On Comfort and Friends
I was elbows deep in paperwork when I heard the news. Well, when I paid attention to the news that is. See the radio'd been playing all day, and the announcer must have stated the same thing time and again, I just didn't listen.
It'd been Roz, my sometime assistant who asked, "Heero Yuy… isn't he that friend of yours? The one with the gorgeous hair?"
Looking up, I could only blink a time or two, trying to recall what'd been said. "Heero's my friend, yeah. Why? What's up?"
Busy bundling the reams of order forms together, she pointed to the radio with her chin. "Just announced that the Prime Minister broke off their engagement this morning."
To say I was pole-axed would have been an understatement. Roz continued to babble as she boxed and sorted through the mounds of forms, files and papers, getting them ready to send to the warehouse. I faded everything out, remembering the day Heero'd told me of their engagement. He kept reassuring me nothing would change between us, not that there'd been anything but a budding friendship at the time, but still... a guy had to start somewhere, right?
Heero and Relena had been engaged for at least two years. From the end of the Barton uprising, there had been the general speculation hovering around the two. Since they both were still young, no one pushed the issue for awhile. I'll admit, though I'd gone back to L2 to make a go with Hilde in the scrap yard, I never dreamed that Heero'd get hitched to Relena. Not that there was anything wrong with Relena, far from it. But Heero'd show up every so often just to get away from the relentlessness of her. That'd be one of those things a person can handle in a friend, but not in a permanent relationship.
Shortly after Relena's nineteenth birthday, the public encouraged - well, demanded more like - that they get married. By that time, I was living on Earth, and had started my own transportation and shipping business. Heero'd taken me out to dinner, not really unusual but not common either, and explained how he and Relena were getting engaged, and the announcement would be released the next day. I'd sort of stopped listening after that. It'd been that much of a shock.
The thought of Heero marrying anyone would have made me laugh, and if it hadn't been Heero himself telling me, I'd never have believed it. True to his word, Heero and I went on just as we always had. We met regularly to play sports, work on cars, watch tv, or go out. I was invited quite often to the palace for parties, shindigs and dinners so much so Relena had a room set aside for me.
Yeah, our lives were just one big happy. So what happened? The White Knight and his Beautiful Princess were the happy couple of which all couples looked up to.
Heero must be devastated.
I was ringing the doorbell to his place before I even realized I'd left the office. Oh great! Now what do I say? Hey buddy, I heard you got dumped. Wanna grab a beer? Right.
"Duo?" Heero held the door open, his brow hiked up in confusion.
"Uh, yeah," I stalled. "I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop by."
He waved me in, still puzzling out what I was saying. "In my neighborhood? At three in the afternoon? You're kidding, right?" Heero flipped the vid set off, and waited for my reply.
I took a moment to look at him, and I mean really look at him. He didn't look like he was suffering, but then again, this was Heero. I decided I'd be a true friend and pulled him into a hug. His arms went loosely around my waist even as he stammered out, "Duo?"
"You don't have to say anything, buddy. I just wanted to let you know I'm here for you. Whatever you want to do, whatever's needed, I'm here," I sort of mumbled into his hair, rubbing his back.
Heero made some sort of whining noise and for a moment I was afraid he'd started crying. "Why... what's going on Duo?"
"Well, you know, Heero," I began, and stopped my soothing rubs. "You and Relena..." I pulled back to look at him. Maybe he didn't know! Choking, I admitted to make a retreat. "It's been on the news all day... you and Relena... the engagement."
His brow cleared. "Oh, that."
"What do you mean, that? I thought you'd be... well, something." It hit me suddenly, maybe Heero was the one who broke it off. "Unless you wanted to ..." Heero was shaking his head.
"No, Relena decided to end it." I'd pulled back, holding onto his arms, looking at him. "It was her decision."
"And you aren't upset?" I took a step back. This wasn't turning out as I'd thought.
Heero frowned at me. "Why would I be upset?"
This was getting odd. "You both always seemed so happy together. I thought you loved her, wanted to get married."
He shook his head. "We never wanted to get married. It was all part of the plan. And I don't love her." I'd backed up to the edge of the couch and sat with a whoosh.
I could only gape at him; the words, Heero didn't love Relena, circled in my head. How could I have known? They looked like lovers. They were together all the time, attending functions, holding parties, making public appearances. Snapshot images of Relena and Heero flashed through my head. Not one showed either of them holding hands. Not one showed them kissing. Even in private when it was just the three of us, I could not recall seeing them kiss, or touch one another in more than a friendly way. The only time I remembered seeing them hug was at the door goodnight and even then, I received the same treatment from her.
"You never planned to marry," I announced like it was a new thing. Stunned didn't quite describe how I felt.
Dragging the coffee table closer, Heero perched on its end, staring at me intently. "Duo? Are you going to be all right?"
I nodded slowly. "I think so. It's just a surprise."
Heero gave me another odd look. "But I told you all about it. Don't you remember? I told you what we were doing. You thought it was a great idea. You acted excited about it."
Had I? I didn't remember. "I... don't remember much about that night," I fumbled an explanation.
"So all this time you thought... you believed I was going to marry Relena?" Heero asked, his voice incredulous.
Embarrassed, I dropped my gaze to my hands. Heero had been holding them, rubbing both of mine between his. I watched as his thumbs caressed the back of my hand.
"Why did you come here?" he asked abruptly, his hands gripping mine.
"I... I thought you'd been hurt. That you'd..." I raised my eyes to look at him. His gaze was still intensely focused on me. "I thought you might need a friend. Someone to ...fuss over you. You know. When you care about someone and they get hurt."
"And you..." Heero shook his head slowly. "How could I have not known..." One of his hands rose and clamped on my shoulder, the other still on my hands when both pulled strongly together, tugging me off the couch. I sort of landed in Heero's lap, half sprawled over him, and half kneeling on the carpet. "I'm sorry, Duo. I didn't mean to hurt you."
His arms were around me now, his face pressed to my neck. "He..ero?" I stammered.
"Duo," he said, finally releasing me and sliding to the floor to kneel beside me. "When I told you of the plan, the one Relena and I put together, do you remember what I said? Any of it?"
I tried, then, for his sake, for my sake. But the night was too fuzzy. "I remember we were talking and you said something about nothing between us would change. And how you had to do this for Relena... that you were getting engaged. But after that... no, I don't." His hand gripped my shoulders tightly. I thought I was going to get hugged again. Not that the thought didn't have appeal, but this was getting weird.
How can one person's eyes change color like his did? One moment they'd be an icy blue, with a sharpness that'll cut a man. And the next, the warmth in them could melt the most coldest of hearts. He didn't have to melt mine; it'd been his for years. Heero's hands were in my hair, one stroking along the braid, the other pulling me closer. So lost had I been in watching his eyes, the kiss took me by surprise. I jerked back in shock. Heero was smiling.
"I told you then, and I'll remind you now," he was whispering, pulling me to him again, "I didn't love Relena, had no intension of marrying her. There's only one I want to spend my life with." He kissed me again, and this time, I let him.
When he lifted me bodily from the floor a few minutes later, I squawked. "What the hell are you doing, Heero!? Put me down."
He only laughed and squeezed me tighter. It was strange, him holding me like a babe in arms. He lowered me to the couch, and sat by my side, one hand going to stroke my face, the other clasp tightly in mine. "I've got a lot to make up for, Duo. And I plan on starting today."
"What?" I mumbled, my mind uncertain on what to focus on. My eyes kept being drawn to our entwined fingers, my nerves raced sensory input with each stroke of his fingertips, and yeah, my heart fluttered each time I looked at his eyes. Damn, the man shows me a little caring and my molecule composition changes from mostly solid to mostly gelatin.
And he was kissing me again. "I'm going to take care of you for the rest of my life, Duo Maxwell." He placed a kiss on the tip of my nose, making me crossed eyed for the moment. "Fussing, I think you said." I nodded, still in shock, I think.
"Why?" I managed, between his kisses.
"Isn't that what you said you do? When someone you care for is hurt, you comfort them, fuss over them." Heero was giving me one of those warm looks again.
I blinked up at him. Things just weren't connecting as they should. Wasn't I supposed to be the one comforting and fussing over him? When did we switch roles anyway? Wait. Heero didn't love Relena. Heero said there's only one person he'd spend his life with. Heero taking care of me...
There are times when I'm such an idiot. Though this moment might have appeared to be one of them, it wasn't.
My pounce knocked us both to the floor, me straddling Heero. Working my mouth from his lips, to his eyes, along his jawline, down his neck and back again, I repeated again and again, "I love you. I'm taking care of you for the rest of my life." I kept emphasizing the I and you.
He'd somehow managed to sit up, with me straddling his thighs. Holding my head still, he deepened one of my fleeting kisses. I think my toes curled. I know I only wanted to crawl inside him and stay there, feeling the way he was making me feel.
I don't know how much time had passed while we sat on the floor making out. I sort of became aware of how dark it was getting in the apartment, wrapped up in Heero's arms, still sitting in his lap. His head lay on my shoulder, and mine lay on his. He'd been whispering nonsensical words and phrases, things I never thought I'd ever hear, let alone from him.
Yeah, from our not so auspicious beginning, I think we might be able to turn that around. With enough care and fussing, anything is possible. Right?