Recently I had a horrible case of writer's block, and nothing would come out. Well uh, something finally came out...with a vengeance. Hope you enjoy it, it's a loooonnnggg one.
Jenni! This one's for you, I dunno if you'll like it, but hey, who said I could write anyways? ^_^
Warnings and Disclaimers: I don't own Gundam Wing, I admit it. But it doesn't matter. <Grin>
The Following Fic Contains: the pretty pairing of Duo and Heero, lemon, 25 pages, dates, snow, yaoi, phone numbers, and other fine things Btw, in case you wonder where the heck I got the title from...I just typed in the first words that popped into my head ^_^'

Correlation Conjunction Juxtaposition Admission

He couldn't figure out why he was so lonely, he remembered hearing once that everyone was alone. He'd figured that meant that in turn, everyone must be lonely as well. So then, why did he seem like the only one? He sighed, glancing up at the advertisements that splashed the interior of the bus. Most of them showed models posing and posturing, or images of cuteness and delight. Though, there was one that caught his eye, dragging his attention and wandering mind to it like a beacon.

"Lonely? Need a friend? New to the city? Try us, we're guaranteed to find you a friend for life."

He shook his head at it, focusing his attention out the window. Friend for life indeed, it was probably just another stupid dating service. The bus screeched to a stop, several passengers standing and moving towards the doors. He joined them in their not so mad rush, tugging out his umbrella and scowling up at the gray clouds above as he exited.

He was new to this City, having just moved again, for the uncountable time in his life. It had happened too often, this moving from one place to another. Though, perhaps this time he'd stay a bit longer, get to know...something about where he was.

He ambled down the street, umbrella held above as a shield against the rain. His shoes let in increments of water, dampening his socks and increasing the scowl that marked his features. Friends, they were for the weak, certainly not for him. He'd never really had one before, why would he need one now. A car whisked by, muddy water wetting the bottom of his pants and turning his frown into something much deeper, a brooding, dangerous look. He felt like shouting his hate at the street, screaming about what he knew he wasn't missing.

+

His apartment was located in a large building, security a nice comforting thing as he nodded to the doorman and signed in. The elevator awaited him, and he avoided it in favor of the exercise fifteen flights of stairs would give him.

The apartment he rented pleased him, its dark carpeting and light walls giving it at once a gloomy and open air. It seemed to match the darkness of the rain beyond the windows, and yet harmonize with the light blue sky above the rain. It suited him perfectly, right down to the soft and dark furniture.

His pants peeled off with a sickeningly damp sound of water and mud, his shoes coated with dirt from the brief walk. He sighed, stripping off his shirt and wandering to the bedroom in search of his robe. A miserable day outside, a miserable day inside. It didn't seem to matter where he was or what he was doing, it was always a miserable day to him.

Slipping on the soft weight of the old robe that he'd carried with him from apartment to apartment, life to life, he stared at himself in the mirror for a long time. Meeting his own eyes in his reflection behind the closet door. Friends, lovers, he didn't need any of those things. Slowly, he made his way to the bright little kitchen, settling the kettle onto the stove, and picking out a softly flavored tea. Days like this called for something generous in flavor, yet soothing to the ego.

The television flicked on, the sound of an advertisement filling the room as he settled back onto the dark clothed couch. He blinked in mild surprise, as again that oddly intriguing advertisement met his eyes.

Two people were sitting at a café table, both men, both attractive and beautifully dressed. They leaned towards one another, speaking rapidly, smiling. He watched, captured by the intimacy and idea of such a thing. Without any more words, the ad flashed its little slogan across the screen. "A friend for life."

He rolled his eyes. A friend for life indeed, such things didn't exist. A phone number showed before the commercial ended, and without a thought he memorized it.

Maybe...maybe a friend wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. The teakettle whistled shrilly in the kitchen, and pondering his loneliness, he stood to go answer its call. His fingers automatically poured the water, hands easily mixing in a splash of dripping honey, eyes barely taking notice of each task. A splash of lemon, a sip to see if it was perfection, of course it was. Still he stared vacantly at the wall, idly sipping. A friend...his eyes drifted to the telephone beside the refrigerator. Setting down his mug, he picked it up, trying not to stop himself. For once, taking a chance.

It rang a total of two times before it was answered, a pleasant female voice speaking. "Friendship for Life, how may we help you?"

His vocal cords seemed to lock up, thought leaving him. "I...I'm not sure..." He fidgeted with the phone cord, staring blankly into the amber depths of his tea.

"I take it you've seen our ad? Perhaps I can help you. Would you please answer a few of our questions?" The woman's voice sounded soft, sympathetic.

"All right," He cleared his throat, taking a quick gulp of air.

"Name?"

"Heero Yuy."

"Age?"

"Twenty-two."

"And from your voice I would assume you are male?"

"Yes," Heero let out a nervous chuckle, still unbelieving that he was doing such a thing, calling one of those places.

"All right Heero, please answer the following questions as quickly as possible, try not to think about them too much."

"Ok." He leaned back against the countertop, eyes focusing on the wall.

"How long have you lived in this city?"

"Three months."

"What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a writer."

"What kind of women do you like?"

"Wait a minute, I thought this wasn't a dating service?"

"It's not Mr. Yuy, it is a friendship service, these questions will help us to find a suitable friend for you."

"I guess...I guess I don't really like women much, they make me nervous."

"All right, fair enough." Heero could tell she was smiling at his admittance.

"What activities do you enjoy?"

"...I'm really not sure, I don't go out that much."

"That's fine Mr. Yuy. That's all the questions you need answer for now. If you'll leave your phone number with me I'll see what I can find."

"That was fast, umm, how do I pay you?"

"This is a free service Mr. Yuy."

"It is? But then..."

"Don't worry about it Mr. Yuy."

He rattled off his telephone number, listening to the clacking of keys.

"You should receive a call within a few days, thank you for trying Friendship for Life."

The telephone clicked, a dial tone filling his ear with its buzz of completion. He hung up, staring at the wall for a few minutes longer, feeling his heart slowly begin to beat at a normal pace again. What on earth had he just done?

+

A few days passed, Heero living much as he always had, a boring existence, his writing the only thing that occupied his mind for most of it. His was in the middle of a sentence, pondering which way to make it turn, when the telephone beside his elbow jarred him out of his thoughts.

"Hello?" even to his own ears his voice sounded disgruntled and annoyed at the intrusion.

"Hi...um...my Name is Duo Maxwell...I'm calling because of, well...you applied at the friendship service?" It was a male voice, slightly deepened, almost husky.

"Yes, I'm sorry, I was in the middle of something. Uh...how are you?"

"Heh, I'm fine thanks, I was wondering...well they picked you out for me, and uh, would you like to meet sometime?"

"But..." Heero stared at the computer screen in front of him, saving his work and exiting the program. "Well, I don't know you."

"I think that's the point...isn't it?" Duo chuckled, the soft sound of the phone moving from one ear to the other accompanying him.

"Yeah, I suppose you're right. Well, I have most days free. Anywhere in particular you'd like to meet?"

"How about someplace public?" Duo laughed again, "For a friendship service it certainly does sound like we're setting up a date huh?"

"I know what you mean." Heero smiled despite himself, liking the sound of the man on the other end of the phone.

"Do you know the city at all?"

"No, I just moved here a few months ago I don't really get out much." Heero began tapping his fingers on his desktop in a nervous gesture, fiddling with a pen.

"That's ok, I've lived here for what seems like forever. There's this great place over on 32nd Street...I'll give you the address and we can maybe meet there if you'd like?"

"What kind of place is it?"

"It's a surprise." He could hear Duo smile, before he proceeded to give the address and directions on how to find the place. "So are you free tomorrow?"

"Sure, but how will I know you?"

"Well, I'll be wearing a black shirt, hate the weather here, don't you? And uh, I'll probably have on black jeans and boots."

"Ok," Heero smiled into the receiver, "I'll probably be dressed the same."

"Hmm, come to think of it, most of the city will be dressed that way... Listen, I'll meet you at the entrance at 4:30, I'll wear a violet scarf, ok?"

"Sounds good...thanks Duo."

"No problem, it'll be nice to meet someone new I think. Bye Heero, don't forget your mittens!"

+

It was another cold day, autumn working its way through the endless cycle of a year, and bringing with it rain and dreariness. Heero found the place easily, a sign above it informing him it was an antique mall. He frowned, once more wondering what he was getting himself into. Duo had been right; most everyone was dressed in black, blending with the starkness of the autumn day. He caught a flash of violet and paused, taking in the appearance of this supposed new friend.

The man had his back to Heero, the black collar of his long winter coat pulled up, the scarf peeking out around it. He turned slightly, scanning the street and Heero caught his breath. No one looked like that, at least, no one he'd ever seen. The boy was stunning, features perfect, nose slightly reddened from the cold.

Heero swallowed his sudden fear, forcing himself to walk over. The boy turned as he approached, smiling openly, and Heero was lost. No one could possibly have eyes that color; it must be contacts, of course, that didn't explain the smile.

"Heero?"

Heero smiled nervously in return, grasping the black gloved hand held out. "Yes. Duo?"

"Mhm, that's me. Heh, didn't know who to be expecting, I probably should've asked you what you looked like..." He trailed off, eyes moving from the top of Heero's dark haired head, down to his thick black boots. "Well, shall we go inside? It's a bit cold to be out here."

"Sure."

The more Heero tried not to stare at his companion the more he did, until finally he met Duo's eyes as they were hanging up their coats. He glanced down, suddenly feeling as if he were on a date after all. It was that same nervousness, that same gut wrenching feeling of near nausea. He swallowed, clearing his throat and meeting Duo's amazingly vivid eyes once more. That was the problem, he realized. Right there, in those eyes. Attraction.

"Listen," Duo said calmly, grabbing Heero's hand and giving it a squeeze. "I understand if you're nervous...I think I am too, I've never done something like this before. I mean, one of these services."

"You're thinking of it that way too?" Heero asked, realizing that it really did feel like a date, and apparently not just to him.

"Yeah, I suppose I am at that." Duo nodded, and Heero caught sight of the rest of his hair for the first time, a long snake-like braid flopping over his shoulder to lay along his side.

His eyes widened slightly, never having seen a boy with hair so long. He looked up to meet Duo's eyes again, wonderingly. "Nice hair." He nearly bit his tongue off as the words popped out of his mouth before he could think about them.

To his surprise, Duo's smile merely widened. "I bet you're dying to ask me why I have it so long now, aren't you?"

"How'd you...been asked that a lot have you?"

"Too often."

"So?"

"So let's get started?" Duo gestured towards the warehouse confines of the antique mall, the coatroom opening onto a space that could have held a herd of elephants.

"Ok, so what exactly is in this place? I don't think I've ever been to an antique mall."

"Everything, it's my favorite first date pla..." Duo stopped mid- sentence, looking somewhat startled. "I'm so sorry, it's just...this really does make an excellent first date." He smiled apologetically. "It's got everything, books, records, ashtrays, mugs, mementos, well...everything. And I've found that when you take someone here, you sort of get to know about them without prying."

Heero looked away from Duo's open and honest face, eyeing the store, and held still. It was indeed huge and did seem to hold everything. The entire space was sectioned off into aisles, booths separating each aisle, people's belongings and old house items within each.

Right away a tall elegant lamp caught his eye, a faux tiffany shade glimmering on it. Then his eyes drifted, another item holding his gaze, before once more his attention shifted. He smiled again, turning to look at Duo. "You're right, this is a good place for a first date."

+

They'd wound up walking for what seemed like hours that day, eventually sitting down to have a rest at the small café within the mall. Greek salads and homemade potato soup warming and filling their bellies as they talked. The wind continued to howl outside, customers sliding outside and going home even as the two of them sank deeper into a small, private world for two.

Heero's nervousness had lessened by that time, and he almost felt as if he now knew something about his companion. Though still, there was an aura of mystery about Duo Maxwell, not as if he lied, but merely as if there were things he would never say. Despite himself, Heero found it...alluring. There was a mystery here, this man should have had many friends, and yet he'd called the friendship service just as Heero had.

Why?

"I actually called because someone bet me I wouldn't do it. You see, I really don't have that many friends, just three or four close ones. I suppose I can count myself lucky that I have that many. One of them bet me after we had watched the advertisement, that I would never sign up for such a thing. And well, I could never refuse a bet I knew I could win."

Heero had been mesmerized by Duo's mouth moving, white teeth flashing, eyes glimmering with their unearthly shading. He'd never met someone so...beautiful before. He'd never actually applied the word beautiful to a man before. And to his shock, he found it didn't really bother him.

"How about you?" Duo had asked.

"Me? I ...just don't have any friends..."

+

A few days later Duo called again, this time he said, it would be Heero's turn to pick somewhere to meet. Heero tried to protest, bringing up the fact that he did not know the city, at which point Duo pointed out, there were still places that every city had.

"Pick up a phone book, call me back with your answer." He'd said, the dial tone buzzing in Heero's ear.

How was he supposed to find somewhere he'd never been? Heero eventually wound up following Duo's advice, leafing through the phone book in search of an answer. Someplace to meet, occasionally his eyes would fall on the small piece of paper lying on his desk, seven digits and a name proclaiming it to be Duo Maxwell's phone number.

After only a half-hour of staring nearly blankly at the pages of the fat book, he eventually realized that there were some places within a city that would always be there, no matter where you were. He smiled, picking up the phone and dialing, a soft thrill caressing his spine at the sound of Duo's voice.

At the end of the conversation, he wound up staring out his window, the city lights flashing at him from amongst the fog and rain. Tomorrow he had another...date.

+

It had started snowing early in the morning, and by the time Heero had dressed and dashed out the door, it was nearly a foot high outside. It was a damp, moist sort of snow, perfect for snowballs and snowmen, and hot chocolate that warmed your tongue. His boots crunched in it as he hurried along the street, scarf whipping out behind him as he increased his pace.

"This seems like you for some reason." Duo said with a smile upon seeing him, his face warm and friendly after the bitter cold of the street. They turned together, eyeing the foreboding structure of the public library.

"I've always loved libraries, they're like havens, warm and inviting on the inside, cold and forbidding on the outside."

"Fortresses of words." Duo said softly in response, tugging his violet scarf closer about his neck and walking towards the entrance. Heero nodded, close beside him as they climbed the stone steps, entering the welcoming warmth of the huge building. "There's even a small café on the third floor."

"But what to do until then?"

"I have a plan."

+

They lay amidst shelves of books, buried behind row upon row of new and old. The fourth floor of the library housed fiction, everything from Wodehouse to Steinbeck and then back again. Heero idly picked another book, leafing through it and glancing at Duo where he sat on the floor. "What did you read when you were a kid?"

"Everything I could get my hands on, reality is not something you want to face when you're young. At least that was my view on it later in life, looking back."

"Seems like you always know the answers when you look back, doesn't it?"

"There's a saying for that."

"Hind sight is 20/20?"

"That's the one. As if you'll know all the answers and all the things you should've done, but only once the time for the knowledge has passed. And of course by then..."

"By then it's always too late." Heero chuckled, settling onto the floor beside Duo and leaning back against the tall case of books. "What would you change if you could go back? Would you really have it differently than it was?"

"Well...no, I suppose I wouldn't change a thing. I guess what's happened in my life made me who I am, and if I could go back and make it different somehow..."

"You wouldn't be you, so maybe, maybe you wouldn't even change what you changed at all?"

"You're awfully philosophical today."

Heero held out the book he picked off the shelf, as if to answer. His head tilted to the side, face pressed against a shelf of ratty science fiction novels.

Duo glanced at the title, laughing aloud as he read it. "Winnie the Pooh?" He guffawed, sliding further down onto the floor and clutching at his stomach as he howled with mirth.

+

"Quiche seems like such an unmanly thing to eat." Duo whispered in a loud voice, glancing about at the nearly empty café. The table they shared was small, their knees bumping beneath it as they seesawed in a back and forth conversation.

"Unmanly to whom?" Heero asked, forkful of the unmanly substance halfway to his lips.

"I'm not quite sure, but I do know that meatball subs and greasy french-fries should be what real men eat." Duo grinned, hiding it behind a large piece of fresh and crusty bread, butter slathered liberally on it.

"Shut up and eat your quiche pansy boy." Heero said with a laugh, flinging a napkin across the table as he leaned back.

The twinkle in the violet eyes seemed to deepen, Duo leaning back with a smile. "Heero...do you ever date? I mean...a real date? With a woman?"

Heero choked, coughing and reaching blindly for a drink. His fingertips found the wet rim of his glass, bringing it to his mouth for a long swallow before he answered. "Of course I...ok no, not really."

Duo seemed to contemplate that answer, the smile never leaving his face, expression nearly unchanged. "Men?" he asked, looking as if whatever Heero answered would not be looked down upon.

"Um no...no men either. I really don't do much. Just...write. And move." Heero's mouth twisted into a wry smile.

"You're a writer?"

"Didn't the agency tell you?"

"No, never said a word." Duo glanced up, as if he could peer through the floor above them and see the books. "I bet you're up there, aren't you?"

"Hm, somewhere."

+

It was almost nightfall by the time they left the library, the sky again filled with white flakes of frozen water drifting down in a sprinkling of lightness.

"My grandmother once said they were like fairies soaring down to earth." Duo whispered, as they stood on the steps in the growing gloom.

"I never really noticed anything special about it. It's cold, annoying, and there's no fun to be had with it." Heero proclaimed, gesturing at the drifting snowflakes.

Duo looked shocked, tugging on the long black scarf that wrapped around Heero's neck. "No fun to be had? Haven't you ever played in it? Washed your face with it? Fallen over in it and rolled until you were breathless?"

"No, no and, well, no. I never felt the urge to do any such thing. It's only frozen water."

"And I suppose rain is only condensation? Or lightning merely a flash in the sky? Thunder just a noise in the darkness." His braid had whipped out of its confines beneath his scarf, eyes flashing in the streetlights. "You Heero, have never learned the joys of the world, have you?" Snow gathered on his cheeks, turning them a feverish red to match the brightness of his eyes.

"What do I need to know? I'm happy."

Duo turned, his hand coming up to rest on Heero's shoulder, face becoming serious. "No, you aren't."

And Heero realized that sometimes truth could hurt. "I am now." He said softly, turning his face up to watch the spiraling descent of the snow.

+

[cont]