Author: Justkat2790
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Reasons in a Nutshell + Part 11

Giving In

Heero didn't remember that sleeping with Duo had been so difficult during the war. Although, sometimes, Duo could be unbelievably annoying at the worst possible moments.

Heero glared at the bits of Duo that he could see, which wasn't much, just head and shoulders, and tried not to sound worried. "Duo I don't know how you expect to get it in. It's too big. It's never going to fit."

"Yes it will." Duo smiled at him soothingly, glancing away from his hands. "Just might need to..." He grunted with effort. "...force it a bit that's all. You worry too much Heero! It'll be all right once it's in. You'll see. I'll just wriggle it around a bit until it's in the right spot. You can tell me where you think it should go." He took a deep breath, and shoved. Hard.

"Ahh!!" Heero rocked backwards. Gritted his teeth and braced himself, questioning, not for the first time, his decision to go first. "Duo! Stop. Pushing. You have to work out how to get it in first! It's not going to fit just because you want it to. I'll help you guide it in. I just need to...oww!!! Stop!!" Heero glared. "You just shoved my head into the wall!"

"Aww come on Soldier!" Duo grinned at him. "Are you saying you can't handle a little pain?!"

Heero stared at him frostily. How much pain he chose to handle was beside the point. "That's beside the point. Howard's asleep." Heero hoped fervently that this was true. "You'll wake him up with all this banging." Not to mention all the yelping and groaning. As well as being annoying, Duo was incredibly noisy.

"Look," Heero took a deep breath. "It's not that hard. Just try again."

"Hard enough! Anyway..." Offended, Duo was eyeing Heero as if it was all his fault, which Heero thought was most unfair. All that he'd done was suggest that they share a room. Doing this tonight was entirely Duo's idea. Mostly. "...we've done this before Yuy. Twice actually. How did we do it last time?"

"It wasn't so big last time! And I can't believe you've forgotten." Heero glared in indignation. He hadn't forgotten. About that, or any other details of the day that he'd moved in with Duo.

"Are you saying that mine's too big?!"

Heero wasn't saying anything. He didn't think that Duo's was too big at all. It was just that... "Well I suppose it's bigger than mine." He squirmed to look over his shoulder. "Not much though. I think you've just got the wrong angle." He squinted critically. "Or maybe it's the shape. I think it's the knobby bit..."

"Hey!" Duo was indignant. "There's nothing wrong with the shape. It's just the same as yours. And I like the knobby bit!!"

Heero peered downwards. "Mmm... but it's longer and thinner. Maybe if you move your hands a bit. They're in the way. Hold it further down or something."

"Okay. Umm hang on...Aww heck! It's slipping! Heero I'm gonna lose it in a minute and it'll be all your fault!!"

"Well just hang on!!"

"I can't! Ahh... Sorry!! Nearly lost it there. Slippery damn thing... Hmm." Duo was glum. "Maybe I should've gone first." This was a lot harder than he'd remembered. Damned if he was giving in though. Not when they were so close. "Maybe if I just...lift...this...up here..." He grunted with effort. "Okay! I think I've got it. You ready? Because here goes!"

"Ahh! Duo!!!" Heero glared. Rubbed his head again. "Right! That's it. My turn. Move. Now!"

"You boys all right in there?" Light blossomed under Howard's doorway.

"Heero!!" Duo's voice laced with panic, pretty much as loud as a hiss could be. "Now you've woken Howie! He'll be out in a minute. You don't want him to see us like this do you?! It's embarrassing!! Look I think I've got it now. Just hang on!"

"What?? No I didn't!" Said Heero indignantly. "You did! And anyway I don't know how else we're supposed to do it! It worked last time! Just stop shoving and let me... Oww!!!" Heero yelped. And groaned. "Damn. Damn damn damn. Shit! Knew that was going to happen." Struggled for breath, flat on his back, arms outstretched, red-faced and sweating. "Duo I will kill you..." Groaned again, and wriggled experimentally.

"...just as soon as I get out from under this bed!"

Of course, back in the war, they hadn't had to move the bed into the dormitory first.

+

After Howard's bombshell about cancer, Duo had disappeared for a while. Said that he'd wanted to go for a walk, and come back shoving a bed along the hallway.

And now here he was, in the middle of Heero's room, undoing his pants.

Heero was sure that he'd seen Duo take off his pants before. Heaps of times. At the beach. In the bathroom, because half the time Duo didn't bother to close the door. And of course, back in the War, when they'd shared a room. Somehow, this time, in his bedroom, his own private space, it felt completely different.

They'd been younger back then. Maybe that was the difference. Or maybe it was the muscles that Duo had developed in the two years since then. Broad shoulders, and long muscular legs, but still with a schoolboy's lean hips, encased in slippery silk.

Duo slid his pants down and Heero forgot what he was thinking. Forgot everything except creamy skin and dark mysterious shadows. Duo's hair catching fire in the glow from the lamp.

Had Duo always slept in his boxers? Heero thought that maybe he had, but, just for now, he couldn't remember.

Surely he would remember if he had. The way that they hung from Duo's bony hips. The silky fabric draping smoothly over jutting muscle behind. He didn't think that he could have forgotten something, at once, so frustrating, and, so mindlessly arousing. The soft mound in front, that jiggled gently with each movement...

Duo looked up. Grinned sleepily and stretched, yawning widely. "Hey Heero!! Wake up buddy! You look half asleep on your feet. Me too." He yawned again. "I'm beat."

Heero's face flared and he spun abruptly and slid into bed, yanking up the covers to hide the panicked beat of his heart. The breathless rise and fall of his chest. His body's insistent reaction to the sight of his, almost naked, best friend. Desperately, he rolled onto his stomach and buried his face in his cool pillow. Pressed himself into the bed and willed away the hot pounding of his blood.

Eyes blinded, he was unbearably conscious of every sound. The rustle of the sheets. His own jerky breathing. Duo, sliding into bed and stretching for the lamp. "Sorry man. I'll get the light. Hang on."

And the smell. Somehow, his entire room smelled of Duo.

Eventually, Heero relaxed. Carefully rolled over and rested his cheek on his fist, gazing towards the spot where Duo lay, just a step away.

"Heero? You awake?"

Duo was facing him, a pale blur in the darkness. Heero caught the glimmer of his eyes in the dark.

"Feels just like being back in school again huh!" Duo chuckled softly, a flash of white teeth. "It's funny. You used to piss me off so bad! You wouldn't even look at me half the time. Let alone talk to me. Used to be like rooming with a ghost." A very grumpy ghost, he thought, but didn't think that Heero needed to hear that.

Heero felt his face warming. He had looked. Sometimes. It was just that Duo hadn't noticed.

"But still..." Duo was still watching him, his voice soft. "I always knew that I could rely on you. That you were there. To patch me up or bail me out if ever I needed it. Not that I would!" he added hastily. "At least not much anyway. But it was a nice feeling Heero. A really nice feeling. Don't know what I would have done without you sometimes. Just knowing that you were there. That I wasn't alone." His voice trailed away. "That was enough." He chuckled ruefully. "Silly huh."

Heero stared at Duo solemnly. He didn't think that it was silly. He'd felt exactly the same way.

"And now look at us huh..." Duo's eyes were almost luminous now, as Heero adjusted to the darkness, a smile in his voice, even before Heero saw the flash of teeth. "You're my best friend Heero. I couldn't have got through this afternoon without you. I was just about set to punch Howie out, the damned idiot. Being so secretive, and the drinking and everything. And, I don't think he would have told me anything, if it wasn't for you. So thanks buddy. For everything. I don't know what I'd do without you. Without you being here..."

A pale shadow rustled against Heero's bed. Duo's outstretched hand, patting his bed, searching for his. Finding Heero's fist, and worming under his cheek to squeeze it tightly. Heero turned his hand over and laced their fingers together. Squeezed back, warm with happiness, and reached out towards Duo in turn, so that their joined hands dangled comfortable between them, in the space between their beds. He smiled into the darkness. "Me too Duo."

There was silence for a long time and Heero thought that maybe Duo had drifted off to sleep, still holding his hand. Duo had had a long day. And the concussion. Heero couldn't sleep. Not with Duo's warm fingers in his. He listened to the gentle breaths in the darkness. Mapped the uncharted territory of Duo's shape under the covers, his braid a darker tributary against the crests and valleys of shadowy linen.

Watching, Heero felt Duo's fingers twitch, as he stirred again.

"Oi Heero...you still awake? Because there's something..." Duo's voice was a low thread of sound, rough with the beginnings of sleep, and Heero strained to hear.

"...something I wanted to ask you."

"Mmm hm." Heero swallowed.

Duo swung their joined hands gently, back and forth. "I meant to ask before, but what with one thing and another... And you don't have to say yes! I know that it's really important to you... To me too! And you're my best friend so I'd hate to upset you. And I'll understand if you say no but..."

Wordlessly, Heero nodded, feeling his heart beating heavily in his chest. Could Duo possibly be asking...

"Heero do you mind if we don't go up the bike track tomorrow? It's just that I promised Shelley I'd help her look for a new car tomorrow and I forgot all about it until now. We'll go next Sunday okay?"

Heero blinked hard, his throat closing. Mumbled something, some choked sound and Duo grinned happily. Gave Heero's hand a little, last final shake, and let his fingers slip from his grasp.

"Thanks Heero. Knew you wouldn't mind. G'night."

+

Once again, Heero lay, alone in the dark and listened to Duo breathe, just a bed away. So close that he could have reached out and touched him, if he'd stretched just a little, yet always just out of reach.

Heero stared dry-eyed at the ceiling, filled with misery and a kind of sick, shapeless anger, that wanted to crush and destroy, but had no focus. How dare Duo just abandon him like this for some girl that he'd only just met.

Blinking hard, Heero tried to be fair. It wasn't Duo's fault. Duo had a right to other friends. Just like Heero did, if he'd wanted them. Which he didn't. He just wanted Duo. Duo was his friend. Not Shelley's. His very first friend. But...

Heero had hoped that it meant something, that Duo had chosen him, over that Hilde girl, but it seemed that there would always be a girl somewhere, pulling Duo away from him.

Shelley was very pretty, and vivacious and outgoing. Just like Duo. All the things that Heero was not. Plus, she was a girl. Why would Duo ever be interested in Heero when he could have someone like her?

And the answer, Heero decided, lying, alone in the dark, was that he wouldn't.

It was time to give up.

This had to stop. It was hurting too much.

Somehow, he had to get over Duo. It wasn't fair to himself. And, he supposed that the only way to do that, was to learn to ignore him. He would just have to spend time away from Duo for a while. Give himself a chance to recover. There was nothing else for it.

He nodded determinedly, clenching the fist that still remembered the touch of Duo's fingers.

He would avoid Duo.

Starting tomorrow.

[part 10] [part 12] [back to singles a - k]