Author: Merula
1x2x1. AU.

Californication + Part 8

Heero joined Duo on the escalator. "Now remember- we're parked on Minnie," Duo said with a grin.

"That just sounds bad," Heero shook his head.

"I know. Now, are you ready for your first Disneyland ride?"

"We're not even to the park." Heero blinked.

"I know." They left the escalator and joined some people standing by a tree. "This is the first Disneyland ride- it's called the Parking Lot Tram."

One of the women they were standing near giggled. "Let me guess," she said to Duo, "it's his first trip here?"

Duo nodded. "Yep, I'm just trying to keep the excitement up."

"I'm just hoping the tram isn't the best ride," Heero said and Duo made a face.

"Just for that, I know what ride I'm making you go on first."

The tram pulled up in front of them and they all spread out on the narrow benches as a cheerful voice told them that they were boarding the Disneyland Tram. The tram got underway and everyone cheerfully ignored the recording and started talking.

"You picked a good day," the woman told them. "It looks like the park is empty so far."

"Yeah," the man with her laughed. "Just us professionals here today."

"I told him that was the best time to come. We can get through all the rides, have lunch and then just enjoy DD for a bit." Duo laughed. "He'll get the full Disney experience that way."

"Are you taking him to the Bayou?"

"Of course," Duo nodded. "That's the best place to take a newbie."

Heero rolled his eyes. "Let me guess- it's a place to eat."

"It's more than that," the man smiled. The tram stopped. "Hope you two have fun." He followed his wife off the tram and they hurried towards the gates.

Heero looked around. They were across from a row of shops with ticket booths at the end.

"This is Downtown Disney," Duo explained as they headed towards the booths. "Think of it as a cleaned up version of what a city's downtown area should look like."

"So it's a mall."

"Basically, yes. With amazing food courts."

Tickets purchased, they headed towards the gates, which were just opening. There were lines, but they were moving fast, and Duo explained that it really wasn't that busy.

He was right. They walked on to nearly every ride.

Heero enjoyed the park, but he enjoyed watching Duo more. He was animated, happy and excited, pointing things out as they walked through the park.

"Did you notice all the curbs are rounded? It's meant to give you a feeling of security."

On something called the Jungle Cruise, Duo chuckled at every lame joke their skipper made, amusing the three children who sat across from them. In the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, he pretended to translate all the odd markings on the wall into rude limericks, making Heero choke with laughter. When they stood in the Haunted Mansion and all the lights blew out, Duo shrieked in his ear along with the recorded scream, making him jump.

"You are the biggest kid here," Heero told him as they followed the other people to their Doom Buggy.

"Is that bad?" Duo asked as he hopped in the Doom Buggy, pulling Heero along after him.

Heero shook his head. "No. You're making this a lot of fun."

"Why thank you. Now, did you know that this was originally supposed to be a walkthrough ride? The house of a skipper who killed his wife and drowned at sea. Now there's a movie plot that I should make Quatre use..."

As they left the Haunted Mansion, Duo stopped by an odd storefront and spoke with a lady in a Victorian-type costume. He returned with a square card that he tucked into his pocket.

"What's that for?"

"I'll show you. C'mon." Duo tugged him down the imitation New Orleans street and under a brick bridge. "The Pirates of the Caribbean. One of the must sees here at Disneyland!"

They entered the building, looking at the pictures of pirates on the walls and then boarded a boat that began to take them through something that was supposed to look like a bayou. Off to one side were tables and chairs in something that looked like an open-sided Southern mansion.

"There's a restaurant in the ride?" Heero blinked.

"Sure. That's where we're having lunch." Duo tapped the pocket with the card. "I got our reservation and everything."

The boat turned a corner and a skull perched overhead began to mutter about dead men and their tales.

"Isn't this too scary for the kids?" Asked Heero as their boat plunged down a short waterfall and they began to sail past pirate skeletons.

"Nah," Duo shrugged. "It's history."

Once they were off the ride, Duo insisted on a short break. He bought Heero a green-tinted drink and they found a small table to sit at.

"What is this?" Heero asked as he took a cautious sip of the green fluid.

"A mint julep."

"Shouldn't it have rum or something in it then?"

Duo laughed. "In Disneyland?"

"Good point. I retract the question." Heero took another sip of his drink. "You seem to know the park really well."

"Yeah, well, like you this is one of the places I used to hear about as a kid."

"You said you grew up in Washington?"

Duo nodded. "Yes. I was raised by my aunt and uncle. My uncle was a minister in a church up there. We didn't have much, but they were good people."

"Were?"

Duo nodded. "Yeah. They passed away when I was about 11 or so. I bounced around foster homes for a while- got to college on a scholarship." He shivered despite the warm sunlight. "You almost finished? I want to get through Tomorrowland before lunch."

Heero downed the rest of his drink, sensing that Duo wanted to change topics. "Sure thing." Duo gave him a warm smile and got to his feet.

He wondered, as he followed Duo to the next part of the park, if Duo had given any thought to his offer yet.

...............

"So," Duo asked as they sat in the dimly lit restaurant, boats half-full of people floating by, "what do you think of it so far? Despite the lady puking in front of you when we got off Space Mountain."

"And the kid who stepped on my feet in Star Tours." Heero smiled.

"He was looking at the Wookie. You can't blame a kid for being interested in a Wookie."

"My toes can." Heero pointed out. The waitress arrived and Duo insisted on doing the ordering. Heero let him. Duo, in a darkened restaurant, his face lit only by the candles and the dangling lanterns was irresistible.

The waitress left after assuring them that she'd be right back with their drinks.

"You didn't answer my question." Duo pointed out.

"It's a complete fairy-tale isn't it? The real world cleaned up and made fun."

Duo nodded. "I think that's why people like it so much." He shrugged. "It's always good to escape for a little while."

"Or to think about what might have been."

"Is it anything like you thought it would be?" Duo asked.

Heero thought about it for a moment. The waitress returned with bread and their drinks. Duo got another of those green things- Heero refused to consider them a mint julep.

"Yes and no," he answered. "I mean- the magic aspect is definitely here- they go out of their way to preserve the illusion." He waved his hand around the restaurant. "Like here. We are supposedly sitting in an outdoor restaurant at night. I can hear frogs and crickets- though really I know this is a big building and we're inside, I'm still willing to enjoy the illusion they create for me because it's done so well."

Duo nodded.

"And no, because really, nothing could've lived up to what I was expecting." He smiled. "But thanks for agreeing to do this with me."

"It was my pleasure." Duo gave him a warm smile. "So, we've done all the big rides. After we eat lunch do you want to go over to Cal Disney- there's only a few good rides there- or walk around Downtown Disney- or would you like to go home for a bit before I have to take you to the airport?"

Heero looked at Duo, his hair gleaming in the soft light, a mischievous smile lurking around the corners of his mouth, and gave in. "Home sounds good."

The smile widened the corners of Duo's mouth. Before he could say anything, the waitress reappeared with their plates. Heero eyed the batter-fried thing on his plate and raised an eyebrow at Duo. "What is this?"

"A Monte Cristo sandwich."

"It's fried."

"You noticed." Duo laughed. "The faster you eat it, the faster we can go home. You're just wasting time arguing with me about it."

Heero ate it.

+

Duo opened the door of his house and Heero followed him in. Heero looked at his watch. He had about five hours left. He'd have to be at the airport an hour before his plane departed. He opened his mouth to ask Duo when they'd have to leave, but before he could say anything, Duo kissed him.

Then it was all a dizzying tide of kisses and caresses that ended up with him flat on his back in Duo's bed, clothes gone, Duo astride his waist. "Please..." Duo murmured between kisses, "please..."

"Whatever you want," Heero told him, returning the kisses as fast as he could. "Anything you want..."

It didn't take long to prepare themselves, Heero letting his fingers ready Duo as Duo ripped open the plastic package with his teeth, his impatience clearly showing.

A few moments more and Duo was sliding down onto him, slowly and carefully, but with the urgency still underlying it all.

Then it was all motion and sounds, Heero's moans, Duo's pleas, the soft slap of bodies joining.

When it was over, Duo simply sank down and lay on Heero's chest. Heero curled his arms around him and held him tightly.

Time was running out. Duo couldn't go with him today, he knew that logically, not with a house to pack and a job to quit- but would he be quitting and packing? Was he willing to leave all this behind?

"Have you thought about my offer?" Heero asked quietly.

"All day," Duo said. He propped himself up a little and ran his fingers over Heero's cheek. "It was hard to think of anything else- spending the day with you- knowing you were leaving tonight..." He smiled. "You alone are the most tempting part of your offer, do you know that? To be with you all the time, to share your bed..."

"I wouldn't expect..." Heero started.

"I would." Duo kissed him. "I don't think I could be near you and not want you." He sighed. "But Heero... I can't. Your offer is so damn tempting, believe me, I want to take it- but I can't." Heero opened his mouth and Duo put his fingers over Heero's lips. "Listen to me. It's... it would be like cheating. I wouldn't get what I wanted because I worked for it- I'd get it because you pushed for it. It wouldn't be honest." He took a breath. "And- I'd feel like I was using you. Using your connections, living off of you... I can't do that. Even if I somehow found a job back there- and I did think about that, I'd still be using you for your connections... And what if the book flops? Then you've spent all that time and effort on me..." He shook his head. "It would be better if I did it on my own first- don't you see?"

Heero sighed. He did see- and he understood. It hurt though- and not in a way he'd expected. He managed a smile and lifted Duo's fingers away from his mouth. "I do see- but you have to promise me that you'll try. That you'll finish the book and try to get it published. I'll keep bothering you until you do."

Duo's face lit up. "So... you want to keep in contact? That would be okay- to email you and all?"

Heero felt a little bit better. "I'd love that."

Duo nodded. "I promise- and I'll keep you updated on the movie too."

"I'll look forward to it." Duo looked at the clock, then twisted, pulling Heero over on top of him.

"We have a little bit of time left. Once more? Please?"

Heero couldn't refuse him.

+

Heero took his bag out of the trunk. The LAX parking lot was packed full; Duo had been unable to find a spot. Goodbyes would have to be said in the parking-lot beside Duo's double-parked car.

Duo closed the trunk. "You have my email address?" He asked again.

Heero tapped his pocket. "Right here."

Duo nodded. He reached out and pulled Heero into a tight hug. "This was the best weekend of my life. Thank you."

"Mine too," Heero answered and hugged him back just as tightly. "You know my offer is always open. Just show up on my doorstep, okay?"

Duo nodded against his shoulder. "Okay."

They let go of each other and stood for a moment. Duo leaned forward and brushed a kiss across Heero's cheek. "You'd better get going," he joked, "before I just throw you in the trunk of my car and keep you."

"Don't tempt me." Heero smiled. "Goodbye Duo."

"Bye Heero." Heero took a deep breath and turned his back. He headed towards the building, turning back only once to see the figure by the black car, his braid twisting in the wind raise his hand and wave.

Heero waved too. Then he turned around again and began the journey back to his east coast life.

[part 7] [part 9] [back to Merula's fic]