Warnings: yaoi, possible OOC, POV
by Anria Lalumin

Such A Simple Thing

I'll always remember how Duo looked the first time he saw rain.

Coming from the L2 colony, where there was barely enough water to drink with, Duo had only heard about rain. I'm not sure how, but Duo managed to be on Earth for several months without seeing rain. He was stunned enough with the oceans and even a pond.

We were at a safehouse the first time Duo saw rain. It was just the two of us; the others were off on a mission and wouldn't be back until the next day. After we had eaten, I stood in the kitchen washing the dishes. That was another thing Duo found astonishing - having water pour out a tap in the quantities it did. Sometimes the littlest things would shock Duo.

I have to say, at first I found this rather amusing. Here was this streetwise kid who was the reason the Gundams were feared so much (him being the one with a fetish for killing anyone who saw his Gundam), and he was startled by water running out of a tap.

He soon learned not to be, however. I was sort of disappointed at that. It was rather sweet and amusing when he ran up and down the hallways, proclaiming his joy to the world that the shower had drenched him when he knocked the dial.

Yes, he did that. He was in the bathroom ‘taking a piss', as he said, and accidentally whacked the dial, sending the shower turning on. It was . . . cute, seeing him bouncing around attracting our attention over such a little thing, peering at the shower head and hose, then turning the thing on and off again just to see how much water the thing had in it, with such an expression of wonder on his face, like a small child learning things for the first time. Being Duo, he couldn't quite believe that the shower had an endless supply of water, as long as Heero hacked into some account and transferred the money to the company supply us with this necessity.

But after Wufei told him he was being childish and silly over nothing, then asked him how he managed to keep himself from smelling if he didn't know what a shower was, Duo quickly learned to hide his wonder at the abundance of water. I knew it never failed to amaze him; sometimes I would catch him staring at the kitchen tap when it was his turn to wash up at whatever safehouse we were at. I never let on that I caught him staring, or else he might be more cautious about it.

Do you know that the grease on your hair is your body's way of naturally cleaning it? That when you wash your hair, you're actually encouraging grease forming? That if you stop washing your hair, after a couple of weeks when it gets really disgusting, your hair reaches a natural balance and starts taking care of itself? That was the explanation for how Duo's hair got to be as beautiful as it was when he never washed it. Not that he *never* never washed it; I mean he only washed it when it was dirty, not when it was greasy. That meant his body's natural hair care took over for him. I think he was grateful for that.

But I'm getting off track. I was standing in the kitchen, scrubbing the plates, when I heard the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops on the porch outside. We were in one of those old cabin-houses, way out in the middle of nowhere. I glanced out of the window, saw it was near dusk and raining, and went back to washing the dishes.

Duo, on the other hand, came charging in looking as though he expected an attack, and said, "What's that noise?"

"It's just rain. Don't get worried." I didn't look up from the sink.

"Rain?"

Something in his voice made me turn and look at him sharply. He looked half-stunned, with this expression of wonder on his face. He yanked open the back door, which amplified the sound of rain striking the porch dramatically. His eyes got very wide, which was quite an accomplishment considering they were taking over his head already.

I pulled my hands out of the water and dried them off, watching as Duo cautiously walked to the edge of the porch, then slowly stuck his hand out. When a drop of water hit it, he jerked back like he'd been burned.

"Rain." Suddenly the grin took over. This one was bigger than any I'd ever seen on him before, literally taking up his whole face. Laughing like a child, he ran out into the wet, dancing around and getting thoroughly soaked.

I just stood there in the doorway and watched.

You know how every now and again something happens which you know you will never forget, where time seems to slow and you just watch, wishing the moment could never end? That was one of those. Duo looked . . . innocent.

Duo never looked innocent.

He had a whole repertoire or looks, but innocent just wasn't among them. He could look angry, shocked, lustful, happy, manic, hyper, the ‘Shinigami grin' look, and a whole list of others, but never innocent. Duo wasn't innocent. He never had been.

But this . . . this.

It stunned me, how much streetwise old-before-his-time Duo could look like a happy child when he wanted to. It stunned me even more to know that I envied him.

I watched his small black-clad form twist and dance in the rain, arms raised and laughing face turned to the sky, his braid snaking around him then flying loose, and he was beautiful.

The moment didn't last. My practical soldier side took over, and I knew if he stayed out much longer he would come down with a cold, and not be able to function fully. "Duo!" I called out as I moved to the edge of the porch, "Duo, come in before you get soaked!"

"I wanna get soaked, Tro!" he called to me, still twirling and laughing. "Oh, God, this is great!"

Just like he was. "You'll get ill."

"I don't care!"

There was nothing for it but to go out into the wet and drag him in, something I really didn't want to do - and not just because I didn't want to get wet. I didn't want that innocent look to go.

Unfortunately, for once my body wasn't listening to me. I walked out into the rain and just stood, waiting for him to acknowledge me. He bumped into me instead, nearly falling over in his bouncing happiness over such a simple thing as rain.

I caught him, making sure he didn't fall over onto dirt that was rapidly turning to mud, and he leaned against me, still laughing like a kid on Christmas.

"Come to join me?" he said, grinning like a fool. And this time his grin wasn't tempered by the usual smartass look he wore. I couldn't think of a single thing to say, staring stupidly.

Duo pulled away a short distance, still smiling. I found my voice. "You're going to get ill if you don't come inside."

Duo didn't answer me. I was well aware that the rain was beginning to plaster my bang to my face, and he saw this and tried to not to snigger. He failed. Still giggling, he sank his hands into my hair and pushed it off my face, shoving the hair back so it lay in the opposite direction it usually did.

All of a sudden I felt shy. I know a bit about psychology; I know that the reason I like my hair covering my face is rooted in my past. Things . . . happened to me, that weren't nice at all, and somewhere deep in my subconscious made me ashamed to show my face to the world. That's why I'm so good at undercover work - I don't have to be me. I can be someone else for a while, and that soothes me, for some reason. My bang, though, was a comfort in much the same way, I suspect, that Duo's braid was - it gave me something to hide behind, something physical to shelter me. Having someone strip the hair off my face made me feel naked, as though all my innermost thoughts and secrets were bare for the world to see.

I think Duo realized this, whether from my face or from his own intuition, because his grin faltered and he started to remove his hands from where they were intermeshed on either side of my head.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I grabbed his wrists and held them, making sure his hands stayed where they were.

Our eyes locked, and we stayed like that in silence for a moment. Mine and Duo's relationship was strange: we both felt that sex meant nothing (another product of our pasts - well, mine certainly, I'm going on a hunch with him), and we had fucked a couple of times, but we didn't really know each other that well. It suddenly felt like whatever happened then would be a turning point.

I don't know what prompted me to do it, but I . . . smiled. It was awkward, and hesitant, and shy, but it was a smile. My face felt funny, I hadn't used the expression in so long.

But the results. . . .

Duo's whole face lit up with a smile. I know, I know, that's not unusual, but this precise smile was. He. . . . How can I put this. It was like the real Duo, the one under the smartass façade and the Gundam pilot and the pain his past gave him, the Duo who should have been, was smiling at me.

Duo was beautiful before, but when he smiled at me like that. . . . It took my breath away.

I think it was then I realized I was in love with him.

It might have been then, or it might have been later on that night. I don't know. All I know for sure is that that smile made me lean down and gently kiss his bottom lip.

I told you that mine and Duo's relationship was strange. We had fucked before, but that was our first kiss.

At first it was just our lips moving against each other gently, carefully, and oh so slowly. Like we were afraid that if we pushed too hard the other one would bolt. Slowly the kiss worked its way up into something more, and we were standing there, in the freezing cold rain, soaked to the skin, arms around each other but hands not wandering, kissing each other as though our lives depended on it.

I don't know how long we stood there like that, but I never wanted it to end.

And so, of course, end it did.

Our lips parted, and we just looked at each other. Neither said anything.

It might surprise you when I tell you that we didn't have sex that night. Well, even if it doesn't, we didn't. I told you, to us two sex means nothing. If we *had* done it, it would probably have made what we had discovered seem meaningless, as though sex would have degraded it. I know it would have for me, anyway. We went back inside and slept in each other's arms. Just slept. It was heaven.

Ever since that night, Duo and I have been together. Aha, now you're thinking, ‘what about Heero and Quatre?' Well, let me tell you that while I can't speak for Duo, I know that Quatre is not what I want. Not at all.

I used to think he was. I used to think his innocence and naiveté would be the cure I needed. I was wrong. Quatre, much as I admire him and care about him, doesn't fully understand me. He just can't comprehend what has happened in my past - to him, it's unthinkable, and so (this was mostly due to his upbringing) he cannot compute that it has happened to someone he knows.

Damn, I just realized I've been skirting around the issue all the way through this. Rape. Ha, there, I said it. I was raped. Repeatedly. Hell, what d'you expect from a bunch of mercenaries in the middle of nowhere with a boy who looks like a girl and can't defend himself?

I know something similar happened to Duo. You want to know what? Go ask him. I'm not telling you - it's too personal.

Getting back on track, though, Duo is different. His energetic, smartass exterior is belied by the calmness that lies under all that. I'm the only one he shows it to, and that makes me feel honored. He understands about my past, and he's helped me get over it. In the beginning, I couldn't stand to be taken. Duo didn't care either way. Now we have little competitions over who does what to whom, not that you really wanted to know that.

We've been together now for seventeen years, excluding the year around the Mariemeia incident, where a rather large argument sent him running to Heero for a while. It took Heero dragging him out of the salvage business he was running with Hildie and to the circus where I was staying with Catherine before we would apologize to each other. You know, it always surprised me that for someone as cold as Heero, he understands emotions pretty well.

Duo still loves the rain. He actually insisted on living in India during the Monsoon every couple of years, did you know that? Then he heard about Seattle, and we moved there. I taught him to swim. Pretty stupid of Professor G not to teach him that, but then I suppose the expense, especially on L2, would have been too great.

When we're around each other we can let the barriers drop. We know the other one understands, we know that they're not going to be shocked or recommend therapy, so we can be ourselves around them, tell them everything. Duo brings out my talkative side, I don't know why. Conversely, I bring out his calm side.

I need him. Maybe I need him more than I love him, another thing I don't know. I often stay awake watching him sleep and wonder at how someone who's been through so much shit could have such peace in them that it spills over and leaks out into me.

But then, he's said the same thing about me.

Seventeen years, heh. I never thought we would have stayed together this long.

I love him. I really do. And if it wasn't for such a simple thing as rain, I never would have known.

~Owari

Oh, and the thing with the hair? It's true.

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