Disclaimer: About the same as always, I'm out of my head, and know not what I do.

Pairing: Heero/Duo
Warnings: Yaoi, Citrus, Angst and other things...

[ stagesoflove ] community has issued another challenge over the next five weeks, from March 8th through April something. So, like a red flag waved before me... I answered. -_- ... well, the first series is now complete. Tell me what you think:

Stages of Love - Times of Day
by Merith


pairing: heero/duo
rating: PG

notes: written for the fall '06 [ stagesoflove ], this is the first of five stories for this theme.

my horizon

We were on the way to a satellite in L2's Meridian sector, and planning to use the gravitational pull off the moon to slingshot our shuttle in the right direction. And, if we do it right, it'll save us half the fuel consumption of the flight. I was pilot and Heero in second chair. Seemed he trusts me in the driver's seat, the same as I trusted him to lead the investigation. Even if it was only supposed to be a handful of interviews.

"The right rudder has a shimmy," I was saying stick in hand. "Stabilizer is locked, but no juice." Throwing Heero a glance, I couldn't help the grin. I was still chuckling over Heero's lack of guile and a comment handed him with his coffee order.

Heero flipped a switch overhead, and monitored a gauge. "Line should be clear now," he said shifting control adjusters into place. "Try it again."

The shuttle banked smooth and I gave a little whoop. "Ready to jet outta here, big daddy?" We were approaching the cutover line and I looked out the forward shield just in time. The sun was cresting the ridge of the moon's surface, and no matter how many times I'd seen it, it still held me in thrall. Without turning from the view, I reached over and nudged Heero's arm, wanting to share the moment with him. "Hey Heero, take a look at that." I was sure he was looking, but the pull on the stick was my cue and I kicked it into gear, catching the lunar wave.

"I love you, too."

His words surprised me more than if he'd just sprouted wings, but I was a little busy just then to think about it. When I did have the time, Heero was back to being the professional he was, back to being a friend as though he hadn't said life-altering words. Later, I thought maybe he had timed it that way.

And I let it slide. At least for the moment.



pairing: heero/duo
rating: PG

notes: written for the fall '06 [ stagesoflove ], this is the second of five stories for this theme.

lo que es mio, es tuyo (what's mine is yours)

Lunch was at a diner about a mile from the spaceport. Our first of four interviews had gone a longer than what we'd planned, but if the information provided panned out, the delay would be worth it. We were already running late for the second interview, but a quick call pushed it back another hour.

I ordered my usual - cheeseburger and fries - and Heero, his sensible tuna sandwich and side salad. In the two years, four month and ten days (or so) of being his partner, of all the times we have eaten lunch together, Heero never varies. Always some sort of low-fat meat sandwich with a salad, or in season fruit.

But he never fails to steal a fry or two off my plate.

"Adams at one, Panelli at two, Grinager at three and Jones at four," I was looking over the list, making notes and waving the disposable cup holding my soda in one hand. "Let's hope none of the others will be as chatty as Xing was."

"Xing gave us valuable information." Heero had the Adams folder open, and was flipping through notes, recommendations and performance reviews. "We can only hope the others are as informative."

He reached over and snatch up a fry without looking up from the page he was reading. I was finished eating, but liked watching Heero. But, as the fry disappeared between his lips, the words he'd spoke just hours before came back. What the hell had he meant by saying that? Had it been just a joke, the same as someone - anyone - else would have said in more of a sarcastic manner? But, this was Heero. He dealt in facts, was straight up about his actions, direct.

"Heero," I was speaking before I could stop myself. "about this morning, when we were flying up here..." Heero's eyes flicked up my way and back to the folder. I took a quick drink, my mouth dry. "I want to ask - do you - you if ...love - I mean, what you said... - me... - watching the game at The Dugout on Saturday, right?" I took another drink.

By this time, Heero was staring at me, that slight frown he gets between his eyebrows pronounced. It was suddenly an imperative act to finish my fries. From the corner of my eyes, I could see that Heero was flipping the folder shut and pushing his lunch tray away. Instead of saying a word, he reached over and took another fry.

It happened while we were riding the lift up to our next appointment. Heero's hand rose and his fingers brushed against the inside of my arm up to the hem of the short sleeve. I couldn't stifle the shiver and turned to face him, to ask what I couldn't before. The elevator doors opened and the car was filling with others going up. Heero's hand dropped away, but he leaned close to me.

"It's at Wufei's on Saturday."



pairing: heero/duo
rating: PG-13
warning: BL, language

notes: written for the fall '06 [ stagesoflove ], this is the third of five stories for this theme.

between the eyes

"Fuck!" I was cussing, looking, and acting totally unprofessional. But then, even Une couldn't have blamed me. Glaring at Heero, I pried my shirt away from my shoulder, and ignored him to look the damage over.

Heero wasn't quite laughing, not any more, but he couldn't keep from smirking. "Jones is the last," he said, holding up a file.

I had to stop ignoring him for that. "We got the guy. There's no need." The paper towels I was using were making more of a mess than what was there in the first place.

"He's the last one on the list." Heero frowned at what I was attempting to do. "I have a spare uniform back on the ship you can use." Now I was frowning at him. Great. Fucking Boy Scout. "You know Une will send us back here next week if the report is incomplete."

Yeah, Heero was right. But I still didn't like it.

His uniform was stashed in the stow cupboard behind the forward cabin. Barely large enough for emergency evac suits, and Heero had to bring an extra uniform. The two-man shuttle was limited in facility functionality - no running water and no room to change clothes. At least Heero turned away as I peeled my shirt off, even if I could still hear him laugh. I would give him shit about it, only, he hadn't been laughing when it'd happened.

Our fourth interviewee worked at an ice cream factory, and his foreman pointed out the man. He saw us coming; neither Heero nor I saw the weapon until it pointed at us, and he was firing. Heero went low, and I dived behind a pallet full of boxes. A bullet went wild and clipped a box overhead, and I started cussing. One of my bullets found a shoulder and one of Heero's shot the gun from his hand.

Heero had the guy pinned to the ground with his cuffs out by the time I got close enough to kick the weapon away. It was while he was in the middle of reciting the man's rights that Heero jumped up and pulled me around to check my shoulder. But, I saw it. I saw it before it became a joke and he realized the red covering my shoulder, streaking its way down my pants, was strawberry flavoring.

The locals picked up Grinager, and we spent the next half hour making statements and verifying credentials. By the time we left the station, the syrup glued my shirt to my body. And now here I was, getting into Heero's pants. Not exactly how I'd pictured that happening. I also discovered that we might be the same size, but Heero was a little thinner. Either that or he liked his slacks a little on the tight side.

I was finished dressing, and was stowing away my ruined uniform when Heero popped open the hatch. "Half an hour," he was saying, looking through the last folder. "We'll be back on Earth by suppertime."

"Sure." I was by his side at the door, ready to go. "Just one question." Heero looked up, an eyebrow raised. I made a half turn and watched him over my shoulder. "Do your pants make my ass look fat?"

Heero was laughing when he shoved me out of the shuttle.



pairing: heero/duo
rating: PG-13
warning: BL

notes: written for the fall '06 [ stagesoflove ], this is the fourth of five stories for this theme.

a little one on one

The door to the bathroom had just closed and I was on the phone. The number already preset, if not memorized. Time was limited, and in a minute, prompt delivery was assured. A couple of placemats, dinnerware and glasses, a dash down the hall, and all was ready by the time the water stopped hitting the back of the shower wall.

Two could play at Heero's game. I just hoped it was the same game.

Heero was coming down the hall, a hand to his hair, toweling it dry. Already in the sweat pants he lounged in before heading to bed, and I was suddenly feeling a little awkward in the slacks and sweater I was wearing. Too late to back out now, I stood waiting for Heero to notice.

"Was that delivery?" he asked, the towel still over his head. "I hope you ordered something else besides pepperoni..." He fumbled to a stop when he did notice.

As if I would order something he detested. Automatic forfeit of the game, if I had. Though, with the look Heero shot me, I wanted to be somewhere else - anywhere else. And I was pretty glad, now, I got rid of that candle I'd lit. Of course, it had looked odd, being in a pinecone shape, but it was the only candle we had in the house - some relic left over from Christmas and shoved under the kitchen cupboard behind the silver polish and floor wax.

"I thought we could use the dining room," I found myself telling him. "To be different, for once." I grinned in a sort of embarrassed way, but shrugged for effect anyway.

"Sure," Heero said. He tossed his towel aside, and shook his head, letting his hair fall where it usually did anyway. We stood there staring at each other in a brief pause before he sat down.

"It's spinach lasagna, " I told him, cutting a couple of squares out.

"From Montemorano's?" Heero paused in cutting into his piece with a fork, his eyebrows disappearing up into his hair. "I didn't know they delivered."

I hid a smile behind the glass of water I slugged down. Wine might have been a better choice, but seeing as we were about two minutes from a ten-hour sleep apiece, water seemed more prudent. "Depends on the customer." I didn't elaborate; what Heero didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

Very little talking was done, not that we usually held lengthy discussions. But, the silence was kind of nice, without having the televid blaring in the background, distracting and coming between anything that might have been said.

It wasn't until we were cleaning up that Heero said anything. He was taking care of rinsing dishes and stacking them in the dishwasher, while I rearranged things on a shelf in the refrigerator to make room for the lasagna. I was just thinking we kept too many leftovers we never ate when I felt a hand slid up my back.

"Thanks for dinner," Heero said at my ear. I jerked, turning to face him, and almost jumped back with how close he really was. His lips tweaked up in a half-assed smile before he pressed them to my cheek. "Good night, Duo."

We stood together for a moment, the fridge door open and hitting my ass. I was pretty sure my mouth was opened, but I couldn't think of a single thing to say. The hand on my back touched the back of my neck, and then Heero let it drop away.

He was gone, and I was still standing there with a container of leftover Chinese in one hand, and the other to my cheek where I swore I could still feel Heero kissing it.



pairing: heero/duo
rating: PG-13
warning: BL, language

notes: written for the fall '06 [ stagesoflove ], this is the fifth and final story for this theme.

eight-ball in the corner pocket

After staring at the bedroom ceiling for a few hours, I gave up trying to sleep. Counting sheep wasn't helping, but I sure as hell wasn't about to get up and boil milk as if I was a colicky toddler. Heero had fucking kissed me, and I was lying there dreaming about it like a teenaged girl with her first crush.

Two out of three there wasn't all wrong.

What had me still thinking hours later, wasn't so much the kiss itself as what exactly Heero meant by it. Up until today, Heero had just been Heero - my roommate and partner, my all around best friend (and sometimes if I thought about him while taking care of business, well, he wouldn't have ever found out).

And fuck me if I couldn't still feel his kiss on my cheek.

Across the hall from my door was Heero's bedroom and I found myself ghosting it open moments later. His room was dark but for the faint light that bled through the blinds; barely enough to put some shape to shadow, and allowed me to avoid running into anything. It'd been awhile since I was last in Heero's room. I wasn't surprised to find little had changed.

He was asleep, like any normal person would be at two in the morning. But I couldn't help that little feeling of disappointment. Had the kiss meant less to him? On the other hand, it wasn't often I had the chance to watch Heero sleep. Outside of when he had the flu last fall, and camped out on the couch for three days running. This time it was different and I wanted to wake him up just to tell him good night. Let him know I was thinking about him.

Any real ideas of me waking him were shot to hell, though. Heero started stirring, and I froze like a rabbit before a fox. And with the temptation to run just as strong. His eyes snapped open, and only then did I move - toward the bed, not away from it.

"It's just me," I whispered, stopping only when my legs touched the mattress.

Heero rolled up on an elbow, and I could almost see the look on his face. "Duo?" his voice was soft in the dark. "Is something wrong?"

I was shaking my head, answering his question still in a whisper. "Nah, just couldn't sleep." Heero was going to start thinking I was a head case, coming into his room while he slept. I almost left then, but I had to know. "What-what's the idea?" I sort of stammered out. "What was with you today?"

The bastard actually laughed. But he moved to the edge of the bed and sat up. "I guess you could say I... did what you are always doing."

"I'm always... what?"

"Have a seat, Duo." And he patted the sheet next to him. His voice was getting softer, and even if his face was more shadow than light, I could tell he wasn't looking at me. I sat, but farther down the mattress than where Heero wanted me.

"Tell me, Duo, how long have we been working together?"

Well, that wasn't what I expected. "Almost three years," I said immediately. "Five if you count the time during the wars and between." He was looking at me now, and I was watching him.

"In the past couple of months, I noticed that..." his indrawn breath was audible, and I was holding mine. "that we seemed closer to each other than any one else."

I gave it a moment and nodded. "Yeah..." the word was elongated on my tongue.

"There hasn't been a single time I can remember when you haven't pointed out a sunrise or a sunset to me." I felt his hand touch my thigh, feel for my hand, and I let him take it. "And then I found out that you only shared them with me."

"So." My only rebuttal was a gruff whimper from a throat that felt too dry and a tongue suddenly too large for my mouth.

"So, I realized that the things you did with me meant something more," his hand tightened in mine, and I was back to holding my breath. "Something you never said."

Heero fell silent then, and I started breathing again. Maybe not so normally, but I was very aware of the air going in and out of my lungs. Time past, a minute, or two. Quite possibly five or even ten. His hand gave mine a squeeze, a quick tightening and release, and then Heero sighed.

"Go back to bed, Duo. We'll talk about it tomorrow."

My hand tightened on his before it could slip away, and I was shaking my head. "No." My throat closed off with that word but I turned toward Heero anyway.


"Yeah, I guess you're right," I was saying softly, scooting closer to where he sat, close enough to touch him. "So, what now?" My right hand swung up in the air between us.

"Nothing." Heero shrugged, and shifted. His knee pressed against mine.

"But," my hand flapped the air again, "what about us? It's going to change."

Heero's other hand caught mine and he held them both between his hands. "It will. We will." He sounded so sure.

"You're my friend, Heero. I don't want that to change."

"So, it doesn't have to. We'll still be friends," and now I heard the amusement in his voice. "Just friends who share more than most do."

Oh yeah. There was that. I nodded, even if Heero couldn't see it. It was already getting too weird as it was. Heero yawned, and I jumped up. "I... I should go back to bed. Let you sleep."

He was letting my hands go, slowly, but still. "Ok, Duo. We'll talk tomorrow, alright?"

"Sure," I said, but I was still standing by his bed, and he was sliding his legs back under the covers, starting to lie down again. "Oh," I said, coming closer and leaning down toward him. My hand slid up his arm, over his shoulder and cupped his neck. "And Heero," lightly whispering now, I felt the breath leaving his mouth just before I kissed him. It wasn't long and lingering, or even a passionate kiss. But it was my lips on his, and it was more than I'd ever done.

For a moment after, I thought my heart was going to stop. And judging by the racing pulse under my thumb, Heero wasn't unaffected either. I smiled, feeling so much better now that we'd had this little talk. Straightening up, and letting my hand slip down from Heero's neck to brush over his chest, I added softly, "Good night."

Without waiting for Heero to say anything, I turned on my heel and left.

Of course, my exit would have worked so much better if I hadn't run into the door on my way out.


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