Friendly Conversation

Disclaimer: to be honest, I wouldn't want to own these guys even if I were allowed to. I always write them as depressed maniacs with nervous habits that really tick me off. I'd probably end up shooting them if I was forced to maintain prolonged exposure.

Warnings: lots of stupid dialog.  Smoking.  Implied yaoi, implied het, and a brief conversation about a dog named Sammy.  That's really about all.

Bloodtype: runny egg yolk.

Author's Notes: I would like to note that I am a crazed psycho-bitch hell-bent on taking over the world with really bad fan fiction.  (In other words...)  I was cleaning out one of my old dead-bunny folders--that's where I put the beginnings of fics that suck and will never be finished or see the  light of day--and found a completed story.  A beginning-to-end COMPLETED story.  Those don't go in my dead-bunny folders.  Those either go on my computer's hard drive or in the trashcan.  I checked the date on it (I always date these things for some reason) and discovered that I'd started quite some time before.  I read it over, discovered that it wasn't TOO bad, and decided to type it up.  The result of that silly whim (and an extensive editing session with T-san) is this story--and it isn't nearly as good in type as it was in my head.  Grr.  Anyway, I would like Brenna, who was the first to read it and told me what I wanted to hear, Endymion and Leilla, who both read it and told me what I didn't want to hear, and TKMaxwell, who read it and told me how to fix it.  You guys are the best.  Thanks.


It was a beautiful spring evening, not too cool and not too warm, and it was the perfect way to end a long and stressful day.  Hilde and I had driven to Kiwannas Park sometime around sundown, ditching my car in the lot and making the long trek up to the top of the park's only hill so that we could watch the sun die away.  It had been an amazing sundown, too, with stunning reds and purples and blues flashing all over the sky, and that one golden orb sinking slowly below the horizon.  It had only lasted for a short time, but it had been worth it.  That had been about an hour ago, and now we were still on that hill, lying flat on the grass, and watching the stars, admiring them as only colony children know how to do.

After a long while of silence, Hilde sat up.  I sighed when I looked over at her; she had that look on her face, the one that said "I don't want to do this, but I'm going to anyway, so buckle your seatbelt and hang on."  I hated that look, to tell the truth.  I'd seen way too many looks like that back in the Eve Wars.  I smiled, though, and decided to roll with the punches.

"What's on your mind, Hilde?"

"You are," she said honestly.  If I had been a little younger and a little bit less homosexual, I probably would have made a lewd remark or something, but now I only smiled at her.  I'd grown up a little bit since my days as the God of Death.

"Anything good, then?" I inquired, hoping that my initial impression had been off by a long shot.  She only shrugged, reaching up and running a hand through her short dark hair.  I waited expectantly.  Having known Hilde for as long as I had, I knew when to expect the worst from her.  Since she wasn't twitching or reaching for any sharp objects, I knew this wasn't going to be bad so much as it would be something I didn't want to hear.  She was probably going to nag me about something, which she was prone to do.

"I was just thinking about something," she said.  "Duo, don't you ever get lonely, all alone in that big house of yours?  Don't you ever wish you had someone there to keep you company?"

I'd been right.  This was definitely standard nagging material.  "No," I answered.  "For one thing, it's not that big of a house.  For another, you live a block away, so I've got you to talk to whenever I want, and, finally, I've got Sammy.  I've got all the company I need--what are you complaining about now?"

She frowned.  "Sammy is a dog.  And dogs aren't people," she reminded me needlessly, "and they certainly aren't much company."  I only smiled, propping myself up on my elbows and taking a drag on my cigarette.  Hilde coughed pointedly, so I did my best to blow the smoke away from her.  I probably didn't do a very good job of it, though, since the wind wasn't exactly blowing in her favor.  I had started smoking five or six years ago, once I turned nineteen, and I had made a habit out of it.  I'd tried to quit once or twice, but I guess I never really had the willpower for it.  Hilde hated the habit and she hated the cancer sticks themselves, but there was nothing she could do about it.  We both knew that.

"Sometimes dogs are better than people, and Sammy is a good dog," I said finally.  "So I guess they're close enough to people to keep good company."

We were both quiet for a few minutes, me taking long drags on my cancer stick and her trying to figure out what to say next.  It didn't take her all that long.

"There's this guy at work I'd like you to meet, Duo."

"Hilde," I groaned, "don't try to set me up with anyone--I hate it when you try to play matchmaker, remember?  You aren't even very good at it.  Just give it up, Hilde--you suck at this.  You'll never host your own dating show.  I'm sorry."

"And I suppose you're a better matchmaker than I am?"

I smiled again, shrugging.  "You're married, aren't you?"

She knew I had a point there, but she persisted anyway.  She's stubborn like that.  "You'd really like this guy, though.  I just know you would."

"That's what you said about Health-Nut Harold, who tried to take my smokes away.  And about Long-Hair Leo, who tried to cut off my braid.  I don't date guys who try to attack my hair, or the ones who hide my cigarettes.  And then there was Tattoo-Tom.  You remember what happened with him, right?"  I considered that.  "I wonder if his testicle retrieval operation was successful..."

"It went fine and he's operational again, unfortunately," she said quickly.  Then she went on being stubborn.  "This guy is different, though!"

"You say that about all of the guys you try to set me up with," I pointed out.

"He really is!"

"Sure he is," I said, rolling my eyes impishly.  "How?  Define different."

"Well, he smokes."

I made a face.  "Yuck.  Hilde, that's disgusting."

"Duo, you smoke too!"

"So?  That just makes it twice as disgusting.  Like kissing two ashtrays at a time or something."  I took another hit on my cancer stick, tapping some ashes off of the tip.  "Does he have really nasty yellow teeth?"

"No.  That's what that gross anti-yellowing-whitening toothpaste you buy for a whole twenty dollars more is for, remember?  You said so yourself."

"True.  And it's only fifteen dollars more, not twenty."  I ran my tongue over my teeth.  "It may taste awful, but it does work.  Thank goodness for that, I guess.  Quite the life saver."

"He's a computer analyst about our age," she went on, ignoring my toothpaste propaganda.  "And he's really nice, too.  I think you would like him a lot."

I made another face.  "Computer nerds suck, and not in a good way.  He has those huge horn-rimmed glasses and a crew cut, doesn't he?  You know I can't stand those stereotypical computer nerds, Hilde."

"You idiot, he's not a walking stereotype.  He's cute!" she insisted.

"You think your husband is cute too," I pointed out, "and you married a dinosaur.  A fucking Tyrannosaurus Rex."

"He's cute, too.  Just really tall.  And broad.  And a little older than me."

"Whatever."  I tried to blow a smoke ring, but I couldn't.  I'd never been able to figure out how to do one of those, and I'm not sure they work with cigarettes anyway.  "How do you know that this computer nerd swings my way, anyhow?  Don't just say that he 'acts like it'.  Remember the one guy you tried setting me up with just because he had a lisp?"

"I remember," she said quickly.  "And I learned my lesson from that.  Don't remind me of all my past mistakes, Duo, or I will remind you of yours.  Like Louis, 'the Tri-Lingual Nudist,' or Edward, 'the King of Tortellini Alfredo'."

"You never answered my question."

"Well, I know that he's at least bi.  He kissed another guy at the company Christmas party last year, for one thing."

I snorted.  "That doesn't mean anything much.  I've kissed all sorts of girls, but that doesn't mean I want to get together with one or fuck her or anything.  Kissing means next to nothing.  Nada."

"The guy was also his date to the party."

"That's a little different, then," I conceded.  "Did he feel the guy up or anything like that?"

"He may have, but I didn't see it.  He doesn't seem like the type.  The date got really drunk and started telling stories about his escort's sexual expertise, though, and he sounded like quite the little rabbit.  Does that count for anything?"

"Depends.  What did the guy do?"

"He blushed and tried to shut the date up, I think.  They both left really early after that."

I considered this carefully.  "That means he's taken, though.  Hilde, even you should know better than to try and set me up with a guy who's taken; they don't appreciate that and neither do I."

"But they broke up!"

"How do you know?"

Hilde smiled and winked at me.  "That's my little secret."

"Ahuh.  He told you, didn't he?"

She shrugged and smiled again.  "Yeah, he did.  Well, I had to ask him if he'd be willing to try it out with you, didn't I?  You don't actually think I'd bring up the topic with you without at least mentioning it with him, right?"  When I didn't answer, she reached over and nudged me in the ribs.  "Anyway, you sound like you're actually thinking about doing this, for a change.  Should I pick a day and a bar?"

"Not just yet.  I want to know more first.  Is he a drinker?"

"I don't think so.  He's never come into work with a hangover and he didn't have anything at the party or act like he even wanted to have any," she recalled.

"Maybe he was the designated driver."

She rolled her eyes at me.  "Only if he drives a taxi.  I wouldn't set you up with a drinker or a designated driver--you know I wouldn't.  You wouldn't be able to stand either one and I'm a better friend than that, you know."

"All right, I'll give you that one.  You are a better friend than that.  But you still have really bad taste in men."  I cringed as she whacked me one on the arm.

"Shut up.  I told you, you'll like this one," she said.  "Honest, I promise you that you will.  He's cute and all the girls at work think so.  We were kind of disappointed to find out he was gay; one of them--Michelle, you know her--was so upset that she almost had to see a shrink."

"Somehow, that doesn't surprise me.  Michelle always was two seats short of a theater.  And don't say gay--you know how much I hate that word."

"And you know how much I hate your smoking.  If you quit smoking than I'll stop saying all those words you don't like."

"Even faggot?  And queer?"

"Every single one of them," she promised.  "You can write me a list."

"Bah."  I put out my cancer stick and tossed it aside.  "Happy now?"


"Good.  I'll write you that list later."  I sighed.  "So what kind of guy is he?"

Hilde puzzled over that one for a moment.  "What do you mean?  I thought there was only kind of guy to be--you know, the kind with a set of balls and a stick."

I laughed.  "Someone's a little vulgar today," I said.  "What I mean, I guess, is what does he prefer?  Is he a top or a bottom?  Sadist, masochist, or neither?  Does he prefer blonde or brunette?  Those things are really important, you know."

"I guess you'll just have to find out on your own."

"No fucking way."

She rolled her eyes.  "Okay, if it's really that important to you, then tell me: what are you?  So I know what to say if he asks me the same question."

"What am I?" I repeated, rubbing my chin.  "Well, that's a good question, isn't it?  A bit of both, I guess, so far as the horizontal-type position goes.  I don't really know about the rest of it.  I prefer playing bottom--it's more fun, especially if you're flexible like I am."  I smiled as she flushed.  "Do you want to know how I found that one out?"

"I think you've already told me.  Please don't do it again."

"I was sixteen," I began, ignoring her.  She liked it when I told her details about my sex life, no matter what she said, and we both knew it.  "An old friend of mine and I went out to celebrate the end of the war and we brought along our resident lump on a log, just for kicks.  We all had a bit too much to drink and my friend went off with some girl and the lump and I started making idle chitchat to pass the time.  Be the next morning, we'd both said a little too much and that had resulted in the two of us having very sore bottoms for the rest of the day.  It was a good thing, I guess, in the end.  Otherwise I may have never realized that I wasn't into chicks and I'd be miserable somewhere with a wife and two point five little kiddies flocking about.  And they all lived happily ever after.  The end."

She sighed.  "I've heard about that a million trillion times before, you know."

"Well, I've heard about your honeymoon night twice as often--I may know that story better than you do by now."

"I doubt it."  She frowned.  "You've never told me, though...  What happened next, after all the sex?  Do you still keep in touch with your lump on a log or anything?"

"Oh, sure.  We get together every two years or so for a good fuck, shake hands, and part ways again," I said, rolling my eyes.  "Get real, Hilde.  He probably has a wife and six midget kids running around by now.  When I left for Earth, I promised I would call him up as soon as I could.  I tried to, once or twice in that first month, but then I gave up because I could never get through.  I've probably still got the number lying around, too, but I don't know where it is.  I don't care, either.  I just decided not to worry about it anymore."

"Too bad; I could have hooked you two up or something."

"Yeah, right.  Then who would you set up with the guy you know from work?"

"Point."  She smiled again.  "He's really nice, by the way, once you get him talking.  He's the quiet type, so he's a better listener, though.  Perfect for a blabbermouth like you.  He's cute, too."

"Again, I state the obvious.  You think your husband is cute and he's a walking fossil.  Need I say more?"  Then I sat up all the way, considering her.  "You really want me to give this guy a chance, don't you, Hilde?"

"I just want you to be happy, Duo.  You're already trying to kill yourself with those cigarettes of yours, but you could at least try to be happy while you're slowly committing suicide."

"Hey, I don't like these cancer sticks anymore than you do.  They taste really bad, after all."

"Then why do you smoke, you dumb bastard?"

"To piss you off."  I grinned and shrugged.  "Nah, it just gives me something to do with my hands.  Anyway, you don't have to set me up with anyone, Hilde.  I'm not going to try and steal your husband away from you or anything.  Or your first born child."

"Thank you, Captain Obvious."

"Just checking."

"So will you give this new guy a try?  Please?  For me?"

"Your hubby is going to want you home sometime soon, at a decent hour and all that.  Come on, I'll drive you home."  I stood up, giving her a hand.  Then she brushed the dirt off of her pants and frowned at me.

"You didn't answer my question."

"I know."  I started to pat down my pockets, looking for a very important cylinder tube or two.  There weren't any.  "Damn," I muttered.


I turned out my pockets.  "I'm all out of cancer sticks.  I'll have to stop at the convenience store off of route ninety-seven or something and pick up six or seven packs.  It's on the way."

"Maybe you could just try quitting cold turkey."

"Yeah, right.  That'll be the day."

She ran a hand through her hair.  "Those things are bad for you," she said needlessly, nagging me about them for the millionth time.

"I know.  Maybe that's why I still smoke them.  Because I don't have the courage to just go ahead and shoot myself or anything."

"Don't talk like that," she reprimanded.  "It scares me."


Hilde reached over and gave me quick hug.  "I just don't want to lose my best friend anytime soon, you know?"

"Yeah, that's what you keep telling me.  But you're still trying to set me up with someone.  That would be because..."  I let the sentence trail off and she laughed, leading me down the hill.

"It gives me something to do at work besides ogle all the cute guys.  And because I think it's fun."  She paused.  "Where are your car keys?"

"Probably still in the car.  Maybe on the floor, maybe in the glove compartment, but probably still hanging from the ignition slot.  No one's going to want to steal that old crap car anyway, Hilde.  It's not worth the trouble.  Hell, it doesn't even run half the time."

"Then why not just buy a new car?  It isn't as though you don't have the money."  She waved her hand around, dismissing the question.  "Never mind; I know why."

I smirked.  "Okay, wise guy.  Tell me.  Why?"

"Because I built that crap car with my own two hands," she said gruffly, trying to imitate my voice and doing it very badly, "and it's made out of the strongest metal in the whole mother fucking universe.  It won't dent, not ever, even if you shove it off a cliff and run over it with a bulldozer.  And it's one of a kind.  And a souvenir to boot!"  She laughed and finished her poor imitation.  "That's why, right?"

"That's right," I admitted, laughing.  "That's it exactly."

"I thought so.  Can I set you up with that guy from work or not?"

"Yeah, I guess so, if it'll make you stop nagging me about it.  Gimme his phone number and I'll give him a call or something."

She pulled a scrap of paper and a pen out of her purse and scribbled a few numbers down as she walked.  Then she handed the paper to me.  "Call him soon, all right?"

"Sure, sure."  I pocketed it.  "What's his name, anyway?"

"I can't tell you that."

"Do you even know it?" I asked, reaching my car and fiddling with the door handle.  The stupid thing was sticking again.


"Then you can tell me, can't you?  I mean, it's not as if I can call him up and ask for 'Hilde's nerdy computer friend from work', now can I?  Well, I could.  But I wouldn't.  So what's his name?"

"Um...  At work we just call him the computer guy.  He seems to like that.  His real name is something really weird, though.  Collins.  Carter.  Cyclops.  It's a C-name."  She frowned, trying her best to remember the name.

"You know his phone number by heart but you can't remember his name?  That's sad, Hilde."

"Curt.  Ciro.  Heero!  That's it, Heero!"  She saw my hand falter on the handle and the way I whapped myself with the door as it opened.  "Duo!  Is something wrong?"

"No," I reassured her, getting into the car.  Coincidence.  It had to be a coincidence, right?  Except I didn't believe in that sort of thing...  But there was no way Hilde had done that on purpose, either!  She didn't know--she couldn't know--about Heero.  They'd never met, even back on Libra or after the war, and I'd always been very careful not to use his name around her; that bastard had always been secretive about things like that and would hit me if he found out I was using his name in everyday conversation.  Not that he would know now, but I still made a point of not using his name when I was talking to Hilde.  "I don't think I'm going to stop by the convenience store, though, come to think of it."

"Weren't you going to pick up more cigarettes?"

"Yeah, but I'm not going to anymore."  The keys were in the ignition, right where I'd left them.  It only took me four tries to actually start the car--not too shabby, really, when you consider how awful the thing is.

"Why not?"

I smiled.  "I have a very important phone call to make."

"To the computer guy?"

Pausing, I considered that.  "Could be, could be.  But if that's who I do end up calling, it won't be about a date."

"Then why bother calling him?"

"Because I don't believe in coincidences."

She considered me, not understanding quite what I meant, but she shrugged.  "Whatever, Duo.  Let's get going."

I nodded, put the car into gear, and started to leave the park.  The sky was clouding over now; it was getting harder to see the stars and even harder to see the road.  The lights of my car were dim, and Hilde made sure I knew that before I dropped her off.

"Get your lights checked," she nagged.  "These suck."

"Whatever.  And hey, Hilde?"


"Heero isn't a C-name, you know."

She made a face at me.  "Shut up."  Then she got out of the car, shut the door, and went home to her husband.  I watched to make sure she got inside and then headed home.  I had a mission to accomplish and I'd putting off this phone call for far too long.  The moment I got home, I started ransacking my place until I found a crumpled and folded piece of paper in the bottom of my sock drawer.  Then I picked up the phone and dialed the number I found there.

He picked up after three rings.  "Hello?"  He sounded weary and tired and I took a guilty look at the clock.  It was after midnight.  Oops.

"Hey, how is my favorite lump on a log doing?"


"I guess you do remember me after all.  Great.  Um...  You wouldn't happen to work with a girl named Hilde, would you, Heero?"

There was a pause as that thought registered.  "The Hilde from work is your Hilde?" he asked incredulously, letting his surprise register.  "Then..."

"Small world, huh?"  I played with the phone cord.  "I hear you're a computer geek now and that you smoke.  What's up with that?"

"I've always been a computer geek, as you put it," he said hotly.  "Remember?"

"Right, right."  I did remember, too.  Back in the war, he'd spent most of his time on his laptop or fixing other people's computers--he liked to do that, too.  I guess he really hadn't changed that much after all.  "So what about the smoking?"

"It gives me something to do in my free time."

I laughed and went on.  "Hilde tells me that you're looking for a date or two and she told me to give you a shot.  How's Thursday for you?"

"Aa..."  I think he was still a little stunned.  This was probably a touch overwhelming for him; he didn't believe in coincidences either.  "Thursday.  Well, I guess that would be fine, but does it have to be a date?"

I smiled.  "Do you want Hilde to nag you about it for the rest of your life?"


"Then it's a date."  I looked out the window and grinned.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  "I'll pick you up after work--you get out the same time as Hilde, right?"  I didn't wait for an answer.  "Good.  I'll see you then, Heero.  Have a great night."