Title: Literacy
Author: Mookie
Pairing: Heero/Duo
Rating: PG
Word count: 855
Warning: shonen ai
Notes: response to gw500 challenge "midnight". Sequelish in nature to Natea's By Any Other Name.

Heero was used to students passing by the small computer cubbies in the library so he'd long learned to tune out their presence as something that belonged in the background. The absence of young men and women browsing the nearby shelves or of rapid clicking away at keyboards would have been more cause for alarm.

It was for that reason that he was surprised to find himself stiffening slightly when he saw the dark shadow pass by the early colonial history section. As soon as he realized who it was, he relaxed.

"Long time no see," Duo said, leaning a hip against the side of Heero's small cubby. A small stack of books rested against his groin and Heero glanced at the one facing him.

"Arthropod Evolution?"

Duo grinned sheepishly. "Yeah. Who'd ever have thought I'd be interested in entomology?"

Heero turned off the computer he'd been working on and stood up. "It's never too late to find a new interest in life."

The two of them walked out of the library together. Once outside, Duo squinted up at the sun. "You live around here?"

Heero pointed toward one of four tall brick buildings forming the quad. "I'm in Beta."

"I woulda figured you for an Alpha type," Duo joked.

Heero shrugged. "Once I left the Preventers, there was no point getting an apartment until I was sure where I wanted to go next. This suits my needs."

Duo fell in step beside him and they both walked toward the dormitory. When Heero let them in to his room, Duo glanced around at the walls, not unadorned as he might have expected. Heero gestured for him to sit down, and he did so, setting the books on the desk next to him.

"I wasn't sure you'd actually do it."

Duo ran a hand through the back of his shorn hair. "I figured it was about time."

A smirk played about Heero's lips. "That too."

"I, uh, transferred," Duo said, toying with the cover of the top text. "Tried it out part time first."


Duo closed the book he'd been playing with. "It's different."


The monosyllabic response had Duo closing his eyes, taken back to the last time he'd seen Heero. One of the few times he'd really spoken to him, seriously, of things that had nothing to do with OZ bases or mobile suit protectiveness. It might have been his imagination working overtime, but he would swear that he smelled a faintly familiar fragrance, one that had assaulted his nostrils only once.

He opened his eyes and ran a hand through his hair again. "I, uh, think I like to learn."

The smirk resembled more of a smile. "It's addictive."

Duo thought of a few other things that fit that particular description, but he tamped down the desire to blurt them out and picked up the bottom book and passed it to Heero, who had remained standing the entire time.

Heero accepted it without hesitation, running his hands over the textured blue leather. He opened to the first page, and then flipped through it.

"A journal?"

"It's whatever you want to make of it," Duo said with a shrug.

Heero closed it and tapped the spine in his palm. "So I can make it as hard, or as easy, to read as I want." Without waiting for a response, he reached past Duo's shoulder to pick up a writing instrument from the desk. He opened the book again, wrote something with a flourish, and closed it, setting the fountain pen back down, then placing the book carefully on top of the stack.

Duo waited for Heero to step back and then lifted the cover, peering at the single word in bold blue strokes. The question mark at the end surprised him.

"I like learning," Duo said slowly, "but I've always been the type to prefer picking things up through a hands-on method." He stood up slowly and walked toward Heero, closing his eyes again and inhaling deeply.

He opened his eyes just long enough to gauge Heero's reaction, and then he kissed him.

Heero's hands buried themselves in Duo's hair, one in the bangs that sorely needed a trim, the other at the wisps curling about Duo's nape. The backs of his knees hit the bed and they nearly fell, but Heero stood firm, tightening his grip in Duo's hair as Duo dropped one hand to Heero's hip. He slipped a finger through Heero's belt loop and jerked him closer as their kiss deepened.

Breathless, he backed away, pleased with the spark in Heero's eyes and the flush on his face.

He nodded then, repeating Heero's written question even as he answered it.

"Now," he said firmly. "No better time to start, is there?"

Heero answered with another kiss, and Duo groaned against Heero's lips.

It was perfectly acceptable to him. Heero had always found actions as meaningful as words. Apparently he wasn't as hard to read as Duo had thought, but he was looking forward to testing that theory out.

Insects and arachnids weren't the only things he'd come here to study.

30 December, 2004