With a surprised snort, Heero woke, his eyes scanning the dimly lit room swiftly. Even as he recognized the reason for his wakening, the tension eased from his muscles, the instant alertness from his eyes; the pop-pop-pop continued beyond the living room window as revelers celebrated in their way.
The heavy warmth moved against his shoulder, and Heero focused his attention there, his expression momentarily tender. A shift in lighting, and his eyes flicked to the vid set left on, its sound barely audible. The countdown had passed, but the cameras were still panning the crowd, picking out couples kissing, holding onto one another, joy and hope for the new year clear in their expression.
"Or too much to drink," Heero muttered quietly. He suppressed a yawn, and glanced from the remote two feet in front of him to the man using him as a pillow. Duo had been tired, Heero knew. In normal circumstances, there would be no way Duo would have slept through the firecrackers their neighbors so thoughtfully set off to mark the hour.
Frowning slightly, Heero reached out and brushed hair from Duo's face. The bruise that had marred his cheek was fading, the cut edging his lower lip healing. Though he hadn't been there, it didn't take much imagination to visualize what happened. Fifteen hundred miles from home, a bust that'd turned into a knock-down, drag-out fight and on Christmas, the suspect he and his partner flew out to arrest, didn't come quietly. Heero's thumb skimmed the surface of Duo's lip, and the steady breathing paused. Heero watched, mildly relieved when the rhythm resumed.
They had spent Christmas apart, not for the first time, but for once, this year they had actual plans that had to be postponed. A break in Duo's cold case Christmas Eve day had him scrambling to pack a bag to catch a hurried flight. Heero saw it, the excitement building behind his eyes, even as his lips apologized for ruining their own trip. Not that he could fault Duo; he had done the same a time or two.
New Years had almost become a casualty to work as well, but a last minute confession, and a stand-by position fulfilled brought Duo home in time for dinner. Too bad he'd fallen asleep during the movie they watched. Heero hadn't minded; Duo was home, and the movie could be finished at another time. Instead of car chases, explosions, and choreographed gunfights, Heero tuned in the local channel showing other party-goers living it up on the street, counting down the minutes.
Somewhere in there, Heero drifted off himself.
"Hey," he said softly, shrugging his shoulder gently. "Time to go to bed."
Eyes blinked opened, warm, confused, with hints of blue glinting. "...time is it?" Duo managed, shifting enough to lift his head from Heero's shoulder, and raise an arm above his head in a stretch.
"You missed the new year." Heero smiled slightly when Duo broke out into a wide-mouth yawn.
Duo stopped yawning abruptly and turned with a frown. "Why didn't you wake me? We could have done the countdown together."
His smile turned sheepish. "I missed it, too."
"Oh." The 'O' of his mouth smoothed, and Duo turned, noticing the vid set still showing party-goers. Heero didn't look, but watched Duo instead. "There's still the champagne, though."
"It will still be New Year's tomorrow," Heero replied, reaching now for the remote, pushing the power button, and plunging the room in darkness. "The champagne can wait."
"Oh?" His inflection of tone wasn't lost on Heero, and its sudden alertness sparked along nerves, pimpling skin, and jolting him to his feet.
"Come on," Heero answered the unasked. "Let's go get a start the new year."
"Right behind you," Duo said, and from the warmth and press against his back, Heero knew he was, and would be.