Rattlesnakes + Part 1 (cont)

There was a bowl full of coins on top of a copy of A Clockwork Orange on the low bookshelf. There was a pair of yellow socks under the tv table. The throw bunched up between the top of the couch and the wall was flannel, and it had a stain of some sort on it, only just visible as it was all rolled up. One of the glasses on the coffee table had a distinct alcoholic tinge to it, and the other had a coffee stain on the edge.

There was a photograph of Heero and Relena on the wall between the hallway and the kitchen. Heero had his arm around Relena's waist. He was in a tuxedo, and Relena was wearing a fancy ball gown. Relena was grinning from ear to ear, her whole face beaming, and Heero was glaring lazily into the camera.

"That's from their engagement party." Duo was slouched against the wall next to Trowa, wearing a black long sleeved shirt and baggy black jeans. Trowa did a good job of ignoring the fact that Duo showed up totally silently. "I'm surprised that you weren't there."

Trowa hadn't realized that Heero and Relena were engaged. "I'm surprised that you are so casual about it."

Duo responded with a cheeky grin and a raised eyebrow.

"I was under the impression you were more... invested in Heero." Trowa leaned back on his feet, his eyes half-closed in vague disdain.

"Ah." Duo cocked his head to the side, examining the picture critically. "I am, I suppose. That's why I always wished it could work out between them. I always felt like... she had something that he needed, something he didn't understand. And they were both so innocent... I really wanted them to click."

Trowa lowered his chin so he could examine Duo from under his bangs. "What makes you think it won't work between them? You just said they were engaged."

"Yeah, but he's been fucking me for three years." Duo sighed. "So, you hungry? It'll just take me a minute to heat up the lasagna."

Trowa watched Duo slouch off to the kitchen, blinking. After a moment of stupefied inaction, he decided to follow, simply because he couldn't think of anything else to do in this situation.

He watched Duo pull the lasagna out of the refrigerator, humming to himself as he loosened the tin foil cover. Duo tilted his head from side to side as he moved, making his braid sway gently like the limp limbs of a willow tree in the breeze. Trowa sat down solidly at the kitchen table. Duo slid the lasagna into the small oven, fussing over the dials before he turned to set the table. Two white paper napkins with pale blue watering cans in a hexagonal pattern, two forks and knives, the kind with the rounded fake wooden handle over the long end, two beveled glasses, and two thin porcelain plates with a thin blue lines at the edges were each set down in turn as Duo spun efficiently through the kitchen.

"If you are Heero's lover, why is he marrying Relena?" Trowa had waited to speak until he could eliminate any trace of bitterness, which left his voice sounding dull and flat.

Duo smiled. "Heero is not my lover. That would imply that there was 'love', or there was 'affection', or that he 'makes love' to me or something like that. I said he fucks me and that's what I meant. As for why they are getting married..." Duo stepped over to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of wine, half empty. "Do you like red wine?"

Trowa shrugged.

Duo stepped over and poured each of them a half a glass of wine. Trowa watched him, almost disbelieving, as if he was certain that Duo was going to pull out actual wine glasses right up to the moment when the liquid hit the bottom of the tumblers.

"It's a marriage of convenience. See, everyone expects Relena to get married. That's what good girls do. They watch their fathers get murdered, they take over their father's job when they are still children, they become dress-up dolls for old men, then they become the people's bitch, work 'til they're old prematurely and they lose all their idealism, and then they get married and pop out kids to continue the cycle."

Duo, remarkably, spoke without the slightest suggestion of cynicism. "She doesn't want to marry Heero," Duo continued sadly, "but he's the logical choice. See, everyone can ooh and ah over what an amazingly sexy and powerful young couple of world conquering heroes they are, and Relena can keep pushing back the actual wedding date because she's so busy being the people's bitch, and then she can announce that she's leaving public life to have a normal, quiet life, and a few discreet months later, they can dissolve the engagement and go about their merry business."

Trowa watched Duo carefully, measuring each word as he processed it all. "So how did you and Heero start fucking then?"

Duo blinked. "Well, that's a complicated question."

There was a moment of total silence, and then the timer dinged quietly.

Duo got up and pulled out the lasagna, putting it on the table between their plates, sliding off one of his oven mitts to use as a trivet. Trowa recognized it as one of those kits to make a meal that came complete with everything, including the pan. It wasn't big, and there was only half of it left, so Duo cut the remains in half and lifted a half to each of them. He didn't bother to set aside or throw away the now empty pan in the middle of the table, just sat down and took a long gulp of wine.

"Dig in."

They each made motions to cut up their lasagna and shovel it in their throats. It could probably stood to have been heated for longer, but it was at least lukewarm throughout, and anyway, neither was eating that much, though Duo did take a gulp of wine for each bite, no matter how half-hearted.

Trowa watched Duo eat and drink, watched the way Duo's mouth moved, opening for food, and the way his lips touched the glass to drink. He watched the way Duo's little upturned nose stayed above everything, and the way Duo's cheeks would puff out momentarily when they were full. He watched the way Duo kept his eyes on his plate, so they appeared half closed, and his short lashes seemed to curtain his eyes. He watched Duo push his bangs out of his face thoughtlessly twice.

"I never liked you during the war." It sounded completely clinical, as if Trowa were discussing the weather, and he was a little disappointed to see that the cold front wasn't going to be lifting any time soon.

Duo met Trowa's eyes, the right corner of his mouth curling up just enough. "I know. I always liked you okay though."

Trowa blinked, and watched as Duo pushed some lasagna around his plate.

"Damn, do you ever feel like eating is just a chore? You have to make each meal, and shovel it in, and chew, and swallow, and clean up... and then do it all over again a few hours later. It's like some torturously evil way to mark off time in life." Duo regarded his forkful of noodles and sauce and cheese and meat with utter repulsion.

Trowa looked down at his plate of demolished but barely touched lasagna. "I preferred military rations."

"Me too," Duo smiled at his wine glass, "but they don't sell those anymore, not really. They have those energy bars, but they're too..."

"Yuppie."

"Exactly. Always 'flavored' and 'sweetened'," Duo shook his head, trying to release the memory perhaps.

"They have the ones with chocolate chunks even," Trowa added, clearly less than impressed. "What's the point of a health food if you are going to put chocolate in it?"

"I hate those most of all," Duo replied, blankly, taking a long gulp of wine. "Well, the good thing about eating is, it gives you an excuse to drink."

"Do you need an excuse to drink?"

"No!" Duo laughed, "but I don't like to drink wine unless I'm eating something. Red wine is supposed to be good for you."

"Not that much." Trowa regarded Duo's half a tumbler of wine, quickly diminishing with distrust.

"No, that's true." Duo smiled and finished off the glass quickly.

He stood up and cleared his own plate, sliding the rest of his lasagna into the trash. He put his dishes into the dishwasher without even rinsing them. He took Trowa's dishes as well, since Trowa's arms were folded in his lap, and Trowa wondered idly if he should offer to help.

"Do you mind if I ask you what it is about me that you dislike so much? I mean, we're kinda stuck together, so..."

Trowa watched Duo fill up the soap dispenser in the dishwasher, even though it wasn't even half full. His eyes unfocused as he watched Duo's hands move over the dishwasher controls. "Everything always came so easily to you. People always like you. You and Quatre made friends right away, Wu Fei always said you weren't that bad... I spent months nursing Heero back from the dead." Trowa's eyes narrowed as he relived that past rejection. "I followed him all over, helping him as he foolishly sought out his redemption. I catered to his every whim. And I would ask him if he wanted to eat Italian, and do you know what he would say? 'Duo likes sausage on his pizza.' He'd talk about you all the time, without any provocation."

Duo started, but didn't interrupt Trowa as he spoke. The longer Trowa went uninterrupted, the easier it was to let it out. He hadn't even thought about these things in years.

"When Heero went underground after the first war, he gave us all contact information, but you were the only one he saw. When he realized Relena was in danger, you were the one he went to for help. You weren't even a trained soldier, just a good pilot, but you were the one he trusted. You were the one he preferred.

"He couldn't even hit you without you hitting him first." Trowa looked up, as if that was the last and final piece of evidence.

Duo laughed briefly, sharply. "You're jealous of me because Heero likes me better than you? Hey, you can have him if you want 'im. And he got over that hitting thing, so don't worry."

Trowa blinked as Duo loafed into the living room.

"Hey, you wanna watch a movie?"

Still stunned, Trowa got up and followed Duo, standing uselessly by the couch as Duo flipped through his dvds.

"What do you wanna watch? Violence? Sex? Violent Sex?"

"Something that ends badly." Trowa sat, curling himself slightly against the arm of the couch.

Duo smiled. "I got just the thing." He popped in the disk and went to sit at the other end of the couch. "Do you mind if I smoke?"

Trowa shrugged, shaking his head.

Duo pulled out a bottle of vodka from next to the couch, and poured it into the glass with the coffee stain. He wordlessly offered Trowa some, but Trowa shook his head negatively once.

They watched the movie silently, Duo smoking four of his cigarettes, and going through three glasses of vodka, finishing off the bottle. They watched the last credit roll by, their eyes glazed.

"So. Therapy next week." Duo rested his chin on the cushion between them, his eyes still on the screen as the credit for the dvd company came up.

Trowa nodded, considering. "I suppose... if things get... intolerable, we could use each other. To distract him. Since he's a pervert and all."

Duo blinked, surprised. "You wouldn't mind?"

"I don't really have anything slutty to wear though." Trowa sounded apologetic as he looked at Duo.

Duo flushed, chewing on the edge of the cushion lightly. "That's ok. You're dead sexy, no matter what. Cool."

Trowa blinked four times, trying to process what Duo had said. But then Duo was getting up, so he decided to not bother.

"Want me to call a cab?"

Trowa stood, sticking his hands in his pockets. "No. I'm good."

"Okay." Duo smiled, and it struck Trowa that when he did, and his eyes were in it, Duo was really breathtaking.

Then he decided that he didn't just think that.

"Okay. Next week."

"Next week." Duo opened the door for him, and Trowa stepped into the chilled night air, not bothering to huddle.

He walked away without looking to see if Duo was watching him or if he was waving goodbye.

~*~

end part one...

er, quick (ha!) note...

Duo's 'colony boy' comment. this is my own little theory about colony life, and why the gundam boys might all be gay/bi. several times in the series, there are comments about how different life is in the colonies than on earth; duo mentions how people on the colonies are more laid back, and when zechs goes to the colonies as Sanc's representative, milliardo peacecraft, the colonial people want to explain to him how people on the colonies feel... at first, this seemed a bit odd to me, since people are people, right? but then i got to thinking...

when the colonies were first formed, the people who went to them were probably scientists, engineers, and the like, ya know, people who could build, repair, and operate the colonies. but there were probably other people, too, people who, like in our past, have left their homes to escape persecution or bigotry.

for instance, the people who formed L5 might have been traditionalist Chinese who wanted to escape the communist regime in China. L4 might have been formed by Arab people who wanted to live in peace, away from any fighting or war.

and hey, maybe a lot of gay/bisexual people left so they could live their lives in peace, too.

then we throw in another fact. in the episode zero trade, when talking about Quatre's past, they mentioned that when the colonies were first formed, people were not able to have children by normal biological methods. they had to use alternative methods, like test tube fertilization, to reproduce. so, it's reasonable to assume that a) colony life would have really appealed to people who couldn't biologically have children anyway, and b) that people in the colonies would have become really open to alternative families, life styles, etc, because of conditions out there.

now lets toss in one more fact... the colonies are all really far from earth, and their societies and culture might have been somewhat cut off from earth. people had to raise their kids, and the what not, without ever going to earth, probably, so since their educational systems would have been completely separate from earth, their tv and other media would possibly have been as well, and so... it's not unreasonable to think that the people who ran and formed the colonies (like the original Heero Yuy) might have seen them as something of a social experiment. like, in how to eliminate bigotry and racism through education and the media. if all their television shows were colorblind, and had gay/bi people in 'em, and they were taught in school with all sorts of people, and maybe even their children's stories were altered to be more all-encompassing, maybe it would mean that the people of the colonies were more open-minded and tolerant of their fellow man. maybe.

and maybe the people on earth would be just as intolerant and prejudiced as we are today, and maybe they would hold it against the people of the colonies that there were so many gay/bi people up there, and they couldn't reproduce naturally in space (until fairly recently, gundam wing timeline...), and they were racially mixed...

so maybe people in the colonies sorta 'evolved' to be bisexual, or at the very least, not concerned with a person's orientation, and maybe the people of earth would still be pretty rigid in regards to orientation, so maybe it might be considered an insult to call someone a 'colony boy/girl' as it would suggest that they were gay/bi, like the people in the colonies were all assumed to be.

maybe.

anyway, the more i thought about it, the more sense it made to me (and only me, i admit... ^_~ ) until it got to the point where i just sorta accepted it as fact. yup. the colonies were more open-minded and tolerant, and most people in the colonies just didn't think about sexual orientation, just went with their feelings and whoever they ended up with, boy or girl...

er. yeah. so that totally wasn't a short note. sorry! but just wanted to explain what i was thinking there...

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