Notes: See Part 1 for warnings, pairings, etc.
Must Have Been the Mistletoe + Part 3
Hanging up his call, Trowa
turned to face Quatre. "Well, I may not have to worry about deserting
the circus. That was Cathy. The by-law passed council last night and the
animals will no longer be allowed within city limits as of the first of
the year. So the circus no longer has a home base. They can't last long
travelling all the time. There has to be somewhere safe and stable
to raise children, allow injured performers to heal, raise and train young
animals, perfect new acts, and so on. Even during the worst of the war,
they always had a 'home' to go back to. Now they won't."
"Not necessarily," Quatre said slowly, his thoughts quickly
darting through myriad possibilities. "It will take a little research
to find out which estates would be possibilities, but surely there's at
least one Winner property that could host them and also
be in a suitable location to act as my home base for WEI business...
That way, you wouldn't have to completely give up working with
the circus and being near Cathy in order to stay with me..."
Grabbing the blond by the shoulders, Trowa looked him straight in the
eyes and demanded, "Quatre, are you serious? I never... I
mean... God, Quat, that would be perfect! "
"Of course I'm serious," Quatre responded, tilting his head
slightly to one side and giving Trowa an angelic smile. "As long
as you promise not to make me eat Cathy's cooking..."
Snickering, Trowa promised solemnly, "Never."
Heero realized that someone was watching him just as that someone started
to back out of his bedroom. "Come on in, Duo," he urged without
"I didn't want to bother you," Duo answered. "You're busy,
I can come back later."
Turning away from his laptop screen, Heero gave Duo an exasperated look.
"Duo, get in here. You are not bothering me and there's
nothing new here anyway."
"Still no luck, huh..."
"No. I'm beginning to think there never will be. I don't have
any memories before Odin, and if I can't track him back any farther than
what I have so far, I won't get much further."
"Maybe the lead that J mentioned will pan out," Duo offered,
moving to stand beside Heero's chair.
"I'm not holding my breath."
"Why does it matter so much to you anyway?"
Shaking his head slightly, Heero admitted, "I don't know. Maybe I
just want to know that there isn't someone else out there looking for
me because Odin took off with me. I'm not even sure whether I'd
rather find out that he really was my father or that his 'contract' story
was the truth. In fact, I don't know whether I even care what the
truth is. I guess it's just the whole 'not knowing' thing."
Duo made a noncommittal noise in response, leading Heero to ask, "Haven't
you ever wondered? Ever wanted to trace your own past?"
"No," Duo answered, shaking his head quite definitely. "Considering
that the options basically boil down to orphaned and no extended family
to look for me, lost and no one looked for me, or abandoned, I'd rather
live without knowing for sure which of those oh-so-lovely options
it is. Small children do not end up on the street 'by accident', Heero.
My own private little fantasy of being the only child of a runaway marriage
between two deeply in love - and disowned for it by their families - people
who were tragically killed while visiting L2, leaving their beloved child
alone on the streets is preferable to what I might find out if
I went looking. I'll live with G and Howie as paternal/avuncular figures;
Hilde, 'Lena, Dot, and Cathy as sisters; and Q, Tro, and 'Fei as brothers."
"And just where do I fall in your little adopted family?"
Heero asked curiously.
Duo dropped his gaze, retreating into that subdued version of himself
that Heero was learning to dread. He mumbled something too quietly for
Heero to understand what he said.
"I didn't quite hear that, Duo," Heero said, "but I'm sincerely
hoping it wasn't 'brother' because then I'd feel awfully odd about
doing this." With that, he surged to his feet and pulled Duo
into his arms. Wrapping one arm behind his back, Heero slid his hand up
under Duo's sweatshirt while using his other hand to lift Duo's face to
his for a kiss. With one hand firmly pressed against the bare skin of
Duo's back, Heero had no difficulty feeling the exact moment at which
the tension went out of his partner. Duo's hands came up to bury themselves
in Heero's hair and, for the first time since they'd put their fledgling
relationship "on hold" five years ago, Duo took the initiative
and ran his tongue along Heero's lips, requesting entrance. Heero readily
parted them, a rush of relief at Duo's small show of confidence in their
relationship filling him. For several long, blissful moments, Heero simply
relaxed and allowed Duo to explore his mouth freely. As Duo began to pull
back again, Heero caught his tongue and sucked on it gently for a moment
before letting it go. As they parted slightly for air, Heero's cobalt
gaze caught Duo's warm, slightly hesitant, violet one. "You never
wanted to put our relationship on hold, did you?" he asked very gently,
cautiously broaching a subject that he had been avoiding since first suspecting
it days earlier. "I was the one who brought it up and you only agreed
to try and make me happy..."
Ducking his head against Heero's shoulder, Duo admitted softly, "No,
I didn't want to wait. But you obviously weren't prepared to handle juggling
a beginning relationship and all the other things that were going on,
and I thought it was better to agree to put things on hold than to refuse
and end up destroying any chance we had by forcing things to happen before
you were ready. But I thought it would only be a year or maybe two at
most... I never dreamed that the five-year mark would come and go and
we'd still be 'on hold'. I just kept waitin' and waitin' and you never
said anything. I was startin' to think maybe you'd changed your mind completely
and just didn't want to tell me..."
Heero sighed, dropping his own forehead to rest on Duo's shoulder. "I'm
sorry. At the time, I thought I was making things easier on both of us.
It was so damn hard spending all our free time together, then turning
around and having one or the other of us gone on an undercover assignment
for weeks or even months at a time. We were so close to crossing that
boundary between friends and lovers and I didn't think I could stand that
kind of separation once we did. I never intended to let things go for
so long. But I was so used to letting you be the one to take the initiative
where anything emotional was concerned that I just kept waiting,
assuming that when you were ready to resume our relationship, you'd
let me know." Lifting a finger to Duo's lips as he raised his head
in protest, Heero continued, "I know, I know. You did finally
try to let me know, I just didn't pick up on the hint. I did eventually
figure that much out, but only at dinner the night we left for vacation.
I guess part of me expected to just come home from an assignment some
day to find you standing in my apartment, hands on your hips, demanding
to know when the hell we were finally going to make the time for us,
maybe even find that you'd moved yourself in already. I wasn't expecting
something as subtle as notes suggesting simple friend-type get-togethers,
notes that didn't even use the word 'date' to clue me in. And I sure as
hell didn't realize that in asking to put things on hold, I'd given you
the impression that I'd let you know when I was ready
to pick up where we'd left off. After all this time, I'm still not any
good at 'subtle', love."
Duo went completely still at that word. Answering the unspoken question,
Heero told him, "That's what you are, you know. My love. Spending
all this time together over the past few weeks has only confirmed that
for me. I was pretty sure of it back before I suggested putting things
on hold and I became more certain of it over the time we were apart. I
missed the other guys, sure, but nothing like the way I missed you. I
thought I was making things easier by calling a time out on our relationship,
but all I really did was leave us both with the loneliness and emptiness
all the time instead of just when circumstances forced us apart."
Drawing a deep breath, Heero admitted, "I fucked up and we both spent
five long, productive, but generally pretty damn miserable, years alone
as a result."
As Duo's arms tightened around him convulsively and a choked noise that
sounded suspiciously like a sob reached his ears, Heero moved them over
to the bed he hadn't used since that first night there. Propping himself
up against the headboard, he pulled Duo against him, rubbing his back
soothingly. "I'm sorry, love, so sorry," he murmured softly.
"I love you and I promise neither of us will have to be alone again.
We'll talk to Une, get her to take us off the undercover work the way
I should have done earlier. Five years ago she might have had a hard time
covering those assignments without us, but there's been more than enough
other qualified agents to handle them for some time now. I think we've
earned our chance to enjoy peace by now; we don't always have to be the
ones in the front lines."
"Support staff sounds good to me," Duo responded in a choked
voice. Lifting a still-dry face from Heero's chest, he kissed Heero fervently
before pulling back to tell him, "I love you too. Have since long
before you ever made that request. Agreein' to it just about tore me apart,
but I knew pushin' you into something you weren't ready for would just
lead to even more pain in the long run. That's why I kept waitin' for
you to make the first move towards resuming our relationship - I didn't
want my own impulsiveness and impatience wreckin' things. Eventually,
though, I couldn't stand the wait anymore and started tryin' to give you
a gentle nudge with all those invitations to watch a movie or go out for
dinner or whatever. I didn't wanna use the term 'date' 'cause that would
seem too much like pushin' you if you weren't ready yet. When you kept
beggin' off as too tired or too busy, I didn't know what to think,
'specially since you did accept a few times..."
Gently cupping one hand along the curve of Duo's jaw, Heero regretfully
repeated, "I'm sorry. You seemed to be suggesting 'best friend' activities
and I could only handle a couple of those before I started wanting more...
And since you seemed to be doing okay with the way things were and I expected
you to give me some sort of obvious sign if you wanted more, I'd refuse
the next few invitations to give myself time to wrestle my emotions back
under control again. Face it, love, I'm a completely clueless baka where
social situations are concerned. If there was some way I could just magically
make myself better at picking up hints, I'd do it in a heartbeat. All
those little subtleties of social interaction just slip right by me and
most of the time I don't even know I missed something. Promise me you
won't ever rely on hints again to get something important across
to me, please Duo?"
"Promise," Duo swore fervently.
Leaning into the arm wrapped around his shoulders, Wufei said quietly,
"We're going to have to stop making out and actually talk
about this sooner or later, you know."
Reluctantly, Zechs replied, "I know. If there was one thing I would
never have believed would happen during this enforced vacation, this,"
he pressed a quick kiss to Wufei's lips, "would be it. We've always
struck sparks off each other, I guess we were just never in a situation
that let us discover the real nature of those sparks. And I've done nothing
but fight against my sexual preferences over the years since I first discovered
them. As the last male Peacecraft, it was my duty to continue the Peacecraft
line, or so tradition said."
"You think you have pressure that way - I'm the last of the
Dragon clan, something Master O mentions virtually every time he
sees me," Wufei reminded him. "It's only been recently that
I finally decided no amount of rationalization that I was 'carrying on
tradition' could make up for a loveless, passionless marriage. So up until
a year or so ago, I wouldn't have even been willing to admit to the possibility
of, as you so succinctly put it, this," he concluded as he
pulled the other man's face down to his for a deeper kiss than the one
he had just received.
"So - get Une to transfer you to Relena's security staff for a while
and see where all this leads us?" the tall blond asked when they
"I think that would be the wisest move, yes."
"I overheard Iria talking to Rashid. All three of them are coming
by this afternoon to 'check up' on us," Duo told Trowa in a low voice.
"Heero and I have an idea... They all wanted us to spend a month
actin' like teenagers, right? Well, here's what we're gonna do..."
Heading off to pass the plan on to Quatre while Duo went off to relay
it to Wufei, Trowa allowed a very, very tiny smirk to creep across his
face. This was going to be fun. How very convenient that it had finally
started snowing two days ago and hadn't stopped since. And that it was
absolutely perfect packing snow...
Halfway between the car and the house, Sally stopped in her tracks. "What's
wrong?" Une asked. Ahead of them, Iria stopped and turned back as
"I think we're about to be ambushed," Sally answered, flicking
a quick glance back at the car and debating which direction to run.
"What?" Une asked. The snowball that splatted against her shoulder
just as she spoke answered that question quite neatly.
Shrieking with laughter, Relena and Dorothy popped up from behind some
bushes and flung a barrage of snowballs at the three older women before
turning and running under the covering fire provided by Zechs and Wufei.
"I hope you all realize that this means war," Sally mock-threatened,
shaking her fist dramatically. The effect of her speech was somewhat ruined
by the slushy snowball that struck her waving hand with perfect accuracy.
Ducking and running for cover from the fresh barrage of snowballs pelting
down from the roof , the three women exchanged happy smiles. Obviously,
this vacation had done wonders for the eight young adults whose welfare
they had been so concerned over.