Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
When Heero ad Duo came outside, it was just getting dark. Mitchie
and Johnny were outside already and Mitchie was in the process of
announcing to others that if they wished for coffee, tea or hot
chocolate with or after dinner they were welcome to find it in the
kitchen. Candy passed by, into the house, carrying a tray, as she
had apparently been restocking the buffet. Duo said he should check
on the ribs, and Heero went with him.
As they were standing behind the counter the last two guests
arrived, not necessarily together, but at the same time. Ethan was
standing nearby and Candy came from the house again and so these two
explained that the recent arrivals were also neighbors, Michael who
lived the other side of Heero and Duo's house, and who frequently
was away from home touring as a stage magician; and Haru who was
Trisha's husband, looked vaguely like an Asian version of Howard and
who was reportedly an experimental novelist.
Heero asked if this meant he was a novelist that was experimental in
his life or a novelist of experimental fiction.
Candy said, "Both."
Trisha hurried over and kissed her husband. He appeared considerably
older then she was and the kiss was surprising, because all during
the day Heero had noticed no public displays of affection beyond
some hugs, pats on the back and the way Gory stood with his arm
possessively around Ester's shoulders, and it was not a kiss one
would call brief or chaste.
"Dude, did you see? I think he even squeezed her ass. He's older
too. Do you think she was still in school when he married her?"
Heero turned and gazed calmly at Duo. "Did you just call me `Dude'?"
"Uh, sorry, I didn't mean you exactly."
"All right then. There was definitely a squeeze, not that it is our
business. How are the ribs?"
Duo turned and opened the grill to check the ribs. Smoke billowed
from the grill thick enough to sting Heero's eyes, but it soon
dissipated in the open air. When Heero blinked his eyes clear of
tears formed in response to the smoke, he saw their next door
neighbor, Michael, standing the other side of the counter.
"So, I hear you are the boys next door", he said and smiled
wide. "Mickey Rose." Presumably, that was his name. "Or Michael.
That's the name my mama gave me." He had a rather well-manicured
appearance, like trendy male Colonials that were often assumed to be
homosexual when visiting Earth. Tanned, brown-eyed, with dark hair
cropped and styled straight, but which betrayed its tendency to curl
at the back of his neck. The hair reminded Heero of Quatre, whose
hair would likely curl or dread if left to grow out.
"Lost the name my mama gave me," Duo said with a shrug, and sounded
careless, "but I'm Duo Maxwell now." He tossed the tongs he was
holding to his left hand and extended his right to Michael in
Michael shook his hand and said, "That's a nice bracelet." He could
only have meant the velvet bondage cuff on Duo's left wrist.
Duo withdrew both his hands across the counter. "Thanks. Was a gift
from my boyfriend." His tone sounded strange to Heero, perhaps as if
Michael had set off Duo's so-called Gaydar, while Heero had not even
registered a blip. But if it had nothing to do with gender
preference, perhaps Duo was put on the defensive again because
Michael had not seemed to assume the accessory only alternative teen
Heero blinked, confused. There was a video game in which a character
made such a comment on a boy's bracelet, but it hardly seemed
Heero saw Michael draw up his hands in a kind of surrender and knew
he had to say something to make the conversation friendly again.
"Well, now that the ice is broken", Heero said, fairly proud of his
tension breaker, "I am Heero Yuy. It is nice to meet you, Michael.
We have both been looking forward to making the acquaintance of our
neighbors." He even extended his hand for Michael to shake.
Duo leaned into Heero and turned his head as if about to make some
new protest, but Heero spoke again to prevent his comment.
"I think the ribs Duo has barbequed are almost done. Have you eaten
"No." Michael lowered his hands. "What kind of ribs did you say they
"They're beef", Duo said, a hint of snippiness remaining in his
voice. "I am just going to check that they are cooked through and
then add the sauce."
"There's plenty of food on the tables there", Heero told the
neighbor. "I made the rice balls. There is only rice, salt and
pickled plum in them."
"Thanks. I'll be sure to stop back and get some ribs, when they are
Heero whispered to Duo, when Michael had moved away, "He upset you,
but I think we should try to be friendly with the neighbors right
now. We do not know what that cuff means to him, only what it means
to us, so we cannot assume to know his motivation."
"It doesn't even matter if I am actually into bondage or going
through some rebellious teen phase; it's a free nation. I can wear
whatever the fuck I want."
Heero laughed. "Duo, your sense of style is not…mainstream. I have
learned that there are others with similar style, but they are a
minority and most people would find your appearance curious to say
the least. You know this. Even if you do not dress to make people
look at you, they will look, and some probably will assume you are
doing it just to get their attention. So, Michael gave you
attention. That's all he did."
Duo shrugged. "They look cooked, I think."
Heero glanced at the section of ribs Duo had sliced down to the
bone. "Cooked", he said. Heero still believed that Duo had listened
to everything he had said, but Heero also understood that Duo was
possessed of a temper and inclined to be suspicious and was now
probably very tired and in unfamiliar territory. He was going to be
defensive, and it might take the form of short comments rather than
fake smiles until he got some sleep. He also knew that Duo was not
going to act the way he did when they were alone, when they were not
Heero had learned that lesson some time ago. In certain company, Duo
would be quite aggressive and even possessive toward him, even if he
continued not to be when they were alone. Heero could deal with
this, knowing what to expect now. If he really disliked the
behavior, he might attempt to train it out of Duo, but Heero thought
he could tolerate Duo's public displays of affection every once in a
They sat together at a table to eat dinner. Heero felt so full, he
only put a few ribs and one rice ball on his plate. As it was
getting dark, Mitchie lit candles on the tables and some outdoor
lighting attached to the house was switched on.
Heero realized that he had learned the occupations of all the other
adults, but not Candy or Mitchie, so he politely asked what they
did, over dinner. Michie said that she was an Allocation Analyst and
Candy was an IT Coordinator and both worked in separate departments
of the same company. She did not say what company, and Heero decided
not to ask.
He ribs were very tasty. Heero had known in general what to expect
in barbeque taste but the barbequed beef ribs were better than he
had thought they might be. He told Duo they were worth waiting for,
and Duo licked sauce from his fingers.
Dessert and coffee were served immediately after dinner. Heero
wanted some ice cream, but he felt so full, so he only had a cup of
Caravan tea. Then Candy brought a bag of Marshmallows to Duo. He
looked happy and took Heero's hand to lead him back to the grill.
Duo pulled open the bag of marshmallows and pushed one onto the end
of a skewer from Candy's barbeque tools. He handed another skewer to
Heero. "You ever toast marshmallows?" he asked.
"No. Only read about it and saw it done on TV."
"I did it once with Quatre", Duo whispered. He lowered the skewer
toward his grill, which was still warm. "Hold on", he said then. He
handed Heero his skewer and put on some suede gloves also from
Candy's tools. "I'm going to remove the grills so we can get right
over the coals. I like mine burnt."
Duo lifted the warm metal grill away from the drum the base was made
from and set it down beneath the legs, so no one would walk on it.
Duo put the gloves down and accepted his skewer when Heero offered
it, and then they both held their marshmallows over the glowing wood
It was warm standing near the grill. When Heero turned his skewer he
could see that even held way above the coals the surface of the
marshmallow browned. Duo held his very close to the coals, until it
caught flame, and then he lifted it and blew out the flames with a
quick breath. Duo grinned wide and then picked the charred
marshmallow from the skewer and tossed it into his mouth. He made a
yummy sound and then, when he had swallowed, said, "I want another."
Heero examined his marshmallow. It was a darker brown on one side
than on the others and beginning to slide along the metal skewer. He
plucked the marshmallow from the skewer carefully, as it seemed the
gooey inside wanted to stay while the toasted shell pulled away. He
put it in his mouth. It was very sweet and gooey, but there was a
smoky toasted taste to the outside that crumbled pleasantly in his
mouth. He swallowed it down and said to Duo, "They are good."
"You can burn the skewer clean before you do the next one", Duo
The children were gathering around the grill.
"Can I have one to drop in my chocolate?" Ester asked.
"Can I try to roast one?" Gory asked.
"I want", said Bowie.
"How do you like them?" Heero asked as Duo was handing Gory a
"She would like it lightly toasted", Mitchie said.
"I think I can get it just right this time. I just have to keep
turning the skewer."
They continued toasting marshmallows until the bag was empty and
everyone who wanted one had eaten at least one, and somewhere in the
middle of it Duo had whispered to Heero that he wanted to go home
and make out with him.
Heero went to Mitchie and told he that they would be leaving shortly
and thanked her again for inviting them, while Duo cleaned the last
of the skewers and talked to Candy about leaving the grill to cool
down and picking it up in the morning.
It seemed some of the other families were leaving and it seemed
Mitchie and Candy needed their home back to themselves. Julien was
getting cranky and whining; Candy asked him if he would like some
cheese to go with the whine.
Even before he could get ready to leave, other guests were
approaching Heero to say goodnight. It seemed they all offered some
invitation to stay in touch. They would suggest that if he ever
needed to borrow anything or if he wanted a recipe of theirs he had
claimed to enjoy he could drop buy. Gary said he was welcome to
spend time with his kids at their house, but that there would be no
drinking there and he would have to follow the household rules while
he was there. Babs suggested that if Duo was going to be away at
school Heero could come over just to talk, if he got bored, because
her husband Bill was also often away. Some of the neighbors made
similar offers to Duo. Ester apologized, if she had made any comment
to upset Duo, and said if she had his hair she would want to keep it
all and then offered to watch the dogs any time she was home with
her father, because she thought Koi and Nu were wonderful. Marcus
informed them that Ester would be home often now, because a new
school semester was staring, but Ethan would only be home on break,
because he had been accepted to study Theater and Performance Art at
Whenever the neighbors made these offers Heero would inform them
that once the construction was complete Duo and he would have a
small housewarming party and be sure to invite them. Some he
extended further invitations to, if he felt any connection to them
at all, he would suggest they come borrow food, or a game, or some
music or have Heero look at a computer that was not working.
The vents of the grill were all closed, the grilling replaced inside
and the cover lowered and everything left on the patio to cool. Duo
promised to collect it the next day.
The MacDonalds had not left and Johnny was still there, so Duo asked
if he wanted to come to their house. He made sure that Johnny
understood that he would sleep on the couch and that there would
likely be construction workers making a lot of noise starting in the
morning, but he was still welcome.
Johnny agreed, and so they walked around the house to the front
yard. They met Michael there, he seemed only to have paused to light
a cigarette, but he might have been waiting for them. "Oh, Heero,
Duo," he said, "It was good to meet you. I'll be home for a while
between gigs, if you want to come over and get away from all the
noise. Pleasant as all the construction workers milling about must
be, I'm sure you get sick of the noise."
Heero did not answer immediately, he was thinking that during the
days he also took part in the construction effort by installing
further components of the security system, and that Duo had work to
complete in the garage.
"Really, you should come by, Gary did the first restoration, but I
used Ken for the addition. Maybe you would just like to see their
work. Anyway, carpentry was my first trade, I'll show you all the
secret passages and hiding spaces I built into my house if you come."
"Maybe one day, if it gets too noisy," Duo told him.
They walked pas the MacDonald's house to Free Rocks and Duo asked
Johnny if he still saw Claudia much.
"She is still in Paris," Johnny said, pronouncing the city like a
French person, "but we have hooked up a few times. We both flew to
New York once. Still, it is not as if either of us asked the other
to stop seeing others."
"Maybe you should ask her about that. You must be pretty into her to
fly across the states to meet her."
"She is a fantastic lover, but it would be cruel, I think, to be so
far away and ask her not to have sex with anyone else."
"You think Quick does that?"
Johnny laughed. "I think if she goes out anywhere there is some guy
hitting on her. She is very beautiful and confidant. Very sexy."
Duo laughed strangely, "Heh heh, I expect you to call me every night
while I'm away."
"Would not want you to be tempted to cheat."
They came to the gate and Heero opened it. Duo opened the front
door. Heero stooped to free the dogs from their harnesses. "I think
I'll take a bath or something", Duo said, "if you want to watch that
episode, you can start without me."
Heero knew that Duo did not often take baths. He preferred showers
for washing and Heero had known him to bathe most often when Heero
was going to be bathing with him. Heero stood and looked silently at
Duo, wondering about his comment. He saw Duo smile at him and though
they had not switched on all the light yet, he thought Duo might
Duo was not likely lying. His activity probably would include
filling the tub and bathing, but the more Heero thought about it,
the more he suspected `take a bath' was really code for something
else. And, thinking about what Duo might do in the bathroom, Heero
realized there were a number of things Duo must do regularly but
which he did not usually do in Heero's presence. Hair removal for
example. Duo rarely shaved in front of Heero or used any process for
removing body hair, but Heero knew Duo sometimes did this, because
he had seen the results. There were probably other things, trimming
his toenails maybe, or doing particular hair treatments.
Heero nodded then. "Maybe I'll get a quick shower later." Heero
supposed that there were a lot of those little normal grooming tasks
that one might not wish a lover to see. It seemed a little strange,
because Duo had even used a toilet in front of Heero before. But,
they were living together now, Heero was not going to argue or
refuse, even if Duo was going into the bathroom to do nothing but be
alone for a little while. They certainly adored each other, but Duo
could still sometimes get on his nerves, and he probably made Duo
crazy sometimes, though Heero was not sure which things he did might
"I'll start this load of laundry and then go in and run my bath."
"Would you mind watching the premiere you brought?" Heero asked
Johnny, and then, "Can I get you a drink or anything?"
Johnny asked what they had to drink and a few minutes later, he and
Heero were sitting on the couch drinking something that was mostly
vodka and Chambourd and watching the series premiere of Best of the
Best. They half-heard Duo say something about not drinking too much
before he went into the bathroom.
Johnny played Officer Tom Hanson, one of the pilots in training at
the `Federation' top mobile suit pilot training facility. Moira
played the Chief Medical officer there Colonel Lena Sakhalina. Heero
wanted to have a chance to see his friend and neighbor in their new
series, but they were only in a few short scenes and the majority of
the hour long episode featured aces `Zero' Mitchell, `Blitz'
Kazanski, and Instructor Blackwood, all played by people Heero had
The show was almost over when Duo came from the bathroom. He said
that he had wanted to see the show, but that he was tired now, not
having slept the night before, and he was going to go to bed.
"I will leave you the disc, but it will be aired tomorrow", Johnny
"Thanks, Man, it was good seeing you. I hope we can meet up in New
York, or, actually, I'll probably be able to see you in a few weeks
when I start working at the base."
"We've seen some take-offs and landings there. We were told it's the
place they re-route space traffic for Alcatraz or even LA in
emergencies and the Government and Preventers use it for secure
travel between Earth and the Colonies."
"Yeah," Duo agreed, "That is common knowledge. It's light aerospace
there. Mostly government shuttle launches with some rocket self-
deploying satellite launches. It's also used for Preventer and
Government air traffic to and from cities and bases on Earth."
"What will you do there?"
"If I knew, I probably couldn't tell ya, but I haven't received that
information yet. I know who my CO is and when to report to him and
that I'll work with a partner, but that's about it."
"The way Preventers is set up currently, only a small portion of
agents do specialized work, like IT, Legal or Medical, for example,
the majority do `regular duty' which basically means being on call
to handle any sort of disturbance or issue that comes up. It could
be guarding a government Representative, or setting up surveillance
of suspected arms dealers, or supporting local security forces in
subduing a student protest that turned violent."
"God! And how many politically active students are there in the San
Francisco area? I'll be real popular at school, I'm sure!"
Duo bowed over the back of the couch and kissed Heero's face. "Don't
drink too much. Wake me up when you come to bed. I'll be mad if you
"Sure", Heero agreed.
The show ended shortly after Duo went to bed, but Heero stayed in
the living room with Johnny. The American actor was entertaining and
had a quirky sense of humor that reminded Heero of Trowa. Having
escaped Parisian thugs and hitmen along with Johnny made Heero feel
Johnny was a friend and trustworthy. That Heero had been the one
that brought Quick into the circumstances where Johnny met her and
Heero was privilege to the information that they had become sexually
involved made him feel a sort of manly bond with Johnny, as if the
expatriate owed Heero gratitude for all he had enjoyed with Quick.
It was a new feeling to Heero, very unlike the way he felt about
Adin and Relena being together. Heero imagined that Duo might
sometimes feel this way with Adin, as if his being friends with both
had enabled them to enjoy sex, he knew it, and it was just a nice
little piece of information to have. With that couple, Heero felt
brotherly and protective of Relena. And though he had a sort of
friendly working relationship with Quick, he did not feel the same
sort of protectiveness toward her and could not help but feel this
strange pride in having helped another man get some.
They sat in the living room drinking and talking about their travels
and what they knew of European or American cities and Heero liked
it, because it was socialization with another man without even the
remote possibility of becoming sexually involved. It was enjoyable,
like playing basketball with Hiro, but different, because it felt
more adult somehow, to drink and talk about museums, cathedrals and
theatres instead of shooting hoops.
Johnny said he needed to use the toilet, and while his guest was
gone, Heero realized it was quite late and they should be going to
bed. He collected some sheets, a blanket and two bottles of water
and when Johnny returned from the bathroom, Heero presented these to
him and said that considering the time he should get a shower and go
It was a difficult thing to measure how drunk he was when he was the
one who was drunk. Heero would have realized this if more sober. As
it was, he did not believe he was very intoxicated. After all, he
did manage to use the toilet and operate the water controls for the
shower in the adjacent chamber. He did not try to wash his hair, but
only let it get wet as he lathered soap over his body and then stood
for a rinse. He even gargled and rinsed his mouth with mouthwash
before heading for bed.
He stumbled a bit getting to bed, but rationalized that Duo was the
one who could actually see in total darkness and that he was being
considerate in not turning on too many bright lights.
The bed felt amazing!
Duo was warm and naked under the covers, and his hair smelled nice.
Heero clearly remembered Duo saying that he should wake him, so he
pressed up against Duo, groped for his dick, and called his name.
Duo woke and groaned. "Heero," he said sleepily.
Heero said something, invited Duo to have sex, but he did not
remember later what words he used. Mostly, the question was posed by
his cock nudging Duo's ass.
Duo turned around and put his hands on Heero's face. If Heero had
been slightly more sober, he would have realized Duo was checking
his breath and eyes, but he was pretty drunk, so he only thought Duo
was into him. "I bet everything feels so good right now", Duo said
"I really wanted to get fucked", Duo said. "I got myself all fresh
and clean and everything. Told you to wake me."
"I want you."
"I'm such a dumbass, I didn't realize how tired I'd be. But, I'm not
a tease, right? How about you just lie back there and let me do
something for you?"
Heero complied. He lay back and grinned at Duo in the dark and felt
Duo's hands caressing his body. He was sure something really kewl
was about to happen, and then somewhere during the something, he
Heero woke, hung over and generally disoriented. He felt like
something was wrong, or missing. Daylight was coming through the
doors and windows, and yet things looked sort of dim. Heero thought
he must be really hung over, or still drunk, to have blurred vision.
He tried to move, felt sick, and realized he could not hear.
He saw Duo then, cheerful and fully dressed and working at a mobile
computer that sat across his folded legs. Duo laughed, and Heero
heard nothing. His body tensed in panic, and that hurt.
Duo pushed the computer aside and put his hands on Heero's
arms. "Relax," he said. Heero saw him say it, but he did not hear.
Duo smirked and reached toward Heero's head. The sound of power
tools hit his ears at full volume and Heero saw the muff ear
protectors in Duo's hands.
"Put them back!" Heero groaned. Duo returned the earmuffs to Heero's
head. He was beginning to wake more fully and recognized that he was
wearing sunglasses as well.
Duo reached beside the bed and then sat straight, centered within
Heero's field of vision. "You know the drill", he said. Duo was
offering pills and water. Heero took them and then reclined again.
"Arigato", Heero whispered.
"You can see me?"
Heero used the thumbs up sign, knowing Duo would understand.
"Johnny said to tell you goodbye, wasn't feeling too great himself,
but Moira said she would take care of him. Don't envy him having to
So far as Heero could recall he had never tried flying while
hungover, but it was probably worse than riding a train or car, with
the changes in pressure.
"The dogs have been out and I gave them food and water. One cup in
each bowl, right?"
Heero made a slight nod.
"I'm going to the garage now. Just get some rest. I promise I'll do
only a fair day's work and come in later to share dinner with you.
Then, I'll be all your for the evening. No working until I crash or
get snappy! OK?"
"I'll be in the garage, then. We can talk later if you want. I think
it's OK if you just take it easy today."
Heero watched Duo leave through the house. Duo had been so nice and
helpful to him this morning. Now that Heero was hungover rather than
drunk, he suspected maybe there was something he needed to say to
Duo or apologize for, but he was not really sure what it was.
Heero slept or rested in bed a significant portion of the day. At
some point Koi stepped up onto the bed and insinuated himself into
the hollow behind Heero's bent knees. After that, Nu came onto the
bed and lay down on Duo's side. That meant Duo was alone, but then,
Heero thought, maybe Duo was not really alone, but only without a
person or animal to talk to.
After he rested a while, Heero managed several trips to the bathroom
or toilet and later to the kitchen to fix some soup. He even removed
the ear protection, though he kept the sunglasses on. By late
afternoon Hero felt up to attempting work and sat on the couch
trying to write a report for Zodiac Tech.
He was distracted, trying to remember exactly what had happened the
night before, and afraid he really had been so drunk and killed off
so many brain cells that he was not going to be able to remember.
Heero was glad when his phone rang, just to have a real excuse not
to be doing the work he was not getting done anyway. He routed the
call through his mobile with a few keystrokes, noting that it was
Midii, so that he did not have to attempt to scry at the small
monitor on his headset vidphone.
She seemed to smile at her lens, perhaps amused or pleased at
Heero's appearance on her monitor. "So, how is it?"
"Is what?" Heero asked and then, "Where are you, with Hilde?"
"No. I still see her," Midii answered casually, "but I am at the
apartment with Ursula now." Then, it was nine hours later there and
in the middle of the night, but it was possible Midii was just
getting in from a shift at the Lonely Heart. "How are things there?
"OK", Heero said automatically. He was not really sure this was
true. He did not fear things were anywhere near `breaking up' level,
but neither were they `unstressed'.
"I sent you some mail earlier, about some potential clients. I
thought you would have answered by now."
"I will definitely have things sorted out by morning your time."
Heero was silent for a few moments, thinking. "I gave myself the
weekend off. They had one of those local holidays. I am getting
caught up on things now." Silence again, and Midii just looked at
him via lenses and monitors. "Did you ever have someone get in bed
with you drunk, and you had not been drinking?"
"Don't you hate that? You may even have liked the guy earlier, but
then he comes up to you all horny and sloppy and wants to fuck but
can't even get it up and you just want to kick him out of bed, and
he doesn't get why you're upset!" Midii sounded as if she had
actually had a very bad experience with such things in the past, and
even though Heero was sure the time he had been drunk and in a bed
with her had had only slept, he felt very embarrassed, wondering
what Duo had thought of him. "Was Duo out drinking beers and eating
Heero laughed weakly. It seemed like Midii had heard about barbeques
or Labor Day but somehow got the details wrong. Heero knew shrimp
could be grilled, but he was uncertain whether one could be said to
barbeque shrimp. He was not certain the same sauce would work for
seafood. "Duo was not the one who was drunk."
"Do you feel bad for teaching me about alcohol?"
Midii laughed. Heero had been joking, deadpan though it was. "What?
Do you have some terribly addictive personality that I could give
you a vice just by forcing you to drink a bottle of vodka on a train
ride with me?"
"You know I cannot do anything casually."
"A serious drinker."
"I cannot remember what happened. The ability to objectively tell
whether one is intoxicated decreases exponentially with the degree
"You didn't hurt him, or get sent to the couch?"
Heero shook his head, slowly. "Someone else was on the couch. Oh,
you should watch that new show Best of the Best. There are two
airings tonight, so I think you should get it there via satellite
"I read about that show. It's based on that movie. Colonial based
stations broadcast the first episode during prime time next week."
That was fairly usual. There were so many time zones, that even on
Earth, television shows were still broadcast to one region at a
time. It was usually possible to get that broadcast via series of
satellites and receiving dishes, if one did not want to wait for the
local broadcast in their area. Living in the colonies, Heero had
been able to watch nightly news from Japan in the morning. Alaska
was so far west that it almost reached the dateline and when the
nightly news aired in Japan, it was around 4am of the same day in
Heero and Duo's house. If Duo got up very early in the morning he
could watch the anime they aired late to keep children from
watching, and he could watch tomorrow's afternoon shows before going
to bed. If he missed an episode, it would be rebroadcast for
American time zones within a day or a week, depending on the
program, and with excellent subtitles or dubbing created by the
original producers. Or, they could pay for on-demand service and
select from banked programs at any time of day after their original
broadcast, but it was cheaper to have connection to a dish, some
recording medium and do the math than pay for access to a particular
bank of programs.
"You changed the subject", Midii said.
He had, but not intentionally, at least not to avoid speaking of the
night before. "I did not hurt him and I do not think I was sent to
the sofa. I woke up in the bed, and Duo was being very nice to me.
He was so nice that I felt bad."
"They say Catholics do guilt very well."
"'They' say that about whatever group `they' are not."
"Yeah, but I was actually raised Russian Orthodox."
"The concept is not restricted to western Judeo-Christian-Islamic
culture. I am certain there are Buddhist monks who feel very guilty
for not denying their self enough."
"Yeah, but do they surreptitiously make other monks feel guilty for
not denying their selves, or do they only concern themselves with
self-guilt? It's an art, making other's feel guilty without really
"Hai, hai," Heero said impatiently, "but I did not mean to say Duo
did that. Only…I do not really remember if I did anything he should
be mad about or not, but this morning, he was so nice about taking
care of me when I felt hungover, that I felt indebted to him, and
maybe, afraid that I had done something I needed to apologize over,
but as I do not remember…I might even have done something very good
for him last night."
"I probably would find it offensive and annoying if someone got
really drunk and then got in bed with me and I had not been
drinking." She laughed then, as if it would never happen that she
had not been drinking a little, as if that were funny. "But, I'm not
really in love with someone. And, I'm not a guy. Maybe Duo is kewl
with whatever happened and he was just being nice, because he is
just a nice guy. That's what Hilde says. `Duo's the nicest guy who
just happens to look like a bad boy.' If Duo was hungover, would you
be nice and not yell or turn on bright lights?"
"If it bothers you, just ask him about it. You guys seem to have a
pretty close relationship, right?"
"Yes, but, I think it is a little more challenging to live together
than we expected. We have been on vacations that lasted longer, but
I think knowing that we live together now makes things feel
"Well, I'm sure that's to be expected. Even moving to a new place
without a roommate or lover can have challenges. I know that as much
as Ursula needed me near her, she did not always feel comfortable
sharing the common areas of the apartment with me. She had roommates
at school on Earth and we were friends, but it was different trying
to be roommates."
"It is not as if I think we cannot live together, it just seems some
things are stressed. I am sure we will work it out. Things will be
different when Duo starts school, and then I might miss him and take
time to get used to that arrangement."
"Right. Heero, check your mail later and get back to me. I need to
get some sleep, but I'll be sure to check my mail when I wake up."
"All right", Heero agreed. "Goodnight."
After Midii disconnected, Heero did not even try to work on his
report. He went to the kitchen and looked at the food they had
stocked and thought of things he could fix for dinner. The stove had
an electric grill built in and Heero thought they had some shrimp in
the freezer. He could make sushi too. Heero thought he had
everything he needed; he lacked a proper hangiri to mix the rice in,
but if he cooked the rice just right there would not be too moisture
and he could stir it in some other container.
Heero started preparations for dinner, defrosting things which were
frozen, starting water for the rice, and so on. When the
construction noise had stopped and Heero could hear the sound of
trucks leaving the yard, He had dinner nearly finished, and Duo came
in through the front door. "Tadaima!" he said.
"Go wash up. I almost have dinner ready."
Duo came into the kitchen and kissed Heero's face as his hands were
busy pressing rice. "You're good to have around the house."
"My body does need food, and it is not so much trouble to cook for
two instead of one. But, if you ever say `wife'…"
Duo laughed. "I said nothing!" He lifted his hands in gesture of
surrender. He grinned madly. "You'll just be `Domestic God'. But,
uh, you did notice the laundry got done."
Heero had not really noticed, but then, he had neglected a lot that
"I'll just go wash up, Wasabi."
Duo seemed very happy, cheerful, Heero thought. Of course it was not
Duo's normal state to be depressed, and he often came across as
cheerful, but Heero thought that Duo's true normal state was
something between the depression and false cheerfulness. Maybe Duo
was simply happy, but he had seemed irritable the day before. Heero
wondered if a night's sleep really had helped so much. Maybe, he
thought, it was his own irritated state that made him suspect Duo.
Heero sighed and finished making dinner. Duo returned from the
bathroom in time to help carry food and dishes to the table.
Heero asked Duo to sit and went about preparing the dogs' dinner,
emptying cans of moist food into their dishes and refilling the
water bowls. He washed his hands and then joined Duo at the table.
Duo had waited for him, and Heero assured him, as he sat, that Duo
could start eating.
"It looks great, Heero. I didn't mean to tease, you know? You really
are a good cook."
"I only know how to make sushi."
"That's not really true; you're just extra good with that."
Heero shrugged. He probably was a better cook than Duo, but he
really did not want to boast. He had experience because there had
been times in his life when he was responsible for preparing meals
for himself and some father figure. It seemed that when Duo lacked
someone to make homemade meals for him, he ate convenience foods.
All that fast food and pre-prepared meals could make any homemade
meal seem wonderful in comparison.
"This is good", Duo said, eating some grilled shrimp, "this is good
too", he said, eating some nigiri. Then, Duo stopped and Heero saw
Duo was looking at him rather seriously. "You OK? I know you
wouldn't poison me, so why aren't you eating? Still hungover now?"
"Duo, I feel like I was an ass."
"Oh, so you know."
Heero blinked slowly. That had entirely not been the response he
expected, though he had expected agreement.
Duo grinned. "And wasn't I the perfect boyfriend?" The words seemed
like a boast, but the tone was very playful, and Heero took it as
teasing. "Didn't kick you out of bed or nag you about doing exactly
what I asked you not to. I handled it all quite diplomatically, even
offered oral pleasures. I think I would even have enjoyed just doing
that, if you hadn't fallen asleep."
Heero felt a hot wave of embarrassment rise through his body. "I
"Yep, before I could even get to suck your cock. You were so drunk,
Heero, you couldn't even get it up. I mean, it was like your body
was trying, but it just stayed soft.
Heero had only thought he felt embarrassment before. This was
embarrassment. That had been something so much less. "You really are
trying to use guilt against me", he said quietly. "Is it true about
Duo laughed. "No, Baby, I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, I'm
just trying to explain. When you just zonked on me, I was mad, for
about a second, and then I lay there with an arm around you seeing
how you looked in a deep drunken slumber and I remembered that once,
I'd done just the same thing to someone: stayed out drinking and
crawled into their bed horny and then let them down as soon as they
felt pity enough for my drunk ass self to attempt to have sex with
me. And, I realized that I'd done other dumb shit to you. I knew I'd
done stuff that hurt you, without really intending to hurt you, and
you'd done the same to me. I just realized, that you drinking and
nudging and falling asleep was just more dumb shit to bug me and
probably I'd do more dumb shit, and so would you, and we would just
have to accept it. So, I did."
"Accept that we will do dumb shit?"
"Uh huh. And I felt better. Also, having been in your position
before, I thought I knew how it was from your side, that you didn't
mean it. I've sat up late with friends drinking before. I know what
it feels like to get drunk and not be able to tell how drunk you
are. And I know what a hangover feels like…"
"So, I snuggled up to you and went back to sleep and when I woke up,
I was still lying close to you. I knew you'd be hungover, so I did
what I could to ease things for you. I knew, if it were me, and you
were the sober one, you would have done it. You might have been
upset and pissy for a while, Heero, but I know ultimately, you would
have forgiven the dumb shit like you always forgive the dumb shit I
do to you and you would take care of me, if I needed it. That's what
I did for you, because I wanted to. And, it made me happy. Heero,
staying up working on the grill and then crashing and leaving you to
have to buy the food and call the neighbors and wake me up was dumb
shit and you tolerated me being so tired and cranky. I know I wasn't
really that helpful yesterday. I felt bad about that, but, when I
realized about the dumb shit acceptance between us, I felt good."
"So, you are so happy today because you realized we are going to do
things that upset each other and then have to forgive each other for
the things we did wrong?"
"Exactly! Don't you think it's great to have a person you can be
like that with? You know? Like you can just be yourself and not be
afraid that one mistake will destroy the really good sort of bond
you have. There's so much good stuff about you, like you being able
to make dinner, or being such an excellent lover the days you are
sober, that I don't care about the bad stuff."
Heero smiled. Now he understood why Duo was happy today. "I will
take your bad along with your good, too", he said. He lifted a
shrimp by the tail and sucked the meaty part from the tail, into his
Duo said, "I really am completely in love with you, you understand
"I do", Heero said.