Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply. See store for details.

Pairing: 1+2
Rating: PG
Challenge: None
Warning: Shounen-ai, no spoilers

A/N: Another slice of life from Duo's POV - part of the "Good in the Little Things" series. This is not a GW500 / 500 word challenge ... but it will be short and is only a representation of a small slice of life - a spoonful of rocky road.

Laundry Rabbits and Random Thoughts
by Merith

After giving it careful consideration, I'd decided laundry and thoughts were like rabbits; more than one and, with enough time, they'd show you prolific.

Wash days were designated for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and while switching weeks was supposed to make the job fair, I hated it. Not that I'm complaining, I mean, it wasn't the sorting or even the chore in and of itself that bothered me; it was the whole futility of the thing. I'd no sooner have it all washed, dried and folded than another load would make its presence known. Worse than rabbits, two articles in a dirty clothes hamper multiplied into four, four into eight and so on until it overflowed onto the floor.

On my days to do the wash, I'd often wonder where the other five people disappeared to 'cause there ain't no way that only the two of us could dirty that many clothes. One would have thought Heero and I changed every couple of hours throughout the day with the number of shirts and pants I sorted through. And, God - the towels. Though that would be mostly my fault, two with each shower, and with my reluctance to use the same towel twice, I generated more than a full load every week. I'd learned to wash the linen items first, or as Heero'd say, efficiency dictates washing clothes the second night to maximize on cleaning.

Laundry organization had never been my strong suit. To me, they're clothes, they get dirty - wash 'em. The hell with having a system. But ever since Heero'd moved in, his routine became a habit, and I had to admit his method was a better way. Even though I scoffed during the time he patiently showed me, his way of tackling the chore amused me greatly; it could be he likened it to mission parameters and outlined attack positions complete with equipment capabilities.

Every other Tuesday would find me gathering the dirty items from our individual hampers and the common one in the bathroom. Heero's held almost the same number of items every week, depending on what activities he engaged in over the weekend. On the other hand, I was likely to wear the same pair of jeans three days in a row or I'd change a couple of times during the day; never consistent.

Sorting clothes in the utility room off the back porch, I pulled out one of Heero's shirts and held it to my face, breathing in his scent. Scent had to be a relative word, since he didn't hold a desk job, and worked fucking hard for a living. But it was all him. Other than a precious few times, getting close enough to smell him wasn't an option. My fixation by proxy was enough to satisfy for now.

Though he worked at the dam site, Heero was employed by county electric. It annoyed him to no end he had to wear company issued clothing, but mostly because it resembled a military uniform. Olive-green cotton pants and a buttoned up khaki work shirt, with his name sewn above the left pocket, made up his daily wear. Each morning, I'd watch as he left his room before following closely behind him down the stairs. Not the precision cut of fatigues the pants still fit nicely and Heero looked pretty damned good in them.

It was then that I noticed the oily stain across the front of the shirt. A hydraulic line must have ruptured. His job wasn't dangerous; at least, not like it would have been if he worked for the Preventers, or even as Relena's bodyguard. When it rained heavy, though, it carried more than its share of risks.

The pre-treated shirt landed in the washer.

Last spring, I believed I was going to lose everything, my house, my neighborhood, and Heero. Like the proverbial Biblical story, it'd rained for a week solid, and the river rose. Paged in the middle of the night, Heero had been called out to the site; all other town citizens were asked to help with flood control. I'd been sandbagging for hours when a relief worker brought coffee and the news one of the hydro engines had exploded up at the dam. There'd been a fire, several people injured and even a casualty had been reported.

No time to stop, I prayed to a God I could scare believe in that Heero'd be one of the lucky ones. He must have been listening to me for once - I hadn't lost a thing. A town down river nearly washed away when the dam waters were released.

Heero had escaped with mild burns and a cut that didn't even need stitches.

A couple of sticky Tee shirts washed the morose thoughts from my head. Last Sunday, I'd crept upon Heero as he stood in the kitchen after his morning run. Poking his waist might not have been my best idea; orange juice flew, and I was in a headlock, but felt it was worth it to see the sheer power and fluidity of his body. Even retaking a shower hadn't changed my mind.

With the washer running, I decided I'd spent enough time playing in the laundry, thinking, and reentered the house to see what Heero was up to. By this time, he should have been home from work and it was his turn at dinner.

Standing close behind him, I watched as he stirred the pan's contents, inhaling deeply. He'd washed up when he came home; I could smell the soap on his neck.

"It's only onions and garlic, Duo," he said.

I hid my smile, replying, "It smells wonderful." And headed for the refrigerator for salad makings.

Sometimes trading chores was fair, and sometimes sharing them made it better. Though I hated doing laundry, it often reminded me of what I had to be thankful for, and for that, it was worth the aggravation.

Post note: this author asks for your indulgence for this bit of fluff. I've been doing laundry for the past couple of days and with most tedious chores, thoughts happen. I fashioned this story from one of those random thoughts.


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