Standard Notes: Duo POV, post-series, Heero/Duo relationship, the boys are not mine!


/zhipt/ … together by fate, separated by politics. Two young lovers …

/zhipt/ … up next: Part two of the sphere renowned documentary 'Life Among …

/zhipt/ … update at 25 and 55. Earlier today L1 Colony spokesperson Abigail Cartwright delivered a scathing rebuttal …


Damn. The door? I mute the sound and drop the remote at the end of the couch, it's not like I'm not expecting anyone. Wonder if it's old lady Herman looking for a victim – read: me – to shop her left over cookies on? Usually the grandkids don't fail to show until Sunday? But… it's Saturday.

I check through the viewer and – much to my shock – standing there, hands clasped behind him… "Heero?"

He starts at the suddenly opened door before smiling slightly. "Duo."

"Back again. What a surprise?" So soon. He was here yesterday.

"You're not…" he scrutinizes his shoelaces before looking up again. "You're not busy, are you?"

I step back a bit, opening the door wider, "Never too busy for you." I tilt my head to indicate he should enter. "I would hope you'd figured that out already."

"I…" He's still hesitating, which is a little odd, and I see his eyes dart to the side. He clears his throat and his hands swing around to the front. "I brought beer," he mumbles, eyes darting to the side again.

It's enough to a pull a laugh from me. He's so damn cute sometimes, not that I'd ever tell him that, exactly. The laugh seems to have a negative effect on him, so I smile as warmly as I can. "Good. I like it when you 'bring beer'."

That earns me a firm nod and a more relaxed smile. He finally crosses the threshold. "Sure it's OK?"

"Yeah, absolutely." I finish locking up and turn the exterior light off, no sense leaving it on at this juncture. I turn to find him still standing there, a death grip on the handle of the six pack. I point at it, "You want me to…?"

"No, I got it. I'll just... put them to chill?"

When I nod, he turns toward the kitchen. I leave him to it. I can't believe he still gets so nervous. I mean, really, it's been more than a month already.

/Two months ago, Preventer Headquarters…/

Balancing the tray in one hand and tucking the cash card in my back pocket, I search the room for my lunch-mate. There's an awful large group between me and our usual lunch table, so it's hard to see if he's beat me here, yet again. As I make my way around them, the group of rookies – not one of them can have more than a year under their belts – notice me, some shooting furtive glances over their shoulders. Surely, my companion must be at a table behind them.

A particularly eager one stands and salutes me, "Good afternoon, Captain!"

"At ease," I wave dismissively as I pass them by, "No need to salute in the cafeteria."

He sits promptly, mumbling a disheartened 'yes sir' that earns him ribbing from his friends. A few of the… less eager ones simply nod an acknowledgement. I smile for them, I prefer it that way, as I finally reach my destination.

My companion pointedly looks at his watch. "Captain," he grumbles facetiously.

"Captain," I return with a wide smile, organizing my haul before digging into it. "How do you manage to make it here before me every day?"

He smirks but doesn't answer. Lunch proceeds as it usually does.

Heero is nothing if not ritualistic. He arrives at the same time every day, doesn't talk much while he eats, waits for me to finish without interrupting. And then he leads the way up to the roof, where we kill the last fifteen to twenty minutes of our lunch break talking freely. And no, Heero talking freely is not the oxymoron it appears to be. Up on the roof, where there's no one to overhear and later judge or criticize, he states what's on his mind openly. What troubles him. What frustrates him. What pleases and amuses him, too.

Often his roof-top topic is work related, but more and more lately, the topics are things that the Heero Yuy of just a few short years ago would never have discussed. Like today.

Conversation at the neighboring table had centered on some party a bunch of the rookies had attended. They'd talked long and hard about it. One of the girls had taken quite a bit of teasing because she'd apparently been so drunk she'd wandered around looking for the purse which was actually hanging from her arm.

"Why do you think no one told her she was carrying the purse for so long?"

"I dunno, maybe they were just as drunk."

"But then.. wouldn't they not have remembered as well, either? Or maybe not as much time elapsed as they claim before she realized it?"

"S'possible, I guess." I turn away from the railing we're leaning against and sit on the edge of the concrete lip at its base. Thanks to the company, the wind and the sun up here, this is easily one of the best parts of my day. "Maybe they weren't that drunk, at all. It's probably just one of those… 'things' people do, you know? Act more drunk than they are. Drinking is supposed to lower your inhibitions, right, but mostly I've just seen it make people act a little more stupidly than normal. I guess it gives people permission to be more immature, be a little selfish, not control their impulses."

"Hn." He ponders that for a minute before looking down at me. "Do you?"

I slant a glance at him. "Do I what? Be more stupid or impulsive when I drink? There are those who would say that's not possible…," I grin.

He huffs a laugh.

I swat at him and shrug. "Only been that drunk a few times myself, and it's not something I really care to think too much about." I stand, eyeing my watch and turning toward the stairs. "Or repeat," I mumble under my breath.

And that line of conversation ends for the day.

/A week later…/

"…and as I'm washing my hands that girl bursts into the bathroom without even knocking, you know the 'Blonde Amazon' all the guys had been drooling over. Tripping over her own feet, not even noticing I was there. I'm telling you, three hours of drinking and she looked more like a homeless hooker than the goddess they revered her as. So I went downstairs again and then, not ten minutes later, that really hot Asian guy, with the bleached tips, you know Chin, he's"

I turn another corner in the cubicle maze to find the two section clerks gossiping. "Ladies."

Both heads shoot up with equal surprise. "Oh, good afternoon, Captain Maxwell." "Captain, sir!" I'm surprised neither one jumps to their feet.

"Jenkins. Suarez. I was... looking for Heero." I wave the data stick in my hand, "You guys know where he's at?"

"Yes, sir." That's Suarez for you, always eager to assist. "He's on his way back. He said that if we saw you we should ask you to wait for him. His meeting with Lt. Hamilton's team ran a bit long."

"He 'asked', huh. Okay, thanks. Mind if I wait here?" I take a seat as they shoot each other furtive glances. "Don't mind me. Continue."

The blank looks I get in response almost make me laugh.

"Chin… the really hot Asian guy with bleached tips. He works in the armory, right?"

Jenkins recovers first. "You- you know Chin, sir?"

"Yeah, though I didn't know he'd bleached. Buff guy, 'bout five-eight, with some weird… tribal tattoo all down his thigh?" I kind of motion at the general area on myself.

"You've seen his tattoo? I heard he almost never shows it to anyone. I mean, isn't it awesome, though! I've only seen it once, but oh my God, he's such a- Oh! Captain, sir!"

I look in the direction of Suarez's frozen stare to find Heero at the cubicle opening. "Yo!"

He purses his lips and shakes his head at me. "I would thank you not to distract the staff in my department. We have a report to complete by seventeen hundred hours." Dismissing me momentarily with the Heero-version of an eye roll, he turns his steely gaze on the two clerks. A moment of tense silence passes before he throws down the gauntlet with instructions about changes, updates, copies, initials, approvals, blah, blah, blah.

I'm surprised to suddenly find his hand in my face, and an expectant look on his, so I turn over my deliverable. "Jenkins, go through this and update the spec with Maxwell's data. Do not waste time checking, just make sure everything is in its proper place." He shoots me a glance.

I nod. "I had Crawley and Benoit look it over too. We made sure to list all the references. It's tight."

He grunts an acknowledgement and turns the data over to the girls with a few final instructions. Duty discharged, he relaxes a fraction before turning to me. "Come on."

I follow him to his cubicle where he gathers his things before heading back the way we came. As we pass the cubicle opening, Jenkins looks up and blushes. It gives me pause, I have a very good idea why. I tap Heero to make him wait a moment but before his sigh of suffering is fully expelled, I'm leaning back into the opening of their cubie, wicked grin in place.

"I'll bet lunch next Wednesday," I pause to make sure I have both their attentions, "that the end of your story goes something like this: he flashed his lovely tatt, danced around showing it off and started making serious moves on somebody. You can 'fess up the details later." And with that and a wink, I leave them gaping in my wake.

Over the cubicle walls I hear Jenkins whisper 'How the hell'd he know that? Chin doesn't just drop his pants for anyone'. As we make for the stairs again, Heero shoots me a questioning look.

In the stairwell, boots clattering and echoing off the walls, we make our way down to the basement. As I reach to push the door open a hand descends over mine, stopping me.

"How –did- you know that?"

"Know what?" I flash him my baby blues.

His growl tells me the innocent act isn't working.

"Remember I mentioned those few times in my life I got drunk?" A sharp nod is my answer. "Well, last one was about a year ago, and Chin was there, matching me drink-for-drink. He tends to… like to show it off. When he's drunk, that is."

"Hn." Seemingly satisfied he allows us to pass into the basement.

"Yeah, but you know, if he keeps getting drunk in public, lots of people will know what his tattoo looks like."

/A few days later, same week…/

"May I ask you something?"

"Sure, but" huff "can it wait" grunt " 'til I'm" huff "done" grunt "with my set?" huff

"Yes, of course."

Four more lifts and he's helping me reposition the bar. I sit up and swing my leg around to face the mirrored end of the gym when a towel appears before me. "Thanks."

"No problem."

I take a drink from the bottle he's holding out. "What's next today? S'your turn."

As he looks around the room, I thank the deities again that Heero always takes his turn at lifting weights first. It would not be safe for me to spot him right after I've finished my set. I'm no slouch, but the guy could probably lift a small elephant without breaking a sweat.

"Some light sparring? There's an open space by the bag."

I follow his gaze, finding our destination. "Huh. Define 'light'."

He gives me a look before answering. "Just a little hand to hand, no kicks, to keep the muscles loose. And no take downs."

He takes off without waiting for my acceptance, but that's OK. It's not like I'm going to say 'no'. We're in here at least twice a week. We run pretty much the same routine every time, too, except for the last activity. That we alternate the decision on, and it's usually something along these same lines; treadmill, the elliptical, sparring, running the indoor track, sometimes even laps in the pool.

It occurs to me that sparring is the only one of these activities that really allows for snatches of conversation and as I follow behind the sweaty line of his t-shirt, I wonder what he'd wanted to ask. He's looked like he was chewing on something for at least a day or too. "So you wanted to ask me something?"

He stops at the edge of the mat and removes his sneakers and socks. "Aa."

Oh my! Japanese phraseology. Distraction at it's utmost where Mr. Yuy is concerned. He tosses me a pair of protective gloves from the shelves there, but we forego the head gear. I follow his lead and stand opposite him, ready to begin. "So ask."

He nods, but then motions me forward. I attack. A short flurry of arm movements that he easily deflects. We separate, circle and go again. I manage to grab his wrist on one of the moves and tuck up under his shoulder. He taps me out and now he's on the offensive.

Shots to the shoulder, forearm, hip; all deflected. "Do you…" The sudden statement distracts me enough to almost get me caught, but I deflect it at the last minute and step back. Our eyes lock. When he doesn't seem inclined to continue, I nod. Another flurry of hands ends an inch from the side of my head. We acknowledge the theoretical take-down and take half a step back. "The other day, you said that when he gets drunk, Chin tends to…"

"Drop trou, yeah." I warn him before beginning a new attack. Mid-way, I have to pull back on a leg move that would have had him flat on his ass. "Why do you ask?"

I motion for him to come at me and he does. A flurry of hands have me retreating when I catch the hop-shift in his position that usually indicates a side kick is imminent.

"Hey, hey, hey, no leg!"

He stops, knee in the air, hips already pivoting for the strike. "Damn," he mutters, "I think that's enough for today."

He's already removing the gloves, tossing them back on the shelves, before I have time to catch up; but the tension I see in his shoulders keeps me from teasing him about quitting so soon. What the hell, right, it's not like we need to keep going at it for another twenty minutes, and he seems awfully distracted. Wouldn't want to get accidentally pounded to a pulp because his head isn't in it.

As we make for the locker room, I can't help but wonder what it is that he can't seem to formulate the words to ask. "You wanted to know something about Chin?"

He looks back over his shoulder at me, then past me, but I don't think there's anyone in the hall with us. "No, not about him specifically, but… what you said made me think. And today, before you arrived at the cafeteria, the rookies were talking about the party last weekend."


We've reached the lockers and he's pulling his shower kit from his. My locker's at the end of this row, so I wait him out. He finally shuts it, turning to look me straight in the eye. "I was wondering, do people always do the same thing every time they get drunk? That girl, the one who lost her purse the previous week, it seems she lost it again this last weekend. And they were laughing at another one because she always takes her shoes and pantyhose off, something about her not being able to walk in heels. Is that normal?"

"Well shit, Yuy!" I laugh as I push past him, rolling my eyes at his naiveté. "No duh women take their shoes off when they get drunk. Can you imagine trying balance on those little spikey things they wear when you're two sheets to the wind."

He follows me without hesitation. "Well, yes I can imagine it would be difficult, but they were also talking about how the red-headed guy gets very emotional, telling people what great friends they are and how much he loves them when he's drunk. And I've heard them talk about it before."

I fish through my locker for the chopsticks I have reserved just for holding my braid up, trying to understand what he wants from me. Once the hair is out of the way, I slam the locker shut and lean a shoulder against it, "So what'd'ya wanna know?"

He steps around me to eye our surroundings. Turning back, he leans into me and almost whispers, "Do you usually do the same thing every time you get drunk?"

Mortified at the question - or more accurately at what precisely my answer to that question is, were I to admit to it - I push at his chest, bee-lining for the showers. I just wish the heat I feel on my face was a leftover from my earlier exertions.

Once I'm safely ensconced in a stall next to him, secure that there's no one close by to overhear, I lean over and hiss at him. "Jesus, Heero, what the hell kind of question is that?" The showers have short walls with individual benches between the showerheads so you can place your belongings within reach. Thank God the Preventers believe in that little extra bit of luxury! I could not handle an open shower scenario right now. I so do not need to be thinking about what I do when I get drunk in the presence of one naked, wet, Heero Yuy.

"I really need to know," he grounds out between clenched teeth. "It's important."

Rolling my eyes at his infuriating vagueness, I press, "Did you ask yourself that question?"

"Why can't you just tell me?" he counters. I can tell he's finding my evasions frustrating, too.

I lean over to wash my legs and feet, wishing he'd just drop this. "Haven't you ever gotten drunk?"

"What?" he snaps, and when I stand to repeat my question, hands working their natural course upward, he's practically leaning over the partition.

I pull my hands away from their chore. "Get back on your side," I yelp, swatting a soapy hand at his face, "I said: Haven't you ever gotten drunk?" I turn away slightly to complete my previous task, tossing another question over my shoulder. "What do you do when you drink too much?"

"I haven't detected a pattern," he grumbles, vigorously scrubbing shampoo into his hair.

"Doesn't that answer your question, then?"

"Not exactly."

"Ey poorkwa?"1

He frowns at my bad accent – and perhaps the inappropriately timed use of a foreign language. Hey, when a man only knows so many phrases, he's got to pop them into conversation as he can. The frown turns to chagrin before he finally answers.

"Because once is not enough to develop a pattern."

It surprises a harsh laugh from me. Well, that explains a few things. I stop in the midst of washing my face, eyes still closed, to offer a solution. "So just stop by a store on the way home from work Friday, buy some beer and come over to my place. I can watch you get drunk and, afterwards, I'll let you know what you did."

Maybe it's just me, and with the noise of the showers it's hard to tell, but I could have sworn it sounded like Heero was choking. By the time I open my eyes to look his way, he's already heading back to the lockers.

/Following Wednesday…/

I watch the blinking cursor, waiting for a response. You'd think there was a tax on the number of characters he uses in his responses. Though with the length of time it takes him to formulate an answer…

tbcircs: its true

'It's true'? No shit 'it's true', retard, why would Heero lie to me about that?

dmax: no shit, question is what happened?

Again the cursor blinks for an inordinate amount of time.

tbcircs: ask him urself

Ugh! I'm asking you!

dmax: he won't tell me, being cagey

dmax: more so than usual

tbcircs: then neither will i

dmax: i'm trying to help him here, he asked me to help him

tbcircs: musn't want to share specs

Damn it. Trowa is as tight lipped as Heero. Trying to get information out of either of them is like pulling teeth. What could he possibly have done that would warrant such secrecy? Alright, fine. Try another tract.

dmax: fair enough, was it something really bad?

tbcircs: not bad, per se

dmax: what then?

Freaking blinking cursor again!

dmax: embarrassing?

tbcircs: likely

tbcircs: and unexpected

Embarrassing and unexpected? Damn, now I'm really curious. Oh shit…

dmax: he didn't dress like a chick or piss himself, did he?

tbcircs: …

dmax: was that a no?

tbcircs: yes a no

tbcircs: ask him

dmax: how about you give me just a little hint

tbcircs: no

tbcircs: got 2 go

Oh no you don't mister!

dmax: i will keep hounding you until you give me some better information, our friend needs our help, you can't turn away now!!!!!!

Message not received. 'tbcircs' has logged off.

"Damn it!"

"This is a place of business, you know, you should try to limit the use of such unprofessional language." His evil little snort takes me completely by surprise.

I hadn't heard him approach, not that that's unusual, but considering that I'm looming above my desk with murder on the brain, I momentarily lose sight of an important little piece of information. One that I'd hoped to keep from him.

He has apparently not only noticed my most recent activities, but has thoroughly understood its intent and is not happy about it. "I told you in confidence." Now it seems the murderous intent has transferred over to him, his voice is like ice.

"It's not like I broke confidence, Heero, you said you were with him. If he was there, then he knows." I huff an exasperated sigh, dropping back in my chair. "God, I'm just trying to help!"

"Then tell me. You've done it more often, you should know."

Oh God, not this again. I turn back to the screen to kill the chat window. "I really don't think you want to know, Heero. And I'd really rather not say."

"Then why should I tell you when you won't tell me?" He sounds petulant, childish, but his posture says he is anything but. His arms are crossed, feet set at shoulder's width, frown firmly in place. Doesn't look like he'll be backing down anytime soon, either.

Suddenly, Marcus calls over the cubie walls, "Hey Duo, someone's here to see you. Wave so they know where you are."

Damn, I am so not in the mood for a visitor with Stoneface Yuy here, demanding to be dealt with. Unfortunately, it seems he will not be deterred. He raises a hand defiantly before taking the guest chair in my space, his action automatically garnering an appreciative exclamation and my heart sinks in my chest. God must hate me. This can not be happening!

But it is. My worst nightmare's come true as into view comes none other than…

"Nakagawa," I nod tersely, not even daring to look over at Heero. If I look at him, I think I'll spontaneously combust.

"Duo! It's so great to see you!"

He makes to hug me, but I block, grabbing one of the hands that are trying to make their way around me and shake it firmly. My smile is so fake I can feel my face cracking. But the least I can do is try to be civil while I work out a way to end this whole horrific situation. Think, Maxwell, think!

"It has been a long time. Uh, how are you, Tohya?"

"Well I'm just fine, better now that they've transferred me back from the downtown office. Total drips, those people downtown. No fun at all. But I told myself the first thing I had to do when I got back was to look up my old friends." He shoots Heero a little glance, but promptly ignores him. "So here I am! You really are looking great! The new job seems to suit you."

"Oh yeah, heh heh, well, everything's going just great. Listen, I'd love to stick around and catch up a bit, but maybe some other time, huh? Heero and I," I motion to where my statue of a friend is sitting, "were just heading into a meeting…" I have no fricken' clue what I'm saying, I just want this man to leave. Now.

Belatedly, I cringe at what I've said, but Heero, thank God, does not let on that I'm lying through my teeth. Well, maybe not a total lie, just a little stretch of the truth, considering that we were headed for a meeting of the wills. Possibly a great big, knock-down, drag-out, clashing-type meeting of the wills. Of course, Heero never was one to let down his guard in front of other people, so I shouldn't be surprised he's not letting on. Maybe God doesn't hate me after all.

A look of mild trepidation crosses Nakagawa's face the instant Heero stands. Can't say I'm not trepidating2, myself.

"Oh, then please don't let me keep you. Let me just leave this with you and we can catch up later." He hands me a 3x5 card, "I've asked a bunch of the old gang to meet down at Larraby's on Thursday after work, kind of a welcome back party for myself. Bar tab's on me." He gives me a sly look that settles like lead in the pit of my belly.

Inwardly I groan at the implication. Yeah, not again, buster. Not ever.

Heero, God bless his soul, comes to my rescue in ways I never imagined possible. "Don't forget we have a meeting that afternoon, with the Asia-Pacific team. It's supposed to run late." Good thing he has no qualms about outright lying.

"Yeah, right. OK, well, I'll try to stop by. If I can, huh."

Heero grumbles, as if to emphasize that he's not likely to let that happen. "If it's not too late."

I'm not entirely sure if Nakagawa's noticing the stonewalling or if Heero's just making him nervous. "Of course," he says pleasantly enough. "But I'm sure you can find the time, even if it's just for one little drink. The Duo Maxwell I remember never passed up a free drink." He's all smiles as he turns to leave, waving over his shoulder, beating a hasty retreat.

It's a good thing, too, that he's left. The sudden fiery haze that settles over me takes a few minutes, and a judiciously placed hand on my shoulder, to recede. I look at Heero, who's now standing across from me, and gape. A whole other kind of heat suffuses me as Nakagawa's comment crystallizes in my brain. Yes, I do think he just suggested I was a lush… or something. "I did not…" Hell, how do I explain without explaining too much? "For the record: I've actually passed up plenty of free drinks in my lifetime."

A combination chuckle-smirk-raised eyebrow is Heero's only response.

"Heero, I swear! I told you, I've only ever gotten drunk a couple of times. He makes it sound like…"

"I believe you, Duo." Heero's calm, even tones interrupt me. "Come on, let's get out of here for a little while. We'll go out for lunch today."

"Uh, yeah OK, good idea. Let me just…" I turn back to my desk to shut down a few apps and lock it up. When I turn around, Heero's leaning his back against the cubicle opening, staring at the ceiling tiles with a contemplative look.

I tag him as I pass into the hallway, leading the way to the back stairs. Barely anyone in the building uses these stairs and I'd much rather avoid any more unpleasant encounters.

As we once more find ourselves clattering down the stairs to reach the car park, I can't help but be thankful for my luck. That conversation with Nakagawa, in Heero's presence, could have turned out disastrous on so many levels. Without Heero there I would simply have spelled things out for Nakagawa. But I couldn't, not with Heero listening. I'm reminded of Trowa's comments from our little chat. Embarrassing and unexpected, but not bad per se. That could pretty much sum things up for me too. Maybe I know all too well why he won't tell me and I should just cut him some slack.

I'm just about to round the corner on the landing when Heero's call stops me. I turn to look up at him.


"Does your offer still stand?"


"I have a theory I'd like to test, but only if your offer still stands." He's come level with me now and gives me – for Heero – a shy but slightly goofy smile as he passes.

I stare at the back of his head for a moment before continuing down the stairs. "Uh, which offer in particular?" He looks askance, so I continue, "You know me, I'm always blabbing about something, just can't remember what I might have offered to do lately. If I'm buying lunch today I'll need get some cash or we need to go someplace where I can swipe a card."

He hums distractedly as we reach the door to the basement. "Anywhere for lunch is fine. Duo, I was wondering… Do you have any plans Friday after work?"

"Oh yeah," I tell him with a laugh, "I've got a hot date with my sofa, the remote and a carton of Szechuan chicken and noodles. Why, you got something in mind?"

We've reached his car. He leans on the roof over the open driver's side door. "Yes actually, I need you to help me detect the possibility of a pattern," he offers glibly and scoots in behind the wheel.

"A pattern?" I whisper and it takes a moment for our conversation in the showers to come back to me.

Hot damn! I'm going to get drunk with Heero! No wait, I offered to let him get drunk while I watched. Oh well, that doesn't sound like such a bad prospect either. And maybe his drunken tendencies…

Nope, not going there. Let's just wait to see what happens.

/back to the present/

Lying here, sweaty and sated, too damn worn out to do much but run my fingers back and forth over the same two inches of skin, I smile. "Man!"

A throaty chuckle answers my assessment.

I smack him with the back of the same hand that had been caressing him just a moment before. "Don't get cocky, asshole."

He grunts, and I can feel the mattress dip as he drags himself closer again. Rising up and swinging an arm over my chest, he drops a quick kiss that hits me in the vicinity of my chin. I suspect he'd intended to reach my mouth, just didn't quite manage it. He's probably no more coordinated than I am right now. "That was good," he murmurs, "we were good." Check that: uncoordinated but pleased.

"Yeah," I sigh. My fingers reach out again and encounter what feels like a thigh, I resume stroking in a two-inch pattern.

Silence and regulating breaths rule supreme as a comfortable lassitude sets in. His lips occasionally make contact with my chest, just a miniscule shift of his head and a hint of pressure. It's good, this afterwards stuff.

When I've finally regained enough energy to move one of my arms, I bring my fingers down to tangle in his hair. "Thirsty?" I pull back at his bangs and tilt my head in an effort to see his face. His eyes are closed but he's smiling.

"A little." His own hand crawls its way across the mattress to stroke at my shoulder. "Can wait."

I bend a knee, foot propped on the bed in preparation to maneuver out from under him. "You want a beer?" I tease.

He laughs lightly, more a huff and a snort than anything else. "You know I don't much like to drink."

It's my turn to laugh and I get a tight grip on a clump of his hair, playfully shaking it – which he answers with a swat to my shoulder. "Yeah? Then who the hell's gonna drink all that beer you keep bringing, Yuy? I've got a freakin' brewery in my fridge thanks to you! If our coworkers were to see, they'd think I was an alcoholic!"

His strength seems to rush back into him and his face suddenly looms above mine, an adorable, mischievous sparkle in his eye. "I would think… that you're a very lucky man," he leans in to place a gentle kiss on my lips. "But then I know something those people in the office don't know."

He punctuates that statement with another kiss, this one a little more lingering, though no less sweet. I accept it, return it in kind even; feeling myself reenergize as it continues, until finally we part.

"You don't need it anymore, you know that, right? The beer. We don't need it."

An eyebrow and a corner of his mouth lift as his eyes travel the whole of my face. It's an expression I've come to recognize as a precursor to a precious gift. "I'm not good with words," he whispers, and I lift head and hands to meet him, to cradle his face, to thank him for the unguarded admission.

"Yeah well thoughts, and actions, speak louder than words. And I think – no, I know – you're damn near perfect." I grin at him and he smiles back.

"Thank you," he says humbly, "but I think some of the people we work with would disagree with you." I roll my eyes in a gesture of long-suffering and it earns me another kiss.

"Pish-posh!" I counter dramatically, surprising a chuckle out of him – I'd picked up the expression from good old Mrs. Herman – "And besides, Heero, I know something those dweebs at the office will never know about you." A good eyebrow and hip wiggle leave no doubt in his mind as to what that little factoid is.

He laughs at that – a good, contented, throaty chuckle – "So do I!" He drops another kiss on my chin before rolling to his back, still stretched out across my chest, "So do I." I can hear the smile in his voice.

Yes, he does, doesn't he.

Wanna know what we tend to do when we get really, stinkin', plastered, drunk? I don't think I've mentioned it…

Heero tends to take his clothes off. And I tend to make passes at Asian guys I find incredibly attractive.

The End

1 This is Duo's badly pronounced version of the French: "et pourquoi"; which simply means: "and why"

2 Yes, I know 'trepidating' is not really a word, but Duo strikes me as the type to conjugate words to fit his purpose.