Reflections: Standing on Line at the bank

by leejeeg

Duo rushes out of the house after an argument with Heero.

A.N. The experience with the redhead is not made up-it happened when I was on line at a bank. Where I went after a fight with my husband.

Duo stood on line at the bank. It was fairly crowded but there were only two people in front of him.

He shifted from foot to foot. Surprisingly he was not angry. He had rushed out of the house after nearly two hours of arguing with Heero.

He jumped in his car and hastily strapped himself in, god forbid he not use a seatbelt after having piloted a freaking Gundam and add fuel to Heero's fire. He'd been accused of recklessness before. Of course, Heero's fire was worth getting burned with, on occasion. He shook his head as he drove down the street. He wasn't ready to forgive Heero yet, or to like him.

Before he went to the bank he went to Preventer HQ to collect his paycheck, which he'd forgotten the day before.

Duo stood in line waiting patiently as he observed an elder gentleman conversing pleasantly at one of the two operational teller windows. "How is your father?" the teller asked the old man.

"Fine, just fine," he answered.

"He's one of our favorite customers," the teller beamed. Duo did not hear the old man's response so self-absorbed was he. He could not help but review bits and pieces of the argument. He scowled slightly. Darn that Heero, thinking he can talk to me like I'm a child.

A tall redheaded young man stood in front of Duo. He was grumbling to himself, louder than necessary, obviously impatient with the slow moving line.

Duo looked toward the teller windows again. The elder gentleman was still conversing with the teller. It made Duo grin, the old guy could give him a run for his money when it came to being talkative.

There was an attractive middle-aged African-American woman standing in front of the redhead. She made eye contact with Duo and they shared a smile. At last the loquacious old man shuffled out of the teller area, but instead of calling the next customer, the teller was interrupted by a supervisor.

"Come on!" muttered the redhead, irately. He shifted again, huffing in exasperation.

Duo knew all about exasperation-this morning he and Heero had had argument number 12-the why can't you pay the bills sometimes argument. The fact that they actually had a catalog of numbered arguments was ridiculous, but that was Heero and his anal/control freak ways. Had to organize everything to an excruciating degree. At least it wasn't argument number five: why does your underwear make it to just outside the hamper and not in it?

It wasn't that Duo was lazy, did not pull his weight around the house or was a slob-he was just casual about getting things done. Besides, Duo did not like paying the bills. One month he accidentally switched the auto insurance with the home owner's insurance and that caused chaos, resulting in a double bill for a missed payment, which he couldn't understand because he was certain that he sent out two payments even though they were confused. Heero was much better at keeping all that stuff straight.

Anyway, it wasn't as if he did nothing all week long. He frequently pulled double duty at Preventer and still came home to do laundry and ironing, cooking, cleaning and he was the one who kept up the car maintenance, remembering friends and family's special occasions and various other little things, obviously taken for granted by his partner. Heero did plenty too, including all home repairs, errands, house chores and he was a decent cook.

But they were both stubborn men with sizable egos to contend with. Duo left because he was tired of rehashing the same old argument and he wanted a chance to cool off before it got out of hand. The last time that happened he wound up sleeping in the Preventer barracks. Okay so that had been fun, running into Wufei and getting a kick-ass poker game going. Heh, he'd won a hundred bucks that night.

He smiled, anger slowly dissipating. He exhaled, feeling calmer now. He supposed that although he and Heero fought a lot, it was probably no more than any other married couple. But damn, his partner's sometimes smug attitude grated on him. Superior bastard.

Duo sighed. He hadn't really meant half of the stuff he said to Heero before he left.

Another teller emerged from the back offices and the lady in front of the twitchy redhead moved on. The guy was still muttering impatiently to himself. Some people were always in a hurry, Duo supposed.

Duo liked to take things slow, smell the coffee and all that. But sometimes hurrying was a good thing; Duo smiled to himself. Heero had been in a hurry the first time they made love.

They had been at a birthday party for Relena. She had just turned twenty-one, as had Duo, Heero and Trowa, but instead of a normal, regular party, her shindig rivaled a state catered affair.

Duo was having fun mingling and flirting with some of the high-profile guests when Heero pulled him aside. He told Duo that he'd overheard Quatre and Wufei talking-the subject matter: Duo's crush on him. Heero wanted to know if it was true. Nervous, but desperate to unburden himself, Duo confessed his admiration, his respect, affection, and ultimately, his love for Heero. He was overjoyed to discover that Heero shared his feelings and that night, in Heero's bed they realized their passion for one another.

Duo felt himself color slightly at the memory.

It was finally the grumbling redhead's turn at the teller's window. Duo's eyes widened when he heard the young man's request for change for a dollar. Really? All that-for a dollar? What kind of stressed out life was this guy living?

He nearly burst out laughing as the guy who was in such a hurry got his four quarters and pushed his way past the other customers at the teller windows as opposed to walking around them, the more courteous option, preventing Duo from going to the teller until he passed. These days that kind of self-absorbed behavior was par for the course. Duo tried hard not to laugh as the guy rushed past.

Duo sat in his car, bank business and its resultant comedy concluded. He just sat for a while, happily listening to a favorite song on the radio, enjoying the serenity of the moment. He really wasn't mad anymore. He would go home to his spouse-to Heero and they would talk and make up. His experience at the bank had lifted his mood and suddenly the argument seemed so insignificant. Mundane things like bills and arguments over who paid them couldn't stand up against the trust, love and friendship they shared. Duo thought if more couples stopped to reflect on the love that brought them together in the first place perhaps they would have happier more fulfilling relationships. Maybe not. But one thing Duo had learned in his short life was that if it was worth having it took effort.

Heero was sitting at his desk. He'd just finished paying the bills and was now brooding, wondering where the hell Duo had gone. Duo was really steamed when he left; he'd waited until there was a lull in the argument and Heero was online before he stormed out, and Heero had barely noticed. Which probably enraged Duo further as that was another sore point between them: the fact that Duo complained that Heero often tuned him out. He did not do it purposely-sometimes Duo would go off on tangents and Heero would get distracted. He did not intend for Duo to feel as if he wasn't important to him, god, after all they'd been through, Duo was his life. Heero wasn't dumb, he understood that noone wants to be ignored, particularly by a loved one. And Duo was his loved one, his adored one.

He had fallen head over heels with his braided partner and could not believe his luck when Duo admitted he felt the same and then later agreed to marry him. So what if his Shinigami didn't want to pay the bills? Heero resolved to stop nagging him so much, this petty stuff wasn't worth the fighting. What they had together was damn good and it was just stupid to let these little things get in the way.

The lock jiggled with Duo's key. When he entered the house he had a grin on his face and Heero was relieved. "I'm sorry, Duo."

Duo came up to him and hugged him tightly. "Me too. It was stupid for us to argue like that. I'm sorry I stormed out."

"It's okay. Where did you go, anyway?"

Duo told him all about the bank and they shared a laugh about the redhead. That night they made dinner together, and much later on, when they were entwined in their bed, sated and sleepy, they kissed each other good night with a mutual agreement to not sweat the little stuff.