Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
They had a total of four days together, in the last eleven, since the MCP's test, and tonight they were saying goodbye again, so Duo could go to class, and Heero could fly to New York for a job. They would not see each other until the next weekend. It was routine. Sometimes they had a three day weekend together, but in the last couple weeks it had only been two at a time, as Duo was busy with schoolwork that kept him in labs at Stanford. Routine.
Weekends together, weekdays spent apart, a lot of video calls on weekday nights, occasional phone calls during the day, text communication to share schedules. This was going to be the routine for four years, assuming they stayed together and neither moved from the house in Sitka.
Heero knew enough about life to know that some might find this routine boring, but they were not Heero Yuy and they did not have Duo Maxwell for a boyfriend. When Duo was away, he looked forward to calls, and to getting things done when Duo was not close enough to distract him from work. When the weekend came, Heero was fabulously happy to have Duo home with him. And when their routine vacations came up, Heero was happy to get out of the weekly routine to get away once a month.
This month it was twice, not that the deviation bothered Heero in any way. They had gotten away to Quatre's place and this weekend they would meet in New York. They average would be made up the next month, when it did not seem either of them would be able to get away. Maybe in December they told each other, maybe when Duo's school had winter break.
Their little anniversary had come and gone on the 12th, while Duo was at school, and they'd tried to make up for that on the two weekends since, but Heero was really hoping this weekend would be good for them. Things were going well with the house. The foreman had informed him that when he returned from his trip the two first floor bedrooms that had been disrupted by the addition of the stairwell leading to the second story addition would be completed, including all finish work. All framing for the second story and its exterior was done, as well a plumber and electrician had arrived to work on the upstairs bathroom and bedroom. Heero himself had installed the upstairs security devices and connected them to the rest of the system.
Duo's latest project, now the 'supports' were installed in the bedroom, was building the custom bed he had designed. And the vehicles were, reportedly, completely done, but Duo had forbid Heero from looking at the 'Vette and left the Humvee, now gloss black, in the drive, so Heero would have no excuse to enter the garage.
Recently Duo had obtained permission to fly his jet in and out of New Edwards. It was still a military base and secure location, but the fact that a television show shot there weekly made it obvious, even to the general public, that it was not the site for experimental craft it had once been, or that Old Edwards before it had been, before the quake. Heero knew where current Earth-based experimental craft were based, but he could not tell anyone without then silencing them, permanently.
It was a good arrangement for Duo, being able to fly in and out of the base.
Heero thought it was true Duo's CO liked him, as Trowa had suggested. The base was still secure enough that Heero had been greeted and processed as a guest on the tarmac. He suspected that the Preventers and ESUN wanted their secrets leaked as much as the cast and crew of Best of the Best did, and so each side of the base kept the secrets of the other well, with only a tall chain fence between them.
Duo had taken Heero to The Fence. The decommissioned portion of the site was still marked by battle damage caused by Gundams. A number of remaining hangars now doubled as sound stages and a number of large pre-fab sound stage buildings now doubled as additional hangers in exterior shots. Duo explained that most of the scenes with moving mobile suits were computer animated, but they had full size mock-ups for shooting parked on the studio side, and they even had a few that functioned enough to walk and hold weapons at the same time. The TV show mobile suits did not correspond to any existing mobile suit very closely. They looked a little bit like more angular Tauruses with different heads attached.
Duo then asked Heero if he would mind seeing 'the Men', which was how Duo referred to his subordinates of both genders. His tone communicated that it was more for the Men's benefit than Heero's that he meet them. "I would not mind," Heero told him, deciding that it was a favor to Duo to let him introduce his Men to the Boy Who Saved the World.
"I can get them to dogsit," Duo offered, but Heero had already agreed.
Preventers was not run like the old military of the Alliance or previous nations. It was primarily a peacekeeping force and in structure and practice was something of a hybrid between a standing military and an intelligence organization. New Edwards was not a very large or highly staffed Preventer base; Colonel Bell was the highest ranking officer assigned to the base full time and had approximately 4000 Preventers serving under him, perhaps half of which served full time. Duo and Trowa were two of the 20 or so Captains under him and commanded fewer than 200 Preventers between the two of them.
Duo's Men were also Trowa's; this partnering was something that had come from police forces absorbed by fledgling Preventers.
Duo sent a signal from his pad to let his Men on standby know that Heero wanted to meet them, so when they entered the hangar there were perhaps seventy Preventers gathered to greet them, in various states of dress. "Sexy, aren't they?" Duo asked out the side of his mouth. It took Heero several stretching seconds to understand he meant the jets.
There were things a variable mobile suit could do that a jet could not, but jets had their uses, and looking at them, Heero did feel a little thrill that was almost like arousal. They were not the dark, angular, radar-invisible monsters of wartime, but wonderfully sleek silver machines with blue and gold identification markings and vivid nose art.
"All these guys here, they know how to build them, fix them, prep them, fly them, or track them."
"Rather thought it would be mobile suits," Heero said.
"We have some cavalry and mobile assigned to us as well. You know how Preventers are." To be entirely honest, Heero only knew about this second hand, because his personal experience with Preventers had been limited to small-scale anti-terrorism missions and IT, but from research he did understand that Preventers philosophy was to build its operational units to be diverse rather than specialized, that was even smaller groups could be self supporting.
"He doesn't bite," Trowa's voice said, and suddenly the Men, females though some of them were, stood a little straighter. Trowa came toward Heero, as the Men parted, wearing dress uniform consisting of slim black trousers, white shirt and blue jacket with black trim and shiny buttons. That was probably against some regulation, and it was also suddenly a little disturbing, because Trowa looked a lot more sovereign than soldier. He even had his hair combed back. "I am sure at least three of you brought cameras, what do you say? Get the jets in the background?"
At that, several came forward, addressing Duo. "Would you mind, Sir? If it would be all right, Sir?"
"Did you dress up just for the photo op?" Heero whispered to Trowa.
"Inspires the Men." He moved toward the nearest jet to Heero, featuring nose art of a lady in a crown, mc leathers, and blue sash, called the Leather Queen. Duo put a hand on Heero's left arm to guide him after Trowa.
Duo asked for a minute to get Nu to sit and then suggested a few of the three of them with the dogs and then the others were welcome to get in the picture if they liked.
Somehow, when it was over and Duo had convinced Lieutenant Miller to watch the dogs, Heero wondered why there had not been more questions. Only a few of the Men had even spoken to him, and those had only asked very politely for Heero to sign copies of magazines for their girlfriends or sisters or mothers.
"Did you tell them not to speak to me?" He asked Duo.
"No. They just get it."
They went back to Duo's little jet, where he rolled his chopper down on a ramp, so they could take it out on their date. The bike was very Duo now, being entirely black, except where tags, lights and reflectors were required by law to be otherwise, and loud, and fast.
Duo was the one who knew the way, and it was his bike, so all Heero did was hold on. They got on the 101 toward the Bay, as far as Embarcadero and then took that to El Camino. They passed parts of the Stanford campus and Palo Alto and finally stopped at the shopping center northwest of campus.
A large shopping mall on Earth did not seem a bad place for a date. They had already visited more northerly parts of the Bay Area, which was all one great urban sprawl, and the campus itself had limited eating and entertainment options. The shopping center, however, offered dining, entertainment, and material acquisition in one contrived setting. Such places often seemed planned for dates between young people.
Surely diner at a four star restaurant and a show at the Met would also have been a good date, but they had done high class dates before, and probably would again in the future. Heero was fine with the mall and the upscale chain Asian restaurant at which Duo suggested getting dinner.
They talked through their meal, from the Crab Wontons to the Shanghai Cucumbers, and Cantonese Roasted Duck, and finally the Banana Spring Rolls.
Duo was not up to his previous sock-footed seductive antics, but Heero did slide his left foot beneath the table until his worn Oz-issue boot was touching the red pointed-toe boot on Duo's right foot. Duo smiled when he did it, then gobbled down a bit of duck.
Sometime between duck and spring rolls, a family stopped near their booth, seemingly on their way out with a paper bag of leftovers. They looked like a family, and the son seemed familiar.
"Todd," Duo said, then laughed happily.
Todd. From the beach. In Hawaii. Heiwa Churcher.
"I thought it was you, Duo!" Todd turned slightly. "Heero. It is nice to see you again."
"Pleasure," Heero said quietly.
"Oh, these are my parents." Todd gestured quickly to the middle aged people in dress casual attire. "They are just visiting for my birthday."
"Happy Birthday!" Duo said cheerily, "I celebrate mine next week."
"Thanks...and same to you!" Todd said. Heero thought he seemed embarrassed somehow. "Well, I did not mean to interrupt! Duo, I will see you around."
"Oh, yeah, definitely. I'm usually around Green on Tuesdays. I just lurk about SEQ the rest of the time, ya know?"
"Yeah. I'll look for you Tuesday...if you want."
"It's kewl. I'll look around for you. Can always use friends or study partners, right?"
"Yeah," Todd said, smiling. "I'll talk to ya then."
Duo gave a nod. Heero saw Todd turning to leave. His mother looked toward the table still. "Nice to meet you," Heero said, "Happy birthday."
"I suppose it is different than High School." Heero said.
"I just mean..." Heero hesitated to continue, not wanting to embarrass Duo, or himself, if he was wrong.
Duo made a hollow laugh and looked into the interior of the restaurant. "No, it's pretty similar. The people I counted as friends weren't my friends from the first day I attended. I know a few people here, but it's...you know. They all know who I am, but that doesn't mean they know me or are my friend."
When they had finished dessert, Duo asked if Heero wanted to walk around by the shops with him a while.
There was time yet before they had to leave to meet Heero's flight. They took care of the bill, or rather Duo did, because he said this was his date, and then walked toward the shops.
They walked around a large department store and then along a path, between rows of shops, set with fountains and potted plants, kiosks and food vendors. "If you see a place you want to go in..." Duo offered.
Heero gave a nod, and then continued window shopping. He did not really need anything.
"Let's turn here," Duo said, taking Heero's hand to draw him toward the left, along another shop-lined avenue. "Here," he said, still holding onto Heero's right hand. "Do you maybe want a few sweaters? You'll be staying in Sitka a lot."
"The Gap. It does not look like a place you would shop."
Duo led Heero into the store. An associate greeted them. "Thanks, we'll let ya know if we need anything," Duo responded quickly, then spoke to Heero again, "Does it look like a place you might shop?"
Heero looked over the tables, racks and shelves displaying staple American garments in the season's array of colors. "I might have bought some tees from their online store."
"Do you want to try something? I'll buy you a couple of sweaters."
Heero almost told Duo there was no need, but he knew that the way Duo thought of clothing was unlike the way he usually thought of clothing. Duo had been happy to buy Heero 517s. Heero was certain Duo did know that, without him, Heero would be content to order his clothes from online stores; this was his way of inviting Heero to share in something that he enjoyed and still get something out of it. Heero squeezed Duo's hand. "I would like that, Duo. Help me find something. It should be something I would like. I have not worn many sweaters."
Duo slipped his hand from Heero, but smiled as he did. "Hey, you live on Earth now, you don't need to add another layer of synthetics made from recycled water bottles or optical discs when you feel a chill. A few good layering pieces in natural fibers..."
Heero smiled. Duo was having fun already. In the Colonies, rich people and tourists wore sweaters. Heero remembered seeing Ursula and Relena in sweaters, but they counted as rich and had each lived on Earth at one time.
Duo was already rifling through piles on the tables in the Men's side of the store. Heero felt something, as if a gaze was on him. He looked up over the table and saw a boy standing at a cart folding sweaters over a board so they could be stacked in a uniform pile. The boy seemed actually to be watching Duo.
Heero took in the several disrupted piles on the top of the table, and then shifted his eyes to Duo's hands. The piles Duo removed garments from still looked intact afterward. That was a thief's skill, but it also made Duo a low maintenance client.
Heero smiled at the boy, then stepped up beside Duo. "Do you think crew neck or v-neck?"
"Depends what you layer it with," Duo replied automatically. "What do you think of this? Feel it."
"What is it?" Heero asked, rubbing the knit between his fingers.
"Sheep we did not have in the Colonies."
"None at all." Rabbits, they had had, and hydroponically grown plants like cotton, flax or hemp in varying amounts. A lot of textiles really were synthetic or recycled several times over, in the Colonies.
"Maybe I should buy a suit, or an overcoat."
"You can probably find something in New York," Duo said, and his wide smile added, "I just offered a few sweaters, Baby, I am not buying you a coat."
"Do you own a suit?"
"That is not a vintage tuxedo? Suitable for client meetings or interviews?"
"I-I have some nice stuff. Separates. Not a whole suit."
Good to know, Heero thought. "I will try on a few," Heero said, taking three sweaters from Duo's arms. He walked toward the back of the store and let the associate there look over the garments he was carrying before finding a curtained chamber.
"Let me see, all right?" Duo called from outside.
The first was a thin, blue cotton, cable knit crew neck. Heero thought it was an obvious choice. The color suited him and blue was almost like a neutral really. He opened the curtain and stepped out.
"Yeah, that size fits well."
Heero gave a nod. "I will try another, but this one is good." He stepped back into the dressing room and tried on the black cashmere v-neck. He thought it looked good and so he went to show Duo.
Duo's face did not say he loved it.
"I do not wear very much black. Usually it is pants or a tee. It is good thought, right? It can look dressy, or it will look nice with the Lowe uniforms." The company jackets were green with black trim.
Duo made a sort of grimace. "I don't know. I like black, but it's just not doing it for me."
"Well, I can just get the blue. Or a green if you would buy two. The green would be good for work."
Duo shrugged. Heero took that to mean he was not going to argue, because he knew how Heero liked green, but he really didn't like green as much as Heero. "Ya know what, try this."
"Espresso," Heero noted. He pulled the black sweater overhead while returning to the dressing room and then pulled on the brown sweater. He looked in the mirror. It was like the black, but better. He probably sauntered toward Duo, he smiled, and then he hesitated.
Duo looked down, expression blank for a second, and then he darted forward quickly and kissed Heero's cheek.
"I wanted to," Heero whispered, and looked around Duo to the interior of the store.
"If I worked here, I probably wouldn't be too jazzed to see kids making out or going into the dressing room together."
Heero gave a nod; it probably had been very inappropriate of them when they had been all over each other in a dressing room. It was a good memory, but not one he really wanted to repeat without a disguise and false ID on his person. Heero put his left hand to Duo's chest. "It's a good color."
"You look hot is what."
"You will buy it?"
Heero went back into the dressing room, removed the sweater he had tried on, and gathered the four sweaters. Duo still had a few with him. "Definitely this one. The cashmere does cost more."
"Worth it," Duo sang. Heero was not sure if Duo meant him, or cashmere. "I think the cotton cable knit in Leaf and the blend crew neck in Shadow Blue and then the cashmere v-neck in Espresso."
Heero was about to agree, but he noticed a young man standing nearby, as if trying to get Duo's attention. He thought at first he was an employee, but he did not wear the appropriate lanyard with nametag. Duo noticed the direction of Heero's gaze and turned his head. "Will."
"I did not mean to interrupt. Is this your friend?"
"Heero," Heero said.
"Yeah, we're kinda on a date actually." His tone was downright threatening.
Will passed Heero a flyer. "Partners and allies are welcome, even if they are not students," he said. At a glance, the flyer appeared an ad for a movie festival.
Before Duo could make another protest, Will stepped back. "Well, I'm off like a dirty shirt!" he chirped and then walked away.
"C'mon, let's pay for this stuff."
"It's like gay club."
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual. "What's the 'T' for?"
"Aa. And Association?"
"Assembly." Duo put the sweaters on the counter. He turned around. "I guess I shouldn't sound so irritated. For a lot of students, especially younger ones, or who are new to the city, it's a really helpful organization. And none of the official spokespeople have done a thing I can complain about, but ever since that magazine came out..." Duo handed his card to the cashier, "there's been kids like him trying to get me to come to meetings, like somehow they'll feel better if I'm with them! I'm sure it's not really supposed to be like that. Still, I'm famous and so totally out!" He scribbled on the pad at the counter.
"I am sorry, Duo." The interview had been his idea.
"God, it's not like I'm mad about that!" Duo said loudly, as he started toward the exit. "We've been over it before. I was OK with it. But those kids just get to me. Not just them. The whole structure of the clubs and cliques and how it's always OK to be exclusive if you are a minority."
"Well, people in a minority are going to be much more likely to feel a need for the safety of numbers or mutual protection. And maybe that boy, Will, really would feel better if you sat and watched gay-interest movies with him and..."
"And it's not like there's spooky, white kid club!"
"You mean Drama?" Heero deadpanned, and then stopped short as Duo careened into a girl carrying a book.
"Oh shit! I'm sorry!" Duo cried out.
"No. It was my fault. Reading and walking at the same time." The girl adjusted her glasses, as they had slipped to the tip of her nose. She was pale, wore pigtails tied with ribbon, and was attired with curious modesty, almost as if costumed as a nun. Spooky, white kid club, Heero thought.
Duo lifted her book, which had ended up in his left hand. "Narziss und Goldmund," he whispered. "Hilde has a copy of this."
The girl rubbed her forehead and looked up at Duo. "Are you German?"
"Nein, nein." Duo laughed. "Pathetically American! How about you? Reading in English translation." He passed the book to her.
"I was born in Nihon, but I was raised abroad. I am sorry. I just thought, if you had read the original, you could tell me how it differed."
"Have you finished?"
"I was just reading the part about Goldmund and the two sisters, I think it is about half way."
Duo chuckled. "Julie and Lydia," he sighed. "Are you...a student?"
The girl made a tight smile and a slight, quick bow.
"Me too. Mechanical design. What are you in for?"
"We should go," Heero said.
"I was raised in a church, so...!" Duo padded at his jacket seeking something.
"I was raised in a convent!"
Duo made a sort of cackle. "Here! I just had them made." He handed her a business card.
"Duo Maxwell," she read. "My name is Robin Sena."
"Robin," Duo said. Heero did not like that tone. He lifted Duo's left hand in his right. Duo squeezed Heero's hand. "We really have to go, but give me a call, some of my elective credits are in Theology." Duo shifted the shopping bag and lifted his right hand to make the sign for 'call me' beside his ear.
Robin turned slightly and looked at Heero over the top of her glasses as she bowed. "Doozo yoroshiku," she said politely.
"Kochira koso. Hajimemashite. Yuy Heero desu."
Duo forced a nervous laugh. "Ciao, Robin," he said, and pulled Heero away.
"Ciao!" Robin was calling back, seeming amused with the Romantic phrase.
"Don't think I don't know what it means that you were unusually polite," Duo said, not looking at Heero as he pulled him back the way they had come, toward the lot, where they had left the bike.
"It means I am not on familiar terms with that girl," Heero said flatly.
"No, Heero. You don't use formal words with anyone..." Duo said, dropping Heero's hand.
"Well, do not think that I do not know what it means that you gave your card to that girl and said 'call me'," He said 'call me' in his best perky Duo-like chirp with the accompanying hand sign, "when you were on a date with me!"
"It was not like that at all!" Duo said angrily.
"Are you reading my mind?" Duo whispered, holding his hands to his ears, as if this somehow prevented the contact.
"No. Not sure I wish to, right now."
Duo's face flushed red. "Heero." He threw down his hands and then just stood breathing heavily for a few moments. "It is really not like that."
"The way that you were with her was not like you were with Todd or Will," Heero said plainly.
"I guess I can see, but it's different...and you don't understand."
"I understand, Duo," Heero said quietly. "It was all very neutral with Todd, because he addressed us both, and his parents were there, and you knew that I knew your interest in him was school related. I did not complain that you made an arrangement to meet him while on our date."
"Well, you were too friendly with Will."
"I told him my name," Heero pleaded. "It is hardly the same. You were just extra defensive. It is not as if you can lose me to some other boy because he is gayer than you. He was just trying in his way to make friends, like you are."
"Well, I don't intend to exclude friends because they are straight."
"Sure there are a few homophobes left, because you've ran into at least one, but I swear they are rare and there is no reason to be cliquish about it all these days. Who the fuck cares who they are all screwing or if their parents love their straight kids more or shit?"
Heero repressed laughter at Duo's issues. "Well, you made it quite clear to Will he was interrupting our date, but you completely ignored me when you were talking to Robin. I do not think your angst that they have families to approve or disapprove - and I have those same type of thoughts - is enough of an excuse. It is quite obvious why you could be attracted to someone like Robin, and you gave me no reason at all to believe that was not actually true."
"Even if..." Duo whispered. His right hand mangled the handle of the shopping bag. "Even if I was...a person can't help if they just have a certain reaction, but it doesn't mean I'm going to fuck her."
"Too true that!" Heero said sharply, "if you so much as kiss someone else while you are still going out with me, then we are not sharing the same bed, we are not having sex...!"
"You need to show me some trust, now, Heero. Are you saying you really believe I would do that? Everything I say to you, do for you, is just bullshit? Is that what you are saying?"
Heero knew they were arguing, but he realized only then how upset Duo was. He was quite familiar with Duo's temper and what it meant when he lost it. Sometimes Duo lost his temper because he was just Duo, but sometimes he lost his temper because Heero was being just as self-centered and stubborn and did not phrase what he needed to say in a way that was very considerate.
Heero put his hand in Duo's again, and was glad when he felt Duo's hand grasp his. "I do trust you, Duo-chan. You know I am yours. You have me by the heart and the balls, airy tentacle wrapped around my soul and all rights back-door access straight to my brain. Nobody could be that close to me unless I did trust them."
Duo shifted his posture, putting weight on his heels and looked sidewise at hero. "Back door access is good."
Heero snorted a laugh.
"It was brilliant poetic imagery. I like when you try to be all romantic and figurative."
Duo smirked and suppressed an outright laugh, because that had been so Han Solo. "I'm sorry, Heero. You're a complete bastard sometimes, but sometimes, I'm just an ass."
"But you are my ass."
Duo smiled beautifully. "I am sorry about it," he said seriously. "I was just...struck there."
"I know," Heero said again.
Duo nodded. He was used to having his High School friends. He had been here a couple months now, and though he did have Trowa to watch his back, and he did have Ethan in the city if he wanted someone else to grab a meal with, and Heero on weekends, it just was not the same. And it had not helped him that he magazine had been released early in the school year, putting him again in that position, which all the Gundam pilots had been in before, of being infamous and more known of than actually known.
"I am sorry I made it sound like it had to be sex."
Duo took a deep breath and sighed. "No. It was me. I really should have made it clear somehow I was with you. Like you said, I did it when there were guys around, so it was probably insulting for me to not do the same when she was there. Can't let the little head do the thinking."
Heero laughed softly. "Can't really blame the dick. It was immediately obvious that she was a cute, spooky white girl, intellectual, possessed of an interest in the relationship between the emotional and the contemplative and perhaps even homoerotic subtext in literature, and she shared your peculiar fascination with Catholicism. If I was your dick, I might have said screw the guy that calls brown espresso and let's find out if she's a bottle blonde."
Duo positively cackled a laugh.
"Nailed it did I?" Heero asked. He slipped his hand from Duo, but made a conscious effort not to look too stern.
Duo muttered something about 'nail' under his breath and then said, "OK, OK. So, I was kinda attracted to her. Obviously you don't blame me just for that. I was an ass to ignore you like that. You're probably thinking up a way to punish me for that."
Heero raised his brows slightly.
"But, Heero, having that feeling and acting on it are two different things."
"And I am saying, if you act on it, there will be serious consequences."
"I said, it's understood. Really."
"Duo. Really. Do you understand what it does to me to stand right there? Me crying about not knowing how to be with someone is over. I want you. I do not want there to be serious circumstances. I do not want a boy that is gayer than you. But even so, 'dumb shit acceptance' will not cover cheating."
"What the fuck do you want?" Duo demanded, getting angry again. "I know about how circumstances hurt. Think I liked it when you chained us both up...?"
"I know I am not perfect!"
"I said I was sorry! I didn't mean anything!"
"It still hurt!"
Duo threw his arms about Heero so fast, he almost did not see them coming. The shopping bag bounced off Heero's buttocks several times before settling against his back. It had happened quickly enough that Heero had not known what to do with his hands, and found his arms hanging limply within Duo's embrace. "Do you hate me? Are you seething with jealousy? Do you want to just beat me senseless?"
Heero lifted his hands to Duo's waist. "Yes." Yet, it felt very good to have Duo hold him. "If it is not done constructively, to better ourselves, then it is just pointless violence, and I want nothing of that."
"It is never actually going to be perfect, but I still want to be with you. Good, bad, dumb shit, all of it."
"You smell good. I want to miss my flight." Heero pressed his lips to Duo's throat. "Say you'll get a room with me."
"Fuck me," Duo whispered, but Heero knew instantly from the tone that he meant the opposite. Duo took a step back, the shopping bag swung between them. Duo tugged at the crotch of his jeans and hissed a breath. "Damn it, Heero!"
"I am not going to beg."
"Let's, um, walk, over to the bike." He did not start walking immediately, but scanned their surroundings. Heero watched the movement of his eyes. He said nothing for the moment, but watched Duo look tortured. When Duo moved along the walk, towards the parking lot, Heero walked alongside him. "You can drive."
"Sure I can handle it?" Heero teased.
"On account of your freakish strength, yes." Duo took a knapsack from the rear storage compartment and folded the bag and sweaters into it. He strapped the pack to his back, over his jacket.
"Sure I should drive back to the base?"
Duo rolled his eyes a bit, as he swung his right leg over the black chopper. "Not really, but that's what I'm saying we should do. It's in no way relevant to what happened back there, understand, it's just I know you really do have people waiting for you in New York and I really do have work to do here."
"Aware of that, but I was just starting to think I was capable of some constructive violence."
"Get on the damn, bike, Yuy."
Heero smiled. "I know what it really means when you use than name, Maxwell."
Duo pulled on his helmet.
Heero shrugged and swung onto the bike. It was a lot different than the racing bike, where the driver was seated high and leaned forward. Heero lifted his helmet and pulled it on.
Duo's voice came through the speaker at his right ear. "Drive fast, Baby."
Heero knew with absolute certainty he could have Duo cumming before they even reached the base, everything considered. His competitive nature was flaring hotly up to the surface, because he wanted to be the one who made it happen. "Hold on tight."
Duo braced his arms across Heero's chest and leaned in toward Heero's back. It would have been difficult to fit a knife between their bodies. Heero fixed his concentration on the asphalt and the sick, black monster purring between his legs, and rode.
Heero could feel the repetitive tensing and relaxing of Duo's limbs and body heat all along his back and thighs. Duo's heavy breathing was transmitted clearly via the speaker in Heero's helmet.
"Dangerous," Heero said.
"It's absolutely sinful, Maxwell, such self-gratifying, licentious, wanton, deviancy where any child in the back of a wagon can see." Heero shifted lanes to pass a slower vehicle and then shifted again. Duo's weight shifted, his shoulders rolled back and his pelvis pressed forward. Heero passed another vehicle. "Where anyone can see you," he said, "where everyone can see you."
Heero felt the tension again. Duo tensed and held position for several seconds. His voice groaned wordlessly through the small speaker. Then, Duo's weight shifted. His arms slipped, and for a half-second Heero really feared Duo would fall or roll from the bike. Quickly Duo replaced his hands on Heero's hips.
"All right?" Heero asked.
Wordless, loud jubilation came through the wireless link followed by, "I love this fuckin' machine!"
"Have to say I approve of Black Monster as well."
"Really? You didn't really get off though!?"
Heero laughed a bit. "If I were trying to get off while driving, I think I would do it on a less populated road."
"Not really turned on by potential civilian casualties, that's why I let you drive, but I gotta say I like the risk of discovery in a populated road."
"So I notice."
"You want payback tonight, or save it for the weekend."
"You know me. I will enjoy a few days to plan out what I am going to do to you."
Duo laughed. "I know. Masochist control freak is such an interesting combination!"
"What's that make you?"
"Discipline slut bottom boy, to you. Probably Dom with two capital 'D's to anyone else! Not that there will be anyone else."
"I want to let that one out again." As soon as Heero said it, he questioned why he had. It was the kind of thing that just subconsciously slipped into conversation."
"Huh? Serious? Why?"
"Like you said: Masochist Control Freak."
Duo thought about that for a while. He laughed a bit, then seemed to contemplate the meaning. "Well, we can talk about it. Find a way to let me know what you want. Didn't expect you to contribute to the chaos."
Heero did not answer. He genuinely did not know what he was thinking or feeling to say such a thing. It was true, and torture for a control freak was lack of control, but then arranging to not be in control was a system of control in itself, and Duo was already behaving chaotic enough that Heero did not have real day-to-day control over him. Maybe he was really saying he wanted a little more real control and did not want to have to beat Duo to get it. Maybe he should just go to therapy, or at least talk to a bartender or geisha about the matter.
Heero wanted to forget about work and just go somewhere and work it all out. Maybe the routine of weekend visits set for the next four years did bother him. "It's going to kill me," Heero said quietly.
Duo made a small sound that seemed through the speaker a suppressed laugh and wrapped his arms about Heero more tightly, as if to offer a hug.
At the gate, Duo removed his helmet and showed his badge and ID. As it turned out, two of his Men were taking their turn guarding the gate and recognized Duo and his bike immediately, and were prepared to let Heero pass on Duo's word, but Duo corrected them. "I should think my partner and I trained you better than that, if your previous COs did not," he said, "It could be anyone on the bike with me. He could have me compromised in some non-apparent way. Always ask driver and all passengers to identify themselves as well as checking over the vehicle."
Heero removed his helmet first and set it down before him. "ID is in my jacket," he said, and then reached for it. Because Duo had schooled them, the two guards were overly thorough, Heero thought, in checking their clearance. One stood making deceptively casual conversation about Duo's bike and how long he had owned it, while her partner called to the base and verified the ID numbers.
By the time they pulled up alongside Duo's jet, Trowa had collected Koi and was waiting for them. He had changed into his civvies, which in this case were old pieces of black or urban camo uniforms worn with a tee that had probably been purchased by Quatre. There was a small car parked nearby, two-tone silver and black, maybe three meters long at most.
"That really yours?" Heero asked of the car.
"I don't own ten business and leases on an entire block in the Colonies or work five jobs. I have a moderate income."
"It's not an entire block," Heero responded, as he dismounted the bike.
"Like one and two halves right now," Duo said, meaning his jobs.
"I did not intend to question your finances, just whether something like that functions planetside...where there are hills."
"He tried to tell me Kat wouldn't just send him a Rolls if he asked."
"We've got several Rolls in the hangar now," Trowa said.
"Sexy things," Duo purred.
Trowa turned to Heero. "Ready to go?"
"Just need my gear from the jet...unless..."
"Already in the car."
"Efficient as usual."
"Jeez, get a room already," Duo groaned, still sitting on his bike.
Trowa stepped quickly to Heero, such that his right hip touched Heero's side, and draped his right arm about Heero's shoulders. "You going to join us if we do?" He teased Duo, and pressed the flat of his left hand to Heero's chest.
Heero stiffened at the contact, but relaxed after just a moment. Trowa had never acted like this with him, but he had witnessed Trowa act very much like this with Duo before. Maybe this was still Trowa antagonizing Duo, but the fact that he draped himself all over Heero to do it felt somehow positive, as if Trowa and Duo were both completely secure in the fact that each was not after the other's boyfriend. Maybe they were even secure that they could be allowed to be affectionate with the other's boyfriend without being suspected of anything like stealing or cheating. It seemed good, so Heero put his right arm to Trowa's back and leaned his head on Trowa's shoulder.
"Wouldn't be very kind of me to accept that offer, unless you're also inviting Kat."
"Naturally," Trowa said.
"Wish I had my camera." It was in Heero's luggage, actually.
Trowa took his left hand from Heero, giving him a pinch first, and produced a tiny camera phone from his pants pocket. He held his camera at arm's length, aimed toward Heero and himself, and captured the photo. "I'll send it to Quatre right now," he said.
"You guys better get out of here."
Trowa clicked his camera one more time then returned it to his pants. He parted from Heero with a pat to his left shoulder and picked up a canvas duffel Koi had been sniffing. He tossed the bag to Duo, who caught it neatly, though Heero could see he was a little caught off guard by its weight. "I'll fold when I get back, if you start the load. I'm sure you want to get into clean clothes."
Duo sneered at Trowa.
"I'll find you when I get back," Trowa said firmly.
Duo made no protest.
Heero stepped in toward Duo and bowed so that his forehead touched Duo's. "You'll be up when I land in New York?"
"Call me so I know you got there."
"OK." Heero tipped his head, Duo lifted his, and they kissed. It made Heero want to climb back on the bike and pull off Duo's clothes, but he knew it was true they had things to do. "Duo..."
"No. It's OK. We can talk later, and we have the weekend."
Heero gave him another kiss.
"Don't forget your sweaters," Duo said slowly.
Heero stood straight and watched as Duo swung the pack from his shoulder and removed the shopping bag. "Thank you."
Duo gave a nod. "Better go."
"I will call." Heero took the shopping bag and walked to the car. It was a two-seater only, but Koi, his crate and gear for the New York assignment fit very well in the cargo space behind the seats.
Heero looked back and saw Duo walking toward the barracks as Trowa pulled the car onto the road. He could just see him briefly. "Peppy," Heero said.
"Looked under the hood, didn't find anything to tweak, so I bought it. Runs on hydrogen, and it takes the hills very well."
"Right." They were at the gate and Trowa idled the little car. "I have Captain Yuy and canine in the vehicle. I'll return around 2200 hours alone, just making a run to Sierra Fox' Oscar."
"Very good, Sir."
"Did you hear any news about your mother yet?"
"No, Sir. Not yet."
"I will pray for good news, if you do not mind, but if it is bad news, come to me right away. We can work something out."
The Guard saluted. "Thank you, Sir."
"You pray?" Heero asked as they left the base.
"Something I am trying out. There was a little awkwardness when I told Quatre. I think he would rather I was atheist or agnostic than religious without praying to Allah."
"Really?" Heero felt inertia pressing his back to his seat. It really was a powerful little car. "Is it Jesus? Quatre does not ever seem to want Duo to convert."
"It is different when you are a couple," Trowa said plainly, "And it isn't Jesus."
"It's personal." When Heero said nothing, Trowa continued, "It's personal also when people have a relationship based on love or sex. It doesn't matter what other people think, ultimately. I do not feel the need to discuss my choices with everyone. Heero, for whatever it is worth to you, I've decided I am happy you and Duo are together."
"That's good, I suppose."
"Like I said, my opinion is nothing that should convince you to be or not be with Duo, or anyone else."
"But, maybe it benefits you to be aware how others see things. What did you fight about?"
"Neither of us said there was a fight."
"He ran into this girl, and she was exactly the kind of girl a person would think was Duo's perfect match. She wore black, like she was a nun, and she was raised in a convent and she read old books and..."
"People don't fall for others who are exactly like them. Sure it helps to have shared experiences and things in common, but you look for one to complement you and complete you and make you the best person you can become."
Heero felt a bit taken aback by Trowa's confidence in speaking about what people sought in lovers and did not answer immediately. "I was standing right there, and he said nothing to me, or to indicate we were together and he sort of 'gushed' and gave her his card with his number and asked her to call. I was right there. And, when we ran into other people he knew that were boys, he was not like that."
"Was it because she was a girl, though?"
"Probably not. More that she was a spooky white kid."
Trowa laughed. "You thought he was attracted to her."
"Not thought. He was. And he apologized, but..."
"His admitting it was wrong did not remove the pain you felt when you realized he was attracted to someone else."
Heero nodded. "Aa. I tried to reason it out, to understand that it is just chemical and sometimes it happens and it is not the same as acting on it...but giving her his number was acting on it."
"Do you really think he would cheat?"
"Yes. No. That is...I am uncertain what I would do, if he did ever cheat. And that frightens me. Maybe I am also afraid that he could do worse than fuck her, that he could love her, or someone."
"But if he loves Hilde, or Quatre or Relena, that is OK? That does not remove any love for you, if he also loves them. He means it when he says he's willing to marry you. Even if there did come a time when he cheated, emotionally or physically, I believe you would still be the one he wished to share his life with. And, to be clear, I am not saying I believe Duo the sort to be unfaithful."
Heero had suspected already that Duo and Trowa were confiding certain things in each other. He was quite certain now. "I do not know. It is OK with them. It is OK if he is sleeping with you. I cannot really say why it is different with another person, or if it is right to feel this way."
"It's not every night," Trowa said quickly. Heero ignored the confirmation. "I can't say if you should stay with him or not, if that happened, and you can discount my opinion, but I think it would help you if you tried to think under what possible circumstances you would ever cheat on Duo. Thinking about the reversal could help you sort things out."
"I have thought about that happening as well."
"Maybe," Trowa said, starting slowly, "you are just having some concerns about each of your commitment levels. Having those concerns does not have to be a bad thing. I think it could motivate you to learn how faithful and committed you can be."
"Then, I will know," Heero said. He had never been so afraid, but then he had not considered himself to have much or worth to lose before.