A Warm Wind Blowing
Heero didn't do nervous well. In fact, he had so little experience with it, when the phone on the other end finally picked up he blurted out hurriedly, "Have dinner with me." The practiced speech he'd worked on for hours forgotten entirely.
"Heero?" came Duo's startled queried.
A brief moment of silence fell before the caller answered. "Yes, it's Heero."
"Oh," there was a pause before he asked in an exasperated tone, "Did you just ask me out on a date?"
Heero groaned. This wasn't going at all how he'd planned. "No. I mean..." He groaned again, and closed his eyes, trying to remember what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. The sound of a bird chirping outside the window drew his attention, distracting him just enough the words flowed a bit more naturally. "Duo, I really want to see you tonight, and if you've nothing better to do, we could have dinner or something."
"I know, Duo. I know. We told each other we wouldn't try to... to date again. So, this isn't a date. It'll be two friends meeting. Okay? Please?"
The silence held for several long heartbeats. "Two friends, huh?" Duo's reply obviously reluctant.
He released the held breath and nodded. "Friends, right."
"All right, Heero. But I'm warning you, I can't go through that shit any more."
"No more shit, Duo. That I promise you," Heero said quietly. Quickly, before the other man had the chance to change his mind, Heero told him what he had planned when he'd pick him up. His head reeling with his success, he disconnected the call.
Hours later, as the artificial lighting gave way to the gloaming of dusk, Heero dropped the basketball into the trunk of his car and tossed Duo a chilled bottle of water. Removing his tank top, he used his gym towel to wipe the sweat from his neck, chest and shoulders before pulling on a clean shirt. When a car door opened, he glanced up. Duo stood behind the dubious cover of the door and stripped out of his shorts only to quickly pull on a pair of jeans.
Heero turned away, ducking his head back into the trunk. All during the game, he'd kept his looks to a minimum, and his hands to himself. And now, despite his best efforts, one look destroyed his self-control. Though Duo had played dirty with him being the person Heero most desired and then stripping in front of him. In an attempt to cool his thoughts, he rooted through the small ice chest, looking for another bottle of water. Heero's thoughts strayed to the last time they'd played and the sudden clenching of his hand caused the lid to his own water bottle to pop off under the pressure.
"You okay, Heero?" Duo leaned around the fender and paused in dabbing the towel to his neck.
Censoring the invading erotic thoughts, Heero gave him a brief smile. "Sure, just slipped." He took a long drink before finding the cap and replacing it. A large wicker basket sat next to the chest, and Heero reached for the handles, saying over his shoulder, "I picked up a few things for dinner from Antonio's."
Duo's eyes lit up. "Sounds great, buddy! I love that place." He eyed the basket enthusiastically. "I haven't been there in... shit, since..." his voice died away and he flushed. "Yeah, well, it's been awhile." Not looking at Heero, he reached past him to take hold of the ice chest.
Heero's hand hesitated before touching a shoulder. "It's okay, Duo. I knew you like his food - that's why I got it. Not to... to remind you." He closed the trunk, and started to walk away, the memory burning fresh for him as well. I can do this. It's too important to have it go wrong now. The litany ran through his mind.
With Duo by his side, it was easy to remember other nights like this, the two of them still heated from a game, grabbing a bite to eat before heading home - when they shared a home. Slipping into the familiar companionship born of many years together, they headed for their favorite spot, under the trees by the pond.
Self-consciously, Heero spread the tablecloth on the ground, watching Duo out of the corner of his eye. The man had turned to look at the pond, and Heero could see the serious expression on his face. I wonder what he's thinking. I wonder if he's remembering. Shutting that train of thought down, Heero knelt and reached for the basket.
"I picked up lasagna for you, that's what you like, right?" His hands moving, he tried to remember exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it to keep from making blunders like he had earlier in the day. It'll all work out. It has to work out. Heero risked a glance; it'd been so long since they'd last been alone together.
Duo lowered himself on the other side of the tablecloth before answering. "Yeah, it's lasagna." He peered into the open basket. "What else you got in there? It smells delicious."
"Hey!" Heero smiled at Duo's enthusiasm but smacked his reaching hand . "Just wait a minute. It's coming." He passed a covered dish to a glaring Duo. "I had Antonio pack special plates." Seeing Duo grin was worth the promise to fix the Italian cook's computer. "And in addition to your lasagna, there's primavera, and those bread sticks you like." He looked back inside, pulled out a foil wrapped pouch, and tossed it to Duo. "For dessert, I got the tiramisu."
Duo's grin grew wider as he opened the foil. "Dessert? God Heero, I love it!" The pouch opened, a breadstick found its way into a waiting mouth.
Breathing a silent sigh of relief, Heero uncovered his own plate. He didn't care what had been packed for him; he barely remembered ordering the food, he'd been too anxious for this ...non-date to go right. It'd been nearly two months since they'd officially called it quits, and nearly as long since Duo had told him if he didn't stop asking, he'd no longer accept his phone calls and refuse to see him again.
He hadn't realized he'd begun brooding until Duo's fork flashed in front of his face.
"You gonna eat that or examine it some more?" Heero looked up blinking. Duo grinned at him. "I've had Mama's tortellini, and it almost beats her lasagna. If you don't start eating, you're going to be sharing."
The smile he allowed barely passed for one, but the teasing jibe spurred him into action. His fork moved, and he brought the pasta to his mouth. Though his mind knew the dish to be as good or better than always, he couldn't taste it. He'd planned this night for too long, and as the days passed into weeks, it'd become too important.
A loud moan grabbed at his attention, and he focused on his ex-lover once again. Duo's eyes were closed and his jaws worked slowly, chewing. He let out another low moan, and Heero shuddered with the memory of hearing those same sounds - for different reasons. Shoving another forkful into his mouth, he tried to banish the remembrances.
"Good?" he kept his voice carefully neutral, masking his reaction to the almost sensual sounds.
Nodding his head vigorously, Duo's eyes opened, and he forked up another bite. When he'd swallowed, Duo exclaimed, "You know it, buddy!"
Heero watched as the man's mouth opened wide, accepted the bite, and his lips close over the fork. Another, smaller moan of pleasure sounded, and Heero swallowed hard. His hand slipped and his fork clattered to his plate.
As though he suddenly realized what he had been doing, Duo straightened, and offered an apologetic smile. "Guess I'm getting carried away, there, huh." Heero nodded slightly. Surprised when Duo lowered his gaze, Heero watched as he tore small chunks of breadsticks apart. "Even though the place has great food, I haven't been back. Since we went last time, that is. It just wouldn't seem right, yanno," his voice was quiet, soft.
"I know," Heero answered, equally as quiet. "I haven't been either." He smiled, willing Duo to look up. When the man did, Heero felt the relief flood through him; Duo returned his smile. He gave a brief nod before turning his attention back to his plate.
The silence settled between them, each concentrating on their own food. Though Duo continued to make little noises of pleasure, they weren't the kind Heero would normally associate with other activities.
His motions automatic, letting his mind drift where it would, Heero repeated the words he wanted to say, had wanted to say for months. Adding to the list, the words he'd always known, but until recently hadn't comprehended and now knew what they truly meant. Reminding himself of the lessons and techniques learned, and so hard won in the weeks apart - those weeks after he discovered what he'd lose if he didn't. He allowed himself to relax minutely. This is going to work. He has to see.
"You're being awfully quiet over there, even for you."
Duo's voice startled him from his reflections. Focusing his attention, Heero could see Duo had finished eating, had lain back, and had been staring at him for some time. He flushed, and wondered if his thoughts had somehow shown on his face.
"You want dessert now?" Heero asked in a rush.
Shaking his head and smiling bemusedly, Duo asked instead, "What are you thinking so hard about?"
"What makes you believe I'm thinking about anything?" Heero stalled.
Not an outright laugh, but enough of one it made Duo's shoulders shake. "You get this line across your forehead, and your eyes go distant when you concentrate."
Heero frowned, and pushed his plate away. This is as good a time as any. And stood.
Heero smiled down at his friend, his long-time lover and offered a hand to him. Ignoring Duo's suddenly wary expression, he grasped the hand held up, and pulled him to his feet. "Let's take a short walk, okay?" Though he formed it in a question, he'd already set off, his pace slower than his normal brisk clip.
"Hey Heero, where we going?"
He heard Duo behind him, but didn't looked back. "Just to the other side of the pond." He heard a soft snort, and felt more than saw Duo by his side.
"You gonna tell me why?" Duo's tone more demanding than he'd use normally.
Heero chuckled. This night keeps getting better and better. "When we get there, I will tell you a lot." He shot a glance to the side, gaging Duo's reaction. Seeing an almost disgruntled look, he brushed his hand over the man's palm and swore softly, "It'll be okay, Duo. I promise."
When the hand slipped into his, Heero gasped and nearly lost his footing. "I don't know why you're dragging me all over the frickin' colony when I was comfortable where I was." Duo's grin shined in the artifical moonlight. "But I think it'll be okay too."
They walked the rest of the way in silence. Heero kept glancing at their entwined hands; he'd hoped the feelings were shared, but until Duo had closed his fingers over his, he hadn't known.
The forced time spent apart, though painful, had been necessary - at least for him. Duo's insistence had made it happen; the gaping hole the separation left in his life made it necessary to find out why.
Almost from the beginning their relationship seemed doomed. Both fresh from the war, both too young and both too headstrong in what they wanted and how they wanted it. Neither had learned how to compromise gracefully, disputes became angrily debated issues, and wars broke out.
As time passed, and they got older, the fights lessened. Behaviors changed and words hurt worse than the fists had.
For the past several weeks, Heero had been working to discover for himself what had happened between them. Why, when two people, even two as different as they were, felt about one another as they had - why would they want to hurt and destroy each other as often as they did.
From the start, Duo'd complained Heero held on to him too tight, made him feel stifled and confined. Heero didn't understand what he'd meant, but would back off for a time, until he couldn't stand it any longer. Because Heero hadn't wanted to spend time with anyone else, he felt Duo wouldn't want to either. Duo's actions confused him, hurt him and in turn, he'd pull Duo away from whatever he'd been doing. That would lead to the biggest fights, the longest break ups.
"Here," Heero announced quietly, coming to a stop. His eyes gauged the distance round the pond, and he could faintly make out the light stick he'd left on top of the basket. Just about half way.
Duo looked around curiously, but hadn't dropped his hand. "So, what's up with this side? Doesn't seem any different to me." Asperity colored his words that teased in a light tone.
Heero gave a small amused laugh. Shaking his head, he stared hard at Duo a moment before saying, "No, it's not so different. But then, when you look at things from the other side, you discover a lot."
The look he received showed how puzzled and confused his words made Duo. But there'd been a flicker. Of hope. Of understanding. He wasn't sure, but he thought he'd find out.
Pulling Duo closer to his side, nearer to the water, he pointed across the pond with his other hand. "From the light, you can see how far we've come." Duo nodded. Heero took a deep breath and steadied his nerves. "Three months ago, you kicked me out." His hand tightened on Duo's when the man tried to pull away. "No, I'm not going to talk about that, not really." He sought understanding in Duo's eyes. "I didn't know why. And if I were to be truthful, I never knew why - when we'd break up. I never knew what you meant." Heero drew Duo's attention back to the light faintly gleaming. "I'd been too busy standing in my own light, casting shadows, to see what was going on around me. Too busy trying to hold on to what I thought I'd lose if I let go."
The slight noise Duo made followed the tentative squeeze. "Heero..." his name a whisper.
"I started seeing a counselor... after... after you threatened to kick me completely out of your life." The low tone barely masked the rawness in his voice. "I knew then I couldn't lose you. That I had to do something."
"Heero..." Duo started again, clearing his throat. "You don't... Heero..."
Shaking his head, he put his fingers' to the man's lips. "Yes, I do." He turned back to look across the pond. "I never saw your side of things before. And, though things are the same, they're different."
Duo leaned into him, and he could feel the sigh run through the man's body. Pulling on their linked hands slightly, Heero whispered, "Come."
The walk back wasn't quiet. Heero kept his voice low, steady as he told Duo about how his counselor helped him see what he'd been doing and why he'd been doing it. She'd shown him how their relationship had developed habits, patterns, and as they replayed the tapes of their habits, they'd fall into the pattern of their behaviors. His final visits to her office alone had been to give him the tools to recognize when those tapes would play, and put a stop to them.
Stopping in front of the tablecloth, Heero pulled Duo down to sit close. "She wants to meet with the both of us, if you want."
Duo wouldn't look at him, and Heero watched as his fingers shredded a paper napkin into strips. When the man finally spoke, he thought his heart would stop. "I think I want to."
His eyes closed, and the long held tension drained away. "We don't have to right away. We can... you know, take it slow?"
Heero felt the movement as slight as it was. "Well, I'd have to check my calendar, but think I can work something in the schedule. How soon did you have in mind?" The grin flashed his way had been more of the old Duo than Heero'd seen in years.
"Whenever you want. Tomorrow too soon?" Heero felt weak, he wanted to tremble.
"Yuy, relax." The words were close, and Heero could see Duo sliding closer.
Duo's finger trailed up his arm. At his touch, Heero stifled a whimpering sound. "Duo..." he warned. "I don't think..."
"You think too much," Duo's breath puffed against his ear. "Didn't you tell me once that this..." His tongue rasped over the skin from jaw to nape. "...shut your brain off. Gave it a rest?"
Heero shuddered even as his lids slid shut. He thought he might have responded, but he wasn't sure. The only surety of his life at that moment was the sudden lapful of Duo, and the longed for touch of his lover. His own hands worked with automatic precision slipping around the man's waist, pulling him close. Their lips met in kisses well known, over paths traveled many times, but no less passionate for it.
With a regretful sigh, Heero leaned back and pulled Duo's arms from around his neck. "Duo..." he began, between short, heated kisses. "We shouldn't be doing this... not right now."
"Why?" Duo murmured against his neck, not stopping the assault.
"We're in a public place." Heero's hands slipped down his lover's sides.
"It's dark. No one comes here anyway." Duo's mouth, sucking and biting at his neck, his shoulder, his ear, was making it hard for him to concentrate. "Besides, we've done it before." Duo broke away for a brief moment, jerking his chin a bit to the right. "Right about there."
Heero sank into the feeling Duo created. His brain had almost switch to off. "What about dessert?" he mumbled, his fingers suddenly clumsy.
The rumbling laugh felt against his chest did nothing to stem the desire flooding him. "I thought I was having it."
Bare skin exposed. "There's a warm wind blowing."
A kiss and nip at raised flesh. "Hmmm, climate controls must be off again." A light suck and a moan. "Didn't you work with that Reardon jerk to fix it last time?"
"Did I?" Conscious thought was lost.
"At least he got the moon sequence right. And the stars are out." A zipper being undone sounded.
A deep sigh. "What about...?" Another moan.
Post note: Oh, and a cookie to whomever can guess the song this little fic was inspired from. *grin* It's old, it's sappy ... it's just like me!