By : Sunhawk
Warnings : Yaoi, angst/sap, OOC, discussion of NCS of OC in the past,
language, Duo POV.
Thanks to Christy for beta reading in spite of near Armageddon!
Feed-back is a dream I have.
And I don't own anything in this series, either.
House hunting is a bitch. There's
just no other way to put it. I never in a million years would have guessed
how damn hard it would be. Buying my own ship had not been this difficult;
they only make so many kinds, after all. I wanted a transport class cruiser.
I narrowed it down to five models just from research. Eliminated three
of those on first sight and finally settled between the last two after
a test flight. Done, I had owned a ship. The hardest part had been coming
up with the money.
But houses. Dear God, do there have to be so many choices? Brick, frame,
one story, two story, a story and a damn half. Full basement, part basement,
crawl space, slab. How much land? What about location? Taxing district?
Commute distance? I determined really damn fast that whatever we bought
was going to be our permanent home because I was never doing this again.
We had a kind of faulty start, as we wandered into the realtor's office
with only vague notions of what we wanted. I honestly think the woman
was ready to throw us out on our ears after the first couple of visits.
We didn't have answers to any of her questions, which made it damn near
impossible for her to do her job. I thought she was going to throttle
us as we dismissed house after house. We figured it out when she stopped
returning our calls. So we regrouped.
We took her questions and a handful of house listings and went home to
plan the mission. Yeah, that was how we got through the whole damn thing.
We turned it into a mission. We started with a map centered on Preventors
headquarters and calculated what we deemed 'acceptable' driving distance.
Then we began doing research. I think everybody we knew was so sick of
getting grilled about their homes, that they started avoiding us after
the first week.
But we figured out that garages are a good thing, especially attached
to the house. Basements only seemed to serve the purpose of collecting
junk. Attics were kinda cool. A second bathroom was not an altogether
bad thing. Frame or brick didn't really matter as long as there was siding
on the frame, because painting sucks.
We started to narrow down the parameters, but it was a hell of a struggle.
It took me a bit to figure out exactly why things were so difficult, and
why the whole process was exhausting the hell out of me. Heero was making
me make all the decisions. Oh, he was being subtle as blazes about it,
but he somehow managed to make everything my choice. He was still hung
up on this house being 'perfect' for me, and was bound and determined
to see that I got the home of my dreams.
We won't even delve into the whole issue of my dream home being out among
the stars, because we all know there was no way in hell that was ever
going to happen again. Those days were long over.
So we were to the point of making a trip back down to the realtor's office
with answers to questions the poor woman had never even dreamed of asking,
when it finally dawned on me.
Unless I was very damn careful, we were going to end up with a house that
I liked and Heero didn't. Oh... stop laughing at me, I see the irony.
It smacked me in the face every time I climbed behind the wheel of my
much-hated car. A car I hated more with each passing day. I didn't want
that to happen to Heero, didn't want him living in a home where things
at first annoyed, and then infuriated him, just on general principle.
You can start out with the best self-sacrificing intentions in the world,
but you can't force yourself to love something you hate. Living with a
less than appealing car was one thing; the damn things don't last forever.
Living with a less than appealing house was another thing all together,
especially since I'd already established that I wanted the place we found
to be our home for the rest of our lives.
We had sent our new list of requirements off to our reluctant real estate
agent, Marla Montoya, and must have convinced her we were serious because
we had an appointment with her on Saturday to go look at houses. There
was a list of six places we were scheduled to visit that day and I have
to admit to having a hard time deciding whether to be excited or nauseous
thinking about going. I really was anxious to get out of Heero's third
floor apartment, to be someplace where I could go outside and just sit
if I wanted to. To feel like we could make major structural decisions
without having to get permission from the landlord. To be able to come
and go without feeling like old Mrs. Hitchcock was tracking our every
move. And most of all, to live someplace that I felt was as much my home
as it was Heero's. I wanted to lose that sense of being a guest. I wanted
to belong again. Heero had been right about that much... I'd never truly,
deep down in my bones, felt at home in his apartment. He had too much
history with the place that didn't include me.
But I was also terrified of reliving that horrid experience with the car.
I didn't want either one of us to go out and 'give in' to the other one.
I didn't want to get so exasperated that I just caved to his wishes again,
but even more than that, I didn't want him settling for something just
to try to make me happy.
I'm afraid I had a headache before we ever left the house. I've thought
a couple of times that it was a damn good thing that I hadn't suffered
so much with tension headaches during the war... we would probably have
We met Miss Montoya at her office and just let her do the driving. We
went through the first couple of houses like the proverbial shit through
a shingle. The places were totally wrong, I didn't even have to worry
about trying to unravel the truth behind what Heero really thought. I
had mentioned a fireplace at one point and nothing would do now, but that
the house have a functioning fireplace. The first house had one, but the
chimney had been bricked up and it was just for show. The second house
didn't have one at all. Heero walked out of it without looking further
than the front room. The third place had a fireplace all right, but the
bathroom was so tiny you couldn't have gotten a regular tub in it, much
less the more elaborate fixtures I had teased Heero about getting someday.
Then we pulled up to the fourth house and I thought I'd died and gone
It was out near the edge of town, on a dead end street. The nearest neighbor
probably could have heard somebody screaming if they stood on the front
lawn, but a rise in the land and the vegetation made it impossible to
see them. The house made me think of... stray dogs. The kind that just
need a couple of good meals and a bath? We had to step over the bottom
step to get to the front porch because of a broken board. The porch, though,
was massive; deep and shaded, wrapping clear around two sides of the house.
The front door was a beautiful, heavy slab of oak with scars and tales
to tell all on it's own. That was a weird thought, I suppose, but I remember
standing on the porch waiting for Miss Montoya to unlock the door and
thinking just that. That here was a house that had seen whole generations
come and go, that had stories hidden all through it.
Miss Montoya led us into the living room to prove that the place had the
pre-requisite fireplace, a huge stone thing with a massive, carved mantelpiece.
I barely heard her begin the spiel about the house having been on the
market for over a year, I wandered away while she was still explaining
about the former owner having been in a nursing home for the last ten
years, refusing to give the house up until the bitter end. The relatives
had apparently put the place up for sale within days of the settling of
the poor woman's will.
There was a hallway that took me to the back of the house and I went that
way, drawn by a light that I couldn't explain, because there was no electricity.
The place was completely empty, and obviously had been for ages. There
was wallpaper on the walls in the hallway and a small place where it was
peeling showed me that there was layer upon layer. The topmost was a rich
crimson brocade stuff, but underneath was a pale yellow floral. I wanted
to pick at it and see all the layers, wanted to ponder the hands that
had put each layer in place.
I reached the end of the hall and came out in a bright, wide-open room.
It looked like it might have been a porch at one time, but had been enclosed
and finished. There were windows all along the wall directly across from
the doorway, the source of the bright illumination I had seen. It was
my studio. The one that Heero had envisioned for me. I could see it all
cleaned up and painted. I could see an easel there, could see my paints
and supplies all neatly put away in the floor to ceiling cabinets there.
This was it. This was the house. I could feel it in my bones; the place
was so old, rich with history and character. Unique and wonderfully mysterious.
It was everything I hadn't understood I wanted. I'd bet anything that
we'd find odd little things here and there when we moved in, things that
the former owner's relatives had overlooked as they had abandoned the
place. Hell, there might even be things that were left here from before
the previous owner. I found myself wondering about the woman who'd lived
here, who'd made this her home. Probably widowed and holding on to the
place she'd lived in since she was first married.
I moved almost reverently across the floor of the studio to look out through
the windows, delighted to find a backyard gone wild from neglect. There
was a massive weeping willow way out across a sweeping sea of thick grass;
it's branches hanging so low they swept the ground. Everything was brown
and dried looking this time of year, but I could imagine what it would
look like come spring. I wondered about wildlife, I'd bet there were rabbits
in that grass, maybe even other things. I could imagine a hammock or a
porch swing under that tree, where you could lie at dusk and watch the
animals come out of hiding. There were built-in cabinets all along the
wall under the windows and looking down at the countertop, I found bits
of pottery and a dusting of dirt. I could visualize the woman who had
lived here working with her tools, repotting flowers and ferns, watering
and tending. An outlet for her attentions after her children were grown
and moved out. I'd bet this room had been a veritable greenhouse.
I turned and left the room, hunting for Heero and Miss Montoya, using
the sound of their voices to trace them to the kitchen.
"... really just too much work," I heard Heero telling the realtor.
"It needs more repairs than I'm prepared to take on."
"It's quite a bargain, Mr. Yuy," she replied and I slowed my
steps to listen to them without them knowing I was there. "The house
has been on the market for some time and the price has come down substantially."
"We both hold rather demanding jobs, Miss Montoya," Heero told
her patiently. "We just don't have the time or ability to tackle
something of this magnitude. I'm sorry."
She replied with something I didn't hear, because I was too busy trying
to figure out why the backs of my eyes felt so funny. How very... odd.
We hadn't been in the house ten minutes, but listening to Heero dismiss
it out of hand was making me feel like I hadn't felt since the day my
ship had sold. I could honestly have stood there and wept from the feeling
of loss. God, but I wanted that house. I wanted to repair that front step
and strip away that wallpaper. I wanted to explore every last square inch
of it. Wanted to paint and furnish and make it ours.
But here we were in that moment I had anticipated. Heero did not want
this house. Heero was standing around the corner from me voicing his honest
feelings to the realtor. But I knew as well as I knew what color the sun
was, that if I went into that kitchen and told Heero I loved this house,
he would buy it right there on the spot. Would make poor Miss Montoya
draw up the paperwork before he let her walk out the door. Would pay whatever
had to be paid to get me this house. Despite the fact that he didn't want
it. So I knew what was required of me. What I hadn't anticipated was how
much it was going to hurt.
I didn't let myself look any further, didn't let myself go up the stairs,
didn't even go on in to see the kitchen. I walked with measured tread
back across the living room and took myself out to the front porch to
wait for Heero and Miss Montoya.
I found a thought hamster sitting on the porch swing, and when I stepped
through the front door, he gave me a rather mournful look and half-heartedly
waved a little banner that simply said, 'Ouch.'
"No shit," I agreed and watched him fade away.
"What was that?" Heero asked from the doorway, and startled
"Nothing," I sighed and was able to turn and greet them with
a bright smile. 'Sure is a beautiful day out, isn't it? Are we still on
Miss Montoya glanced at her watch as she locked up behind us and couldn't
quite contain a chuckle. "Way ahead of schedule, actually. You two
are rather decisive."
I led the way back to the car and the house was so far away from what
Heero thought of as 'acceptable' that he never even asked me what I thought
of it. We looked at two more houses that day, I know we did because it
was on the agenda, but I'll be damned if I can tell you what they were
Miss Montoya dropped us off at the office to pick up Heero's car, giving
us a look of mild reproach before driving off and leaving us there. I'm
sure she was thinking that we were wasting her time again.
I must have been awfully quiet on the trip home, because it wasn't long
after Heero got us back to the apartment that he sought me out.
"Hey," he said gently, slipping his arms around me from behind,
settling his chin on my shoulder and giving me a squeeze. "We'll
find something, don't worry. We've only been seriously looking for a little
I sighed, trying to dispel the visions I had of that house, and leaned
back into his embrace. "I guess I just didn't think it would be this
complicated," I temporized, thinking that it was him and me that
were the complicated aspect.
He sighed in his turn and lifted his chin from my shoulder. "I know...
I guess I'd hoped that being able to give Miss Montoya a list of parameters
would help speed things up." He tilted his head then, and dropped
a kiss on that spot where neck curves into shoulder, and made me shiver.
"You're very tense," he noted and his voice took on that worried
tone I knew so well. He stepped back a pace to turn me around and I was
greeted with the worried look that went with that tone of voice. "Why
didn't you tell me you had a headache?" he suddenly asked and I was
left blinking at him.
"What?" I blurted. "You're a mind reader now? How the hell
did you know I have a headache?"
He raised a finger to gently trace between my eyes. "You've got that
little frown you get when you're in pain," he told me and couldn't
quite hide the spark of satisfaction that I had admitted to it.
I snorted and looked away, trying to clear the _expression from my face,
but he took me by the hand and with a tug, led me toward the bedroom.
"Strip," he commanded, giving me a nudge toward the bed and
then left me there, disappearing into the bathroom. I heard water running
in the sink after a few minutes. I dutifully began undressing, wondering
just what he had in mind. By the time he emerged from the bathroom, with
a dripping bottle of lotion and a towel in hand, I was starting to feel
a little weird standing there buck-naked, wearing only a faint blush.
As he walked across the room toward me, he gave me an appreciative rake
of his eyes that only made me flush harder. "Face down on the bed,"
he told me then, kicking his own shoes off as he moved that way himself.
I stretched out as instructed and he came to straddle my thighs, carefully
tucking my braid out of the way. "Relax," he murmured and I
heard the cap on the lotion bottle pop open. I braced myself for that
first touch of cold liquid, but it never came. Instead there was the delicious
feel of heat pooling low between my shoulder blades.
I couldn't help a soft sigh. "You warmed it."
"Of course," Heero chuckled, his fingers coming to smooth the
lotion over my back. "I'm assuming this is a tension headache...
you need to relax, not tense up more."
He is so very damn good at this. I've thought more than once that somewhere
in his mysterious past, he'd had professional lessons. His touch is firm
where it needs to be, gentle where it should be. He never forgets things
like my still healing and somewhat tender burn. He is tireless, seeming
to draw pleasure of his own just from touching me, just from easing my
aches and pains. The headache didn't stand a chance. It wasn't long before
he had me groaning quietly in appreciation, and all of the pain and frustration
of the day just seemed to melt away.
His hands slowed after a bit and he leaned down to place a gentle kiss
on the side of my face. "Headache all gone?" he sighed near
"Hmmm," I agreed amiably. "I am goo... watch me turn into
He chuckled and slid off to lie beside me, his hand still gently stroking
up and down my back. Despite its barely being evening, I think I could
very easily have fallen asleep there, I hadn't felt that relaxed in a
long damn time. Movement was just too much of an effort. Heero's hand
left my back for a second and I heard the lotion bottle open again. "I
think I missed a bit of dry skin here," he murmured softly, with
a pitch to his voice that told me he had begun to think more erotic thoughts.
His hand settled on my thigh and began massaging upward, working the lotion
in and kneading up the length of muscles, following the line of thigh
into hip and finally onto ass. His fingers massaged and squeezed, and
a small sound escaped his lips, telling me when the touches began to be
as much for his pleasure as mine. His fingers, working reflexively over
my skin, put me in mind of a great cat helplessly flexing its claws as
you scratch behind its ear.
Then his slick fingers dipped cautiously toward that place he'd only ventured
once before, and he whispered, "May I?" next to my ear.
I suppose it shouldn't have caught me so by surprise, but it did, and
I couldn't help but jerk away. It was just too sudden, before I had a
chance to think. I was instantly sorry, but couldn't retract my body's
rather blunt reaction.
The look on his face was this strange mixture of shock and regret and
he was reaching to gather me to him, before I even had a chance to decide
just what I had meant to do. "Hey... hey... it's all right. I'm sorry.
I shouldn't have done that... I'm sorry."
I felt myself blushing half way down my chest and burrowed into his embrace
as much to hide as anything. "You... just surprised me, that's all,"
I managed to tell him. "I didn't mean to..."
"Hush," he soothed, holding on like he was afraid I might run
away. I was vaguely aware of his wiping his hand on the towel he'd brought
with him, then that hand came to stroke over my hair. "Don't you
dare apologize for letting me know what you aren't comfortable with. I
moved too fast, that's all... my fault."
He was still mostly dressed and it was starting to make me feel extremely
ill at ease, very vulnerable and exposed. "It's... kind of...uhmmm...
chilly now that the lotion is cooling off..." I mumbled and it was
enough to gain me the blanket. I pulled it up around us, feeling much
better, shielded again, and settled into his arms.
He was chewing on something that he couldn't quite seem to get spit out.
I thought he was going to speak a half a dozen times, but each time nothing
came out and he subsided again.
"What happened to our new resolve to speak plainly?" I teased
after a little while of feeling him struggle.
He sighed heavily and his arms tightened around me, taking on an unconsciously
protective air. "I want to ask you something that I think might upset
you," he blurted, and when I tilted my head back to look at him,
he really did look troubled.
"Just ask," I told him, trying on a small smile that didn't
seem to reassure him much.
"You told me once," he began, and then hesitated. "We talked
about..." he didn't seem to like that either, and blew out a frustrated
breath. "You hide things and I don't know..."
I pushed back a little, so that we were lying where we could see each
other instead of me having my face buried in his collarbone. "Heero...
what is it?" I prodded, reaching to smooth his hair from his forehead.
"You told me once that no one has ever... hurt you..." he flushed
slightly and for a second couldn't meet my eyes. "Sexually. You said
that you'd never been... harmed that way."
Once it was out and in the air between us, he did look up to meet my gaze.
Fiercely, hopefully, fearfully, desperately. It was a little bit overwhelming.
"I would not lie to you about something like that," I told him
firmly. "If I have any bad memories at all that even border on sexual,
it was that mission with Jenson."
I felt him shiver and he reached to cup my face with his hand, gently
brushing his thumb over my cheek. "Then why do you react so strongly
sometimes, to the things I do?"
God, his damn heart was right there in his eyes, and I couldn't miss how...
unsure of himself he felt over this. Trying to please me and afraid that
he might be wandering around in a minefield that he didn't understand.
I sighed. "I... I think we need to talk about something," I
told him, and saw the most stricken look come over his face. I heard what
I'd said about two seconds before he got the irony of being on the wrong
side of that line, and we laughed together like a pair of loons for a
couple of minutes. It helped. It eased the tension. Talking about sex
is... damn difficult.
"I'm sorry," I murmured when I could stop chuckling, and leaned
my head to rest against his shoulder.
"Point made," he laughed in return. "I'll be more careful
delivering lines like that myself."
There was a bit of quiet then, while I thought about what I wanted to
say and couldn't quite seem to come up with the words. Heero shifted away
from me, so that we were lying face to face again, with a bit of space
between us. "Just say it, love," he coaxed with a gentle smile.
I couldn't help a heavy sigh and felt myself flushing, just thinking about
bringing this up. I focused on a spot in the center of his chest. "Look...
I've never... actually... been with anybody but you, ok?" I blurted
as fast as I could manage, and then waited, all but holding my breath,
to see what his reaction would be. There wasn't one. He made me look at
him and when I finally did, I found this... strange _expression on his
face. One part... amused, the asshole. But about two parts pure, unadulterated
joy, and the rest was some kind of bastard mix of possessive and aroused
"That's what you've..." he began, but then thought better of
it. "Never?" he had to ask, his voice just a bit incredulous.
I gave my head a tiny little shake and before I knew what was happening,
he had me pushed over on my back and was kissing the hell out of me, his
hands in my hair, his body pressed tight against mine.
The kiss was deep and fierce, possessive and gentle all balled together
into something that left me wanting to curl into his arms and stay forever.
"My Duo," he breathed, when he drew back, his eyes alight with
some inner gladness. Some deep joy that I found myself aching to share.
But... I knew better than that.
[cont] [back to Sunhawk's