Title: Heart of Glass
Author: Flamika
Category: Romance
Warnings: a little bit o'sap, Duo's potty mouth, mild shounen-ai
Rating: R
Pairings: 2+1
Author's Note: Well, you guys wanted it, you got it! This is one of the prequels to "Something About Heero". ^_^ And with this fic...the Domestic Bliss Arc has begun! ^_^
Arc: Domestic Bliss

Heart of Glass

Nothing takes the past away
Like the future
Nothing makes the darkness go
Like the light
You're shelter from the storm
Give me comfort in your arms

-- "Nothing Really Matters", Madonna

You know, I often wonder how a big ol' dipstick like myself managed to make it as a Gundam pilot. I mean, think about it, people. Being an assassin requires stealth. I'm not stealthy. If I have something tosay, goddamn it, I say it loud and I say it proud.

Being an assassin requires a heart made of ice. My heart is made of mush. I cried when they freed Willy, for God's sake. And being an assassin requires grace. I'm not graceful. I'm probably the most fucking clumsy person you'll ever meet.

"YEOW!!! OW OW OW!! HOT HOT HOT!! GOD, THAT'S FUCKING HOT!!!"

Especially when I'm cooking.

And just for the record, it's always better if I'm injured on the job and Heero has to finish making the meal. Because the things I make are poisonous, I swear. It's only Heero's Guts and Intestines O'Steel that can manage to digest what I conjure up. Ha, I'll bet you thought I was going to say Guts and Intestines O'Gundanium, right? Well you were wrong! Heero's face is made out of Gundanium, I'll admit that much. I mean, I did punch the guy once. Ouchie. Even the memory makes me wince.

And while we're on the subject of steel, Heero has buns made of said material.

And THAT, my friends, is the REAL reason I burned myself. I'm a perv, I know. Just add that to the list of all the completely worthless information that Duo has given you. Oh yeah, and while you're at it, add this also: When you drop boiling water on your hand, it hurts like an effing bitch. [1]

"Owww," I whimpered plaintively as I brought the reddened flesh to my mouth, sucking on it in an attempt to ease the screeching ache.

"Duo?" Heero turned around from where he had been bending over his laptop and looked at me strangely. "What happened?"

I wanted to say, I splashed water on my hand because I was so damn busy staring at your ass. But even a grandstanding idiot like myself knew that THAT probably wouldn't go over well so instead, I made a face at him and said, "What do you THINK happened, smart guy?! The water jumped up and landed on the back of my goddamn hand!"

"Don't you hate it when water jumps up all by itself?" Heero asked seriously, but those blue eyes staring at me from under that mop of bangs were shining with
amusement.

"Find this funny, do we?!" I snapped at him. You know you're a dumbass when Mr. Divorced-From-His-Emotions Yuy is laughing at you.

Ignoring Heero for the moment – since this was all his fault, of course! – I stomped over to the sink and flipped on the cold water with my unburned hand. Not even bothering to roll my damn sleeve up, I just stuck my poor little hand underneath the flow of water, delighted when the pain slowly began to ebb. That felt MUCH better...

I blinked in surprise when Heero's arm suddenly snaked past my shoulder, heading in the direction of the hot-cold switch. And here's another piece of information to add to your list: Heero Yuy is a sadistic bastard who likes to see his roommate suffer.

"Ouch! Dammit, Heero! Turn it back!" I screeched as the water spewing from the faucet suddenly turned from icy cold to scathingly hot.

[2] "Hot water is better for burns," Heero told me matter-of-factly, grabbing my wrist when I tried to yank my burnt hand out from under the water. I made a nice attempt to dislodge his fingers but the guy has a grip like fucking iron!

"No! It! Isn't!" I snapped at him, biting off every word as I tried to wrench my wrist from his grasp. It felt like my entire hand was on fire, and my sleeve was getting wetter and wetter by the second, some of the water spilling onto the countertop and dribbling onto the linoleum. Great. Another mess for me to mop up.

"Trust me on this, Duo," Heero growled into my ear, grunting in surprise when I suddenly planted my boot against the cabinets underneath the sink and started to shove backwards, my back slamming against his chest as he fought to hold his ground, his mustard-yellow sneakers (yes, he still has those hideous things) making hilarious squeaking noises on the linoleum. But hold his ground he did, the tough little asshole. He kept me pinned against the sink with my goddamn burnt hand under a stream of hot water! But despite the fact that my hand was being brutally mistreated by my best friend, that's not the thing that sticks in my mind most about the hellish experience. Instead, I remember two things: one, the way Heero's belt buckle was digging into my back and two, the smell of his cologne. Weird, huh?

But, anyways, back to how Heero was torturing me. He kept my goddamn hand under the hot water until I was practically bawling like a big baby and begging for
him to have mercy on me. And when the bastard finally did let go out me, I ran into the corner of the kitchen faaaaarrrr away from Heero, holding my dripping hand against my chest protectively and glaring at my tormenter from across the room.
Hey, if Heero didn't have such a nice ass, none of this would have happened in the first place!

"You're a sadistic bastard," I spat at him, tossing my head to get my way-too-long bangs out of my face. I knew I was starting to look like a sheepdog, but I'm too attached to every part of my hair to cut even a single strand.

"And you're hiding in a corner like a little kid," he sent back at me, shutting off the hot water and using his tank top for a towel.

"Only because you were trying to burn my goddamn hand off!" I snapped.

Heero only stared at me. I was about to begin a rather colorful rant when I suddenly realized something.

My hand wasn't hurting anymore.

I mean, sure, it was still stinging a little bit, but I was more concerned with the fact that Heero had been right and I had been wrong. Boy, did I ever feel like a dumbass. And Heero clearly thought so as well, from the way he was smirking at me.

"What are you looking at?" I snapped, sticking my nose up in the air as I stomped past him and back towards the stove, where the boiling water was still gurgling
happily.

"You're such a baka," he told me flatly as I scowled at the ingredients I had plopped down on the counter prior to my little mishap. Heero likes to call me a
baka. It's Japanese or something. I'd like to think it means "wonderfully smart, charming, gorgeous, sex-god that I would like to bonk" but it probably means something like "stupid, drooling idiot" or some other flattering description.

I turned around briefly to stick my tongue out at him before reverting my attention back to making my UDD. What's a UDD you ask? Well, allow me to enlighten you. UDD stands for Unidentified Duo-made Dinner. Great, right? I made it up myself. Well, I had to come up with a name for the goopy messes that Heero and I have to eat when it's my day to cook. Rather than saying, "Here, Heero, you're gonna eat this crap and you're gonna like it!" I can just say, "UDD!!" and the rest is a given. I'm a genius, right?

Damn straight.

I tore open a package of frozen chicken, nearly dropping all the slices onto the floor in my haste. I was trying VERY hard not to look over at where Heero was bending over yet again to mop up the water mess, giving me a lovely view of his wonderful backside. Forget his gun. I'm starting to think that his ass is his secret weapon. Certainly does number on me. Sorta like Catherine's Wonderboobs.

But don't you DARE tell Trowa I said that! He'll feed me to his lions or something.

I dumped all the chicken into the boiling water, not bothering to read the recipe from the cookbook that Quatre had bought me and Heero as a "housewarming" present. Q's a comedian, he really is. I was in the process of "lightly sprinkling" a canister of these little green cut-up leafy thingamabobbers when the doorbell suddenly rang.

Heero and I have this really annoying doorbell because our old one broke and the cheap-ass people who own our cheap-ass apartment refused to fix it. So here comes the Almighty Quatre Big Bucks with another hilariously charming gift for us. A doorbell that plays "Jingle Bells" every time someone rings it. Just give me a normal "ding-dong" any day. Or a buzzer. Or a shotgun to shoot the doorbell with.

"Hee-man can you get that?" I called distractedly, awkwardly picking up a fork with my hands, which were now covered with oven mitts. (Smart move, right?)

"You get it," he grumped at me over the sound of laptops keys clacking and the merry little Christmas carol in the background.

"No, you get it!" I snapped at him. "I'm in the process of making a culinary masterpiece here!" That was a little fib, of course. We'd be lucky if what I made was remotely edible, much less a "masterpiece."

"Hn," Heero grunted in defeat, his chair scraping across the kitchen floor as he marched himself into
the adjoining living room.

I wrinkled my nose in distaste as I lifted a steaming piece of chicken from my little brew-pot. //Now// I thought, //this is a PERFECT example of what chicken SHOULD NOT look like!// I vaguely heard Heero fumbling with the superfluous locks on the door as I leaned forward and cautiously sniffed the Object Formerly Known As Chicken that was dangling limply from my fork.

Then I heard this horrible, robot-like voice coming from the living room. "Hello. How are you?"

It took me a second to realize that it was Heero. I froze, just completely froze.

Jesus Christ! What the FUCK was that?! You just don't...I mean...never...actually SAYING something in that tone of voice before. I sounded like he was fucking CHOKING on the words – they came out THAT wavering and awkward. It was horrible. It was terrible. God, I felt like crying. Heero. The poor guy tries really hard to be normal, and then...this happens! That fucking emotionless soldier in him won't let him talk like a normal person!

Shit. Poor Heero.

In that moment, I don't think I had ever felt so much goddamn emotion driving stakes of sympathy and agony into my heart. There were tears in my eyes. Tears for Heero.

Then I heard the voice of our neighbor coming from the living room, following a rather painful silence, "Yes, um, I'm fine, but I was, um, wondering if you and your friend had any sugar I could borrow?"

Sugar?! Who the fuck did she think Heero and I were? Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker?

My fiendish little overcooked chicken suddenly hopped off of the fork and back into my mess of slop, splashing some more boiling water onto the front of my button-down shirt, but I really didn't give a hoot about that at the moment. Dropping the fork into the boiling pot, I raced over to the pantry and yanked out a glass canister of sugar (actually, it might have been salt, but who cared?), fumbling with my oven mitt-clad hands. Then I hauled ass into the living and to the front door so fast that I practically left dust in my wake.

Our neighbor looked stunned when a wide-eyed, frazzled man with a braid, an apron, oven mitts, and food stains all over his shirt ran up to her and shoved the canister of sugar/salt in her arms. "There you go!" I exclaimed in what was supposed to be a friendly tone, all but shoving her out the door. "Nice seeing you but you have to leave right now 'cause I got something cooking and I don't want it to burn so goodbye now!" The door slid from Heero's limp fingers as I slammed it on the lady's poor confused face, barely giving her a chance to call out a thank you. I really don't know what I was trying to do then. I just wanted her out of the apartment where she couldn't look at Heero any more. Don't ask what came over me because I probably couldn't tell you. But at that moment, I didn't want ANYONE near Heero. Call it getting protective, I guess.

"Ha, ha, what a strange lady!" I babbled mindlessly as I started locking up the door again. "I mean, to think that WE would have a lifetime supply of sugar or something! It's not we do so much baking anyways even though I do like to put sugar in my cereal every now and then but since I ate the last of the Captain Crunch® yesterday I guess it's okay if we gave her all the sugar! Right, Heero?"

No answer. I swallowed hard, pushing my annoying bangs out of my eyes with one of my oven mitts. I mean, I wasn't expecting Heero to get all possessive over the sugar, but hell, a little "hn" might have been nice.

"Well!" I declared, starting to walk back in the direction of the kitchen. "My masterpiece awaits! And you better finish your report, Heero, or Une might have a coronary or something! C'mon, Heero. H-Heero?"

I didn't take me long to realize that he wasn't following me. When I turned around, I saw that he was standing statue still in front of the door, hands balled into fists at his sides. Just a note: seeing Heero with his hands balled into fists is a normal thing. It's just the way he stands, and when I think about it, making fists is probably an old habit of his. However, when you see tendons and white knuckles on those balled up fists, run for cover. White knuckles are a sign of instability! I know this from experience. Prominent tendons are not exactly good signs either, though they don't denote as much "bad shit about to happen" as the white knuckles do. Heero hadn't made "white knuckle fists" in a long time, and I was totally bummed to see them putting in an unwelcome appearance. But what really drove the "uh-oh he's unstable" home was the look in his eyes as he stood gazing at the closed door. His eyes get this really heart-wrenching haunted look when something or someone manages to upset him, and at the moment, all those spooks were blazing in full force within the depths of his eyes.

I felt so fucking sorry for him. I seriously would have bawled just because I knew he wanted to but he wouldn't let himself. For Heero, I would have done it.

But at the moment, I just stood there like the proverbial lump on the frickin' log. I wanted to do something to make him feel better, but I just didn't know what. There really isn't much a guy like Heero will let you do. One wrong move and you'll end up flat on your ass with his pistol up one of your nostrils.

But me, being the tenacious little bastard I am, had to do something.

"Heero, c'mon buddy," I said softly, reaching out and putting one of my oven mitt-clad hands on his bare shoulder.

He slapped my hand away. Good thing I was wearing oven mitts. Nasty green ones with cherries on the fabric, too. Courtesy of Wu-pu's rather ODD sense of
humor.

"C'mon, Heero," I urged him, making my voice a bit firmer this time. "Don't be like that, man. Let's just go back to the kitchen." I put my hand on his shoulder again. He slapped it away again, harder this time. Ouch.

"Aw, Heero, don't be upset!" I exclaimed, putting my hand on his shoulder for the third time. He practically took my entire hand off this time, all the while never changing his expression.

Okay! That was it! Three strikes was all I could handle! Time to get physical...

Usually, when I want Heero to pay attention to me, all I do is hook my fingers into the waistband of his pants and yank him closer to me. For some reason, that just blows the guy's mind and he doesn't even raise a fist despite the fact that, yes, I do have part of my hand down his pants. However, such a tactic would probably have proven rather difficult with my big ol' oven mitts and his tight jeans so I had to resort to other methods...

"Alright Yuy!" I declared, trying to use my best authoritative "Wufei/Une/Zechs/Noin all mixed up together" tone as I reached up and gripped his face firmly between my hands. "Look at me! No, not at the door, at ME!!"

Thank god his fists remained at his sides and not lodged in my face as I finally managed to get him to look me in the eye. Not an easy feat, you know. The guy's as stubborn as an ass. But when he did, shit, I almost wished he would have kept on staring at the door. I've always been a sucker for blue eyes, and when I saw Heero fighting a losing battle with his emotions within those endless depths, it completely broke my heart. I honestly hadn't thought that he would get upset over such a little thing...

"It's okay, Heero," I said softly with the most gentle smile I could muster. I patted his cheek with one of my oven mitts. "It's okay, buddy."

Hey, I didn't know what else to say! And the way he was glaring at me clearly meant that he probably wanted to be left alone...HOWEVER, with Heero, there's always several layers every word, every glare, every everything. So, out of nowhere, I decided that leaving him alone was the last thing I was going to do. I also decided that it would be a grand idea to give him a big warm hug. Huggles from Duo.

Yippy skippy.

But by golly, I gave him a nice fat hug, wrapping my arms around his shoulders and pulling his unyielding body close so that I could press my cheek against his. Now, as you can probably tell, Heero's not a fun person to hug. He's not like Quatre, who I swear melts like butter in your arms. Or Wufei, who has a tendency of getting nice and feisty and wiggle a lot. Or Trowa, who I like to run and tackle-hug because I know he's too graceful to ever fall over. When you hug Heero, he's just sorta...there. Sure, his body is warm, and he smells good (most of the time), but it's like hugging a fucking statue. Nevertheless, I enjoy it.

Alright, so what if I'm in love with the guy? Bite me.

Of course, there are SOME instances where Heero will hug me back. Honestly, though, I didn't think this was going to be one of those times until I felt his shoulders slowly relaxing, as if all the energy was being sucked out of them. Then he suddenly sighed and just FELL into me, wrapping his arms around my waist and burying his face in my shoulder. It was the sweetest thing, I tell you.

I smiled and rubbed his back with one of my blasted oven mitts, feeling him relaxing even more underneath the soothing gesture. His hair was silky and soft as I nuzzled his ear gently.

What most people don't understand is that Heero Yuy is not nearly as strong as they would like to think. It was little instances like this that proved such a fact. I mean, everyone and their mother wants to stick him on a pedestal and worship him like he's some sort of fucking god! Heero Yuy, the great war hero whose strength the world needs and everyone wants to have. You know what I say to that? Fuck you. Leave him the hell alone! Reality check, assholes, Heero Yuy is a nineteen year old boy who is still in the process of learning how to say "hello" without sounding like he's gagging on the words. He doesn't need people oogling him and fawning over his every move.



Heero once said that his life was cheap and that Relena Darlian was an individual with strength that far surpassed his. He wasn't lying, people. I'm sure Relena-sama has never fallen apart just because she made a little faux pass with a neighbor asking to borrow sugar. Heero knows he's weak.

But to me, his life will never be cheap. Ever. He's everything to me.

Okay, I know I'm too mushy for my own good. I'll be quiet now.

When Heero finally pulled away from me, I could tell he was feeling better. His face was calm again, and he didn't look like a walking time bomb waiting to explode anymore. Thank god for small favors. I smiled at him cheerfully and slung my arm around his shoulders, his own arm still hovering around my waist as I guided him back in the direction of his precious little computer, chattering happily.

He was about to sit down when I did something I had been wanting to do all evening. I slapped his ass. Yeah, that was for sticking my hand under the hot water, you gorgeous bastard!

He spun and glared angrily at me.

I ducked his half-hearted swing and ran back into the kitchen, laughing like a madman.

He went back to clacking away at his laptop and I went back to trying to cook dinner. I babbled. I laughed. I made jokes. He told me to shut up. I served him my Unidentified Duo-made Dinner, and he ate it, like he always did. And, in accordance with our normal routine, I teased him when his stomach started making funny noises afterwards. I plopped on the couch to watch a boring-ass movie. When he was done with his report thingie, he came and sat next to me. I fell asleep on his shoulder. Probably slobbered all over his sleeve, too. But he didn't say anything.

I hadn't really said anything all evening, either. Sure, I might have gone on and on about some subject or the other, but my words were just sort of...there for the whole evening. They were hollow, meaningless, just little critters meant to fill the silence. I was too busy contemplating the beautiful paradox that was
my roommate.

Heero Yuy.

Face of Gundanium.

Buns of Steel.

Grip of Iron.

Heart of Glass.

~fin

[1] This hurts like hell. Trust me, I know. I couldn't type for a couple of days because of my close encounter with a tub of hot wax. Two chunks of skin are still suspiciously missing from my middle finger.
[2] Actually, I was informed belatedly that hot water IS better for burns. I've never tried it out, though. Personally, I dove straight for the ice bucket when I realized that two of my fingers were encased in boiling hot wax.

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