Author: Clary Sage
see chap. 1 for warnings, disclaimers, notes

Fate + Chapter Two

"I'm open to falling from grace."
- Sneaker Pimps, 6 Underground

"So you finally met our neighbor little bro?" Milliard stopped chopping the onion, and glanced up to watch as Duo paced the kitchen. Ever since saying a brief and hurried goodbye to the new neighbor, Milliard had barely heard a peep from the boy. He'd come in, said hello, and gone upstairs. Now he was in the kitchen, pacing back and forth in his socks, and mumbling under his breath about nosy neighbors.

"Duo if you don't stop pacing and tell me what's eating you, I'll forego our game of chess tonight and invite Relena to play instead." Duo stopped dead and gave him a shocked look.

"You wouldn't?"

"Try me. Now will you tell me what the hell is bothering you?" Milliard laid his knife to one side, sitting on one of the stools at the kitchen counter. He watched as Duo pulled at the end of his braid, seeming to argue with himself.

"It's that guy!" He burst out finally, then continued pacing once more, his braid still held firmly in one hand. "First he acts like I'm a nobody at the store, he wouldn't even look at me. Then he follows me home. Or at least I thought he was following me. But to top it off, he's our next-door neighbor! And… he hates the back porch." Duo trailed off and his shoulders slumped.

Milliard tried to hide a smile and folded his hands on the counter. "I'm sure he doesn't hate it. Besides he seemed very..." Milliard gestured vaguely with one long fingered hand.

Duo shot a glare at his cousin "Very what? Nice? That guy?!" He threw his arms up in the air and spun around to face the back of the house, his eyes growing softer as he looked at the porch in the waning light. "That guy wouldn't know beauty if it bit him on the ass." Duo said softly, he wasn't sure if Milliard caught it, until he heard the knife start up again and his brother said quietly "I think he might not need a bite, just a pinch." Duo smiled and headed out the door to change his clothes. "Thanks Mil!" He called back over his shoulder as he raced up the stairs, braid flying out behind him.

Milliard smiled to himself and stared out the back windows at the midnight porch. His ice blue eyes grew thoughtful, and then he shook his head in wonderment. His cousin was one strange kid, but he wouldn't trade him for the world. He just hoped Duo wouldn't let that soft heart get him into trouble. A movement down on the new neighbors dock caught his eye and he went over to the window to get a better look. Normally Milliard wasn't a nosy person, but anyone who could affect Duo this way, automatically became his business.

A slim boy with dark hair stood looking up at the black porch. From what Milliard could see, he'd met the same boy earlier that day over their mutual fence. The boy stood staring at the porch for a long time, the sky becoming dusted with stars before he finally moved and walked back up towards the dark house next door. Milliard shook himself from his daze and went back to the counter to finish chopping onions for the Hunter's Chicken he'd planned for supper. It was no business of his if the boy was lonely. From the looks of things he'd already made one of the best friends he could have, Duo just didn't know it yet.

+

"Check."

"Aw shit Mil."

"Watch your mouth Duo, you lost it when you gave up your last rook." Duo glared at his sister then turned to look down at the board again. Relena's golden hair caught the lamplight as she leaned back again.

"Yeah, guess your right, hell, sorry Rel. It's just, he always wins!"

Milliard smiled at his cousin and leaned back in his chair crossing his arms. "Maybe if you took more time thinking about the next moves of the game, instead of throwing everything you've got at me as soon as you can."

Duo grimaced, nodding his head in agreement. "I will win one of these days big bro, and when it happens…"

"When it happens the world will stop spinning and we'll all fall off." Relena smiled at Duo making the boy burst out laughing at his normally serious cousin. "Yeah, but at least I'll have won."

"Duo you don't have a chance against this master chess player." Milliard smirked then let out a rather unmanly shriek as Duo threw himself through the air to land on his older cousin with a loud whoosh, knocking them both to the floor.

"Master huh? Master of ticklishness!" His grin widened at the cornered look Milliard gave him, and then he started to giggle as his agile hands darted around his flailing cousin to tickle the older man with digging fingers.

"Duo! Aahhh! Stop! Ok, ok I swear! You're the master! Ahaha, Stop! Mercy!" Duo jumped up and grinned down at his panting, red-faced cousin, then offered a hand to help up the disheveled man.

"You see Milliard? This is what you get for teaching him the basics of tactical maneuvers." Relena said, picking up a few fallen chess pieces, and carefully laid them on the table again. Her blue eyes sparkled for a moment as she tried to hold back a grin.

"I didn't teach him a thing, that's natural ability." Milliard ruffled Duo's bangs and then slid into his chair again, brushing the long blonde strands from his eyes and panting slightly.

"I think I'm gonna head for bed now, it's been a long day." Duo stretched and let out a yawn his hands curling into fists as he raised them above his head. He went over to Relena and gave her a kiss on the cheek, hugging her tight before smiling and starting up the stairs. "Night guys, see you tomorrow. We're still going to Lake Talin for a picnic, right?" he paused and looked over his shoulder.

"Yes Duo. Brother even promised to make all our favorite picnic foods. Didn't you Milliard?" She smiled sweetly at her older brother and then turned to wink at Duo.

Duo ran the rest of the way up the stairs grinning, his brother's reply lost to him as he slammed his bedroom door. He began peeling off his jeans and t-shirt. Making quick work of it, soon he was lying on his bed with the lights off. Rolling over he faced the window, staring up at the small portion of night sky that was visible. Then a light came on in the house across the way and Duo grumbled to at the intrusion. He wondered whose room that was. Maybe Heero's? He rolled his eyes and lay on his back, then turned again to watch the window.

What was he thinking? This would have been so much cooler if Heero Yuy wasn't such a jerk. He glared absently at the open window across the way as light streamed out and reached into his bedroom. Apparently, they hadn't gotten any curtains up yet because Duo had a perfect view into the empty room.

A figured moved across the window briefly and Duo sat up to get a better look. Heero was still wearing the same clothes. Dark blue jeans and a plain black t-shirt tucked in at the waist with no belt. The slender boy stood in the middle of the room across the way and looked around. His gaze briefly met Duo's, though he didn't seem the see the spying boy. Duo inched closer to the window and watched as Heero slowly walked a circle around his room, seeming to prowl it. Then the dark haired boy bent down and removed his shoes, tossing them into what Duo assumed must be a closet.

When Heero sat down Duo realized that there was a bed in the room; it was just very low to the floor. He searched his memory for a moment then came up with the name, a futon. Interesting. Duo blushed and started to turn away when he became conscious that the boy was stripping. Then without knowing why, he turned back and kept watching, despite the little voice in his head telling him it was wrong to spy like this.

A flat, lean stomach was revealed as Heero lifted the shirt over his head. Duo noticed that the other boy's chest was much more cut and built then his own. Must work out, or at least be into sports or something he mused. Tossing the shirt into a corner of the room, Heero began unbuttoning his jeans. Duo held his breath as the tight jeans slid down the other boy's hips. He stifled a squeak of shock behind his hands when he saw that Heero didn't wear any underwear. He didn't realize he was still holding his breath until he started to gasp for air. Then he chuckled at his own lunacy and lay back down on the bed again, his eyes never leaving the window across the way even when the light eventually blinked out. The moon remained bright and Duo fell fast asleep as it raced through the heavens above.

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