NOTE: see part 1 for notes, warnings
AUTHOR: shira

Papillion + Part 22

It was one week to the day before Duo was to have his cast removed and Heero lay in bed in the wee hours of the morning, unable to sleep. His mind was restless, as it had been since Duo had scheduled the appointment for the cast removal. It signaled an end to an era and a time for a decision. Would he go back to Relena's place?

Seven weeks seemed to have passed like lightening, and Heero found himself suffering from not only indecision, but from loss as well -- a loss that he hadn't yet even experienced, nor did he have to if he decided to accept Duo's offer to be a permanent roommate. He didn't know if it was the right thing to do, though, since in all the time that he'd been there, they hadn't had any other conversations like the one they had while Duo was in the hospital. Yes, there had been and continued to be the hair-washing thing, but Heero didn't want to just assume that because he was helping Duo wash his hair, that it meant anything other than what it was. Moron! Of course it's more than that! You're just too afraid to act on it, because you love him and you won't admit it to yourself! Sighing, Heero stared at the ceiling as daylight slowly crept into the room.

It wasn't until he heard Duo moving around in the other bedroom across the hall that his attention was drawn to the back of his bedroom door. He could hear the man thumping around with his cast -- he'd taken to hopping more now than using the crutches since he no longer felt pain if he used the leg -- and he went about his bathroom business, then made his way downstairs. It seemed awful early for Duo to be up, but Heero just dismissed it an tried to get a few more winks of sleep before having to get up for work. The crash that came from the kitchen had him abruptly sitting up in bed though, and he quickly rose and trotted down the stairs in just his underwear to see what the problem was.

Standing in the doorway to the kitchen, Heero found Duo in the midst of a pile of pots that had fallen from the cabinet shelf as Duo had attempted to get out a frying pan.

"Is everything OK? I heard a crash."

Duo sighed with annoyance. "Fine. Sorry I got you out of bed so early." The kitchen clock read five-fifteen. "Just trying to make us some breakfast before you head off, but the frying pan got hooked on the other pot, and I tried to lean over to get it out and near lost my balance."

"What are you doing up so early? I don't have to be in until nine," Heero said, helping Duo pick up the pots that had fallen, littering the kitchen floor.

"Couldn't sleep."

"No? Everything OK?"

Duo stood and straightened. "I haven't been able to get my appointment next week off my mind."

That makes two of us. Smiling, Heero agreed. "Going to be weird to have that thing off, I'd guess. But it will be great."

"No, that's not what I mean. Yeah, I can't wait to get it off, but that's not what's bugging me."

Heero stopped and just stood. "Then what is?"

"I --" Duo began solemnly. "Heero, have you given any thought to staying?" His eyes were bright and hopeful as they captured Heero's. "I don't want you to leave."

Sighing, Heero admitted that he'd been up thinking about the same thing, and hadn't come to any conclusion about what to do about it. "I'm just..."

"Just what, Heero?" Duo said with noticeable annoyance in his tone. "I don't want you to feel you have to stay if you don't really want to stay...but you do want to stay. Don't you?" His question was less of a question than it was a confirming statement and Heero knew it.

"I don't know what I want, Duo," Heero said, and the crack in his voice was audible. You DO know what you want to do, you're too afraid to make the decision! "I..."

"I know what you want better than you do, Heero." Duo put the frying pan in his hand up on the stove burner and turned to face his friend with a perturbed expression. "Can I assist you in making your decision?"

Raising an eyebrow, Heero said, "Umm, I suppose." The next thing he knew, his lips were being devoured by Duo's, the longhaired man holding him with both hands by the sides of his head, forcing him into a hold and bearing down on him, attacking him with the most breathtaking kiss he'd ever imagined possible. At first he was taken off guard and Heero tried to fight, but once his mind registered what was happening, he let himself be kissed. He let his lips be parted and Duo's toothpaste-minted tongue enter his mouth, exploring his warm depth, causing his head to spin and his stomach to turn. He let Duo sweep him off his feet standing right there in the kitchen, making him dizzy with the pent-up passion that was flowing through both of them. Then before it was all over, Heero joined in and kissed back, finally answering the call that had been sent out to him.

Roughly pushing the two of them apart, out of breath and gulping air, Duo stared deep into Heero's eyes with a look of annoyed accomplishment. That sly little smirk of his graced his thin lips. "There. Think about that for a while and let me know."

+

Heero went through the rest of his day in a blur. His lips had burned with Duo's fire for hours after the kiss in the kitchen, and his gut was in turmoil like he'd never experienced in his young life. This must really be what love is like. They never did make breakfast, Heero disappearing in a daze to take an early shower while Duo clamored back upstairs to lie on his bed thinking. When he was washed up and dressed, Heero just grabbed his laptop case and jogged down the flight of stairs. He left for the morning without saying goodbye, so he never did notice the smirk that was still on Duo's face, he being able to sense the tension that he'd caused in Heero with that one, albeit very hot, kiss. He was going to be two hours early to work, but in the state of mind he was in, he needed the time to think anyway.

By ten that morning he'd been through three cups of coffee from the shop across the street and had absently perused a few surveillance reports, his mind flooded with thoughts from that morning instead. That kiss had been...wonderful. There was nothing else to call it. It had left him floating inches above the floor and his heart pounding in his chest with excitement and anticipation. He was positive now, that this intoxicating emotion was what Duo had been warning him of all along. He hadn't felt the slightest tingle when Relena had kissed him twice, yet Duo managed to stir him up just with his eyes. A kiss from Duo surged through him like lightening, awakening parts of him that he never realized even existed. For the first time in his life, Heero lusted after someone. That kiss, that one magical kiss, had cut through him like a burning blade and settled right in his groin, a sensation that no other person had yet caused in him. Not even Relena, as beautiful as she was and as delicious as she smelled. It just didn't affect him the way Duo did.

No sooner than he'd thought of her did Heero's video phone ring -- it was Relena. She was dressed for a meeting or luncheon, done up nicely with makeup and her hair up, and she smiled at him. She really was beautiful, Heero thought, but no matter how much he might try, he didn't think there was any way for him to convince himself that he should be with her. As guilty as that made him feel, he contemplated why it was that he even should feel guilty about that -- after all, people are people -- you can't "make" someone like you. Forcing a smile to hide the question in his mind, Heero greeted the girl.

"Good morning, Heero," the Foreign Minister said, smiling brightly and trying to put on her best show for him. She'd been especially thoughtful and accommodating toward him since he'd been staying with Duo.

"Good morning, Relena."

"I understand you're reading over the reports from yesterday's surveillance?" There had been some upheaval again in the L5 cluster and Preventer units were once more keeping a close eye on a few key "troublemakers."

"Doing that as we speak." Heero smiled, realizing that she could see through its fakeness.

"So, how are things going at Duo's?"

"He's doing much better, thanks." Shifting in his chair, Heero's eyes got a little hard. Relena knew how to push his buttons, he realized, and it seemed as though these days, though she probably didn't mean anything by it, she would frequently revert to seeing him squirm by bringing up Duo. Maybe it was her realization that she didn't stand a chance with him, or it was just plain jealousy, but no matter what it was, she never failed to make it known that she was still dissatisfied with the way things had progressed between them. She never came right out and said anything to him, but the subtle innuendoes were enough to drive Heero crazy with guilt.

"It's been a while now. When does the cast come off?" Relena asked this time, prying for whatever information she could get.

Sucking in a deep breath, Hero answered, "The cast will be off a week from today. It's been seven weeks already."

"Wow, how time flies," she said with a false expression of glee on her face. "Well, I guess that means you'll be back home in a week then, doesn't it? I'll have your room freshened before you get back."

Heero closed his eyes for a moment, his heart rate increasing slightly at the sound of her words. What the hellis it with today? "Relena, I..." he faltered.

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

He looked her straight in the eyes and said it. "Relena, I'm going to stay. I'm going to move in with Duo."

As she went to speak, Relena's mouth opened, then closed again, silently.

"I'm sorry, Relena. I need to thank you for all the hospitality you've shown me, and all the help you've given me, and you know I'll always be your friend..."

Relena chuckled. "It's OK, Heero. I didn't think you were going to live here forever." Her face smiled cordially at him, but her eyes told a different story.

Heero was momentarily saddened. He'd hurt her through no fault of his own. "I'm so sorry, Relena."

Hiding her disappointment as best she could, Relena looked away from the screen to gather herself. "Heero, please. You have to do what's right for you. I know that. I can't say I won't miss having you at the mansion, but you'll always be welcome there, should you ever desire to come back."

"I appreciate that," Heero said, then let his eyes drop, ashamed.

"OK then. I really need to get going, but let me know when you'll be by for the remainder of your things? Or if you prefer, I can send them to Duo's place for you?"

"No, I'll be around to get them. No need to send anyone. Probably over the weekend, if that's alright." Looking up to meet her eyes again, Heero offered the peace offering of a little smile, and Relena could not help but to smile back.

"That'll be fine, Heero. I'll see you later." With that the call terminated from Relena's end.

For a few minutes Heero sat, unmoving, and contemplated what had just happened. Then sighing, he shook his head and smiled to himself, a great pressure having been lifted off his shoulders. He'd made a major decision -- a decision that would influence his own happiness and nothing more -- he was going to stay with Duo. Though his mind was confused, his heart rejoiced.

+

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