by Flamika

Of Migraines and Marriage

The day Heero proposed to me, I had the biggest goddamn migraine in the world.

And damn, was I in pain. Have you ever had one those stupid headaches that just won't go away no matter how much you sit still or how many extra strength painkillers you take? I swear to God, I had tried everything to get rid of that damned thing! I would have taken the entire bottle of aspirin, but Quatre took it away from me. Said it was bad for me or something. He can get a little weird sometimes. And when I asked everyone else for medicine, all they had to say was, "Baka/Duo/Maxwell, you just need to sit still!"

Come on. Me? Sit still? Hmmm... nope, doesn't register.

And to top it all off, I was in deep doo-doo with big bad boss Lady Une since I had sorta kinda walked out while she was lecturing me about how I couldn't go home from work early because I'd already missed too many days already and the Preventers needed my expertise and how all I did was take naps in mine and Heero's office and poor Heero ended up doing both of our reports and all that good crap that NO ONE wants to hear when it feels like they have a starfleet of oddball lifeforms having an interstellar war in their skull.

So I hightailed it out of there as fast as I freaking could and so my ass was probably going to get fired within the next day or so.

And as if my day couldn't get any worse, I managed to get everyone and their mother angry with me on short hop, skip, and jump from Une's office to the one that Heero and I share. First I ate this plate of food that I saw sitting all alone on a desk with no one to claim it. Hey, I thought it would help with my migraine! When in doubt... eat! That's what I always say. Anyways, it turned out to be Wufei's lunch, and he was not happy that I had eaten every last piece of it. Yeah, so I had to RUN outta there before he decapitated me or castrated me or something horrible like that. I swear he's such a psycho sometimes! Someone needs to take that katana away from him...

Oh yeah, and the food - whatever the hell it was: "ching chang" something - didn't help my headache a damn bit.

Then, I ran into Quatre and Trowa in the hallway, and I tried to say "hi" and be nice and all, but Quatre was still a little upset with me for trying to "kill myself" by taking all that aspirin, and Trowa - oh hell, it seems like Trowa's always mad at me. I don't think he likes me very much, even though I used to have a tiny crush on him because he had pretty green eyes and his hair totally cracked me up... how DOES he get it to stick out like that?

But anyways, where was I? Oh yeah! Then, I stopped by Noin's office to ask her for aspirin since she's really nice and everything. But you know what she told me?! She told me that I should CUT OFF MY BRAID since it was probably causing my headaches! That's the one thing that you never ever ever ever ever say to me! I know it's just hair, but, hey, it's my goddamn hair, and if I want to wear it in a girly braid then that's my goddamn problem! So I sort of ended up yelling at poor Noin, and then Zechs walks in and yells at me for yelling at Noin, and soon we were all yelling and the noise just made my migraine WORSE! So I stormed out of there and then I saw Sally in the hallway and she asked...

Hey, you get the picture, right? The whole damn building was pissed at me by the time I got to our office. Why did everyone have pick on the guy with the migraine?

Heero wasn't in the office when I stumbled in, and I was a little disappointed, but also a little relieved. With the rotten luck I was having, I would probably piss him off, too, even though he's so damn attractive when he's mad. Heero was the only reason I joined the Preventers, because I'm just a lovesick loser like that who has to follow the love of his life around like a lost puppy. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the love of my life just happens to be another boy? Just doesn't get any better than that, eh?

But, damn, I've been in love with Heero for as long as I can remember. The guy's amazing, plain and simple. He can do anything he puts his mind to, which is something quite commendable in the piece-of-shit world that we live in today where you encounter obstacles around every corner and people who insist on oppressing you and keeping you down. The guy can do anything, I swear. Like Superman or something. Only much better looking. And Heero's got a really great personality, though he never lets anyone see too much of it. He jokes around with me sometimes, though he never smiles when he does it. But I don't care about that. He's a lot of fun to wrestle with, too, though I've never won a match. God, but I love being close to him. He even smells good!

And he's single, too.

Not that that matters. He probably doesn't like guys anyways. But there are these little things that he does that give me hope. Sometimes he'll play with my braid for a little while when he thinks I'm asleep. And he massages my shoulders when I'm really under a lot of stress. He even took care of me one time when I got a really bad case of pneumonia and I thought I was going to die. See? He's really a sweet guy! One time I did something very stupid at a party: I kissed him on the cheek. But here's the catch. He didn't do anything! Crazy, right? He probably just thought I was drunk or something, but I wasn't! I was completely sober, but I was just acting really hyper that night.

Oops! Got off track again! That always happens when I talk or think about Heero. Hilde says I'm a "love fool." She's probably right, too.

Anyways, I walked into my office clutching my aching head and running into things left and right. I plopped down in my chair and laid my head down on my messy desk with a thud. Not a very smart thing to do. The pain intensified tenfold, and I groaned in plaintive agony. My head was just one huge aching mass that was being as persistent as an annoying neighbor and just as hard to get rid of. Even the meager light in the room was causing me pain! Don't I just get all the luck?

"Somebody kill me," I groaned to the empty room, then stopped talking when my own voice began to make the pain in my head worse. Where was Mr. Omae-O-Korosu Yuy when I actually wanted him to shoot me?

I must have lain there for who knows how long, moaning and slobbering all over my cluttered desktop like a stuck pig when the sound of the door opening creating new flashes of blinding agony in my skull. Heero had just walked in. I know him so well that I recognize the "special way" he has of entering a room. Nobody does it quite like he does. I can't really explain how I can tell it's him without even looking. I just know that there's a difference in the sounds Heero makes as he enters a room from, say, the sounds Wufei or Hilde make when they enter a room.

I started to raise my limp hand to wave to him, but my brain was so busy hollering in agony at the unwelcome noise that it apparently didn't have time to order any other part of my body to do anything else. So I just laid there like a lump on a log as the sounds of Heero moving about the room made my migraine even worse. If I had been more alert, I probably would have noticed that the sounds of his steps on the ground weren't quite right. They were a little too quick, a little too loud. Heero always deviated from his usual "footstep pattern" when he was nervous or agitated.

But since I was totally out of it and only worried about the throbbing in my skull, I didn't pay attention. All I knew was that Heero was making a lot of damn noise for a guy that was usually so quiet, and I was tempted to tell him to sit his nice ass down and be still for a change. I just my eyes tightly and gritted by teeth, but, of course, the movement just made everything worse.

Hey, I thought, maybe he WILL put me out of my misery if I piss him off! Seems I'm really good at that these days...

I was still pondering this idea when he suddenly strode up my desk and put something on the desktop with a thunking noise that made my devil of headache rip and tear at the inside of my skull. God, it hurt like a bitch! For a second, the pain paralyzed me and all I did was listen to Heero shuffle back to his desk and start going through all his paperwork, making A LOT OF GODDAMN NOISE. Did he always make that much noise just going through papers?

You know how even when you have your eyes closed, you can sense something taking up the space in front of you? Like if you reached out with your eyes still closed, you know your hands would touch something? Yeah, well, when you have a migraine, even THAT hurts your head, and that's what Heero's mysterious object was doing to me at that moment. Now, normally, I'm a pretty curious guy that never lets a mystery go unsolved, but, needless to say, I wasn't feeling so adventurous at the moment.

So, without even looking, I reached out with one lead-heavy hand pushed the "mysterious object" away from my pounding head to a distance where it wouldn't bug me with its presence.

Heero suddenly stopped rifling through his papers, and I simply relished the void of sound until he suddenly scooted his chair back and walked back up to my desk again. I could feel him staring at me as I lay there with my head on my desk. Some part of me was wondering what he was up to, but all thoughts were drowned out in pain when he reached out and slid that damned whatever-it-was back to its original position near my head.

I was in pain. A lot of pain. Heero, the things you do to me...

And the guy just walked on back to his desk as if his "partner" wasn't dying from a migraine a few feet away. Then he started shuffling those freaking papers AGAIN! Heero never shuffles papers and he was choosing that moment to do it! What would he do next? Start clicking away on that damned laptop of his?

Baring my teeth in pain and annoyance but still refusing to open my eyes, I shoved that "mystery object" away again, hoping to get my message across.

Heero was a lot quicker this time. That guy just got up, stomped over my desk, picked that thing up, and slammed the sucker down right in front of my face.

It felt like a bomb went off in my head. The pain got so bad in an instant that I felt like bursting into tears and curling up in a corner and sucking my thumb like I used to do when I was little.

But you guys know that I never cry, right? Haven't shed a tear in years. So, I chose the next best alternative. I got pissed. Really pissed.

Ignoring the blinding agony that lanced through my skull, I shot up from my desk, my bloodshot eyes flying open wide.

"What the hell, Heero?!" I cried angrily, glaring up at his emotionless face. I was in so much pain that I missed the spark of surprise and hurt that flickered in those beautiful Prussian blue depths. He was just standing at the end of my desk with his muscles rigid and his hands clenching and unclenching like he was having a seizure or something. Heero only does that when he's nervous, and I would have noticed if I hadn't been yelling at the poor guy. But I was really mad.

I gestured wildly to my head. "Man here with a migraine, smart guy! And here you are slamming shit down right in front my face! What the hell is this thing anyways?!"

I looked down at my cluttered desktop, wondering what Heero's new weapon of destruction was. But there, next to an empty McDonalds bag, was a small, innocent-looking pristine box sitting meekly amongst the trash, completely spotless and undaunted from my angry outburst. It was a cute box, too, even though it was pretty plain. I never think boxes are cute, but for some reason, this one was.

Then a hand suddenly swooped down out of nowhere and snatched the thing off the desk, and it took my aching brain a few seconds to realize that Heero had taken the box back and was walking stiffly back to his desk, like an offended cat... or a hurt child.

I suddenly felt really terrible. In fact, I felt god freaking awful, and it wasn't from the headache.
Shit... I think I hurt his feelings. Way to go, Maxwell.

"Hey, Heero, come back!" I cried, all my anger vanishing in an instant. I felt like such an asshole.
Of course, he didn't answer. Just placed the box gently on his own desk and sat down stiffly, like a robot with unoiled hinges.

"Wait!" I called again, ignoring the pain exploding in my skull. I grabbed the edge of my desk and started moving my chair across the floor, briefly thanking God that I had one of those cool rolling chairs. (I stole it from Wufei, but that's besides the point!)

"Sorry, Heero," I said, rolling to a stop next to where he was sitting with his mask of frigid cold back in place, shuffling through his papers again. "I didn't mean to yell at you," I apologized, babbling like I normally do. "What was that box? Was it for me? Was it a present?"

"Go away," Heero said coldly, not even bothering to look at me.

Ouch... that one stung.

For a second, all I did was stare at his handsome profile dumbly until I recovered my wits. "I'm really, really, really sorry, Heero!" I apologized profusely, making the most pitiful face I could with a huge migraine still pounding in my temples. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings!"

No answer. And he still refused to look at me.

"Was it for me?" I asked again, trying to sound upbeat and eager.

There was a long silence except for the nervous shuffling of paper, but then he said quietly, "Yes."

My eyes widened. "Really?! Can I have it now? Please, please, please!!!"

"No," he snapped, grabbing a pen from his neat little canister and just holding it in his hand. "It's obvious you don't want it."

"But I do!" I cried, nodding my head and regretting it. "I want it now! Lemme see it! What is it?" I was really curious now.

"You don't wanna know," Heero said quietly, glaring at the paper and pen in his hand as if somehow they had caused this entire situation.

As I sat there staring at his gorgeous profile with its fine-formed features so hard and unyielding, my first thought was: Dude, he's not gonna give me this thing. However, my next thought was: The freaking box is just sitting there! Screw asking for it! Just grab it, Mr. I-Used-To-Be-The-Best-Pickpocket-On-L2!
And the quick, thieving hands that I had acquired at a young age helped a lot. I had leapt out of my seat and snatched that box just as Heero was reaching to grab it away. His hand hit nothing but air, and he suddenly turned to me with a shocked expression on his face. Grinning despite all the pain moving around was causing me, I leapt out my chair and started backing away, holding my prize firmly in my hands.

"Duo!" Heero cried, jumping out of his seat and stalking me. "Give that back!"

"No!" I replied with a smile.

The look on his face changed from shocked to panicked. "I mean it, Duo!" he cried, making a grab for the box, but I yanked it away. "Give me the box!"

"No! You said it was for me!"

"I take it back!" he growled, stalking me as I continued to back away from him. "Duo, I'm not kidding around with you!"

I turned the box around in my hands, taking my eyes off of Heero for a moment as I admired it. "Hmmm," I teased as I maneuvered so I was behind my desk. "I wonder what's in it? I think I should open it now!"

Heero suddenly lunged forward and tackled me, taking me completely by surprise. That guy can move freaking fast when he wants to, I tell you! I felt his arms encircled my waist just before his entire body weight hit me, taking us both to the floor with a bang.

"Ow!" I cried, making sure my arms were firmly wrapped around the little white box. "Hard floor! Headache! Ow ow ow ow ow!!!"

I felt Heero's warm body pressing against mine and he tried to grab for the box. "Duo, give it to me!"

An Offspring song lyric suddenly popped in my head. "'Give it to me baby, uh-huh, uh-huh!'" I sang happily as I rolled out of his prying grasp... and right into a wall.

"Oof," I whimpered. "That hurt."

I suddenly felt Heero grab me by the back of my jacket and roll me onto my back, hell-bent on getting that box from my hands. Of course, by then, I was so curious that I just HAD to know what was so important about the freaking thing. I wasn't about to let him take it back!

So I did something that I used to do back on L2 when I didn't want any other children swiping my hard-won items from me. Rolling onto my side, I brought my knees up to my chest and lowered the box so that it was completely shielded by my body - and in an area that Heero wasn't likely to grab at. Or so I thought.

But, of course, Mr. Perfect Soldier never does what you expect him to do. He went for the box. He actually went for it! I never expect him in a hundred thousand years to go for it! He just wormed his arm between by curled-up knees and my body and started grabbing for it. Yeah, and he totally missed... and grabbed, um, something else.

"Whoa!" I cried. "Heero, that's not your box, buddy!"

He half-gasped/half-choked - something I've never heard him do before - and jerked back as if I had slapped him. I felt him moving away from me on the floor, his leather pants and combat boots squeaking on the linoleum. He hid - and I mean this literally - underneath my desk. Well, not actually underneath it, but you know that little area where your legs go? That's where he retreated under, since my chair was gone and it had left the space empty.

I half-sat up, the box still clutched in my hands and that damn migraine still pounding at my temples. "If it was a snake, it would have bit ya," I joked, a bit unnerved by the sight of Heero Yuy hiding underneath my desk. He was looking like a little boy, with his knees drawn up and his arms wrapped tightly around them. I couldn't see much of him in the gloom underneath the desk, but there was a pair of shimmering blue orbs that were probably his eyes. I love his eyes. They're so beautiful.

"Hey, Heero," I said gently, trying to console him. "Come out from under there! It was an accident!"

And a nice accident at that.

"Duo, give me the box back," he ordered flatly, proving to me that no matter what he looked like on the outside, he was still the same old Heero.

I sighed and squatted on my haunches. "You said it was for me, Heero," I said to him, striving to be reasonable. "Why can't I open it now? I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier. I really want to see what it is now."

He shifted slightly, apparently getting braver and crawling out from underneath the desk so that he was in the light. He looked at the linoleum and said, "Duo, it was a mistake. Now give me back the box."

Damn... he looks so sad...

I sighed again, staring at the pristine box in my hands and then back to where Heero was studying the floor as if it were the most interesting thing in the world. He looked so pitiful. I'd never seen him like this before, and it was starting to agitate me a bit.

"Look, Heero," I said softly. "I won't open it if you don't want me to, but you'll have to tell me why you don't want me to see what's in it."

He looked up at me for a second, Prussian blue eyes exposed and vulnerable, but then he made a face and returned his gaze to the floor, his messy bangs hiding his face. "Fine," he muttered. "Open it, but if you don't want it, then just give it back to me, and we'll never talk about it again. And please... don't hate me, okay?"

I blinked in surprise, my heart skipping a beat. "Heero, I could never hate you," I told him softly, and it was the truth.

He didn't say anything.

"Okay!" I declared, trying to sound encouraging. "I'm going to open it now!"

Knowing that he wasn't going to react, I gently took the cardboard top off of the mysterious box and looked inside.

I blinked. Sitting in the gloom of the interior of the box was what looked to be another box, this one with a square bottom and curved top. It was blue and velvety-looking, sort of like those cool fuzzy shirts that Hilde wears when we go dancing. The shape looked vaguely familiar. Maybe I'd seen a box like this somewhere before, maybe in a jewelry store? Yeah! I'd seen a box like this when Zechs bought Noin's engagement...

Holy shit!!! Oh. My. God. Oh. My. God. Is this for real? Is this a...

With trembling hands, I slowly reaching down into the box and took out the velvety case, watching as the light danced across its surface invitingly. My stupid hands were still shaking as I opened the little case and looked at what was inside.

I shut the box with a loud snap and held it back out to Heero. I nearly crushed the little thing in my hand, I was holding it so tightly.

Heero slowly lifted his head. Once his eyes fastened on the box being returned to him, something in him seemed to shatter like the glass of a lost dream. His shoulders drooped, and his face fell. Numbly, he reached out and removed the velvet case from my outstretched hand, being careful not to look at me. He muttered something that sounded like an apology and started to get up, only to be stopped when I suddenly put my hand in front of his face, the back of it towards him.

He stared at it for a second, then looked me in the face, eyes carefully guarded, but I saw the fragile hope hidden there. He looked so beautiful.

"If you're gonna do this," I told him, laughter dancing in my eyes. "Then you're gonna do it right, buddy." I wiggled my fingers at him.

For a moment, he just stared at me open-mouthed, and I was afraid that I had put him in some sort of traumatic shock. But then relief washed over those fathomless Prussian blue eyes, bringing a light to his face that I had never seen before. He kneeled in front of me, opened the velvety box, and took out the ring. It was truly a beautiful thing, with a gold band that glittered in our dimly lit office and three diamonds embedded it in comfortably.

Gripping my wrist gently with this left hand, he slid the ring carefully onto my finger with the other hand. And looking right into my eyes with those beautiful Prussian blue eyes of his, he said softly:

"Duo Maxwell, will you marry me?"

And I smiled and said, "Yes."

Then I did something really dumb and embarrassing. I started crying. And when I say 'crying,' I mean literally sobbing with huge, fat tears rolling down my face like Niagra Falls or something. It just felt like the words that had passed between us had gone straight to my heart and unleashed this huge flood of tears that I had been holding back for years. God, it was so embarrassing! I was blubbering to Heero about how much I loved him and how long I'd been waiting for him to ask me to marry him and how long I'd been dreaming about it. I'm such wimp, I swear.

But Heero didn't seem to mind. He just reached out and pulled me into his lap and held me close to him, kissing away the tears rolling down my face until I lifted my lips to his and we shared our first kiss. And I was content just to stay there for the longest time, kissing my fiancée and thinking about how damn nice Duo Maxwell-Yuy was going to sound.

And so there's my short story about how Heero proposed to me on the crumby floor behind my crumby desk in our crumby Preventer office on the crumbiest day of my life when I had a crumby migraine. Romantic, huh? Well, I sure as hell thought so! He made it the best day of my life!

But you know what the really romantic part is?

The minute I said "yes," my migraine was gone.


13 April 2001

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