Heero ran a hand through his hair and checked his watch again. The train was late. He really needed a car. He readjusted the bag over his shoulder and finally heard screeching in the tunnel that signified an oncoming train. The train came to a stop and he let people get off before finding a seat and promptly collapsing into it. Most other passengers on the train were dressed up to go out or find trouble, whatever their Friday evening plans involved. Heero, however, was just now going home from work. The only positive thing he could see in this situation was that dinner would probably be waiting for him. When he realized how late he would have to stay, he had called Duo and said to go ahead and eat without him. The meal would be cold, but if it weren't already prepared, he probably wouldn't have bothered at all tonight.
The living situation was only temporary. Duo had nearly gotten himself killed six weeks ago chasing some smugglers. His surveillance team had not been expecting to have to make a move that night and Duo was the only agent to last long enough in the foot chase to follow the suspect. Right into an ambush, of course. Duo had managed to keep them there long enough for backup to arrive and they had arrested enough men to get confessions that implicated an even larger network.
So, while other agents followed up on Duo's work, Duo had been in the hospital with a broken tibia, a concussion, several broken ribs, a sprained wrist, a broken hand, and countless bruises and scrapes. Heero had visited him almost everyday and quickly ascertained that the boredom and idleness of the hospital hurt Duo far more than the physical injuries. Although he tried to be nice to the hospital staff, he proved incapable of following simple commands like 'stay in bed and don't move.' Since Duo's apartment was on the fifth floor, and Heero lived in a ground floor, he had offered to let his friend move into his extra room until the cast came off.
Heero walked the two blocks from the station to his building and swiped his card to get in. He used it again at his door and as soon as the lock blinked the door swung open, not because it was automatic but because Duo pulled it open before he could even reach for the handle.
"Hey," Duo greeted him with a smile as bright as all the lights on in the apartment. Compared to the fluorescent lights on the train and the dim streetlights outside, it was cheerful in here. Heero hated to compare Duo to a dog, but... well, he was cooped up in the house all day with no one to talk to. He'd escaped the hospital as soon as humanly possible, so when he'd first moved in he was on more medication and slept a lot. Now he had two out of three casts off and much more energy, but he still couldn't go anywhere without crutches. Heero knew he read books, fiddled with the computers, and had daily physical therapy, but it was obvious he was bored most of the day.
"We might have a Situation," Heero relayed as he removed his coat. When Heero had joined the Preventers, he took a position in the Intelligence Department's cryptology division instead of becoming a field agent. Heero did not gather intelligence, neither did he give orders the people who did, he simply managed the information. He had built the most complete database of codes and encryption patterns ever compiled, including records from OZ and the Alliance that he had coaxed off of seemingly destroyed hard drives. He was proud of his work. He enjoyed the challenge and the fruits of his labor went to helping inform field agents and catching criminals.
Duo's hands twitched instinctively. "I suppose you don't want to be drilled for information," he said, sounding a little disappointed.
"No," Heero said emphatically as he set his briefcase down on the desk that used to be in his office, which was now Duo's room. "And you know I can't tell you anything anyway."
Duo made a face. "Yeah, yeah, medical leave and all that," he grumbled. "Anyway, I made the pork chops and potatoes you had in the fridge and there's some left over for you. Probably enough for some leftovers, too."
"Thanks, Duo," Heero said sincerely as he headed to his room to change. Duo hobbled back to the couch and sprawled out again.
"We're still on for tomorrow night, right?" he called to him before taking a big handful of popcorn.
"You've only reminded me every day for the last week," Heero called back, not really sounding annoyed.
"Stag night! Gonna be a blast!" Duo whooped, "Heero Yuy and Duo Maxwell unleashed on the town! Couple of lady-killers out breakin' hearts! No better way to spend Valentine's Day than celebrating your single-ness, in my opinion."
Heero laughed in his room. He was looking forward to it, but he very much doubted he would be breaking any hearts tomorrow night. He had realized earlier that Saturday was not just Valentine's Day, but also marked Duo having lived with him for exactly a month. In his opinion, it was going very well, which was more cause to celebrate than a useless holiday that had little purpose other than to stress relationships and make single people feel inadequate.
Once he was changed into comfortable clothes, he fell onto the couch next to Duo.
"Frankenstein's on TV," Duo told him.
"The classic AC 135 version?" he asked.
Heero reached for the popcorn but Duo yanked the bowl away.
"Don't think so, pal. You need real food," he told Heero.
Heero could barely even turn his head in the direction of the kitchen.
"No sweat, I'll get it," Duo said casually.
"Duo, no – " Heero protested, but Duo was already up and heading for the fridge. Heero sighed. He was too tired to stop a man in a cast. It was sad, really. "Your therapist is going to have your balls on a platter. Again."
"Jenny? Nah, I ain't afraid of her," Duo said as he put the plate he had prepared in the microwave and shut the door.
"Yes you are."
"Ok, fine," Duo bantered petulantly, "So Duo Maxwell is afraid of a five-foot redhead who can't weigh more than 115 pounds. But you would be too, if you knew how she abuses me, Heero. The woman is a sadist, there's no question about it. The agony, Heero, the agony."
The basic fact was that Duo used his leg too much. Heero knew it. Duo knew it. Jenny knew it. It was still healing fine, but Duo should not be on it as much as he was. Heero was too exhausted to get into it at the moment, so he let it drop. He'd long given up on some things, like trying to make sure Duo used his crutches around the house.
"I gotta lay into her again about getting the cast off early," Duo continued. The microwave beeped and he removed Heero's dinner.
"Well, Duo, if you hadn't insisted on running on it after that guy hit it with the crowbar, then it wouldn't be quite so bad," Heero reminded him. While he had of course been distressed about the severity of Duo's injuries, there had been a certain amount of pride in his friend, too. Duo had been dangerously out numbered and still fought to the best of his abilities. He had taken a lot of damage, but he was alive and the men who had hurt him were dead or in jail because of him.
"Yeah, yeah," Duo replied distastefully, "Everyone's gotta keep reminding me of that, don't they?" He turned off the lights on his way back and then brought Heero the plate, a glass of water, and a fork.
"How was your therapy today?" Heero asked him, taking the plate and fork.
"Just the regular torture, nothing special."
"You... cut the pork chop for me?" Heero asked, baffled.
"You looked tired," Duo smirked.
"My hands work fine," Heero said, quirking an eyebrow.
"Little taste of your own medicine, Yuy."
"I never cut your food for you."
"I could throw it in the blender next time and you could drink it."
"You have too much time on your hands."
"Tell me about it," Duo laughed.
They watched the movie and Heero managed to get a handful of popcorn before Duo ate it all. Right about the part with the most screaming, Duo noticed that Heero was asleep. It wasn't like Heero to sleep through screaming. Duo pulled the blanket from the back of the couch and put it over Heero, who was holding a pillow and cuddled up to the arm of the sofa. Duo smiled.
"Aw, man, you work too hard," he said tenderly. He brushed the dark hair from Heero's eyes. "Doncha think sometimes, Heero, that we're too young to be this old? Working fifteen hours a day, gettin' damn near killed on the job... But we couldn't stop, could we? Even when we tried. Gluttons for punishment, the lot of us. They musta messed us up bad, huh?" He chuckled and then sighed. "But we'll have fun tomorrow, right? 'Long as we got each other..."
Duo let it trail off then, as his thoughts were straying more into the wishful thinking department. He didn't really have Heero, not the way he wanted, anyway. They were close friends, even more so after living together for a month, but Duo's romantic interest remained unspoken and unrequited. He leaned just a little on Heero's reclined body and when Heero didn't stir, he rested his full weight there and watched the end of the movie.
He lingered as the credits rolled. He hated to wake Heero up and it was so nice to lie here with him. He closed his eyes and did not open them until Heero shook him gently.
"We fell asleep, wake up, Duo," Heero's voice came to him softly.
"What time izzit?" Duo yawned.
"Quarter past two," Heero answered.
Duo realized he was still using Heero as a human body pillow and sat up quickly. "S-sorry," he mumbled in embarrassment.
"It's ok," Heero shrugged and then stretch his arms.
"Heh, couple of party animals, us," Duo joked, springing to his feet. His feet, however, were not quite under him and he lost his balance. Heero leapt from the couch and caught his arm to steady him. And then he didn't let go.
"When are you going to learn to take it easy?" he frowned.
"Not in my vocabulary," Duo shot back. "And I'm fine," he added, brushing Heero's hand away, "Don't be all thinking you're going to carry me or something. I never let anybody do it yet and I ain't about to start. Over my dead body, hear?"
Heero gave him a dry look and a wry smile. "I wouldn't carry your lazy ass anywhere."
"Well, good," Duo said and nodded curtly. They left the dishes for the next morning and went to bed.
The shower woke Duo Saturday morning, but he did not mind one bit. He never minded, and the reason for that opened the bathroom door ten minutes later and walked to his room wearing only a grey towel. On weekdays, when Heero's alarm woke him, Duo got to watch the entire parade. Into the bathroom in boxer shorts, out of the bathroom in a towel. Heero prancing about in his skivvies was the reason he had started sleeping with his door open.
Ok, so there was really no prancing involved but Duo still enjoyed it. Heero had a magnificent body. Duo knew he liked to stay in good condition despite not being in the field. If he actually got out of his office on time, they met at the Preventers gym, where Duo had his physical therapy. Duo would see Jenny and Heero would work out. Since Duo's therapy was fully covered by Preventers insurance, they provided a van to pick him up and drop him off at home and the driver, Joe, didn't mind giving Heero a ride too.
That morning, they read through the paper and had lunch and then Heero's computer made an innocent chirping noise, the sound of an incoming call. Duo paid little attention when Heero closed his computer and then disappeared into his room for a few minutes. He reappeared in the kitchen wearing his work clothes and an apologetic look.
"No," Duo said.
"We have a Situation," Heero told him ruefully.
"You'll be back tonight."
Heero's thick brows pinched. "I don't know."
"Aw, man, this was going to be our night for fun!" Duo objected.
"I'm sorry," Heero said earnestly. "I'll make it up to you." He knew how much Duo didn't want to be alone.
Duo sighed heavily. "I know you will," he said, forcing a half-smile. "Is there anything I can do? Maybe I can help! I could come with you!"
"Duo, you know I can't let you do that," Heero said as he went to the living room for his computer.
"I really could have gone back work weeks ago," Duo complained, following as quickly as he could.
"Nope, Une wants you resting so you'll be in top form when you come back. Not to mention she doesn't want you wandering the city on crutches, either. You might attempt to chase a purse thief or something," Heero said as he zipped up his briefcase.
"Yeah, yeah," Duo grumbled and then sighed, "Ok, Yuy, go and save the world. Here, take my car." He got his keys off the hook by the door and held them out to Heero. His car was parked in Heero's empty spot in the building's underground lot.
"Thank you," Heero said, taking them. He opened the door and then stopped and looked at Duo. A heartbeat passed. And then another. "I'm sorry."
"I know," Duo said, forcing another smile. "But you got a job to do. I understand, ok?"
Heero just nodded and closed the door quietly behind him. Duo managed to amuse himself for the afternoon, but evening began to irritate him. There was no call from Heero to say if he knew when he'd be coming back, and he couldn't call anyone because it was Valentines Day. He could have tried to call some of the other guys going to the stag party, but then they would have to come and get him and he didn't want to bother anyone. It just wouldn't be the same with out Heero anyway.
Such a stupid holiday. It was destined to suck whether you were in a relationship or not. If you weren't you felt like a loser, and if you were there was all the pressure and hype. But it was probably the worst if you loved somebody and couldn't tell them or be with them. It was just damned lonely.
"Why not have a drink to that?" Duo wondered out loud as he limped to the kitchen. In the cupboard was an unopened bottle of whiskey bought and preserved specifically for the party this night.
"Just a toast," Duo said to no one as he broke the plastic seal. He poured the liquor into a tumbler and held it out in front of him. "To you, Heero," he said. He meant to go on, but he couldn't think of anything more to say at the moment, so he just kicked it back.
Then he remembered that he and Heero were supposed to celebrate their singleness tonight. He poured another glass and drank to that. "To being emotionally unavailable," he said bitterly.
The third glass he rose to his utter uselessness as a human being right now, and anything after that was dedicated to his loneliness.
It was after eleven o'clock when Heero parked Duo's car back in the underground lot. The Situation was not exactly over, but he had contributed the full extent of his abilities, and his information had been handed over to field agents to take care of. He was mentally exhausted, but determined to go out with Duo if that's what Duo wanted. They could still make it to the party. He could put on a smile like Duo had when he left earlier.
He locked the car and trudged up the one flight of stairs to his level. When he opened the door, he found all the lights on and Duo asleep on the couch.
"Duo?" he said, coming closer. He immediately smelled the liquor and saw the familiar, although now mostly drained, bottle of whiskey. Duo snored lightly from the same arm of the couch Heero had fallen asleep on the night before.
Heero capped the bottle, put it away, and placed the glass in the sink before turning out the light in the kitchen. He flipped off the TV and turned to face his sleeping friend. He had felt bad about leaving the entire time he was at work. It had been hard to put it out of his mind. It didn't make him feel much better that Duo had just gotten drunk alone. Well, at least he was safe in the apartment and hadn't tried to go anywhere. That was pretty much all you could hope for where Duo was concerned.
"Wake up, Duo," he said, shaking him, "you're drooling on my couch."
Duo snorted and blinked his eyes.
"Let's get you to bed," Heero said.
"Hey, you're home," Duo smiled sleepily. "Didja save the world'n everything?"
"No, that's someone else's job now, remember?" Heero smiled faintly.
"S'right, you retired from th'business," Duo slurred. "Quittin' while you're ahead, s'good plan."
"Can you get up? You should go to bed."
"M' sorry I couldn' help you today, Heero," Duo frowned. "I'm pretty worthless these days, just wastin' space."
"That's bullshit and you know it," Heero said, more harshly than he intended.
"A waste of oxygen, G would say."
"Pity Party's over, Maxwell, time for bed," Heero insisted.
"Think I'll stay here," Duo said, smacking his lips and closing his eyes again.
"Not if you're going to drool on my couch. Come on," Heero insisted, pulling at Duo's arm.
"Aw, I drooled on th' couch? Man, I'm such a pain in the ass."
"Well, you are right now, spouting this shit," Heero said, squatting down. "Look, you're not a pain in the ass and you're not worthless," he said as he brushed Duo's bangs from his forehead to check his color. "You're tough, and I know you don't need anyone to tell you that. I think sitting around all day is getting to you."
Duo just looked back at him with endless indigo eyes. Heero looked away.
"I'm going to carry you if you don't get up," he warned.
"Ch' you can't do that," Duo snorted.
Heero put one arm under Duo's knees and the other under his back, and then slowly stood up. Duo weighed less than he did, but Heero knew he should not be able to lift a man of Duo's size so easily. Damn, he hated doing this. He hoped it wouldn't come up later. Duo didn't seem to notice until half way to his bedroom.
"Heero..." he said in a puzzled tone, "what're you doing?"
"Carrying you to bed like I threatened to," Heero replied.
"Heero Yuy, a man of his word," Duo yawned.
"That's right," Heero said, setting Duo down as carefully as he could.
"S' what I like about' cha, Heero," Duo said. "Well, s' one thing I like about ya."
Heero smiled unexpectedly. "Ok, Duo get I'm going to get you a glass of water," he said. "You get changed."
"'An I like that you're not mad at me right now," Duo continued as soon as Heero came back with the water. Duo had not changed out of his clothes, in fact he had not even moved.
Heero thought Duo had more of the right to be mad tonight and he was going to apologize again for leaving, but Duo spoke up, "N' I think you're a good cook an' I don't mind letting you drive my car, an' I like that you don' wear a tie to work an' I think you're really amazing at what you do."
Heero chuckled in surprise at Duo's run-on compliments. He got a warm, embarrassed feeling in his chest. Duo was being so talkative, maybe because he'd been alone all afternoon and evening.
"I think it's cool that you don't want to be in th' field right now, but I know, Heero, I know that if you were really needed to save the world, like for real again, you'd do it. I don't give a shit what those fucks at work say about it, they don't fuckin' know you. I know you'd drop whatever you were doin' and do whatever it takes, and I'd be there too..."
"Duo..." Heero whispered as he reached out and smoothed Duo's hair behind his ear. He knew what people said about him, but he didn't care. Duo got more upset and angry over it than he did.
"Oh, an' I like the way you go into the bathroom in yer underwear in the mornin' and when I first got here? 'Member? An' I was on more pain meds, sometimes you'd forget I was here and walk down the hall naked."
Heero nearly choked and pulled back his hand like he'd been slapped. Duo had seen that?
"I really wish you hadn't stopped doin' that,'cause I think you're really really beautiful an' sometimes I don' wanna move back to my place but I'd like to drive my car. "
The words hit Heero like a colony dropped from outer space.
"Livin' here's been good, you been great to me. I know I get grumpy sometimes. I jus' wanted to thank you," Duo rambled on, giving Heero little time to think.
"It's n-no trouble, Duo," he stammered, "I just wanted to help, you'd have done the same for me. You would have been fine on your own, you don't really need me."
"Sure I need ya," Duo smiled, "'cause I love you, ya know?"
Heero froze in place, sure that even his heart had stopped. His eyes stung and his mouth refused to work. He wished it didn't hurt so much to hear Duo say that. He wanted it so much to be true.
"Good night, Duo," whispered as he turned toward the door.
"'Night, Heero," he heard Duo mumble behind him.
Heero did not sleep well that night, despite being so tired. He got up early for a Sunday morning and checked on Duo. He had not used the empty garbage can Heero had left by the bed, but his hangover would be to the point that he would wish he had. He decided to leave Duo alone until lunch. It would give him a little time to decide what to do about last night.
Heero both loved and was in love with Duo, and had been for... well, a very long time. Long before he wanted to admit it to himself, long before he'd really been ok with it, there had always been this dedication to Duo. Maybe it was some effect of Duo being the first ally he'd met when coming to Earth, the first person he'd ever trusted besides himself. What ever the bond was, it was strong and deep. He'd proven to himself that neither time nor distance could break it. Somehow, he'd simply learned to live with it, to be satisfied just being close to Duo. It was almost too much to hope for that Duo might have been serious last night. He had to find out somehow.
About noon, groaning emanated from the direction of Duo's room. The bad kind of groaning. Heero leaned on the doorframe and crossed his arms. Duo cracked one eye open at him.
"Allow me," Heero said and continued in his best Duo impression, "I feel like shit, Heero. God, I'm such an idiot. I'll never drink nearly an entire bottle of whiskey by myself again."
Duo squeezed his eyes shut and just nodded mournfully.
"Can you eat anything?"
Duo just groaned.
"Ok, ok," Heero placated. "Coffee?"
Duo slowly began to inch towards the edge of the bed.
"Need me to get the wheelchair?" Heero teased.
"I'm gonna kill you," Duo croaked. "Uh, as soon as I can move." Heero shook his head genially and went to put on a pot of coffee.
When Duo came out, he was changed, combed, and using the crutches. Heero looked up from the paper and opened his mouth to say something, but Duo cut him off.
"Don't get used to it," he snapped.
"I was just going to say that you should keep those things for mornings like this," Heero said.
Duo rolled his eyes exaggeratedly.
"Coffee's almost ready," Heero said, getting up as Duo sat down. There was silence and Heero just watched the brewing pot contemplatively. "You're bored around here, aren't you?" he finally asked.
"Huh? No! No, Heero, everything's cool!" Duo answered immediately.
Heero moved to empty the dish rack of his breakfast dishes. "Last night you said you were feeling useless," he said carefully.
Duo growled to himself. He should know better then to drink that much. "Eh, I get a little loose-lipped when I drink, I say shit," he squirmed.
Heero turned, glass still in hand, and pinned him with electric blue eyes. "Things you don't mean?" he asked.
Duo faltered under his unusually intense stare. "Just... shit I shouldn't say," he stammered, "like bothering you with my whining."
Heero put the glass down, leaned back on the edge of the counter and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Well, I'm not really doing much here, I'm just sitting around," Duo groused. "I got hurt and I'm out of the game, doesn't mean I have to like it."
"You know it's only temporary."
"Hey, you wouldn't be doing much better," Duo said.
"That's true," Heero admitted. He picked up the glass again and turned it in his hands. "You don't have to be out of the game, you can still do some work. I'll talk to Director Une and IT tomorrow and see about getting a workstation set up for you here."
"Yeah?" Duo perked up. "I'll do just about anything if you can get me off Leave status, even paper work!"
"If nothing else, you can help me update the database," Heero said, putting the glass in the cabinet with the others.
The coffee pot beeped and Duo started to get up.
"Sit!" Heero commanded. For once, Duo did what he was told. Heero poured the steaming drink into a mug and brought it to the table. He set it down with a definitive clunk and didn't remove his hand. "You are not a pain in the ass, ok?" he said sternly.
Duo shifted uncomfortably in his chair and darted his eyes to the floor. "Bloody hell," he grumbled, "what else was I blabbering about last night?"
Heero's mouth engaged before his brain. "You said that you l – " Duo's eyes rose wide and panicky. "L-liked living here," Heero finished and his hand drifted from the coffee mug and onto the table. Duo's shoulders visibly sagged in relief.
"A-and if you meant that," Heero continued, meeting his eyes for just a second, "then maybe we can think about... maybe making it permanent?"
Duo was watching Heero draw circles on the table with his index finger and getting the impression that he was talking about one thing but meaning another. His face lit up when he realized what Heero had said.
"Yeah – yeah, we should think about that!" he babbled before his bravado kicked in and his smile turned into a familiar lop-sided grin. "Careful what you say, Yuy, I might drive you crazy yet."
A smile tugged the corners of Heero's lips. "You've already driven me crazy, Maxwell," he retorted, "Maybe I've just gotten to like it."
Duo felt like jumping out of his chair and tackling Heero to the linoleum, but he found some heretofore unknown reserves of self-control and just covered his doofy grin with a big gulp of coffee.
When Heero's alarm went off Monday morning, he threw back the blankets but just laid there for a minute, convincing himself that, yes, he could do this. He'd thought about it all of Sunday. He had a Plan. After his conversation with Duo, it looked like he had meant everything else he'd said on Saturday night, so there was a good chance he might have been serious when he said he loved Heero. There seemed to be only one option after that. He had to attempt to seduce Duo. Heero was certainly no pro, but he thought he knew Duo well enough. He would not fail. He got out of bed, pushed his boxer shorts down, and stepped out of them.
Heero was late. Normally, his alarm went off and he passed Duo's door just seconds later. It wasn't like Heero to dawdle or snooze. Duo yawned and pulled the covers up to his nose. Blinking sleepily, he just waited. Didn't want to miss the best part of his morning. This morning, however, proved even better than most. His mouth gaped when Heero sauntered into view perfectly unadorned.
And then it was as if Heero simply forgot to shut the door. He disappeared behind the wall for moment, the toilet flushed and then he was standing in clear view at the sink. He washed his hands and brushed his teeth, allowing Duo several minutes to take in the entirety of his form, the way his whole body moved together in concert. As Duo suspected, Heero had perfection down to an art form. He ran the tap in the bathtub and then got in the shower, regrettably pulling the curtain closed.
However, the steamy scene when he stepped out dripping wet was almost worth it. Duo thought he had died and gone to heaven. Heero toweled his hair first, leaving the water beaded on his skin until he slowly dried it off. When he was finished, he fixed the towel low around his hips and strode back to his room. Duo groaned out loud. Life was so not fair. Well, at least he didn't have his hand in the splint anymore.
After work, Heero did not make it to the gym in time to work out but caught Duo in the lobby just as he was leaving from his therapy session.
"Hey," Duo greeted him, "you gonna stay and work out?"
"I thought we'd go home and set this up instead," Heero said, presenting Duo with the second computer case he carried.
"You got it!" Duo exclaimed, snatching it up as they walked to the waiting van.
Heero nodded. "Brand new, completely wireless, total Preventers' network accessibility. Even runs on carbon dioxide," he deadpanned.
Duo cackled with glee as he set the computer on the seat and hefted himself into the van. He felt Yuy's hands ghost over his sides like he was trying to restrain himself from helping but couldn't quite do it. He decided not to get mad, mostly because he liked Heero's hands on him. Heero got away with more of that helping shit than anyone else because of that.
"Uh oh, that sounds like a dangerous laugh," Joe remarked from the front seat.
"Agent Maxwell is back on the job!"
"Hi Joe," Heero said as he got in behind Duo and closed the door.
"Good to see you, Heero. Did some idiot let this monster back in to work?"
"That idiot was me," Heero chuckled. "I got tired of him chewing up my apartment like a bored puppy, so I thought I'd put him to work."
"I told him it was either this or he get me a kitten to chew on instead," Duo piped up.
"Duo, you are always my most interesting ride of the day," Joe laughed as he pulled into traffic.
"Why don't you take the desk?" Heero offered when they got back to the apartment. "You're here more than I am and I can just set up at the kitchen table when I need to work."
"You sure?" Duo asked.
"Yeah," Heero answered simply. "I'll make dinner. Yell if you need any help."
Duo was surprised that Heero didn't go change before going to the kitchen. Not that he minded. Heero looked hot in his work clothes, there was just something about his pants. Every pair he owned hung off his narrow hips in just the same way, dipping a little lower in front and held up in back by his ass. Duo wasn't sure if this was because they didn't fit, or because they fit just right. He had to remember to ask Heero where he shopped. Although, merely the idea of Heero Yuy shopping was highly amusing.
He watched his potential apartmentmate roll up his sleeves and bend down to get a pot from the cabinet and wondered if he could live with Heero full-time. The last month had been good, but it hardly represented Duo's regular life. As an agent, he'd be coming and going at odd hours of the night, sometimes he'd come home stinking and dirty, depending on where their investigations led them. Could Heero deal with all that? And what about dating? What if one of them started seeing someone and having loud sex or something? He'd hate for them to try to live together and end up hating one another. Even if things did go well, moving in might not exactly help him get over his feelings for Heero. On the other hand, there would be nights watching movies together in the dark, cheaper rent, someone who didn't mind grocery shopping, a garage for his car, and frequent Heero-skivvies
"You didn't come to breakfast this morning," Heero said from the kitchen, startling Duo out of his thoughts.
"Huh? Oh," Duo mumbled, trying to think of something to say. "I, uh, slept through, I guess," he lied and started unpacking the computer.
After dinner, Heero declined to let Duo clean up, which Duo suspected was simply a ploy to keep him from standing on his leg. However, he was too enthralled by the new computer to put up a fuss. He would have never imagined himself fighting for his right to wash dishes, but whatever. A bit later, Heero came out with two beers and offered to walk him through the software. It was simple, but Duo wasn't about to complain about sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with Heero for an hour or so.
If the alarm hadn't woken Duo the next morning, the racket Heero was making certainly would have. First he slammed a couple of dresser drawers and then swung his door open and let it hit the stopper with a loud crash. Duo wondered if he might be pissed off about something until he strolled down the hall casual as could be. And naked as could be. He forgot to close the door again and Duo knew he'd be "sleeping through breakfast" this morning too.
Heero actually made it to the gym in time to work out that evening. With his injury, Duo preferred to shower and change at home, so he waited for Heero in the lobby when his session finished. Heero emerged right on time and they went to wait for Joe. They sat next to each other in the van and Duo thought he caught a new scent on Heero. It was good one, but not how he usually smelled. Was Heero wearing cologne? He wrinkled his nose and sniffed. Well, this was certainly odd. He vaguely recalled seeing a dusty bottle in Heero's medicine cabinet – probably a gift from someone who didn't know him very well.
When they got home, Heero didn't change and Duo asked, "Going somewhere tonight?"
"No, trying to get rid of me?" Heero replied as he went to the kitchen. Duo hobbled after him.
"I feel... underdressed," Duo joked. "Ok, what should I make tonight?"
"Nothing," Heero said as he placed a wok on the range.
"That's three nights in a row," Duo frowned.
"Are you complaining?" Heero smirked, looking over out of the corner of his eye.
"We'll make it together," Duo decided. "You don't want to get spattered oil on that shirt." It was Duo's favorite, after all, but he didn't say so. Heero chopped vegetables and made the rice and Duo was in charge of the actual stir-frying. They talked about the research Duo had been assigned and Heero's database, and Heero pulled out a bottle of red wine for dinner.
"Where you been hiding that?" Duo asked eagerly and retrieved two glasses for the table.
"It was just sitting in the pantry," Heero replied casually. Duo insisted on helping with the dishes and Heero consented as long as he promised to stay off the leg for the rest of the night.
When they'd finished, Duo settled onto the couch with his book and Heero followed with the wine and glasses. "Let's finish this," he said, "there's only a little bit left."
"Sure," Duo said agreeably. As soon as he touched the glass Heero offered, he got the distinct feeling of being on a date. He shifted uncomfortably on the couch and drained half the glass before going back to his book and trying to ignore the sexiness that sat beside him.
"Want me to rub your foot?" Heero asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Uh, you don't mind?" Duo asked, looking up from the book. Jenny had recommended massages for the half of his foot that stuck out of the cast in order to improve circulation throughout his leg. Duo had asked Heero a few times, but not recently.
"Of course not," Heero replied. Duo closed his book and swiveled on the couch, extending his leg onto Heero's lap and leaning back on the armrest. He relaxed and closed his eyes as Heero started to massage his foot. He moaned in bliss. He couldn't help it, Heero's hands were so good. His brain simply melted away.
"I love you Heero, ya know?" he heard himself saying.
Duo's eyes snapped open. Heero was still sitting serenely next to him, contentedly rubbing his foot. He hadn't said it. But then why could he hear it so clearly in his own voice? He suddenly sat up. No, he had said it! Saturday night!
"Duo?" Heero asked in concern for Duo's abrupt movements.
Duo looked over at him, sitting there in a nice shirt in the dimmed lights wearing cologne, and then he laughed really hard.
"Duo, are you ok?" Heero asked, completely puzzled.
His laughter quelled somewhat and he gazed at Heero. "Heero," he grinned, "I already love you, and I told you, so why are you trying to seduce me?"
Heero laughed a little and his cheeks tinted uncharacteristically. "I wasn't sure if you meant it," he explained, "you'd had a lot to drink."
"I meant it," Duo said, tone growing more serious. He swung his leg down from Heero's lap and sat up. "I just had no idea you felt anything for me."
Heero reached for Duo and let his kiss be his answer to that. He was almost overwhelmed by the passion of Duo's response. Luckily, his body knew what to do. His body new too well what to do and soon the kisses were not as innocent as he had originally intended. Duo's lips parted and Heero's followed suit, allowing Duo's tongue to slip inside. Heero's breath caught and one of his hands clenched in Duo's shirt.
Duo's hands twined through Heero's hair, holding him as he explored his mouth. The kisses were wild and feverish, but with such palpable tenderness and longing, he had to wonder just how long Heero had felt the same way and never shown it. Such wasted time, but they would make up for it. Starting tonight.
He felt Heero wrapping his long braid around his fist and then pull on it to tilt Duo's head. He moaned as Heero's lips and tongue played over his throat. His hands spread over Heero's chest and shoulders, feeling his hard body through the thin shirt. He broke away suddenly.
"You were strolling around naked just to tease me!" he accused.
Heero's startled look instantly became a customary smirk. Duo pushed against his chest and he sank onto his back on the cushions. Duo settled over him, intent on not letting their lips remain apart for very long. They continued to kiss until Heero felt Duo shifting the position of his leg.
"Does your leg hurt?" he asked, breaking the kiss. "We can move somewhere else or switch places."
Duo looked annoyed, but then smiled faintly. "Heero, I appreciate that you're trying to be sensitive," he said, "but I'm fine! Hell, at the moment, I've never been better!" His smiled widened and his hand stroked Heero's stomach. Heero closed his eyes. Even through clothes, just simple touching felt so good when it was Duo. He forgot his concerns when Duo's lips returned to claim his.
He gasped as Duo kissed his jaw, and his neck, and the skin exposed by his open collar. His hips instinctively moved against Duo's just slightly. Duo hummed and began to unbutton his shirt to reveal his chest. His mind fogged over with pleasure as Duo's tongue explored the planes of his bared chest. He fought for control over himself when he felt Duo's fingers at his belt.
"We can slow down," he blurted out and forced his eyes open. "I don't want you to strain yourself of anything."
Duo just stared and then laughed. "Strain myself? Heero! Staying in my room when you were brushing your teeth naked was straining myself! Trying to keep my hands off you when you fell asleep on the couch was straining myself! Heero, believe me when I say that I'd tell you if something hurt."
"I know, it's just... if we go any further, I have a feeling we aren't going to remember to be careful," Heero explained, "I don't want you to get hurt and not realize it until later."
Duo said nothing and sat up, tucking his good leg under him and letting his other leg dangle off the couch. He pulled his sweater and tee-shirt off simultaneously and let them drop to the floor. "Look at me, Heero," he said.
Heero's mouth opened, but he couldn't find anything to say, he could only stare. Gone were the ugly yellow bruises that had mottled Duo's chest and shoulders when Heero used to help him change clothes. Gone were the swollen, purple ribs under layers of bandages. Jenny's therapy had kept Duo in excellent shape; he looked strong and healthy. Heero would never have known he had been injured by looking at him now.
His eyes slowly migrated up to Duo's face and found a smile there. Needing no further encouragement, he splayed his palms to Duo's abs and let them slide upward, learning every ridge and groove. Duo's eyes closed half way and he let his head loll to one side.
"Remind me to thank Jenny next time I see her," Heero remarked.
"So, do we have your approval to mess around now, or what?" Duo asked, leaning over him with a feral look. Words died in Heero's throat.
"I assure you, Heero," Duo said lustily, "my wrist is fine." He slid his left hand under Heero's neck, tilted his head, and stole his breath with a kiss. He barely felt Duo's other hand moving until it reached its destination. He broke the kiss with a deep groan. "And my hand is ok too," Duo stated as he used it to stroke Heero's quickly hardening cock through his pants.
His belt was taken care of in seconds and he didn't even remember the button or zipper being undone. All he felt was Duo's hand wrapping firmly around him, only the fine cloth of his boxers between them. He jerked when Duo lapped at a nipple.
"I want you naked," Duo hissed, sitting up. Heero readily obliged and there was much shifting around as they tugged Heero's pants down his legs and to the floor. Forgetting about the shirt Heero sat up with a growl and ripped the snaps open up the sides of Duo's warm-up pants
"Nice," he intoned with a greedy smirk. Duo sat back on the couch and let him work the boxer shorts off. Neither of them said anything about the cast. As soon as the shorts were on the floor, Heero found himself on his back again with a mouthful of Duo's tongue. He was losing his mind again, and this time he wasn't about to stop.
Duo's veracity was a result of the flutter of awe in his gut that he was allowed to touch this body. This was Heero. This was Heero in his hands. It was one thing to admire him from far away, but quite another to have Heero hot and hard under him, pulling his hair and biting his lips. His hand closed possessively around that rigid cock, feeling its length from smooth head to thick base and then sliding down to cup his balls.
Heero jerked and cried out as Duo fondled his most sensitive places. And this morning he had been wondering if Duo would let him kiss him! Duo's lust radiated from him in waves, exhilarating and intoxicating. Heero rubbed his hands up Duo's thighs and delighted in the obvious quiver of his stomach when his fingers grazed over his hipbones. He wrapped both hands around Duo's ample erection and relished the way Duo moaned and moved helplessly into his touch. This is good, he thought suddenly, this is us, and it's really good.
"No more cologne," Duo's growl broke into his thoughts and he felt teeth graze his shoulder. He opened his eyes and stretched up to bite Duo's earlobe. Duo gasped involuntarily and squeezed his cock. Heero dropped his head back onto the cushions and stared up at Duo with bleary eyes. Why did it feel so profound to be lying under him, feeling the heat of each other's bodies; hands clutching one another so desperately? Why should this be so amazing to him? It was only the beginning and his mind was already blown.
Duo gazed back, barely able to focus. He swallowed and whispered thickly, "Come for me."
"Say it again," Heero panted without thought.
Duo's eyes closed one corner of his mouth turned up before he buried his face in Heero's neck. He pumped Heero's dripping arousal roughly and Heero's entire body tightened in response. One hand snaked under Heero's head to cradle it, turning it gently as he whispered, "I need you Heero. I need you because I love you."
Heero cried out mindlessly, loosing himself to orgasm in Duo's possession. Duo groaned into his shoulder and flooded his hands.
He shuddered back to life a moment later, becoming aware that Duo's full weight rested on his chest. He nudged Duo's cheek with his nose and softly kissed him. "Duo?" he murmured.
"Before you ask," Duo said, muffle against the couch, "no, my leg does not hurt."
Heero chuckled. "I wasn't going to ask that," he smiled groggily. "I was going to tell you that I love you, too."
Duo hummed and licked his jaw line before sitting up. "I noticed," he grinned, holding up his sticky hands. Heero laughed and shook his head. He didn't move as Duo reached for his tee-shirt and wiped them off.
"And you were worried about drool on the couch," Duo joked. "You're going to have to dry clean that shirt, too."
Heero just grunted and hefted himself to the edge of the couch before pulling Duo down next to him. "So," he said after a moment. "Think you want to move in?"
"Think it'll work?" Duo asked
"It's worked so far. We got kind of a head start. At least this way I'll get my office back."
Duo poked him in the ribs and he squirmed.
"But what am I going to do in a bedroom that doesn't face the bathroom?" Duo whined.
"You will have me naked in bed all night!" Heero chuckled.
"Yeah," Duo grinned wolfishly, "don't be expecting to get and sleep."
"You get the cast off in two weeks," Heero said. "We'll see how it goes until then. If we can live together and... whatever this is doesn't complicate it, then you can stay. If we drive each other nuts, then you can move back to your place. We'll just have to have extra tooth brushes and all that."
Duo couldn't help a wide smile at just Heero's verbal hint of commitment. He wasn't about to let things go back to the way they were, not after that.
"But until then," Heero said, bringing Duo's wrist to his lips and kissing it, "you are still my House Boy."
"Hey! I was never your – " Duo's protest was lost against Heero's lips.