Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
When the door's buzzer sounded Heero got up from his bed with his blanket draping his body and walked from his bedroom to check the video peephole. Midii had brought Ursula with her. They had packages, or baggage at least. Heero shook his head as Koi growled behind him. He opened the door, probably scowling or glaring judging from their facial reactions.
"Don't worry, she's just here as your decorator, she'll leave after taking measurements if you like."
"Hello. I don't mind." Heero hiked the blanket up by the corners and tightened his grip there with his left hand. "It's just... there's absolutely no where to sit except the bed and Ursula hasn't seen me undressed before."
Ursula's lips quirked into a smile and she made a tip of her head toward Heero that was not quite a bow. "Now I have. You realize your skin is decorated in green glitter?"
"No." Heero looked down at himself. He could see specks of green shimmering on his skin. "It must have fallen from my hair or clothes last night."
"Heero, get in the shower. Ursula and I will help you straighten up here. When you are more presentable you can tell me how things went bad with Duo."
Midii shook her head. "Am I stupid? I knew when Wufei told you how Duo had won the office pool and he said, 'Maxwell,' and then you said, 'Duo.'" When Midii said Duo's name just then her voice went low and it sounded like she was sighing.
"I did not!"
"Yes, you did. And then, when we shopped for presents it was so obvious," Midii said smugly, "You spent the weekend with him and left your apartment this messy after the obsessive way you packed and you asked for vodka! You love Duo and you fucked up somehow and you need help."
"Yes," Heero admitted.
"So, get your shower. We'll decorate. You can help us clean when you're dressed, tell us the details. I also have news to tell you, about work."
Koi was sniffing around the bag Nanashi was in.
Heero walked back into his bedroom. When he got to the bathroom door, a second later, as the room was small, Midii called to him, "Heero, we'll be on the phone and chatting, so if you need to have any special thoughts about Duo while you are in the shower, don't worry about us listening in."
"Special..." Heero stopped when he understood, "Would you look in my satchel or around it for some orange soap? And could you find me some clothes, please and leave them near the door here?"
Heero went into the bathroom then, still wearing a blanket and began checking that he did have everything he needed and adjusted the water controls just to be sure the water would be as hot as he liked it. Midii delivered soap and a change of clothes before Heero had been ready to remove the blanket. He thanked her then closed the door after her.
Heero got into the shower and began washing. He started with his hair. The most recent shampoo he'd purchased had a sort of clove smell, it was all right. Heero worked the lather down to his scalp, feeling the grit of glitter that had stuck in his hair. He was not too surprised, there had been a lot of it falling through the air at the movie-show.
Heero started thinking about what had happened before their fight. He thought about Duo being dressed up as Princess Leia in her slave girl costume that the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt had made her wear. Duo was much too tall and broad-shouldered to be a convincing Leia, but Heero had no doubt he would look good in the costume. Even male as he was, the bikini top would make nice decoration even if it wasn't filled out. If Jabba had liked slave boys there might have been a gold top made to decorate a young man's chest.
Duo would look good in that. He might even look like he could be a warrior if he wanted to. Leia had managed to perform an assassination in her costume and then shot blasters at a bunch of other villains. Sometimes Duo looked like an ancient warrior to Heero.
He had this recent prevalence of skirts among his attire, but they were never effeminate, they were simply garments with no division between the legs. In many cultures men wore such garments. And when Duo wore makeup, which Heero had not witnessed often but had seen in some pictures at the flat, Heero thought of war paint. Especially with the braid and Duo's own skills and personality. Heero thought of Duo as a member of some ancient tribe, maybe something German or Celtic.
Heero's image of Duo had always been well rendered. Now he was seeing Duo in his mind wearing some kind of loincloth and gold armor that revealed a lot of skin but made him look powerful rather than vulnerable. And then Duo would return to his home, which might have been a small cabin in a dark forest. Heero would be there, waiting with some food he had provided.
In this fantasy Heero imagined that he was a hunter rather than a warrior because he had gotten sick of killing people. But killing animals with skill and simple weapons and then using every part of their body to feed and cloth those he cared about or to make tools from, that was acceptable to him.
Duo would decide that supper could wait. It might get more tender if they let it roast or boil longer. He wanted Heero more.
And what could Heero do for Duo? Lead him to the pile of furs they slept on. massage his body, letting hands roam everywhere, like Heero's hands did when he had to clean all the parts of himself. Heero wished he knew how to do real massage. Maybe they would kiss. Yes, like on the train. That had been nice. Heero brushed the back of a wet hand across his lips.
What else? Sucking? Heero could trail kisses down Duo's body as he removed armor and when he removed the last bit of armor he would find Duo's penis was erect and he would take it in his mouth. Yes, Heero had wanted to do that with Duo, he just hadn't felt there had been a chance. He had failed miserably to communicate.
But he wanted it. Heero wasn't sure if he would like it, but he knew he wanted to get to try and find out. Even if he didn't like how it felt, so long as it didn't hurt, he might have done it for Duo.
Heero sucked at his fingers. How far should that go? Should he use his mouth until Duo climaxed or switch to something else?
There was fucking. That was always how Duo described anal sex, even though he used that word to mean a whole lot of other things as well. Heero did not think he had as strong an urge to try that for himself. He did know that Duo had wanted Heero to do it to him. He wondered if Duo had been going to do that because he knew it would feel good for him or because he thought it would feel good for Heero. Heero wished he had been able to fuck Duo.
He curled a soapy hand about his erection and did not try to tell himself that he was only trying to be clean. Heero thought of Duo. He thought about that fantasy bed of furs and lifting Duo's hips or legs to create a position in which entry was possible while he was able to view Duo's face. There were other positions, Heero knew. But in this fantasy he wanted to see Duo's face.
He needed to see that in the fantasy Duo was not mad or shouting. He needed to see that Duo was forgiving and happy and pleasured.
"I will make it up to you, Duo," Heero whispered into his shower. "Just let me be near you again. Forgive me. I will make it up to you."
Oh, Duo, Heero thought, I hate this. I want it and I hate it for that cold lonely feeling. Duo, I need to imagine I am doing it for you. That's not wrong, is it? Many texts say a person should know their own body and how to recognize its signals so that they will be able to accurately communicate their need to a lover.
Heero's hand tugged at his erection, pumping from base to tip. Duo, he thought, please tell me it is all right to use your image this way. Tell me you forgive me. I need you!
In Heero's mind, the Duo on the bed of fur writhed and said, "I am sick of the death on the battlefield, Heero! Show me I am good for something besides killing! Show me we're alive! Show me that someone as tainted as me can be desired! Do it! Show me! Heero!"
Heero saw himself penetrating Duo as deeply as possible.
"Yes! Alive! Not dead! I am yours! You want me! I am yours!"
"You are mine," Heero growled at him, "I want you! You are mine and I take care of my things. I want you to feel good, Duo!"
"Yes, yours. You make me feel so good, Heero. I feel worthy and safe with you."
In the fantasy Heero grabbed some sinew, from fantasy-convenient location and bound Duo's wrists. "Mine."
"Yes! Yours! Faster, Heero!"
Heero wasn't completely conscious of masturbating, he had somehow built his fantasy around him quite securely. He almost believed he was having sex with Duo.
He believed they were moving faster.
He believed that Duo could forgive him and that he would be able to please him. Heero believed that He would have a continued purpose to live if he owned Duo and was depended on and was appreciated by Duo. He believed that Duo wanted to belong to him. He believed Duo wanted just as much to be appreciated and to please.
Heero came upon his orgasm still believing in his fantasy.
He sank down on weak legs, his back slowly sliding down the shower wall. His eyes were closed. His hands hung near his raised knees as the water fell all over him. "Duo."
Heero waited for the cold feeling to come but this time, he did not feel cold. He felt... satisfied.
The fantasy images were gone and Heero opened his eyes. He was aware of everything. Efficient, if dangerous, masturbating in the shower, he had satisfied a sexual urge and ended up clean at the same time. The room smelled like citrus and eastern spices; it was the combination of his bath products. It was how he smelled to other people throughout the day though he tended not to notice the smell after a while.
Heero carefully climbed to his feet in the wet space of the enclosed shower and bath stall. He stood under the spray for another moment and then shut off the water. He opened the door that sealed the stall from the sink and toilet. He reached out for a towel and then sat down on the low stool that was built into one end of the tub. Heero dried his face and then worked down his body.
Why had it been different that time? He'd had fantasies before. He'd tried masturbation thinking that he was masturbating and he'd tried it thinking about someone else being with him. Never with Duo. was it just that he needed to fixate on a real person? Heero didn't think so.
Usually the problem was that he felt lost without a partner. He needed to know that he could please someone. Heero knew, somewhere in his mind, that he could have pleased Duo, or he could, in the future. He had so far failed, but he still had hope that he might.
He had seen how Duo looked when he dreamed of him. He had felt the way Duo kissed him. He had seen how Duo reacted when Heero began to undress him, or put his teeth on his throat or reached for his nipples. Those reactions had been pleasure and desire, Heero had been sure of it at the time.
It hadn't gone wrong until Heero had announced that he needed to leave.
"I am a baka!" Heero told himself.
Of course, at the time, Heero really had been so upset he had not known or felt there was another choice. He could only act on how he felt, so he couldn't blame himself for the feeling or action. But, it had been the wrong choice, he could see that now. At least, he could see how it was unacceptable from Duo's point of view. Duo hadn't wanted Heero to leave until after Heero had insisted several times.
"Ch'," Heero said to himself as he stood. Duo had wanted him to stay.
There was still a lot Heero did not understand about it. But, he thought, he should have given Duo a chance to speak before insisting he would leave. His way had not allowed Duo a chance to help make things right.
Maybe having the fantasy about Duo had worked because that time Heero had imagined a sort of communication between them. He did not think that in reality he wished to try to hold continuous conversation during sex, but maybe there should have been some words exchanged beforehand and a few during.
As it was there had been little talking. They had talked about wanting, but it had been vague.
Heero didn't want overly romantic talk either. He really didn't expect to be very aroused by hearing about his eyes or what a nice person he was or anything like that.
He just wanted to be with someone who could say, "There is a specific action you can do that will please me."
And that, exactly was what he did not know how to do. How could he expect Duo to really want to be with him if he could not be the kind of person he would want? He couldn't. Heero had to figure out what to do.
He couldn't go and ask Duo to forgive him if it was likely the same thing would happen again.
And he wanted Duo to say, "But if you can't do the thing that will most please me, that is all right, I know other things that will please me and maybe you can do one of them."
Heero should be able to say that too. That was the largest reason Heero had felt so awful. Duo had seemed to be indicating he wanted something, and Heero had not been able to do it. It had just destroyed all his confidence to realize that.
And he had showed no patience.
Heero shook his head and stepped out of the shower. He pat his hair dry and then took up his comb. He never styled his hair with any design in mind, he'd just combed his hair from roots to ends in an upward motion with one hand since childhood and now the hair seemed always to fall into the same slight swirl. It was sometimes longer or shorter by several centimeters, and then he would cut it again. He had cut his own hair since childhood.
He brushed his teeth and looked at the clothes Midii had chosen. Slim black jeans and a sleeveless black shirt with mock turtleneck. Heero had ordered the shirt from an online catalog, but the jeans were some that Duo had given him, used. Heero didn't mind wearing black, it complimented every skin tone, but he didn't think he wanted to wear neck to toe black. Well, it would do for now.
Heero got dressed.
He checked his skin in his mirror. No need to remove hair yet, it had not grown back from the last time he had removed it.
Heero put his towel in the hamper and then opened the door. The furniture had been moved. The futon and frame was against the wall beneath the window now. Heero walked into the bedroom. Ursula was in his room, refolding clothes and placing stacks of clothing in the dresser. Which had been laced against the wall between the bathroom and closet doors, it just fit, being wider than it was tall. "You really do not have to do that," Heero told her.
"It is just because you do not expect me to do work for you that I do it," Ursula said.
"Why did you move the furniture?"
"I admit, the traffic going to the closet is somewhat awkward, but the rest works just as well this way, and a nice mirror opposite the window will look nice, once I put a drape up. This gives me two walls for art, you don't want art hung opposite a window, even in Colonial levels of sunlight. Or, perhaps some nice shelves. I think the wall where the dresser was can have a few shallow shelves on it. They you will have a place for small statuary."
What was Heero going to do with small statues?
Midii came into the bedroom. "Vero's here," she said.
"Vero too?" Heero asked.
"He went to shops for me," Ursula said, "he's only making deliveries."
"Oi, where do these floor mats go?" Vero's voice called.
"Floor mats?" Heero asked.
"You can pay her," Midii said. "If you would feel better, you can pay Ursula for doing your decorating. Vero told us you had nothing in your apartment but a desk."
"We just can't have our dear uncle and brother living in a soulless box," Ursula said. She glided through the door into the main room. Heero followed shortly after. All his luggage was unpacked and there were piles of things all over the floor. Some of the things on the floor Heero had never seen before. Koi and Nanashi were sniffing at each other near the dish washer. Someone had sawed the legs off his brand new desk.
"The desk was new!"
"It was much too tall and you did not even have a chair for it," Ursula said. "You needed to decorate. This way, if you have a friend over, they will not feel sorry for you, but will be comfortable with staying. If you decide to move, you will have nice things to take to your new home."
"Well, seeing as how Duo isn't speaking to me I can't buy anything from him, so I suppose I have the money."
"Sit down and tell me what happened," Midii said.
He had chairs. They were cloth slung over a light metal frame. Not chairs to promote good posture, but likely comfortable if one wanted to curl up for a short while. There were two, and the fabric seemed to be a sort of black canvas.
Heero tried one of the chairs. It was all right.
Ursula was telling Vero that the mats were to go over the floor of this room, except for the edges.
"I can help. It is my apartment."
Ursula showed Heero a bound paper sketchbook with several squares of color penciled onto the page. "Which of these appeals most to you."
The colors all looked mostly the same. One of them looked blue. One was green. The others all looked between green and blue. "This one?" Heero pointed out a square.
Ursula looked. "Would you hate to see this one?" She pointed.
It looked almost the same. Maybe it was more like blue than the last one. "It's fine."
"Yes, I think that one suits you." Ursula had a mobile computer of her own set up on Heero's desk, which was made of some kind of composite material covered in black laminate. "If you would like to assist me, Heero, put away what remains of your own belongings as you like. There will be shelves in the bedroom and behind the desk, if you do not find suitable storage. We were just waiting for you to make a color choice before we sent Vero out again."
Vero was moving things to lay floor mats. These were woven and had a muted green color. He supposed he would survive if Ursula made everything in his apartment black, light green, blue-green or cherry wood red.
Heero started with the old computers, they were all two or three years old now, but if he thoroughly remove anything that was his or could identify him and left each with only it's most basic a hardware and software he could sell the lot and the spare parts to a shop and between them possibly earn enough to pay for half of a new computer. Their value might have equaled more than one computer for a normal user, but the gear Heero would want would be more costly. He would probably get a decent price on these, they had been powerful then and cutting edge and many people did have such machines, even in this year.
While they worked Heero told them everything that had happened, starting with the arguments he had with Duo at Relena's party. No one made comments or laughed while Heero told the story. Sometimes they would say things like, "please continue," or "Can you try to explain that part again." Heero just told them. Vero wasn't highly trustworthy in Heero's mind, but he wasn't going to do anything to make Heero mad at him either. Midii was mainly trustworthy, maybe fully trustworthy. Heero just sensed that she was.
The sensing was somewhat new, or least the being conscious of it was. Heero theorized that part of him had always sensed Midii's connection to Trowa and her willingness to make up for past actions and that made him trust her.
Ursula just made Heero feel comfortable. She had no motivation to repeat what he told her. He figured it would ruin her reputation. Being a geisha must be like being a bartender and a stage performer and a visual artist, a therapist, and several other things all at once. They were like an order devoted to spreading art and culture and to helping people to appreciate live and art and culture. Or, that was what Heero thought about them. He'd only met Ursula and had been told there were not many geisha to be found anywhere.
Heero had been so depressed when he had gotten home, but he could not feel too depressed with so many people in his apartment. Perhaps, that had been their plan, to make Heero busy with something so that he would not drink just to get drunk or want to kill himself. Heero supposed he was grateful for their effort.
When he saw the new pieces of decor going in, or when he helped to put in the shelves or hang draperies or assemble screens Heero liked it. He recalled that he had enjoyed being in the luxurious decor of the Metropol in Moscow. He had felt at home among the Colonial Japanese interiors elsewhere. Heero liked having nice things to look at. Even though his apartment became crowded, it looked larger because so many things fit in it.
Now he wished Duo could see his apartment.
Heero finished telling the whole story, even the part about his thoughts in the shower. His apartment was decorated by that time. Vero had returned from one of his errands for them, this time taking Heero's computers to the shop for him and returning with a receipt showing store credit, as Heero had requested. Vero commented that he had likely missed another 'good part.'
Heero smirked. Vero had managed to miss all the most graphic details. Heero was satisfied with this. He didn't want Vero to hear all his knowledge and theories of what pleased Duo. Then Vero might try to accidentally on purpose meet Duo and attempt to please him.
Ursula had produced a folding fan and was cooling herself as she hid most of her face behind it. Heero knew that Ursula could not have much sexual experience. He supposed it was possible there had been some contact short of loss of virginity before. He supposed it was remotely plausible she had been with someone, like Midii, since. Otherwise, she must only know from reading or what others told her and not from practical experience.
Midii seemed to have some practical experience. Vero also.
"You are right, Heero," there are things you need to figure out for yourself that would greatly help you in knowing how to please a lover. I know what my first suggestion is. Do you want to know?"
"You have to tell Duo that you are a virgin."
"But..." He had never found a moment when he was with Duo that he felt comfortable saying so.
"Well, maybe Vero has some different male perspective, maybe if you had not had that last argument then I could have given you advice and you would not have had to tell him, but if you want him to even give you a chance you have to convince him that you had a reason to be confused and to leave. In this case, telling him of your in experience sounds like the only thing that could get him to reconsider that situation."
"How can I tell him?" Heero asked.
"You just go up to him and before he can tell you to leave you say, 'I was a virgin,'" Vero said sharply.
Heero frowned and went back to arranging his computer and other current electronics on his desk. He was kneeling behind it now. Ursula was now behind the cherry red, sari fabric curtains that created division between the tiny kitchen and the outside space. She had explained that sari fabric was to India as obi fabric was to Japan, in her opinion. It was decorative often of very good quality and could be converted for use in home decoration.
She looked over the stainless steel top of the new kitchen island, where the curtain had been drawn back with a large knot of green and red obi fabric. She was collecting things from Heero's kitchen onto a tray she would bring to the new table, where Midii sat cross-legged on a cushion at her own computer.
"I think it is not a bad thing for a young man to be a virgin. Duo will likely feel very flattered if you convince him that he is your first lover," Ursula said. She picked up her fan again.
She kept doing that. Heero wasn't sure if her embarrassment was more toward disgust or arousal and he tried not to think about it. Or else, she was pretending to be embarrassed about anything related to sex in order to seem ladylike.
Duo was confusing enough. Heero was sure he would never understand girls.
Heero opened a text editor and he typed: 1. I have never had another sex partner besides you, Duo.
"If I tell him... I mean, I can't tell him until I know the other stuff. Can I? I do not know what to do about this."
Ursula carried a tray to the table. Vero joined them at the table. He arranged a green cushion in some precise manner and then knelt at the little end of the rectangular table opposite Midii. "Shall I bring your cup and plate to the desk, Heero?" Ursula asked.
"Please, I would only have to move my computer otherwise."
Vero laughed. "You could have sex with me and then when you knew what you liked you could go tell Duo."
"I told you he likes to be irksome," Ursula said. She gazed levelly at Vero as if to warn him. Then she whispered to Midii behind her fan. Heero supposed he was meant to find this excusable behavior among two young ladies and not rude.
"Well, Heero..." Midii said, "Tell us... when you lived with the scientist, how did he teach you to do new tasks or to use new equipment?"
Heero thought for a moment then answered truthfully, "First I would study texts. Language dictionaries, cookbooks, how-to books, equipment manuals..."
Ursula whispered to Midii again and Midii turned her computer so that Ursula could see.
"Go on," Midii said.
"After I was familiar with the texts there were often simulators or video guides. It depended on the task. I watched shows about cooking and repair but for strategy or use of a particular weapon or vehicle there were simulators."
"What do you mean by simulators?" Ursula asked.
"Some are like video games. Others are like mock-ups of an actual equipment."
Midii giggled as she typed.
"After the video demonstrations and simulators there were live tests, first under supervision, then later, solo tests. At that point, I had usually learned very well. Otherwise, I had further practice either with simulators or supervised tests."
"Heero," Midii said, "You've got to do all that with sex."
"There's this shop in the German Quarter that has been recommended and you must go there for the equipment and guides you require for your training."
"What sort of shop?" Heero asked.
"A sex shop," Vero said, "A sex uber-store... it's quite large and well-stocked and the people there are all nice and never creepy or judgmental."
"It's your mission, Heero," Midii told him, "not because I say so, because based on everything you said it makes sense. You wish to be with Duo. He said you didn't even know how to be with a person. You believe it is not your fault that you did not have close parents or friends to advise you. The method of education you used before worked well for you. Therefore, you need to apply that method to sex. You require texts, manuals, video demonstrations and things that might qualify as simulators."
Heero had never been to a sex shop, but when Midii said it that way, it sounded very reasonable and logical. "Yes, that does seem a good plan. When shall we go?"
"After Tea," Ursula announced. She brought Heero his plate and cup. It was English style, but apparently Ursula was familiar with all tea services. Heero knew that many people in the capitol did take Tea in the afternoon. He picked up a small square of sandwich and began eating.
"Besides, the shop is open all hours and we have mission planning to do, Heero," Midii said, smiling across the space of the small room at him.
"Yes, I negotiated with the port where our shuttle is parked and we'll get good discounts and flight priority if we do our most full test as soon as possible and agree to do some extra training seminars with their staff."
"Ports are often most vulnerable to bombs flying into a port. Or, shuttles purposely being crashed in order to cause damage. They also have the usual business risks, such as employee disloyalty or profiteering."
"I obtained our official signed contract from their commercial port manager. It's not a deal with the passenger port, only the commercial port."
"Good, I'll look at that after we eat."
A job, Heero thought. Not a fully paying job, but they would have port discounts and preferential treatment. That was very useful. "Fuel discounts?"
"Excellent!" If there was only one place that gave them fuel discounts that was ideal, because they could refuel there as much as possible. Having one fuel discount deal on Earth would be useful as well.
"I am working on other negotiations as we discussed. We might soon have a deal with a hotel chain. I am in the process of trying to get appointments to speak to those with authority to speak for the entire chain. I tried asking for the information at individual hotels and they keep referring me higher up and each time I have to repeat our offers again... and then they tell me they don't have the authority to make that deal."
"I understand. That kind of bureaucracy could be a weakness. If one forges permissions or orders or memos from very high up, they might just follow without being able to get through to check. Depends on the particular infrastructure."
"We also have the Moscow Spaceport passenger terminal security report to do," Midii reminded Heero.
"It is due at the end of May, ne?"
"I'll plan to go to Moscow again in May," Heero said, "Perhaps by then we will have other business on Earth and the trip will be more cost effective. They were only going to give us launch priorities and privileges, not money or fuel."
Heero looked at his computer screen. It read: 1. I have never had another sex partner besides you, Duo.
Heero changed the 1 to a 2. He then added a line above and typed: 1. I love you, Duo.
Heero smiled. Two lines down he typed: 3. I am heartily sorry for having offended you, Duo.
Heero thought he had heard that somewhere before, "heartily sorry." He thought it sounded like a very sincere and strong way to apologize in English.
"Shouldn't I at least call or send a letter saying I feel bad about hurting him?" Heero asked.
"Too soon," Vero said, "He's likely still mad."
"But if you accidentally run into him, or mutual friends ask, don't lie, just keep things simple," Ursula advised. "You can tell them that you feel very bad about upsetting him and that you have been waiting until you can find the right words and actions to... make it up to him."
"Add that you hope for forgiveness," Midii suggested, "If you talk to them. I know you were concerned because Duo seemed to want someone strong, but I think that a strongman can admit he was wrong and people will love him more and think him stronger for coming forward."
"I think so also," Heero said, "I should admit when I am wrong and accept responsibility."
And so in accepting responsibility Heero should take effort to amend his wrongs. In this case amending with Duo meant going to a big sex department store.
Heero had heard statistics and rumors and urban legends describing the overall differences between Colonials and Earthlings. Especially during the wars there had been insults tossed back and forth. But even today, Heero was sure, Earthlings as a whole seemed to believe that Colonials as a whole were more sexually deviant.
Heero thought it depended greatly on what 'norm' deviancy was measured against and when and where that norm had been established.
But, Heero didn't think a three-story mega-store of sex related merchandise would be welcome in most cities on Earth. They had many small shops and certainly people on Earth or in the Colonies could order from the warehouses of online catalogs, but he didn't think they had this, the Sex House. If they did Heero would be surprised.
He had heard of this one before, though he had never been.
He should have thought of this before.
As he walked into the store with the three others Heero saw the kiosk showing a floor plan labeled with departments. There were signs warning customers not to attempt to flirt with employees. There were notices advertising that the Sex House never sold customer lists.
"Here's our first stop, books department, on this floor," Midii said. She led the way.
The store itself wasn't sexy. It had bright lights and wide aisles and very ordinary shelving systems. It looked like any department store. They shortly came to an area of shelved print books where there was a sign over a counter advertising print on demand service and electronic book sales. The books already shelved were mainly of the large 'coffee table' variety, with some copies of the most popular and best selling books made available.
This meant, Heero would likely have to talk to someone in order to get what he needed. He wasn't anti-social, but he was not comfortable in many social situations. Store employees were usually not a problem, but he'd never had to share clue regarding his sexuality with one before.
"Go on, Heero," Midii coached, "Just think of this as your duty. She has data that is vital to completion of your mission."
"Ninmu ryokai." It was well understood what Heero's duty was right now. Operation Duo-chan was underway. Heero wished he had a god or two to pray to for courage.
"Remember, the first thing you need is 'gay erotica' that's what they call the book category."
Heero approached the desk alone. There was a woman working there. "May I help you?"
"I-I don't know any titles of books I want, but I know the category. Is there away to find out what is popular or recommended?"
"Of course, you can use that terminal there to browse."
"Thank you." Well, that had not been very difficult at all. Heero stepped along the counter to the keyboard and monitor. He glanced at the interface and then selected category. So many hits. There was a lot of Gay Erotica. But, there were form fields Heero hadn't even tried giving input to. Heero tried some keywords and a new list was drawn on the screen. Gay Erotica with Science-Fiction themes that involved bondage OR masters AND Americans.
Heero looked around for Midii. He saw her looking at the shelved books and beckoned with a wave of his hand. The current list was much shorter but still contained many books. Heero further manipulated the list by ordering the list according to customer recommendations. Heero then began reading the blurbs describing each book.
"I narrowed down the list," Heero told Midii. "Do you think if the name of the author sounds male or female that the writer really is?"
"No. Not in all cases."
"This might be good," Heero said, "It's about a deep space exploration team."
Midii groaned. "The point is to read about the sex, it doesn't matter where they are."
"It matters to me... a little," Heero said. He browsed that book. "How would you search for a sex scene?"
"try a find on a word like 'kiss' or 'nipple' if you try the graphic stuff, it might not work, everyone calls those parts different names."
Heero shrugged and commanded the computer to search the browse able text for the word nipple.
It came up first in context of a glance at someone coming from a shower. The next instance involved pinching. Heero read on. "Manhood?" He scowled. "I don't think that word appeals to me. I would even prefer vulgar words I think."
Midii laughed. "Just try another book then."
Heero tried several more. Then he settled on one. The words were a little vulgar and the plot seemed a little far fetched, but the German member of the International team of colonists to Mars described in the book had reminded him of Duo. Heero selected print to order and a reply came up to say he could collect the book from the cashier.
Then Heero remembered Duo sitting at the counter in Relena's kitchen and telling Heero he could borrow a book, but the book had ended up back in Duo's bag. Heero remembered the title, Blood Wing. He searched and it came up. Heero selected the print to order command again.
Heero cleared the searches. A message asked if he wanted to see recommendation based on his purchases. He didn't.
"That's text, now you need the instruction manuals," Midii said.
"I do know the basics," Heero said dryly.
"Just look at the books."
At the shelves Vero was looking at books. Heero did not see Ursula. Midii told Heero that they had chosen the nicest looking sex manuals that featured male homosexuals. Heero glanced at the books as Vero held them. They were heavily illustrated, almost like art books, only the notes on each page described how well recommended or difficult a position was.
Some books had photographs of live models. Others were had drawings. Some focused on particular fetishes or kinks and others were more general.
"I think we agree this one is... gorgeous, but if you do not care for that style of art then this other looks good," Vero said.
Heero took the recommended book from Vero and opened it. Then he turned pages. It seemed all the pages had figures of young men having sex with each other. Like the other books there was some text describing whether the position had a name or whether it was easy for a beginner to do. This text happened to be mainly in Japanese. And the young men did not look entirely realistic but more like anime characters. Well, characters from an anime art book, the book seemed to reproduce both beautiful water colors and flawless computer graphics, but in each the young men were slender and long-limbed and sometimes they winked at Heero from the pages.
Some pages had several panels, like manga, that played out scenes using props or costumes or toys.
"It is informative... and cute at the same time... and the drawings really are beautiful."
"Well, that's two down," Midii said, "go pay for the books and we'll go to the video department."
"Where is Ursula?" Heero asked.
"She said she would go to the sensual stress relief department, but that's probably just her ladylike excuse," Vero laughed.
"Is she all right alone?" Heero asked.
Vero suddenly looked concerned and began looking over shelves.
"She will be OK," Midii said, "It's entirely public here, and even if it wasn't... it's not going to happen again. She is doing all right, though, Heero... thanks for letting her decorate. I know it drove you mad not being on control. She needed to be working."
"I will have to tell her... I don't think I said it outright. I think the apartment looks very good now."
Heero paid for his three books and was given them in a bag. Midii gave a nod then invited Heero to walk with her. They had to go one floor up for the videos. "I have never watched porn before," Heero said.
"Never?" Vero asked.
"I looked at some pictures," Heero admitted, "but not video."
"There's some bad porn," Vero said, "some is better than others."
"Well, you know you want to see guys together."
"Yes," Heero admitted again.
They followed the signs until they came to shelves of many boxed videos for sale and all the shelves around were graphic, sexual and featuring men with other men.
"Maybe they have a computer here to search with," Heero shrugged.
"I'll look around," Vero said, "What do you think you would like?"
"I don't know. Whatever is most normal or average to start. I'm sure prison rape scenes are not what I want to see, but on the other hand I don't want something that is... sappy? With boys saying, 'I love you...'" Heero stopped when he noticed Vero was looking steadily elsewhere.
Heero followed Vero's gaze over a shelf to a face of another individual who was watching them. It was Gibson. Heero glared at him. He did not want the new gossip at Headquarters to be about Captain Yuy buying porn, even if it was true.
Gibson darted away quickly and without a word.
"What were you saying?" Vero asked.
"Not violent, but not sappy either."
"I found a terminal," Midii called from somewhere. Hero followed her voice, she was only an aisle away. There was a terminal at the end of a case of shelves. "I think the boy that was just here... I've seen him."
"Tall, short brown hair?" Heero asked.
"Gibson. He was at this terminal?"
Midii gave a nod.
Heero stepped up to the keyboard and tried to see if he could view the latest searches. "I hope he's never promoted above private. He didn't clear his searches."
"It's not really secure information. Maybe he just didn't care."
"It's a bad habit," Heero insisted. He looked at the videos Gibson had looked up and one immediately stood out. To Serve and Prevent. The blurb said: A domineering Director and a sultry strategist teach their Blue Boys how to keep up morale with some close teamwork.
Heero shivered, and it wasn't a good shiver. There was a pornographic movie about Preventers? "You see?" Heero asked Midii.
"Not yet, but it sounds interesting."
"But... it's about Preventers."
"So? They make porn about firemen and cops and the military. In fact I've seen an OZ porno."
"Yeah, they had this guy that was obviously supposed to be Khushrenada, only he was enough unlike him that no one could sue for use of his likeness. Basically it was a bunch of bad actors in surplus uniforms crawling all over each other."
Heero looked at the list Gibson had left. There wasn't just one Preventer porn movie, there were three. That was one a year since there had been Preventers.
Heero noted where in the store the movies were stocked and then cleared all the searches. He went to the shelf where the movies should be and found that he was standing where Gibson had been before. On the shelf, there was an empty space among the copies of the latest Preventer porn, Preventer Blues.
Heero removed one copy of each of the three movies, including Preventive Measures. He ran his fingers back and forth over the row of jewel cases to space them evenly.
"I need to see these to know how bad they are, but maybe they will be educational as well."