author: 0083
see part 1 for warnings, disclaimers

Special + Part 7

-The Sixth Encounter-

I looked up blearily at the bedside clock and moaned piteously. It was nearly three in the afternoon and my head felt like it weighed a ton. I vaguely recalled nothing of what I had done the night before and nearly cringed at the blank scenes in my memory.

I had gone on a crusade to get drunk after Heero had told me that I was special and I had succeeded beyond measure.

After that momentous incident which seemed to be my last clear memory, the night faded out into a strangely dark hum, images passing through my head in a fast blur. What had I done last night? How did I get home? For that matter, what had Heero done?

I moan some more as I drag my sorry carcass out of my bed, crawling across my queen sized mattress towards the bathroom. I'm still in the clothes I was in last night minus my tie, suit jacket and shoes. I grimaced, I think, because it is hell to get wrinkles out of Armani and it was going to cost me a fortune in dry cleaning.

My mouth felt like cotton balls wrapped around sulfur and I had an intense need to brush my teeth thoroughly. Then take a shower, take some aspirin, drink a whole hell of water. After I was done with those necessities, I would sit down and think about what I had done last night.

I was nearly at the bathroom, shuffling through my bedroom door in uneven gait when a voice startled me to death.

"Are you feeling okay?"

I whipped my head around towards the voice and found out the hard way just how hung over I really was. The world wobbled, my eyes watered and my stomach tried to crawl up my esophagus.

I barely lurched into the bathroom in time to shove my head into the toilet for a nice round of heaving.

Throwing up as the first activity of the day is not a good way to start the day, especially when Heero is standing over you with a very concerned air about him.

When I finally finished emptying my already empty stomach, I slowly pivoted my head towards the figure looming over me with a certain sense of doom. I knew what I would see, I knew who was there, but the fact of the matter was, I was hoping that I was hallucinating.

My hallucination dropped to his knees so that his face would be at my level and handed me a glass of water and some aspirins. In a daze, I took what was offered and swallowed the pills.

"You look awful, Duo."

That must be the understatement of the year. I knew for a fact that I was looking ghastly, my hair undone from its braid at various places, my eyes bloodshot and my face pale and sickly. Awful was a nice way of describing me at this moment.

"Yeah, I know," I rasp out, "but thanks for pointing it out."

Heero watched me with an equal mixture of amusement and concern as I crawled out of the bathroom. I mean that literally, by the way. Somehow, in that mode of movement, I made my way into my bedroom only to find that I could not possibly stand to get back into bed. I had given up on my ideas of showering, undressing or anything that needed more than two muscle groups at one time to do. I just wanted back into the warm cocoon of my bed so that I could suffer in comfort.

It was rather sad that I could not crawl into my bed because it was too high.

"Need help?" came the friendly suggestion from my emotional baggage named Heero. I nod, having given up on having any semblance of dignity in front of this man a while ago. With a gentle chuckle, he helped me into my bed and even pulled the covers to my neck, nearly tucking me in like a child. Had I the energy, I might have been embarrassed.

I passed out again, I believe, because the next thing I saw was the clock blinking six in the evening. By that time, my hangover had receded to respectable levels and my stomach seemed ready to accept food rather than eject everything that came within its vicinity. I was a bit thirsty, but the headache was only a memory and I felt immensely better.

Now, I could face the world.

I stretched, wincing satisfactorily at the popping noises of my joints, and slid out of my bed in one fluid motion. I had approximately two hours to get ready for Wufei's party which I had not forgotten about in my drunken binge. Yawning hugely, I walked out to my kitchen, turned on the light and cued the coffee machine.

"Finally up again, are you?"

It shames me to admit that I had entirely forgotten that Heero had been there earlier to help me through my indignities. I had thought that perhaps I had dreamed the whole thing since I wasn't very coherent then anyway. But alas, that had not been a hallucination nor was this Heero lounging on my sofa with tousled hair and sleepy eyes.

I froze in my tracks and just stared at him. He was in my living room for real, smiling at me. I think my nausea is making its comeback.

"What.." I clear my throat and try again. "what are you doing here? Still?"

He laughs at me and all I can do is stand there. I frantically began to run the night before in my head, but I was drawing too many blanks. Even this morning, or was it afternoon, when he had helped me was fuzzy enough that I couldn't recall all the details. Had Heero brought me home? Why had he stayed? I had too many questions which I obviously could not answer due to my alcohol induced amnesia.

"I can't go home until you give me back my keys."

His keys? I know I have this ludicrous expression on my face that must be screaming my confusion. I try to ask him what he meant, I really do, but my throat has closed up shop, leaving me to make choking noises.

"What do you remember, Duo?"

I think my facial expression tells him exactly what I remember. Absolutely nothing.

"Okay, let me fill in some holes," Heero says without even a hint of malice or belittlement, "because you must be wondering."

I wait expectantly, hoping that I had not done anything I would regret. Just behind that hope is my other hope that even if I did something I might regret, Heero would not tell me about it so that I could live on in ignorance.

"You drank a lot yesterday. I don't think I've ever seen anyone drink that much and still manage to remain upright."

Heero has this unusual expression on his face, something that seems to be awe and.. disbelief. Well, I am a big drinker and since I blacked out completely, I must have downed more martinis than humanly possible.

"When the bar closed up," he continues, "you could hardly walk, so I helped you out."

I just hope that I didn't sing.

"You were singing."

I come to the right conclusion that god hates me.

"And you insisted that I was too drunk to drive."

At least I had some sense left in my drunken body last night.

"Although I kept telling you I hadn't driven."

Can I feel any more like an idiot than I do now? If Heero continues, I am guaranteed that I will.

"But you didn't believe me so.. you, um.. fished around in my pants pockets and took out my keys."

I had done what to who and where? I, the guy who was in full on denial about being attracted to Heero Yuy, had shoved my hands into his pants?

"Then you insisted that I walk you home because you had saved my life by taking the keys."

Oh. Of course. I just had to be logical when drunk, didn't I.

"You couldn't remember exactly where you lived, so we ended up walking for a while before you recalled that you lived two blocks from the bar."

Heero still has that amused smile on his face, so I'm not sure if he's making this up or not. Oh hell, even if he was, who was I to argue? Then again, why would he make up something so ridiculous that I had to have done it?

"When we got here, you had a bit of a problem with keeping things down.."

Please tell me that I made it to a receptacle of some sort.

"So we spent a good amount of time in your bathroom."

I guess this morning's episode pales in comparison to what I did last night. I wonder if there is a level of mortification a human being can reach before they can literally die from it.

"After, I helped you into bed, but I remembered that you still had my keys. I didn't want to go rummaging through your pockets so.. I just spent the night here."

And so ended the extremely short summary of what I did and how Heero ended up at my place. Unfortunately, throughout the whole story, I could not find one bit where I could blame Heero for anything. He had not taken advantage of me when I was drunk. In fact, it had been I who had felt him up and invited him over to my place. I had deprived him of means of getting back to his own place by sleeping with my ass on his keys.

Heero had been a great guy to me when he could have ditched me or.. well, anything.

At this point, it would have been polite of me to thank him for his efforts on my behalf, but I couldn't get the words to form. Instead, I went to my coffee machine and poured out two neat mugs of very strong coffee and handed Heero one. He took it without a word, but I could tell that he didn't mind the coffee or my wordless thanks.

We drank our coffees in silence for a while and I eventually made my way to the couch to sit next to Heero. There was more silence as we pretended to drink our coffees for a bit longer since we had long run out. Then I saw that it was a little past seven o'clock and I really had to get ready for the party. Yet, I had this strange feeling in my stomach nestled comfortably next to my nausea. I think I'll call that feeling reluctance.

I didn't want him to leave for some reason.

As soon as that thought popped into my head, I actually felt for the first time the metal digging into my derriere. They had to be Heero's keys, sandwiched between the couch and my ass in my back pocket. I should really give him his keys and send him on his way, but that reluctance in me refused to let me see him go.

"So.." my voice punctured the silence, "do you want to go to Wufei's party and join in on the joke?"

Heero's hand which had been taking his mug towards his lips paused momentarily before moving again when I asked. I don't think he expected me to say anything at all, especially not something that seemed remotely friendly. For that matter, I had not expected me to ask him out on something that could have been construed as a date. But I did and to my surprise, I was hoping that he'd say yes.

"I.." Heero says, his tone carefully neutral, "I'd like to, very much."

It was rather ridiculous how much my stomach fluttered with butterflies when I heard his response.

"But," he continued, oblivious to the nervous butterflies playing the timpani in my tummy, "I can't."

I felt tremendous disappointment when he finished, closely followed by an insane sense of rejection. After all, I should have been berating myself in the first place for inviting him out to spend time with me among my friends. I should have been reminding myself how much I did not appreciate his continued presence in my inner sanctum. I should have done so many things, but instead, I had asked him out and when he turned me down, I had felt disappointment that rivaled being stood up for my prom rather than the relief that should have been.

What was wrong with me?

"Oh," I say, covering up the strange emotions boiling in me, "okay, then. I thought I'd ask, you know, since you brought me home and took care of me, I felt kind of obligated and all.."

I trailed off, knowing for a fact that I had not asked out of any type of obligation or duty. I think Heero knew that somewhere deep inside, but his face showed me just how.. hurt he was by my statement.

I felt like a bastard.

"I understand."

I watched him set down his mug and stand without saying anything. I should have apologized, should have corrected my stupid declaration. But I didn't do anything, because.. because..

Because I'm stupid.

"I should get going," Heero says in a distant tone, "so can I have my keys please?"

As I fish out his keys from my back pocket, I wonder how we had come to this. It had started with his humorously embarrassing account of my activities last night and we had settled into a nice, peaceful niche during out coffee. But now he was leaving, somehow hurt and saddened by me.

And the worst part of it all was that I was finally beginning to own up to the fact that I liked him.

He left without saying good-bye, leaving me sitting on my couch feeling like a complete ass. I sighed, but I had a party to go to. I couldn't mope around my apartment.

So I shall go out, party with my friends, and when tomorrow came, I'd swallow my pride and my idiocy to apologize to Heero.

I can only hope that he won't do to me what I did to him.

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