Coming Home to You
When I reached the door of the safehouse that Duo and I were sharing, I felt my heart pound in anticipation. When I turned the knob and stepped inside, Duo would be there to smile at me and greet me. Duo would be there to end the all too serious lives that we had been living in the war and fill my ears with the sound of his cheerful voice. No matter what Duo did or said when I opened the door, the point was that Duo would be there for me. It was an all too comforting thought that had filled my mind more with each passing day that I lived with the pilot of the Deathscythe, my partner.
Much more than the other Gundam pilots, who I could call nothing other than comrades, Duo was my best friend, and while I had never before been able to return the mounds of kindness and compassion that the braided baka was always heaping on me, I hoped that somehow he understood that I really did consider him a friend.
Trying to surpress my growing elation, I opened the door, and was not disappointed when Duo appeared in the hallway half a moment later and smiled at me.
"Welcome home, Heero."
The safehouse really wasn't home, I thought. Anyplace that Duo lived was my home.
"Want something for dinner?" Duo asked cheerfully, bouncing into the kitchen before me. "I decided to wait for you before I ate." He opened the cupboard and studied the various cans and boxes that lay inside. Both of us knew that Duo wasn't exactly the greatest cook in the world, but he tried hard when it was his turn to make meals, and I appreciated the effort more than the braided pilot knew.
"Hmmm," Duo considered before choosing two brightly colored boxes. "How about macaroni and cheese? I'm sure I can make something this easy well enough," he joked, already grabbing a pot to boil the water.
"That's fine," I said in my usual monotone. I sat down at the small kitchen table and watched, slightly amused, as Duo made our dinner.
"What else should we have?" He frowned. "I guess we need to eat something healthy once in awhile. How about a salad?"
I thought about that and then nodded, and Duo went instantly to the fridge to retrieve a head of lettuce and a tomato. I watched as Duo concentrated on washing and cutting the ingredients and then dousing them in a bowl with salad dressing. After doing this, he saw that the water was now boiling, and he dropped in both boxes of noodles. He set the timer and then turned, catching my intent stare before I could shift my gaze from him.
"Heero...? Is something wrong?"
I was surprised to notice that Duo was blushing when he said this.
"No. Nothing, sorry," I said, now moving my eyes to stare blankly at the floor. I had no idea what Duo's reaction to this was, but eventually I heard Duo turn around and continue to prepare dinner.
In another ten minutes, Duo had finished, and he placed a plate of food before me. Unlike some of Duo's other meal attempts, this actually looked rather good. "Thank you," I said, trying to sound polite and not as exhausted and pitiful as I felt after my long mission. I had only taken a few bites (and it really *was* better than some Duo-creations I'd had in the past) when I glanced up at Duo, and saw the braided boy sitting very still, head propped up on his hands, and smiling at me. He had not touched his food yet. "What- what is it?" I asked uneasily.
"Nothing," Duo practically purred in happiness. "This is just nice."
Yes it is, I thought, though I knew those words wouldn't come out of my mouth even if I tried to force them. I knew that I was physically stronger than Duo, but the only way to describe my thoughts at that very moment would be to say that I felt totally and completely *safe* with Duo around. Duo's cheerfulness was my anchor in the world, though the braided boy likely didn't know it. Duo was my only real friend in the world, though Duo likely didn't know that either.
I could only manage a half nod at the violet eyed boy's statement and returned my eyes to my dinner.
"Heeeeero!" Duo called. He had taken a shower after our dinner, and I had just heard the sound of the hairdryer emanating from the bathroom for the past few minutes. I was sitting at my laptop as I usually did in the evenings, this time finishing up a mission report and waiting for Duo to finish in the bathroom so I could take a shower as well.
"Heeeero!" Duo repeated. "Could you bring me a pair of boxers? I forgot to take a towel with me in here!"
I did not call back, but I stood and went to Duo's side of the room to look for what my partner needed. I quickly found a pair of black boxers among Duo's clean laundry, and started to take it to the bathroom when I felt my pulse quicken and the color of my face darken to a deep pink.
What was this? I was nervous about bringing Duo an article of clothing? But my mind was quick to realize that it was not the clothing that had me feeling nervous, it was the image of what Duo looked like right now... *naked* in the next room that caused the reaction.
With my heart pounding in my ears so loudly that I was sure Duo would be able to hear, I pushed open the bathroom door just enough to thrust my arm in and offer the boxers. By this time, I was totally confused by the urge I had to throw open the door and gather Duo in my arms. I imagined that his muscled skin would be so warm against me, and I could press my face against his neck and take in the scent of his hair and completely lose myself...
"Here," I said gruffly, coming to my senses and waving my arm impatiently when Duo didn't take the boxers immediately. Then there was a noise from the bathroom signaling Duo's approach, and I felt- but couldn't see- the braided boy's hand close around mine to take the offered article of clothing.
My mind shut off when I felt both a warmth and a shock at Duo's touch. I dropped the boxers and pulled my hand back sharply as though stung, and before Duo could say anything, I retreated back to my laptop. I took a deep breath and stared at the screen, frantically trying to analyze the emotions that were warring in my mind. Why should I be embarrassed to do anything in Duo's presence?
My thoughts were interuppted by Duo, who now emerged from the bathroom. He said my name, and I turned my eyes toward him, only to have my breath catch in my throat. Never, never had I seen Duo with his hair unbound, but there he was, wearing nothing but boxers to cover his slim yet muscled body, freshly dried hair flowing around him in long and gorgeous locks, his face flushed from the heat of the bathroom. My mind instantly supplied the word 'beautiful' for this sight, and I was again totally surprised at myself. Since when had I been nervous about being around Duo, and how on earth was it that I'd started thinking of my partner as *beautiful*?
I then realized that Duo was saying my name repeatedly, so far being unsuccessful in getting my attention. My gaze snapped up from where it had been lingering on the way Duo's sparkling hair fell over his chest.
"Woa... Heero, you don't look so good. Are you okay?"
"Fine," I grumbled, swallowing a huge lump in my throat. "What do you want?"
"I just wanted to tell you that I did all the laundry today while you were on your mission. All your," he paused, giggling, "all your pairs of spandex are clean."
I couldn't hold back my expression of outward surprise. "You... did?" It was *my* turn to do the laundry, and had been for awhile. Concentrating on the tactics for a new mission instead of helping Duo last week had put our agreed upon chore list way behind schedule and I had planned to make up for that tonight.
"Yeah, I figured that you would be really tired when you came home from your mission today, so I just spent the day doing it myself."
I nearly gaped. "You gave up a whole day of lounging around the house and reading manga to do laundry?"
"Yup. Like I said, I knew you'd be tired."
I was speechless, though my silence obviously wasn't an unusual thing. I *was* very tired, and because of Duo's thoughtfullness, I could now go to sleep as soon as I took my shower instead of spending the evening doing chores as I'd planned.
"T-thank you," I managed finally, still stunned.
Duo grinned. "No problem, buddy." And he walked off to his bed, talking behind his shoulder to me about his plans for the next day. I half listened, still smiling on the inside from Duo's unexpected kindess. Not that Duo wasn't normally a considerate person to be partnered with, but I knew for a fact just how bent out of shape Duo got when he had to give up free time for chores. As he put it, piloting a Gundam and doing laundry just weren't two tasks that mixed.
I couldn't fall asleep that night. I kept finding myself looking over at Duo's bed, listening to the braided baka's murmuring in his sleep, and smiling faintly. Suddenly, I caught myself. What the hell was I doing? It was one thing to value Duo's friendship, but I was turning into a ball of emotion, most of which I couldn't make any sense of. I was forgetting who I was, and what my mission was. Whether Duo was kind to me or not made no difference; I had to concentrate on the always forthcoming misions and move everything else around me down to distraction status, Duo included.
I decided this while I gazed at the ceiling, but then I turned to the side and looked at Duo sleeping once more. He was lying on his back, arms thrown lazily across the bed to either side of him. He was only wearing boxers, and the blankets were partially strewn across his stomach, but mostly thrown to the floor by his constant movement in his sleep.
Again, my mind supplied the word 'beautiful' for this sight, and I cursed myself. How was I supposed to get Duo out of my mind when I couldn't stop thinking about him for two seconds?
Totally disgusted with myself, I tried to force my mind to shut down and allow myself to sleep for the rest of the night, but for once, my iron control over my body wouldn't listen to my commands. I couldn't do anything but stare at Duo's shadowed form for the rest of the night, wondering what was wrong with me.
Neither of us had anything important to do the next day, besides cleaning up around the safehouse, which really wouldn't take long. After a completely sleepless night, I left my bed at dawn and went to take a long shower. I'd just had one the night before, but I felt sort of weird and clammy after tossing and turning for hours, so I thought the hot water might make me feel better.
It did, and after I toweled off my hair and got dressed, I went downstairs to the small kitchen to see what I could make for our breakfast. Knowing Duo, he wouldn't be up for hours yet, so I got myself a bowl of cold cereal to start with, resolving to cook something hot for both of us when he finally woke up.
I sat at the kitchen table and ate slowly, thinking of some of the instructions Doctor J had sent me in his last transmission. It only took me a few minutes to eat the cereal, but I sat and stared down at the bowl as I continued to think, my mind finally straying from Doctor J to Duo. More than an hour had gone by before I took the trouble to mentally berate myself for this. What would Duo think if-
Then I started in my chair, hearing a door close off in our shared bedroom. I glanced at the clock on the stove, and was surprised. Duo was getting up at 8AM? I stood and rinsed the bowl off in the sink and then walked to our room. I nearly crashed into Duo as he walked out, unraveling his braid with his fingers. He yawned loudly and smiled sleepily at me.
"What do you want for breakfast?" I asked in monotone.
"Ummm." He considered. "Would you mind making pancakes?"
"That's fine." I turned immediately and went back to the kitchen, hoping that if I stopped looking at Duo, my heart would stop pounding from the sight of his now free flowing hair.
Duo sat at the table brushing his hair while I made the pancakes, and when I placed a full plate of the steaming cakes in front of him, he practically had stars in his eyes. I had to smirk at that; Duo's love for food is kind of amazing sometimes. I handed him the maple syrup and watched for a moment as he drenched his entire plate with it before getting myself some pancakes as well.
"Why did you get up so early?" I asked.
"I couldn't sleep that well last night," Duo said between mouthfulls.
I snorted automatically at that. I had watched Duo for most of the night, and I wondered how he could call practically an entire night of being asleep 'not sleeing well.' Unfortunately, he heard my reaction to this.
"Hey," he said, looking amused rather than annoyed. "What was that for?"
I looked away. "Nothing."
Duo made a soft pouting sound, but then returned to his pancakes.
"Mmmmm, Heero, this is really good."
For reasons I didn't care to analyze at the moment, Duo's words not only increased my heart rate, but made my boxer shorts feel less roomy than they had before. I had never really masturbated before, but I'd woken up a few times with an erection in the middle of the night; I knew what this reaction meant, and it certainly felt good, but I was confused again. Duo made another sound of pleasure, and I now felt that I was fully hard. I forced myself to eat, and to think about the most unattractive thing I could. I settled on huge, ugly, hairy spiders, and my body seemed to protest at the loss of the pleasurable thoughts as my erection faded.
"What are you planning to do today, Heero?"
I shrugged. "Nothing much. Why?"
Duo smiled. "Just curious. I think we have some cleaning up to do around here, but other than that, we have a relaxing day ahead of us." He took the last few bites of his breakfast and got up to rinse the plate off. He stretched and yawned one last time. "I'm going to watch TV for awhile."
Having nothing else to do at the moment, I soon followed Duo into the small living room. He was already curled up on the couch, remote in his hand as he flipped through the channels for something good. He smiled at me as I sat down next to him.
"Anything you feel like watching?" he asked, scooting just the slightest bit closer to me on the couch.
"Not really," I answered quickly.
I stared forward at the screen as Duo flipped through the channels several dozen times. Sometime during all this, I started to feel the edge of my upper and lower eyelid burn slightly. This happens whenever I'm really, really tired, so I knew that when I felt it just then, it meant I was probably going to fall asleep soon, whether I wanted to or not. The reason for this was obvious; because I'd been preoccupied with Duo all night, I hadn't gotten even a moment of sleep.
The noise of the TV started to become a drone in my ears, and it wasn't long before my vision became blurry. My eyes kept trying to close, and I finally stopped fighting them. I slipped into a state of half sleep almost immediately, and I felt my body move slightly, as though I were falling. I realized dimly that I had tipped sideways from my sitting position.
"Heero..." I heard softly from Duo's lips. I felt something warm encase me, and I stretched toward it, feeling so incredibly comfortable that I never wanted to open my eyes again. I was mostly asleep by this time, but then I felt something that told me the inviting warmth around me was most definitely not the couch. Duo's soft hand brushed down my arm, curling gently around my bicep, and a muffled sound of pleasure escaped my lips.
My foggy mind registered all this more clearly in the next second; Duo's hand was touching me... I had fallen asleep and leaned right onto Duo. Coming fully awake in a split second, I darted to the other side of the couch.
"S-sorry," I managed, running both hands through my hair worriedly. "Sorry."
Duo looked completely shocked, and then almost a little sad. "It's okay." He looked down. "Didn't you sleep well last night?"
"No, not really," I said, wondering why I was bothering to tell him.
Duo patted the couch. "You can lay down here if you want. I'll sit in a chair."
"No, I'll go sleep in our room." I walked off immediately, still feeling flustered and disoriented from literally falling asleep on top of Duo. I collasped onto my bed and after half a moment of worrying over what Duo would think of me now, I was in a dead sleep.
I awoke sometime in late afternoon feeling slightly better, and certainly more refreshed. The safehouse was very quiet, so I assumed that Duo was either reading manga or listening to music on his headphones. I checked my laptop and saw that there were no new messages or transmissions from Doctor J, so I washed my face with cold water and changed into my usual green tank top and spandex before going to look for Duo. A quick check in every room of the apartment showed that he was nowhere to be found. I checked the clock and saw that it was already almost 5PM. I cursed at myself; I'd slept the entire day away!
I wondered where Duo was, but didn't have to wonder for very long, as there was a clicking noise at the front door just then. It opened, and Duo came inside, or at least I assumed it was Duo. His arms were so heavily laden with brown paper bags that I couldn't see his face. I moved instantly to take some of them, and he made a sound of relief. "Thanks, Heero." I pulled one more bag out of his arms, and then I could see his face.
"I went shopping," he said, stating the obvious. "We were running low on groceries."
We took the bags in the kitchen, and I started to smell something delicious that was definitely not part of the groceries. My stomach growled involitarily, and I heard Duo chuckle.
"I thought you'd be hungry, so I decided to get us take out tonight." He showed me a white bag and started to take smaller, wrapped packages out of it. "Chinese food." Then he looked up at me. "Is that okay?"
I nodded, stomach growling yet again. We quickly went about the task of putting the groceries away before eating.
It was then that something tempting and wonderful happened too fast for me to stop it. While putting several boxes in the cabinet, I happened to glance down as Duo was straining on his tiptoes to throw something on a high shelf. His foot was within inches of a round bottle of dish soap lying on the floor, and as he jerked suddenly to the side, he stepped directly on it and went flying.
I stopped thinking as I reached out to catch Duo before he hit the ground. I heard him yelp in surprise, and then my arms were folding around him, supporting him and at the same time holding him in a way that had nothing to do with breaking his fall.
I found myself staring down at a vision of beauty cradled precariously in my arms. Duo's eyebrows were raised, his mouth still slightly open in shock, and his face was rapidly turning red. I found myself wishing that I didn't have to move from that position, and I wanted it so badly that the words slipped from my lips.
"...can we stay like this?" I said in so quiet a voice that I wondered if Duo had heard, because I had barely heard it myself.
Duo's lips quivered. "...w-what?"
"I..." I stared at Duo's lips, and the feeling of want that came over me was almost too much to control. Was it possible? Did I want to kiss Duo? As I let my eyes roam over Duo's gorgeous face, I knew that the answer was most decidedly yes
. But... Duo was a boy. I knew what sexual attraction *was* of course, but I'd never experienced it before. I'd never given the matter much thought in the past, but had vaguely assumed that someday I might meet a girl that I'd have those elusive, sexual feelings for. The last thing I would have expected was to find myself flushed with foreign feelings that could only be the sexual attraction I'd never before known over a boy. And not just any boy, my best friend.
Duo was a boy, but it felt so right. Duo fit perfectly in my arms, and as I had quietly voiced a moment before, I was none too keen about Duo leaving my tightening embrace. I admitted it to myself, completely. I almost wanted to deny it, but my feelings of frienship for Duo mixed with this pleasant desire to kiss the beautiful, long haired boy were too much to ignore. I had a crush on Duo Maxwell.