Title: Snow
Author: Mookie
Pairing: Heero/Duo
Rating: G
Word count: 1,102
Warnings: only the vaguest implications of shonen ai, if you want to see it there
Notes: Christmas gift fic for Pko, inspired by one of her Christmas pics.

"Aren't you cold, man?"

Heero didn't answer, not that Duo had expected him to. Well, he admitted to himself, he had actually expected some sort of response, even if it was Heero merely telling him no, he wasn't cold, as if it were perfectly normal to be standing outside in the snow wearing clothes better suited to a game of beach volleyball than scaling the side of a building.

Duo looked up at Heero, shook his head, and followed him.

He found Heero on the roof, staring at the city lights. Duo's eyes roved over the other pilot. He'd swear that there was just the slightest lessening of tension in his frame. One thing he'd found about Heero Yuy was the guy seemed to be constantly wired, like he was always assessing a situation to determine how to overcome it.

Duo took a few steps closer and halted just behind Heero. He watched the skyline of the city over Heero's shoulder, and the small puffs of breath that came out of Heero's mouth on occasion. Flakes of snow clung to Heero's hair, each melting slowly into the dark unruly mass, only to have others take their place.

His gaze dropped to Heero's bare shoulder and he squinted in the darkness. He was surprised to see small goose bumps along Heero's arm, save for the small patch of smooth skin where a bullet had creased it not all that long ago.

It appeared Heero Yuy was human after all.

Satisfied with his discovery, Duo climbed back down the side of the dormitory and slipped into the window of his room.

The next morning the sun shone brightly overhead and aside from the scattered puddles here and there, it was as if last night's snowfall had never happened. Weather on the earth was incredibly unpredictable. Seasons should follow a set pattern, Duo thought. Summer, hot, and winter, cold.

He liked knowing what to expect. It was irrational to believe things in life would be that cooperative, but it didn't mean he found it any less irritating. He shook his head. Nothing in his life had ever gone the way he'd hoped, so it was foolish to expect things to change now.

He made his way to the building where his first class was, completely unsurprised to find Heero sitting there already.

It would have been nice if they'd walked there together and carried on a conversation in the meantime, but Heero had never been the buddy-buddy type. He exuded standoffishness. It was obvious even as he sat there surrounded by other students.

Duo suppressed a sigh and took his seat.

As the lecturer took his place at the front of the room, Heero's eyes flicked once to the young man who'd climbed on the roof after him the night before.

Duo's heart was in his throat as he watched Wing Zero race the falling bit of Libra to the earth, watched as the Gundam glowed a fiery red. He bit his lip as Heero turned the mobile suit around and raised the buster rifle.

He could hear Heero's voice through the static, unsure if the shaky quality to Heero's deep tone was due to his own anxiety or the intense vibrations that rocked through the Gundam as Heero attempted to lock on to his target.

Just for a fleeting second, he didn't care about the fate of the earth. Part of him screamed at Heero to get the hell out of the way, to save himself, but he knew that for Heero to do anything but what he was doing right now would be selfish.

It didn't prevent him from holding his breath as the blast from the buster rifle lit up the sky.

Duo had seen a lot of death, and had caused more than his own share. He'd felt the gut wrenching pain of losing the few he'd allowed to get under his skin. He didn't exhale until it was over and he saw Wing emerge intact.

He'd been unable to contain his exclamation of joy and surprise. Despite the fact that the others seemed to think there was no other possible outcome, Duo had felt that fate would once again taunt him. He knew it was silly, and in fact, rather egocentric, to believe that any higher powers were out to get him. Heero's fate was not in Duo's hands. It never had been.

He smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes.

Snow was falling again, and Duo stepped outside to watch it drift to the ground. The outside lights provided enough illumination for the dancing flakes, and he held out a hand to catch a few of them.

They melted upon contact with the warm flesh of his palm.

He noticed a small bit of color in the carpet of white and he crouched to pick it up, the movement sending the poof ball of his hat dangling in front of his face. He swatted at the white ball and brushed off the small sprig of leaves and berries that had likely fallen from the wreath on the door. He wiped the snowflakes away, leaving a layer of moisture in their wake, and he suddenly felt it. He turned slowly, his eyes falling on a pair of familiar boots, and the bare legs above them.

Duo got to his feet and plastered on a grin, going so far as to lean over and tuck the holly behind Heero's ear. He removed the bit of candy he'd been given from his front pocket and toyed with it, his eyes never wandering from Heero's.

"Here," he said, handing it over. He hadn't seen the guy in months, and the best Duo could do was offer him a bit of candy that the guy probably didn't even want. Heero took it without a change in his expression and folded his arms.

Duo looked up at the sky, the snowflakes clinging to his lashes, and said, "kinda cold out, don't ya think?"

He saw Heero move next to him, felt the ball of his hat thump against his back, and then they were both gazing at the snow as it fell. Duo blinked as the flakes struck his eyes. He could feel his nose starting to run and his eyes watering, but he wasn't willing to go inside just yet.

Heero put his hands behind his back, his arm brushing against Duo as he did so.

"I've been colder."

Duo smiled up at the yellow glow from the lamppost.

"Yeah," he said, "me too."

They continued to watch the snow fall.

17 December, 2004