see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
in a Nutshell +
in the Works
Saturday was beach day.
Slowly, Howard was learning the routine. Monday night was gym, because
when you were 18 you could never get too much exercise, even if you couldn't
sit still for a darned minute. Tuesday squash, Wednesday Tae Kwon Do and
Thursday more gym, Friday night was movie and pizza night, stairs were
for emergencies, and at a pinch you could jump from the fire escape to
the roof of the building next door. Sneak into the ventilator shaft, break
in through a duct and gallop down the stairs two buildings over like a
pair of giggling loons and not two responsible ex-terrorists
But Saturday was beach day.
Not that he'd minded the beach, back in the day, but... Howard, adjusted
his deck chair, refolded his newspaper and decided that next time,
if there ever was a next time, he was going to question the Kid
more closely about his definition of fun before he climbed into
the car. Porsche. Seemed like the kid had a different car for every day
of the week, and never the same one twice. Although Howard was learning
to identify them by their colour. Black. No surprise there. However. The
beach had its compensations. Like?
"This is the life!!!!" Duo flopped onto his towel liked a beached
whale, narrowly missing Howard's leg with his ice cream. "Check out this
view huh!" Howard wasn't sure whether he meant the rolling breakers, the
sand, the 36D-cup belonging to the girl on the towel next door, or the
barely-dressed group playing volleyball ten towels away as if it was still
an Olympic sport. Howard's personal vote went to the D-cup, seeing as
it was just being removed. He adjusted his glasses. Danged things'd fogged
up again. Salt spray. Must be.
"Mm." Heero Yuy sank down next to Duo, hair still wet from the surf. He
wasn't, Howard noticed with the eye that wasn't trained on the D-
cup, looking at any of the obvious attractions. "Duo you're burning. Either
put on a shirt or pass the sunscreen."
"Oh. Thanks buddy." Duo stretched expansively, the muscles of his back
rippling. Devoured his ice cream in two gulps and stretched out on his
sandy towel, head on crossed arms while Heero lifted his soggy rope of
hair aside. And picked it up again. "Duo what have you done to your hair?!!!"
Howard eyed him doubtfully over the paper. The Yuy kid didn't seem like
the kind to be giving out hair care tips.
"It's short." But was obviously worried.
Howard blinked. Didn't look short to him. Looked long enough to strangle
an elephant. Ends a bit frizzled maybe.
"Oh yeah." Duo knelt up and yanked his braid from Heero's hand, glowering
at the end of it. "Forgot about that. Damned truck caught fire when it
rolled. Nearly burnt my butt off. Check this out!!" He wriggled to peer
over his shoulder. Slid his board shorts down to expose a sea of angry,
red skin, and one rounded, white butt cheek.
"No." Heero yanked his shorts back up. Shoved him face down on the towel
in one smooth move, ignoring yelps of surprise and kicking legs. "Hey!!"
"Get that sunburnt and you'll be sorry." Heero spread sunscreen with military
precision, swirls of white on smooth, tanned skin still dappled with droplets
of water, then lay down next to Duo, ignoring him.
Sunscreen was a good idea. Howard grabbed a handful. Yuy kid could probably
use some too, despite that dark skin. His face was all pink. Howard started
re-slathering legs that hadn't seen Earth sunlight for quite a few years
now. Then his nose. Nose always seemed to cop it somehow, dammit.
Intent on his nose, Howard almost concertinaed his deck chair when sand
suddenly exploded near Duo. Shifted his beer carefully under his chair
and relaxed, then noticed that instead of his own spilled soda, the kid
had gone for Heero Yuy's arm, pinning him to the towel with fingers that
were turning white, while the Yuy kid vibrated under his hand like a beam-cannon
gone critical. "Chill buddy." Duo's voice was a tremor of air, adrift
on the sea breeze. "A ball. Just a ball that's all." And then suddenly
foghorn-loud, as he lunged up to swoop on the ball. "Hey you guys!!
"Well come play then!!" Pushing forward from the volleyball net, the girl
shook her shaggy, brown hair out of her eyes and grinned at Duo, hand
fisted on one lean, jutted hip. Eyes startlingly blue in a tanned face.
"Hmm." Duo tossed the ball from hand to hand. Looked from the girl to
Heero and back again, his own grin spreading across his face like shockwaves
from Ground Zero, in a way that made Howard want to look for a buster
rifle. Or a bunker.
"Whaddya say buddy? Wanna play?"
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