Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine. This is a fluff piece that I was working on and posting in my LJ that suddenly decided it wanted to be taken seriously… If you were following it there- it was called Big Bed.
I walked into the office knowing that Heero would already be there before me. I wasn't disappointed. My partner was already there, typing away on the mission report that Une wanted later that day.
"Have a good evening?" I asked him as I did every morning. I knew his response by heart. It never varied.
"Fine. Yours?" Yep. Always fine. The man never had a crisis.
"Ah, pretty good. Hilde had to work late again, so I made dinner and watched some TV til she got home." I drummed my fingers on my desk waiting for my computer to boot up. "I was hoping we'd be able to go out and look at dresses for her, but she didn't get home in time." Hilde never got home on time anymore. I knew the yard was busy, but this was kinda ridiculous.
"Well, maybe you can try tonight. Stop by her office and pick her up," Heero suggested. "That's what Fei finally did with Relena when she kept getting caught up in work." I blinked. Huh, why hadn't I thought of that? I guess that's what partners were for.
"That's a good idea. Though he did it what- six months before the wedding? Ours is only a month away. We're running out of time." I sighed without meaning to.
"What's wrong?" Heero's fingers paused in his typing.
"Oh nothing..." I waved my hand in the air. "It's really nothing."
"Somehow I don't believe you." He turned and faced me, folding his hands on his desktop and giving me his best glare. "Out with it partner." Heero really is a good friend. He may not share a lot of personal stuff with me, but he does listen. That's a rare trait in anyone. "Duo?" He lifted an eyebrow and I relented.
"It's just... Hilde doesn't seem very excited about getting married." That seemed to be a massive understatement. My fiancée never seemed to want to talk about the wedding. "When I first asked her she was all happy and couldn't wait to get things ready, and now the closer it gets the less she wants to talk about it." I paused and took a deep breath. "That's not normal is it? I mean, Relena was much more... excited."
That was an understatement. Relena had called Hilde everyday, sometimes twice to get opinions on flowers, cakes, what have you, and to make sure that we'd gotten our tuxes, that Fei had gotten his... I remember dreading to answer the phone for a while there. But she had been so happy that it had been hard not to talk to her. Her joy in being able to marry Fei had made her light up like a candle. A crazy, insane kind of candle, but it was still sweet, I supposed. Now that they had been married for nearly a year she was much calmer. But Hilde was the opposite. She seemed to get depressed whenever the subject came up.
"It's like she doesn't want to get married." I finished. Heero's glare had disappeared.
"Well, Relena is a lot different that Hilde is." He offered and I had to agree. "Besides, you and Hilde have been living together for what- two, three years? Ever since the end of Mariamaia. It's not that big a change." Okay, another good point. But still...
"I guess you're right." I smiled for him. I wasn't going to be able to solve this problem right now. But it did make me think of something else.
"So, when are we getting an invite for your wedding?" I asked him with a grin, signaling that I was finished 'sharing' with him this morning.
"Never," He snorted at me.
"Ah, c'mon Heero." I coaxed. "You could at least try to date. I know some nice girls, and Q's got several sisters that think you're gorgeous. Why don't you ever try?"
"I told you why," He turned back to his computer. "I'm just not interested in that sort of thing."
"Not at all?" This was a conversation we'd had before.
"No," He replied with his pre-scripted line. "I'm just not cut out for it." I usually let it go at that, but this morning I didn't feel like it.
"Why do you think that, Heero? You always say that. Why aren't you cut out for a relationship? Don't you have all the normal desires of guys our age? Aren't you interested..."
"No." He flipped open a file folder and pulled up the program he needed. "We have work to do, Duo. Let's get to it." That was his way of telling me that I needed to back the hell off. Curiosity lingered, but I realized that it would have to be satisfied at another time.
"One of these days you're going to have to explain it to me," I warned him and left it at that.
The day passed normally enough. We did the research we needed to on one of our cases and went out to do some legwork as well. Heero told me to leave a bit early so that I could go get Hilde and go look at dresses. 'Surprise her' was his phrase.
I'm afraid Hilde was the one who ended up surprising me.
"Duo?" Hilde looked up from the papers on her desk when I leaned in the door and said her name. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to steal you. We're getting married in less than a month Hilde, you need a dress."
She didn't smile, not at first. I saw the look that flashed over her face before she hid it with a smile. She got to her feet, but I stepped into her office and closed the door behind me.
"I think we need to talk."
I went to our house afterwards- Hilde's house now I supposed - and packed my things. Hilde stayed at the office, and I was grateful for her absence.
I didn't take any of the things we had bought together. That just seemed wrong somehow. I left Hilde a note on the counter, telling her to forward my mail to the Preventers and wishing her well.
Then I went to Heero's.
I stood in the hallway outside of his door and realized that the last time I had been here had been when I'd helped him move in. Heero had been over at our place many times- nearly once a week since Hilde liked having him over for dinner. He always volunteered to help her with the dishes- unlike me. That thought made me cringe. There had apparently been quite a few things that I hadn't done...
I had to take a deep breath before I rang the bell. My control was going to fail me and soon. I hoped Heero was home.
He was, and I felt a rush of relief. He answered the door, dressed in sweats and a T-shirt, cats twining around his feet. His eyes widened at the sight of me. I was distracted for a moment. Heero Yuy had cats? And Siamese cats at that.
"Duo?" He stood to the side and gestured me in. "What is it? What's happened?"
"Hey Heero, mind if I bunk here for a while?" I had to get the details out of the way. Heero took the suitcase away from me and closed the door.
"Of course not." He tugged me further into his apartment and pushed me in the direction of the couch. I sat down and instantly had two cats climbing up next to me. "Lia, Liam- leave him alone."
The freaky creatures actually looked over at him and meowed as if they understood him. "You can smell him later. Scat." They jumped down and Heero sat next to me. "What happened Duo?"
"I might have to stay for a while..." I didn't really want to do this. But he needed an explanation.
"Surely Hilde won't be mad at you for that long. Did something happen when you went to go looking for dresses?"
"We never went." My hands suddenly hurt and I realized that I had dug my nails into my palms.
"What?" Heero blinked in surprise. "Duo- what happened?" I heard the thread of worry in his voice.
"Hilde doesn't want to marry me." I was shaking. Why was I shaking? People break up everyday right? No big deal.
Just another person in my life who decided that I wasn't worth the effort. Just another person walking away from me. Why? Oh, I know things hadn't been great between us, but I had been trying. Even Hilde admitted as much...
Heero reached out, and to my complete and utter surprise, pulled me into his arms, enclosing me in a tight hug. I leaned into him and finally let myself release control. Heero was there to cover my back.
"Oh Duo..." He said softly and then just held onto me. The words came pouring out of me without my permission, but it was okay. This was Heero after all.
"I just didn't know what else to do. She said that she just fell out of love with me. She didn't know how to tell me and she didn't want to hurt me but the closer the wedding got the more she just started- dreading it..." The words tumbled out in a fast moving stream. "The house is hers and I don't ever want to go back. I don't know what to do..."
"You can stay as long as you like." Heero told me. "Don't even worry about it." It sounds beyond stupid, but it was reassuring. As fucked up as my life was at the moment, I'd take any reassurance I could get.
I don't know how long he sat there with me. He never showed any signs of impatience or of being uncomfortable. I was the one who finally sat up, trying to pull myself back together.
"Hungry?" He asked me.
"Not really. Tired though." Heero's sofa was small, more of a love seat than a sofa and the thought of trying to curl up on it was not a pleasant one. If I didn't dread being alone I would've gone to a hotel.
"C'mon then," Heero got to his feet and picked up my suitcase. I followed him down a short hallway and into the bedroom.
"I don't want to put you out of your..." I paused at the sight of the monstrosity before me. Heero's bed took up most of the bedroom. It was huge. Had to be custom made. What did he do with a bed that size?
"You won't. I think there's space for us to share."
"There's space for you, me and the rest of the pilots. Why..." I stopped. Did I really want to know?
"It came with the apartment. The last tenant left it and I think no one wanted to try and move it out." He put my suitcase down. "Bathroom is behind that door. Help yourself to whatever you need. I still have some things to do."
I understood that he was giving me the time he knew I needed to collect myself again.
"Thanks Heero. I really appreciate this."
"It's no problem, Duo. Get some rest. I'll be in later."
He left and his cats decided to join me. They sat on the bed and watched me. When I finally climbed under the covers, they curled up near me, little purring pools of warmth that were somehow comforting.
It took me a long time to fall asleep.
The next morning, I awoke, blinking sleepy eyes and brushing dark hair out of my face. It wasn't an unusual way to wake up. I usually spooned up behind Hilde when she slept. I dropped a kiss on top of her head, let go of her and rolled over.
And realized, when I didn't fall out of bed, that I wasn't in my bed.
I looked over my shoulder to find Heero wide awake and blinking.
"Uh... I'm really sorry... I thought... I mean... I'm used to..." Heero smirked and I relaxed a little bit. He didn't look like he was going to kill me.
"It's okay," he replied, a ripple of amusement in his voice. "When you grabbed me last night I realized that you were used to sleeping with someone else. I tried to get you to let go, but..."
"I know..." Hilde used to complain that I had a grip like a lobster. Hanging on tight and not letting go. "I am sorry."
"Relax Duo," he sat up and yawned. "Just don't kiss me again, okay?"
"Okay," I promised, easily enough.
So, we fell into a kind of routine. One that I knew Heero wasn't too happy about. We'd get up, go to work, come home and I'd go to bed. I liked Heero's bed. It was warm, big, and had two cats to cuddle with in it. It was easy to just stay under the covers until it was time for work again.
Heero tried to get me to be interested in something else after a few days. He suggested TV shows, asked me to help him with dinner, made me go to the gym with him by simply driving us straight there after work. I knew he was worried, but I couldn't help it.
Then he pulled out the big guns. He called Quatre and invited him over without telling me.
First I knew about it was when a weight joined me on the bed at an early hour. Heero didn't go to bed until late. I looked out and found my blond friend smiling at me. Damn Heero.
"Hiding out Duo?" Quatre asked.
"Low blow," I grumbled back. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you. Heero said you were spending all your time in bed." He leaned back on the pillows with his cheerful smile in place. There was no way in hell I was going to get him to budge anytime soon. "Though it is a very comfortable bed."
"That's what I said. So what's wrong with spending time in it? Heero hardly knows I'm here." Well, except for the fact that I tended to wrap myself around him every night.
At least I had stopped kissing him.
"Heero wouldn't notice a cheerleading squad in here." Quatre commented. "What is he doing with such a big bed?"
I grinned. "He says it came with the apartment."
"Really?" Quatre's smile turned slightly depraved. Then his expression changed again. "You doing okay?"
"No," I sat up, putting my arms around my knees. "The girl dumped me Quatre. No more fairy-tale happy ending for me."
Quatre thwapped me on the back of the head.
"And this would be the girl that you got into huge fights with at least twice a month?"
"The one that didn't understand your fascination for bad action films? The one that tossed your comics collection?"
"The one that you felt bad about not caring for enough?"
Okay, empath or not, that was a low blow. I scowled at him. Two could play this game.
"I thought that I finally had a home, you know? A place to belong? A family?" Answer that!
"You do have a place you belong." Quatre snapped back. "Just because it doesn't include the yard and Hilde doesn't mean you've lost that."
Bastard looked smug now.
"Think about it Duo. You still have your job. You still have your friends- and we might as well count as family after all we've been through together. All you've lost, and I'm not trying to say it wasn't worth anything, was one romantic relationship that really wasn't working anyway. Both you and Hilde deserve better than that."
"So I'm being silly?"
"No Duo. But it's time to get out of bed. You've got a life to get on with. Hiding won't solve anything."
"You really should be on top of a mountain somewhere," I told Quatre without any heat. He did have a point. "Dispensing wisdom and all that."
Quatre put his arm around my shoulders and gave me a brief hug. "So, does that mean I'm going to find a goat in my bedroom some night soon as an 'offering'?"
"Tro would feed it to his lions." I countered and Quatre chuckled.
"Speaking of which, he and Heero are in the kitchen with pizza. Don't suppose we can tempt you to come out and join us?"
Of course I went. Can't say no to Quatre. I don't think anyone can- stubborn little bastard.
He knew of course that the minute I started to get depressed about my failed relationship that my brain would also remind me of everything he said. I trusted Q to level with me, and I trusted his opinion. Fair enough.
The next night after we got home from work, I made myself stay out in the living room. It was easier than I expected. Heero had a great bookshelf and he didn't care what music I played as long as it wasn't too loud.
Heero sat down at his computer after dinner, and though I caught one or two relieved glances my way, he mostly focused on the screen in front of him. It was almost like being back at that school with him during the war.
After awhile though I had to wonder what he was doing. He wasn't surfing the 'net, as far as I could tell.
"What are you doing?" I finally asked, getting up off the sofa to go lean over his chair like I used to.
"Programming." Programming? We didn't do any of that kind of stuff with the Preventers.
"Security, financial institution." Heero replied. I rolled my eyes. This was like playing twenty questions.
"It's my other job."
"Other job?" I blinked. Why would Heero need another job? "The Preventers doesn't keep you busy enough?" I sat down on the floor next to his desk and Lia began to wind around me. The cats really liked me for some reason. Trowa had told me that it was my braid- they thought I was one of them. With my tail in the wrong place of course...
"We only work 50 or so hours a week there Duo. I need to fill my time somehow. So I take independent programming work."
Only Heero would need to 'fill his time' like this. Boy was lucky I had moved in with him.
"Fill your time?" I shook my head at him. "There are other ways than working. It's not like you need the money."
"This is more fulfilling." I heard him sigh.
"Fulfilling? Don't you like the Preventers?"
"Not really." Okay, this was surreal. Heero didn't like the Preventers? Then why the hell... "I'm there because it's where I needed to be. They needed trained agents- you needed a partner. It's not really what I want to do."
"You could quit." I suggested. Heero shook his head.
"Why? They still need agents, you still need a partner, and it's not like I hate it. I just prefer this, that's all."
"So, this is relaxing for you?"
"Yes, I guess you could say that."
I sat for a long moment, watching Heero work. Never, in all this time would I have guessed that Heero didn't like his job. He did it so well, after all.
"Why didn't you tell me before?"
"You didn't ask. Plus, it's not that important." Heero shrugged. For a moment, I was hurt. Then I realized that Heero was not being snappy- merely matter-of-fact. I hadn't ever asked what he had thought about our jobs, and if he saw the Preventers as something he had to do, like it or not, he wouldn't see the fact that he disliked it as important.
"You know, most people wouldn't see this as a relaxing activity."
"I'm not most people." True again.
"You could date."
"I told you..." I heard him sigh again.
"I know. 'Not cut out for it.' Why aren't you cut out for dating?" Heero turned his head slightly to meet my eyes. "Heero- I asked- and we're here, alone, not at work. Explain it to me?"
It was his turn to sit silently for a long moment. His fingers had stopped moving over the keys, and I saw a shadow of...something... flicker over his face. What was going on?
"You know you can tell me anything, Heero," I encouraged him.
He turned his chair around to face me. "Duo- I'm sure I've mentioned that I was trained by an assassin when I was younger? Grew up with him?"
"Yes." I nodded encouragingly.
"And then I got recruited by J for his training."
I nodded again. Then a little light bulb went on. So that's what it was! Well, for goodness sakes, he could've told me sooner!
"I get it!" I interrupted him, otherwise I was sure we'd be here all night. "You don't like girls!"
He blinked and looked puzzled.
"What are you talking about? I'm friends with several girls..." I shook my head at him.
"I mean you'd rather date guys. So why don't you?"
Heero closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"No, Duo. I wouldn't rather date guys. " Okay, he was totally stumping me on this one. Not girls, not guys. There wasn't much else left.
"I'm trying." Heero flushed, to my surprise. This really was hard for him. "Look Duo- that training... well, it included a lot of things. Some of them not very pleasant. It- had an effect on me, okay?"
That couldn't mean...? J and Odin should be glad that they were dead. Otherwise, I'd kill them.
"Those bastards!" I slammed my fist hard against the floor. Heero blinked.
"They were just doing their jobs..."
"But it's all part of the training."
"It wasn't part of mine!"
"Well, of course not. You didn't start until you were older. And I was trained for different things."
"It's still not right!"
Heero studied me for a long moment. "Duo- what do you think my training entailed? I have a feeling we aren't on the same page here..."
When I told him, I thought he would spontaneously combust.
Then he nearly died laughing.
"It's not that funny." I grumbled at him.
"Trust me. I did not have sex with J or Odin." That made him grin again.
"Quit laughing." I frowned at him.
"Sorry, Duo, but I've never heard it called the horizontal tango, nor has anyone told me that they thought I had sex with J. You know he couldn't right?"
"Duo- the man was all mechanical- fake arm, fake leg, fake eyes... that part was gone too. He said he could think clearer without all those hormones."
My eyes widened.
"He didn't do that to..."
Heero blinked. "No."
Oh whew. That could've been really really bad.
"Okay. I am going to shut up and you are going to explain it to me."
Heero sighed; pulled one leg up on his chair and rested his chin on his knee. "All right."
"I'll even be quiet all the way through this time," I said, feeling like I was at school with Heero on his chair and me on the floor. Course, I'm sure this never came up in a grade-school classroom.
"Odin taught me that to let someone into your life was a hazard. A lover could be used against you. He told me that numerous times- he was fond of me- but if I was captured then he'd leave me behind without a second thought. I could not be his weakness."
I nodded. I could see that- but still- what kind of thing was that to say to a child? Even one that you were training to be an assassin? Then again- had Odin ever really considered Heero to be a child? Sheesh, and if he had taught Heero not to let anyone get too close, but then told him to follow his emotions...
That fit with Heero's personality though. I could remember Heero walking into my cell with his gun out, ready to kill me- and then rescuing me. It certainly explained how he had dealt with Relena during the war.
While my brain was running off on this tangent, Heero was still talking. I caught up right when he said:
"...use sex as a weapon."
"WHAT!" Oops, I wasn't supposed to talk. Heero shook his head.
"I said, J taught me that one could use sex as a weapon. To hurt someone, to get them to do what you wanted, to manipulate them to your viewpoint... It was an sloppy but effective tactic if mastered well."
J would see it that way. No wonder he'd been happier as a eunuch. But wait a moment...
"Did he... uh... did you have to learn that in a hands-on kind of way?" What would those lessons have been like?
My brain nearly melted at the thought. Not to mention other parts of me.
Whoa! I had put those feelings behind me years ago... I shook myself and looked up to see Heero eyeing me strangely.
"Well, it's not like you could learn it all from books," he said, and I noticed he was slightly red.
"Never mind," I shook my head. "I get the picture." Not that I wanted to. "So- that's why you don't date?"
"That's why. I don't want to hurt anyone- and I'm afraid that I would." Heero looked slightly sad for a moment.
"I don't think you would if you didn't want to," I said reassuringly. "You've always had good control Heero..."
"But what if I lost control? And how would it feel to have to constantly hold myself back all the time? Wouldn't the other person know and resent that I couldn't let myself go like that?"
Okay, he had me there.
"I- guess so." I wished I had something better to say. My best friend had just told me that he hated his job and that he was afraid of being in a relationship and all I could do was sit here like an idiot. Couldn't I do something to help him? But what?
Heero got up and out of the chair. His hand touched the top of my head gently. "Thanks Duo."
"Listening," he walked towards the kitchen. "You're the only one who ever has." I turned to look at him, stunned. "Want a soda? I'm going to have some coffee."
"I'll have some too." I got to my feet to follow him, determined now to help him.