Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respective copyright owners, like Sunrise/Sotsu/Bandai. Plot, if you can call it that, belongs to me.

Pairing: 1+2
Warning: [PG] Shounen ai. Heero POV, Sap

A Moment of Perfection
by Ponderosa
Chapter 5

None of the few remaining clumps of guests scattered around the ballroom held Duo in their midst and I'd already checked his room. Twice.

My next stop was the kitchens. No luck there either. I was getting more than a little frustrated and my steps were rushed as I headed back towards the stairs leading to the wing where Duo was assigned a room.

I didn't notice Wufei until he caught my arm and stopped me. His grip on my sleeve was tight, but I hardly felt the pressure of his fingers. He cocked his head and said sarcastically, "You're making security nervous."

I looked Wufei directly in the eye, as I always did. "Duo, have you seen him?"

He released his hold on my arm and toyed with the cuff of his shirt. "I heard he conned you into dancing with him," he said slowly. I ground my back teeth together. I wasn't in the mood for gossip or small talk; even if it came from Wufei, who hardly ever made the time for such things.

"Do you know where he is?" I snapped.

"Why are you looking for him?" Wufei asked. His tone was a little too casual and held more personal interest than I had ever known him to express. I stood up a little straighter at the unvoiced challenge, as I understood that Wufei knew precisely where Duo was and didn't want to tell me. He had a talent for being obstinate at the worst possible times.

It was none of his business why I was looking for Duo and I told him that angrily. Wufei bristled and I resisted the urge to grab his shirt and shake the information from him. "Tell me where he is."

"You want to know where Maxwell is, you let me know why you're looking for him," Wufei growled back at me. The fingers of his right hand had curled themselves into a fist and my own nails were soon biting into my palm.

"Damnit, Chang. Where the hell is Duo."

Wufei widened his stance slightly and he smirked before pressing his lips in a thin line. I felt the sickening rush of anger boiling in my chest and shifted my weight to match.

"What the hell is your problem? Just tell me." If he refused again, I was going to enjoy pounding the information out of him.

"If you think I'm going to tell you where he is, just so you can go and beat the crap out of him, you are sadly mistaken," he said grimly.

My jaw went slack. Wufei was being a stubborn pigheaded ass because he was trying to protect Duo? From me? Incredulity at the situation was the only thing keeping me from bursting out laughing.

"Wait," I said. I held up a hand and Wufei's expression turned from determination to puzzlement. "You think I'm looking for Duo because I'm mad at him?"

"Why else would you be stalking around with that look on your face, Yuy?" Wufei asked. His posture lost some of its hostility, but he was far from being at ease.

"For exactly the opposite of what you're thinking," I murmured and shook my head.

"What does that mean?" Wufei crossed his arms.

I finally broke eye contact and let my gaze drift towards the yawning archway that spanned the entrance to the ballroom. "You heard right, I did dance with Duo, but," I smiled and amusement crept into my voice, "I was hardly conned into it."

His dark eyes widened in understanding and a look that was somewhere between relief and satisfaction, flashed across his features. All remaining tension vanished between us as he jerked a thumb over his shoulder and said, "Saw him slink out to the garden."

I clapped Wufei on the arm and managed to thank him as I rushed off to find Duo.


The estate gardens were vast. The layout hadn't changed since I was here last, but I knew finding Duo in the maze of carefully tended vegetation wasn't going to be easy. I worked my way from east to west and naturally, he was in the last sector of my search.

I found him leaning against the rail of a low bridge that arched gently over a sculpted stream. There were small lights submerged in the water and a tangle of gold and red spotted koi swarmed after little crumbs that Duo tossed in sporadically. The lights weren't bright enough to illuminate more than a few inches above the water and I saw him mostly by moonlight.

"Hey," he said as I approached.

"You aren't supposed to feed them," I said. I folded my elbows on the rail and stared down into the water with him.

"Yeah?" He paused with a bit of torn off bread pinched between his fingers. "Is it bad for them or something?"

A list of all the reasons why overfeeding the fish was bad ran through my head. I ignored it. "Just this once," I said and stole the piece of bread from Duo and tossed it down into the pond.

"You've changed, Heero," Duo said.

"Yes I have." I wondered if he thought that was a good thing.

"Why me?"

"What do you mean?"

He dusted his palms together, sending a hail of crumbs down to the fish, then turned to look at me. His brows were drawn together, forming a severe crease between them and the corners of his eyes were tight.

"Why did you come to me?"


"Yes... No..." he turned away and gripped the railing. "You know, I thought I was over you. Then I hear that you've left Relena's and little postcards start coming through the mail."

He paused and snorted softly, "You have the most absurd handwriting, Heero. You're the only person I've ever seen who writes exactly like those stupid cursive alphabet posters you see tacked above chalkboards." I wanted to say something...anything, but nothing seemed appropriate for the moment.

Appropriateness be damned. "Duo, I came to you because I'm in love with you."

I stopped breathing as my confession hung in the air. It seemed as if even the crickets had ceased their chirping once the words had tumbled out.

"You don't mean that," Duo said with a heavy sigh that turned to mist. "You came to me, cause Relena's getting married and everyone and their brother knows that I'm an idiot and willing to settle for being Heero Yuy's second choice."

I studied his profile and flashed back momentarily to the night Relena set me free. A sickening lump formed in my stomach and I prayed that Duo wasn't doing the same.

The weary defeat in his voice hurt me more than the accusation. How much had I hurt him by ignoring his affection in the past? A touch of anger entered the mix of feelings that struggled beneath my skin. He certainly had a right to believe what he did and I was a little peeved, because, much as I hated to admit it, there was some truthfulness to his words.

"You're right and you're wrong," I said. I grabbed Duo by the shoulders and twisted him around. He met my eyes reluctantly; the positions we stood in left his face mostly in shadow and mine illuminated by moonlight. "Maybe Relena's engagement did influence me more than I care to believe, and I definitely showed up with an over-inflated view of you that I'd built up over the past year, but dammit, Duo, this week has been the best week of my life. I went to sleep every night thinking about how great it was that I'd see you in the morning..." I faltered and immediately felt stupid and awkward.

Duo remained silent and I couldn't make out his features clearly enough to get any sense of what his reaction was.

I almost punched him when he kissed me suddenly; his hand clamped down on the side of my neck and I was too startled to open my mouth and return the kiss properly.

"You say you love me and that this isn't about Relena?" Duo said as he drew away. "Prove it. Figure out what the hell you plan to do with your life, get a job doing something you enjoy and if you still feel like you're missing something and that something is me; then give me a call and ask me on a date."

I stood there dumbly, one hand at my lips in the center of the low arching footbridge. The garden was a muted canvas of soft blues and shadow and my skin was warm despite the chill of the night. I stood there for a long time, with only two thoughts running circles in my head for company: Duo had kissed me and then he had walked away.


What did I plan to do with my life? At the moment, all I wanted was to be with Duo. To prove myself worthy of his affection; to coax those radiant smiles from him and be kept up laughing into the late hours of the night.

But, if proof had to come by way of my dedication to his conditions then I would respect that.


I rapped my knuckles against the edge of the door to Duo's studio apartment and waited patiently as I heard his heavy footsteps inside. The door flung open and Duo stared at me, he was clad only in a worn pair of jeans and had a faded black tee shirt clenched in one hand.

"Heero, what are you doing here?" he blurted out.

"I've fulfilled each of your requirements and I'm here to ask you on a date," I said. I tried not to stare at his bare chest and keep my eyes level with his. However, I did get my first full view of the tattoo on his arm; a little red devil winked at me from atop blocky letters that spelled out "Naughty".


I repeated myself. Duo gave me a dirty look and slung his shirt over one shoulder before he leaned against the doorframe and effectively blocked my view of his apartment interior. He lifted his chin slightly and said, "It's been three days."

"Yes it has."

"You know I expected you to stay away for a year, or hell, a few months at least."

"I know."

"Three days," he repeated in disbelief.

"Is that a yes?"

He seemed reluctant, and I felt a little pang of guilt for showing up and pressuring him.

"Oh what the hell," he started laughing softly and welcomed me inside. "Give me five. I don't need to wear anything special do I?"


"Three days," he mumbled as he trotted up to his loft to get ready.

on to chapter 6

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