Hard to Say (cont)

A moment later, Trowa's arm settles atop mine, and Duo actually stops talking for a moment. He glances back and forth between us, eyes wide with that childlike wonder he has never completely lost.

"Wow," he says quietly, leaning his head back against our arms. He opens and closes his mouth a few times, but no words come out. He looks at me with a sort of quiet desperation in the shadowy depths of his eyes.

I lean over and kiss the end of his nose. After a moment's hesitation, Trowa leans in and ruffles the long, ragged bangs, pressing his forehead intimately to Duo's.

Strange to think that there is something Duo Maxwell doesn't have the words for, but I know that actually saying aloud that he loves us will be a big step for Duo, and one he may not be ready to take for a while. Everyone he's loved has died on him. It may take some time before he can accept that we're not going anywhere.

Not that I'm much better. Sure, I can have it tattooed on my butt, but actually saying it out loud is... well, kind of intimidating to me. The cold and logical part of me rebels at such emotional expressions.

Odd that of the three of us, Trowa seems to have the least trouble talking about his feelings. But then, he's never really been as reserved as some people consider him.

"I'm gonna go get a soda!" Duo declares suddenly, squirming out of our almost-embrace and pelting away.

Trowa surprises me by actually laughing aloud at Duo's nervous energy. He's changed a bit in the past few years, probably mostly due to Duo's influence if what my braided lover has told me is at all accurate. And of course, I know it is. Duo doesn't lie.

Trowa shakes his head, still grinning. He shoots a look at me. "Heero, are we crazy?" he asks softly.

I shrug, and leave it at that. He can interpret it anyway he wants to.

Are we crazy?

How should I know?

It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
Words can't say and I can't do
Enough to prove it's all for you

Just as Duo returns with a soda, it suddenly starts to rain. Not a heavy downpour, but just a light sunshower that will pass in a few minutes. People throughout the park go running for shelter under trees or umbrellas, but Trowa and I just sit contentedly on the bench and watch Duo twirling under the rain.

Trowa leans over towards me, and quite unexpectedly licks a drop of rain off my cheek, then presses his lips lightly to mine. Having been taught the finer points of romantic opportunism by Duo, I quickly part my lips, deepening the kiss before he can pull away. He tenses for a moment, then relaxes against me as his tongue meets mine in a tentative caress. I taste rain and ice cream, and I smile at him as we pull apart.

We turn to find Duo watching us, grinning widely as the rain continues to plaster his bangs to his face.

Rain comes pouring down
Falling from blue skies

Duo walks over and kneels on the ground before us, then grabs my shirt and pulls me down to kiss me so very gently it is almost chaste. I am used to a lot more fiery passion from him, but then he releases me and repeats the performance with Trowa. When he's done, he sits back on his heels and looks back and forth between the two of us, smiling in an almost embarrassed fashion.

He still can't say it. But the message has never been clearer.

Words without a sound
Coming from your eyes

After a moment, the rain ceases to fall, and Duo bounces back to his feet, insistently tugging us up as well. He retrieves his soda from the ground where he left it, and starts walking down the path, obviously expecting to be followed. On some other day, it might be funny to let him walk away and see how long it took for him to realize we weren't behind him, but he is feeling off balance today, and perhaps a little vulnerable, so by unspoken agreement, we both set out after him.

It isn't long before he has dropped back to walk beside us again, this time putting Trowa between himself and me.

"So... where are we going to live? What are we going to do?" Trowa asks after a moment. I roll my eyes at his determination to drag logic into a perfectly nice day, and Duo sighs exaggeratedly.

"Well... " Duo says thoughtfully after a moment. "Heero and I could join the circus, I guess. Me and Catherine could have a double act, throwing knives at you two," he suggests.

"No," I say flatly.

"But Heero... " he protests in a wheedling tone, leaning forward to grin at me around a rather bemused Trowa.

"No," I say again.

"But I'm really good with knives, Heero! It's not like I'd hit you or anything!"


"Aw, come on, it would be fun! Ooh, and I'll bet you could work with the lions along with Trowa! You could just glare them into submission... "

Trowa snorts softly at that statement, and I glance suspiciously at him to find a twinkle of amusement in his eye.

Well, it is an interesting mental picture.

"No circus, Duo," I declare firmly.

"Oh, you're no fun," he mutters, absently bringing the tip of his braid to his mouth to chew. My fingers twitch, wanting to pull it away, but Trowa apparently has the same thought and does it for me. Duo makes a little irritated noise. "It helps me think," he informs us.

"You'll get split ends," Trowa and I caution in unison.

Duo giggles at us. We walk along quietly for a moment, then Trowa clears his throat hesitantly. Duo and I both turn towards him, and he glances briefly at each of us before speaking.

"There's always the Preventers. Wufei's already with them, and I'm sure none of us would have a hard time getting accepted," he offers.

It's an interesting idea.

I ponder it for a moment, realizing that it's a job where all my deeply ingrained, generally useless training would have a purpose, a practical application. It's also a job where Duo would have an outlet for his boundless energy, and plenty of the stimulation he needs to stay... balanced.

"That's... actually a damn good idea, Tro," Duo comments thoughtfully. I can tell from the reflective tone of his voice that he's drawn conclusions similar to my own about how such a job would fulfill our differing needs.

Trowa shrugs, cheeks acquiring the faintest tinge of pink. "I always thought it would be a good compromise for us all. I mean, if we ever... " he trails off, not completing the statement.

"If we ever got together?" Duo asks mischievously. "Given some thought to the idea after all, huh, Tro-chan?" he prods, grinning wickedly. Trowa seems slightly flustered by his teasing, so I glare at the braided baka.

"Shut up, Duo."

"Make me." He sticks his tongue out.

I shoot him one of my classic death glares. "You wouldn't like it," I growl menacingly.

He simpers at me, batting his eyelashes. "Ooh, hurt me, sweet thing," he coos.

Obviously, I'm going to have to practice my glares more often. I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities.

Trowa chuckles softly, drawing both of us to look at him, forgetting the almost reflexive argument. He is wearing a small, hopeful smile, looking back and forth between us.

"This could actually work, couldn't it?" he murmurs in a wondering tone.

He just may be right about that.

Finally I figured out
But it took a along long time
Oh, now there's a turnabout
Maybe 'cause I'm tryin'

"Oh, sure!" Duo snorts. "We're a salvage dealer, a politician's consort, and a circus performer! We're all former terrorists! We're all probably certifiably insane if you ask the right shrinks! And to top it all off, we're all guys!" His eyes are gleaming maniacally as he waves his hands through the air, gesticulating wildly as he points out what I can only think must be the hurdles he thinks we'll need to overcome. Certainly he's not suggesting that maybe... maybe the challenges are too great?

It won't be easy. None of us would top the list for Healthiest Relationship Partner.

Duo suddenly grins widely, eyes sparkling with a familiar manic glee.

"It's perfect, I tell you!" he concludes triumphantly. "Just crazy enough to work!"

There's been times
I'm so confused
And all my roads
Well, they lead to you
Just can't turn and walk away

I can't help chuckling at Duo's enthusiasm. Trowa's smile widens, his eyes crinkling slightly at the corners. I am fascinated, never having seen so openly joyous an expression on his face before.

Duo laughs happily and jumps in front of us to impulsively embrace both Trowa and myself. With his face buried somewhere in the vicinity of my shoulder and Trowa's armpit, he mumbles something. Trowa meets my gaze with a small smile, and we both agree silently to pretend we couldn't make out those words. Instead, we both wrap our arms around Duo and each other and stand there for a moment, just being together.

It's so strange.

I don't know how I wound up here, standing in this park, embracing two men who have fought beside me, two men who are strong and beautiful, who I admire and... and love...

I don't understand it.

For a brief moment, old conditioning kicks in, the need for cold, logical detachment, for things to make sense in black and white terms. This doesn't.

But then another, older set of instructions comes to me. A simple phrase, really.

Always follow your emotions.

This doesn't make sense. I can't figure it out, how it happened, why it happened, why it feels so right...

But it does feel right.

So it doesn't have to make sense.

No matter what comes in the future, here and now, this is right.

I hold them tighter, these two men who mean more to me than anything else in the world, in the universe, and I banish that cold analytical side of myself one last time.

Somehow, I don't think it will be back.

It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
Words can't say and I can't do
Enough to prove it's all for you

Duo pulls out of the embrace, leaving behind a suspiciously damp spot on both of our shirts, but still grinning like the maniac he is.

"Oh, man, somebody do something to break this mood before I get all sappy!" he demands.

"Too late," I observe, and he casually flips me off.

"I know a stupid little joke," Trowa offers almost reluctantly. "It's Catherine's joke, really. I think it's kind of funny."

"The idea of you telling a joke is pretty funny all by itself," Duo teases, smirking. "Amuse me," he commands, waving his hand haughtily. Trowa sighs and rolls his eyes.

"Knock knock," he says flatly.

"Who's there?" Duo asks, grinning.

"Interrupting cow."

Duo frowns slightly in surprise, then shrugs and obligingly asks, "Interrupting c-"

"Moo!" Trowa interrupts loudly.

Duo stares silently at him for a moment, eyes wide in surprise, mouth hanging open.

Then he dissolves into hysterical laughter, actually falling to the ground and rolling around on the asphalt path, much to Trowa's chagrin.

"It's not really that funny," he protests, looking to me for support.

And that sends me over the edge. Superhuman restraint only goes so far. I end up rolling around next to Duo, while Trowa shakes his head at us, bemused.

"Sometimes I don't understand either of you," he complains mildly.

Which, of course, makes us both laugh even harder.

It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
Words can't say and I can't do
Enough to prove it's all for you

"It... you... I... we... Moo!" Duo gasps out after a few minutes, erupting into giggles again. I have regained my composure to some extent and am sitting up next to him. Trowa still looks confused at our behavior.

Oh well, he'll get used to it. Duo tends to bring out my sorely neglected silly side.

The braided buffoon rolls over and wraps his arms around my thigh, pressing his reddened cheek to the cloth. He stares up at me, eyes sparkling, and declares solemnly, "Moo."

And I'm rolling around on the ground again, too.

Trowa eventually gives up and lowers himself with only a slight wince to sit beside us, shaking his head and rolling his eyes in amused exasperation.

It's hard to say...

"You guys are weird," Trowa informs us flatly when we are somewhat calmed down.

Duo snorts. "You just noticing that, Tro-chan?"

"You wouldn't have us any other way," I observe conversationally, idly straightening my tie even as Duo is determinedly untucking my shirt.

Trowa smiles contentedly at us both. "I don't suppose I would," he agrees.

It's hard to say...

A short time later, we're all lying on our backs in the slightly damp grass, staring up at the bright blue sky. My shirt in completely untucked and half-unbuttoned, and Duo is wearing my tie like a headband. Trowa's crutch has been abandoned by a nearby tree, despite Duo's irritated protests. I am finally in the middle, and I can feel both of them beside me, the warmth of their bodies, the occasional light brushes of hands against legs and arms.

I feel peaceful. Content.

Someone says softly, "I love you."

And it doesn't really matter who it was.

It's all for you.


[back] [back to Aoe's fic]