Conversations that started out that way rarely went the way Heero expected them to go, but like the good friend he was, he responded obediently to the prompt. "Hm?"
Duo regarded him with an overly innocent look. "If I were to, you know, *hypothetically* say something to you like, 'Hey, Heero. I wanna bang your sister,' what would you do?"
He was by now accustomed enough to Duo's colloquialisms to know what was being proposed, even if he had no clue as to the motive. He looked up from his crossword puzzle and fixed his companion with an odd look. "...I'd probably ask, 'What sister?'"
"Hypothetically, man," Duo said, rolling his eyes even as he punched Heero's arm. "Pretend for a sec."
"Because I doubt you want me hypothetically banging Relena."
"This is true."
Duo grinned in victory. "See, do I know you or do I know you? Now, come on, say I said, 'I wanna bang your sister.' What would you do?"
Quite naturally, Heero wondered why the case was being explored. Other than Relena, there was no one in Heero's life that could be the person referred to. Maybe someone had approached Duo with a similar statement about Hilde or someone. Or perhaps he wanted to bang someone else's sister. This seemed the more probable scenario, and Heero found himself wanting to be difficult. It was only his duty in this hypothetical situation to be difficult, after all. "I might ask why, I suppose."
"So say I said, she's a really nice girl."
"You'll have to do better than that." That one was obvious.
"Or else what?"
"Or else you won't be sleeping with her."
"Alright." Duo pursed his lips in thought. "Alright, say I said, you know, all the usual stuff. Like, she's really special. I could see the two of us going somewhere, somewhere long-term."
"Then why are you asking me if you can sleep with her? Why don't you ask me if you can date her?" His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Or have you been dating her behind my back?"
"Whoa, hey, no one said anything like that." Duo waved his hands in front of him defensively. "You know I wouldn't do that to you, buddy. That's why I'm asking. Like, say we've already been dating."
"Then why aren't you asking me for her hand in marriage?"
"Whoooaaa! Slow down here!" His eyes were comically wide.
"If you're already dating, and you think she's so special and possibly long-term, then taking her for a test drive should be completely unnecessary."
Duo snapped his fingers decisively as he made his offer. "Hey, you know what? Let's go back to the dating thing, yeah? Fine, say I say I want to date your sister, Yuy. Now what are you going to say?"
"Do you have a fear of commitment, Duo? Is that why you backed off so quickly at the first sight of marriage? I won't let you date my sister if you're not serious about it."
"No, I do not have a fear of commitment! Geez, you just sprung that on me way before I was ready, man. Let's not skip a few things. Like dating. I'm only trying to date her, okay?"
Fair enough. He still wouldn't let Duo date her if he had a fear of commitment, but he let the matter slide in favor of the next. "Why aren't you talking to her instead of me?"
"Courtesy, that's all. You're my friend. Friends don't date their friends' sisters without checking to see if it's cool first."
Hm. He filed that away for future reference. "Does she like you?"
"Well, yeah, I guess." Duo's fingers fiddled with the hem of his shirt. "I mean, we've hung out and she's never kicked me in the nuts or anything."
"You have really low standards, Maxwell."
"Shut up, Yuy. I just mean, we're, like, casual, yeah?" He gestured vaguely into the air. "'Cuz I see you a lot more than I see her. Or, more like, whazzatword, platonic. We've never flirted or anything, so I don't know if she 'likes-me' likes me. Maybe she just thinks of me as her brother's best friend." His expression went glum for the briefest of moments. "But I think she's cool, and I like to think she thinks I'm cool, too."
"So do you think she'll say yes?"
"Shit, if I knew that, you think I'd be here right now?"
This was sounding a little too personal to be entirely hypothetical. Duo clearly sounded like he was practicing for the real thing here. That was unusual, both that he didn't just improvise on the spot, and that he wanted practice when it came to getting a date. "I thought you said this was a courtesy between friends? If you're just here because you're too chicken to talk to her yourself, then no, you're not dating her."
"Dammit, that's not what I meant," he scowled. "Yeah, it's a courtesy. It's more than a courtesy. Courtesy makes it sound like I'd date her no matter what you said. But we're friends, yeah? I don't want to sneak around behind your back. And I'm not gonna ask her out if you don't want me to. But if I was sure she'd go for it, one hundred percent, then hell yeah, I'd probably just ask her straight out. But you're you, you know? I don't know if she's gonna ask her brother first or something. Maybe she'd say no 'cuz she thinks you'd beat me up or something. Which would totally put a cramp in our friendship, yanno. So I'm just being prudent here and testing the waters before I go dragging her into this mess."
That was very considerate of him, which would earn him some brownie points with whomever this brother was. "...Sounds like you're really serious about asking her out."
"I am." He looked insecure for a second before the expression cleared into a sincere smile. "I really am. She's... like I said, she's... I just think we have a lot of potential."
"I don't think I've ever seen you like this about anyone else."
"Yeah, well..." He shrugged.
Heero had never pegged Duo for the type to be so easily whipped. Especially before the relationship had even begun. "My sister... She's a strong girl? I trust her to make her own decisions?" Wow, he was almost starting to think he really had a sister.
"Oh, god yeah. Strong as her brother, she is." Duo's mouth twisted into something like a pained grin.
Well, if that was the case, then who was he to deny them this opportunity? Principle alone stood against his permission, and after only a little thought, it stepped aside. "...Very well, then. You may ask her out without fear of repercussion. But only once. If she says 'no', that's it. No harassing her."
"You got it." Duo let out a small sigh of relief before laughing. "You make a good big brother, man. You really put me through the wringer on that one."
Being protective came easily to him. "Wait until you hit the real thing. So, go give her a call or something."
No need to deny that the case had been a little less than hypothetical. "Heero...." He stalled for a little while, stared at the toes of his socks, readjusted the watch on his wrist, shifted in his seat.
Heero quickly lost interest in the proceedings and shook his head, twirling his pen in his fingers as he turned back to his puzzle.
"Say. Wanna go out with me sometime?"
The pen ran away from him. "I beg your pardon?"
Duo punched him in the arm again. "Oh, come on, Yuy. All that hypothetical shit? Totally wasn't. Figure it out, man."
Blink. "...But I don't have a sister."
"Oh, for--! Wait." He scrutinized Heero's face carefully and detected the telltale quirk in the corner of his lips. "Dammit, Yuy! Sometimes... sometimes I don't know where the friggin' attraction is!"
Heero stared amusedly at Duo's wagging finger before he processed the exclamation. "But... it's there?"
"Yeah, it's there. Lord knows why."
Damn, that meant he couldn't ask why. "Hm." He picked his pen back up and resumed his twirling. Concentration on his puzzle did not resume.
Duo jiggled his leg twice before remembering he was sharing the sofa with someone, so he stopped. He observed that it was probably about time to change the tape holding the TV antenna together. He made a note to himself to toss last month's issue of Mechanics Today into the recycling bin. And then he started drumming his fingers on the arm of the sofa.
"I'm impatient. You know me."
"...Aa. That I do."
"Duh." The LED digits advanced once on the clock above the television. "...Oh, for chrissake, Heero, it was a freakin' yes/no question, and if you have to think that hard about it, then obviously there isn't any attraction on your side!"
Heero never liked it when people put words in his mouth. "What, did you think it would be that simple? That it'd just be, 'hey, what a coincidence, me, too!'"
"See? Nothing. Okay. Conversation over." He tossed his hands into the air with a studied nonchalance.
"Don't be that way, Duo," Heero sighed.
"You don't need to let me down gentle or anything, man. Just give it to me straight."
"I'm trying to!"
"Well, shit, Yuy! You're usually better at thinking than this!"
"Well, some things deserve more thought than others!"
"Why are we shouting at each other?!"
"I don't know!"
They stared at each other for a moment before the tension fizzled into two helpless laughs. "You think we have the potential for... what, exactly?"
"Shit, Yuy. I don't know." His chuckle faded as he attempted to put words to that strange feeling he'd had for ages. "Just... 'potential'. I think if it were me and your sister shouting at each other, I'd probably just get pissed off and storm out of the room and bitch about it, but me and you, man... we argue all the time, and then that's it. No hard feelings."
"I don't have a sister, Duo," Heero reminded him, putting off a real answer.
He leered cheerfully. "I bet if you did, she'd be hot."
The conjecture provoked an instant reaction. "Don't talk about her that way."
"Thought you didn't have a sister."
"...Dammit." Duo had always had a certain power for getting him all turned around. Now why was he stalling? If he was stalling, that meant he wasn't sure of his answer, and if he wasn't sure of his answer, then that meant it was quite possibly 'yes'. "Where the hell did this sister come from, anyway?"
Duo tapped the side of his head proudly. "Figured if there was someone whose virtue you'd guard even more stubbornly than your own, it'd be your sister's. If I could score with her, surely I could score with you."
Unfortunately, Heero could find nothing wrong with that line of logic. "And if I hadn't pushed the line back, you really would have tried to score with me, right off the bat?"
"Hey, you know me. I aim high." Confidence was finding its way back into his skull.
"I wouldn't sleep with someone on the first date," Heero defended himself and his honor. "If there was even mention of a 'date' in there at all."
"Aw, come on, man. We've been dating for, like, the last five years or something."
"No, we haven't."
"Yes, we have."
No, if he didn't sleep with someone on the first date, he certainly didn't date someone before the first date, either. "If we've been dating this entire time, then that means that every time you've gone out with someone else in the last five years, you've been cheating on me."
Duo's eyes widened again. "Um..."
"And if that's the case," Heero continued inexorably. "We're over. Whether or not we've already begun."
"Um." That wasn't good. A hasty retreat seemed in order here. "Okay, fine, we haven't."
"Thank you." Huh. Maybe Duo could be whipped, after all. And if that could happen.... He looked for any other possible instant relationship killers, but found none. "Very well. You may attempt to date me without fear of repercussion."
A satisfied smile got only a fleeting moment of life before it turned into a pouting frown. "'Attempt'? After all that, I only get to 'attempt' it?"
"If it's worth having, it's worth working for," Heero answered smugly, patting his knee in consolation before setting aside the crossword puzzle and standing up. "Come on. We're going to get crappy seats if we don't leave for the theater now."
Duo followed him to the door docilely enough, but began his campaign immediately. Early bird, worm, and all that. "I don't mind getting crappy seats. Back row's fine with me."
Heero sent a dry look in his direction. "I actually want to watch this movie, Duo."
"I didn't say you couldn't. My, my, where's your mind at, Yuy?"
"In a state of disbelief. I'm not buying your innocent act, Maxwell."
"Bah. You do realize we've been sharing popcorn for years, right?" Not that they'd been dating. Because Duo Maxwell didn't cheat. Especially not when he was right where he wanted to be.
"I'm still getting my own drink."
"That's fine," he yielded magnanimously. "You don't like root beer, anyway."
"And I'm paying for my own ticket."
"Hell, yeah. You make more money than I do."
"No wonder you keep breaking up with people." Heero had been set on opening the door for himself, too, but it seemed he wouldn't be fighting with Duo on that, either. He opened the door anyway.
Under the guise of slipping out the door first, Duo brushed against Heero's shoulder, pausing momentarily in the threshold while they were still nice and close together. "Told ya. Me and you. We're different."
Heero's eyes lingered on his back as Duo strolled down the hall, waving his car keys in the air to stake his claim on driving. A small smile settled on his lips. "...Maybe," he conceded softly, and shut the apartment door.
last modified : 1/1/2006 00:28:49 PST