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+1
Warnings: [PG-13] Shounen ai. Sap. Heero POV. Post Endless Waltz.

Notes: Gah, the last part. -_-; Took long enough, and I hope you all enjoy it. I loved writing this story.

A Moment of Perfection
by Ponderosa
Chapter 8

Duo and I moved in together at the beginning of summer. Or more precisely, I moved in with him. We had discussed finding a new place together, but he wanted to stay close to the yard and I didn't much care about whether or not we could use more closet space. Given the size of the last place we had shared, his studio was a mansion in comparison.

I worried about only one thing when living arrangements had been decided and I was preparing for the move: I didn't know what to do with the little coffee table Duo had made me. I was rather possessive of the gifts, intentional or otherwise, that he'd given me over the months. I solved the problem by taking the table down to the Preventer's building, and by eliciting the help of the receptionist at the front desk, set it up in the waiting area. I don't think anyone else even noticed that it was a different glass-topped table wedged between the blue cushioned chairs, but every time I went home, the receptionist and I shared a little secretive smile. I think sneaking that table in and switching it was the most exciting thing she'd done in years.

Duo's scarf, which I had never returned, was soon tied around the post on what would be my side of the bed and I kept the first gift he gave me - a small tin of potted meat product - on the bedside table. He laughed when he saw that I was keeping the little blue can near the bed and a day later, he'd put my return gift of a small braided doll - which was the most hideous country craft collectible imaginable - on the table on his side.

It really wasn't very hard getting used to living with someone again. There were of course little things that came up between us; like Duo using my toothbrush and leaving his hair to clog the shower drain, and my tendency to drink from the carton and refusal to do anything but let the machine catch incoming calls. There was also my habit of walking around naked to air dry after a shower. That particular habit might have been great for spontaneity in our love life, but I had to change my routine after the third prospective art buyer got an eyeful through the vid.

The most awkward thing I had to adjust to, was sleeping with Duo every night. I'd never shared a bed with someone who slept so closely to me before. Even with his queen-sized mattress, he rarely sprawled out unless I had already gotten up. It took me a little while to learn to ignore the weight of an arm or leg thrown over me and the constant warmth of his body pressed against mine.

However, all in all, we cohabitated well. And I was the happiest I'd ever been in my life. It wasn't a constant high that left me giddy - although there were definitely moments of that - but underlying my days was a satisfying feeling of contentment and peace.

I worried that there would be an interruption in that harmony when, on the first of July, I had to break the news to Duo that I had been called in for a special assignment on Earth. It was going to spoil our long-planned evening of watching the local fireworks display and he hid his disappointment well. Although he had rejected all my previous attempts to get him to do some traveling, I suggested that he accompany me since I would be consulting in the city where his sculpture stood. The lure of being able to visit his pride and joy without the throngs of people that had been at its unveiling was too strong and after a bit of persuasion, he agreed.

We touched down on Earth the next evening, and I was rushed from the spaceport to a planning session immediately. A nearly endless succession of meetings kept me busy for a full forty-eight hours, but I managed to squeeze in a few minutes here and there to talk to Duo over the vid. I had another chance to call him when things were calming down and he filled me in with a more detailed account of what he'd been up to. It was pretty much what I expected; during the afternoon, Duo stayed at the park and people watched, and after the sun went down, he waited until it was fully dark to stargaze a bit before returning to our hotel room. Unfortunately, 'our' hotel room wasn't so much 'ours' as 'his'. I hadn't been able to sleep longer than a few catnaps in an empty office since we stepped off the shuttle.

But, exhausted or not, when the main crisis had passed, instead of heading to the hotel to sleep, I downed a cup of coffee and had someone drive me to the park. I only hoped I'd arrive before Duo left for the night.


As soon as I got out of the car with my knapsack in hand, I spotted Duo's braid dangling off the highest point on the metallic structure. I thanked the Preventer who'd given me a ride and he nodded and gave me a smile as he bid me a good night. I wished him well, then adjusted the pack on my shoulder and started up the hill. As I drew closer to the man I loved, I found that I felt rejuvenated, and the fatigue of the past two days practically melted away.

"Finished already?" Duo called. He pulled an arm free from beneath his head and raised it into the air, beckoning for me to join him.

"I have one more meeting tomorrow," I said. "Come down. I brought something for you."

"It isn't food by any chance, is it?" Duo said as he climbed down nimbly. He jumped off at the last few feet and landed lightly in the grass. "I haven't eaten since lunch."

"No," I said. "Something better."

He gave me a peck on the cheek, and then eyed my knapsack curiously. When I pulled out a bottle rocket, he laughed and crushed me a fierce hug.

"How many of those do you have in there?" he said, digging a hand in excitedly.

"About fifteen," I answered. "I was try-"

"Let's do em all at once," he interrupted with a big grin.

How could I possibly argue with that smile?

We set the fireworks up in a loose circle and bunched the fuses together in groups of threes. Duo lit half and I lit half, then we stepped back to watch the show. I hopped up on a smooth curve in the metal that made for a nice ledge and Duo positioned himself between my knees.

"You want to know that moment?" Duo asked hesitantly, as I draped my arms loosely over his shoulders. "That big fat moment when it hit me like a freighter and I knew, without a doubt, that everything was more than just infatuation and I really was in love with you?" He nestled against me as we watched the fuses turn to ash.

"Sure," I said quietly. The chill of the metal seeped through my clothes, but Duo's back against me was enough to keep me comfortable.

"It was that time when you came back from the spaceport and caught me in the hallway with... God, what was his name..." Duo trailed off, then shook his head. "Well, it doesn't matter."

He was interrupted when the first cluster of bottle rockets suddenly shot into the air. We tilted our heads back to watch as it flew upwards close to thirty meters before exploding into a shower of colour. The next batches followed quickly, arcing up into Earth's atmosphere and blossoming into sparkling shapes that left afterimages in my vision as they faded away slowly.

Long after the haze of smoke had dissipated, we kept our eyes on the sky. Duo didn't say that the fireworks were beautiful or that he was happy I'd brought them. He didn't have to. I could tell that he'd loved it.

It took a long time for him to find his voice again. When he did, it was soft and gentle, as if he didn't want to disturb the hush that had crept in, or that if he spoke too loudly, everything would shatter and reveal this all to be a dream.

"That guy... I was so in to him, but as soon as we got back to my room and started going at it again, I realized that I'd rather be out there, kicking back with you, no matter how pissed off you were that you missed your flight," Duo chuckled and I could feel his cheeks pulled tight in a smile as he stopped looking at the stars to place a kiss on my arm.

"Imagine that," he said wryly, craning his neck around to look at me out of the corner of his eye, "I would rather get ignored, than get laid."

I laughed and tightened my arms. I could feel the steady beat of his heart through the thick folds of his sweatshirt. "Are you trying to make me feel guilty so I'll make up for all that time ignoring you?"

"I think I am," he replied. He turned around in my arms and looked up at me.

I stared at him in wonder. "I love you," I said.

Duo smiled in response and curled his hands under my knees. Before I knew what he was doing, he'd yanked me off the gently rounded edge of his sculpture's metallic thumb. I threw my arms around his neck and he mostly caught me, but we still fell into a tangled heap in the grass. One thing led to another, and we ended up wrestling with one another. He and I laughed and rolled around like a couple of kids in a schoolyard for a good half hour.

It was wonderful.

When we were physically drained and panting short puffs of white into the air, we collapsed next to one another and just lay there, looking up at the stars once more. We smelled like crushed grass, dirt, and sulfur from the ashy remnants of the fuses that were now embedded into our clothes. The face of the moon was shedding its gentle light and Duo made a comment about how beautiful it was, when it was so far away. I agreed.

If it weren't for the numbing cold of the ground, I could've imagined staying out there all night; but eventually, even Duo was feeling the cold through his sweatshirt, and hunger was gnawing at both our bellies. As we geared ourselves up to expend the energy required to stand, I caught sight of a shooting star and pointed it out to Duo.

I stood up and reminded him that he was the one who had taught me about wishing on falling stars. As I helped him to his feet, I asked if he had made a wish.

"I love you, Heero," was all he said.

Once I had slung my empty knapsack over my shoulder, and we were walking down the hill together, Duo asked me the same question. I shook my head, burying my hands a little deeper into the pockets of my jacket to warm them. I smiled when I told him I hadn't needed to. He smiled back and nodded before he put his arm around me. He understood what I meant.

I got my happily ever after.


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