The familiar worn and age creased jacket was my first clue; finding him asleep in the guestroom confirmed it.
Heero dropping in out of the blue wasn't uncommon, and his latest email indicated he would be stopping by when he was in the area next. He had the spare key and free rein, but other than his jacket hanging from the extra hook just inside the front door, he wasn't overt in his presence. At least, not for the first day or two.
It's been about two-three years now, that Heero's been showing up at my door, sticking around for a couple of days to a week, and crashing in the guestroom (HA! I said guestroom as if I had 'guests', since Heero doesn't count). I used to ask him where he'd been, why he'd leave, when he would be coming back, and though I would still like to know the answers, I knew he'd never give them to me. Oh, he's told a story or two, in the most general of ways, and he never failed to email or contact me at least once a week when he was out and about. But, he shared little of his life away from me.
When he had slept to the point of recharge, it was as if he'd never left. Dinner would be on the table when I'd get home from work, and suggestions of what to do after the dishes were cleared would be made - playing a little one-on-one, catching the latest blockbuster at the theater, a game of pool at Jake's on the corner, a frame or two of bowling, vidshow season opening, or even the occasional 'night about town'. Most of the time, we'd cover them all with work interfering every so often.
The last time he was here was less than three weeks before, and as I stood in the doorway watching him, I wondered if he'd slept at all during the time between. Heero doesn't do haggard, but he had 'dead to the world' down pat. A minute or two, maybe five or ten passed, and my eyes shifted from Heero to his battered duffel, knowing from experience it contained little more than a change or two of clothes, his handheld PDA, and books he says had to be in physical form to experience them properly.
In the catchall drawer of the living room end table, was an old 35MM camera. It came in handy for those times when a photo-picture says more than words ever could. Retrieving it, I saw only two pictures were left, and used them both a minute later, the buzz and whirl as the film advanced the only sound in the silent house.
Heero slept, and I planned for later; dropping the film off for developing, stopping by the market for some of his favorite foods, maybe picking up the brand of shampoo he mentioned he was using on his last visit. But for now, I lingered in the doorway to his room, remembering the moments captured in visits past, and how these would fit.
One day, he would find what he sought. But, until he does, my door was always open.