Drops of Jupiter (cont)

Duo sat at the pier, watching the sun sink below the horizon, the whole ocean afire with the reddish-orange glow of the setting sun. He still didn't know how he'd gotten enough courage to write and mail that letter, let alone actually show up at the pier. Their meeting was still several hours away, yet he was already shaking uncontrolably. What had he been thinking? He didn't even know what he was going to say!

He watched the waves slap against the sand, trying to calm his nerves. There was no turning back now; he had to go through with this, or he'd definitely regret it for the rest of his life. Heero watched the sillowette sitting on the pier from a distance. At first he hadn't been sure who it was, but when the wind blew, it had caught his braid. Heero stood rooted to the spot, not sure if he should join the other boy, or wait until the appointed time. As the sun finally fell below the horizon, he made up his mind, silently treading toward the boy watching the waves.

Duo could sense the presence of someone behind him, but didn't turn. Instead, he panicked. It was too early! He wasn't ready for this! His nerve froze once again, and he closed his eyes, trying to gain his bearings. Shinigami was afraid of nothing! He took a deep breath and slightly tilted his head, signalling that he knew the other was there.

Heero silently evaluated Duo's actions, then joined him, sitting with his feet hanging over the water. Together they watched the twilight fade, but neither spoke a word. Finally, Heero broke the stalemate. "What happened?"

"I... I don't know. I suppose I was just lost."

"Lost?"

"I was looking for myself, but I guess I'm not too good at that." He was quiet for a moment. "I'm glad you came."

"I was afraid I wouldn't see you again."

Duo was surprised to learn that the Japanese boy even cared that he had disappeared, but then again, after what had happened that night, he certainly had good reason. "I'm sorry." The braided boy looked away from the horizon suddenly finding interest in the old splintered plank he sat upon.

Heero nearly growled at the reticence of the other. He hated that he was forcing the words out of the boy he'd come to care for so deeply, but if he didn't, the words would never come. He didn't want Duo to think he was angry at him, it would only chase him away again. He tried to cool the edge in his voice as he asked his next question. "Why did you leave?"

"... I.... I was scared."

"...of?"

"...Of... you. I was scared of you. And of what I was doing, and how you reacted. I didn't know what I was doing, and when you... when we... we...."

"Kissed?" Heero supplied.

"Yeah." Duo let out a shaky breath and continued. "I just freaked out, because I was kissing another guy, you know? My best friend, of all people.... Not just a kiss, either. It wasn't like a kiss between friends, Heero. You know that." He looked over at Heero, searching.

Heero met his gaze, unwavering. "You're wrong. It was between friends, Duo. But I don't think either of us were content with simple friendship anymore."

Duo nodded, suddenly relaxed. "So what now?"

"We go home." Heero stood, then offered a hand to the braided boy. Duo let the other pull him to his feet, and they walked away from the pier, their hands still interlaced.

+

Heero and Duo stood at the steps that led up to Heero's apartment. During the short walk back, the atmosphere between them had shifted from guarded to friendly, though there was no conversation. Somehow, just being in the other's presence seemed to make things better. Heero unlocked the door, and they entered. Heero made a wide gesture across the room. "I'm sure you know how to get around an apartment, so forget about the tour. I'm sure you'll want to get cleaned up; the towels are under the cupboard. I'll be in my room if you need anything else." With that, he walked down the hall, and into the room at the end of the hallway, leaving the door partially open.

Duo stared at the door for a minute or two, running over the evening's events in his mind. There was so much happening so fast, he just didn't know where to begin, until he finally decided to follow Heero's advice, and dug a towel out of the cupboard before continuing into the bathroom.

"Oh, and Duo?" He heard Heero's gentle voice from the bedroom.

"Yeah?"

"There's some shampoo and conditioner for you in the top drawer under the sink."

"Thanks, Heero."

Sure enough, in the top drawer laid two bottles of Duo's favorite haircare products. He looked at them for a moment, then closed his eyes. All this time he had been running... and everything would have been all right if he had only stayed with Heero. He took a deep breath and turned on the shower, determined to make this the best night he possibly could.

'What could be better?' he asked himself, trying to make the best of the situation. 'I came back from a four month vacation, watched the sun go down over the ocean, was welcomed into the home of my best friend, who had practically been waiting for me to return, and now I'm going to take a nice, long, hot shower to wash away the problems of the past. I'll be damned if I let the rest of this night go to waste!' With a grin and a new attitude, he stripped and stepped under the warm spray of the showerhead. Heero kicked off his shoes, laid back onto his bed, and stared at the ceiling. Was this actually happening? Had Duo really come back to him? He must have. Heero wasn't the daydreaming type. Duo had come back, and was a room away, his muffled singing just loud enough to be heard above the sound of the shower.

Now that Duo was back, however, what would happen? It didn't matter, he decided. Just as Duo had told him that night so long ago, no matter what he did, things always worked out for him. And they would now, too.

He let a smile cross his face - the first real one since that night, and contented himself with listening to Duo's voice.

//Now that she's back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey//

The singing stopped, soon followed by the shower. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the bedroom door. Heero sat up in the center of his bed and looked at the partially open door in anticipation. "Come in."

The door slowly swung open to reveal the most beautiful thing Heero had ever seen. There stood Duo, his damp, uncombed hair trailing loosly over his shoulders, droplets of moisture clinging to his bangs and the crown of his head. His chest was faintly tanned, and slightly more filled out than his own, though he still looked as sleek and graceful as ever, with well defined muscles and a slim waist. Heero watched in near envy as a few drops of water fell from Duo's hair, slowly making their way down his torso before disappearing into the soft white towel he was clutching around his hips. Finally, amethyst met cobalt, and Duo's eyes shone with a brilliant light that Heero had never seen before.

//She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there's time to change, hey, hey//

Duo could feel Heero's eyes on his body and held back a blush, opting instead for a lopsided grin. It was amazingly flattering that Heero would show such evident appreciation for his body. If it had been anyone else, he could have taken it all in stride, but Heero was different. When it came to Heero, everything was different.

He walked towards the bed, putting just a little bit of a seductive sway in his hips, then kneeled on the corner of the mattress, watching the Japanese youth the whole time. "So what now?" he asked plainly.

Heero licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry. "Not what you think will happen, I'm afraid." he replied mysteriously, getting up off the bed and motioning that Duo stay, then striding smoothly into the bathroom.

"Well, that all depends on what I'm thinking, doesn't it?"

Heero re-emerged, one hand behind his back, and headed for the dresser. "I suppose. What are you thinking?" He pulled open one of the drawers and dug through the clothing within.

//Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey//

Duo grinned. He loved it when Heero loosened up and lost the Soldier act. "I'm thinking you'd better get back over here, before I get bored and leave again."

"Right." Heero turned and tossed an article of black clothing at him.

Upon closer inspection, it was revealed to be a large navy blue T-shirt. "What am I supposed to do with this?"

"Wear it." came the flat reply.

"Right." He pulled it over his head, and looked at Heero again, who handed him a pair of boxers. He held them up, inspecting them with disgust. "These too? Man! Don't you know that guys are supposed to sleep in the buff?"

Heero smirked at him. "Oh, it must have slipped my mind. Wear them anyway."

Duo pouted adorably. "You mean you don't want me?"

Heero sighed. "You're dripping all over my bed."

The American mock-glared at him for a moment, then pulled off the towel, his "unmentionables" concealed by the large shirt. 'Thankfully,' Heero added. He didn't think that a glance at the other's equipment was going to help him keep his self-control. He looked away as Duo pulled the boxers on, and turned back to see Duo eying him with interest.

"Any other odd requests, while we're at it?" Duo inquired, arching an eyebrow.

"Yes. Grab that chair and take it out onto the balcony. I'll join you in a minute."

Duo blinked. "I shouldn't have asked!" he lamented before getting up off the bed and picking up the tiny overstuffed chair and carrying it towards the sliding glass door that opened reveal the small but cozy little balcony attached to Heero's living room. "Where do you find this kind of furniture?" he called into the apartment as he set the chair in the center of the balcony, facing out into the east.

"It's custom-made." Heero replied as he join Duo on the balcony, carrying a giant black leather beanbag which he sat in front if the chair. "This one's for you." he said, gesturing that Duo sit down. After Duo had settled himself cross-legged on top of the beanbag chair, Heero seated himself behind Duo in the overstuffed chair and held up a hairbrush. "You don't mind starting up a few old traditions again, do you?"

Duo smiled to himself, wondering why he hadn't known what Heero had wanted earlier on. "Not at all." He closed his eyes, and leaned back slightly, so he was within Heero's reach. Heero slowly began brushing out Duo's still-damp hair, carefully combing out the tangles and working his way up. Duo relaxed into the feeling of Heero brushing his hair, his eyes shut. For the first time in what seemed like forever, he was finally completely happy, without any doubts lurking in the back of his mind. He was back where he belonged.

Heero continued brushing Duo's hair long after the tangles were out, and it was nearly dry from the cool night breeze. After a few hours he felt Duo drifting in and out of sleep, and set the brush aside so he could reach forward to wrap his arms around Duo's shoulders. Duo woke again and leaned back against the other boy's chest, simply enjoying the moment of pure perfection. Heero leaned back into his chair keeping Duo within the circle of his arms, and the two watched the stars until sleep finally overcame them.

//Tell me, did you sail across the sun,
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated//

It wasn't until the horizon began to light up before Heero awoke, pleasantly surprised at finding Duo still in his arms, then remembering the night before. It was far from his idea of the perfect reunion, but now that Duo was back, it wan't important. They only thing that mattered was that they were finally together again. As the first sliver of sunlight made it's way over the horizon, he gently shook the American's shoulder. Duo stirred, but before he had the chance to speak, Heero pressed a finger to his lips to quiet him, then pointed to the brilliant array of colors that came with the sunrise.

The entire city was awash in the fiery crimson reflections that flooded the sky as the sun crept slowly into the sky. The sluggish sounds of life could be heard distantly down on the street, and finally they stood, Heero's arms still around Duo, Duo's head resting in the crook of Heero's neck.

Duo sighed and nuzzled his nose against the juncture of Heero's neck and ear, breathing in the invigorating scent that eminated from him. 'If heaven really existed,' he thought to himself, 'It couldn't possibly be better than this.'

//Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me
while you were looking at yourself out there//

~ Owari ~

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