Open the Door, a Holiday Series - Thanksgiving
Pairings: 5x2x5, 4x3x4, 1xR, HxOC, CxOC
Warnings: shounen ai (boy x boy relationships), fluff, OOC
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing
Summary: sequel to Halloween; Duo is having his friends over for Thanksgiving and Wufei is back from his assignment.
The doorbell rang. And continued to ring.
"Heero can you get that?" Duo called from the kitchen. No answer from his sometime roommate; more nights than not, Heero stayed at Relena's. The doorbell continued to ring.
"Damn." Duo remembered he had sent Heero out to buy bread rolls only ten minutes ago. Washing his hands, he then rushed to the front door while wiping his hands dry on his apron.
"All right already! Stop ringing the bell Hilde!" He pulled open the door to reveal a pleased Hilde. Only she would do something so annoying. Okay, so did the preadolescents down the hall, but only once. Heero's death glare probably scarred them for life. They stopped pestering them though.
"Come on in. Where's Peter?" Hilde came inside and slipped off her coat. Duo took it from her and hung it in the hall closet.
"He didn't want to come. The idea of being in a small apartment with all five of you at the same time was not too appealing to him. I think you guys overdid it when you crashed his bachelor party and promised him if he ever hurt me, you would hunt him down for sport, then described in vivid detail just how you would castrate him."
"Yeah, Quatre certainly has a way with words." Duo went back to the kitchen with Hilde in tow. "If it makes you feel comforted, we did the same when Quatre and Trowa got married."
"But they married each other."
"We split up, Wufei and I got Quatre, Heero got Trowa."
"And how did that turn out?"
"Quatre laughed at us. And later, after much prying, Heero told me that when he went to see Trowa, neither one said a single word. He just broke a pencil and waited. Trowa nodded and they shook hands."
"Men." Duo went back to mixing the stuffing ingredients together.
"Hey, we're just looking out for you. Heero will be the next to get married. And Cathy is bringing over her boyfriend today. From what Quatre says, they're pretty serious."
"I bet he hasn't met you guys yet, otherwise he wouldn't be coming today."
Grinning Duo replied, "Quatre and Trowa met him on their last visit to the circus. His name's Daniel and he's a cop."
"Better than a gardener."
Hilde took a seat at the table, not bothering to ask if Duo wanted any help. She knew better. Thanksgiving was his holiday. It wasn't widely practiced, maybe parts of North American and on L2 where Duo had learned of it. When Duo first suggested having a Thanksgiving dinner back in college a few years ago, he had to actually explain what it was to most of them. Then he insisted he would see to everything. All they had to do was show up to eat. A bit apprehensive, more than one asked if they could help only to receive a harsh 'no'. Much to their delight, and Duo's as well, the dinner was a success. Six years later, Duo still refused to let any of his friends help cook the meal.
"Well, just wait until you and Wufei get married." Duo started choking. "Duo!"
Hilde jumped up and slapped him on the back.
"Duo, are you okay?" Duo leaned over the sink breathing hard, but breathing. He nodded.
"What did you choke on?"
"My spit. Please don't say things like that, especially around the others."
"Come on. I'm sure you've thought about it." Duo avoided looking at her while reaching for a glass of water.
"Of course I have," he whispered, "but…we…it's not like we're even dating."
"Have you even talked to him since Halloween?"
"Yeah. He called two days ago to say he just arrived home and would be able to come today."
"That's all?" She sounded disappointed.
"Yes, that's all. It's not…" His voice trailed off.
"Not what?" Duo didn't respond right away. He took the bowl of stuffing and began to stuff it inside the hollow turkey.
"It's not something you discuss over a vid-call. And he didn't say anything so I didn't. I…I don't…what if he changed his mind? He could have met somebody on the colonies."
"In three weeks?" Hilde's voice was skeptical.
"Duo stop stressing. Wufei is stubborn once his mind is made up and he decided on you a long time ago."
"He did?" Duo glanced at Hilde standing beside him, his hands pausing in their work. "Wait, how would you know?"
"Inside sources." Hilde reached over to grab a piece of carrot sitting on the counter. "Wufei never said anything for a similar reason you hadn't."
"What do you mean?"
"He thought you and I were together until I married someone else this last summer."
"That's ridiculous. Why would I marry you? You already make my life a living hell."
"You know I think Heero would love to make the mash potatoes again this year…"
"NO! No Heero in the kitchen!"
"I don't know. I really enjoyed the mash potatoes last year."
"Those weren't mash potatoes! It was tapioca! How he made that from potatoes, I'll never know. That's why I don't let anybody help me cook."
"Where is Heero anyway?" Duo cringed.
"I sent him out to buy bread. He wanted to help cook again this year. Your job is to keep him occupied so he doesn't pester me."
"Is that why you wanted me to come over early?"
"You should have asked Relena."
"I did. She had an appointment for something or other so you get the job."
"Great. I appreciate this chance of a lifetime to distract the perfect soldier."
"I knew you would." Hilde threw a piece of lettuce at Duo before stepping out of his way. He put the stuffed turkey into the oven.
"So back to the matter at hand."
"Why would you think Wufei changed his mind about you?"
"Only about a million reasons or so."
"Duo, what are you so scared of?" Duo stared at the wall behind the sink. That was it wasn't it? He was scared. He was terrified actually. Before Halloween he believed it was only a one sided love. Nothing would ever come of it since Wufei was dating Sally…until he found out that wasn't the case. Now that he had a real chance to be with Wufei, he was afraid of what would happen. Yes, Wufei could change his mind, but what if it wasn't right away? What if Wufei decided he could do so much better than him a couple of years down the road? Duo was already in love, if he had to give it up…
"Of being too happy."
"How can anyone be too happy?"
Duo sighed and dropped his head.
"I don't want anybody to get hurt," he paused then added, "I don't want to be hurt." Hilde stepped closer to him and took his arm. "It's more than just liking him, Hilde. I love him. And….and I…it would be better if he decided now that he doesn't want me rather than a few years, or even a few months down the road. I've lost too many people I've loved already. I can't loose any of the guys. I can't loose him."
Hilde rubbed his back, trying to console him. "I can't just say the words 'be happy' and you will be Duo. I wish I could, but it doesn't work that way. However, I can and will tell you to give it a chance. I believe you can be happy with Wufei and that he will be more than happy to have you. Even if you only get a week or fifty years together, being with someone you love is worth all the fear and doubts."
"But it hurts too much."
"If you don't give you two a chance, can you live with the fact that you broke Wufei's heart?"
"He can't possibly like me that much, for his heart to break that is. Besides, Wufei is strong."
"Even the strongest have an Achilles' Heel."
"She's right you know." They were both startled by the voice from the kitchen doorway. Duo glanced over at Heero standing there with a bag in one hand. He went on, "You two have been friends for almost seven years. He knows you, Duo. If he wasn't sure of you two lasting more than a year, he would never have considered risking your friendship, especially if it was only lust. The rest of us wouldn't tolerate it either."
"See Duo, Heero has your back too. If we thought Wufei wasn't completely serious about you, we would never encourage the two of you to hook up. You just need to take the next step."
"What's the next step?"
"Ask him out on a date of course. You're off tomorrow right? So today, we'll make sure you two get a chance to talk. Ask him to do something like go out for some coffee with you."
Duo wiped his eyes. He really did have the best of friends. He still felt scared, they couldn't know what was in Wufei's heart nor could they keep either one of them from getting hurt, but they were doing their best. "Thank you."
Hilde hugged him then stepped back as Heero entered the kitchen. Duo felt a little bit better from the talk.
"Here's the bread rolls." Heero set the bag on the table. Duo noticed Hilde slip out of the kitchen. "How can I help?"
"Uh….why don't you entertain Hilde?"
"I'd rather help cook dinner. Why is she here so early?"
"Don't know. Maybe you should find her and ask her."
"You're trying to get rid of me. I suspected as much when you sent me out for the bread."
'Some help Hilde is turning out to be.' Duo went to cut up carrots for the salad. He wasn't sure how to turn down Heero's help politely. The ex-Wing pilot had become more and more insistent on helping every year until Duo finally gave in last year. The result was tapioca.
"Duo, it was the first time I ever made mash potatoes with real potatoes. How long are you going to hold onto that? I'm quite capable of cooking a meal."
"I know that Heero, but your meals are so bland."
"They cover the basic food groups. What more is needed? And…"
"And?" The way Heero said the word, he almost sounded shy. Duo met his eyes. 'Oh shinigami, he's blushing!'
"And I've been practicing this past year."
"At Relena's. I knew you would tease me if you saw what I was doing."
Heero nodded. "So…may I help?"
Duo was stunned. Heero had practiced cooking for this, a meal for a holiday that hardly anyone celebrated in this day and age. Heero wouldn't have to cook at Relena's. She was rich. She probably had a servant whose sole purpose was to make mash potatoes and that was it.
"Because I want to help. This holiday is about being with your family, correct? You, Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei are my family."
"It's just a dinner, Heero. We eat meals together all the time."
Heero gave him a skeptic look. "It's more than just a meal to you and we all know it. Why do you think everyone wants to help prepare it?"
"…I…it's my meal."
"I can't afford to throw fancy galas like Quatre and Relena do; catered food, live orchestra bands, everybody in fine tuxes and beautiful gowns and wearing expensive jewelry…"
Heero snorted. "Neither can I."
"But you're marrying Relena."
"Money isn't everything. I'd love her even if she wasn't rich."
"I know that, but this dinner…I want to do something special for you guys. I can cook so I wanted to cook the best home cooked dinner you've ever had, or since last year's Thanksgiving. It's my way of showing how much you guys mean to me… on a budget."
"Duo, we already know."
"Well, sometimes people like to hear it…or in this case taste it."
"We're still doing this together."
"Good," a softer voice spoke up from the hallway. Was everybody trying to give him a heart attack! Duo glanced over to see Trowa, Quatre, and Hilde standing in the hallway.
"You…why are you…Heero!" Heero allowed a small smile to cross his lips, before going after the potatoes.
Quatre stepped inside the kitchen. "This Thanksgiving we're all pitching in."
"Do you even know how to cook Quatre?"
"How hard can it be?"
The doorbell rang just as Duo shut the oven door. The turkey was coming along nicely and so were his self-appointed helpers. Nothing had been injured thus far, people or food.
"Hee-chan, can you…"
"No?" Duo glimpsed at his roommate in confusion. That had been a rather harsh 'no'.
"It's for you. We can finish up in here."
Quatre gave him a friendly shove. "You two need to talk, right? So do it now, before we eat."
"Duo you're a nervous wreck and he's not even in here. How would you get through an entire meal?"
"All right." The doorbell rang again.
"You're not moving."
"Uh…" Somehow Duo had lost his ability to actually speak long sentences this day. He must be hanging around Trowa too much.
"Go!" Duo nodded and stepped into the hallway.
"Wait." Duo stopped halfway through the living room at Trowa's call. It was easier to obey than to take those last few steps.
Trowa came up behind him and untied his apron around his waist. Duo let him lift the neck strap over his head as well.
"Remember he's just as nervous as you are."
"Thanks Tro. We're you nervous when you first told Quatre."
"Hell yes." With that Trowa nudged him towards the door before retreating back to the kitchen.
Duo walked the rest of the way to the door, mumbling under his breath what he would say to Wufei in the next few minutes. He had had three weeks to think it over after all. At the door, he paused to take a deep breath, then he reached out one hand, and pulled open the door.
"Happy Thanksgiving Wu…Hilde? I thought you were on the phone in my bedroom. When did you leave?" Hilde brushed past him to the coat closet. She pulled out his coat and threw it at him.
"Wufei is downstairs in the lobby. He doesn't want to talk with the rest of us standing in the next room; thought we'd eavesdrop or something."
"Which you would."
Hilde didn't respond with words. Instead she shoved him out the door and slammed it shut in his face. Duo starred at the numbers on his door. The '7' was slightly lower than the '02'.
Shaking himself from his scrutiny, he hurried down the hallway to the stairwell, slipping into his coat as he ran. The elevators took too long and he was only on the seventh floor.
In what felt like no time at all, Duo was sprinting into the lobby. His heart sounded way too loud in his ears as he scanned the small sitting area. He caught sight of a familiar face.
"Cathy?" The woman looked up at him and smiled. She was standing next to a man he'd never seen before.
'I'm on a goose chase,' Duo thought as he walked over to the couple.
"If you're going to tell me Wufei is two blocks from here waiting for me, you can go upstairs and tell Hilde she can…" Cathy was laughing and pointing toward the front door.
Duo gulped and glanced over his shoulder to see Wufei standing near the door, bundled up in a long dress coat. There was a hint of a smile on his face.
Duo looked back at Catherine. "Sorry Cathy. You must be Daniel. I'm Duo." Duo held out his hand to the man standing beside her.
"It's nice to meet you. Thank you for inviting me."
"Yeah, it was nothing. Uh, almost everybody is upstairs in my apartment."
Cathy must have sensed his impatience or Hilde had told her what she missed at the Halloween party. "We'll see ourselves up."
"Thanks." Duo watched them head for the elevators before turning to face Wufei.
"Let's go for a walk." Duo nodded. Wufei was still almost smiling. That was good, wasn't it?
Wufei held the door open for him. Duo turned left. There was a park about two blocks away so he headed in that direction. It was cold outside. Puffs of warm air could be seen as they walked side by side at a leisurely pace. Duo stuffed his hands into his coat pocket. He was constantly loosing his gloves by taking them off and leaving them in the oddest places.
The silence was not quite awkward yet. Duo was quite capable of being silent when he wanted to be. Except right now, he didn't want to be; he just didn't know what to say. All the words he had practiced to say, for every possible scenario, had left him.
Once they were just across the street from the park, Wufei chuckled. Alarmed, Duo searched his face for an explanation.
"It's been a while since I've seen you this quiet." Duo said nothing and they crossed the street when the light changed.
"How was your assignment?" The words left his mouth before Duo remembered he had had already asked this when Wufei called him the other day. Too late now.
If Wufei remembered, he didn't mention it and answered, "Good. Lady Une was satisfied with the information I found." Maybe he was nervous too.
Wufei led him to a park bench and sat down. Duo would have preferred to keep moving. 'It's too damn cold!' He sat down in spite of this fact, leaving a few inches of space between them. He didn't know what Wufei was going to tell him yet; might as well get it over with. Then they could go back to his warm apartment.
"So about the Halloween party…" Duo glimpsed at Wufei to see if he would object jumping straight to the point, even though Wufei was the one to suggest they talk and this frigid walk. Wufei nodded slightly; Duo could continue, but how. He knew the awkward silences he hated would catch up sooner or later.
"Ah, you knew it was me all along didn't you? At the party I mean."
Wufei nodded again. "Sally and I heard everyone laughing as we were walking towards your table. I recognized your laugh."
"Oh." If his face hadn't been red from the cold, he knew it would be now for sure. But wait, he as well could recognize any of his friend's laugh. It didn't really mean Wufei paid more attention to him over the others. "Why did you agree to dance with me? You never dance."
"Maybe I didn't have anyone I cared to dance with before."
Duo let that thought roll around in his mind, but before he could comment, Wufei did. "Did that sound as cheesy to you as it did to me?" Duo laughed and felt the mood suddenly lighten when Wufei joined in.
"I don't like to dance. I wanted to get you away from the others so I could speak with you in private. Hilde gave me that opportunity."
"So cheesy lines aside, when you said yes…"
"I meant it and I knew it was you, Duo."
"You really want to be boyfriend," Duo whispered more to himself than to Wufei as he remembered the question he asked on a complete whim. At the time, he didn't think Wufei knew it was him, but Wufei had known and more importantly had said yes.
"Duo, you're shaking."
"I'm freezing." Duo jerked back when a gloved hand touched his frozen cheek.
"Why didn't you say something? Come on." Standing up, Wufei grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet. He noticed something else.
"Where are your gloves?" Wufei then shook his head. "Never mind. I already know. You can use mine." Wufei took off his gloves and helped Duo put them on since his fingers were stiff with cold. Then instead of putting his hands in his coat pockets to keep them warm, his left hand stayed out and wrapped around Duo's gloved fingers. They started back to the apartment building.
Duo felt like he was flying. Sure it was only a little thing about loosing gloves, but Wufei knew this. He knew! Heero had been right about Wufei knowing him. Perhaps both he and Hilde were also right about Wufei wanting a long term relationship.
"Do you have any plans for tomorrow? I understand if you're busy though. You did just get back from a long assignment and are probably tired..."
"I don't have anything planned," he interrupted.
"Would you like to grab a cup of coffee then? Possible even at the same place, same time?" Wufei laughed and squeezed his hand.
"I'd love to. Same table even."
Fifteen minutes later they were stepping off the elevator on the seventh floor. Duo had returned Wufei's gloves to him and they were talking about how to tell the others. Not that they didn't know something was going on, but with everybody butting in, it only seemed fair to make a formal announcement of some kind.
Duo tried his door and found it unlocked. There was Christmas music playing on the radio in the kitchen and they could hear their friends' laughter as well. Duo took off his coat and hung it up before taking Wufei's. He was only able to take one step before a hand on his arm halted his movement. Duo soon found himself starring into black eyes inches away.
"One more thing before you go back in there."
"What?" Wufei closed the distance between them. Duo let himself drown in Wufei's kisses. This time they both knew who they were, no masks hiding their identities. No make believe, no fantasy. Just Wufei and Duo lost in one another's touch.
The shrill beep of the smoke alarm destroyed their moment of bliss. This was soon followed by a yell.
"TROWA GET THE FIRE EXTINGSHER! THE TURKEY'S ON FIRE!!"
"You better go salvage our Thanksgiving dinner before they burn down your apartment."
"Maybe in a minute." And Duo kissed Wufei.