"Heh, remember that time...," he started with a quiet laugh that kept interrupting his words. "That time back in, what, junior year of high school? When we did all the stuff for the extra credit in physics. With the roller coasters."
Duo scratched his nose thoughtfully. "Yeah, yeah, I remember that. You were sick the day before."
Heero rarely ever got sick, and yet he had to go and do so on the eve of their long-planned trip to the amusement park. At least it had cleared up for the most part after a single day. "And you went on The Speed Demon and got the accelerometer stuck in your hair."
"And you went and got it unstuck for me."
"And Quatre missed a spot with the sunscreen and turned all red."
"And you turned green at the thought of the Cyclotron."
"So you dragged me off to the games area instead while the others took the measurements."
"And we ran into Relena there and you insisted on winning her a teddy bear."
"She picked up my math homework for me."
"I beat you at 'King in the Ring'."
"I beat you at 'Space Race'."
"I so let you win."
"Did, too. I was totally distracted by that dinging thing next to me."
"That means that my superior skills of concentration defeated yours. And what dinging thing?"
"I got you funnel cake after," he offered as a distraction, not missing a beat.
Heero accepted the bait. "You made me eat funnel cake, you mean."
"I didn't want to eat it all by myself. And you didn't eat much for dinner."
"Hardly my fault. And since when does funnel cake qualify as a good substitute for dinner? At least the soapbox racing after that wasn't so bad."
"Man, I still can't believe we lost by that much!" He held his hand out in front of him, thumb and forefinger scant millimeters apart.
"I tried to take responsibility for that, but you wouldn't let me."
"Your being tired had nothing to do with anything."
"And yet you insisted on hovering all day over nothing. Or completely not hovering. And half the time you were completely day dreaming while we were in line. What was up with that? You were acting sort of weird that night."
Duo smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand and groaned. "Oh geez. Yeah, I remember that part, too. That was just me totally crushing all over you. Man, I had it bad."
Heero laughed. "Was it? I remember thinking that you must have done something really bad, like lost all our data or something, and you were trying to butter me up so I wouldn't be angry."
"Gee, lotta faith you have in me, Yuy."
"Well, come on, it's you, and I know you."
"Heh, then you know better than to think that I'd apologize like that."
They slouched in comfortable silence on the sofa. Duo adjusted the pillow tucked into the space between his back and the cushions, then took another thoughtful swig from his bottle of beer. With his feet propped up on the low coffee table, Heero sipped at his warming orange juice while studying the tips of his socks. Eventually, he figured out what was tickling the back of his mind, and it wasn't the fact that he was wearing a different brand of white sock on each foot. "...You had a crush on me?"
"Um. Yeah. Never mentioned that?"
"No. Never." And what an interesting little tidbit to have left out, too. He stared at his socks some more and let his world slowly reframe itself. It felt sort of like a quarter turn of a kaleidoscope, smooth and mesmerizing. He studied this new picture and hummed in satisfaction. "What about now?"
"Hm? Not so much now." Putting a temporary halt to his attempt to will the remote control into his hand from its place on the table, Duo turned his head toward his best of friends, only to find that Heero had turned as well. And, it seemed, Heero was also startlingly close by. Close enough for Duo to once again take note of the thick lashes he had forgotten about. Close enough to remember a ridiculous sonnet that had been started, and thankfully never finished, in devotion to a particular shade of electric blue. Close enough to remember Heero's fingers as they carefully untangled a string of washers from his bangs. Close enough to remember that tiny smirk and little spark of competition that would cheerfully meet his own. Close enough to remember just how close he had always been to Heero. Close enough for a lot of things, really, but most importantly, close enough to think that maybe, just maybe this was a good idea. "But...," he started slowly, tongue grazing over his top lip in an old, nervous habit. "I think... it's growing by the second."
Heero grinned lazily and started slowly making himself even closer than before.
Duo fell for it, too. His restless gaze couldn't decide where it wanted to settle. Heero's eyes, to seek confirmation? Heero's lips, to better anticipate? Heero's nose, to be sure of avoiding collision? Heero's drink, to see if it was spiked? Something in his brain finally got going and, at the last moment before contact, he slid sideways in his seat and away from Heero. "Hey, wait a second! Since when do you start wanting to kiss me?"
"Um. About half a minute ago?" There was not the least bit of shamefacedness there.
"Well, what the hell, Yuy?" See? He was right. He was totally the butt of some joke. "That doesn't just happen."
Heero eased back a bit, an adorably thoughtful look on his face. "Well. I don't think it did. I mean, I just realized it a minute ago that maybe I'd like to. But it didn't surprise me much, so I think it must have been floating around for a while. Like one of those things that just creeps up on you."
Just because Duo's own crush had just crept up on him back in the day was no reason to believe that the same thing could happen to Heero. "So you think you can just waltz in here and kiss me out of the blue like that?
"Wasn't the significant look and the slow lead-in warning enough?"
"It's not like I just jumped you suddenly," Heero retorted. "You obviously had enough time to stop things."
"Not like you gave me a choice! You and your... your..." It was a bad idea to enumerate all of Heero's wickedly irresistable little traits. He had totally gotten over it. It was just a phase, a passing teenage phase. The phase was completely and utterly done with. The only problem with that was, now he was looking at Heero in all his glory with a much different light, and now it was even worse. Everything from back then came crashing back, plus a few more new things just for kicks. Not the least of which was Heero's reciprocation. The possibility of success raised the stakes significantly. Oh boy. He was in trouble, wasn't he? He gasped about for a good excuse to put a stop to this madness. "Yeah, well... I don't kiss on the first date!"
Heero blinked at him in mild astonishment. "Excuse me?"
"What do you think I am? Some sort of manwhore?" He grabbed his pillow and hugged it protectively to his chest. Yes, the pillow would save him.
In a classic gesture of exasperation, Heero rubbed at his forehead, a finger on each side. Why had he thought this was a good idea again? Oh yeah. Because his best friend was about as best as he could get, and didn't being close in a similar fashion sound like a fine idea as well? With that recalled, he decided upon a firm course of action. "Duo. Would you like to go out with me?"
Duo regarded him suspiciously. He was rather suspicious of everything right now, and in particular, of his own good sense. And Heero's, too, while he was at it. "When?"
"How about the 4th? Friday?"
"Dude, that was yesterday."
"I know. We went and watched that B flick. God, I don't even remember the name of it anymore. But we watched that, and then we got some drinks and hung out at the arcade."
Yes, yes, they did. They didn't get the opportunity to hang out very often these days. "Did we have a good time?"
"A great time," Heero assured him confidently. "I wanted to do it again sometime."
"Oh." And so had he. It was, all things considered, a good deal better than many other first dates he'd had. But that didn't have to mean anything. Aw, hell, who was he kidding? He knew he was just a step away from falling for Yuy all over again. It'd be so easy, and his spirit was so busy hyperventilating and rejoicing and fearing and staggering that it was in no mood to be strong. "I didn't put out, did I?"
"No, you didn't. You don't kiss on the first date." The reminder was spoken with not a little pointedness.
"Do you? Hell, we aren't even dating at all. Geez, what do you mean, 'you might like to', anyway? You just gonna kiss and run?"
Patience was a virtue that Heero had always needed in great supply when dealing with Maxwell. Sometimes he had it, and sometimes he didn't. He took a long, silent moment to formulate the proper response. "That wasn't my plan."
"Yeah? And what was your plan, then?"
"I didn't quite have one, okay? I just thought maybe... maybe it might be nice. And maybe I'm wrong. But there's only one way to find out."
"And what about me?"
"You said you had a crush on me!"
"And I do!" His eyes widened before he hastily corrected himself. "DID! I did! But... you just gonna walk away on me when it's done?"
Ever as always, logic was the way to go on this one. "Isn't that why you don't kiss on the first date? To weed out those kinds of guys? To see who's willing to keep coming back for more?"
He swallowed. He hated it when Heero got all logical. It generally meant that Heero was about to win the argument. He clung to the shreds of his dignity. "We went dutch on that one, yeah?"
"Yes, we did."
Duo did so hate the guys that tried to pay for everything on the date. Not that they had been on a date. "Then it was only a pseudo-date. We split it, so it's kinda got a money back guarantee or something on it, yeah?"
"What kind of rule is that?"
"Come on, it makes sense, right? Like, if things don't go well, then you can just pretend it wasn't a date, right?"
Heero made an impatient sound, leaning forward to put his emptied glass down on the table with only a little more force than necessary. "Honestly, Duo. Did it not go well?"
Such a simple question made him stumble. "Um, well. I guess it was okay."
"Good. But that was yesterday." Heero girded his loins and moved on before his mind could make him stop for a second and figure out what was going on here. He had recognized a particular feeling for Duo, and he rarely doubted himself. Now simply to act on it before it became meaningless. "Duo. Would you like to go out with me again?"
Duo was very glad he was no longer in high school. Otherwise his own loins might have been demanding that they skip this whole 'date' notion and just get on with getting it on. Fortunately, his older self had a better appreciation for the gradual passage of time. "When?"
"Couple hours ago."
Apparently Heero didn't have a similar desire to stop and smell the roses. "...You move fast, don't you?"
Heero threw up his hands in frustration and collapsed back into his seat. "Fine, never mind. I gave you my phone number, but I guess you never called me back."
"Hey, now...." That was just being hasty. He sat up straight again from where he had been sprawled half sideways in his earlier attempt at escape, and put his nearly empty bottle of beer down on the coffee table. After a moment, he reached out and pried Heero's arms out of their crossed position. The far hand, he let do as it pleased. The near hand he took up with his own, studying it in critical silence, top and bottom, end to end, and between the fingers. At length, he sighed. "Um. Sorry I'm late. Didn't mean to stand you up. I would have called, but, ahem, *someone* didn't leave me with a lot of time." The glare to go with the words faded gently into an apologetic hesitance. "Just, um, something came up, yanno? Something unexpected. And I had to deal with that first, but..."
"Everything's alright, I hope?" Heero asked with genuine concern.
Duo was quick to reassure him. "Yeah... yeah, everything's all squared away now. So, um, we still have time for a little something?"
Heero quirked a smile. "Well... it is getting late. Why don't I just drop you back off at your place?"
Time sure did fly when he was with Heero. Disappointment crept into his mind before he shooed it off with a bit of thought. "Sounds good."
"Oh, look," Heero observed blandly, not removing his gaze from Duo's face. "Here we are. At the end of our second date. We should do this again some time."
"Um. Yeah... yeah, that might be nice." Something more intelligent was knocked out of his brain in favor of concentration on careful breathing. Heero was coming closer again. "We should, um...."
"Are you free tomorrow?" A foot away.
"Ooh, the actual future this time? What's tomorrow? Sunday?" Eight inches.
"Mm-hmm. I was interested in going to the tofu festival." Six inches.
"The what?" Seven inches.
"Tofu festival. Little Tokyo. I hear they're having a tofu carving contest." Five inches.
"Tofu...?" Four inches.
"Tofu." Three inches.
Damn him, but that sounded like a lot of fun. "Anything else?" Two inches.
"Cheap food?" One inch.
"Mmm. Sounding better. But it'd be tofu, yeah?" Half an inch.
"It's good for you." A meaningful look.
"But... Aw hell. Why not?" An unsteady whisper.
A satisfied smile. "I'll pick you up at eleven?"
"Yeah." A last second sanity check. "...G'night, Yuy."
"Good night, Maxwell."
A first kiss. A soft, brushing pass, followed by increased pressure. An open-mouthed, no-tongued, slow and steady kiss that still made it past his lips to bounce off his soul and rattle around in his suddenly emptied mind, down to his toes and deep into his gut, and many a point in between.
They parted, if only barely, and observed a moment of silence. Such a thing deserved it. And then an outburst.
Heero jumped back in understandable surprise. "What?"
Duo's eyes, though shut somewhere through the kiss, had snapped open. "I invited you in! I don't invite people in on the second date."
A raised eyebrow. "Oh? So what number date are we on now?"
"Do NOT even get started, Yuy."
"Me? You're the one that started it."
Sure enough, the pillow indeed came to the rescue in the end. It gleefully arced through the air to whap Heero's arm. "Am not."
Symmetry dictated the placement of another pillow on the other end of the sofa. Heero's side of the sofa. He took up arms and whapped back. "Are, too."
A mischievous look matched his own, and then fluffy battle was joined.
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This piece of fiction is the intellectual property of the little turnip that could. The basis for this fic, i.e. Gundam Wing, Kyuuketsuki Miyu, et al., is the property of someone else. The author can be con tacted at jchew at myrealbox.com. This has been an entirely automated message. http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~jchew/misc/gw.html
last modified : 10/29/2005 01:54:30 PST