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

Another Version of Events
by Karan Seraph
Chapter 93

Duo's classes started on the 18th, but he had decided to leave the morning of the 16th. He wanted a chance to further familiarize himself with the campus and to check in at New Edwards, if possible, before he had to be in classes. His transfer and promotion was not effective until October first, but his current rank and position on the Director's staff gave him clearance enough to visit the Preventer's base at New Edwards or the downtown San Francisco substation should he want to introduce himself and make use of their facilities.

The three days Heero had with him before that Saturday morning he watched Duo become increasingly anxious. It seemed good at first. Where they had been calmly working in their separate locations and not having what Heero would define as sex every night, they were then working together in the garage every day and some nights, in an effort to get the majority of the vehicles running before Duo had to leave, and having sex three times a day on average.

And Heero could not find that a bad thing, until he realized Duo was also holding his hand a lot and spontaneously instigating make-out sessions with surprising frequency and holding him almost too tightly when they shared the bed. He just seemed like a needy person.

The first day, Heero had not been able to identify the problem, he had only enjoyed the attention and noticed that Duo was very chatty. The second day Heero started to wonder if something was wrong. And on Friday, when Duo stopped being chatty altogether, Heero was disturbed.

They were having lunch and Duo had seemed sullen and clingy all morning and it just was not like him, and Heero asked, "You have been taking your meds?"

"I'm sorry", Duo said. Heero was certain something was wrong then.

"Have you?"

"Yeah. I took them. Sorry. Guess I seem pretty down, and it's our last day together."

"Only until next week when you come home", Heero said and really tried to make his tone light.

"Yeah, I guess", Duo sighed.

"You are not supposed to feel homesick until after you actually leave home."


"It is common for students going off to university to experience feelings of homesickness, or to have value crisis when they are confronted with the different moral beliefs of other students and educators, to perhaps feel inferior when they are placed with many others who have been accepted to their school with impressive past marks and scores, or to feel constricted when faced with a new set of rules on campus than they have at home. Duo, you are not supposed to feel any of that before you even leave. It must be anxiety."

"What? Did you read all that somewhere?"

"Yes. I actually found it on a site about greek life, that's sororities and fraternities, which I never considered the sorts of organizations that would care about the mental health of their members, what with all the dares, parties, secret rites and elitism that they are known for, but I suppose they do not all deserve that reputation."

Duo sighed. "That is so like you."

"To do the research?"

"Yeah, but also, to be so…so…to look out for me that way, secretly and with confidence and being so clinical and logical about everything."


"I guess I am kinda down. I don't mean to be."

"You must be under a lot of stress for it to affect you, even on meds."

"Yeah. Guess so." Duo closed his eyes for a moment. "I've just been thinking so much."

"I can tell, sometimes, when you think a lot, you stop being so chatty."

Duo laughed a little. "I shouldn't be worried, right, I mean, I must have gotten through more difficult things, like a war and all, but honestly, I didn't actually make it through the war without getting down sometimes. I could have failed someone or…"

"But, you didn't. Duo, I do not have to tell you that war is horrible for everyone involved."

"I know. When we thought you were dead, I think I would have been really down then, but I had Quatre then, and he seemed to make feel like things would be OK, that sometime we'd be able to use the Gundams again without being afraid the Colonies would all become targets. I did get a little down when Trowa was dead, I mean, when we thought he was. I didn't really know where any of you were and Hilde was around, and she tried hard to help me out, but I think I really did fall into despair for a while there. I didn't want to give up, but I didn't really know how I could fix things all on my own. I kept trying to do some little good, take out a supply shipment or something, but I don't think I really believed at the time that it would make much of a difference. Heart wasn't in it. I felt better when we were all together! Even though there was still more fighting, I felt better then, like there was hope."

"I did not really notice what it was like for you then, I mean, not about hope or despair. If it was physical I noticed, but otherwise, I had my own problems, though I would probably not have admitted to a one at the time."

"You were too kewl then, Heero!"

Heero shrugged. "Duo." He moved around the table and put his arms around Duo. "Duo, school is not going to be anything like fighting a war. You will be OK. You really will. Try to relax a bit. It's not like you to not have fun. I know I tell you that you are a genius, but you should not believe that I expect so much of you, I mean, do not feel pressured to live up to my expectations, or rather, do not think my expectations are so impossibly high. When I tell you how smart you are, it is only because I believe in you. I would still be your friend and love you if you made some mistakes or failed one class."

"Only one though?"

Heero straightened and punched Duo in the arm.


"I do not expect the impossible, Duo, but I do not expect a slacker either! Just relax. You will do fine. Lots of brilliant and successful people in history had mental illness, and that includes you!"

"If it were a little more pronounced I wouldn't be able to be a Preventer."

"Oh." Duo was worried about work as well. "Duo, I do not think it was special treatment. If anyone got special treatment, maybe it was me. But, when Une really believed I was not fit for duty, she did remove me from the active rosters. I did not like being on that list, but I have come to believe that she was correct and I was not really the kind of person that would be good as a Preventer, except in a sort of planning or intelligence non-field position, and they have enough people who are very good at those things. But, I never thought, I still do not think that you are unfit…"

"But maybe I am."

"Everything that happened with Gibson was thoroughly investigated", Heero said quietly, "You were the better pilot, so it was correct for you to remain in the mobile suit. I know that I probably have suggested you are not good in command, but that was really because of your attitude, not your ability. You could be very good as a Captain, Duo, you just have to go into it with the attitude that you are now adult and responsible and you will make decisions that will minimize harm to any assigned to follow you as well as to civilians and that you will weigh risks seriously. It is time for you to make this change and I believe you will do well. It is not a mistake and the rules being as they are, there is no medical reason you should be removed from duty. Duo, if I were not so close to you, I would follow your orders. I know that I had doubts in the past and you probably took them very seriously, but I also saw you lead effectively."

"I just can't lead you."

"By your own admission and choice. Actually, by my choice, because the times you tried it, you controlled me too well."

Duo chuckled.

"Let's not work on the cars any more today. They are mostly running, even if they do not have all the paint and trim."

"They do not all have seats!"

"They are finished enough that if I really need one I can complete the necessary steps myself. The rest can wait until you have time. Let's play video games instead. You choose. One in which we can be on the same team."

"OK, but you have to be Yukio!"

Heero nodded. "All right."

Duo smiled and launched himself up from the dining room floor and out of Heero's arms and ran into the living room.

They played the game for hours and stopped only to have dinner. After dinner they lay on their red velvet covered sofa and Duo flipped channels without using a remote. Once during a commercial, Duo said, "Before. You asked how I was feeling."

"You mean at lunch?"

"Yeah." Duo lifted his head and looked over his shoulder at Heero, who was lying behind him. "You asked. You didn't just know."


"But you can still do that, right?"

"Yes. I just thought it would be more like a real relationship if I did not do that all the time, if I tried not to do it. I thought you might feel something like a lack of privacy."

"But you still noticed something was up."

"It was obvious."

"It would be OK if you did it sometimes."

"All right." Heero knew then that Duo was still worried that he would do badly in school, or find he was not so smart compared to other students accepted to Stanford, or that he would fail the Preventers, or that he would be either a bad or absent father, but he was going to keep reminding himself that Heero was intelligent and would not lie to him and believed in him, and he'd keep reminding himself of that until his own confidence came back. He was sure it would, because he knew it wasn't normal for him to feel so down. He knew he had done things to be proud of, and maybe he could do more good things, if he could keep from getting so stressed out.

"Suki da", Heero said.

"Hey, Heero, say `aishiteru' to me like in anime and songs!"

"It is not only in shojo anime and love songs; it is just that it is rather poetic and archaic."

"But you are poetic, even if your views on poetry seem strange to others. I know you said it before. Just say it."

"Atashi wa anata wo aishitemasu."

Duo giggled happily. "That was great! You said `atashi'!"

"Honey, I am allowed, I am gay."

Duo laughed loudly and nearly rolled from the couch.

"Asshole. I said that just for you to be entertained."

Duo gasped for breath. "I was so entertained. Say `honey' again. You do have a bit of an accent. It's so cute when you say it."


"I am a boneless puddle of goo!" Duo flailed about on his back in a funny sort of dance that seemed more dying cockroach than puddle of anything, but Heero could not help smiling; it was so entertaining to watch.

Heero reached out and put his hand to Duo's ribs and pulled him close. Duo stopped flailing and they stared at each other for a few seconds before Heero moved to kiss Duo. He caught a bit of Duo's thought, having let down the mental blocks to prevent the accidental contact.

It was another of their little anniversaries and Duo wondered if Heero was planning to wear a costume that night.

Heero had not been, but for a moment he considered changing plans, and then decided on his course of action. "Duo," he said, "you may worry now, but you will have so much fun and so many thrilling challenges when you go to school. You just remember you have a reason to come home. There is always more of this for you if you come home." Heero kissed him again to make his point.

It must be a good one if he's saving it, Duo thought.

You come home next week, Heero thought, I will be looking forward to it.

Duo left on Saturday morning with a long kiss goodbye. He took the chopper out to the airport, though its paint scheme was still mismatched. He even wore a helmet, as Heero had made him promise, but it was a style that only covered the top of his head.

Saturday afternoon Heero received some electronic mail. The attached file was a copy of the interview that was to appear in October's Homo Magazine in its final draft. If Heero spotted any errors, he was to contact Daniel immediately, as current printing technology required only a short period of time the street date for the hardcopies to be printed. Everything remained electronic and would be downloaded to various local printers and hardcopies would be distributed from there as needed in each region. The Magazine would be available for purchase next week, but there was a chance pirate versions of the entire magazine or parts would be available a few days before the street date, as the downloads to printers were susceptible to capture by skilled individuals.

Heero sat in the office and read the interview. He could find no errors. The words were as he remembered saying them. He liked to read Duo's quotes; he could imagine Duo's voice saying them when he read. Sometimes, Heero noticed, though Duo would express feelings to him, Heero learned more about what Duo thought of him when he overheard Duo's conversation with others.

The past week, it had happened. Heero had been more concerned with Duo's behavior at the time and not given it much thought, but he remembered now how Duo had decided to call Hilde and had lain on the couch talking to her and Duo had reacted in amusement and said, "I don't know, he doesn't really make that much noise at all." Hilde must have continued to ask Duo about the matter because he had said next, "How would I know if he comes in Japanese…?"

Heero had been in the kitchen and he had at once wondered if Duo meant `come' in the sense that he suspected and if they were speaking of him.

Duo had laughed. "I don't think he does really, maybe Russian, for all I know, but it's not like I care what language he comes in or dreams in or thinks in, long as I get the gist of what he's saying the rest of the time… he just sounds hot!" Perhaps Hilde reacted with disbelief. "He could read the fuckin' grocery list and I'd `nnn' and `tsu' for him!" Duo had exclaimed. Duo had then went on to taunt Hilde about missing him and missing dick and told her to call a proper phone sex line.

After recalling the conversation, it stayed with Heero, and he wanted to understand this cumming in other languages. He could not exactly recall what sounds he made when he had sex, but he thought that Duo, apart from using actual words to dirty talk, made sounds that would probably be spelled out in English `Uh' or `Ah'.

Heero sat with the phone software up and running on his office computer and his fingers poised over the keys, debating whether he wanted to understand this badly enough to ask anyone for advice. Midii had probably set Hilde up to ask Duo about the matter. Heero did not know why, but it seemed something Midii would do with mischievous intent.

Heero dialed Karen and waited. The carrier logo flashed and there was a slight delay in dialing the Colonial number, but the black magic was working and L Street's logos displayed on the screen as the other end signaled the incoming call.

"What may I do for you, Heero?" Karen asked as she took the call.

Heero hesitated, now he was looking at the manager of his brothel with lenses and video phone software. He tried to think of another reason he might be calling.

"Marital problems, Ichi-kun?"

"We are not married", Heero stated flatly.

"That is not your business face."

"You are more tactful when feeling out the needs of clients, I hope."

"Of course. Can I arrange an appointment for you then?"

"I just need the number of a phone sex line." He quickly added, "No video!"

Karen's expression remained professional and Heero was glad of it. "Any in particular?"

"They have ones…" Heero grimaced. "When men have a fetish for Asian boys… they would actually be of age!"

"Heero, why don't you just tell me what you want?"

Heero shook his head. "Please forget that I called. I will be in touch regarding the business, Ms. Hitachi. Goodbye." Heero severed the connection and sucked in a deep breath.

There had to be someone else he could call. Heero reached to the mobile, where he stored his personal contacts and looked through the entries until he found Johnny's name.

Heero typed the numbers on the desktop and waited for the next call to connect. There were several rings and then Johnny answered. "Heero. Hi!"

"I need Atashi's number. Carson. His real name is Carson. I do not have his number. Do you?"

"Sure. Hold on. I do have it somewhere. I'm sure he wouldn't mind me giving it to you. Here it is, I had it programmed in the phone." He read the number to Heero.


Heero made the next call. Carson answered the phone dressed as Akairo. Heero stared for a few moments.

"Heero? Heero Yuy?"

"Cary," Heero said, that was what Johnny called him. "Yes. Are you free… available, I mean, to talk?"

"Sure. Oh, was it the costume? We're out doing some publicity today, some kind of convention. You know what? Midori's here! He does these kind of things sometimes. Says he's doing another in October. I never did one of these before. The girls keep asking if I will kiss Jason for some reason, but the suits from the studio tell them we won't."

"Does Jason play Blaec?"


"The characters are not a couple canonically, although the fangirls seem to consider them almost an OTP."

Cary laughed. "A what?"

"Just something I learned. I wanted to ask you something, but if you are not alone…"

"Um, what is it about?"

"Well, in your previous work, you had experience to hear what a lot of different people sound like."


"In those movies. With the different actors. They made different noises. I mean…do they?"

Cary laughed. "You want to talk to Midori? He's in voice acting."

"Oh, is he close by also, not only at the same event?"

"Yeah. We're not taking photos now. We're having lunch."

"I did not mean to disturb you."

"Yo, Heero!" Midori said as he took the phone from Cary. "What did you want?"

"Nothing. Just to say hi. How is the convention?"

"Lots of fanboys and girls who bring recorders and expect me to work for free making them away messages and voice mail menus in the voice of their favorite character. Usually dirty too." He laughed.

There was speech in the background, as if Cary was telling Midori something.

"So, were you trying to settle a bet or something? Some `do Asians do X while having sex' bullshit?"

"Something like that", Heero groaned.

"Oi, call me, conference me in, OK?" He gave his number.

Heero nodded and then typed the commands and string of numbers to conference Midori's phone into the call.

Heero could see Cary and Midori either side of the split, though Midori seemed viewed at a strange angle, as if his phone were lying on the table. Heero could see part of a paper soda cup and straw. "Do you have one of those new phones?"

"Oh, yeah, mine is lime. Show him."

Cary's picture rolled and wobbled and then Midori's bright green portable video phone showing Heero and the phone was beside Midori on the screen. The phone was about the size of a compact or pocket video game player and flipped open in much the same fashion. After a moment, Cary returned.

"I suppose those models are good for some applications", Heero said, but he thought girls more likely to own such phones.

"Heero, what did you want to ask me about?"

"I just… it was what Midori guessed. These two people I know were talking. I just wondered. Do you think people cum in other languages? I mean, can you tell by listening if the person coming is Japanese or not Japanese?"

"You mean like doing `nnn' and `tsu' instead of like `Uhn' and `ssa'?" All of that sounded similar to Heero.


Midori laughed. "I did this yaoi anime once. That would be `rather plotless'", he said for Cary's benefit, as Cary was unfamiliar with the jargon as well as uneducated in Japanese language. "I was seme!" He laughed. "Almost like `top'", he said for Cary.

"I see."

"I think it might be true that people who speak different languages do sound somewhat different during sex. I mean, it probably is not so much true for Colonials, but for Nihonjin, there are sounds Americans might make that they do not even have in their language, you know, all the guttural vowels sounds."

"Not that the Nihonjin would know except from porn, because we all smell too bad to get close to", Cary said bitterly.

"Do you really have stereotypes like that on Earth, still?" Heero asked. "I knew that the Nihonjin still held certain views toward the Japanese, who are Colonials, but I thought being from Earth it would be different. Not that I place so much blame with Nihonjin, there are Colonials who are quite suspicious toward Nihonjin as well."

Cary shrugged, "I think they feel the same about Nikkei as Japanese, although for slightly different reasons. I don't suppose it is really hatred, but it's not really like acceptance and love either. Is it? Actually, I liked it better when we were talking about sex."

"The guttural sounds", Midori said, "if it is not in their language, then a person would usually not make those sounds. But apart from that, I think that many people make their own individual sounds and there might be people from different places who sound the same, but the difference might be that when you write it in a script, it looks different. Like, the sound animals make."

"Sounds animals make?" Heero asked.

"Like, does a duck say `quack' or `kvak'. The duck is just making a duck sound, but how a human writes the sound the duck makes will differ from region to region, same with dogs, or cats."

"Aa, like `Nyaa' or `Meow'!"


"Sometimes Americans make the `oh' face", Cary said, "You know, `Oh, oh, oh!' but I do not think I make that sound so much."

"No", Heero agreed. He had seen several of Cary's movies.

"What sound do I make?" Cary asked himself. "Maybe `Uhhhn' if someone is doing it to me really well, or probably `huh huh huh' if I'm givin' it to someone else."

"That does sound American to me", Midori said, smiling. "Throw in a convincing `Baby' or `Yes' and the director would be satisfied that you were American." Duo often said baby or yes, Heero thought.

"I am American."

"Nnnnn, yeah, Baby!"

Cary laughed. "You fuckin' sound Japanese trying to be American." "I do not. I do a really convincing American accent!"

"Dude! I don't care if you do it professionally, I'm American, I can tell!"

"He said `dude', he must be American."

Cary laughed again. "This girl, an actress, she said she did a couple of movies with this actor who was from Japan, or Nihon, if they like, and he kept making this sound `ha' so much `ha ha ha' that she slapped him and started in with the `who's your mommy?' bit."

Heero and Midori laughed.

"'Haha' means something like `mama'", he said for Cary, likely unsure if the American understood the joke he was repeating.

"Yeah, that's what she said."

"Heero," Midori asked, "Does it matter?"

"Does what matter?"

"The sounds during sex. Does it matter if they sound more one language or another?"

"No. I do not suppose they matter, only, I want to feel I am doing it right."

"I don't think you need to worry, not that I know what you would sound like, but I think that if you are already in a relationship with someone, that the sounds do not matter, so long as you do communicate whether you are pleased or not in some way they understand."

"There was this one girl who sang," Cary said. "No lyrics, but she just…sang, and certain directors thought it annoying and tried to get her to stop, while others made her the focus of the movie. It was different, but you could tell when she was pleased, even without anything like words."

Heero thanked the actors and tried to go back to work. He sent his confirmation to Daniel and looked over some reports and queries and even went out to the garage to work on the Hummer, screwing the seats in place and fitting carpeting back into place.

In the evening, Heero found he was still thinking about how he might sound to Duo and whether other people sounded sexier somehow, or more one thing or another. He went to the office, where he had left the computers and sent mail to Karen, rather than call. He asked her to recommend a variety of phone sex lines.

She had still been in the office, though about to leave, and quickly pasted into her reply the numbers of some lines L Street frequently recommended to clients, and which they probably received kickbacks from.

Heero took his headset phone back to the living room and lay on the couch. He made sure the video was disabled and dialed the first number. An automated menu was read explaining options and charges. Heero thought that Duo would have known some way to get around the charges or input some tones or code, but it was not his specialty, so he merely charged the call to one of his accounts and keyed the menu selection and then some guy answered.

Heero felt he must be blushing completely, he felt hot, embarrassed just calling the line. Duo had told him a little about how such lines operated, so Heero swallowed and then said, "How is your average? Could you use fifteen minutes or…?"

"What exactly are you looking for?"

"I never called a line like this. I just. I do not want to do anything, I just want to hear you cum. I do not mind if you are acting. I just want to hear what it sounds like, for research."

"Sure thing, you want to do me? Or do you want to take it?"

Heero rolled his eyes. "I do not want to actually do anything, but if you could demonstrate how it sounds when you are the one doing the… fucking, that would be acceptable."

"Any name in particular I should call out, professor?"

"Just say any name… say `Duo'."

The operator went into his bit. Heero closed his eyes and listened and made mental note of what he sounded like and how the wordless sounds might be spelled out.

"That's enough," Heero said breathily, "That was…informative. I can just stay on the line."

"Don't worry about it Professor. Call me anytime." Heero still got the feeling that the operator believed his research was a kink.

He dialed another line and went through much the same process.

It was late at night when Heero finished his research. He had listened to guys claiming to be from many ethnic groups and parts of the sphere with various accents, and by the last call, he was desperately aroused.

He realized the dogs needed to go out and that he had neglected feeding himself.

Heero opened the back door to let the dogs out and then went to the bathroom. He sat on the low stool they had purchased for the shower and masturbated, just did it as quickly and efficiently as he knew, nothing fancy. He did, however, pay close attention to the sounds he made, and as he listened, he imagined what it would be like for Duo to hear, and he pushed himself to be louder. He did not cry out or grunt where he would not have usually, but where he would have made any noise, he made a louder noise.

When he finished, Heero sat still for a few minutes and then he rose and ran a cool shower to wash.

After his shower, Heero went to the bedroom and put on some shorts and a tee. He opened the door again to check on the dogs. They seemed to be playing happily, so Heero closed the door again, leaving them outside for a while.

Heero got a snack, ate, let the dogs in, and then went to bed.

The next few days Heero got back into something of a routine. He did as he had done before Duo had arrived at the house. He woke early, he checked his mental and virtual lists of things to do, and if there was no other task, found something to occupy his time, even if it was only recreational. Now, in the evenings, when the workers were gone from the construction site, he watched some porn.

He had a few discs he had collected, but otherwise he scanned the television channels they received for suitable material for his research.

On Monday, Duo called while Heero was watching Oral Anthology XII, the name of which led Heero to believe the studio must have produced eleven other movies featuring guy on guy oral sex scenes before this.

Heero would have liked to try phone sex. He and Duo had done it before of course, sometimes pretending to be other people, but otherwise themselves. Duo seemed only to want to talk about school, so, Heero muted the sound with the remote, lay back on the couch and closed his eyes as he listened to Duo rave about how big Stanford's campus was and how he had found the SEQ and how the first day had gone. He was not in proper classes yet, but going through a sort of orientation, with tours and walk-throughs and lectures about the history of the school and how to get around campus. His regular classes would start the following Monday, and Heero imagined that week would be mainly about getting all the appropriate texts on disc and learning what each instructor expected.

"All these kids think `Mech Design' is an art major, and I keep having to tell them it's actually a type of engineering degree."

"Well, it does have `design' in the name, and I think `commercial design' is an art degree."

"Yeah, yeah, but that's just what they call it. It's not like we only draw a picture of some car or mobile suit without understanding the inner workings. We're to design the actual machinery, the parts and how everything works, from the bottom up, ya know?"

"I know."

"And this girl looked all disappointed like it would have been better if I was some art student and she couldn't bother with someone in Science and Engineering."

"I know. You should not feel bad. Some people are just going to be judgmental or have their own prejudices, and you just cannot change that about them in a day, and you should not feel you need to change them at all."

"I thought you were supposed to try to stop saying `should'. I want to change them! It was fucking annoying, all these kids!"

"They are the same age as you, Duo. You are very knowledgeable about some things, and you have had experiences many of those `kids' have not, but it is a fool who assumes they know everything and a wise man who admits he does not know all."

"Shit, when did you get all fortune cookie?"

"Duo. I was only trying to help."

"I know. I'll talk to ya soon. OK? Heero."

"All right. Was good to hear from you. Try not to get too stressed out. If you are this stressed now, what will you be like when it's October and you have actual assignments due?"

Duo cackled. "That I can handle. I'll be all right. I just need to make some friends here."

"You said it was a big school, Duo. You are good at making friends. Even if you just be yourself…you just need to give yourself time to find the people there who will be more appealing to you. Maybe it will take a little while, if the school is so big."

"Maybe I should have been a resident like they suggested."

Heero had not been aware that anyone advised Duo to live on campus. When he thought about it, it did seem the most logical thing to do. Duo should have lived on campus and maybe in a few years moved just off campus somewhere, and concentrated on school. The house, living in Alaska, it was all for Heero. He'd done it because he thought it would make Heero happy.

For a second Heero contemplated giving it all up and telling Duo to be logical, but he knew that Duo really did love the house, even if it was far from his school. Maybe in the future, after Duo was out of school, they would stay on Earth. Maybe that was what Duo wanted, to buy the house now, even if he could not enjoy it most of every week, and have somewhere to go home to.

Somewhere to spend holidays and make new traditions.

"I love you. Try to relax. I will see you later in the week."

"I-I love you too", Duo whispered it. "Thursday I think."

"OK. Bye."

"Bye, Heero."

As soon as he disconnected, Heero pushed his shirts from his legs and rubbed his palm over his hard cock. He reached awkwardly for the remote with his left hand and turned up the volume.

The next day, he searched the online local phone directories for a supplier of window treatments and found a business that would deliver blinds the next day, and custom orders within as little as two days. Heero got the instructions for measuring windows from their `net site and viewed their online catalog as well. By Wednesday, he had various styles of blinds made from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan and cedar in five rooms of the house and he had hung a sheet in the hall, so that he had further privacy, even when the construction was underway.

But, by then, privacy seemed the last thing he would ever have. The October issue of Homo had been delivered to residential subscribers Tuesday afternoon and hit newsstands Wednesday morning, but new agencies had gotten pirated or leaked copies by Monday if not before and had their stories prepared to air Wednesday. All the channels seemed to think it quite newsworthy that the `boy who saved the world' was homosexual and seeing his wartime conspirator. By Wednesday evening, there were a few networks reporting that Duo Maxwell was attending Stanford University on Earth and that it was rumored he and Heero were also living together, but that the location of their home had not been confirmed.

Heero doubted it would remain secret long.

He had no regrets about his decision to give the interview. He did not doubt there were people going to buy the magazine or viewing their online version because they had seen the television reports and maybe that was a good thing. He did regret that the timing of the news being released coincided with Duo's first week of school. Duo had not called again, but all they had needed was for one freshman to realize that Duo Maxwell was in his class and to make a call and not only would all the world, know, but all Duo's schoolmates would know. He would be infamous before he had a chance to make friends for who he was. And it was already difficult for any former Gundam pilot to be seen as who he was rather than what he was.

Duo had been fortunate within his home Colony. They had tended not to treat him as special. The same was not true for people on Earth. On Earth, Gundam pilots were considered to be `heroes', after their efforts to keep the peace and overturn the Barton coup and the detonating of their Gundams, but they were also still considered rather dangerous people.

And they were considered Colonials, and Earthlings held so many stereotypes about Colonials.

Duo had not called, but Heero had been able to access the flight plans and learn when Duo would be traveling back to Sitka. Late Wednesday night, late enough that it could be termed Thursday morning, Heero got into his costume. He really did not know how Duo would be feeling when he got home, but he hoped that the costume would make him happy.

Heero sat on the couch and waited, in his bunny costume. It was more specifically a white rabbit costume, but because Heero needed the costume to also qualify as feminine and he had refused to wear the tiny satin thing that had been suggested, he was, instead, in a very frilly, very short, white dress. He thought it was one of his better costumes, because it was entirely something he would never wear normally. The schoolgirl costume had been a uniform, and though it was a girl's version, Heero had worn uniforms. And the faeirie costume had been green, which was like Heero. The French Maid costume had been unlike himself, but it had also not been much of a surprise, since he and Duo had known Duo wished for him to wear it. This should be a surprise. It was more sweet than naughty, but Heero knew that for some people, sweetness could become kink, and he thought Duo would probably like the outfit, if he was not too tired or angry when he got home.

Heero read his copy of Homo as he waited. Rather, he looked at the pictures. Apart from the more somber pictures accompanying other interviews and articles and the pictures of Duo and him, there was also a Halloween pictorial featuring youthful athletic models in risqué costumes. The centerfold was of the Homo Hunk of the Month dressed as, it seemed, an ancient Egyptian house boy, but Heero's favorite was the cowboy several pages later. The cowboy was a theatre major at Northwestern. Interests included `riding bareback'. Heero smiled; that was clever wordplay, considering the costume.

The magazine was widely considered to be respectable and tasteful, but the creators did not forget for a second their target audience were sexual beings as well as being well-educated, professional urban dwellers with moderate to high income levels. There was not one low budget ad or personal ad to be found, but they would present full frontal male nudes with as much class as they did a photojournalists pics of soldiers on the front lines of rescue workers after a terrorist attack or posed shot of a scientist in the lab with his new artificial organ. The magazine showed all the good things about men, not only their bodies.

Heero remembered seeing the historical post war issue while in Paris. He remembered a vendor eyeing him strangely. Even so, he had good memories of Paris then. He had almost been himself, almost, no he had made a friend. He had mainly been missing Duo…and a firm grip on reality.

The grip he had, support system of friends and business partners, He even had Duo now. And the memories of his more recent visit to Paris were good, even if it had involved gun fights and bomb threats.

The lock clicked.

Heero put down the magazine, stood, and turned.

Duo came in the door, his bike helmet slipped from under his arm to the floor. He was carrying various bags, some from stores, in his hands and he dropped them in various locations on the floor between the door and the bedroom. He barely seemed to glance at Heero.

"I can't", he said, "I'm so tired. Couldn't even get it up."

"That's OK", Heero whispered, mainly to himself, as Duo was already in the bedroom. He would have been very happy if Duo had come home and been interested in sex, but he was still happy Duo was home. This was what it meant to care about someone, to fall in love with your best friend. It truly became OK that he was wearing a frilly dress and Duo barely glanced at him.

Heero went into the bedroom. The dogs were resting there and Koi looked up at the slight noises as Duo struggled out of half his clothes and flopped to the bed, above the covers. "That tired and you are flying planes and driving motorcycles?" Heero asked as he knelt beside Duo.

"If it had been war, I would'a taken somethin', but ya know I don't like messing around with drugs."

"You are still important to others, Duo, you should take care. You could have stayed there, and rested."

"I needed to come home", he said. His voice was quiet and a little slurred, but Heero understood the emotion behind it clearly. He had needed to get away.

"I am sorry about the timing."

Duo turned around, flipped to his back first and then turned over a bit more, until he was facing Heero. He lifted his right hand and slipped it behind Heero's back, and then his fingers rested on Heero's hip, or on the ruffled skirt. Even so, Heero felt the slight pressure over his hipbone. "I'm not sorry at all", Duo said. He tried to look at Heero sincerely, but he was so very tired, only one eye would open. Heero smiled, almost laughed, and thought Duo might be in a state in which his body was more tired than his mind.

"I just wanted people to know, in a good way."

"They know. It's OK. It's annoying as Hell!" Duo smiled and closed his eyes, "but it's all good. I'm not sorry, except about letting you down right now."

"You are not. I am quite satisfied knowing you did not crash into the ocean or wreck on asphalt."

"Mmmm. I can drive in my sleep, even complex vehicular machinery. It's no problem!" He probably could. Duo had, as they said, mad skills. "Heero."

Duo did not continue, seemed almost asleep, but Heero wondered if he had meant to ask something else. "What is it?" He asked quietly.

"Lay down here."

Heero complied. He had forced a nap upon himself in the evening, but it would not hurt him to lie in bed with Duo or even sleep. Duo's arm guided him, and so Heero ended up lying on his side, facing Duo. The position seemed unfamiliar. It seemed such a basic manner in which two people sharing a bed might lie that he was certain they had done this before, but he could not remember any particular occurrence. Heero only felt it was strange, and that they should pull the covers over their heads and have a secret meeting. Their faces were very close, and their hands, but there was some space between their bodies. Though, Duo still had an arm across his back.

After a minute, Duo spoke, and Heero wondered if he might actually be talking in his sleep. "Sometimes you make me feel like this world is all an illusion." Duo's tongue slipped from his mouth and moistened his lips. Heero watched his tongue in the dimness.

Heero pinched Duo's arm lightly. "Do you think a virtual world would include so very much pain?"

"A really clever architect would be sure to include some pain mixed with the pleasures of his construct so that those existing within it would not reject the system for seeming to good to be true. There needs to be all kinds of torment and choice."

"Even if your choice is to hack the system?"

"If it's a really good system, you jus' think you're hackin'… maybe… you're the reason god fucked me so hard…wouldn't do it for a steak, but if you were my Dejour, red or blue, I'd still fuck everyone over to get back to you."

He liked the costume after all. "If you ask me, I'll wear it again tomorrow", Heero whispered.

Heero let himself fall asleep. The hammering woke him, though Duo seemed sound asleep beside him. Even with the new blinds, shades and curtain, Heero did not want to be seen entering the bathroom in costume, so he undressed quickly, putting each part of his costume neatly back in the box. He took up a clean pair of cycling shirts, just for Duo-entertaining value, and crept out of the bedroom, lightly patting his leg and whispering to the dogs as he did.

Heero filled the dogs food and water bowls in the dining room and then got his shower. He toweled off, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, not that it made a difference, and pulled on his shorts. He got a jacket and took Koi and Nu through the front door for their walk.

The foreman was walking around with his mug and coffee. Duo liked coffee. They did not have a coffee machine yet, only instant coffee and a kettle for heating water. They would need a coffee machine, with Duo's ridiculous commute and insane sleep schedule.

"We all saw the news… about that magazine article."

"It was an interview. An interview and photo spread."

"Was all that true?"

"You mean about me and Duo being lovers?" He had not announced the fact to the construction workers, but Heero thought that should have been obvious to them.

The foreman shook his head. "About the war. ZERO. And that Clark fellow. And how you didn't feel OK."

Heero nodded slowly. "It's true."

"My brother was in the war, a pilot for mobile suit transport planes with the Alliance. He's kinda not OK since then."

"War is… it's bad. You see bad stuff. If you are a soldier, you had, at least at one time, some reason for being one, there are many different reasons, so you try to keep going, to sort of block out the bad parts and go on, but, it catches up to you."

"The house should be a really safe place when we are done with it!"


He did not look at Heero, just looked up to the house and sipped coffee. He continued then. "The prefab gundanium trusses for the roof should be delivered next week, and the framing is going up really well. We'll put in those extra supports Mr. Maxwell asked for, from the salvage commuter train parts. It'll be very safe when we're done. You could drop a mobile suit on it and it would stand."

"That is good to hear."

"You got blinds."

"Yes. Duo started school and he is only home a few days each week and I just thought light control and privacy would be useful. Those rooms are mainly finished, except for patching the holes from installing the security devices."

"Sure. Don't worry. We'll fix those when we do the interiors of the other rooms. We'll give you some warning before we come in there."

Heero was convinced that this man thought Heero needed this reassurance now, but he was not really offended. The foreman had seemed cold to him before, and maybe he was being slightly patronizing, but that meant he was showing consideration for Heero's feelings, because he reminded him of his brother.

"Does your brother have physical injuries?"


"Does he do anything now?"

"No. Doesn't much leave the house."

"Oh. Maybe, maybe if you asked him if he would like to make houses safe he could do some work."

"I don't know, but I'll ask him. Can only ask him."

Heero gave a nod again and the foreman walked away to call to the workers atop the house. Heero called to the dogs and took them inside. He did not leave them outside completely unattended during the days the construction was underway, because the machinery might be dangerous to them, and they might disrupt the work in such a way that would risk the workers' safety.

Duo was still asleep, so Heero went into the office to get some work done.

He heard the shower across the hall a while later and made a point to listen for it while he finished up replying to some mail. There were some potential Lowe Security clients that wanted various levels of testing and consultation done. A thorough residential testing job in New York City, a preliminary consultation requested in one of the L4 clusters, and some tests for the offices of an NPO in the Colonial Capitol. Heero thought Midii might be able to handle the consultation on her own, but would travel to help her if needed. Adin had been in training and should take the NPO job; it would be good for him to get more experience. Heero could definitely handle the NYC job, but if it looked like he needed another person on the job, he would call in Quick for the contract. He was willing to use Duo, but Duo had a lot of work to do already.

Heero heard Duo singing and hurried to send his mail. He did not know Duo to sing when actually in the shower, but Duo would sing at other times, often while getting dressed or combing his hair, if he believed himself reasonably alone.

Heero was waiting in the hall, between the clear plastic sheet and the black cotton sheet that acted as dust and light barriers between the construction site and their home, when Duo came from the door to the bath, wearing only a towel. That was fair enough, Heero was wearing only a pair of rather snug shorts.

Duo came right to him. His cheek slid against Heero's cheek smoothly. Duo's lips touched Heero's neck. His hands touched Heero's chest, and then his sides, and then his shorts. Heero lifted his arms and put his hands to Duo's back.

He smelled strongly of the vanilla and clove products in his hair and his skin was warm and moist, without being damp or slimy in any way. He felt good, just out of the shower, and familiar. "Missed you."

"Oh, yeah", Duo agreed. He nuzzled Heero's neck and then nipped at his clavicle. "You were in the office. You have work?" His damp hair writhed over the backs of Heero's hands as he moved.

"I am fortunate that I make my own hours."

"Uhn, I am so fortunate."

Heero smiled wide, though Duo could not see his face; Duo sounded very American.

"I have two days with you. I don't know what I want to do first. I didn't… I didn't want it to be just sex, but you're so hot! God, you really are."


He looked up.

"So are you. I'll tell you the things I have been wanting to do, but how about breakfast first? Hungry? Or just want some coffee."

Duo grinned, his eyes rolled toward the kitchen, or the sheet hiding it from view. His lips shifted into a pout. "We could use a coffee maker."

"Next thing on my list. Did you notice the window treatments?"

Duo shifted his weight from Heero and walked into the entry, swatting the curtain to the side as he went. Heero followed after him. "Yeah, should have noticed that. Good taste I guess, it all looks like it belongs here." Duo moved into the kitchen and proceeded to open the doors on everything to see what was there. If he had actually known what he wanted, he could have asked Heero where it was. Heero would know, even if Duo had found that thing a home.

"Now, if you want to sleep during the day and work all night, the sunlight will not disturb you, and no one can see us, unless we want them to."

"That's good. So, what were you up to while I was away, besides calling every phone sex line, Professor?" He said that so casually, but he must have been planning it. Duo just stood peering into a cabinet.

"It's probably illegal, how you found out."

"Ah, so it was you!" Duo straightened, glanced to Heero from the corners of his eyes and grinned. Heero realized he had just fallen for a much-used ploy and felt foolish. "I assure you no customer information was shared with me, I just heard a story about this guy who was doing research and Man, I just knew. You overheard me talking to Hilde, huh?"

"I did not intend to eavesdrop, but certain words stood out."

Duo laughed. "So, how'd the research go?" Duo seemed to have settled on a bagel; Heero had expected he would. Still, he had gone through every drawer and cabinet, just incase something he wanted more should be hiding.

"If you are good…"

"Uh huh?"

Heero smiled. "You may find out soon."

"Ya think you'll wear that costume again?"

"If you ask, I'll go put it on now", Heero said seriously.


"That's where you make a verbal request of me", Heero deadpanned.

Duo raised one brow.

"I had it on, but you were tired… I am willing to put it on again, but it seems fair you should indicate you would be willing to take advantage of me, since not much happened the first time. Then, it would mean the same, my wearing it."

"Then I formally request you get your ass into that frilly bunny costume so I can fuck you!" Duo said perkily.

Heero shrugged and left the kitchen, heading for the bedroom. "If I wear the costume," he said over the counter, "it means you can be top, not master. I'll pick out something for you to wear as well." Heero saw Duo's jaw fall. "Eat up. You will need your strength."

on to chapter 94

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