Sliding his arms around his lover's form, Heero nuzzled his face into the soft, fragrant hair. Usually the one to be face-first into the computer screen, his curiosity was piqued.
"What're you up to?"
Duo smirked. "Oh, nothing." His blue-violet eyes darted over the screen as his hand guided the mouse, picking the occasional web sit and stopping to read.
"Uh-huh." The long-haired young man's eye remained fixed, not moving from the screen, despite Heero's attempt to pull his attention away with a neck rub and a nibble on the earlobe. Duo smiled. "Keep doing that and you're really going to get it."
Grinning at the challenge, Heero sucked in a deep breath of Duo's scent. "Is that a threat or a promise?"
Duo's hand continued to guide the mouse until he could withstand the distraction of Heero no longer. Then turning around to face him, he said, "I think we need to take a trip this weekend."
"A trip?" Heero straightened and stood.
"Both of us being colony born, I think it would do us some good to get in touch with nature. Whaddya think?
"You don't mean camping, do you?" Heero suddenly seemed less interested in the idea. "We did enough 'camping' as pilots for an entire lifetime."
The smirk was back, only this time it was a little more - sinister - than last time. "Oh, I think you'll like this camping out, Heero. Trust me."
"And what's suddenly so special about camping?"
Rising from the desk chair, Duo stood to face his partner and kissed him lightly on the nose. "Well, lets just say I have a little fantasy that I'd like to live."
"A camping fantasy."
"A camping fantasy."
Heero shrugged. "You're serious, aren't you?"
"MmmHmm." That insatiable grin wouldn't quit. Whatever it was that was going on between Duo Maxwell's ears, it was something he had to find out one way or another, and if it meant going camping, well, then by all means, they would be going camping.
"Like, with a tent and everything, or will there be cabins?"
Duo chuckled. "No cabins where I want to go, Heero. I think we'll have to pitch a tent." He laughed even harder now because Heero had no clue what he was talking about, apparent by his confused look. "So, whaddya say. This weekend?"
"What about the Dog?" Brandy had been lying quietly under Duo's feet, crammed under the computer desk, and at the mention of the word "dog" she rose, weaseling her way out from under to demand attention from her two daddies.
"I bet Quatre and Trowa would watch her for us for the weekend."
Shrugging, Heero agreed. "Why not?"
"You won't be disappointed, Heero. Trust me!"
The place they hiked to was absolutely breathtaking. Nestled deep in the midst of state game lands, the pair had driven four hours to get to the specific spot that Duo had picked out after studying internet maps and making a few phone calls. After abandoning the car in the designated parking area and donning their backpacks filled with clothes, food and yes, one tent, they continued their journey on foot for another two hours until they reached it - Willow's Grove.
The trail opened up to a scenery only found in picture books and on the covers of fantasy novels - trees of all shapes and sizes and colors filling the grove, casting shade beneath them as their young springtime growth bloomed and spread across strong boughs and branches. It was like a cathedral of trees, complete with its own natural stained-glass ceiling of leaves. The choir for the gallant view, birds chirped and tweeted and twittered in every voice and tone, expressing their happiness in the day. So many sang, they drowned out every other sound of the thicket.
Stopping at the end of the trail where it opened into the luxurious grove, Duo looked around them, absorbing the beauty, and sighed deeply. A warm smile appeared on his lips. "Just beautiful. This spot is perfect." Heero was at a loss for words as he stared about the beautiful scenery before them.
They'd taken most of the day getting to their destination, and as dusk slowly arrived, they got to work setting up the tent, then unpacking their packs and having a snack. Campfires weren't permitted in this part of the wood, so they'd brought foods that didn't need much preparation. Munching on some apples, the pair sat outside of the tent watching nightfall approach, and they snuggled together in the crisp, spring air. Heero leaned against Duo, who wrapped his arms around, and sighed, content.
"You know, maybe this was a good idea after all," he said as he caressed his lover's arm softly.
Duo smiled into Heero's hair. "You think so, huh?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Good. Let's go then." As he pulled himself up to stand, Heero turned to him with a look of confusion. "Come on…we have work to do."
Duo's infectious, curious smirk was back, and that always meant he was up to something. Apparently the camping trip alone hadn't been all. Heero resigned himself for whatever surprise was in store and followed the long-haired man into the tent, where he was handed a bag similar to one that Duo held himself, and was led back out into the now twilight.
"What is this stuff?" He looked into his bag. It contained, of all things, rolls and rolls of satin ribbons in many widths and colors. Vibrant colors, like fuscia and purple and indigo and yellow. There had to be fifty rolls or more in his one bag alone.
"We're having a party, Heero."
"A party? For what?"
Leading his unsuspecting partner away from the tent and into the stand of trees, Duo pulled out his first roll of ribbon. They stopped in front of a young birch tree, its immature leaves just beginning to fill out, its branches still heavy with buds. Turning to Heero, his eyes bright and glistening in the light of the three-quarter moon, he spoke to his love without moving his lips, except to display the most sensual, enticing of smiles. Then he looked at the tree for a moment before throwing the streamer of ribbon. Still holding one end until the ribbon had unwound itself all the way, he finally released the end just in time for the whole length to go sailing through still-sparse branches and flutter gently to rest on soft leaves. Turning back to Heero, Duo glanced down at his bag, then nodded his intent.
Fishing a ribbon roll out of his bag, Heero looked at it momentarily, then up at the birch tree, a pink ribbon now intertwined in its branches. Looking once more at his own yellow ribbon, he glanced at Duo, then hauled off and threw his, holding the end just as Duo had done, until there lay now a second decoration on the tree. Duo's smile broadened. Heero's eyes questioned.
"What does it mean?"
Making his way around the tree a little bit, Duo dug in his bag and prepared to toss another ribbon, this one orange, onto the tree. "Well, today it's known as May Day, but it used to be mush more than just one day. More like a whole month of celebration."
Tossing another of his own ribbons, Heero asked "Celebrating what?"
"Givers of life. Providers of food and clean air and natures beauty." Duo tossed a purple ribbon this time and it floated casually onto the tree which was beginning to look very festive indeed. "And the coming of spring time."
"So it's a celebration of springtime?"
"Among other things, yes. Springtime, because the harsh winter is over, and the rebirth can begin." Duo tied a wide white ribbon around the trunk of the tree with Heero's help.
They made their way to the next tree in the grove and threw ribbons on that one too. "Rebirth of what?"
"Everything. The trees, the grass, the animals. People. A chance to start over. And a chance to plant a good harvest for the following winter. It's sort of like paying homage to spring time, but partying with the trees. You decorate them at night, and then in the morning, and for the entire month of May, you celebrate."
"Are we going to celebrate in the morning?" Heero asked as he flung yet another ribbon roll out of his hand.
"Oh yeah, we'll celebrate!"
When morning arrived and they awoke to the soothing sounds of birds in the forest, Heero was awed at the job they had done decorating the trees the previous night. All of the trees in the immediate vicinity of their tent were covered and dripping with ribbons and streamers, looking like a celebration all their own. It was almost, too, as if the trees stood taller in their trappings, proud of their fancy colored decorations that shone in the early morning sun.
Finding Heero outside, staring in amazement at what they'd accomplished, Duo snuck up behind his lover, wrapping his arms around his waist. "You like?"
Heero smiled. "It's beautiful, Duo. Thank you. I'm really glad you convinced me to come here. This place is just…" he couldn't think of the right adjective to finish the sentence. Instead, he turned and captured Duo in a passionate French kiss.
"So I guess you want to celebrate then?" Duo smirked. He teased Heero with a soft nip on the shoulder.
"And how do we do that?" Heero ran his hands down his lover's back and grabbed his rear, pulling him close enough that their hips ground together.
"Legend has it that after the trees are decorated, you have to make love under them in order to ensure a healthy crop that season."
Heero's one eyebrow raised a little bit, and as the words registered in his mind he could feel stirrings going on elsewhere. Duo pulled away from him and disappeared into the tent, returning in a moment with the thick, woolen blanket they'd slept under. Then cocking his head to the side, he grinned and wandered off into the stand of trees.
No sooner had he laid the blanket down under a particularly beautiful willow tree that they'd covered in as many colorful ribbons as they could swing up there than Heero was upon him like a wild beast from the forest, and the celebration had begun. Stripped and naked in less than a minute, they rolled and cajoled on the blanket and under the tree, in the shaded sunlight of a new spring day, beneath the festive canopy of bright leaves and curled ribbon. Then fulfilling the ritual that would pray to the Gods of good harvest and good fortune, they celebrated the joys of each others body, making love repeatedly and for hours, until they were so exhausted that they could only lay back on the blanket, completely sated, and stare up at the kaleidoscope of color above them. Somehow their surroundings had made this the most magical, most loving, most satisfying love that they'd ever shared.
Rolling onto his elbows to face Duo, Heero smiled. "So you say this tradition last for a whole month?"
Duo laughed. "That's the way I understand it. A month full of nothin' but lovin'. Doesn't sound too bad, if you ask me."
Thinking for a minute, Heero was quiet. He listened to the birdcalls that echoed through the wood where they lay, and gazed up at the beautiful ceiling. Then rolling back onto his elbow to face Duo once more he said "How much vacation time do you have left?"
Grinning from eat to ear, Duo could only answer him one way, and they kissed long and deep, and he promised that he was far from done celebrating during the time that they did have to spend.