Author: J. Strahan
Pairings: 1+2, 2+1
Rating: PG
Warnings: mild shonen ai, sweet, fluffy, OOC?
Disclamer: Just imagine that I wrote one.
Lots of love to Hisui for giving me the idea, and to STC amd Heather who tell me about the times at Girl's Camp when she would ask me questions as I slept, and I answered. (This is absolutely true. I was so embarassed when they told me some of the things I said!)

Appreciate Friends

Duo sighed, watching the clock on the kitchen wall. Midnight had come and gone, and Heero was still no where to be found. He knew Heero was out on a mission, but it had been fairly simple. He should have been back by now.

Frustration and anxiety soon became anger. He didn't know who he was mad at, though. He couldn't be angry with Heero. He was just following orders. Orders. His fury immediately fixed upon the scientists who were manipulating them, then fizzed away. He couldn't be angry at them, either. The scientists were doing what they think is best. They know what they're doing, and they all knew that. The boys follow their orders by their own free will; the scientists couldn't force them to do anything.

Duo sighed again, pushing himself up from the table and stumbled to the front door, his sleep-deprived body complaining as he did so. Where was he?

+

Exhausted and slightly bloodied, Heero stumbled into his and Duo's apartment in the suburbs of the city. He had been very skepitcal of his friend's choice of a safehouse, but Duo reassured him that the best way to hide is in plain sight, as long as you know how to blend into the surroundings. Heero smiled to himself. Duo had been right of course, seeing how Duo had been raised on the streets of the bustling industrial colony of L2. As entered, however, he stumbled on something. It was Duo. For a brief moment, he feared Duo had been wrong about their security, and OZ had found their apartment and killed Duo.

He shook his head. What was he thinking? If it had been OZ, Duo would be gone, and their room would be in ruins. Duo knew how to take care of himself with his help, as well. He crouched down and scooped Duo up in his arms, and carried him into their bedroom, slightly relieved to hear Duo's soft breathing. He was asleep. After depositing the black-clad boy onto the bed, he headed to the kitchen to retrieve the first aid kit and some hot water to clean his wounds. With his cuts bandaged, he returned to the bedroom to get as much sleep as possible so his battered body could mend. As he settled into the bed next to Duo, he could hear Duo snoring softly. He smiled to himself, and began to drift to the sounds of Duo's sleep.

"....Heero..."

Heero sat up and turned to Duo, who laid still, eyes closed. "What is it, Duo?" He muttered.

"...Heero...?"

"I'm right here, Duo. What is it?"

"nothin'....*snore*"

Heero blinked. Duo was asleep? He talked in his sleep? He answered in his sleep?! "Duo?"

"....what?..." Duo mumbled, completely asleep.

"Can you hear me, Duo?" Heero asked, fascinated.

"....yeah...'f course...."

Heero had never heard of something like this happening before, even with all the useless knowledge that had been stuffed into his brain during the time he was with Odin Lowe, then Doctor J. He knew that there are people who sometimes talk in their sleep when they're extraordinarily tired, but he didn't know they could hear and respond as well.

He decided to probe around in Duo's mind for a while. Not long ago, the chestnut-haired boy had informed him that he, Heero, was his best friend. Though Heero knew that the opposite was true; Duo was certainly Heero's best friend, since he was the only person that the perfect soldier would call a friend at all.

"Duo?"

"...hmmm?"

"Why are you my friend?"

"....uhnnn?.... who...?..."

"Heero. Why did you say that Heero was your friend?" Heero ammended. Apparently Duo wasn't completely competent in his sleep.

"Heero.... nice guy..."

'Nice?' Heero wondered. 'What on earth would make him think I'm nice? I barely acknowledge his existance, let alone go out of my way to be kind.'

Duo's subconscious speech continued. "...saved...m' life once... helps with m' missions..."

Heero couldn't figure it out. Of course he helped with the missions, they were his responsibility as well, and as for saving his life, it was to pay back the debt he had owed Duo for ransacking Deathscythe's parts to fix his own suit.

He waited for Duo to continue, but there was only silence. He tried again. "Is that what makes him your friend?"

"....who...."

"What makes you think Heero is your friend?" He asked, a bit more forcefully.

"Heero... told 'm I was...'e smiled....." The corners of Duo's lips curved slightly, seemingly pleased. For a moment, Heero was sure Duo was awake, and was playing a game with him, but a quick analysis of Duo's body and breathing said differently. Duo was definitely asleep, though Heero was carrying on a conversation with him.

He remembered the time Duo had refered to.It had been just a few weeks before. The brief moment seemed remarkably similar to this one.

>>Flashback>>

"Leave me alone, Duo. I don't need your help." Heero growled as the aforementioned boy cleaned a large and deep gash in his back.

"No, I won't, and yes, you do! You couldn't reach this thing if you tried!" Duo shot back.

"Watch me." He pushed Duo's hands away, poured antiseptic on a rag, and reached an arm back to disinfect the wound, but he couldn't keep a slight look of discomfort and pain from his face.

"Stop it! You're going to hurt yourself if you do that!" The braided boy snatched the rag from Heero and batted his hands away. "Let me do this, you idiot!"

"Why should I?" He asked suspiciously.

"Good God, Heero! Can't you ever accept help from a friend?"

"A friend?"

He could hear Duo smiling as he spoke. " Yeah, Heero, a friend. You probably don't have many of them, but I'm one of them. And friends take care of each other."

'A friend' He told himself. He never noticed as a small smile crept across his features. Neither broke the comfortable silence for the rest of the night.

>>End Flashback>>

'I smiled?' Heero thought to himself, mildly surprised. "What were you doing in front of the door, Duo?" He wanted to know why Duo hadn't just gone to bed if he were so tired that he would pass out cold in the middle of the floor.

"....was waiting...worried 'bout...'im... Heero...'snt back..."

That really got Heero's attention. Duo cared so much that he would stay up all night just waiting for him to walk in the door? But why? When he came back from a solo mission, Duo always greeted him cheerfully, and he always grunted and stalked off. He was baffled as to what would make Duo care so much.

"Why?"

Duo didn't answer this time, the soft snoring had begun again. Heero reached out and brushed chestnut bangs behind an ear, and smiled again. 'It's nice to have a friend, I think...'

He laid back down next to Duo, in an attempt to get some sleep. After a few moments, he rolled onto his side and draped an arm around Duo's waist. He was asleep in seconds.

~Owari~

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