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

Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
Chapter 89

Duo had selected of all things Gonin Team: The Movie: Super Gonin Space Force. The Characters and Mech had been slightly redesigned, or rather, those responsible for the animation had more accurately captured Shizen's original characters designs and the pilots had all acquired new mecha through some plot point of the movie, so that the scenes all looked quite different from the television series or the various original video releases. Duo proceeded to explain to Heero the movie plot, with its extensive use of flashbacks to time periods before during and after the TV series, and what Heero should know and consider absolutely canon if he was going to converse with anyone about Gonin Team.

Heero pretended to only half listen. He always listened to Duo, though he sometimes found it advantageous to pretend he did not. He said, "mm", and "aa", and continued playing with Duo's hair.

Duo owned various brushes and combs, but Heero was using the wooden pet brush on his hair, smoothing it, and separating it into two sections. Duo had already seen the baubles Heero had removed from the box containing his schoolgirl costume, so he likely knew Heero planned on giving him pigtails.

Heero saved all of the costumes and kept them neatly boxed along with all the related undergarments, accessories and cosmetics.

Duo was still talking, saying something about the character Blaec not actually being seen eating or drinking a lot in the series, or in the movie, but for some reason in fanfics, he was often portrayed as eating a lot or in large portions, and this was thus entirely `fanon'.

"Aa", Heero said and continued brushing the left section of Duo's hair. He knew that Duo would not wish to be caught dead wearing pigtails in public, but this was partly why Heero had decided on this style. The other factors included that the style seemed easy enough to create and that it seemed something so very cute that Heero would be amused to see it on his pet. He really was impressed that Duo sat still and allowed him to arrange his hair.

Heero considered that the sensation of the hair brushing, occasional pulls and tangles aside, was soothing or pleasurable to Duo. Yet, he was decided that the well behaved stillness had more to do with the fact that Heero had provided tasks and entertainment to keep Duo occupied and in one place. He had told Duo that his current domestic chore should be inventorying all their combined collection, which was mainly Duos, of restraints, implements of pleasure or punishment and sundry sex toys and afterward cleaning all the toys as per manufacturer recommendations and then sorting the collection into logical categories and putting them away in plastic boxes they had emptied in unpacking. Duo was also to wash the plastic containers as well and find a suitable temporary location for the boxes, until their new bedroom was constructed.

Duo was working, but slowly, because as he looked at each item Heero had helped him draw together from the various boxes, crates, bags and trunks they had packed in, he invariably had some anecdote to tell or some comment to make. Heero did not mind the slowness, as it only gave him more time sitting with Duo, doing nothing stressful at all.

"And Captain Pike was named after a fish too, only you see, not all the alien characters were named after fish in one language. Sometimes people debate the system online, but it's like, if you take a French word and transliterate into Japanese and then retransliterate into English subtitles or whatever, it might not even look like the French word anymore, but all the alien characters are named for fish in some way."

"Captain Pike was a Start Trek Character as well."


"Yes. I believe he was Kirk's predecessor."

"Oh. People used to write fanfiction about that series a long time ago, didn't they?"

"Did they?"

"Well, I only vaguely know of the series, that it was roughly contemporary with Star Wars, but I've heard girls say `as old as Kirk-Slash-Spock'."

"Kirk and Spock? Seriously?"

"I'm telling you, it has nothing to do with canon. They don't even need canon hints to want to pair characters in smutty fanfics."

Heero laughed. "But, it does not seem logical…"

"I know!"

"But Spock…" What would be the logic in it. Well, he was half human, so he did not always have so much control over his emotions as he seemed, but still…there were so many available females for Kirk to have that there was no logical reason to do it only for his sake. And if It was for Spock's sake…? Maybe if he was undergoing Pon Farr, but then it would have nothing to do with logic and…hmmn. It just did not seem logical, unless Spock liked being bottom. Spock liked getting fucked. Heero laughed.

"Christ! Are you thinking about these Kirk and Spock guys?"

"Sorry." Heero swept Duo's hair up into his other hand to begin the left pigtail.

"I bought this one for you", Duo said.

Heero looked over Duo's shoulder and saw the silicon dildo in his hand. "You did?"

"You don't remember?" Duo sounded disappointed.

"I remember there was an occasion where you used one, two actually, but I do not remember a purchase."

Duo sighed. "That's this one. I bought two different sizes, when you were not with me, before we went to Paris. I bought them special, in case you would let me use them, and you did."

"Oh. Do you think we should separate the ones that have been used on me from the others?"

"All the ones I have are for use on me, not on others."

"You said some were gifts."

"I did say that", Duo answered slowly.

"Why would they buy you sex toys to use on yourself?"

"Because, they didn't."

"They bought them to use on you?"

"You can't really want to know about this."

"Duo. Duo-chan, I am aware that you had friends with various privileges and you had sex partners and dumbfucks and I even have understood from your clues that you had a few older wealthier companions who gave you presents in exchange for your time. I know. If I am asking, it is all right to talk about it. I do not wish to learn their names, but thus far, I think I have learned the names of three or four people you previously had sex with, so as long as you try to be respectful in the way you give your answers, I will deal with the information well enough."

Duo made some annoyed sound, but it might have been for the way Heero snapped the bauble closed around his pigtail, as much as the words. "Although many kinds of sex toys can be cleaned and shared, it is safest not to share, and I preferred not to share, and so if I was seeing someone who was interested in playing with toys, I told them they would have to buy one just for me and let me keep it, or I would not play. So, that is why I have so many. I used them with different people."

"Were a lot of them women?"


"But if it was a guy, could he not just fuck you himself? Why would he need the toy?"

"It's not really so much need. Sometimes it's more about the control, or stretching up without having to use fingers, or about watching. Some of these people, I mean, particular ones, I…"

"You what?"

"Well, I was just going to say…maybe it's OK to tell you this, because maybe it is important for you to know. I mean, not about the lovers or who bought me gifts, but…you see, I had different ways of meeting people, and some I just randomly met at a club while dancing, and some was in a way guild related, and some amount I met going to fetish events and clubs. You know, at some point, I realized that the bondage worked and some amount of pain or punishment worked, and I basically experimented with that for a while."

"You went to fetish clubs."

"Yeah, and though Hilde could be amused with some light bondage play and smacking around, she's not really a devotee, if you will. So, it wasn't like I showed up with a partner. I was young and infamous and pretty and looking to be dominated, so I was pretty popular. I mean, there's people who won't play with you if they think you are new or untrained, but there's others who get off on training new subs as well. Anyway, a lot of this collection is really from that time, from those same partners. So, I guess the answer to your question before, is that the usual dumbfucks didn't use the toys at all, male or female. It was, for me anyway, mostly a fetish thing. I learned a lot of games and tricks then, Heero. Some of it, you have never tried or maybe thought of. If you wanted to know, I would tell you, because I am yours now. It's OK if you don't want to know. It's not like I need to do all those things, but if you were interested, I probably could tell you a lot that I have not told you yet."

"Was Christie there?"

"Yes, but I did not meet her there. I met her through other guild associates, but she did tell me how to find some of the events."

"Did she train you?"

"Yes. She was one of those who trained me. Well, I should probably say, tried. I would take punishments and restraint well enough, but I never actually gained discipline. I never actually became very submissive to anyone, and in fact I ended up playing Dom to certain people. I was good practice for Christie, because she was still in training to be a professional Dominatrix, when I first met her. I would let her try out all the various implements on me."

"And then you fucked her?"


"Duo, I do not think I really control you. I think that you like me and so you control yourself willingly when I am the one making demands."

"Well, that's all control ever is, as far as submission goes, isn't it? Otherwise, it's not that they're submitting, it's just that they are being forced. There is a big difference, although it may appear subtle to some. I submit to you. Sometimes, your reason to chose to submit could be a kind of fear, but that didn't happen with me, well, except for the fear of disappointing, but you know what I mean."

"You did not actually fear the beatings."

"Yeah. So, does it matter if I submit because I like you more or because you are more or less forceful or because you know me better and how I think? I submit to you and I don't to others."

"I understand, but then, do you need punishment really?"

"That is for you to decide. If you want me to submit more or in a different way than I have already, or if I do not perform a task to your satisfaction, you must communicate to me that you are disappointed and unsatisfied."

"But if I only tell you, will you want to change?"

"Sometimes scolding is enough. Heero, if you don't think it should be physical, it doesn't have to me. I mean, a lot of people are against beating their children, but they'll still send them alone to their room or sit them on a step or in a corner and feel OK. Which is worse? Being smacked around a bit, or being isolated in some way?"

"That depends on the one who is being punished and their experience."


"Isolation does seem punishment to you, but it is very harsh for you. It is, something you fear very much, and for anyone to use isolation regularly to control you, without serious consideration and sound psychological theory might damage you. You feared torture and imprisonment, but gradually, you are dealing with those fears. A physical punishment is almost like a reward for you. It still hurts, but psychologically, it is comforting."

"Because pain, when given as punishment, is part of a known control system, and if one believes in the system and in the one controlling that system, than even the punishment is comforting, because they are reminded that there is someone or some force there that holds control. The one who is punished is comforted by the punishment, even as they understand that it is punishment for disobedience or failure. If pain is give without known reason or without system of control, then it is just pain. Even torture as a prisoner of war comes under some known system of control. The prisoner understands why it happens."

"And to have someone suggest that it was pointless and unnecessary is disturbing."


Heero had suggested that before. He snapped the bauble around the right pigtail and was finished arranging Duo's hair. "Duo. I need to leave you alone for a little while."

"What?" There was already stress in his voice.

"I understand very well that the physical punishment allows you to let go and feel better, and if you feel comforted by that, I can give you that for any reason I want, but as serious punishment, it does not work that well. Restraint punishes you more. Isolation will punish you even more than restraint. You are so good to me and so I often give you rewards and pamper you, but you know that sometimes you misbehave and deserve punishment. It is not right to simply take away punishment because you are good later. The punishment and reward are separate. I am going to leave you alone for a while. I will make it easy this time. You can keep the movie on and I will not put you in further restraints. All you have to do is stay in this room by yourself. I will leave, I will take the phones and I will keep the dogs out. If you try to leave, if you use the computer for anything other than watching the movie, if you take down your hair, I will come up with a more severe punishment for you. Understand?"

"But Heero!"

"Do you understand?"

"It's not right!"

"Do you understand the rules I have made for you?"

Duo's brow furrowed. "Yes", he said.

"I will return when your punishment is over, and then we can do things together again."

"Heero", he whispered.

Heero shook his head. He gathered up the phones and called the dogs, and left as he had promised.

Duo watched him go, and when Heero closed the doors between the dining room and the addition, he reached to the wall and switched off the lights so that in the bedroom Duo would only see a reflection on the panes of glass in the doors.

Heero then sat down in the living room and waited. Fairly soon Duo switched off the lights in the bedroom, in an attempt to see Heero through the glass, but Heero lay down behind the arm of the couch and ignored him.

Maybe five minutes, Heero thought. He should not be gone too long, but then, he wanted to be gone long enough that Duo felt punished. For a normal person being in that room alone for five minutes would probably be fun. It was not like Heero had left him in an empty cell. But knowing that it was intended as punishment would punish Duo. It was the knowledge that would do it.

When Heero returned to the bedroom five minutes later it was lit only by the glow of the monitor. He could see Duo lying on his side, watching the movie. Duo had found ever piece of his blue velvet bondage gear and put it on, and he was clutching Bomb Bear to his chest. For a moment, just as Heero opened the door, he could still hear Duo reciting the lines of dialogue from the movie, which he had obviously memorized.

He really did fear being alone. He had programmed a companion to speak to him when he was otherwise alone in his software lab. He had taken Nu with him when he went to the garage. He most always carried his phone with him. He was very social and physically affectionate. Duo really hated being alone. Heero thought it was going to be good if he could teach Duo to overcome his fear. He did not wish to be cruel, but if he had to use all his persuasion to make Duo face his fear a little at a time, he would. Duo would be better for it.

"I am back", Heero said. "Give Nu a hug, he missed you." Heero nudged the Husky toward Duo.

Duo sat slowly and dropped the bear to his lap, so that it hid his dick, and put his arms around the dog when it came to him. He put his face to Nu's furry neck and whispered to the dog. "Good Boy," Heero heard him say, "did ya miss me? It's OK. I'm here."

Heero went to the bed, still naked himself, and sat at Duo's back. He touched his fingertips to Duo's shoulder and Duo arched then went still. "I am proud of you", Heero said. "You took your punishment well. It is over now. I am here."

Duo did not move.

Heero kissed his shoulder then. "Duo."


He would do anything. He would do anything Heero wanted if it involved touching. Heero decided, he better not abuse this knowledge or condition. His plan involved an entire night of working toward peeks of pleasure, with short breaks in between, culminating in really amazing sex. "I am not sorry. I punished you because you needed it. I am here now."

Duo's breathing was irregular, like he was aroused. Heero slipped a hand around Duo's waist and between his legs and confirmed his suspicion. How many times today, Heero wondered. He rolled his thumb over the head of Duo's dick.

"Duo, please massage my feet." Heero shifted position to wrap his left leg around Duo and thus offer his foot, without asking Duo to move. "I will massage you next, if you like."

"I sorted all the toys," Duo said, but he began to rub Heero's foot.

"I am going to get rid of most of them", Heero said.

"I understand."

"Save the inventory list for me. If you are good, I will buy you all new toys. If you know some reliable brands or suppliers, please add those notes to the inventory. That would be helpful information."

"Yes, Heero."

Heero lay his cheek to Duo's back and wrapped his arms about Duo's chest. Duo gave excellent foot rubs. "I love you!" Heero said.

"Yes, Heero", Duo said, and then he laughed. When Heero heard that laugh, he knew this was the same Duo he had always known. He was not broken or demoralized, not permanently or severely anyway. He was only submitting because he chose to. After all the competition, Duo just chose to be the one to surrender; Heero loved him so much.

"You are so cute in pigtails!"

"If you so much as answer your phone with me in the background…" Duo warned.

Heero snaked his hand up Duo's body and gave the ring through his right nipple a tug. "You will choose not to submit to my will and force me to punish you again?"

"Heero." That tone was not submissive at all.

He almost called him `Duo-chan' bought thought better of it. "Duo. Duo, I was teasing. I take our arrangement and all its bonds of trust seriously. I would never attempt to truly harm you, because I do love you and I want you to be happy, too. I do not even want anyone else to see. It is just for me."

Duo's voice was soft again; no Shinigami coldness of space. "I am happy, just not about the possibility of any of the guys seeing me like this." He took one hand from Heero's foot to swat the rightmost pigtail. He whispered then. "It is OK for you to do it."

"That feels so good!" Heero told Duo, and was certain that Duo would understand, he did not only mean the way he rubbed his foot. Not really saying it enabled them both to save face a bit, and not openly admit how pathetically sappy they were.

It was not that emotions were bad, everyone had them, but maybe it was just that even though he had been told it was good to act on one's emotions, he could not rid himself of all the other instruction and cultural examples in his life that said otherwise. Emotions are not bad, everyone has them, but do not show them carelessly, or you will be considered weak.

"Duo, did you know I meant not only the way my foot felt."

"I knew", Duo said quickly.


"You can tell me anything, Heero." He loosed Heero's left foot and reached back for the right, and as he did, his left hand rubbed Heero's left thigh and knee in a way that was much more comforting than sexual. Heero was grateful for it. "You do remember? Just because I am your wonderfully submissive live-in boyfriend, does not mean that you lost your best buddy. I'm still that guy too, you know, with the spilling guts when sober."

Heero smiled at the way Duo said it, but he knew. "Do you…or rather, I mean, I think that there was a period of time when `Battle fatigue' described exactly how I felt, and maybe I have PTSD or something like it…"

"Yeah, and? I take anti-depressants. So what."

"Well, I was not trying to say that having a disorder was good or bad or anyone's fault. Only, it is true. I have something going on inside me that maybe was not there all my life, that maybe grew with all the fighting and killing."

"You do", Duo said quietly, "I know. I've seen it. How can I help you right now?"

"Do I…? You see, I have to ask you, because I am not certain I can always judge this objectively. Do I have or I mean, express too much or too little emotion?"

Duo was silent for a moment and his thumbs dug into the sole of Heero's right foot particularly forcefully; Heero suspected Duo was smiling and suppressing laughter. He supposed he appreciated that Duo chose not to express his amusement. Heero knew it sounded like a stupid question, but he only asked because he did not know.

"Heero, I don't think I can just make some quantitative judgment there. I don't think that with emotions it's exactly a too much/too little thing. It's more when and how. It's if you do express what matters in some way. But, though I took on psych class and read some books about affective disorders, I'm not really an expert. I mean, maybe what you are really asking, or wondering is if the amount you express emotions is seen as strong or weak, and that's one of those things that is relative to the context and cultural background of those involved. I believe you are a strong person. I mean, apart from being able to bend steal bars and even small pieces of gundanium with only a sprained wrist as result, you have strength of character.

"That strength that you have is even greater than your physical strength. You are a good person, and even if, like any person, you can be led along some dark path for a while and cause pain, or make mistakes and generally cause `human error', you have the ability and strength to recognize that you have erred and then seek out your own punishment, or atonement. You are a person who understands that sometimes the strongest thing you can do is fight, sometimes the very strongest thing you can do is surrender, and other times the strongest thing you can do is admit that you cannot succeed alone and to ask for help.

"Heero, if you told me aloud in public every five minutes that you loved me, you would still be that strong person. If you kissed me in front of someone, or glomped Quatre one day or if you wear a skirt, or worry that the dogs do not have enough water, you will still be strong and good."

Heero felt like his insides were being squeezed and the pressure was forcing liquid to well in his eyes.

"And if anyone ever denied that you were strong and good or tried to attack you, I would defend you, if it means I fight, or I stand and take a beating, I would defend you, always!"

Heero blinked rapidly and saw the blurry shape of Duo turn. He felt Duo shift in his arms and then he felt Duo's arms wrap around him. No sniffling or blubbering, but Heero could not help the tears. Duo had made him cry; he had felt the full force of what he had only acknowledged as the truth before. Duo absolutely loved him. Duo knew him, and he loved him. A long clove-scented pigtail fell against his face as he embraced Duo.

"I love you so much." Heero was certain his voice resonated with all his emotion.

Duo's did. "Heero."

"I love you", Heero whispered.

Duo clutched Heero all the more strongly. His words rasped from a tightened throat. "Heero. I never thought I could have someone with me, like this. Every time I felt loved…"

"I know."

"I need this", Duo said, and though the sounds qualified as sobbing, Heero still thought him strong. "God, Heero, I need this. I need you!"

"It's because we are human", Heero said quietly. He lifted his hands to feel for the baubles holding Duo's hair and let it down. "It is OK. We are human. We both needed to feel loved, and since we do not have big families living to love us, we have to give each other a lot of love."

Duo put a slight distance between them and sat before Heero, with his head bowed, his hands on Heero's arms. "Heero, if you were not acting yourself, if I ever suspected a disorder controlled you, instead of you controlling the disorder, I would do something to help you or get you help. I know you would do the same for me."

"I would", Heero whispered.

"This is not like that." He raised his head slightly and moved his right hand slowly, to touch his fingers to Heero's face, where it was wet with tears. "You really love me."

"You really love me."

Duo kissed him. It was strange. That was, Heero decided, because rather than the usual love mixed with a righteous amount of lust, it was just the love. Heero smiled at Duo as they parted and then returned the kiss. All the love.

"Baby," Duo said, his voice no longer quite so overwhelmed by emotion, but still expressing a great deal of fondness, "if you want to do sappy shit and tell me you love me forty-eight times a day, I'll handle it, could probably use it after the life I've had, but if you want to just glare and say, `hn' and let me translate to know you love me, that's kewl, too."


"I know", Duo said, and in Han Solo fashion, that also meant, `I love you'.

"Duo, would you like to go outside with me?"


"Well," Heero started, and hesitated because he had not expected Duo's response, "on Earth, you can go outside to get fresh air."

Duo laughed. "I guess you can."

Heero touched his tear-streaked face. "I need some fresh air, and we do have a yard."

"OK. You wanna get dressed?"

"We have a fence, but some clothing would probably be a good idea."

"Yeah. You and I know the kind of technology they have in the Colonies. They could get photos of us frolicking naked in the yard before Earth Paparazzi managed to get past the gate."

"If parties with such technology were really interested in getting nude pictures of us, we would have us much to fear from Earth- launched drone planes and orbital imaging satellites. I was more concerned with neighbors being offended should they see us from one of the higher windows on their house."

"Right." Duo laughed.

Heero had an impulse to wear something of Duo's, so he left their bed and went to the area taken over by Duo's wardrobe. He found one of Duo's long black skirts, as he apparently owned a number of them, and pulled it on, as Duo watched, confused.

Duo shrugged and then looked through Heero's clothing. Apart from the mainstays of his wardrobe, which included things Heero believed versatile and classic, such as jeans, solid color tees, dark slacks and athletic gear for athletic activity, he did have a few articles of clothing he had collected during his travels, and Duo found one. The pink t-shirt with illustration of art deco buildings and palm trees with the name `Miami' on it was snug on him, but somehow, on Duo, it looked purposeful fashion statement rather than just too small. Heero retaliated by pulling on his Flying Monks gym shirt, which had been Duo's, as it was old enough to fit as snugly on his body. After that, Duo could not very well out do him, because Heero's pants did not fit him. Duo wore some of his own that seemed to be made as pajama pants; Heero had not seen them before.

"Maybe I could order a garment rack."

"No, I'll handle it", Duo said, meaning, Heero thought, that he realized he had told Heero he would take care of getting vehicles for the move to Earth, and that he knew buying them in parts and not having completed one yet was an inconvenience. Heero had never owned a car or any vehicle before. He had not really considered any of the mobile suits, even the Gundams as belonging to him, only that he was the designated pilot of each for a time. It was only inconvenient because they had a house and were discovering that two people did need a lot of things to live comfortably.

They would survive, but it would be convenient to have a vehicle to drive downtown and some small kitchen appliances and a place to hang clothing, other than the very small closet accessible from the hall. They had two bedrooms with closets, but these were partially demolished as walls and closets had to be repositioned to accommodate the new stairs to the second floor addition.

Heero stepped into an old pair of boots without socks and went to the door that led to the backyard. Duo called to Nu before following. Heero only patted his leg and Koi came to his side.

The area immediately behind the house was not very pleasant to look at, what landscaping had remained from previous owners had been uprooted or at the least strained by the presence of machinery, construction stockpiles and ladders abandoned for the weekend. The temporary cover of tarp and plastic sheeting over the stripped section of the house fluttered slightly in a breeze coming off the nearby lake, or off the ocean less than a mile to the west. It was hard to say exactly, as the air always smelled something of the sea. Sea and evergreens.

The wooded parts of the yard were untouched by construction. It had rained once already since the pavers had completed the drive and basketball court, so there was no obvious sign of new construction there, except for the ribbon of black asphalt running into the woods and through to the second entrance to the double lot the house and garage were built on. Heero had been away for the rain.

He wanted the construction to be completed, though he knew it would take some months, and then he wanted to see it rain through the windows, from inside the house. He wanted to see it snow. He hoped it would snow, though rain was said to be more common for the area. The mountains visible over the roof of plastic sheeting, to the east, had snowcaps even in summer.

"I'm going to learn to climb trees!"

Heero laughed. "In your spare time?"

"Eventually", Duo insisted. "Once the house is finished, I guess we'll have landscaping to do."

Heero nodded. He saw the dogs chase each other playfully into the trees. "Maybe we will have the estate just as we like it by the time you graduate from university."

"Yeah, and maybe I'll have my kid running around here when he's on break from school. We might need to invest in a tree house."

"Tree house."

"Yeah, a little secret base built up in a tree for kids to play in."

"Sounds dangerous."

"Probably is. I hear kids love them."

"Maybe we should have a tree house now, just for us."

Duo grinned. "Sure, and maybe an outdoor hot tub, and a gazebo and a tea house and a patio out behind the garage for barbequing and some dog houses and, I don't know, a firing range."

"There might be zoning against a firing range."

"Hell, I'll soundproof a section of the garage."

"I might like that."

"Yeah. We'll just have to keep everything locked up."

"From children."


"I will never feel rich again."

Duo snorted, his way of communicating disbelief.

"I know that I did end up owning some things of value and businesses, but it takes a lot of money to keep those businesses operating. So much goes back into them."

"Yeah, but are you telling me you don't get some fat auto deposit into your account at least once a month and a good amount of money whenever you and Midii complete one of your assignments?"

"Well, I do, but let's remember, I also have a share in a mortgage, and construction contracts to settle, and now it seems many future construction contracts. And there are regular bills and taxes related to owning and operating this property, and I need to set aside money to take you away on holidays and buy you gifts and just get groceries."

"Vacations, and I am sharing in paying all those bills and stuff, I'll buy you gifts."

"No doubt, you are turning out to be an excellent boyfriend, but, let us understand something, I know you will have a child in the future, and even if her pride leads her to insist she does not need you, Hilde will certainly realize that even if she does not `need' you she can `use' your financial assistance. Besides, you are going to be paying off student loans. Duo, it was true that I felt I would not be `rich', but if I can afford to pay a larger portion of some bills in some months, then I can. And before you insist on fair sharing, let's consider that your work and school will not only leave you with all sorts of incidental and commuting costs, but it will take you away from the house a lot of the time. It is our house, so the mortgage payment should be halved, but you really will not be consuming 50 percent of the food or electricity or water. And, you should let me pay a larger share of our vacation costs, because I want to."

"Why'd you complain about not feeling rich and then go say I should let you spend money on me?"

"I-I am sorry. That might have sounded manipulative, like a `guilt trip'. I really was not intending it that way."

"Look, I don't want to just agree. If there's some particular month where I can't cover a payment for something, then I'll ask you about helping me, until I pay you back, and if you have to decline, I'll ask someone else. I don't have problems with asking for money. Sometimes, it's just what you have to do. I lost that kind of pride a long time ago, and don't really miss it. Still, I'm no deadbeat. I pay as much as I can when I have the money, and finagle the rest of the time. I don't want us to suddenly have fights about money because we started sharing a house. I got loans for the house and school, but that only means I have to pay later. You don't know that I won't be able to. I might do something before then to make a lot of money. And I do work."

"You do. Two jobs even. I will just do my best to manage my assets wisely so I can cover my share of expenses. But, you should let me pay for vacations. It can be like dating rules."

"Sure, but maybe sometime I'll pay for a vacation."

"OK, but then you have to plan it and invite me to join you."

"Fair. Fair."

"Glad we worked that out."

Duo breathed deeply. "The air does seem fresher here."


"I bet if we hid behind the right trees the neighbors could not even see us."

"That is a possibility."

"I would like to just nail you to a tree one time."

Heero smiled. "You want to get nailed."

"Oh, I'd love a repeat of that, but at least once, I'd like to do it to you."

Heero nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "I might give you that opportunity, in the future. I will definitely keep that desire of yours in mind. It would not be like the park. There is wild flora and fauna here. Insects."

"Yeah, but other people do it, out in nature. Don't you want to try?"

"In the future. I was thinking of the bed tonight."

"Bed would be good."

"So, wash up, have a nice dinner, and then go back to bed?"

"Ya know… we could probably play a video game after dinner, and then go to bed."

Heero smiled, a lot. "I almost finished setting things up. If I help you start fixing dinner, then you can finish, while I set up the game systems! Then after dinner we can play."

"And after we play, we can play!"

"Mm, I was thinking slow and deep with you all trussed up."

"Could you wait to talk dirty until after dinner?"

Heero gave Duo a sidelong glare. "Who was it who spoke of nailing me to a tree?"

Duo looked shocked, and then very happy, because he knew Heero had liked his idea.

Heero smiled at him. "Let's get the dogs and go inside."

"Koi! Nu! Come on Boys! Faster you get here, the faster your Daddy gets some!"

Oh yes, thought Heero, Duo was going to make a great father.

That night, after their lengthy lovemaking session, Duo failed to take Heero's well-meant advice, or even his own, and went to the garage to work, rather than take a bath, get some sleep, or wait fifteen minutes for Heero to be awake enough to give him the massage he had promised earlier.

Heero was annoyed that Duo left the bed to work, so even though he knew Duo was stubborn enough not to stop working until he finished his project and helping him would enable Duo to get to sleep faster, Heero decided he would just go to sleep and do what he could for Duo in the morning. Maybe Duo would learn that making a custom barbeque grill from salvaged scrap metal was not a life or death mission.

The dogs went with Duo, both of them. Koi was Heero's dog, but Heero was aware that Koi was either a forgiving or masochistic animal, illogical as either option sounded, and perhaps even understood that his Master wished for Duo's well being, and sometimes would put himself close to Duo, if he sensed Duo needed help. It was actually a bad sign if Koi made himself Duo's shadow, like spotting vultures circling. Duo was likely going to need help.

Heero slept, had one nightmare that he was aware of, though he did not remember the details when he woke, only that there had been something bad he had not been able to prevent, and put himself back to sleep. He cursed himself and Duo and Koi as well, that he had to lie in the dark and count himself to sleep, fearing that some vision of death would take his mind again.

Heero woke in the morning, having slept a total of seven hours. He thought about the type of clothing he might wear to meet neighbors, put together an outfit, and then went to the bathroom to wash.

Heero felt much better after washing and bathing, and after dressing, he called Duo's phone. It rang several times and then Heero heard Duo's voice shout over background noise of metal on metal and bass-heavy music. "I'm almost done! I'll send the dogs out, all right?"

"Come in soon and get some rest."

Heero went to the front door. He stepped out onto the steps, under the arbor. The vines growing over it would need tending when the construction equipment had been moved. He saw one of the doors open and the dogs pad out onto the drive. If Duo was there, Heero had not seen him.

He called to the dogs and they came to him. Heero pet them both and looked them over, deciding he would give the dogs a bath.

Heero changed out of his casual party outfit into another, so he would not later show up smelling of dog. Koi was accustomed to showering, but Nu was not and Heero had to restrain the dog on his leash in order to wash him. Heero toweled the dogs dry and realized Duo had not done the laundry.

Heero gathered all their dirty laundry, including the bed sheets used up until that morning and put it in a plastic crate near the wash closet.

When he had finished brushing out Koi and Nu's fur, Heero freshened up, changed into his party outfit again, and went to the kitchen. He supposed that whether Duo finished the grill or not, assuming the grill was what he was working on, they should have something to bring to their hosts. If Duo did finish the grill, they would need suitable meat to barbeque.

Heero brought his mobile into the kitchen and stood doing research as he contemplated food he might prepare for a cook out. A search for `authentic barbeque recipe' brought up a google of hits, including `authentic Thai barbeque', `authentic Carolina barbeque', `authentic Texas barbeque', `authentic Argentinean barbeque', `authentic Jamaican barbeque' and so on. Heero scanned the recipes and then went to the online grocery service he had used before. He selected the items that had most frequently or notably appeared in barbeque sauce recipes and a selection of cuts of meat that seemed affordable and commonly barbequed. They had various bags of charcoal and wood pellets for grilling and barbequing and some were even on sale, so Heero selected some of the charcoal and wood pellets.

There was a loud motorized sound coming from the back of the house and Heero peered through the window to see Duo brandishing a chain saw over the pile of trunks and branches they had cleared for the sake of the house. Heero laughed softly to himself. "You had better let me see you enjoy Labor Day, Maxwell, or I will really make you feel sorry for leaving me alone in bed."

Heero went through the check out and noted the time the goods would be delivered. He would have to call and say they would arrive after the start of the party. Heero completed his shopping and then went to the living room to find the cook out invitation. He called Mitchie's number using his phone and hoped it was not too early to call a neighbor on a holiday. Then he thought that the hosts of a party probably had to be awake early to make preparations.

It was not Mitchie that answered the phone. The broader woman, as Mitchie was quite slender, said, "Hello."

"Hello. This is Heero. I received an invitation from Mitchie."

She turned from the lens. He heard her say, "It's Heero calling", though her voice was muffled slightly by the fact that vidphone mics were designed to pick up speak directed toward them. "Do you need to speak with her?" she asked Heero then.

"It is about the cook out. Are you Candy?"

"Yeah." She laughed, but did not really sound highly amused. "I didn't say, did I. I am Candy. Nice to meet you."

"A pleasure", Heero said automatically. "I just wanted to call to say that Duo and I plan on attending, but we may not arrive until 3 or sometime shortly after that, if that is acceptable."

"Oh, sure, sure. We would be glad to have you. We are doing things very open house and some people will arrive early on for lunch and leave and others will not arrive until later and have dinner. We will probably have some kind of desserts later."

"Thank you for the information. Can you tell me if there is anything we can bring?"

"Anything he can bring?" Candy asked Mitchie.

Mitchie appeared on the small screen, similar in coloring to Candy, with light skin, but dark hair and eyes, only smaller, more slender, and with different enough facial features that they definitely seemed lovers and not relatives. "We are preparing plenty of food ourselves, but if you want to bring a dessert or snack or you are particular about what you eat and want to be sure to have something you can eat, then please bring whatever you like. Trisha is vegetarian so she always brings some veggie burgers, though we try to accommodate all our friends and neighbors if we can."

"Thank you. Perhaps we will bring something. See you later."

"Bye," Mitchie said.

Heero disconnected.

The noise outside had stopped and Heero saw Duo carrying some wood toward the garage. Perhaps he really had finished constructing a grill of some kind.

Heero spent the later part of the morning in the kitchen making rice balls to take to the cook out. At approximately 11:20 am Duo walked in the front door, staggered to the couch and flopped down. He said something that sounded like, "was gonna builda t'chamber S`ker, Buddha got tired an' builda wood-burn'grill instead." Heero went to the living room to ask Duo what he was talking about, but he was already asleep.

Heero completed preparations on the rice balls and washed his hands. He went to the bedroom then and picked out an outfit for Duo to wear. He suspected Duo might complain about this, but he would have a limited amount of time to get ready before they had to leave the house.

While Duo slept, Heero took a trash bag into the bedroom and put into it all the sex toys he did not wish Duo to keep. Heero picked out a few things he wanted them to keep. Some of these were things Duo had made himself that had not been designed as restraints, there were some wooden massagers that Heero was certain he could use to give Duo new anecdotes, and then a small selection of the leather or hair implements, such as cats, crops, floggers and the like. Heero decided to keep the small number of implements of torture because he had learned that Duo had purchased these himself and that they were of such a make and quality that they were expensive to acquire or replace. The restraints, masks and related items all went into the trash bag with the various dildos, no matter their quality or condition. Heero did leave Duo the various lengths of cord, ribbon and scarves he sometimes used as restraints, because they were such common items and Heero had already used some several times, but Heero did empty Bomb Bear of all the expired or nearly expired prophylactics he could find, as well as some containers of lube that just looked old or nearly used up.

In the time remaining, Heero did his best to straighten up the bedroom, but their large amount of clothes and personal items still caused it to look cluttered. He did put clean sheets on the bed.

At 2:16 the grocery delivery arrived. Heero supervised the unpacking and then saw the delivery person out. He woke Duo at 2:30pm.

"No", Duo said.

"Wake up. It is almost time to go see the neighbors." Heero gave Duo a shove and then as he saw Duo wake and open his eyes, he offered the pills and bottled water. Duo accepted the water and then went to the bathroom, where he would find the clothes Heero had selected waiting.

Heero harnessed and leashed the dogs and packed the foodstuffs they would take to the neighbors in one of the plastic packing boxes, except for the meat. Duo was out of the shower and dressed by 2:45. He nearly tripped over the trash bag of sex toys in the dining room and looked dazed when Heero asked if he had in fact finished a grill and did he want to decide what meat to cook on it. Heero had to repeat his question.

"Uh, I wasn't even thinking", Duo admitted, realizing that they would not have had anything to cook if Heero had not bought something. "Ribs, I guess."

"Do you need charcoal or wood chips for it?"

"Wood chips might be good. The way I built it, I could use charcoal along with wood pellets to get the smoky flavor, or I could actually put wood in it. I think I'm going to build a separate firebox sometime and rig valves or something, so I can convert to a 2 chamber smoker instead of just the grill."

This information was so outside of Heero's area of knowledge that he simply nodded dumbly. He understood what a grill was and that they used various sources of heat or flame, but he was not more knowledgeable than that.

Heero put the ribs into the box as Duo went back into the bedroom. He changed his jewelry and found his sunglasses. He wore the motorcycle boots, black jeans and band tee that Heero had chosen, but he also wore one blue velvet bondage cuff on his left wrist, and the Dartmoor Claddagh, which he would remove only for such tasks that might dirty or damage the ring and return to his finger afterward. Heero touched the ring hanging from the chain around his neck.

"You really did get rid of most of it", Duo said.

Heero realized he meant the sex toys. "Yes. I did decide to get rid of them. You should still clean and neatly store the things that remain, when you get a chance. You should take the trash bag out for pick up tomorrow, early in the morning. And, there is the laundry to do. I collected it for you."

"I'll get to that tonight", Duo sighed.

"You could have taken the muscle relaxers."

"I'm OK, Heero. Maybe a bit tired…"

"I was not happy that you left last night and did not come to bed. It is not the same as you being away at school or at work. You were here, but you chose not to sleep with me, and even though I understand that in theory, sometimes people need space, we had already discussed that you could build a grill in the future."

"I wouldn't have been able to sleep. When I get a plan in my head like that, I need to go work. I didn't do it to get away from you."

"But you still did it."

"Did you wake up? During the night?"


"I don't know why Koi follows me sometimes." Duo turned then and spoke as if to Koi. "He knows I think he's the devil. He was whining at me the whole night." He spoke to Hero again. "If I have to get up and do something…sometimes I just do that, Heero…I'll make sure Koi stays with you."

"That would be better."

"So, you mean to buy me new toys?"

"Some. If you are good. If you need them."

"You took all the dicks."


"Well, I need at least one. It's part of my routine, when I can't see you for a few days. You knew that."

"I understand. I have not yet located a reputable supplier of such toys or supplies in Sitka, if there is one here. I thought that I would give you a loaded cash card so you could pick something out when you go to school. You should be able to find more than one store to shop at in San Francisco, and you will be going through there often now." Though neither Stanford or New Edwards were in San Francisco proper, they were closely located to the city, and Duo would often go through one of the airports there.

"Fair enough."

"Ready to go meet the neighbors?"

Duo grinned. He was ready to show them all the artifice that people thought was Duo Maxwell. Heero could no object. He was nervous about meeting a lot of normal suburban Earthlings and attending one of their social functions.

on to chapter 90

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