see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
in a Nutshell +
After the nut thing, the sling thing, and the hair tie that tumbled from
Heero's leather jacket with his wallet, it wasn't a huge surprise to Howard
that the Yuy kid was going home with them. Although it was a huge
relief. Heero drove. Carefully, and with due respect for red lights, other
motorists, and passengers who had never been Gundam pilots, and had just
battled a frighteningly aggressive Pad Thai.
Wedged into the elevator of the Kid's apartment building, Howard resisted
Duo's efforts to grab his bag by dint of growling at him, then, when that
failed, like every other time, by noticing that his sling was slipping.
Mean, but he wasn't some pussy ground-bounder. Or an old
codger, dammit. He glared at Duo. It was just Earth gravity was all. And
by the time Duo had fended off the Yuy kid, the elevator had stopped.
Halfway down the hallway, a door creaked, and pint-sized yapping filtered
into the corridor.
"Holy crap! Move your butt buddy!" Snatching Heero's sleeve, Duo skidded
with him to the far end of the hall on his leather-soled boots, forcing
key to lock, door to open and Heero inside, before Howard even had a chance
to blink at the boots. Black leather. Silver toe caps and baby spurs.
Staring at the firmly closed and newly-painted door, with its neat brass
numbers and two dead-locks, Howard pondered. How in tarnation had he missed
The door cracked open.
"Sorry Howie!" Duo was cheerfully apologetic as he ushered him inside,
taking his bag, locking the door, and pressing him into the couch, in
a whirlwind of metre-long braid and explanation. "Mrs Elliott. Poor thing's
lonely. Talk your ear off if you give her a chance. And she just lu-u-urves
Heero." He grinned at Heero, rather sadistically, Howard thought.
Howard stared, as the most feared ex-terrorist in the Earthsphere turned
a dull red and growled something, grabbing his bag and stalking off down
the hallway. Wondered when Duo could possibly have stopped speaking long
enough to have an ear talked off. Resolved to steer clear of Poor Mrs
"So." Duo flopped down onto the couch, stretching out legs that Howard
noticed with some shock were now longer than his, and looked around proudly.
Howard glanced about approvingly. Open plan living, with the kitchen barricaded
behind a bench arrangement and a small table in an alcove at one end.
Nice and small. Easy to evacuate at any time. And, surprisingly ship-shape.
Everything safely stowed away in drawers and hatches. Must be the Yuy
kid. Unexpectedly homey, and comfortable
Extremely comfortable. Howard relaxed and sank deeper into the cushions,
enjoying the bedtime beer that had somehow appeared in his hand. It was
only somewhere around the bottom of the glass that he noticed heated discussion
filtering from the hallway, punctuated by equally heated silence.
"Don't put it there dumbass! He's sleeping here."
"Told you! My guest. My room!"
"No way!! You'll get backache! You're too tall!
"Only an inch! Give it here!!!"
There was the sound of a scuffle, the squashy thump of a duffle flying
through the air and landing shampoo-bottle-side down, and a door slamming.
A back, thumping against it.
Duo emerged flushed and triumphant, followed by Heero Yuy with an armload
"Sorry Howie. We've only got two bedrooms so you're getting my bed. I'm
on the couch."
Howard blinked in surprise, surrendering the couch, with a regretful look
at his glass. Somehow he'd thought that the boys bunked together, but
obviously not, judging by the way the Yuy boy was fluffing pillows and
making a bed with hospital corners on an overstuffed couch.
Meekly, Howard abandoned his glass and went to rescue his duffle.
After they'd cleaned up the shampoo, it was a very comfortable bed, but
that didn't stop Howard from jerking awake in the middle of the night,
awakened by some noise. Or maybe, lack of noise. No vibration or subliminal
hissing, and it was several breathless moments before he remembered that
he was groundbound. Sighed, and looked towards the vague, red blur of
the bedside clock, resigning himself to wakefulness. Just didn't sleep
as well as he used to, these days.
Maybe water'd help.
He struggled out of bed and fumbled his way into the hall. Danged place
was darker than the cargo bay at midnight. Pain in the old bazooka trying
to see at night without his glasses. Hellfire! He caught himself
just in time with a hand on the doorjamb, stumbling over a lump that might
have been Duo's boots in the living room doorway.
And stiffened abruptly, fists clenching, peering at a shadowy shape beside
Duo's couch, outlined in neon purple haze from the window.
And relaxed again.
It was only the Yuy kid. Standing over Duo. Just looking, seemed like.
Slowly, Heero's hand was drawn towards Duo. Hovered light as a butterfly's
wing over a wayward strand of hair, a pale moth to chestnut flame, only
to be snatched back as if burned, as Duo sighed and rolled over, braid
thumping onto the floor.
More silent moments, and Heero reached down, snuggling the blanket up
over Duo's shoulders. Arranged his braid within easy reach of his curled
Abruptly, Howard caught himself staring, and eased back down the hallway
towards his bedroom.
Curiouser and curiouser.
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