A Touch of Human Kindness
'What am I doing? This is nuts.' Heero Yuy shook his head as he sat in his car. It was nearly midnight on the L2 colony. The neighborhood was dimly lit and seedy in appearance, which fit its purpose well. Down the block, Heero could see two prostitutes waiting for customers. Customers like him.
As he sat, Heero stared at the 'working girls', thinking about what had brought him to such a pathetic place. "Relena," he mumbled to himself. His co-worker had made no secret of her feelings for him. In the two years he'd worked for Colony Communications, not a day had gone by where Relena hadn't made herself a nuisance. She flirted, she stalked, she left him little 'gifts' on his desk. She generally made his life miserable until five days ago when he'd confronted her.
** "Look, Relena, this has got to stop," Heero said after he'd found her latest offering.
"What's wrong, sweetie? You don't like edible underwear? Come on, I got strawberry. You said you liked strawberries."
Heero tried to stay calm as Relena closed the door to his office and backed him up against the wall. She smiled at him and, putting her hands against his firm chest, tiptoed up to kiss him. Heero's cobalt blue eyes flashed with annoyance and not a little anger as he firmly, and not too gently, grabbed her arms and pushed her away.
"Relena, I'm sorry but I'm not interested. I've tried to tell you nicely but you just won't listen. What more do I have to do?"
Relena felt her face get hot at this blatant rejection. However, she was nothing if not persistent, and it wasn't as if this were the first time he'd tried to give her the brush off. "Heeeero," she purred, giving him a dazzling smile. "Why don't you let me make you dinner? I'm sure if we spent some time together, you'd see that you have no reason to be shy around me" She stopped suddenly as Heero let out a groan of pure frustration.
"Look," he growled, "I don't like you, Relena. I don't appreciate you following me around the office. I don't appreciate you leaving pornographic materials on my desk. But most of all, I hate the way you don't seem to be able to take a hint. What are you, stupid? I said I don't like you and I meant it!"
His voice had steadily risen during this speech until the entire office could hear him as he yelled the last bit. Relena, face red as a beet, was mortified. She couldn't understand why he didn't like her, why he didn't want her. All men wanted her. She was beautiful. Her long honey-blond hair framed a perfect, willowy figure. Long lashes framed her blue eyes and her pert little nose sat over a luscious mouth. As long as she could remember, men had fawned over her. All men had loved her, until this one man. 'What makes him so different? What is it about me that he doesn't like?' Suddenly, the perfect explanation, the only one that made any sense, dawned on her.
"You're gay! Oh my God! No wonder you don't like me, you don't like women period," Relena shouted at a stunned Heero.
Heero gaped at her in disbelief. Could she be that self-centered that she would rather think he was gay than accept the fact that he just didn't like her? "You're crazy, Relena. Get out of my office," he said in a soft menacing voice that would have frightened a sensible person. But Relena was anything but sensible.
"Think about it, Yuy. When was the last time you've been on a date? When was the last time you've spoken to a women outside of work? I've kept tabs on you and in all the time I've known you, you've never done either. However, I did see you looking at the new mailroom guy the other day. He's quite a hunk, wouldn't you say so?" Relena had warmed to the topic and wore a satisfied smirk at having solved the Yuy mystery.
Heero's face lost all expression as she rambled on. However, it wasn't completely anger that had made him go blank. Thinking back to two days ago, he remembered seeing the new mailroom worker. The young man was about Heero's age and was a veritable Adonis. Blond hair and steel gray eyes dominated a chiseled face which topped a model's body. Heero remembered how his breathing had quickened when he first saw the young man.
'No way! She's just crazy. I am not gay! Just because I thought that guy was attractive doesn't mean anything.' Heero's breath caught as he realized what he'd just thought. 'I thought that guy was attractive? Yes, I did. Is that a normal thought for a guy to have about another guy?' Heero stared at Relena in shock, not because of what she was saying, but because she might just be right after all. ** (End flashback)
Heero sighed as he thought back to that conversation he'd had with Relena a week ago. In the ensuing days, the idea that he might actually be gay had haunted him. He hadn't been able to sleep and had barely been able to eat. It wasn't that he was a homophobe. It was just that, if it were true, Heero would have to completely redefine himself. His entire life and lifestyle would change. How the world saw him and how he saw himself would be forever different. After a week of sleepless nights, Heero had had enough. He was never the type to sit and agonize over amorphous possibilities. If he was a homosexual, he would deal with it. However, he had to know for certain. That was why he was sitting in his car at midnight in a neighborhood known for catering to all types of appetites.
As Heero looked at the two prostitutes down the street from him, he realized that the taller one's shoulders were too broad for a woman. Even though the person had a braid that had to be at least a meter in length, it was clearly a man. The feet and hands were too large and the stance was too masculine. The male baishunfu was wearing short black denim cutoffs, emphasizing his narrow hips. Tall and slender, he was wearing a tight black mesh jersey that clung lovingly to each well-defined muscle. His long, tanned legs were bare and ended at well-worn black combat boots.
Even at a distance, Heero felt himself somehow drawn to the carelessly slouching figure. The man was leaning against the wall of a nearby building and was talking to the woman prostitute standing next to him. Although his posture was casual, Heero noticed that his eyes never stopped searching the street. Occasionally, the man's eyes lit upon Heero's car but moved on when Heero just sat there. As Heero started his car and moved towards the two, the man's eyes fixed upon the car.
It had been a rather slow night but Duo was grateful. Even though it would mean he'd have to dip into his money stash to eat the next day, Duo preferred spending his night talking to Hilde rather than working. They had been talking about how much they hated their pimp, Smoke. Smoke thought he was such a bad ass, taking pleasure in beating up his girls and boys even when they promptly paid him his share of a job. He had no qualms about freely availing himself of the 'merchandise' either. "Perks of management," he often said with a smug smirk.
Hilde laughed as Duo said something particularly nasty about their boss. Duo kept talking but his attention never wavered from the car parked down the street. 'Is that guy ever going to come down here? If he sits there any longer, Hilde and I are going to have to charge him rent.' "Hey, Hilde, what do you think. Is that guy over there in the market for you or me?"
Hilde casually looked at the car. "Well, since he's been sitting there for nearly 45 minutes, he's probably scared to come over here. So he's either married and is trying to work up his nerve to proposition me, or he's in the closet and is trying to get the courage to proposition you. Since 45 minutes is a bit much, even for a married guy, I'd say you're going to get this job."
Duo had to agree with her assessment. Many a night he'd seen guys drive back and forth or just sit down the block trying to work up the nerve to hire a male prostitute. "You're probably right. I could really use the money. Just a thousand more dollars and I'll have enough to kiss L2 bye-bye forever."
Duo had been in this business since he was 12 years old and at 20 was more than ready to move on. However, since Smoke took 80% of everything his 'employees' made and since Duo had to pay rent and eat, saving money was hard to do. Duo had managed to make some extra money by doing odd mechanical jobs around the neighborhood. Since he was a kid he'd always been good with his hands. But the odd jobs weren't enough by themselves and so Duo was out on the street almost every night.
Duo turned to look at the car when he heard the engine start. 'Finally! I hope this is a quick job. I'm beat.' Duo remained against the wall as the car slowly pulled to a stop in front of him and Hilde. Although the dark street didn't allow him to see the face of the man in the car, Duo could tell the man was looking at him. As he moved away from the wall he mumbled to Hilde, "Looks like you were right." Hilde smiled and gave him her usual, "Be careful and smart." "Always am," he replied, as he ambled towards the waiting car, feeling the knife tucked inside his left boot.
As the prostitute approached his car, Heero began to rethink his decision. 'I should just go to a gay bar or something. This is crazy, Yuy.' Heero had decided to use a prostitute to test his sexual preferences on because he'd figured it would be less complicated to just pay someone rather than go through the whole bar scene. Now, however, he was having second thoughts. 'This guy could decide to just rob me and/or kill me. What if he could in no way be considered attractive, by anyone? That would ruin the point of this little experiment. He could have some disease or something'
These disconcerting thoughts running through his head, Heero was just about to step on the gas and pull off when the prostitute came clearly into view. Heero froze, feeling as though he were falling down a deep hole. Standing at his window, illuminated by a streetlight, was the most beautiful thing Heero had ever seen in his entire life. He could have waxed poetic over the young man's perfect, almost pretty face, slender but muscular figure, and the ridiculously long thick chestnut hair done in a single braid. But Heero noticed none of these things right way. All he could do was sit motionless as he looking into a pair of haunting violet eyes.
Duo had long ago lost any nervousness in approaching a strange man. Although always cautious, Duo had simply been doing this for too long to feel any sort of reticence. This was just a job. Simply a way to make money no more, no less. Duo felt nothing for his 'clients'. They were johns. They would fuck him, hopefully pay him without too much fuss, and if Duo saw something good in the guy's place, he would steal it with no qualms. Duo wasn't hard-hearted. He'd just had to harden his heart to survive on the streets. Although he really cared for some of his fellow prostitutes like Hilde and though he would never intentionally hurt anyone, Duo wouldn't hesitate to use the knife in his boot if necessary. The streets were dog-eat-dog and he did what he had to.
As he approached, Duo studied the car, trying to get a feel for the client. The car was not new but it wasn't junk either. 'Hummm. Middle management maybe. Probably harmless, but you never know. Well as long as this is a simple blow or screw, I'll be happy.' Duo was thinking of how much he could charge the john when the man's face came into view, lit by a lone street light.
Duo's cocky stride faltered as he looked through slightly messy dark-brown bangs and into a pair of incredible cobalt blue eyes set in a handsome Asian-featured face. The combination was startling and very striking. Unlike most of Duo's customers, the man in the car was young, no older than Duo. Instead of the usual look of perverted lust, the young man had the look of a deer caught in headlights. He looked dazed and not a little afraid. He also looked like he would gun the car and bolt at any minute. Not wanting a job to get away and feeling an uncommon bit of compassion Duo softened his customary sultry sneer into a genuine smile.
Heero had to remind himself to breath when the longhaired young man and he was young, about his own age leaned into the car window. As he looked at that inviting smile, he realized that the experiment was over. 'Well, I'm definitely attracted to men, or at least this one. Definitely.' But rather than telling the man 'thanks, but no thanks', Heero continued to stare at the man. He felt pinned in place by those knowing eyes and the thought passed through his sluggish mind that he would be quite content to just look into those eyes for the rest of his life.
Duo realized that the man was just going to sit there and stare at him. He found it disconcerting, not because he wasn't used to being stared at he knew he was attractive but because the stare seemed amazed, almost reverent. Clearing his throat, he got the ball rolling.
"Hi," he said. When the man continued to stare, Duo's smile grew bigger. He tried again. "Want some company?" That seemed to shake the man out of his reverie. He blinked and, realizing that he'd been staring, quickly looked away and began to blush. Highly amused, Duo's smile turned into a grin. 'He's actually blushing. How kawaii!'
Heero felt himself flush and got even warmer when the young man grinned. The sexy smile was rather mischievous and made the man seem even younger and more attractive. Realizing he couldn't just sit there all night staring, Heero started to tell the young prostitute that he didn't want to hire him, that he'd made a mistake. But when he open his mouth, entirely unexpected words came out.
"Yes, I'd like some company." Heero blinked as he heard himself speak. 'What the hell did I just say? No, that's not what I meant!' But the young man had already started to come around to the passenger's side door. When he got in, he smiled and Heero found himself blushing again. The inside of the car felt suddenly smaller and more intimate. As he glanced at the prostitute, Heero found his mouth going dry as he realized how close the young man actually was. 'God, he even smells good,' Heero thought with a groan as he got a whiff of some pleasant soap or aftershave.
Heero put the car in gear and drove off. His mind raced as he thought about what he would do when he got home. 'I'll just offer him a drink and some money for his trouble. Then I'll say goodbye. Nothing's going to happen. Well, maybe I could kiss him before I send him away.' Heero rolled his window down as the thought of kissing that perfect mouth sent a bolt of heat right through him.
Heero barely listened as the young man rattled on about Heero's car although he was surprisingly knowledgeable. When he asked whether Heero was a native of L2, Heero managed a vaguely negative "hn." This started the bishounen off talking about the colony and generally playing tour guide. As he listened, Heero learned that the young man had lived on L2 all of his life. 'I wonder how long he's been doing this for a living.' Heero began to feel vaguely sick as he thought about his beautiful companion going home with strangers night after night. He realized with no little surprise that the feeling was partly jealousy.
After almost half an hour, they pulled in front of Heero's apartment. Heero got out of the car and the young man joined him as he walked up the steps. The prostitute stood close behind him, causing him to fumble with the keys before finally opening the front door. Walking into the apartment, Heero dropped the keys on a side table and walked across the living room. He then turned and looked at the man who was studying his apartment and still talking.
"Oi, you've got a nice place here. It's nothing like my dump, that's for sure." Duo kept talking about the Asian man's apartment and furniture as he surreptitiously studied him. 'He sure is a quiet one. This guy looks too scared to ask me to do anything. He's probably going to try to send me away without paying me anything. I'm going to have to do something drastic if I ever want to get any money out of him.' Sure enough the man interrupted him, mumbling something about getting him a drink. However, his next words surprised Duo, and not just because of the unexpected sexiness of the man's voice and the length of the speech.
"You're welcome to stay for a while but I think I made a mistake. I'm really not the type of person who would hire a well, someone like you. So, just let me know how much you'd like for your trouble and I'll call you a cab to take you wherever you want to go. Of course if you want something to eat or drink first, let me know."
Duo couldn't believe it. The man had not only offered to pay him for doing nothing, but to help him get home as well. And to top it all off, the man had offered him the ever-hungry Duo - food! Never in his eight years on the streets had anyone done anything even remotely as nice for him. Duo stared at the man and the man began to fidget shyly under the intensity of his stare. Suddenly, Duo felt the iron band that had long been around his heart loosen a bit. He decided that he would give this man his money's worth, just for being so nice not to mention so young and handsome.
Smiling a friendly but slightly naughty smile, the young man began to stalk towards Heero. Heero just watched him approach, confused by his actions. Confusion turned into concern when the bishounen came very close to him and put his hands on Heero's shoulders. Concern turned into outright panic when he leaned over and whispered in Heero's ear,
"Don't worry about the money. I'll make sure I earn every penny of it."