Pairing: Heero/Duo (yes, I'm awfully predictable most of the time)
Word count: 856
Warnings: Shonen ai, oddball attempts at weaving symbolism with humor.
Notes: Written for the LJ community's lemonadvent "sweeten the wait" between the holidays, and somewhat inspired by a comment Sharon made quite a while ago.
Wrinkled paper and torn ribbons were strewn between the dilapidated Christmas tree and the young man sitting in the middle of it all, his hair still sleep tousled and his fingers tearing into the paper rather than slipping under the tape the way the other occupant of the room was doing.
He smirked a bit. "It's going to take you a long time doing it that way."
"And you're not savoring the anticipation," Duo retorted. "It's not just about the gift, ya know."
Heero dropped half the paper, still retaining the rectangular shape of the box it had covered, onto the floor next to him. "True," he agreed. "But when I see what I want, I don't see any reason why I should wait for it when it's right there within reach." He opened the flaps of the box and shook it, releasing a shower of styrofoam popcorn and tissue paper.
Duo chuckled and carefully ran a fingernail under the tape at the seam in the wrapping paper, watching in amusement as Heero picked up a smaller box, wrapped in more garishly colored paper than the last, and shook it curiously. He was barely aware of his own actions, more entertained by Heero's enthusiasm.
It had been a good idea, inviting Heero to spend the holidays with him. He'd never seen Heero looking so at ease. He wasn't sure why it surprised him that Heero tore into his presents with such zeal - it certainly fit the impulsive pilot he'd known during the war.
As the old saw went, enthusiasm often conquered the impossible, and they'd all had that with some to spare.
He grinned as Heero stared at yet another wrapped box in his hand, and suppressed a second laugh as Heero glared at him. He knew that contrary to appearances, Heero was enjoying the suspense. Duo bit down hard on his lip when Heero finally opened the last box, staring at the matchbook in his hand. He picked it up and turned it over curiously and noting the name of the establishment printed in gilded ink.
Duo dipped his head, focusing his attention back on the box lying across his lap. He was pleased when he pulled out the thick flannel shirt that Relena had picked out. He wasn't used to the cold on earth. It didn't seem fair, he thought, that Heero, whose home colony was much closer to the sun, was less bothered by the falling temperatures, but then Yuy had never been predictable.
He got to his last gift, the small thin envelope from Heero. He turned it over a few times. Plain white, but thick enough that he couldn't see through it. Stiff - possibly a gift certificate to the video game store.
He was about to slide his finger under the flap and open it carefully, when he glanced up again, seeing the riot of colored paper surrounding Heero. He felt the contents again, then tore the end right off the envelope, shaking it until the cards fell into his hand.
He looked at them, turning them around to see if they held significance the way the matchbook did, but they were just ordinary playing cards.
He fanned out the cards in his hand. Three aces and a deuce. It wasn't like Heero to be sloppy and confuse the two of hearts for the ace of clubs. He looked up at Heero inquiringly, surprised to see the missing ace between Heero's middle two fingers and his thumb.
"Black," Heero said, "is associated with the female gender, yet the club and the spade are male symbols. A bit of yin and yang, hiding in the most unlikely places." He tossed the ace toward Duo, then leaned forward and crawled over the torn paper and ribbon.
He stopped when his bangs brushed up against Duo's, his breath warm against Duo's face. "You're the one who told me it was wise to keep an ace up your sleeve. I'm calling your bluff, Duo."
Without waiting for a response Heero pressed his lips against Duo's, and they shared a brief, open-mouthed kiss. Duo lightly butted his head against Heero's. "You'd be a lot more comfortable without that digging into your palm."
Heero picked his hand up, the small plastic sword still clinging to his sweaty palm. "Whose bright idea was it to get me a miniature replica of one of the knights of old?"
"I think that was Relena's payback for the bear."
Heero nodded, then looked thoughtful. "I'd be a lot more comfortable," he said, "if you'd tell me what you thought."
Duo licked his lips. "I think I'd need to do a bit more research before coming to any conclusions."
Heero smiled against Duo's mouth. "I've always felt that the hands on approach worked best for me." He kissed Duo again.
Duo's fingers threaded through Heero's hair as he reciprocated eagerly. Yes, Heero, he thought, you're right. What I want is just within reach. He slid his other hand beneath Heero's shirt.
He was looking forward to showing Heero that he was just as capable of unwrapping his presents with enthusiasm.
1 December 2004