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-13] Shounen ai. Heero POV. Sap.

A Moment of Perfection
by Ponderosa
Chapter 6

I used the remote on my keychain to unlock the doors to my vehicle and glanced over at Duo, "Have you eaten?"

"I did actually, but you know me, I can eat anytime," he replied. His eyes roamed over the car as we neared the curb and I waited for Duo to say something about it.

"What'd they do, throw the keys at you?"

"Something like that," I said.

"I guess being 'Savior of the World' has its benefits," Duo chuckled, referencing the name I had been dubbed by the media after the wars. "So what's your codename?"


"What?!" Duo had his door open halfway and was tracking my progress with bulging eyes as I skirted the hood to get to the driver's side. "Preventer Biscuit?"

"My partner is Jam."

"Heero, tell me that you're joking," Duo said as he slid into shotgun.

I pulled open my door and assured him that yes, I was joking.

I chuckled as he exhaled a noisy sigh of relief. "You know, it's gonna take me a while until I can tell when you're joking or being serious. In any case, I was gonna say, Une is losing it again if she's got Biscuits and Jam running around investigating people. So what is it, really?"

"I haven't been assigned a codename."

"So... you could conceivably be Preventer Biscuit?" Duo cracked a wide grin.

"Not without Jam."

The grin quickly melted off his face. "You're right," Duo said with utter solemnity.

We were both laughing as I pulled away from the curb, and I no longer regretted in the least, my choice to show up so quickly. I only hoped Duo felt the same way.


"I may regret this," he said as we approached the location I had chosen for our date.

I held the door open for him and he shook his head as he moved past me with a rueful expression. The interior of the pool hall was clean and relatively well lit; the sort of establishment that middle class suits came to throw back a few and play a few friendly games with their friends. In a show of mercy, I told Duo he could break as we secured ourselves a table.

As Duo was racking up, I managed to flag down a waitress. The girl smacked her gum and kept glancing at Duo as she took my order. He was stretching halfway over the pool table to line up the balls perfectly and his shirt was riding up to expose a good amount of skin.

I made the girl repeat the order. Twice. For both our sakes. When she returned, I tipped her generously; I was more than a little surprised when she returned promptly and got everything right.

Since I hadn't eaten anything yet, I started in on the sandwich I'd ordered and let Duo warm up. He wasn't half as bad as I expected from his comment as we entered, but I decided to go easy on him anyway and didn't take the extra time to line my shots up as well as I could. As we took turns prowling around the table, we played a little game of favorites. I think I learned more about Duo in the span of a few hours, than I had during all the time I had lived in the same apartment as him.

By our fourth game, we'd demolished two baskets of chicken wings. The waitress swung by again with a fresh basket and a new bottle of beer for Duo and mineral water for me.

Duo rolled his neck and said, "Fruit."

I sucked barbeque sauce off the tip of my thumb and made a show of studying Duo. What sort of fruit did he like... "Apples," I guessed.

"Strawberries," he said and sank the last of his stripes. He aimed for the eight ball and paused with his arm drawn back, "I'd have to say for you... hmm... raspberries."

"Plums," I told him. He grunted and ended up missing his shot. I relinquished the stool and the rest of the wings to him.

I chalked my cue and leaned on it while I thought up a new topic. I had a hard time concentrating and spent more time fixated on the bob of Duo's throat as he took a long swallow of beer. I finally came up with, "Holiday."

"Christmas," Duo replied automatically.

I smirked and shook my head as I dragged my attention away from him and eyeballed the table. "Unity Day."

"Damn," he muttered. "I knew I shouldn't have said Christmas."

"I pick Christmas for you," I said and missed my shot.

"Nope. My turn again," he grinned and stood up, wiping his fingers off on his jeans. I stepped back and looked at the situation on the table smugly. I may have missed my shot, but I effectively blocked off all the easy ways for him to sink the eight ball. "Fourth of July."

"Fourth of July?" It took me a moment to remember that the significance of the date was to commemorate American Independence day. I found it amusing that the holiday I loved most, celebrated the harmony of all the Earth nations and the colonies, while his celebrated the division of-

"Fireworks," Duo said and winked; cutting off my thought process.

Fireworks? "I don't have a favorite firework."

"You don't?" Duo looked surprised, then returned to half crouching and examining all the possible angles of attack, at table level. "Well, that's beside the point. What I meant was, that's why I like Fourth of the July. For the fireworks."

"Oh." I didn't quite understand what the big deal was though. I'd seen enough explosions in my lifetime. Somehow the fact that Duo liked a holiday purely on the basis of its inclusion of explosives didn't surprise me. And he said it was always the quiet ones.

"You don't even like fireworks do you?" he said, having heard the disinterest in my curt response.

"Not really," I admitted.

"How about, if I make this shot, you agree to let me take you to see a fireworks show," Duo proposed.

I shrugged. It wasn't as if he'd make it, and even if he did, hell, the truth was I'd watch paint dry just to be with him. "Deal."

Eight ball, side pocket. Near impossible shot. Duo sank it without batting an eye.

"You! How?"

"I was getting tired of letting you let me beat you," he said.

"Grifter," I accused. He propped his cue against the table and spread his palms in a silent, 'who me? Nahh...'

He glanced at the clock over on the far wall, then sucked in a deep breath and said, "Well, it's getting late and I've got to be up early tomorrow to get a truckload of shipping manifests in order before I get to spend the day interviewing people. "

I nodded. It seemed that Hilde had finally mustered up the guts to bring her own secret out into the open. Duo accepted her decision to quit the yard with all the love and understanding I expected from him, but he admitted he was afraid they'd lose touch. I reassured him as best I could that I didn't think that would happen and he finally agreed with me.

We paid for the table and Duo walked close beside me as we headed back to where the car was parked. I started the engine and he said, "I'll have some free time this weekend if you want to get together again."

The weekend seemed impossibly far away, but the thrill of knowing Duo wanted to see me again, burned away any ghosts of frustration.

The drive back to his place gave us enough time to make tentative plans for our next date, and this time, Duo said that he'd pick where we went and what we did. I had no complaints with that, and if anything, I was doubly excited by the prospect of doing something he wanted to do. I pulled up next to the curb and put the car in park, but left the engine on. I think we both knew that if I got out and walked him up, I'd end up staying the night; and neither of us really wanted things to happen that way.

Duo unbuckled his seatbelt and, when he didn't get out immediately, the fingers of my left hand tightened on the steering wheel in anticipation. I twisted slightly to look at him and as I did, he levered himself up and leaned towards me. A shivery tingle ran along my skin as our eyes locked and we fumbled with such simple things as trying to gauge which way to tilt our heads.

We were at an odd angle, the low ceiling height forced us into awkward positions, and we whispered laughter as our noses clashed despite all our best attempts. Somehow we managed and I wasn't disappointed when our mouths finally met in a quivering uncertain brush of lips. Duo's breath carried the sweetness of barbeque sauce and a hint of beer and as much as I wanted to keep looking at him, my eyes closed of their own volition as our tongues met, ever so briefly, before he pulled away and pressed his forehead against mine.

I could hear my heart beating in my ears and my breath was shallow as I reopened my eyes.

Duo made a soft sound in his throat, then he turned and placed a soft kiss against my knuckles; my left hand was still clenching the steering wheel, while the other had found it's way up the sleeve of Duo's shirt and was gripping the firm muscles of his upper arm. I released my hold on his bicep, and I heard him say softly, "I believe you, Heero." In a heartbeat, he pressed his lips against my knuckles a second time, then was out of the car and giving me a jaunty wave as he jogged towards the stairway up the side of the building and ran up them, three steps at a time.

"Believe what?" I shouted, leaning towards the passenger window.

Duo stopped and turned around slowly. He held my gaze and I dimly heard the engine's purr shift as it continued to idle. Finally, in a burst of motion, he scratched the spot on his arm where his tattoo was and took one step downwards. His face became clearly illuminated by the orange sulfur glow of the streetlight and he smiled as he mouthed, "That you love me."

on to chapter 7

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