with a welcoming smile, not surprised at Milliardo's presence. He and Lucretia took their parenting role seriously and made it a habit of talking to their two adopted children each night before bed. There was no doubt in his mind that his adopted mother was helping May to bed and listening to the young girl talk animatedly about the evening.
"Did you enjoy the party, Max? The tall blond asked as he moved to pick up the discarded clothing and put them away in the open closet. He had shed his suit jacket and tie also. The cuffs of his deep blue dress shirt were rolled up and the top buttons of his shirt were undone.
"It was great to see the guys again," Duo said with a smile. "They looked good, didn't they? And Trowa and Quatre blend so well together. I'm glad they made it official." Duo's tone of voice told the tall blond that he was sincere. "And Wufei," he continued. "I think he's found his niche with the Preventers. He seems...content."
Milliardo smiled and sat on the edge of the bed. "Yes, they all looked well and happy. And what of Heero? Where did the two of you go?" he asked with a look of concern on his face.
"Out to the gazebo. Guess we needed to clear the air," Duo replied with a casual shrug and began to unbutton the cuffs of his sleeves.
"Do you mind if I ask how things stand?" Milliardo asked as he settled further on the bed.
"He missed me." A dreamy smile unconsciously crossed Duo's face. "He searched for me and didn't even date anyone else."
"That's what Relena told me," Milliardo commented still looking concerned. "Evidently he's been a good friend to her and confessed his feelings for you to her shortly after you left."
"He says he loves me," Duo said abruptly.
"How do you feel, Max?"
"I'm... happy and kind of scared at the same time, Mil. I've always loved Heero, but I don't want to be hurt again."
The older man nodded, understanding the fears that accompanied being in love. He held back from saying anything until Duo specifically asked for his advice.
"He just called and asked me out on a date. Heero says he wants to do it right this time." A smile grew on his handsome face. "I told him earlier, in the gazebo, that I needed things from him before I could go consider having any kind of relationship with him."
Milliardo raised a questioning eyebrow and Duo continued. "I told him I wanted to love and be loved without embarrassment. That I needed commitment, a home and stability, though I think I left out the part about the white picket fence and a dog." He shared a laugh with the blond. "I then told him to think about it and, if he could give me those things, all he needed to do was to win me." His smile broadened with the realization of what Heero's latest actions meant. "Then he placed an emergency call to break into the conversation I was having with Marcus and asked me out. Our first date is tomorrow."
It was obvious to the slightly older man that Duo was excited and well pleased with Heero's actions.
"What about Marcus?" he asked.
"I'm playing tennis with him tomorrow morning. But I did tell him how things stand with Heero," he added.
"He's not one who likes to lose," Milliardo warned, having watched the next door neighbor grow up. "He's tenacious and stubborn when he sets his sights on something, and he's definitely set his sights on you."
"I won't lead him on," Duo promised as he reached back and started braiding his hair. "He's a nice guy, but Heero's a hard act to follow."
"Max." The blond man stood from the bed and went to stand in front of his son as he fastened off the end of his braid. He gazed down with genuine affection for the young man you had shared the last three years of his life with him. "Are you sure this is the direction you want to take your life?" he asked as the blue eyes studied the young man in front of him. "You told me you were also attracted to girls. Are you sure you don't want to pursue a more conventional relationship? You could marry and have children one day. Life would be so much less complicated for you with that kind of relationship. Living life as a gay couple isn't an easy life."
Duo smiled, albeit a bit weakly. "I can't help who I fell in love with, Mil," he answered. "Yes," he sighed and flipped his short braid over his shoulder. "I've always been attracted to girls, but Heero..." He sighed again. "There's just no explanation for what he makes me feel: love, lust, need, desire, possessiveness, longing, happiness, pain, heartbreak, and yearning. Damn," he swore, a frown on his face. "I've got it so bad that even after three years of trying to put him behind me, I've only to spend a few minutes with him and I'm back where I started."
"This could be your time to really decide what you want, Max. Lu and I won't tell you what to do, but we want to make you aware of all the many options open to you so that you can make a sound decision regarding you life. Given all the possible alternatives, it might be easier to come to the decision that will make you happy in the long run," Milliardo said, hoping in some way to help the young man who had come to mean so much to he and his wife. They both wanted, and would help in any way, for their Max to find his way to happiness.
Duo sat on his bed and looked up to his good friend through his long bangs. "I appreciate it, Mil, but I'm not sure there are options for me where my heart is concerned. Believe me, I tried very hard to not love Heero, but so far that effort has only brought me a lot of pain. But Mil," His blue-violet eyes turned up and focused the other's concerned face. "He's changed. He wants me enough to try and meet my needs, and I have to wonder if anyone other than a gundam pilot could ever understand our past and the nightmares and complexities of our personalities?"
"Just be careful." The blond sat on the bed next to him and cautioned him with all seriousness. "Use your best judgement. I've always found that when it comes to love, you must use your head as well as your heart to make the necessary and correct decisions. The lower regions of your body should only get a small portion of the vote."
Duo laughed. "Yeah, if I had let my libido make my decisions I probably would never have gotten out of bed to fight in the war."
As the two sat in companionable silence for a moment, a new issue came to the chestnut-haired young man. "Mil, will me being partnered to a male lover have any negative consequences to you and Lu?" His eyebrows drew together in worry. "Would I shame you and the name you've given me?"
Milliardo Peacecraft looked momentarily stunned as he stood and faced the young man looking up at him and put his hands on his shoulders. "Never for a second would we feel ashamed of you, Max. Lu and I have both seen your worth and are proud to have you in our family. All we want is your happiness. If Heero is your ultimate choice, than we will give you our blessing. But I would remind you of proper decorum. The press and photographers are ever watchful of any mistake we might make, a faux pas is instant headline news. A same-sex relationship might be more accepted by the public if it's not flaunted in the tabloids or shoved down people's throats."
Duo nodded. "Be circumspect," he said.
Milliardo smiled warmly at the younger man. "Yes, but most importantly, follow your heart, Max, but guard it well," he advised.
"I will," Duo assured him with a returning smile.
His adopted father pulled him in for a quick hug. "Goodnight, Max." He stepped back and turned to leave.
"See you in the morning," Duo called out and watched the tall blond leave. Then, in a contemplative state, running over the many conversations he'd had that night and the feelings within his heart and head, he readied himself for bed. Soon after, he lay in the unfamiliar and dark room, his beating heart sounded loud in his ears, the only audible sound as he forced himself to try and rest, anxious for morning to come.