The trip was uneventful - except the home stretch. I was taking the fastest route from the shuttleport back to the yard, and had just entered the last narrow alleyway shortcut when I noticed someone there, waiting for me. "Hilde?"
She kicked away from the wall. "About time you got here - thought you said the five o'clock shuttle."
I grinned in defense. "Sorry, got held up by security. Uh, what are you doing here?"
Smile. "Oh, I was going to pick up a few things at the grocery store. That's the cover story I gave Heero when I slipped out. He's been restless all day - ever since you called saying you'd come back today." Smile to smirk. "...and I have a feeling he's preparing an ambush for you by now. I figured I'd wait here in case you were carrying certain... items... you wouldn't want Heero to find out about right away...?"
"Oh... Right." Catching on, I reached for one of my bags. "They're in here. Got a few souvenirs stashed in there, too. No peeking."
Hilde looked at the bag I'd handed her, then at me, raising a brow. I kept my defenses up. "Okay," she said. "I'll head for the store now. Keep Heero occupied when I get back, so I can hide the bag."
I snorted. "I think it's more like he's going to keep me busy - and driving me crazy too."
Snicker. "Maybe... See you later, Duo." Two steps later, she stopped, turned to give me this downright creepy smile full of secrets. "Oh, one more thing. Have a look in the backyard. Heero will show you."
My turn to flag a brow of suspicion. "Show me what, exactly?"
She mimicked a zipper across her lips, turned on her heels and was gone.
I could feel my stomach turn. I had this uneasy feeling Hilde had plotted something together with Heero. It probably wouldn't be mean, just something I'd find emotionally uncomfortable - something like mistletoe right above the door, and Heero nearby to take advantage of it. At least, that's what I guessed at the time. You can't really blame me for it - their record on toying with me is rather extensive, and still growing.
The house appeared empty when I got back. I went in, closed the door and managed to get as far as putting down my bag. Then the assault came; two strong arms embracing me from behind, trapping both my arms above the elbows.
Reflexes kicked in before I could help it. I twisted my lower arms to grab at those of my attacker, bent forward with the intent of tossing my assailant off. Halfway through, it dawned on me I was offered no resistance; that it had to be Heero. I stopped, him already plastered across my back. "Heero, what the heck-"
His chin was well over my shoulder, I realized, as quiet words brushed against my cheek. "Isn't it common to hug someone in greeting? To welcome them back home, I mean?"
I suppressed a growl, could almost feel his smugness radiate against my face. I straightened up, allowing his feet to touch the ground again. I started wrestling free, expecting Heero to relent now that he'd had his fun with me - but instead, his grip tightened against my slight struggles.
"Duo..." he whispered against my ear. "Let me... hold you... like this... for a while..."
This was new. I'm not dumb, I figured something was up, but right then wasn't the time to ask. Instead, I tried to relax in his arms, did my best to accommodate him. I thought, if this passive hug was what Heero needed, then what would it cost me to let him have it?
Unasked for, my mind provided an answer as soon as I considered how much too close for comfort his crotch and my rear was. He didn't seem to notice, though - or care.
Silently pledging to grill Hilde about what had happened in my absence, I tentatively placed my hands on his arms. It was all the return embrace our standoff would permit. It was all I dared give.
I hoped it was enough.