Disclaimer: This is fanfiction based on the characters and universe of Gundam Wing.

Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
Chapter 38

During their flight, Duo was calm, if flirty, until it became obvious to him they were traveling to Earth. He went through anxious first, asking how long they would be gone and where they would go, then Duo's mood shifted to bored as it struck him fully that it would be a long flight. Being bored, Duo got fidgety and talked a lot.

Heero observed all this. He had expected as much, knowing Duo, knowing he was asking Duo to trust him a lot by keeping their destination a surprise. Heero did not pretend to sleep, which was what he had often done during long periods of time spent with a secretly nervous Duo. Apart from the tasks of piloting The Zero to Earth, Heero read notes he had made for his upcoming assignment or read personal research materials.

He was tempted to practice some zero g maneuvers with Koi or play a video game, but then Duo might have really felt neglected. Heero was always half-listening to Duo while he read, the way he often listened, when Duo thought he was asleep.

Occasionally Heero spoke up to suggest to Duo that he take a nap or study for exams or work on the Tinman's cockpit system.

Duo tried. He had his own mobile computer out and he appeared to concentrate, but he could not work for very long.

Mostly Duo talked. He told Heero about the few times he had been to Earth since they had fought to save the Capitol and destroyed the Gundams. Duo liked Earth very much, but he had only been to a few cities, mostly in America and on assignments for Preventers.

He had participated in a school trip and visited London, Paris, Brussels, and Berlin with other students. Mainly they had visited sites of political and historical significance and had not had very much time for unstructured or unchaperoned activity.

"You haven't really seen Earth?" Heero asked.

"Sure, well, mostly during the war. But that part of it was fun. Not the killing and blowing shit up, but getting to see Earth."

"I thought you were eager to get home."

"I was..."


"It's just, at the time, I was used to thinking of Earth being the enemy. That's how we all grew up, isn't it? The Alliance was based on Earth. Nations on Earth did not want the Colonies to be free. We hated Earth."

"Aa, that was what children were taught."

"But then I went to Earth, the Colonies switched sides and it was all confusing. I mean, I understand the actual timeline and politics that went on, but you know..."

"Yes." Heero smiled slightly. "You realized there were many beautiful things on Earth and that the regular people on Earth were not evil at all; they just did not understand Colonials any better than we understood them. I am glad the wars are over. There are many beautiful things on Earth."

"You should tell me about the places you went some time. You were gone for over a year. You've seen a lot more of Earth than I have."

"I did travel a lot, but I did not really have fun. I... just did things to pass time."

"You didn't go to museums or famous buildings or anything?"

"I did. I went to museums, theaters, and monuments. I was not feeling well much of the time, Duo, so, though I did notice that some things were beautiful or impressive, I did not feel happy."

"That kinda sucks!"

Heero laughed. "Yeah, it sucked."

Duo laughed at Heero's use of slang. "I am kinda torn on whether I would want to try to blend or act like a tourist, but... I'd like to see different parts of Earth, sometime, with you. If you are interested?"

"I would like to show you some things on this trip, but we will not have a lot of time, since you really need to get back to work and you will be taking exams."

"Maybe sometime in the future?"

"I have arrangements with certain ports. I get discounted fuel and other fees are discounted or waived. Some hotels and restaurants also, on Earth and in the Colonies."


"Lowe Security does work for them for free or at a discounted rate and so I can get services for free or at a discounted rate. If you want to travel to Earth, you could ask me. It would not cost as much for either of us and we do get along."

"We do, for the most part."

"A lot of our arguments are because we are involved sexually," Heero observed.

"Shut up! Don't say that! God! Now I am going to think that every time could be the last time before you say that it's not logical we are involved and I land in the Friend Zone. I'm going to think it's the last time and get weepy and then you'll just think me girlie and shit..." He sounded like he was ranting, like he was outraged, but Heero suspected Duo might really be sad.

Heero sighed. "Duo, you are the one who is fixated on whether you are girlie. I never think you like a girl. You are a man."

Duo forced a laugh. "Well, boy. Man, makes me think I'm old or something."

Heero did not know what to say to that. Thus far, in life, he had thought that a boy should want to be considered a man.

"I never think you girlie," Duo said quietly.

"Why would you?" Heero asked, maybe coldly.

Duo shrugged, "Fuck, I am trying to give you a complement. I was going to say, I think of you more as 'gentleman' as opposed to 'guy.'"

"I know." Heero thought they had talked about this once before, but it could have been déjà vu. "Thank you."

"It's the hair."


"I got called a girl before because of my long hair. I don't see why I can't be a guy with long hair."

"A boy with long hair," Heero corrected.

"Let's talk about something else... hey... I like you talking back to me."

"We talk."

"But often, traveling..."

"I knew what you meant." Heero smiled to himself. "What should we talk about?"

"Have you talked to any of our friends recently? I talked to Relena and Quatre."

"I received mail from Relena. What did she tell you?"

"The same thing Quatre did, that Quatre was an agent and has political experience and Relena will talk to him, so he's been sort of facilitating, helping the Minister's staff transition and not subtly enough checking up on Relena to see if she is well."

"She wants to have lunch with me on Thursday, I told her we should meet at Romeos. She said that we should meet alone."

"What do you think? Quality time? Wants you to crack a video game disc? Wants to confess that she loves me?"

Heero laughed. "I do not know, but I see no problem with the plan. I only told you so that you would not suggest I invite you along."

"I think I have exams Thursday, at the school."


"So, want to talk about something else?"

"I spoke to Trowa."

"You did?"



"He asked if he could stay with me at my apartment."

"You told him 'No,' right?"

Heero turned his head to look at Duo squarely. "Why should I have said that?"

"Forget it." Duo shrugged.

"Tell me." Heero knew his voice was icy, but it was called for.

"OK... but you tell me first, what are the circumstances of his staying with you? Why? For how long?"

"Trowa is hardly a security risk. You will be busy this next week and Trowa does know we are lovers, so you do not need to worry that you will not be able to see me, just because of him."


Heero growled with annoyance. "He told me that he was offered a new job and it is in the Colonies and he would like to stay with me until he starts work and can make other arrangements."

"Why wouldn't he stay with Quatre do you think?" Duo asked slowly.

"He did not mention Quatre at all actually but he did inform me that Side Four is closer to his job."

"They had sex."

"Trowa and Quatre?" Heero demanded, "Why did you not tell me?"

"Quatre did not say, 'And please be sure to tell Heero my problem,' when he talked to me."

"You just told me."

"It's relevant to the situation with Trowa."

"What situation?"

Duo groaned. "I was really hoping to never mention this."

"What situation?" Heero growled.

"I am only saying this as your friend..."

Heero growled again.

"Trowa has a crush on you."

Heero laughed. That was so ridiculous. "'Crush?' That is very... high school."

Duo twisted in his seat and looked Heero in the eyes. "I am telling you that I believe Trowa has a crush on you and that I think he will do something about it now."

"Duo..." He wouldn't lie, Heero reminded himself. "I believe that you are not lying to me, but you will have to try to explain yourself, because I have to believe you are mistaken."

"I wish I was mistaken," Duo said, rolling his eyes. He took in a deep breath. "Quatre told me, Friday, a little after you left, that Thursday night at Headquarters he and Trowa had sex. And he said that afterward Trowa just left and he was avoiding Quatre the next morning. And then you tell me that Trowa asked to stay with you, meaning he will be away from Quatre and with you, in that little apartment with one bed."

"But, that does not mean he has a crush on me."

Duo scoffed. "The crush I've known about forever. Heero, seriously, he loves Quatre, but he's always had a crush on you. Do you realize how weird he has been since he found out you were with me?"

"I do not understand. Trowa and I did talk. He asked me if I was homosexual and if I had known before, when we had spent time together." Heero tried to recall the exact nature of the conversation. "Trowa seemed concerned that I had been attracted to him before and he had not known about it. It was a strange conversation..."

"So, did he actually deny that he ever was attracted you or wished you were attracted to him?"

"No, I do not think he denied those things."

"I don't know what he said, but he will lie if he thinks it will keep him safe. I'm telling you, Heero, Trowa has always been attracted to you and even though he really does love Quatre, he also wishes that you would be with him instead of me. Maybe you can not see it, but I can."

"But... Trowa is not like that... he would not try to steal me from you."

"It's not like you really belong to me either."

"Then it wouldn't even be stealing..." Heero realized that did not help. He switched strategy. "I promised that I would have no other partners during the trial."

"Choose not to believe me if you want, but I think Trowa does want you and whatever happened with Quatre, exactly, I don't know, but I suspect he's trying to work something out and it's going to involve him making an offer to you, even if that sounds like a really stupid plan."

"I believe that you sense something about Trowa, but I do not know what that is, Duo. He is my friend and apparently, he's had some kind of trouble with the person he loves. I can't turn him away. I have to try to help him. Even if he offered, I would not let Trowa have sex with me, Duo. "

"Man, I figured you'd be noble like that." Duo paused, going still. His eyes rolled up, though they did not go entirely white. "Fuck! You watched porn with him! Heero, it's like you've been leading him on!"

"I did not. I was just trying to get him to admit he wanted to have sex with Quatre."

"Damn!" Duo curled into his seat. "I wish I knew what happened with them. Quatre wouldn't tell me."


"Fuck, why does all this shit keep happening to us?"

"Duo... you need to relax. Maybe you should think about you and me, not Quatre and Trowa."

There was a silence and Heero began to wonder if he had said that last statement in the wrong tone of voice, but then he saw Duo grin.

"You want to help me relax?" Duo teased.

This time Heero was the one rolling his eyes. "Yes, come over here."

Duo quickly released his harness and maneuvered over to Heero. He sat on Heero's legs, facing him. Duo smiled. He had a gorgeous body, and his hair, his eyes... but at the moment, Heero found Duo's mouth his best feature. He lifted his arms to keep Duo from floating away and then softly caught Duo's lower lip between his. They had never argued or gotten upset over kissing.

Duo had relaxed for certain, but then later he had gotten bored again, enough that he went into the cabin to play with Koi. That meant that when they were landing Duo had secured himself and Koi in the cabin and not been in the cockpit.

It was night when Heero landed The Zero. He collected the few things he had near his seat and left the cockpit to check on Duo and Koi as the shuttle was being towed into a hangar. Duo was collecting their luggage near the hatch. Heero gave a nod to say he would take car of his own things. He stowed some bags and removed others from lockers, having packed separate bags for this particular trip, in advance.

"Give me all of your IDs," Heero told Duo.

"We traveling under aliases?"

"No, I just want to make sure we have everything we need. This is Earth and we are arriving from the Colonies, so there will likely be a more strict customs and security check."

Duo laughed. "Who would mess with us? It's a commercial shuttle anyway."

"Small company commercial shuttles often make additional income by smuggling. If I were in charge of security, I would check us. You fit a profile."

"Those profiles are bogus... but I know... I am a Preventer agent."

Heero smiled as he took the various cards, badges and tags Duo passed to him. Not that Heero knew more about being a Preventer agent, but Duo worked part-time, was mainly a pilot and sometimes field operative, intelligent as he was, they rarely used him to plan a mission or profile suspects.

Heero slipped the chip side of Duo's ID into his pad and wrote to it, it was a legal alteration. "I made you a consultant to Lowe Security. If they ask your purpose, tell them you are on business with me. It is true, we will do some business while we are here."

Duo took back the IDs. Heero thought that if there was a problem it would be that there did not seem to be a tag on any of his IDs saying he had a broken leg, but showing the Preventer badge would likely keep him from further searches.

"I didn't recognize any pattern in the lights as we came down."

"Why weren't you strapped in?"

Duo waved the subject away.

"It will be obvious where we are when we exit into the hangar." Heero fit Koi's harness and leash and then collected his luggage. He was down to two bags.

They exited the hatch, stepping onto a metal catwalk. A port security officer was nearby. Blue uniform, nightstick, stun gun, about as big as Duo was. He spoke to them in English, which was normal for all spaceports, though he had a local accent. "Move this way to the checkpoint. Your shuttle will be scanned."

"Thank You," Heero said. He urged Koi along and turned at the intersecting lengths of grating as directed.

"Russia?" Duo asked from behind. He had seen the signs on the walk along the wall. They were in several languages. "Where in Russia... or is that the name of a city?"

"The spaceport here is named after a former president. We are just outside Moscow."

"Moscow? I've never been to Russia."

"You are here now." They came to the checkpoint at the bottom of some steps. Another pair of shuttle pilots was in line before them so Heero waited. The pilots ahead had switched to Russian, Heero gathered they were returning to their home port after shipping tea to the L4 colony clusters. They were returning with a shipment of Gundanium.

"Does some Russian word sound like 'gundanium?'" Duo asked.

"Iie," Heero said, firmly but quietly, he continued in Japanese, "he said what you think. This may take a while. They are always thorough with monitoring shipments of this nature. They require someone to be here to receive the shipment, but this shuttle is early." Heero continued eavesdropping. "They were not expected until morning."

"Nani? Asa? Ima nanji desu ka?" Heero wondered why Duo had used such slangy Japanese in the past, he clearly could speak it well, even if his voice warbled a bit now. It was the American accent. He could use 'ka' and still feel the need to vastly increase volume and pitch on the last syllable to be sure Heero knew he was asking a question. That was understandable. Duo was probably realizing just how much time they had lost in travel and switching time zones.

Heero did his best to smile, which was not very good at the moment.

"GMT plus four?"

"Go," Heero corrected.

One of the officials beckoned to Heero. Heero approached, giving Koi's leash a tug to signal him to walk. Koi needed to go outside. The customs official was outfitted like the guard they had seen. He addressed Heero in English as his partner was watching the other two pilots, now seated off to the side. "Present ID and ship's registration."

Heero complied, lifting the clear plastic case he currently had all his papers in.

"These are your bags?"

"Yes, these two bags are my own."

"Put them on that table."

Heero put his satchel and case onto the table. He knew they would be scanned. The customs agent glanced toward a small monitor. "Are you carrying weapons of any kind?"

Heero had expected the question. "Yes. I have licenses to carry several firearms and they are in a locked box inside the case there. You have my permits there." Heero could have gotten an illegal weapon in he thought, but no one had hired him to test the security of this section of the spaceport.

The official glanced at the monitor again. "Open the case."

Heero opened the case.

"Stand back." The agent quickly searched the bag, lifting the box and checking that it was locked, but not asking Heero to open it. He closed the case for Heero. "This bag has many electronics in it?" he asked.

"Yes. They are also used in my business."

"No cargo?"

"We have only ourselves, the dog and our luggage."

"Da... the canine's papers seem to be in order. Will you be staying in Moscow?"


"I must inform you that we have had recent outbreaks of a canine virus here and in North America. I understand that it has been contained and was found only in the sledding dogs, but I am instructed to suggest you kennel the animal at the port facilities. If you do, you may have less trouble getting... him... back into the Colonies."

"Is it mandatory?"


"I will keep him with me."

"Take your bags and pass through there." He handed the IDs back to Heero and then beckoned to Duo. "Present your ID."

Heero walked through a gate, moving sideways and drawing Koi after him. When he was through, he saw that Duo had dropped his ID and was laughing nervously. "Prostitje. Vinovot," he said, in a rather sing-song, not exactly Russian accent, at least, it was not Heero's Colonial accent.

Duo knew any Russian? Heero had taught him thanks, not apologies.

Duo was putting all his bags on the table. Four. One each for clothes, stuff, work stuff and naughty stuff, Heero recalled.

Heero watched as the agent searched Duo's bags, paying careful attention to the pillbottles and containers of cosmetics, hair products and the like. Heero supposed that Duo fit one of their profiles for a drug smuggler. It was much more likely Duo was sneaking a few weapons past them.

His cast was not obvious, he could wear some types of shoes and the leather pants were just wide enough in the leg to be drawn over the cast snugly without entirely revealing its shape. They should pick it up. Heero was sure the entire area was being scanned and that these two agents were not the only two examining the people and goods that passed through here. Actually, Heero could make out the ear piece that one of the agents wore, so they could be receiving orders from another room.

"Are you injured?"

"Da." Duo pulled up his left pant leg. "It happened on April 25th in Colony X18999. The doctors were too busy to remember to write a tag to my ID."

The customs official seemed to be looking at Duo's ID again, perhaps to be sure of his name.

Duo lifted his arms, in a gesture Heero thought more seductive than just disarming. "Kak skazad, 'Do you want to search me?'" Duo asked. Again, that little bit of Russian had a strange sound to it. Heero understood, and he thought it sounded good actually, but he could not place the accent, even as simply being foreign.

"Move through the gate."

Duo walked to his bags and repacked them, apparently not being satisfied with the manner they had been left in. He turned then, a clearly phallic vibrator in his hand. "Sure you don't want me to turn on all the electronics for you?"

Heero felt scandalized, but the customs agent did not flinch. "Lieutenant Duo Maxwell, are you trying to smuggle anything through our checkpoint?"

Duo turned back to his bag but looked over his shoulder to reply to the agent, "Da."

"What are you smuggling?"

"There's a blade in my cast that I am sure your scanners will not pick up."

"Is that all?"


"Move through the gate, please."

Duo shrugged and picked up his bags again. He had his walking stick, but he refused to lean on it when he moved through the gate. When he was through the gate he turned and waved, "Bolshoje spasibo. Do svidaniji."

Heero really wanted to know where Duo had learned to speak like that. It was understandable as Russian but heavily accented... with something. Heero decided to ask later and offered to carry one of Duo's bags instead.

They took the Metro to the hotel. Heero had decided to stay at the Metropol again. He had liked it and he now received discounts there, so it was logical. This time Heero had reserved a room with one bed, but they did not need more than that.

They did not talk very much on the way to the hotel or as they walked Koi. Duo had been busy watching people and looking out of windows, while trying not to look as if he was doing so. When they got to their hotel room Duo occupied himself with unpacking.

"We should get some sleep," Heero said.

"We just got here."

"It's to early to do the activities I have planned and there will be time for me to get my work done later today. I am going to sleep. If you do not want to, you can do some more of your work."


"It might make you less shuttle lagged later."

Duo nodded. A trip like this could make one shuttle lagged, even when they were used to traveling from one Colony to another. It seemed to be the natural sunlight and night that caused the stronger effect, but traveling very far east and back again often left travelers disoriented.

The adjacent bathroom was not as nice as the ones in the suite had been, but it was functional and private and larger than many Colonial toilets and wash rooms. Heero used the toilet, washed his hands and face, and brushed his teeth. He changed out of his clothing into a pair of shorts and then collected his things and left the bathroom.

Duo was sitting on the floor with his bags open and many items strewn across the floor. He was laughing.

Duo did not offer so Heero asked. "What is so funny?"

"Look." Duo held up a small card.

Heero walked closer, set his things down on the foot of the bed near his luggage and then turned to take the card. It seemed to be a pass to a nightclub in Moscow. Heero did not know what was so funny. He was not surprised Duo would have a pass to any nightclub. Perhaps, he thought, he should wonder how Duo knew of a Moscow nightclub.

Heero gave up. "I do not get it."

Duo grinned and caressed his braid. "I did not put that in my bag and you clearly did not put it in my bag..."

The customs agent. "You flirted with him," Heero accused.


"A lot," Heero said flatly.

"That was nothing, Heero."

Heero dropped the subject, knowing Duo could have come on a lot stronger if he had wanted to. It was a useful skill, actually, using seduction to gain information or access. Heero had not mastered that skill, though Duo obviously had.

"So, are those the shorts?"


Duo grinned up at Heero from the floor. "Are they the very same ones you used to wear all the time?"

"I had several pairs," Heero insisted.

Duo rolled his eyes.

"They are newer, but the same style. I..." Heero knew what he was thinking, but he was not sure what he wanted to say to Duo. "When I sleep with you I do often end up naked now, but usually I wear these or my undershorts when I sleep..."

"Saves having to pull on some clothes when you wake suddenly unaware of whether there is danger or precisely what woke you. You could fight attackers in your room naked, but if you want the option of escaping, clothing helps."

"Yes," Heero admitted.

Duo made a short laugh. "When I am not with you I often fall asleep in my clothes."

Heero smiled, just because.

"The arrangement's pretty good if we sleep facing each other. One can watch the window and the other the door, without being really obvious about it."

"You can have the door," Heero said. He knew Duo wanted to see the door.


Heero did not ask. He removed his luggage to a neat row on the floor and took out his mobile, phone and pad, plugging them in, networking them, and then leaving them powered up so that messages would be collected and music would wake him later in the morning. He saw that Duo went to wash.

Heero opened a serving of Koi's food that he had measured and packed in a plastic bag and emptied it into his bowl. Duo had left the bathroom door open and Heero could see he was washing his face. Heero took Koi's water bowl to the bathroom to fill it. He saw Duo turn to dry his face with a towel and then filled the bowl.

Heero had already taken the side of the bed near the door, though he was turned toward the opposite side of the room, when Duo came out of the bathroom. Duo stripped as he walked, dropping clothes on the floor until he was down to his underwear. Heero supposed the small snug underwear were explained by some acquired preference he did not have. Perhaps they were highly elastic and not uncomfortable, in the way that the shorts Heero was wearing were.

Duo slipped into bed and turned off the lights. Heero felt the situation was awkward. Clearly he had signaled that he did not intend to have sex with Duo and Duo had agreed. It seemed strange, as most days or nights they spent together they did have sex.

Heero looked at Duo as he settled against his pillow. Duo smiled at him; it was just the flash of teeth Heero saw, but he knew what Duo's teeth looked like smiling. Duo reached a hand toward Heero, beneath the blankets; Heero felt Duo's palm against his ribs. He wished he had not given any signal. Yet, Heero knew he would feel poorly later if he did not sleep, so he shut his eyes and tried not to think how warm Duo's hand felt.

Heero felt the proximity of a body and then he felt Duo's lips. Soft, strong... Heero tried not to think about it. He closed his lips. "We should sleep," Heero groaned quietly.

"Was just a goodnight kiss. I thought maybe you wanted a kiss. We were so good about keeping our hands off each other in public."

Heero drew himself backward and opened his eyes. Duo was still close, a wrist hanging over Heero's waist. His fingers just barely grazed Heero's spine. "I did not say you had to keep your hands off me."

Duo grinned. "You don't like PDAs and I know it. Nightclubs do not count. Everyone is uninhibited in nightclubs."

Heero started to say, "I would not mind some touching..."

Duo said, "Anyway, I am not sure if I want just anyone to know about us right now."

When they both heard what the other said Heero found Duo staring into his eyes.

Duo spoke first, "You don't mind now?"

"I... it was never that I was ashamed..." But he was wondering why, precisely, Duo might not want others to know..

"Oh, I know! I knew that!" Duo assured him. He was still staring and the only light was a general city glow through the window curtains, making Duo's face all shapes of light and dark. The eyes were very dark. Heero could feel the eyes staring.

"When I see other people do it I do not feel comfortable, but if it was just touching and not kissing, I think that would be all right. I would let you hold my hand."

"Really?" Duo asked in serious tone.

"You are teasing me," Heero said. He was aware that to some Japanese people, even in the Colonies, the difference between a handshake and a bow was very significant. It was true Heero rarely shook hands. It was also true that very few people received a full bow from him. Most got a slight nod if not a more hostile greeting. Japanese as he was, his infrequent handshakes had more to do with just being weirdly socialized and spending years in a lab learning to hurt people.

None of that mattered with Duo. His hands had been all over Duo and he had liked Duo's body under his hands. They had held hands before. Duo was teasing.

And his hand was moving up Heero's back, tickling the inside of his shoulder blade, scraping his shoulder slightly, sliding down his arm. Duo's fingers walked into Heero's fingers. "I would gladly take your hand, Heero Yuy," Duo said.

Heero laughed softly. That time Duo had even sounded like he was joking and even being at his expense Heero thought it funny. Duo was going to tease him about being spooked by marriage right up until the day Heero was not spooked by marriage anymore.

Heero pressed forward and kissed Duo's face. "Goodnight," he said.

"Dobrj noch..." Duo said slowly. He seemed unsure of that phrase but that strange accent was there.

"Where did you learn to talk like that?" Heero demanded finally.

Duo chuckled. "You like that?" Duo asked, and though he was speaking English he had a similarly strange accent now.

"It's... interesting. You have a strange accent. I do not think it is just American."

Duo laughed, almost giggled. "I wanted to learn a few phrases to use on you, Honey, I asked Adin to teach me at first, be he just wasn't a very good teacher so I found someone else." His English was amused; and not exactly American, British or even Colonial.

"Duo...? What are...?"

More soft laughter. It was starting to sound sexy, Heero thought. "You understand that it all sounded like gobbledygook to me, Love, Adin would say the words and I listened but I just couldn't say them right because I had no idea how they were formed, and Dear Adin is not a patient teacher when forced to listen to me butcher languages."

Heero knew this voice... He had heard Duo speak like this, though rarely. It was his phone voice. It was the sort of voice often used in commercials, a clear contrived accent between British and American; the more elegant counterpart to the voice used in infomercials. He sounded both soothing and sexy.

"Who taught you?" Heero asked.

"I phoned someone from the guild, sweetie. We're trained to listen to whatever a caller wants to say and to tell them what they want to hear, so my wretched accent was probably one of the more pleasant things he'd listened to. We figured out that it was hard for me to remember Russian words because I had no concept of how they would be spelled. They were not filed properly in the brain I suppose. So he started me with sounding out your alphabet and explaining to me which Roman letters I would likely associate with the sounds. After that I started remembering a few words and then we worked on my accent."

"So... that accent is 'Russian Phone Sex Line'?" Heero asked quietly.

"Yeah. You think it sounds sorta contrived or pretentious, but sultry at the same time? That's usually how English phone voices sound to me. The little girl and boy voices are just higher pitched." That was Duo's usual voice again.

"Contrived, but... nice sounding." Russian Phone Sex Line... Heero would never have guessed that on his own.

"Spasibo," Duo said then switched to his own voice. "Did I say that right, Heero? Adin would pull his hair when I attempted vowels. Gori, that's my friend in the guild, his phone name's Misha, would make me say these phrases over and over until I got it right. He'd say 'Duo, you're giving me, "Oh, ya give great phone," when I want, "Hot cock."' I'd have to sit there and say 'hot cock, hot cock, hot cock,' over and over in my best phone voice."

Heero closed his eyes. Duo was using his phone voice now and he really sounded sexy. "Say it again."

"Hot cock."

Heero felt embarrassed that a contrived accent could effect him so, but he knew that it was true. "I am starting to like this accent very much."


Heero smiled in the dark. Khoroshó, it was such a common word, and it had never sounded so special or sexy as when Duo said it. "Nnnn, say my name like that."

"Khiro," Duo said. It was not a Russian name, but Heero liked the way Duo said it. It sounded right, another person might have dropped the 'H.' Heero loved the way Duo rolled the 'r.' Sometimes Americans did roll the 'r' in his name, and Trowa on occasion, but Duo never had, because he'd spoken Japanese and Japanese did not even have a very crisp 'r' let alone a trilled one.

"It sounds nice like that, Duo. Spasíba."

"Vy ochjen dobry." Heero was starting to think the accent more cute than strange. "I like the way you say my name, too."


"Mmmn, it sounds nearly French and you don't sound like a Calypso singer when you say it."

Heero was fairly sure that Calypso was a style of music, but he did not know what sort of songs might be considered Calypso. He said nothing, but rubbed his thumb over the back of Duo's hand.

"Ya know, like 'dieux' not 'du-oh, du-oh.'"

"You mean 'deux?'" Heero asked, thinking that his French was not very good, but he had heard a slight difference.

"No." Duo laughed quietly.

"Mon Duo," Heero sighed.

"Ah, I like the sound of that!"


"Kak skazad 'my'?"

Heero smiled. "Moy. It sometimes depends on the word you use it with."


"Da." It was correct, if accented.

"Moj Khiro."

Heero laughed softly.

"I don't really feel tired..." Duo suggested.

"Sleep now, pray later, My Duo."

"Oh kay," Duo said slowly. "I will sleep, but I might 'hold you possessively' and have sexy dreams about you."

Heero thought that there had been a sort of emphasis on 'hold you possessively' and he could not sleep, or at least not easily, if he had something on his mind. It seemed more logical to ask Duo than to try to push the curiosity to the back of his mind for the night. "Why do you say it like that?" Heero asked.

Duo snickered as he scooted in closer to Heero. "It's sort of a joke between Adin and I. You want in on it?"

"I suppose," Heero sighed. So few people could make him feel in such a way that he ever sighed. Duo and Adin separately were each highly intelligent and mature beyond their years, but together they seemed to become little more than bisexual schoolboys.

"Do you know British?"

"Of course. Duo, you are the one who taught me American."

"Oh." Duo laughed. "We were in the locker room and I couldn't find my shower puff so I asked where it was and Adin said, 'Here I am!'" Duo laughed. "The other guys thought we were serious and were all the more scandalized, 'cause, ya know, the school is in the English Quarter and a lot of the kids use Brit slang, regardless of where their parents came from."

"You did not ask if I knew British Slang."

"Ah. 'Puff' is like 'poofter' or 'nancy.'"

"I know 'nancy.'" Heero said. "I think." Trowa, having grown up traveling with soldiers, knew a lot of slang and curse words and would repeat them if he was in the company of people he felt like talking to. "Trowa used to say Zechs was a bit nancy."

Duo laughed again and that time he grabbed onto Heero so that as his body shook with laugher Heero's body shook as well. It was startling.

"Aa. The boys in the shower thought you wanted someone to have sex with you in the shower and Adin pretended that he was willing to do it." It better have been pretended, Heero thought to himself.

"Yeah," Duo whispered. "Anyway, we decided we had to think of a 'guy' name for that thing that you put the soap on and some guy told us it was called a 'lather builder,' which we thought sounded pretty stupid. So in Col. Ec...."

"Col. Ec.?"

"Colonial Ecology, the period after PE. We spent it trying to think up more masculine words for everything. Guy's can't say that they snuggle, or snoodle, or cuddle, but they do it. Maybe they don't do it as much as girls, but everyone likes a warm attractive body pressing up against them once in a while."

"I suppose. Is 'hold possessively' the guy way of saying you are going to lie close and snugly with someone in affection?"

"Yes. Or 'embrace protectively.'"

"You should have been paying attention in class."

"Yes, Daddy," Duo grumbled. "I will do better next time, Daddy."

"Shut up and cuddle," Heero growled.

Duo did as he was ordered and Heero was finally able to sleep.

Later Heero was aware of dreaming. Midii and Ursula were half-dressed and holding each other possessively. Heero thought, this can't be my dream. There was no way he was having a dream about women he regarded as sisters having sex with each other.

As Heero denied the images they faded but the soundtrack of the dream remained. He could hear the moans and whispers in Russian. He could hear a sort of slow jazzy music.

What is happening, Heero wondered, I am not dreaming this.

"Baby, you waking up?" Duo asked.

Heero woke fully, aware that he had been sleeping and that he was in bed with Duo, within their hotel room. The bed was comfortable and Heero felt pleasantly warm. He saw Duo propped up against the pillows. The moans and whispers were still there and coming from Heero's left, now he faced Duo.

"You are the person who looks as good waking up as you do going to bed or any other time," Duo told Heero, "It's like you've got permanent bed hair and it works on you."

Heero raked the fingers of his left hand through his hair. It felt the way it usually did. Heero looked down to his left as his hand dropped and he saw the room's television and the pornographic movie playing.

Heero was relieved, as the movie explained his dream. It was good to know his mind had not come up with those images on its own. He had been struggling to interpret what he was hearing as he slept. "Did my alarm go off?" Heero asked quietly.

"Uh, yeah, I think I turned it off."

Duo wasn't supposed to touch his computer.

"I didn't actually mean to. I mean, I did, but I didn't touch your computer. I just kinda made it happen by thinking I didn't want that song to play."

"It is all right. You only let me sleep a few minutes more." Heero noticed then that Duo wasn't paying attention to him. Duo was watching the movie.

Heero pushed himself up to a seated position and watched Duo. The television and the window cast a cool light in the room and there were narrow bands of bright blue around Duo's wide pupils as he tracked the movement on the screen. Heero shifted his gaze to the corner of his eyes and saw a woman was arched and gasping as her partner's head was pressed between her legs.

The breath drawn in a hiss was Duo's.

Heero did not like this. He felt like the movie turned Duo on, more than he did, even when he was right there. "Turn it off."

"Hmmn? Baby, I wasn't doing anything. I thought you would watch with me."

Heero looked at Duo's face again. "Why should I want to watch this?"

Duo kept looking at the screen. "Heero-Baby, we both know you have watched porn. You like looking at pictures."

"Duo." Heero growled.

"C'mon, look at them. They're actually really good looking and well-lit. And I think wherever you are from foreign accents always sound sexy!"

Heero was not sure of that. Sometimes perhaps, but not always. Sometimes he thought Duo sounded annoying, but other times Duo could sound sexy whatever language he was speaking. Heero thought he had heard Duo use words from seven languages, though he was sure Duo was not fluent in most of those. In any case, the accents had nothing to do with why Heero did not want Duo to watch the movie.

Duo glanced at Heero for a moment. "You can only watch with Trowa, huh?"

Heero glared. "Baka." He did not want to fight with Duo, but this situation really did make him feel bad somehow and Duo was not understanding. "It is only natural that someone who is male would be visually stimulated, but the main reason I watched those movies or looked at pictures was for you, so I could understand what we could do. That is the truth. I did sometimes think a model or actor or character attractive, but I... well, they just were attractive but I always imagined that I would be with you. And if you were with me, I didn't need need to look at pictures, except... to get ideas for a position or something. You are visually stimulating enough!" No need to speak of Trowa, that had been explained before and Heero was not going to repeat himself.

Duo stared then blinked then glared. "Jesus Christ! You don't need to have a complex about it. I'm still with you, Heero! I was just suggesting we watch a bit of a dirty movie and then maybe mess around. That's normal. It's not like I'm calling up porn stars I know to entertain you. I'm not the one who called up members of both guilds to entertain his lover, am I? Guess I thought you'd understand."

"That was different."

Duo rolled his eyes and got up from the bed. He spoke to Heero with his back turned. "I'll get a shower now, don't bother joining me, the water will be too cold for your liking." He limped around the bed to the bathroom.

Heero sat feeling very bad. Duo was angry. He did not understand why Duo should be the angry one. Heero did not think he could be that wrong. "Why are you making it seem like I am the one who is wrong?" Heero asked quietly, knowing Duo was still able to hear him.

"Drop this Heero. I do not want to have a big fight right now. I love ya, but I don't understand ya."

"I do not understand either..." What were they fighting about, exactly? "You wanted me to watch the movie with you? And feel turned on? And then have sex with you? Even if it was the movie that made me turned on?"

Duo moved into the doorway. He appeared to be naked, but he was holding a towel in front of his body. "Yeah, what's wrong with that? We'd still be together." He grinned. "I was still thinking about you half the time... maybe more than half..." Duo trailed off.

"If I told you that I did not feel turned on by that sort of movie... you would not be upset?"

"I don't get it."

"If I have found some porn exciting, but not that one."

"Um, I guess." Duo seemed confused but then he looked up and smiled brightly. "Yeah, sure. Why didn't you just say that? I guess we could have found another movie... though I don't see what's not to like... was it the prison thing?"

Heero had not even watched enough to notice the setting. He reached down and lifted the remote. He shut off the TV. "Duo, it's not that." Heero wondered how to say it. "At first I did not understand exactly what you intended... but I understand now. It is because they are women that I argued with you."


"The concept of two women having sex with each other does not interest me," Heero said flatly, then sighed.

Duo blinked.

"Honestly I do not understand why it would interest you. You are not female."

Duo smiled. "Yeah, well, it's like if one gorgeous naked woman looking satisfied is good then two gorgeous naked women looking satisfied together is twice as good."

"That sounds logical... but..."

Duo shrugged. "Don't ask me to explain why... that's just how it is. But you...?"

Heero bowed just slightly. "I always knew that you did like women and I was not trying to say you could not watch that sort of movie, ever, but I could not understand that you thought I would enjoy it. That was why I was confused. I did watch some movies with Trowa, but we had no intention of having sex with each other and we skipped through the scenes with girls in them."


Heero looked up. "Duo. I am homosexual."

Duo smiled for a moment, then frowned slightly. "You never told me. You never said it to me before."

"I never said it to anyone before."

"I thought... sometimes... but I didn't know. At first, I got no vibe at all; I assumed you were str-heterosexual. Then I suspected maybe you weren't, but I thought it was my own wishful thinking. You said... Heero, you actually said 'I like girls.'"

"I know," Heero said quietly. He was thinking that Duo had almost said 'straight' and that was what you called someone from Earth when you thought them too conservative. "I thought I meant that strongly at the time. It does not seem to be the sort of fondness that leads to sex."

"Oh, shit, Heero," Duo said, laughing. He dropped the towel and was naked but for stray wisps of hair and nipple rings. "Does this picture work for you?" He meant himself of course, posed leaning within the doorframe.

Worked was understatement. Watching Duo could make Heero feel like he was drugged. He looked like a figure that might have been in stained glass, marble sculpture or oil painting or fresco. An angel, a god, a faerie, or just an ideally beautiful boy.

Heero most definitely found the male body erotic and Duo was perfectly male.

Heero closed his eyes, though he still saw Duo clearly in his mind. He needed Duo to be with him. He did not only want him; he required Duo. He would survive of course, without him, but he would not feel fulfilled. He wanted Duo so much that he was tempted to tell Duo that he would share him. He was tempted to say that allowing Duo to have other lovers was preferable to losing him. But, Heero did not really want to share Duo. If he said that he would share, Duo would view that as weakness, and Duo needed Heero to appear strong in that way. It had not been easy for Duo to admit to loving him; he needed to feel secure.

Heero opened his eyes. He hoped Duo could handle the commitment. "Duo-chan." Heero patted the mattress. From the floor Koi whined and looked up.

"Still your favorite pet?" Duo asked as he walked back toward the bed.

"Always. We are even. Kiss. Shower. Brunch. Shop. Sightsee. Rest. Go out to a show. Rest. Do some minor security checks. Fly back to the Colonies."

"Couldn't we go check out a club instead of resting?"

Heero considered for a second. "We could. Neither of us has been to any sort of nightclub in Moscow."

"What are you afraid of?" Duo teased. "You think I'm too much for Earthlings and you won't be able to protect me? There's nothing to new clubs in any part of the sphere. You dress in layers so you look elegant and modest when you arrive, you get drinks, you observe local customs as you pretend to drink and then you act appropriately."

"And can I act appropriately and convince anyone that it is not an act?"

Duo raised his brows. "Yeah, you can. You just be yourself within parameters. You can do that."

Parameters. He could do that, but he wondered if that was how Duo did it. Duo made everything look so natural to him.

on to chapter 39

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