Author: Merula

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is not mine.
AU, OOC.

Got this idea from a song... see if you can tell which one.

Not Impressed

Heero barged into my apartment just like he always does. Not that I mind. The guy has been my neighbor and best friend since I moved here right after college, which was... five years ago already? Crap.

"Duo? Where are you?" He called as the door slammed behind him. It's not like Heero to slam doors, so I assumed something big must be up. I poked my head out of the kitchen and grinned at him.

He's mussed, windblown as if he's been running. Not that being slightly messy matters with him- the guy is downright hot.

Not that I've told him that. Not my straighter- than- a- line neighbor. He nearly fainted when I told him I was gay, but to give Heero credit, that didn't stop him from being my friend.

"There you are!" He grinned at me. "I've set you up on a blind date."

"What?" I blinked at him. "Right now?"

"Not now." He waved a hand in the air. "Friday- tomorrow. You don't have plans do you?"

"No..." I said cautiously. What was going on? "But why are you my appointment keeper all of a sudden?"

"Duo," he met my eyes with a frown. "You've been alone for the last six months."

"So? What's wrong with that?" I defended myself.

"Look, just because that jerk decided that he wanted to make his ex jealous does not mean that you have to stop dating..."

"I haven't stopped- I'm just... regrouping." I frowned at him and ducked back into the kitchen. Heero followed me, running his fingers through his hair, messing it up even more.

"You've regrouped. C'mon- I even found someone who meets your requirements."

I raised an eyebrow at him. "I have requirements?"

"Yes. You said you wanted someone smart this time."

"And..."

"And this one is a rocket scientist. Really. Works for the government and all that. Just brilliant."

"Where did you meet a rocket scientist?"

"The magazine just did a spread on him. I took his picture and we got to talking. He's really smart, he's got money- a good job..."

"Those things don't necessarily matter..."

"But they help. C'mon Duo. Please?"

I shrugged. It couldn't hurt. The last loser I dated had only one possession- a large mean ex that he was trying to make jealous. Someone with a job didn't sound bad.

"All right. Staying for dinner?"

"Do you have enough?"

"Heero, I wouldn't offer otherwise..."

He smiled. "After cooking all day, I'm surprised you like to do it here."

"It relaxes me." I smiled. "That's why I have this job you know."

"So-" he asked as he sat down at the table in what had become his spot, "you'll go? And try and make a good impression?"

"Heero..." I raised an eyebrow at him.

"I know you Duo- you'll go to make me happy and then you'll scare the guy off. Promise me you'll be good."

"Of course," I huffed. "Just for suggesting otherwise, I should burn your dinner."

"You wouldn't do that," he smiled. He was right of course. I wouldn't waste food like that. "I'm sure you'll have a good time tomorrow..." he continued and I sighed.

I hoped he was right.

+

I was to meet my date at a coffee house. Just a little talk over a cup of coffee. Nothing too bad- and easy to escape.

And I wanted to escape when I saw him.

Now, I know looks aren't supposed to matter, but this guy was old. I mean old-enough-to-be-my-grandfather old. And he was wearing odd glasses that hid his eyes. I took a breath and went over anyway- he couldn't be that bad.

"Jay?"

"Duo?" The old geezer- uh- guy smiled and extended a claw across the table. I'm not kidding- not a prosthetic hand- an honest to goodness, could snap my fingers off, claw!

How was I supposed to shake hands?

"Heero spoke well of you, but he didn't tell me how good looking you are," Jay said as I gingerly shook his claw and sat down.

Okay, maybe he wasn't that bad.

"I understand that you're a chef. What an amusing profession. Cooking food for the greedy masses. Food is really only a fuel after all- preparation of it really should only be enough to kill off any parasites. Anything else is pure decadence..."

Okay, he was much, much worse.

By the time I managed to get away, I was ragingly furious. I may 'only' be a chef, but that patronizing bastard made me want to use him in a recipe.

Then again, he'd more than likely ruin the flavor of any dish he was in.

It didn't help that Heero was nearly parked at my door waiting for me- I would bet he'd been keeping watch from his window.

"How was it?" He asked me as I turned the key in the lock.

"I've been through root canals that were less painful."

"Duo-" Heero frowned at me. "Did you give him a fair chance?"

I opened the door to my apartment, kicked my shoes to the side and turned slightly to frown at him. "I did- despite the fact he's like a million years old!"

"He's fifty!"

"Sixty!" I retorted, plopping down onto the sofa. "If that young!"

"Since when does age matter?"

"Heero-" I frowned at him. "He called my job an 'amusing profession'. He asked what I really intended to do with my life. He informed me that being a chef was an amusing hobby, but that I had to have other more worthwhile interests..."

Heero, luckily for him, looked horrified.

"And then he asked me to go to bed with him since this whole dating thing was just an amusing primitive ritual that disguised the basic need of the species to copulate." I frowned. "And then he defined 'copulate' for me, since he figured I wouldn't know what it meant..."

"What did you do?"

"I told him that I knew perfectly well what copulating meant, and there was no way in hell I was going to fuck him. And then I left."

Heero was shaking his head. "I'm sorry Duo! He didn't act like that during the shoot."

"I'm sure he didn't." I sighed. "I was hoping that my best friend wasn't trying to scare me out of the dating pool permanently."

"I wouldn't do that to you." Heero smiled. "In fact... are you free tomorrow night?"

"Yes," I replied, thinking he was going to suggest one of our bowling nights.

"Great! I'll call the guy I met at the shoot today! I was holding him as a backup for you in case tonight didn't work out..."

I stared at Heero as he got to his feet.

"Same kind of thing? Just coffee or a drink... I'm sure this one will be better!"

Heero was out the door before I could stop him.

Damn it.

Ah, hell. He couldn't do any worse than tonight's fiasco.

+

The blonde sitting across from me checked out his reflection in the window behind me, brushing his bangs out of his face.

Once again, I pretended not to notice.

Okay, this one was gorgeous, really- Heero had set me up with a professional model. He was tall with a waterfall of blonde hair and lovely blue eyes. And at least he didn't tell me that my profession was worthless or silly...

But he did want to know if any clebs frequented the restaurant I worked for. And then he had to tell me in great detail all about how all these designers were panting after him... and it didn't help that his voice was low pitched and husky- sexy yeah, but also nearly monotone...

Honestly, after about 20 minutes, it was hard to keep awake, eye candy in front of me or not.

"And then I said to Tee, I said, c'mon this is me we're talking about the public loves me you know they just slobber all over me I don't see why I can't have the cover, I mean, doesn't he want to sell any magazines, but Tee just stood there and he drawled, I mean the man drawls..."

I wondered if he'd notice if I picked up the knife and stabbed myself in the throat with it.

Silly me, of course he would- the blood would get all over that suit of his.

I managed to escape by claiming that I had an early morning meeting at the restaurant. I didn't, but how the hell would he know that?

Heero was waiting when I got home. It was almost like having a mom hovering over me- I say almost, since my family died a long time ago. It was kind of nice to see that he cared though.

"How was it?" He looked around me. "You were gone for a while. You didn't bring him back with you..."

"And I won't," I told him as he followed me into the apartment.

"He was gorgeous, Duo- what was the problem?"

"He was boring, Heero. Not to mention obsessed with himself! The man looked more at his reflection than at me, and I swear he was evaluating how well I'd look on his arm..." I shook my head. "I'm sorry man. I wanted to like him- really."

"It's okay, Duo." Heero perched next to me on the sofa. "Next time..."

I waved a hand at him. "No. No more. If anything I realized that I need more regrouping time. No more dates..."

Heero frowned at me. "C'mon Duo! Don't give up!"

"You don't have another one...."

He looked sheepish. "Well, I met this guy at the car store today..."

"Heero- what are you telling these guys? 'Hey, are you gay? I have a friend who is and he's desperate for a date...'"

"No," Heero gave me an offended look. "They all tried to pick up on me. That's how I knew that they had the right preferences."

"And you said, hey, no thanks, but I have this friend..."

"My best friend," he corrected me. "And I tell them that you've been out of the dating thing for a bit, and I tell them all about you..."

I put my head in my hands and groaned loudly. Heero slapped the back of my head hard. "Don't be a jerk."

"Heero, please, I can find my own dates..."

"This guy seemed really nice! And he likes vintage cars! He's got a few- likes fixing them up- that doesn't sound bad, right?"

I had to agree that after the other two, this one sounded reassuringly normal.

I wish I had been right.

+

Oh, the guy was nice enough. With a week between the last horrific date, and this one, I was able to go and meet him without feeling the urge to scream and run away on general principal.

He hadn't wanted to meet for coffee. There was a car show in the area and so he invited me to that.

I was more than willing- I liked cars after all.

Too bad this Wufei guy was obsessed with them. And I don't just mean obsessed. I'm talking a full out possession...

He made me take my shoes off before I got in his car. He answered my few words of praise for his vehicle with a thirty-minute lesson on his car. His car that he named 'Nataku' and talked about like it was a real person.

Not that I think naming a car is a bad idea- mine has a name- but I don't include her in conversations with other people- asking her opinion and then waiting for an answer... not that I ever heard one, but I'm not so sure about Wufei...

And then at the car show- I might as well have been the Invisible Man. He didn't talk to me. He simply walked around and gazed at the cars. The one time I tried to speak, he shushed me. We were supposed to be soaking in the beauty of these perfect works of art.

When he dropped me off he didn't offer a kiss goodnight, and I seriously think it was because he was worried that his car might be jealous...

Heero was on the steps before I reached the bottom one. "He's not coming in?"

I reached out and grabbed him as I passed. "Don't you EVER try and help me again!"

Okay, so it was harsh, but you try being ignored for four hours in favor of lumps of metal and see how you like it.

"Was it that bad?" Heero asked me cautiously as I dragged him into the building and into my apartment.

I stood in front of him. "You see me, right Heero? I exist?"

"Yes..." Heero was frowning.

"I'm glad someone does. The man took me to that car show and did not talk or look at me for the whole time! Am I that ugly?"

"You aren't ugly!"

"News to me. Wufei didn't even look at me. Zechs wondered if I wanted to dye my hair... Jay did say something about my looks, but I'm thinking it was because he was just going through the standard ritual." I went into the kitchen and began digging around in the fridge.

"What are you doing?"

"I need to cook. I'm seriously feeling deficient here... I know I can cook at least. Maybe..."

"Of course you can. You're a wonderful chef."

I pointed to the table. "Sit down. You're going to have to eat whatever it is I come up with."

He sat down obediently. "I really am sorry, Duo- I was only trying to help."

"I know that." I pulled out various items, stacking them on the counter. "But Heero, let's face it- I'm striking out all over the board here. Maybe I'm just meant to be single- some people are you know..."

"Maybe I'm just picking the wrong kind of guys- tell me what you're looking for..." I opened a package of cheese and grabbed a bowl.

"I don't care about looks- pretty is nice, but really, the package isn't everything. Smart would be good- but not condescendingly so- I like learning new things..." I listed as I grated the cheese.

"Like when you went to that exhibition with me last summer and sat through all those lectures?"

"Exactly- that was fun." I put the cheese to the side and pulled out some green onions from my pile.

"It was," he agreed. "What else?"

"I don't mind obsessions- but I'd like to be able to share in them." I started chopping the onions.

"Okay." Heero nodded, and I could almost see him ticking off a list in his head. I was hoping that he didn't have some other blind date for me stashed away somewhere. I wasn't sure why he was focusing so much on my dating life anyway- Heero had less of one than I did. Maybe he was living vicariously? Maybe I needed to find him a date.

I pushed thoughts of revenge out of my head.

"Duo?" Heero's voice snapped me back on track.

"Oh, sorry. Just thinking."

"Brooding," he corrected. "Can I help?"

"Uh, sure." I swept the onions into the bowl and placed the bowl in front of Heero with a grin. I pulled out the mayo and gave that to him too. "Start mixing all that together." I dumped some olives on my cutting board.

"This looks kind of yucky."

"It will taste good though, which is the whole point." I grinned at him as I started mincing olives. "I know some people go for the whole appearance thing, but really, it's the other senses that capture people. The smell- the taste- the texture. Trust me- this will be good."

"So, is that what you look for- the appeal to the other senses?" Heero asked, head bowed over the mixing bowl.

"I guess so." I scraped the olives into his bowl. "I mean, brains and looks are great, but I also want someone that will laugh with me- someone that will want to stay in bed with me on days off mornings not because it's cold outside, but because they want to be there..."

"Someone that loves you for you," Heero suggested.

"Exactly." I pulled out the bread and sat down opposite him at the table, reaching out for the bowl. I began to scoop the mixture onto the bread, spreading it evenly.

"That still looks yucky," Heero made a face at me and I laughed.

"We're going to cook it you know. Get me a cookie sheet."

Heero fetched one for me- after five years the man knows my kitchen as well as I do- and that's saying a lot. Not many people like being bossed around in the kitchen, but Heero has never minded.

I put my slice down and picked up another, spreading the mixture carefully. Heero was going to like this one, despite its looks. He grabbed a piece of bread and began to help me.

We didn't talk, but it was okay. I knew Heero knew I was there. He didn't make me feel invisible.

When we were finished, I stuck the tray in the oven and turned the heat to broil. "Just a few minutes," I told Heero and began to clean stuff up.

He got to his feet and helped me. It only took a few minutes and I was pulling the finished product out of the oven. I sliced it up and offered a piece to Heero.

To my surprise, he simply took a bite out of the piece I offered. The cheese was melty and he got a bit on his chin, but he chewed and swallowed solemnly enough.

"It's good."

"Don't act so surprised!" I reached out a hand to brush the cheese off of his chin and he caught my hand halfway.

"So," he said softly. "Let me see if I have this right. You want someone who will laugh with you, cook with you, cares for you, shares their interests with you, wants you to be happy, and eats your cooking even when it looks bad..."

My heart suddenly sped up. Why was Heero looking at me this way?

"Well, yeah. And they have to make my knees melt when they kiss me," I jokingly added.

Heero's lips curved in a smile.

And then I'm not sure what happened to that piece of bread, because he was kissing me...

And he tasted better than anything I ever made.

"What...?" I managed when he finally let me come up for air.

"Have I made a good impression yet?" He asked seriously.

"Let's try that impression thing again," I suggested, and he laughed as I pulled him closer.

"I'm very impressed so far," I told him a few minutes later. "Do you have any other skills to show me?"

"I think I can find a few...."

end

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