Disclaimer: See all the others; status unchanged.

This is a sequel to 'Little Slips'
Pairing: 1+2(+1)
Taring: R
575 words

Warnings: Shounen Ai, Alcohol abuse, some angst, Duo POV

AN: Part #40 of the 'Road to Recovery' microseries. Written for [ gw500 ]challenge #93 - 'key'.

Barbs and Broods
by kebzero

I couldn't believe I did that.

Why did I push him away like that? Why didn't I grab his shoulders, or crash away one of his arms? Why did I put my hands there? I wasn't sure, and that made my skin crawl more than anything else.

I might as well have palmed his crotch while I was at it. I'm sure he would have let me, maybe even encouraged me. While I'd run to hide in the living room, I didn't miss the conspicuous bulge in his towel.

I hid my face in my hands and growled. The fact I'd even checked that suggested more than I wanted it to.

At least he saw it fit to give me some time alone afterwards. I barely heard him rummage about in the kitchen. He'd even drawn the door shut.

Sometimes, out of sight does not mean out of mind. At least he'd gotten dressed now.

I hoped.

And got a whole new set of thoughts. Again, I groaned.

Hilde chose that moment to enter the room, fresh back from her errands, judging from the shopping bags she deposited in the couch. "Is something wrong?" She cautiously asked.I gave her a sour look.That must have told her enough. "Heero?"

"Of course it's Heero!" I snapped back, almost unconcerned whether Heero could hear us over the blender currently in active duty beyond the kitchen door. "He's driving me crazy, Hilde!"

She smiled. "I'm told that happens in every healthy relationship."

I glared back.

Hilde ignored it, long since immune to most of my tantrums. She sat down at the couch edge closest to me. "What did he do this time?"

"He-" I started, then bit back down, barely avoiding my tongue. Far better that she didn't know. "You know that stupid saying about finding the key to someone's heart? That bit of poetic nonsense?"

She nodded.

"Okay," I started. "See, Heero, he obviously doesn't have mine. He can't have mine. All he's doing is groping around the surface, looking for the dusty keyhole - and when he finds it, he's gonna assault it with his best match of lockpicks, right up until I snap!"

She flagged an eyebrow, cocked her head to one side and put on that wise smirk of hers I usually regret seeing. "With that phrase, I'd say you're close already... but Duo?"

"Yeah? You realize that the best match would be the proper key itself?"

I growled at her. "That's beside the point! I told you-"

"Duo," she cut in. "To continue that quirky analogy of yours - the key to your heart, that's something you give to someone. It can't be taken by force."

With a snort, I folded my arms. "What about coercion?"

She shrugged pragmatically. "Then at least you're willing, right?"

I frowned at her as I stood up. "You're taking his side, aren't you?"

Hilde sighed. "I just want to see you both happy, Duo - and we both know what would make Heero's day."

Scoffing at this, I turned to leave.

"You could at least give him a chance! You don't know what something's like until you've tried it - and I'm pretty sure you've never kissed another guy, or let another man play with your plumbing."

I cringed at the thought, but could muster no reply beyond my growl.

As I walked away, heading for the bathroom, I felt like damning her for being right - in more things than one.


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