Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
"We went out Saturday and on the way back in the train we kissed. When we got back to his apartment we started to have sex." Heero coughed to cover that his voice felt like it would crack. "I... came first and before I meant to. I was embarrassed. I just wanted to leave after that. I felt very, humiliated. I forgot to consider how Duo felt about it. I didn't even give him a chance to suggest another solution. I was wrong to leave. But at the same time, Duo misread why I was leaving. He thought that I was satisfied and didn't care about him at all and was content with using him. I didn't know he thought that way until later, not really."
"I didn't know the details, but I gathered from the way Duo omitted information that it had to do with sex. He did tell me that he felt much better after talking to you yesterday."
"I hoped he felt better. I felt better after that."
"So, you do want Duo, I mean, you do want a relationship, it isn't only sex?"
Heero frowned. "It would be a lie to say I do not want the sex. But, I strongly suspect that some form of exclusive relationship is what I want from him. I've never been involved with anyone romantically, so there's a lot I don't know."
"Maybe you could watch some romance movies," Relena suggested, with laughter.
"I understand the value of research, believe me, but it's Duo I'm interested in. I don't think that a man expects or needs the same things as a girl."
"No, I suppose really good sex is romance for guys."
Heero snickered, uncontrollably. He sighed. "That is part of the problem. Well, I mean to say, I plan to have the really good sex part, but I suspect there must be a little bit more than the sex... or else..."
"Isn't there a difference between fucking anyone and making love to the person you do love."
"You love him!"
Heero felt blood rush out to his skin.
"Oh, you do! Heero! That's so unbelievably sweet. You do, don't you? You aren't suggesting a relationship for some logical reason... you are in love!"
"Relena," Heero growled, "Please tell me you did not believe that I was suggesting Duo have sex with me and only with me for some calculated logical purpose."
She laughed apologetically. "Well, believe would be wrong, but the thought did cross my mind."
"Oh, Heero, do you really blame me? Of course I know you do have feelings, but you can be just as motivated by logic. Duo is very attractive and nearly androgynous."
"I think he looks quite masculine," Heero said, defensively perhaps.
"Well, maybe he looks different with his clothes off... " Relena grinned and stared at the lens with low-lidded eyes. "But he's got that long hair and he wears skirts and make-up."
"It's war paint," Heero whispered, "It's a mask to keep people from seeing him." And he didn't mind the skirts. He liked Duo's hair. It was entirely impractical, but, it was his mark of distinction. He must have been growing it most of his life, like an ancient prince or something. No, Duo wasn't feminine, even if he did wear skirts and make-up.
"Well, I see you've given the matter serious consideration," Relena announced.
"Oh, Lili, when I think about him I get this floating feeling in here." Heero touched a hand to his chest. "What is that? Is that just the biochemical process of arousal, or is that something more?"
Relena smiled. "Not that I want to discourage you, but I thought that you found him rather obnoxious and loud."
"He has done things to annoy me, but I don't care about that anymore. I really do not care about it anymore." Heero realized this was true as he said it. "Lili, when he touches me I feel different that I ever have. It wasn't just that I craved any contact, though I do sometimes..."
"Everyone does," Relena whispered reassuringly.
"It felt so good, it didn't feel like it did when you..." Heero lowered his eyes and pressed his lips together. His hands clenched about the sheets he was holding close. "Relena, that was socially inappropriate, I think..."
"Heero." He looked up, because she didn't sounds angry. She sounded kind and generous as she often did. "Heero, I know. It's OK. We're friends. You don't have to be formal or polite with me. I understand. You love Duo. It wouldn't feel the same if anyone else was close to you."
"Aa... I did not mean to insult you. Lili, when I was on Earth I wanted to see you. I mean, I wanted to see you and Duo both, because I hoped you would be my friends." Heero was sincere, but he found it hard to look at the lens or the screen.
"I care for you also. I want us to be friends."
Heero looked at the lens again suddenly. "Duo said you loved me."
Heero heard Relena sigh. "I do love you, Heero, but I thought it was a different sort of love before. Now I realize more clearly what I feel. It is not... romantic."
"Did you ever feel romantic... toward Duo?"
Relena laughed. "That might have been socially inappropriate, but I don't care." She was smiling. "I think that I felt infatuated for a little while. But I told you, he is my friend."
"I hope that Duo and I can work out what we should be to each other. I know he is your friend now. It would be cruel to force you to choose between your friends. To choose a side."
"May I ask you something."
"Well, it is of a personal and sexual nature, but, it has to do with relationships, not... the sex itself. I didn't know who else might know, I thought if you would talk to me, maybe you would know who to ask if you did not know the answer."
Relena was silent for a moment. She gave a short nod then. "All right. I will try to answer."
"Well, I am interested in someone and hope to become sexually active with them."
Relena smiled, probably at Heero's vocabulary, but she quickly schooled her face.
"I know that they have had and may continue to have other sexual partners, so, from what I have read, 'safe sex' measures should be practiced."
"I am willing to do this. But, in the future, if things do work out, I hope to ask this person to be..."
"Yes," Heero said, "monogamous, if possible."
"I follow so far."
"Well, when I propose that arrangement, it seems appropriate that I offer to discontinue some of the 'safe' practices, but if I do I should be prepared to prove that I am in good health."
"Ja, I see."
"Do you think that is correct? I thought about this, and I have been unable to determine if it would be perceived more as comforting or insulting if I actually presented the proof obtained from a doctor. You understand? They might like to know that I am healthy, but then they might feel I am pressuring them to prove the same, or they could think that I doubt they are healthy."
"I think I understand. But, strictly speaking, hypothetically, it would only be wise to want to be absolutely sure about such things, no one should be offended that you ask them about their health, especially if they are the one with multiple partners... rather, I wouldn't phrase it so that you questioned their health. I think I would say something like, 'I think that at this point I have a right to know if you have not always practiced safe sex with all your partners.' Oh, that sounded more argumentative than I meant it to."
"This is exactly what I am having difficulty with," Heero said.
"Oh, I know... can you hold a minute. We got these packets when we began the semester and I might be able to find something for you."
She was gone from the lens. It seemed a long time she was gone. Heero thought about asking her to forget the whole subject and asking someone else. Then Relena returned. She had a large plastic envelope in her hands and she removed some items from it.
Relena went still, studying a string of condom packets that dangled from one hand. It was an arousing image, more in that it was shocking than on any personal level. Relena Peacecraft Darlian, Vice-Minister and sweetheart of the Earth Sphere was in her night clothes and holding a string off condoms.
"Some of this stuff needs to be thrown out, they aren't as reliable after a certain date... I'm afraid I don't have much use for this stuff," Relena said quietly. Relena giggled then. She looked toward the lens, now holding up a single small packet. "My name is Relena Darlian and I am here to talk to you about safe sex," she said brightly, then doubled over with laughter.
Heero was only aware of blinking slowly. He knew he wanted Duo. He knew he did not desire Relena. But Heero was aware that there was a rather famous and very well-endowed and attractive young woman half-dressed and discussing sex with him. It wasn't quite the same as talking to Midii. Midii's body was different, and she wasn't Relena.
"There are men who would kill to be in my place right now," Heero said finally.
"Yes. That keeps me up nights," Relena said. Then the skin on her chest reddened and she covered her mouth. Heero supposed she had found a meaning in her words he had not. "Anyway..." Relena looked away from the lens, "I can't find the pamphlet I thought was here. I did find this one." She was lifting a paper into view and reading. "There is this clinic in the English Quarter that counsels and treats men and women in all sexual related issues. Some school friends have gone there and said it was all right. I am sure they could help you. They would be practiced with keeping things confidential, being licensed doctors and counselors and dealing with such personal issues."
"Otherwise I would have to ask Duo. He is the person that knows the most about this, to my knowledge."
"Much of what I learned about sex I learned from Duo. Not that he gave me demonstrations personally. I don't know how he knows so much, but he seems to know a lot."
"He said he had a job..."
"Perhaps he didn't mean for me to repeat it."
"No, if it was anything like that... well, I just don't believe it!" Relena said sharply.
For several seconds Heero was only confused. "Not a whore," Heero hissed, "Just on the phone... that's what he told me."
"Really?" Relena looked... too sedate. "Really?"
"Perhaps you should not let on that you know."
"He was one of those video boys?"
"No, audio only."
"Oh. But still... I mean, I suppose I always thought that happened to other people. That's naïve, isn't it. I shouldn't be shocked or judgmental... it's just... surprising."
"There are only so many jobs young ex-revolutionary terrorists recovering from the war can do. It's just like working a help desk, only you talk about sex."
Relena laughed. "You have a way of making everything sound so ordinary and logical."
Heero shrugged one shoulder.
"Well, if you want to go to this clinic I can send you the information."
"I will decide after I look at it."
"I'm scanning it in now."
Heero checked that his computer was set to receive a file over the open line. It was ready. He nodded. "Are you interested in anyone, Relena?"
She shook her head. "No. Most people that I know are ordinary young people from school or older diplomats and politicians. I don't feel they can view me as only myself and not my title or some image. But, it is a small price, the work I have done was important and I think, worthwhile. I am still young."
"There must be people interested in you."
Relena smiled. "Yes. I am afraid some that I wish were not interested, because I just can't return their feelings."
Heero saw the copy of the pamphlet begin to download. "Duo pointed it out to me."
Relena sighed. "I end up feeling guilty over it, because she is my friend, and part of me feels like I owe her something for being my friend and knowing me... but then I think that no one should be in a relationship out of gratitude alone. That isn't right. Besides, I tried to imagine it, sex with a woman. I tried thinking about it... it's just not for me."
Heero nodded. "What about Yasmin?"
"She likes Dorothy."
"Oh, I think I see what you mean. If Dorothy could just accept that I can't be more to her then she might one day be happy with Yasmin."
"Yes. Maybe. If Yasmin wasn't hurt over the 'settling.'"
Relena smiled. She sighed. "I don't know what to do. I do know of her attraction and it makes me afraid that even gestures of friendship are leading her on..."
"Relena, did I ever lead you on?"
"I know I never intended it, but you thought you loved me. Did I do something to encourage you? Was I cruel? Duo seemed... when we fought... to take very personally offense to teasing and leading on."
"I think you were very straightforward with me, Heero. You said only what you meant and intended. I may have mistaken your caring for me as a symbol or later as a friend as something more, but I am sure it was my own doing. I can't say you were cruel."
"Aa... I honestly didn't know anything about social interaction then. I don't know much now. I wondered."
Relena nodded. "I hope that Dorothy does not think me cruel in the future. She has had her own hardships and I wish we could just be friends, without the attraction getting in the way. It would be better if she wanted someone else." Relena sighed. "It's really easier for me that you and Duo like each other. I don't have to wonder if I am leading you on."
"You leading me on?"
"If you were not so weirdly socialized you would have seen how I was throwing myself at you."
Heero smiled. "Not anymore?"
"No, I promise. And I do not want Duo either. It's just, sometimes it is just hard for men and women to be good friends."
"I think I understand. I think: what if I am attracted to Duo and he is not attracted to me? I wonder if I could suppress the attraction and remain his friend. That must be how it feels to Dorothy. She must want your friendship and be attracted to you at the same time. Do you think?"
"Maybe. I don't envy anyone in that position. I am glad I feel content being so busy. It doesn't leave me time to feel sad that I don't have a lover. Anyway, I am only 18. I have time."
"You do. I am confident you will find someone who values you on a personal level and is filled with desire and passion for you. Until then... if you need help opening a jar or installing computer hardware... you can always call me."
"Between you and Duo and Adin I shall have everything a girl could want from a boyfriend... except the sex." She beamed a smile. She frowned then. "I was going to hint to Duo that I needed a Prom date, but now I know someone is interested I'll have to try hinting to someone else."
"Relena, what is Prom?"
She laughed. "You don't have a clue, do you?"
"I know that it is some kind of school dance. Hilde was talking about it last weekend. She is going to pretend to be her friend's date. It was all very melodramatic."
Relena nodded. "I used to wonder, for a while, why Dorothy and Hilde didn't fall for each other, both liking girls, at least a little more than boys. But I realized, that of course that isn't enough. They just aren't each other's types. They work together well, I hear, but it's always professional. Dorothy wants someone more... aristocratic. Hilde needs someone... who really appreciates her."
"That's very interesting," Heero said in a tone that clearly demonstrated he was uninterested.
"Sorry," Relena said quickly, "That was very schoolgirl of me. Heero, Prom is a special school dance for students in their last two years before college. It's very formal and the juniors plan all the arrangements for the seniors, being on their honor to do a good job so that next years Juniors will do a good job for them. Often underclassmen are present to act as servants I costumes. There is usually a theme. Some schools make it a costume formal event, with a masquerade in keeping with the theme, but most often it is just formal clothes and the theme dictates the cheesy decorations."
"So... socially it is an event somewhere between a school dance and a wedding reception in formality and conduct?"
"Yes, and many students put a lot of effort into the night, in choosing clothing and dates and transportation and parties afterward. It is considered the last formal before graduation for seniors, and some people find that very significant or important."
"When is it?"
"Ours is the first or second Friday of May, I can't remember."
"That could be less than a month away."
"Yes, some students already have dates, the rest are panicking. I've been invited to go shopping for dresses, but I don't have a date yet. If I hinted that I didn't Duo would then get invitations from everyone in school."
Relena laughed. "They assume I am reserving the right to ask him, because we are good friends. So, if I say we are not going together, they will all be afraid to ask me, but Duo is well-liked and more extroverted so he will soon get invitations."
"Do you think that Prom is important to Duo, or is he not that sort of student?"
Relena tipped her head and smiled warmly. "Well, our Duo is a guy, he's not going to let on that he might like to get dressed up and dance and act remotely serious and romantic..."
"Does he?" Heero asked.
"Well, I can't say for certain, but I suspect he does. For someone who claims to hate the political dinners he's been dragged to he has an awful lot of formal clothing."
"I thought he just liked to dress eccentrically."
Relena shrugged slightly, "It's a hunch then. Duo acts very cool about it, but he does have a bit of romance in him. I mean, he is like a Romantic in the sense of that artistic movement. Sure, he likes cars and mobile suits and motorcycles, but he likes books and poetry and art too."
Heero smiled. "Motorcycles and poetry?"
"Yes, he likes many kinds of machines, so he looks like... how do they say? A grease monkey? But when he is not working on the machines he would rather read novels and poetry and look at art or go to shows. I think he said he took you to one of his movie-shows."
"Yes, Moulin Rouge. He really sang."
"Yes, he has many skills. He also likes a wide range of music. And anime, he's a junkie for that stuff."
"Really? He acted sort of... skeptical when one show came up."
"He's... a bit pretentious and elitist when certain music or anime comes up. It's just that he knows so much about it. He gets upset when people don't know the names of American cars too."
Heero smiled. "Thank you, Relena, for everything. I think I need to get some sleep now."
"All right. It was nice talking to you. Do you think you will be available Saturday? If nothing else comes up, maybe you could stop by my house or something?"
"I will let you know. Thank you for the invitation."
"Good night, Relena." Heero disconnected the call. Heero then flipped to his back and started counting backward again.
He woke with a start, sweating slightly. It had just been an ordinary nightmare of explosions and falling mecha. "Koi!"
The dog soon padded in from the other room. Heero extended a hand and Koi came onto the bed and let himself be pet. Heero removed the dog's harness then carried him to the shower. They washed. Heero helped Koi to dry himself by rubbing the dog with a towel, then he brushed Koi's fur. Heero then finished his own grooming, combing his hair and so on.
He dressed in front of the mirror over the dresser and when Heero was dressed he straightened up the bedroom and bathroom.
Heero looked at his mobile as he was cleaning. He remembered Relena had sent him information about a clinic. Heero looked at the copy of the advertisement. He dialed the number given. A video recording came up, prompting Heero to indicate whether he was calling to make an appointment or had another purpose.
Heero indicated he wanted an appointment. He went through several more automated recordings until he was given a choice between several dates and times available. Heero saw they had a slot that afternoon, so he selected it. He then typed in his name for them as prompted.
So, today he would go to a doctor.
Heero left his bedroom and switched out Koi's food and water bowls then made breakfast.
After breakfast Heero did some research on the net. After that he put Koi's harness and leash on the dog and packed his satchel to leave the apartment. Heero went to a large toy store in the shopping district of the Japanese Quarter.
He put his sunglasses on as he went inside and no one bothered to ask him to remove the canine.
Heero located the aisle of the large store where modeling kits were sold. He scanned the shelves. Heero picked up the Deluxe Modeling Starter Kit that included many adhesives and paints as well as an airbrush, lighted magnifying lens and tools for manipulating small pieces.
Heero continued looking over the shelves as he moved along the aisle. There were planes and ships from every war, mobile suits, cars, trucks, tanks, action figures. Cars. Heero looked over the shelves. He knew there was always one American car that people mentioned along with exotic cars from other countries. The American car that the largest amount of people recognized as powerful and sexy was the Vette. The Chevrolet Corvette, preferably from a year in which it's lines had been curvaceous as a female form.
There were other performance vehicles designed or made by Americans, but this was the most obvious choice.
Obvious, but Heero didn't feel confident about choosing a vehicle based on 'net-recommendations of aficionados, because he knew he wouldn't be able to pass of the choice as his own.
He didn't want to be dishonest, just sly.
Heero chose models from several years and then went to the register to pay for them and the starter kit. On the way out he picked up something to complete his bomb.
Heero left the store with his satchel hanging from his left shoulder, leash loop about his right wrist and holding a shopping bag in his left hand. He felt vulnerable, and this was one reason he didn't often go shopping alone and preferred having goods delivered. His right arm was free, but not entirely. Koi wasn't trained enough or large enough to be much help in a fight, and Heero would have had to protect himself and the growing puppy if they were attacked.
He thought about being attacked often. When he was in public, he constantly scanned for suspicious activity or sources of danger. And all the while he tried to not look like he was scanning for danger.
Heero went to a book store then, well, a mega store.
He sat for a while at one of their terminals looking up information and available stock. Romanticism. It meant art of a movement characterized by expression of emotions, natural beauty and a will to be free from conformity or tyranny. Its origins coincided with the Victorian period of English culture. Several other movements in fine art, literature, music and architecture were related.
This all sounded a lot like Duo. He was non-conformist, demonstrated a love of old things, a romantic style and clearly had a desire for all people to be free from both tyranny and strict social structure.
Heero did not immediately identify with all of these things, but he could appreciate some of what was included in the broad definition of Romantic. He loved Duo. If learning of these things helped him to understand Duo as a person, then Heero wanted to learn.
But, it would be weak to hang a piece of art or read a book if his motivation was to impress a potential lover. It was, duplicitous. In this, Heero did not want to be more than a little sly and calculating. A little was the way he was, more than a little would be cruel to Duo.
Heero decided to go look at some of the books and print art available in the store. He would buy something only if it also interested him. Like modeling in general had interested him somewhat, though he had chosen models he thought Duo would like.
Heero chose a few books and one poster and then paid for his purchases.
There was just time enough to get a train and go to the clinic before his scheduled appointment. Heero made his way there. It was a very inconspicuous looking building, just like the other office buildings.
Inside Heero located the reception desk and waited for anyone to notice he was waiting there. Finally someone looked up from a phone. Heero wasn't sure what to tell them. He didn't entirely trust doctors, so he tried to treat himself whenever possible. "I have an appointment," Heero said slowly.
"Fill out this form." Heero was handed a digital pad with a stylus.
Heero took a seat with other waiting people and began to fill out the form. First they wanted to know contact information. Then there was the matter of insurance and billing. Heero filled this all out honestly. He paid for insurance but through Preventers and it was a decent sort of plan.
Much of the rest of the form was medical history. Heero didn't even understand the relevance of some of the questions, but he decided that to get the most thorough and correct tests and treatments he should be entirely honest.
They wanted to know if he'd ever been sick and what he'd had and what vaccines he had been given. Allergies. Prescription drugs he had taken. Illegal drugs he had taken. Heero wondered if surreptitiously gotten pain killers and antibiotics during war time counted more as prescription drug use or illegal drug abuse. It had just been necessary to not go to ordinary hospitals when he was a secret terrorist operative.
Heero decided to answer as if a doctor had authorized that use. A doctor had, but he had not been a medical doctor. That wasn't lying, it was just misleading.
There were questions about sexual activity. Relevant, but Heero wearied of answering no to so many questions in a row.
They even asked questions about where Heero had lived and whether he had traveled to certain colonies or to Earth during specific years. They asked if he was a war veteran or civilian who had lived in areas where there had been fighting and whether this had occurred in certain areas.
Heero understood. Those questions were to determine if he had been exposed to known chemical or biological warfare.
They even wanted to know if Heero was natural born or a test tube baby. There were follow up questions to each that must be aimed at determining if he, the patient, was engineered or altered in any way. But there was a third checkbox option in that section: Orphan with records lost or destroyed. Heero checked that.
He took his completed form back to the desk. He waited. A man behind the counter took his pad. "Stay there, I will process this for you."
Heero gave a nod and waited some more. Going to a doctor seemed to involve a lot of waiting.
"You understand that the doctors and everyone who works here is bound to confidentiality?"
"You can use you real name."
Confusion. "I am using my legal name."
The man behind the counter slowly looked up. Heero pushed his glasses into his hair and looked at him. He saw recognition and then shock and embarrassment in his expression. Heero thought, he must have thought Heero was someone else using the name of a famous war hero in order to hide their identity. Great. Now this man would be sure to remember that it was Heero. "I am sorry," the man said quietly. He went back to typing. After a while he said, "First time patients must all talk to one of counselors first, it is our policy. Your number will be 12-31. When you hear your number called or see it on the marquee go to the doors there, then you will see the counselor and your doctor."
Heero looked to the doors. He left the desk and went back to a chair, quite surrounded by bags which Koi had been guarding. He felt strange, coming here after shopping. No one else had so many bags. Some of the young men and women seemed to be couples. Some people looked nervous. Heero lowered his glasses and focused on the doors.
He heard his number called, so Heero collected his things and Koi and walked to the doors. There was a woman there. She was older, old enough to be the mother of someone his age, but not very much older than that, he thought. "Hello, Heero, My name is Cynthia, I am a licensed therapist and I have been assigned to be your counselor, if you have no problems with that."
"No... problem," Heero said quietly.
"That's an interesting looking dog. Is he house broken?"
"Mostly. He already..." Heero couldn't think of what the polite English words would be. "He won't be any trouble."
"All right, let's go into this office here."
They went into an office. It had a desk and three chairs. Cynthia sat at the desk and Heero sat in another chair, facing the side of the desk. He could see that Cynthia typed a short command and a screen of data, regarding him presumeably, came up. "It says here you are here today because you have a new partner and you want to be sure you are healthy."
"Da," Heero's voice came out very softly. He cleared his throat. "Yes."
"But you haven't been sexually active with this partner yet..." She read the screen, "Your first partner?"
"Not exactly and yes." Heero forced a slow deep breath.
"I would like to ask you just a few questions and you can ask me any questions you have about what to expect from the doctor or about health concerns, or sex or gender issues, or about relationships."
"Khoroshó. All right."
"Are you nervous? You don't have to be nervous."
"I don't go to doctors very often."
"Haven't you been sick before?"
"Injured. Not sick."
She gave a nod. "Let's see, we've answered the first few questions here... are you in a relationship now?"
"I think so."
"If you would feel comfortable you can just explain your situation in your own words and I will tell you if I need to hear anything else."
"Aa... I know who I want to be with, and he's interested in me. I am sure he is, only, he has other partners now. More than one I think. We are just starting out. Well, we were friends before I think. But the sex part is new. I haven't discussed with him yet exactly how many there have been and what sort of contact he had with them. I suppose I should know something about that... but maybe I wouldn't like the answer, or he wouldn't want to tell me, specifically. This is sort of my problem."
"You don't like that your partner is more experienced?"
"No. I mean, I don't especially care about how much experience he has. My problem is that I know how sex works, mechanically, biologically. I know all that. But I don't know the way to talk about it." Heero made a small annoyed growl. "Something bad happened because I did not know how to communicate about sex. I mean, it is normal to have some conversation, isn't it? I don't mean about loving each other, exactly. I mean, when you announce what acts you are willing to do that day or what your desires are or whether you should use a condom. How do you do that?"
"I understand. It is not an unusual problem. Some people who come here are sick or pregnant or have emotional problems, because they had not communicated with their partner or felt able to voice their opinions about sex. You are correct in thinking that it would be a good thing to have some conversations about sex and what you each expect."
"Right. So, how do I bring up those things without sounding suspicious or insulting?"
"That is good, you care about your partner enough that you do not wish to hurt their feelings. You can start by telling them that. Tell him that you do not wish to sound suspicious or insulting but that there are some subjects you feel you should discus with each other, since you both seem to be interested in a sexual relationship?"
"Yes. Interested. I just say that? I just say, 'I don't want to sound suspicious or insulting but I think we should talk about having sex and being 'safe.'"
"Yes, that sounded just fine."
"Maybe I should write that down. Can I write that down?"
Cynthia suppressed a laugh. "Yes."
Heero quickly got his mobile and opened his list of things to tell Duo. He was on 8. He typed: 8. I don't want to sound suspicious or insulting, Duo, but I think we should talk about having sex and being safe.
"Do you know how to practice safe sex, Heero?"
"I think so," Heero replied slowly.
"Here." Cynthia began taking items from cubbies above her desk and filling a plastic bag. "I am going to give you a few pamphlets and some samples." She turned one of the folded papers toward him. The title was: Safe Sex with Your Male Partner. "This explains common misconceptions and gives facts about safe sex." She continued putting things into the bag. "Do you have any more questions?"
"Not right now."
They talked for a little while longer, because Cynthia had some questions and they went over what the nurses and doctors would expect from Heero and what kinds of tests would be done. Most results would be known the next day. With some tests they would call Heero later.
Heero was then shown to another room where a nurse instructed him to get undressed. They gave him a flimsy robe to wear instead. Heero knew this was customary, but he didn't see the point in wearing the robe, flimsy as it was, when the doctor might move it out of the way to examine him.
Heero's doctors came into the room and introduced himself. Heero didn't feel very comfortable, but he didn't think he was paranoid. He trusted that the man really was a medical doctor at least. He poked and prodded and probed and Heero just followed orders.
Another nurse came and he took blood from Heero. Then they sent him into another chamber to provide a urine sample.
Heero was left to dress and then he collected his things again and went to arrange for payment of his bill.
It was well after noon then, so Heero took his purchases and samples home. He put everything neatly away, hanging the poster that was a print of a Pre-Raphaelite school painting by Waterhouse on the wall beside the door that lead to the bedroom. The green and red colors in the painting matched the décor well, though Heero hadn't thought of it until it was hung.
Everything he had received at the clinic Heero put temporarily on the top of his dresser.
He gave Koi some more food and fixed himself some soup for lunch.
As Heero ate at his desk he started the Preventative Measures movie playing on the desk's larger monitor while he set up his mobile to work on his personal files. Between drinking broth and glancing at porn Heero went through the modeling starter kit, finding places for the tools and supplies on the shelves behind the desk so that he could have the box recycled.
The model that had come from the starter kit was an old Japanese Zero and Heero smiled at that. The fighter he had flown in the war had been ZERO.
Heero put the smaller box with the Zero model away on the shelf and chose the most simple and least impressive of the corvette models. The others he put with the Zero on the shelves.
Heero planned that he would build one himself and ask Duo if he wanted to help him build the others some time. He would try modeling later.
Heero put his bowl and hashi in the dishwasher. He sighed. He would have to build a bomb tonight.
For the time being Heero went back to his desk and watched the movie. This one was not quite so helpful, not that the first had been of a great help, but he had gotten ideas about some things and he had noted a few new phrases. In Preventative Measures the government agents from the previous pornographic movie were joined by several more female characters and there were many scenes of men and women having sex. Sometimes two men were with one woman. Other times two women were with one man. In this particular movie there were very few scenes of two partners only, regardless of sex.
It was educational in a way, Heero was sure the scenes were an exaggeration of real life, but the sex was real in that the actors' bodies did fit together as they appeared to, even if things were cut so as to exaggerate the pleasure involved or the duration. Heero had certainly never watched men and women having sex before.
As he watched the movie Heero typed additional notes into the files he had been keeping during his training.
When the movie was over and Heero had made his notes he started on his model. Slowly, through trial and error and some careful reading Heero figured out a few tricks to improve the model. As most of the parts snapped together he did not need to glue things until he was satisfied with the end result. This was fortunate, as the many small parts of this type of model had ended up with unsightly bits of plastic hanging off them where they had been punched from larger sheets. Heero then went back and carefully trimmed down the parts to allow for better fit and appearance.
As well, it did seem to matter in some cases in what order the parts were assembled. Heero made a few mistakes, before he learned to follow the directions correctly.
The small tools that came with the starter kit and the magnifying lens were most helpful. Some of the parts were very small and had to be precisely oriented as they were snapped between other parts.
The car looked all right then, but it would likely fall apart if moved very much. Heero then carefully disassembled the model again so that he could glue together all the parts that did not need to move. He had some experience working with circuitry and other small things, so this was not especially difficult, only getting just the right amount of glue was.
Heero then debated over whether he should paint the model or not. The instructions shoed examples of what a painted model might look like and it looked quite different than Heero's model, which was bare red plastic entirely, except for the black plastic interior and the rubber tires.
Heero cursed himself loudly. He should have sprayed all the parts with one primer layer of paint before gluing. Now it would be so difficult to get the different areas to be the right colors. The very tiny areas that should be chrome or otherwise metallic would have to be painted by hand with fine brushes.
Still, Heero was determined to finish.
He got out his paints, airbrush and set of fine paintbrushes. Heero snapped off the wheels, as he was still able and then, placing the model in the box the kit had come in set up the airbrush and gave everything a fine even coat of yellow paint.
Heero set the box he had used to shield the apartment from paint and the model car within on a high shelf, so Koi could not disturb it. He cleaned up then, picking up small specks of colored plastic from the floor and mats.
Heero then began working on his dummy bomb.
As he was working a phone call came in. Heero checked that no bomb related materials were in view and then answered. It was Ursula. Heero greeted her politely.
"Good evening, Heero," she said, "If you are available Friday, some friends of mine are going to be at the tea house where I am employed. It will be my first day on the job and I would appreciate any friends stopping in. If you are interested you could join the group that has formed or you can come on your own."
"So far I believe I am available, unless some emergency comes up. I would like to be there for you. Can you tell me the time and location?"
"I work at Gekka's on Tenth Avenue, outside of Little Xian, it's not very far from where you live. A small group has formed and they will be coming there between the tea and night rushes, at around 6pm."
"Would it be acceptable to bring anyone else?"
"It would be fine, but if you do want to bring a guest, please tell me, so I will no how many seats we will need."
"Then, please consider me planning to attend without a guest and with the group, I will call you if my plans change."
"That is fine. I am glad you may be able to join us. If you join the group we will probably have a private room. Even so, the atmosphere is relaxed, and even though some people choose to dress nicely most come from work or in casual clothing, so you can wear whatever you like. The prices are comparable with nice restaurants, but not outrageous. And there are many services and platters that are meant to be shared. I think you will like it."
"Thank you." Heero thought he should say something else, "How are you doing now?"
"I am well. I got the first of my clothing back from Sake. She did a lovely job, following your suggestion. So, you will be able to see me in a new old kimono Friday." She smiled.
"I have work to do. So, I will see you on Friday."
"Yes. Goodnight, Heero."
Heero pressed his lips together in a small smile. He looked in his personal address book on the computer for all the numbers he had for Duo. Heero dialed the one he thought was Duo's personal number. He watched as the automated text showed the call being forwarded. The blind was on. "Allo." Long pause. "Maxwell's phone." It was not Duo answering his phone, it was... Adin?
"This is Heero," Heero said, hating the blue screen of the blind
There were hissed whispers. The blind was removed and then Heero saw Duo on his mobile's monitor, smiling. "Oi, Heero! What's up?"
"I... didn't mean to disturb you."
Duo tipped his head and laughed. "Not much to disturb. Wufei was being grouchy and Relena's busy. Hilde's on assignment with her partner over around L4. So, I'm hanging out at Adin's. We had some slight difference over whether the ring sounded like a Barnet ring or a Maxwell ring. It's his phone."
Heero understood. Adin was answering his own phone, Duo's number was just forwarding to that line. Still. "I was wondering if you would be free Friday."
Duo grinned. He lifted his eyebrows and then again. "So, Heero, You up to... what was it? Simulations?"
Wider grin. "Come on, you can say it." Duo's fingers beckoned him to continue. "Tell me you love me." He was joking. Heero knew he was joking. How could Heero ever say it for real if Duo kept joking?
"More than life," Heero said flatly.
"Yeah, right, well, we know how much you care about your life," Duo warbled. His face calmed. "So, what's Friday?"
"I got invited to go to a teahouse by a friend and she said I could bring a guest." Heero thought he was supposed to say he desired or enjoyed Duo's company. "I would be happy if you could join me."
"No plans, so I guess I can go."
"Will you? Do you want to?"
"I don't know, is it going to be really fun?" He was joking, though he sounded serious. Heero hoped he was right in thinking Duo was teasing him.
"My friend works at the tea house and Friday will be her first day working there. I want to support her by being there when she is at work. It might be fun. I have never been to this place. It is called Gekka's. Some of her other friends will be there. I might know some of them. But I would like to spend time with you, if possible. That is why I asked if I might bring a guest."
"So, it's totally not like a date. It's more like a group thing."
"Well, there will be others there, so if you are still uncomfortable about being with me... we won't be alone. But, it might be like a date if you like, Duo? You can be my date to the event attended by a group. I will even pay for your share of our food and drinks."
"Yeah? You'll pay for me?"
Heero decided weakness was not appropriate here. He told himself to have courage. "Yes," he said sharply, "I am the one who invited you. You will be my date. I will pay. It will be my pleasure to do so."
"You know that buying a boy dinner doesn't mean he owes you sex," Duo laughed.
Heero tried to think of something really good to say. He did not believe that buying Duo anything would make Duo want to have sex with him. He thought the payment was simply a kindness and...
"Duo, when you have sex with me, it won't be for my money."
"I didn't hear an 'if' in there."
Heero thought it best not to remind Duo that he had been naked and waiting for him four nights ago. Heero did smile thinking about it. "You will," Heero said lightly. Duo knew of his attraction, thee was no reason at all to hide it. In fact, Heero wanted to say or do things that would convince Duo they should be together.
"You wanna tell me how that would go?"
Heero was sure this was how phone sex started. "I would like to tell you, but I do not know the best words right now. Will you see me Friday?"
"OK." Duo smiled as he shrugged. "Well, you wanna get to training in while I talk?"
"I would really like that, Duo, but I have work to do in preparation for a job tomorrow."
"Heero." His voice cracked, enough that Heero knew Duo was stressed. He wasn't entirely sure why, or if Duo truly desired him or just wanted to play. He couldn't quite tell from looking at him.
Heero tried to speak softly, "Duo, I really have to get this work done before morning. But I can get by on little sleep, so if you need to talk about anything, we can, but if you just want to mess around, maybe you could call me later tonight?"
Duo laughed quietly. "Nah, I told you, you can call me when you're in that stage, if you're not ready I'll find others to play with." He hadn't promised to give up any lovers, but when he said it, Heero didn't think he sounded serious. It didn't sound like a lie, but maybe a half-meant threat. Maybe that meant, Duo really did want Heero very much. Relena had said he was sad when he thought Heero had only used him.
Heero made a tight smile as he looked at Duo's image on the screen. He was wearing remainders of his school uniform again. Heero smirked. He attempted a likely bad American accent. "Baby, you look so fuckin' hot! I wish you were here. We could have a study date. I could help you with your schoolwork."
Duo grinned than sang it for him: "Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da... Gitchi gitchi ya ya hee... Mocha chocolaté ya ya... Creole Lady Marmalade, uh. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir... Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?"
In the background Adin was singing, "Da da yeah... ooh yeah yeah... yeah, yeah... ce soir... ooh." Heero couldn't see him in frame, but he knew it was him. Then the song changed and Duo turned away from Heero.
"Boy! Don't you show me up when I'm talkin' to Heero!" Duo returned to Heero and smiled warmly, and falsely. "The boy's here singing 'sweet mystery of life' and all!"
Heero didn't understand the relevance of what he guessed was a song title.
Duo shimmied and danced in his seat to music in his head. Adin must have teased from out of view. Duo turned and pulled his eyelid down as he stuck out his tongue at him. "Hey, who would thought it about me and the Russian boys? Don't my people have some old difference with your people."
Heero heard Adin say, "Your people have a difference with everyone including yourselves."
Heero smirked then recited, "We are all citizens of the Earth Sphere Unified Nation now. We must forgive past differences and work to maintain our peace into the future."
"Right, they haven't even got everyone driving on the same side of the road yet!" Duo laughed. "Seriously, was there some old squabble."
"I am fairly well educated in history. I believe the main difference was that your people blamed us from withdrawing too early from a certain war while we blamed you for entering to late. It snowballed from there."
Duo snickered. He shouted then, but Heero knew it was in jest, "And our ex-Nazi scientists were better than your ex-Nazi scientists, so there!" Duo fell forward, toward the lens, in a fit of laughter. He lifted his head and sighed melodramatically. He licked his lips. "Snowballing, eh?" The lips again. "You're a total freak in bed, aren't you?"
Heero tried to think of the appropriate witty banter response, although he barely understood what Duo was talking about now. "You do it in a bed?" Heero asked in complete deadpan.
Duo winked at him. He had gotten one of his jokes. Heero was happy. He started singing again. "I was made for lovin' you, Baby, you were made for lovin' me!"
"As you wish."