Beyond The Boundaries Of Friendship

"Hey, Heero, could ya do me a favor?" Duo asked hesitantly. He fiddled nervously with his braid as he waited for his friend's answer.

Looking up from his bowl of Froot Loops, breakfast of Perfect Soldiers (at least when the God of Death did the grocery shopping), Heero said suspiciously, "What kind of favor?" He'd learned quickly not to agree to anything Duo asked without a written contract, in triplicate – or a reasonable facsimile thereof. He was still seething over being forced into dressing up as Indiana Jones for Relena's 'Super Hero' themed Halloween party. Not that he would have chosen Duo's costume – Zorro was rather sexy (and Duo got to wear his trademark unrelieved black with a cape) but as Zechs could attest to, the mask prevented peripheral vision – but the leather pants he'd worn had been Duo's, and his friend had refused to let Heero go commando, as he preferred to do. He'd spent the better part of the evening with a black satin thong riding up his ass. 'Because anything else would give you panty lines' was Duo's reasoning.

Rolling his eyes, Duo said, "Paranoid much?" Heero reminded him often of the 'Costuming Debacle' as it had come to be called, and he knew by the wary look on his friend's face that Heero was remembering it – and planning three different escape and evade strategies.

"It's only paranoia if you're not out to get me," Heero shot back, arching a brow.

Duo sighed and switched to Plan S – for Sneaky. "Look, I was just looking for a little help from my best bud. But if you're not willing to help out a friend…" He let himself trail off meaningfully, knowing that it wouldn't take Heero long to give in. Experience had taught him that Heero Yuy's loyalty to those few he considered friends was a more powerful drive than his soldiering instincts.

Of course, Heero never let his loyalty get in the way of getting revenge… Duo winced as he remembered waking up one morning in November to find his hair dyed neon purple.

Dropping his spoon into his bowl with a milky splash, Heero threw up his hands in the universal expression of exasperated surrender. "Fine. What do you want me to do?" he asked in a monotone.

"Come into the bathroom," was Duo's not-quite-an-answer.

Brows knitting together in confusion, Heero nonetheless did as 'ordered.' When they arrived at their destination, Heero took in the sight of their normally clean bathroom and groaned as he recognized the signs that 'Hurricane Maxwell' had been through: hair clogging the drain, a soaking wet towel draped over the shower curtain rod and dropping on the floor, and half a dozen hair care products sprawled haphazardly over the bathroom counter underneath a partially fogged up mirror.

"If you're trying to get me to clean the bathroom for you…" Heero said threateningly. Heero always cleaned up the bathroom after himself; Duo didn't. That was why it was Duo's job to clean the bathroom; only somehow, he managed to get Heero to do it for him on a fairly regular basis.

Grinning slightly, Duo said, "Not even, man. I have a little – well, not so little – problem. I wouldn't ask, except it's really painful and it's bothering me." He reached over his back and tugged his T-shirt up over his head, the much-washed cotton clinging to his still-damp skin. Once he'd removed his shirt, his blow-dried braid slipped out of the cloth and slapped against his back, causing Duo to wince.

Now Heero was concerned. "Did you injure yourself on the last mission?" he asked. It had been a simple search and seizure of a factory producing illegal mobile suit parts, and they'd only been the backup for the primary Preventers team, but as all the former Gundam pilots knew, Murphy's Law abounded in their lives.

Duo's lips quirked up in a half-grin. "I'm not injured," he reassured his friend, then grumbled under his breath, "It's more like a major explosion of hormones and puberty trying to make up for lost time."

"Nani?" Heero was confused; was Duo propositioning him?

Not that that would be a bad thing, per se… Heero quickly stopped that train of thought firmly in its tracks. Duo's pointless flirting was bad enough; he didn't need to add to it.

Sighing, Duo turned around so his back was facing Heero. He tugged his braid around in front of him and then pointed to the center of his back, in between his shoulderblades. "See it?"

The sight of Duo's back was enough to remind Heero rather forcefully of a rather revolting story Duo had told him once, about a girl who thought she had a large pimple on her face, but it turned out to be a spider's egg sac. Heero wondered which one this…pustule…was. Lips twisting up in a moue of distaste, Heero gave a belated answered to Duo's question, "Yes, I see it." He would have had to have been blind not to – it was a pimple almost literally the size of a golf ball. No wonder Duo was in pain. Splaying one hand on Duo's shoulder, Heero turned him to get a better look at the red spot. "How long have you had this?" he asked, examining the sore closely. There were no bite marks, and it didn't look an infected scratch – Duo's tetanus shot was up to date anyway.

Duo gave an aborted shrug, flinching as the movement put pressure on the pimple. "I know I didn't have it before we left on that mission, so…between three and five days?"

Heero gave a silent sigh of relief. Not a spider's egg sac, then. "Do you need some help applying acne medication?" Heero asked as he removed himself from the near vicinity of the sore. The way the pimple was positioned, only Trowa could have managed to reach it by himself. Heero wouldn't really enjoy helping Duo with this, but at least the favor would be over with quickly.

Duo chuckled lowly. "Not exactly…" he hedged.

Now Heero was suspicious again. "What exactly?" he demanded.

Looking back over his shoulder at his friend, partner, and roommate, Duo prevaricated, "Medicine would take too long with something that size, and we don't have any, anyway."

Heero glared, giving his friend a 'Get on with it' look.

Duo gulped and obliged him with, "I want you to pop it."

Heero almost reeled back from shock. "Won't that leave a scar?" was his perfunctory objection. In truth, he was slightly sickened by what Duo was asking him to do; the blood and guts he'd been covered in during battles and missions were worse, but then he'd never ended up covered in them willingly. There was quite a bit of distance between trying to avoid something, and not succeeding, and purposefully agreeing to it.

Duo snorted. "Yeah, but since when do I care about scars?" he asked rhetorically. "We've all got so many already, it's not like another one'll matter to me."

Silently conceding the point, Heero asked brusquely, "How?" He'd never had a pimple – well, not of this size, and the few he had had were small enough to ignore – and wasn't sure how to quote-unquote 'pop' it. Lance it like a boil, maybe?

Giving an overblown sigh of relief, Duo picked up something from the vanity countertop and handed it to Heero. "You'll need this," he said.

Heero looked at the slim piece of metal in his hands. It was one of Duo's lock picks, one with a pointed end. Lance it like a boil, then.

He was glad the box of tissues was brand new. And that there was a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby.

Duo turned back around so the light hit the zit, and held his braid out of the way. "You'll probably have to actually squeeze the pus out with your thumbs," Duo added, grinning guiltily at him in the mirror. "As big as it is, there's gonna be a lot of it, too."

Heero sighed and gave into the inevitable. He would undertake the 'mission'…no matter how much it grossed him out. "Ryoukai," he agreed, and accepted the lock pick. Approaching the swollen cesspool of a cyst, Heero gritted his teeth and firmly locked his mind into 'Mission Mode' so as to numb himself to the gross experience. Sparing a fleeting to moment to wish for a pair of latex gloves, he reached out one cautious hand and poked the zit, right in the center of its overly prominent, sickly white head. Ignoring Duo's intake of breath and subsequent stiffening of his limbs, Heero quickly and efficiently 'lanced' the pimple, and, shuddering, began to squeeze.

It took ten whole minutes, and almost as many tissues – between Duo's whimpers and wiggling to escape the pain – to get all the infected mucus, blood, and pus out of the pimple. After that, Heero carefully disinfected the sore and placed a large bandage over it, one with pinpoint-sized holes to allow the wound to breathe. By the time he was done, Heero was certain that even if he boiled himself in peroxide, he'd still never be clean.

"I'm done," Heero pronounced tiredly. He was done in as well, and very glad that they had the day off. He actually felt like he might take a nap – after he took a scalding hot shower or three.

"You sure?" Duo asked, voice cracking, body vibrating as he suppressed the need to scream. No the scar wouldn't bother him – it was the pain of getting it that was worse.

"Yes," Heero said fiercely, firmly. He wouldn't joke about something this…unpleasant. He was glad that he was able to help Duo out – but next time he thought he might just haul his friend to the emergency room, tell them it was a boil, and let them deal with it.

Duo deflated, letting out a sigh of relief that would have been almost comical, if not for the circumstances. "Thanks, man," Duo said, giving Heero an exhausted smile. "I wasn't sure this wasn't outside the boundaries of what I could ask you."

Heero smiled slightly and shrugged it off. "What are friends for?" He was certain Duo would have done the same for him. He sincerely hoped that such an occasion never arose, however. Just thinking about having something like that lurking underneath his skin sent chills up his spine – and not in a good way.

"Just friends?" Duo said flirtatiously, one hand toying with the waistband of his boxers. He hadn't bothered to put on jeans before coming to collect Heero from the kitchen.

Duo had been doing that a lot lately – flirting with him, that was – and for once Heero was just too tired to play the game. The game where he pretended to be naïve and ignorant of what exactly Duo was proposing.

He was a horny teenager, too, damnit. "As long as the both of us are covered in infected pus, yes," Heero returned blithely. "Come see me after we've both had a shower and we can test the…boundaries of our relationship."

Duo blinked rapidly, paused, shook his head, and then blinked again. A smile spread across his face. "How 'bout we shower together?" he offered archly, wiggling his eyebrows playfully.

Heero's eyes flashed. He smirked. "Ryoukai." No more games – or boundaries – ever.