Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
"Tell them about the kiss", Duo whispered.
Heero smiled. "After the show Duo and a friend of his were talking about the other parts he had played in the shows. They told me he had been in Star Wars and I am a big fan of Star Wars. I could not guess which part Duo had played, and then I saw him toying with his braid. Duo played Princess Leia in several movie-shows. He told me that he even wore her slave costume. I do not know why, but the idea of Duo Maxwell in Princess Leia's slave costume is infinitely erotic to me. So, I told him 'I need you' and he agreed we had to do something. Duo had me out of the theater and onto a train so fast. That is where we kissed for the first time. In an otherwise empty train car in Gotham. It was perfect!"
"I've worn that costume for him since!"
"Costumes, eh? Should we take it that you have been together since the first kiss, then?"
"I can explain it like this:" Heero said, "The day we met, Duo shot me twice. I was just trying to complete a mission as secretly as possible, and he saw something that made him think I was the bad guy."
Duo whistled innocently, meaning he was not going to bring up the fact that Heero used to try to kill Relena as often as save her.
"Unfortunately, or fortunately, we are not the sort of young men that are genuinely turned-on by trying to kill each other. We are both naturally competitive and not used to trusting many people. So, understanding our history, even though we were drawn to each other, we were not able to work out a mutually accommodating arrangement immediately."
"He means, we had to get over the male posturing macho bullshit before we had sex or we really would have just hurt each other. Some roughness is understandable, even exciting, but we'd had enough violence in the war; even nearly blinded with lust, we could see that wouldn't work for us."
Heero nodded. "It took us a few more days to really let down our defenses as it were, enough that we could trust each other enough to have sex. I said that I was not casual, so I was not looking for a one-time thing. I wanted Duo to be convinced he should keep coming back."
"He was not opposed to having sex while dating", Duo said. "It was only a few days between Heero coming home and us deciding to date each other."
"Right. I am not that prudish. I just want a partner to be serious and trustworthy enough that you can have discussion about safe sex or whether or not you will be seeing other people."
"Is that your approach as well, Duo?"
"I think what Heero said is fine, but it doesn't take me as long. Heero generally pays closer attention to detail. When he says he wants a partner to discuss those issues with him, he really means that you will sit down, while not touching, and talk about rules and boundaries. If someone can't give him that time and attention, then he does not want to be with them. For me, it's like, flash the condom, tell them I'll use it, rip it out and go to it."
"Then how did you work out getting together?" Daniel asked.
"We compromised", Heero said. "Duo had me so distracted I almost forgot to talk to him."
"And then Heero stopped and insisted we talk."
"We did; it was a brief discussion."
"Then we had sex and it was all good after that."
"Well, there were... rough spots... you might say, but nothing that made us want to split up or stop dating."
"You said before that you were 'serious'; how long did you date?" Daniel asked.
"A little over a month."
"It might sound strange, but we actually gave ourselves a sort of deadline. We said that we would date until my High School Prom and then decide how we felt about each other then", Duo explained.
"I was his Prom date."
"You said it was a Catholic school. It is said their Church is tolerant of homosexuality, but not of homosexual practices. Did you ever have problems?"
"I think their Church is pretty tolerant of homosexual practices; they just don't advertise. I had problems, but they were not with people who ever truly represented the school. I think that many people still face discrimination, even if it is a parent telling their son or daughter not to date a Colonial, because they are deviant. The only trouble we faced at Prom was the really lame theme."
"What was that?" Daniel prompted.
"It was not so much the theme", Heero explained. "They had originally selected the theme 'Pax Romana', which was lame considering what it really means: an enforced peace. That is not romantic to people of our age, who grew up with the war and who fought to see that our peace was something chosen by the people willingly. But, we found they had changed the theme."
"They made it 'Celebrating our Heroes'. It might not sound bad, but it was not even a month after that attack on X18999 and the 'decorations' included some pretty graphic images of destruction. Fortunately, once the Administration saw the décor, they had it taken down. Yeah, we should give props to people who serve the public, especially those that give their lives, but no one should have to see pictures of the burning buildings and battlefields at Prom."
"We saw you both in the media again at that time. There is a fairly well circulated photo of you, apparently kissing, behind a fan. A large number of people, particularly on Earth, expressed belief that it was a joke."
"It was not a joke at all", Heero said. "We did kiss each other on the steps of the hotel. I was not ashamed to be seen doing it, but I was unhappy with certain elements of the media at the time."
"Heero is a very considerate person. He dislikes very obvious displays of affection, because he feels that if he were in another's place, he would not want to see others making out in the street."
"I waver in this opinion, I admit it. Sometimes I think that if you are happy with someone, you should let everyone see, so that they can share the happiness on some level." Heero took his arm from Duo's back to that he could reach for Duo's hand. "Other times I feel that it is cruel to show affection in public because it makes those who are unattached feel uncomfortable."
"I think there is also, on a subconscious level, awareness that if you are seen being affectionate with someone that it is weakness."
"It is not weak to feel love or attraction and act on it. It takes considerable bravery to be vulnerable enough to let that one person get close. I can see, though, how some people might fear that making your attachment known is a risk. That if someone wanted to attack Duo for example, they would somehow attack me in order to hurt him, or vice versa."
"Not that many people could remain free or alive after trying to attack Heero!"
"Or Duo. My point is that there is no weakness. We are twice as strong together. We both have a ridiculous male urge to protect the other. Ridiculous, because sometimes we can forget how capable we each are in protecting themselves. Duo is one of few people that has any chance of winning a fight against me, yet when he goes out on a mission, I worry that he may not be safe without me."
"I am ridiculously defensive of Heero! Sometimes, when he tries to do too much for me, it wounds my pride. For a while, I believe that he thinks I could not take care of myself and we'll have a little fight about it. But when I calm down and think about it, I am really grateful that I have Heero to back me up. He's quite chivalrous. He's like the perfect boyfriend!"
"Duo's a good date too. A little lacking in manners, but he makes up for that in bed."
Duo grinned, "Or on the floor, or in the shower, or in dressing rooms."
"Just the one dressing room."
Daniel looked over his notes on his mobile. "What were your dates like?"
Heero turned his head to look fully toward Duo.
"I think we did fairly normal stuff for guys our age. Go to movies or clubs. Heero's a great dancer. We go out for dinner or hang out at Gekka no Cha."
"You are both 18 this year?"
"Right! Fully a year past being legal! Though, I celebrate my birthday in October, so I'm pretending I'm still 17."
"You are among the large number of 'war orphans' in your generation. Records lost?"
"Yeah, but it's no fun to have that same January 1st birthday that everyone has. I celebrate on Halloween."
"Heero, is that your birthday as well?"
"My legal ID says my birthday is January 5th, but it also says my name is Heero Yuy."
"What do you mean by that?" Daniel prompted.
Heero glanced to Duo then nodded sharply to Daniel. "I never had legal birth records to lose. I can say this now because the people involved are either dead or I never knew their names to incriminate them. I was naturally conceived. I have heard a rumor about myself, that I was engineered. It is not true. My parents were in the Colonies in 179. It was during the Alliance occupation of course. A certain individual was contracted to kill my parents; I would rather not say why. He found them and shot them. Before my mother died, she told the assassin that she was pregnant. He had not been contracted to take a third life and I suppose that his personal beliefs led him to think of me as a child rather than a potential life, though I was unborn. So, he arranged rather covertly to have me cut from my mother, and transferred to an artificial womb in a gestation lab. I do not actually know which lab or whether doctors and technicians knew of this illegal transfer. In any case, false documents were filed indicating that my mother had consented to this previous to her death, this 'emergency transfer'."
"Colonial Abortion", Duo said.
"Aa. I would rather not get into the politics of it. I just wanted to say that the records I have had have always been based on this deception, and as the assassin went on to raise me as if I was his own son, and he was an assassin, my early life involved having several false IDs and learning to assimilate myself into new environments and act covertly. Heero Yuy was not my legal name until after the wars. It was Doctor J who suggested I use the name. It was the name of a Colonial leader who preached peace and was assassinated for it. There are many 'Heeros' within a few years of my age, in the Colonies, but 'Heero Yuy' is clearly identifiable as the name of the murdered pacifist. Very few people seemed to realize this on Earth, as I recall. I do not think they were allowed to know of the assassination. In any case, I did not meet J or train with him until after my father had been killed. I would rather not go into the circumstances of his death. Almost everyone involved in that story is dead now, but it would be unkind to accuse the dead, as they cannot defend themselves."
"But now Heero Yuy is your legal name?"
"Yes. When the ESUN was newly established and government services and offices were being converted, there were quite a number of people who through the course of the war had lost their identity completely or had lost legal records. They basically issued IDs based on what information was available and indicated that these identities were now to be considered the legal ones."
"Duo Maxwell was not legally my name until after the war, though I had been using that name for a while."
"And you were an orphan also?"
"Let's put it this way. I grew up in Colony V08744 in the 80s, the 180s. Check your historical records to find out how pleasant it was during Alliance occupation. I was without not only a proper name, but also a proper home or family most of the time. When I was fortunate to have people, I lost them to the war. Wasn't the Alliance specifically, it was that there was conflict between the Alliance and Rebels. I wasn't really jazzed with either side. I didn't really want to pick a side at all, but my Mad sorta tricked me into taking on the duty of Gundam pilot. I was kinda fond of the machine, so I thought it was better I use it on my own than let it be part of anyone's plan. I guess I'm just a social guy, after all, because I ended up working with others pretty well."
"Well, not very well. Maybe with Quatre, but I seem to recall some not-entirely-friendly competition."
"It was friendly. You would have been dead if I wasn't friendly."
"Good thing I am cute."
Duo laughed. "I am glad we did turn out to be on the same side."
"Was the date of your Prom when you began a more serious relationship?" Daniel asked.
The question seemed to catch Duo off guard. He hesitated a long while before answering. "Yeah. We were dating before that, though, I think we both knew some weeks before the Prom that we wanted to stay together. We were in love. Can it really be 'just dating' if you are in love?"
"You said before that you knew you loved Heero when you talked to him at Relena's party, is that right?"
"I said that, but the truth is that I did not fully admit it to myself or Heero at the time."
"Do you remember when you were able to admit it?"
"What is funny? I remember."
"I was just thinking, how I was your lover and I could say that I loved you before I told you that I was homosexual."
"Yeah. When was it then?"
Heero glared at Duo for doubting him. "I told you I loved you in my bed after kissing you goodnight. I think I said it so casually that it shocked you. I remember explaining that I just wanted to let you know, but that I did not expect that you had to say the same to me. But, it is also true that you had already said it, you just had not said it while fully conscious or serious."
"He would say things like 'Oh I totally love you!' but he could not say it seriously, even though I believe he felt love for me. Duo also talks in his sleep, so I heard him confess to loving me before he came out and said it."
"It was in that cheesy hotel room in X18999."
"Yes. Duo told you how he was there during the shuttle collision. I was called off reserves to help with the clean up. We were supposed to have a date the Friday before that, and Duo cancelled to go on the mission and I had not heard from him when I saw the news on television. I saw him in the hospital when I got there."
"I don't know which of us had it easier, me being involved the actual crash or you having to go into the wreckage looking for survivors."
"They put the search, rescue and support workers up in this really cheesy love hotel on North Beach," Duo explained. "Our room had a couch shaped like lips and a vibrating bed with a heart-shaped headboard."
"Everything was purple and red satin."
"Or fuzzy", Duo laughed.
"I was glad Duo arranged for us to stay together. It was good to have someone there, after being out in all the mud and ash."
"I know I needed Heero then. Anyone who has been in a similar traumatic situation can appreciate that people there seemed to couple off. It was so horrible there, and at the same time, all these individuals were doing their best to save what they could and help those who were suffering more than they were. People needed affection. It was not all sexual. There were big stra... I mean these heterosexual guys were hugging each other and weeping and people who had been on opposite sides in the war were cooperating to lift wreckage off survivors. It was really beautiful."
"We had some of the stories from workers there in our June issue," Naomi said quietly.
"I missed that one", Heero said.
"Firefighter pictorial!" Duo said. He squeezed Heero's hand as he winked at him. "When are you guys going to do an issue on Preventers? I want Wufei in nothing but crime scene tape!"
Heero nearly choked. "He will kill you!" He hissed at Duo.
"Nah, He'll just say, 'Nice Try, Maxwell' and then go find his woman!"
"Must be the chocolate fondue talking." Heero rolled his eyes.
"That was a special time for you, then?" Daniel asked, "When you were together after the tragedy?"
"Yeah, that's when Heero fucked me for the first time", Duo said casually. "I was injured, but I asked him not to wait. It was... what you would expect from a Gundam pilot I think. I pray at Heero's altar every chance I get."
Heero smiled, grinned almost.
"Do you think that there is something about being a Gundam pilot, specifically, that would make one a good lover?" Daniel asked.
"Have you seen the inside of the cockpits?" Heero asked. "There are control sticks. The cockpits differed slightly, but they all had a variation of these sticks. Some other mobile suits as well. To control the Gundam, you have to have a firm grasp on these controls, yet keep your wrists fairly loose. Depending on the maneuvers you are putting your Gundam through, you may have to push and pull on these controls, using upper arm strength. Other times, you rely on quick movements of the wrist. Always you must be able to move your fingers independent of each other, as there are buttons on the sticks that activate certain functions. Triggers mostly. Overall, a Gundam pilot has good upper body strength, very quick reflexes and outstanding manual dexterity. Even if, Maybes forbid, a pilot lost all function below the waist, they would should still be able to completely satisfy a lover just using their hands."
"And none of us are functionless."
"Aa, and Duo talks a lot. Even when he is not being interviewed, he talks and sings all the time. And he makes such large facial expressions. So you know his mouth is quite able."
"Able, but Heero speaks Russian and Japanese besides English, so he wouldn't just go through 26 letters in the alphabet game, he'd do however many of his funny Cyrillic letters..." Heero took his hand from Duo and gave him a shove. Duo laughed, "And however many thousand kanji he knows! That's a lot of letters and sounds for a tongue to know!"
Heero did not know this 'alphabet game' but he supposed it involved tracing letters on skin with the tongue, from the way Duo was talking.
"His lower body is pretty well developed too, don't know how. He just sits typing all the time or piloting."
Heero rolled his eyes. "Running and weight training. And sometimes I sit on my knees to type."
"That's it then! You are doing clenches while at your computer!"
Sometimes. Heero smirked.
"Would it be really rude and unprofessional if I asked to take a short break?" Duo asked.
Daniel reached for his recorder and switched it off. "Let me download this to my machine. We can start again in a few minutes. I know I mentioned to Heero that the interview would be edited somewhat before publication."
"You don't change what we said though," Duo said suspiciously.
"Hai, they only edit for length and may rearrange the order of some questions, with their answers."
"I suppose that's OK, then." Duo flopped back, toward the couch cushions.
Heero rose and sat again, sideways in regard to the couch, so that he faced Duo. He looked down to see Duo's face, as Duo was slouched so much. "I have not even kissed you good morning."
Duo's lids lifted and his eyes tracked up to Heero's face. "Aa."
Heero smiled briefly then leaned, tilted his head and lapped at Duo's lips.
Duo arched slightly. His lips parted. "Good morn..." the kiss silenced him.
Or rather, stopped Duo speaking and made him moan. Contented, Heero lifted his head. "Just how much coffee have you drunk?"
"Mmmn. Uh... mmmn. I refilled the mug from the carafe twice."
"With sugar, it tastes like."
"I like 'em dark, strong and sweet."
"'Dark' possibly being interpreted metaphorically rather than literally."
"Or just having more to do with temperament regardless of coloring."
"Hn. You forgot deep and rich."
Duo chuckled softly. "That was a good one."
"Faintly bitter taste?"
"Ways guys are like coffee!" Fred chimed in.
Duo lifted his head from the cushions and glared at the stylist. "Eavesdrop much?"
"Duo, we want him to make us look good later," Heero said quietly.
Duo sent Fred a disarming half-smile. "Ha ha, only serious," he said through his teeth.
Heero reached across Duo and put his hand to Duo's shoulder to shake him.
"Huh?" Duo turned his head slightly to look away from Fred.
Heero leaned in and whispered at Duo's ear. "Good to the last drop!"
Duo's body shook, only with laughter. He affected a sort of British accent and said, "Mum, Da' That's me! That's me!" Heero vaguely remembered this being a quote from the movie Velvet Goldmine.
"Hot", Heero said.
"Would it be all right if we started again?" Daniel asked.
"No problem." Heero turned about to face the front of the couch as Duo sat up.
Daniel started his recorder again. "We went over your childhood, and a little about the war. You had discussed your reunion after Heero had left and a period of dating. Clearly you formed a sexual relationship, and you say that you both fell in love as well."
"With each other, even", Duo said.
Daniel smiled slightly and glanced to his notes. "Between 4-25 and your Prom... when did you say that was?"
"The 12th of May", Duo told him.
"Anything happen between 4-25 and Prom night?"
"We continued dating", Heero said. "We did the usual dating things, I suppose, got to know each other even better, went out together. We learned a lot about each other's sexual preferences."
"There was the night we went to Luna Sea."
"Duo got in a mood to go clubbing and we ended up in Ibiza with Quatre and another friend. They have a lot of camera there."
"I think later they released..."
"Some of the pictures", Duo said. I do not think most people guessed we were together yet."
"That happened quickly. If I recall correctly, we were in Luna Sea less than a week after the attacks, perhaps a week, but we needed it. We needed to have a little fun. We were seen there. It was a Monday night. It was clear to observers that we were together."
"Heero looked good that night, tight vinyl jeans, that little green Cheong-Leen. He wore a leash for a belt..."
"It was a good night. I usually enjoy the outfits Duo comes up with for our dates. He can pull off a kilt. I got him to school the next day."
"We'd been having a long-distance relationship."
"It may not be apparent to people who live on Earth, but the Colonies we live in are always on opposite sides of the moon. It might be like traveling from one side of the States or Russia to see your lover. The distance is greater of course, but our inter-colony shuttles travel faster than planes, rail or cars."
"I worked and attended school in the same Colony where Heero lives, but I still did not have much time to see him. I was always having to go home."
"Duo is a partner in a mobile suit startup. It is important for him to get to the garage and meet with his partners. We considered sharing an apartment earlier, but it did not work out at the time."
"The whole time we dated, it was very long-distance;" Duo said, "it still is now."
"So, that week, after being seen at Ibiza, we were back to our own corners, you might say."
"But Heero just happened to get an assignment that brought him to the Dark Side."
Heero smiled. "I only chose the time to do the work, not where it took me."
"Can I tell them what you did?"
"If you are certain you want it told."
"Would it be very personal?" Daniel asked.
Duo put his hand on Heero's leg again. He seemed ready to speak.
Heero spoke before Duo could start. "I will tell them." He paused for a moment, thinking of the best words to use. "Duo and I have a balanced relationship overall and view each other as equals, as a match or complement to the other, but our roles within the relationship, though equal in certain aspects, are very different from the other's. It is not so apparent in every-day circumstance, but sexually, one of us is by choice quite submissive to the other."
"And the other of us is good in command. Of course, this is not to say that those in command, who are truly good leaders, do not sometimes serve those who follow."
"A good leader does serve those who follow him and consider their welfare every time that he gives a command, but ultimately there is only one who gives commands and others are to obey."
Duo smiled at Heero. "I was still in a bad mood that week, grieving and feeling guilt over surviving. Heero knew what I needed to help me get by and he made sure I got it. It was great. It was like really good therapy."
"When we were leaving the therapy session to go to Duo's apartment together, we ended up making out in the back of a taxi."
"So then, we took a trip to Moscow that weekend and we saw the 'news' stories", Duo said.
"They showed the pictures taken at the club in Luna Sea and the taxi driver had talked to reporters. Suddenly all the Sphere was told we were together, yet they had it all wrong."
"I have no morals against purely sexual relationships, but when I finally found a lover and had the great sex plus the love, it did hurt a little to have everyone 'know' that I was so wild and casual about things."
"So, you felt the reports focused on the physical aspects of your relationship?" Daniel asked them.
"Yes," Heero said, "I had not yet considered that I might go to a particular news source and give them my version of events. I only felt angry that reporters spread half-researched stories and rumors. Yes, we had gone clubbing, and yes, we had been seen in that taxi, but that is not all we do. I was angry that the did not understand the real reasons Duo and I were together, yet I had not considered allowing them to know anything more about my personal life."
"The next week, it was like they had forgotten me", Duo said. "I saw this 'news' report that claimed Heero had proposed to Relena."
"I can only guess that not enough people found it intriguing that two former Gundam pilots were lovers, so they dropped that story for another, because the sex lives of politicians are always so newsworthy", Heero deadpanned.
Duo laughed softly. "I knew it could not be true, but it was a little upsetting. I was still finishing school, so Relena and I had to hear questions and comments about the rumors from fellow students."
"I know how the rumor started. I had bought a ring when we were in Moscow, for Duo. I had it appraised and cleaned when I got home. It turned out to be more valuable than I had thought. The appraiser believes he has identified the ring's original owner. I had the ring on me when I met Relena for lunch at Romeos that week before Prom. They are usually good about keeping paparazzi out, but someone captured a picture of me showing the ring to Relena. Clearly, they came to the wrong conclusion."
"Relena and I are friends, so we both knew who Heero was with, still I wonder how many believe the rumors when they hear them."
"That is why we purposely posed for photos on the steps of the hotel before Prom. We wanted them to see who we were each with."
"Heero gave me the ring that night." Duo held out his left hand; cerise captured a photo of the claddagh. "It is called the Dartmoor Claddagh. Devon Dartmoor was an English Romantic Poet and I really admire his work."
"There is a portrait of him in the collection of the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg. It shows the claddagh on his left hand."
"You believe this is the same ring that Dartmoor owned?" Daniel asked.
"The appraiser said that it was the right age."
"Three karat, heart-cut pigeon's blood ruby set in an engraved silver band with elements of the traditional claddagh design", Duo explained. "I was so happy to get it! I was happy that Heero was giving it to me that night when he told me he wanted to be with me, like in a couple. I had already decided I was ready for monogamy! Then I recognized the ring from my own knowledge about Dartmoor and I was just ecstatic! I do not mind getting expensive gifts at all, and this one had a whole lot of sentimental value for me!"
"I was just pleased that we wanted the same thing. I was getting tired of being safe."
Duo laughed his nervous laugh.
"So, you believe in practicing safe Sex?" Daniel asked.
"I trusted Duo, of course, but on principle, I think it wise to take some precautions if either partner may be seeing other people. It is just logical; we had plagues in the Colonies not very long ago. They were not all specifically sexually transmitted, but some were."
"Duo, are you of the same opinion?"
"I guess everyone has to decide what is right for their lifestyle. I know some people rely greatly on testers. So long as both partners are in agreement, I think any way you go is fine. I had no arguments as far as being safe. I knew I had just a few other partners even after Heero and I first started dating. I quickly realized how satisfying it was being with Heero, so I was only seeing him most of the time we dated."
"We had not agreed to monogamy while dating, only after Prom, so we were aware of whether we each had other partners and did out best not to get jealous."
"How has it been for you both since becoming a couple?" Daniel asked.
"Almost perfect." Heero sighed. "My business is going well, I enjoy my other friends and I especially enjoy Duo's company. My only complaint is that we do not get a lot of time together."
"We still have differences now and then, but I love having Heero as a boyfriend. We try to get one vacation together every month. Paris is the third, if you count the trip to Moscow. It's been amazing... I am probably coming across as really dependant." Duo groaned.
"I think our relationship is a little more healthy than that. You just have to consider that even a year ago, we were probably still not sure peace would last. I know I was wondering if we would have another coup to deal with last Christmas. I was glad we did not. To go from not being sure if you will live another year, from wondering if you will ever get over all the violence and death you witnessed, to feeling this physical and emotional affection from another... and being able to return it... it does make you feel like you are flying."
"'The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return', that's a quote from Moulin Rouge. I think I really believe that. We might be making some people sick with the way we act like newlyweds, but I don't care! I stopped being afraid I would lose whatever I love. I stopped thinking about what would happen if we separated. I am just determined to enjoy this as long as it lasts; I hope that is forever."
"There have been rumors that you are married now. Your last vacation together was to Hawaii and some have speculated that you married there."
"I tried hard to ignore that rumor." Heero groaned.
Duo laughed. "We are only like newlyweds, not actually newlyweds. We are not even engaged. We've only been 'boyfriends' for a little over two months. We did give each other rings, but only as 'commitment rings'."
"Heero, you received a ring also?"
Heero showed the class ring on his left thumb. "It is Duo's class ring. It has a lot of value to me, though I am not sure it is as impressive as the Dartmoor Claddagh."
"I don't know. A lot of people might be impressed to see Duo Maxwell's high school class ring."
"So, no plans for marriage?"
"Heero believes that he should be at least 20 before he agrees to marry anyone", Duo explained, "So, obviously, if I know that, we've discussed the concept of marriage, but we have no plans, except... if we ever do get married, we already know where our honeymoon is going to be spent!"
Heero smiled and shook his head. He wondered if he should punish Duo for that answer. "The topic was discussed, but we are not engaged and probably will not be engaged soon. That said, it is also true we agreed that our honeymoon should be in St. Petersburg, preferably in a haunted building, and during winter."
"A wedding around Christmas or Heero's birthday would be nice, or New Year's Eve."
"Duo is quite Romantic, in the sense of the cultural movement certainly and possibly in the general sense. I do not think I am unromantic, but Duo obviously enjoys romance."
"My idea of what is romantic might be just a little skewed toward things dark."
"He is necromantic."
Duo laughed. "Probably have been at times."
"During the war you were known to use the nickname Shinigami. It has the meaning 'a god of death' or perhaps 'reaper'?"
Duo gave Daniel a look that said 'who lived to tell you that?' but his voice betrayed no annoyance. He laughed and it sounded amused. "'God of Death' works."
"Would you tell us how you came upon that name?"
"There are a number of answers I could give you that might all technically be true. I guess I should say that I do not suppose I see myself as literally being Shinigami so much as I feel the hand of a God in my life and the only wonders I witnessed were the surprising numbers of people dying all around me. The thought that I might be the cause of the death terrified me, so I guessed it would terrify enemy soldiers. A Psychological advantage in battle... well it can mean the other guy dies instead of you! And that's one more reason to associate oneself with the ever present death in the universe."
"And now, do you still feel there are no wonders in the world but for Death?" Daniel asked.
Duo grinned. "If you are asking me today I'll tell you Heero Yuy is my God, because this guy performs wonders. I don't just mean his damned determined way of keeping things from falling on Earth. I know of four or five other guys who might have done that if they'd been handed the rifle. There's this weird synchronicity between us. Like, when I was in that mobile suit crash, my suit fell on a church. I heard that the Church had been evacuated. The preacher had been giving a speech on emergency preparedness that morning and when the alarms went off; those people at Mass were some of the most orderly and fast evacuees anyone could hope for. I saw a church full of dead people once in my life and did not want to see it again, much less be the cause of it. So I was glad to hear the church had not been occupied. Then, I hear that a couple days earlier, Heero had suspected something was up, as Preventer agents he knew were being called off on missions. So, as a concerned citizen, he and his business partner organized a campaign to have all churches in the Colonies talk to their congregations about emergency preparedness. Periodic sermons of this type are common in the Colonies. So, they contacted various churches and quietly suggested they prepare their followers for anything. The eventuality of me falling on church-goers was removed because Heero made some phone calls days before. Other stuff like that has happened. I will find out after the fact that Heero indirectly caused something good to happen for me, but there was never clear knowledge that his actions would serve me in particular. He just magically sends good energies my way."
"I think we are soulmates", Heero said.
"You met in a past life, or you feel in a general way you were destined to be together?" Daniel asked.
"Yes", Heero answered.
"Which is it?"
"I'm not sure I believe in reincarnation right now, but when Heero says it, I kinda feel it's true."
"I have told you so much other personal information, I may as well confess that I have dreams that seem to reveal my past lies. I do not absolutely know that my belief is true but I have a certain amount of faith, I suppose. I have hope."
"Heero, you mentioned earlier that you found you were able to say that you loved Duo before you could say that you were homosexual. Would you identify yourself as being homosexual? And would you say you were ever hesitant to admit it?"
"I am homosexual. I do not think there was a time when I knew this and hesitated to admit it, however, there was a time when I was not certain of my own preference enough to tell anyone what it was. Perhaps if I had a more conventional upbringing I would have just known, but the truth is even after I had passed though puberty physiologically, psychologically I had difficulty thinking of myself in relation to sex at all."
"Ain't is a damn shame someone looking like him being so asexual?"
"You feel this was because of your upbringing?"
"Yes. I had no negative experiences that gave me cause to think sex a bad thing, I simply had no positive experiences either. The adults I associated with were all unattached and not affectionate to others in any way that was visible to me. I had 'net access from a young age but I regarded information about sex as... abstract... or irrelevant. Even when I would attend schools, I did not feel comfortable around others my age. I did not learn dirty jokes, or flirt. It was only after I began living on my own, after I was sixteen, that I even began to think about sex. It is normal for that to happen much earlier, I think."
"You're a quick study, so it's OK." Duo laughed. "Heero understand sex and sexuality very well now. He is sure of his wants in that area."
"I am. Now."
"Was there a time when you thought you might be heterosexual?"
"No. There was a time when I refused to use labels like 'heterosexual' or 'bisexual.' I thought that perhaps people were just attracted to other people and that apparent tendencies toward one gender or another were coincidental. I use to be rather philosophical about it. Now I am more practical about it. I am quite certain that female bodies do not affect me the way male bodies do. I love Duo, but I find some other men quite attractive."
"Looking is all right. Heero and I are agreed on that, I think. We aren't going to get jealous of the other checking out babes."
"Yes, looking is tolerated. I accept that Duo may be looking at girls as well as boys. The only rule I have asked him to follow is not to expect me to watch girl-on-girl porn with him."
Duo did his nervous laugh. "That's how he came out to me."
"By telling you he did not like lesbian porn?"
"I was watching a movie in one of our hotel rooms and at the time, I wasn't sure that he did not find girls interesting. I suggested we watch together. Heero did not seem eager; he seemed upset actually. Took him a little while, but finally he told me. He said that he was homosexual."
"That was the first time I was sure, when I said it to him."
"Can you tell us where you will be moving?" Daniel asked.
"We have not actually found a house yet, but we know we want to buy a house together. On Earth, somewhere where we can have a yard and trees. The dog needs room to run around."
"The dog is often seen with Heero. Is it your dog, Heero?"
"Yes. He used to be Duo's dog, but Duo gave him to me as a gift. His name is Koi. He's a Pharaoh Hound. I understand that someone gave Quatre some puppies and he was not able to care for them all, so he distributed them to friends. Wufei has Koi's sister and she is training as a narc hound."
"Is Koi specially trained for work?"
"Not really. I did not want to train an animal to fight, so Koi has not been trained to attack or guard, though he is naturally alert and senses some sights and sounds before I do. Koi is a pet, my companion animal. But I have encouraged him to use his natural tracking ability and trained him somewhat in search and rescue maneuvers. He would need more training to be licensed as a rescue dog."
"A lot of younger people look up to you both because of your role in the war, how do you feel about that?"
Heero glanced to Duo and then answered first. "I think I really have mixed feelings about that. Some people express a sort of genuine gratitude or respect and at the same time are able to understand that I do not want to be treated like a special person or to be constantly reminded of something that was hard to do. That sort of treatment I like. With children, I sometimes wish they chose another hero, but I understand that they are just too young to fully empathize with my feelings, so I do my best to empathize with them and be kind to them and answer questions if I can. What I dislike are people who act overly excited around me. People who say things like, 'Pleasure to finally meet you!' or, 'Oh My God, it's really Heero!'"
"I don't get recognized so much as Heero, especially if I am in my own Colony. They say Jesus wasn't recognized as the savior in his home town. Ya know, 'He can't be the Messiah, I saw him grow up, he's Joseph's son.' There is some of that Not In My Backyard brand of disbelief. I mean, they do not deny that there was a kid named Duo Maxwell that piloted a Gundam, but they never believe that it's me, standing in front of them. I also get people with the attitude that ability does not make me special. They think, if they had the ability they would have done the same thing, so I'm not particularly brave or heroic, just some kid who has good piloting skills. Somehow, they can't appreciate that."
"So, you are saying that you just do not get recognized."
"Well, if I was at a political function guarding Relena for example, politicians and their guests would come up and tell me how great they thought I was and why I should like their latest project, and not only were they often disgenuine, but they were distracting me, or almost distracting me, from guarding their Foreign Minister. I think that is the kind of treatment Heero gets more often than I do. He gets these overly eager people who are honored to meet the Boy Who Saved the World."
"And Duo gets people who cannot appreciate how much he did to make it possible for us to have peace or for the Earth to be saved. There were a lot more Gundam pilots than most people know. A Romefeller Splinter group made a whole slew of new Gundams about the time we were fighting off attacks from Libra, only they didn't get much press. Citizens stopped their work before the rest of the Sphere could be endangered. And there were those who piloted one of the Gundams for a short period of time. Treize Khushrenada, for example, built Epyon for himself, originally, but I think he decided fighting with it would not be challenging enough for him."
"He might actually have won had he stuck with Epyon." Duo laughed.
"That was not his plan. Anyway, my point is that I get a lot of special treatment, and though I do not want to insult people who are trying to do nice things for me, I feel that there are others who are equally special. And even having this special role in history, we are all still humans. We are people too. This is why I dislike particular sorts of media attention, because it disrupts my ability to just enjoy the peace so many people have worked for in my everyday life."
"As it is, if any of us had kids in the future, we'd have to send them to private schools and assign bodyguards to them, not so much because we feared political plots, but because we'd need to keep reporters away. That would only give fellow students a reason to resent them or else seek part of the attention."
"Or, if any of us did have children, we would have to put them in school under false names. That was my childhood, a series of schools with a series of false IDs and the knowledge that I would always be lying to others, even if they wanted to be my friend and that if my cover was blown I would be moving to the next school. I do not want that life for anyone's child, if it can be helped. Though, I understand that for some people it has become the only practical and viable answer."
"My school was no so bad, because almost everyone there was the child of a politician or a war orphan on a scholarship, so we all understood each other's position. But, not every area is going to have a school like that."
"Are any of you having children?"
Duo did not answer so, Heero said, "We are not having children yet." Let them interpret that as they may, he thought. It was true in that he and Duo were not presently having a child together.
"Red", Duo said.
"Mmmm... I think I'd have to say smoked salmon, on bagels, crackers or over sushi rice."
"It is hard to pick just one. Maybe blini, though it depends what they are served with. Otherwise, I think strawberry ice cream. Or chocolate pocky. When I am working at the computer I end up eating a lot of pocky."
Duo laughed. His fingers pressed Heero's waist in attempt to tickle him. "And then he has to run extra hard to work it off!"
"You eat a lot more greasy junk food than I do! Hamburgers and pizza!"
"Ha ha, I gave up hamburgers. I am practically a vegetarian."
"Are you a vegetarian, Duo?" Daniel asked.
"He wants his body to taste and smell good", Heero answered for him.
"Favorite sexual position?"
Duo chuckled. "Bottom!"
"If I must pick one favorite, I would say six-nine, though Duo receiving is always good."
"Yeah, six-nine is good with Heero. I never knew anyone else who could persuade me to want to do it with them so much."
"You needed persuading?"
"Ya know how they say the brain is the most important sex organ? It's like I'm an eighteen-year-old guy, it doesn't take much to convince me, but when Heero wants to try something, he may start to explain to me why he does, and it will sound so good the way he puts it that I will be begging him to try it."
"That is always fun, hearing Duo beg for something that I wanted in the first place."
"You are saying that he stimulates your mind?" Daniel asked.
"Duo does the same. He is not just a pretty face and a great body. He is highly intelligent. And he is funny too. Sometimes humor is sexy or it helps relieve tension, although, there are some things you would not want a lover to laugh at."
"Heero has no worries there. I mean if he gets undressed laughing is not what I feel like doing. Maybe a couple times something he did made me laugh. He can be a little too focused and intense sometimes."
"I do not see how my focus is a bad thing."
Duo laughed, because he knew what Heero was talking about. Duo whispered to Daniel, "He has this off-the-chart ratio of hits to misses."
"Maybes! You are going to give away all our secrets!"