"You're dressed differently."
Duo looked at Heero, surprised that he'd actually stopped typing on the computer to comment on his outfit. "You mean this?" Duo was dressed in a pair of tight black jeans, a black sleeveless T-shirt, black fingerless gloves and a chain with a cross on it. "Well, I'm going out on a date. I can’t wear a priest’s uniform for that kind of thing. Kind of sacrilegious.”
“You’re not supposed to attract attention.”
“I can’t keep turning down all these girls who keep hitting on me even if I’m a Gundam pilot. Besides, I didn’t sign a contract that says that I can’t have a social life off-duty. You should try it sometime; it might make you less grumpy. Now quit staring! I’m going out to eat then to a movie. Don’t wait up!" Then Duo’s cell phone went off. He put it to his ear and said, “Hello, what do you mean you can’t come? A sudden flu? Yeah, I understand. Bye.”
Duo thought he heard a snort of laughter come from Heero and said, “What? You think it’s funny?” Duo shut the phone off.
Heero merely nodded and smirked, turning back to his computer.
Duo shook his fist at Heero’s back. “Why you!” Then his shoulders sagged. “Funny, she was all raring to go yesterday. That’s the third time someone’s canceled a date with me, I wonder why. I wonder if I’m doing something wrong.” He tried to smell his own breath. “Well, that’s OK. Going out alone sucks. Hey, Heero, want to go out? I hate going out to a movie alone and I know that you’ve finished your homework.” He’ll just say no, but why not ask? He’s been edgy lately and I don’t know why, he thought.
"Why? Not that I mind."
"Because you’ll bug me until I do. Considering that I’ve seen you sneak all those beers into our room, I’ll just make sure you don’t end up dead drunk in an alley somewhere.”
"What a great attitude you have, and you’re exaggerating about how much I drink," Duo said sarcastically. “Don’t act like you’re doing me a big favor. After all, you’re not the greatest at witty conversation.”
“Do you want me to go or not?”
“Well, yeah, but change into something other than green shirt and spandex shorts!”
Duo looked at Heero's outfit. He was wearing jeans and a white shirt. Quite a step up from his usual green shirt and black shorts, he thought. Now if he just smiled . . .
“What is this place?” asked Heero, looking at the restaurant.
“It’s a hotpot. There’s a little circular grill and a little pot of boiling water at the table where you cook your own meat and boil your own veggies. There’re seasonings you can mix yourself to season your food. It’s an all you can eat place.”
“I should’ve known.”
“I’m a growing boy,” Duo protested.
“Soon, you will grow sideways.”
“Chi!” Why did I ask him to go to the movies with me? “Are you going to be this nice all night long?”
“Let’s just eat.”
Duo piled his plate with short ribs, sliced beef, veggies and a little sauce he mixed together. He was about to pile everything on the grill when he saw
Heero come back with his own pile of stuff including a large bowl full of pineapple chunks. “Pineapple?” Oh, he must’ve fished all the pineapple out of the fruit salad bin.
“I like pineapple,” Heero said defensively.
“I thought you didn’t care what you ate. You seem to eat whatever the cafeteria hands out.”
“I’ve always liked pineapple, ever since I was small.”
Ah, I sense a story behind this, Duo thought. If Duo had had a tail, it would be wagging by now. “Why don’t you tell me why?”
“It’s not important.”
“Then it’s OK to tell me, right? It’s not connected to a mission, is it?”
“Look, how about this? You tell me the reason you like pineapples; you get to ask me one question about myself that I have to answer absolutely truthfully. There’s no way I can say no comment.” Ah, he thought, I hope he doesn’t ask me something really embarrassing. He’ll probably ask for mecha info or some such.
Heero thought about it for a few seconds then said, “When I was small, I traveled with a man named Odin Lowe. He was the only father I knew; maybe he really was my father. He never did say. Ever since I could walk, he began showing me how to camp, shoot a gun, hold a bazooka. He told tell me that the sins of the father ultimately fall on the shoulders of their children. He told me that he had committed the biggest sin of all, he killed someone who could’ve stopped this endless fighting. All the time I remember about him, he was trying to atone for it.”
This isn’t what I expected to hear at all, thought Duo. This is more than I expected.
“It wasn’t all bad, though. We used to travel a lot, go camping, go fishing. I know that I’ll always be able to take care of myself. Once, we were between missions and traveling though Mexico. He went out for food while I stayed in the hotel room, checking all the weapons to make sure they were functional to pass the time. He came back with a pineapple and told me that there was a way to cut a pineapple so to waste as little of it as possible. He cut off all the outside skin, then he made several spiral cuts to get rid of the rest of the hard bits. Spent the afternoon eating the pineapple, watching cartoons and playing cards.”
“So, eating pineapple makes you nostalgic. That’s really amazing . . .” I’m touched, Duo thought, when he was talking about himself, he looked really sweet. I wonder if he’s ever told anybody this story. I doubt it though.
“So, now I get to ask you a question you have to answer truthfully.”
Heero stared at him, then said, “I’ll save it for later.” Then he began cooking his dinner and didn’t say another word the rest of the time no matter how much Duo prodded him.
Heero looked at the marquee of the theater. “This is the movie you wanted to see?”
“You don’t like it?”
“I don’t know what it’s about . . .”
“One of the most famous movies in the history of film and . . .” Duo shook his head in amazement. “Well, it’s about a cynical guy who’s really a softy inside. He decides to fight against the baddies who want to conquer the world, decides he’s going to save a damsel in distress and . . .”
“What happens at the end?”
“Well, you’ve just got to watch the movie.”
As they walked out of the theater, Heero said, “I like the ending.”
“A lot of people don’t,” said Duo. “They always wanted Rick to go off with Elsa.”
“I don’t think it would work. She has her own work and he has his. He should go with the one who understands him.”
“That’s a really different way of looking at it, Heero.” He’s full of surprises today, Duo thought. I feel like I’m getting to know what’s really in that head of his. Then he saw a donut shop a few blocks away. Duo said, "I feel like a donut."
"A donut now?"
"Especially now. You'd be surprised how many people actually stop in for coffee and a really good apple fritter late at night. This chain is one of the best donut shops I know."
"There's a difference?"
"Yeah. Just buy one and you'll see."
Surprisingly, he was right. Quite a few people including a guy in a tux were sitting in the donut shop, eating all types of different donuts.
Duo plastered himself all over the glass display case. "Ooooooh, sprinkles, apple fritters, éclairs, chocolate frosted chocolate donuts, mmmm. Oh, yeah!" He turned to the counter person. "What's warm?"
"The apple fritters are still warm,” replied the counter person.
"I'll have one of those. How about you, Heero?"
“A custard donut.”
They walked down the street, eating their pastries. Duo savored his fritter, making little comments about how yummy it was while Heero carefully ate his so the filling wouldn’t squirt out the side. After he finished his, Duo gave a sigh of contentment and said, "That sits right in my stomach."
"We should hurry or we'll miss the last subway train back."
As Duo sat down next to Heero, he turned to talk to him only to find him asleep. Duo scowled and looked out the window. I don't understand him at all, he thought. I was just beginning to loosen him up and now he goes to sleep! He glanced at him then turned back to the window. Most people after a night out like to talk about it.
He glanced at him again and thought, This is the first time I’ve seen him asleep. He’s almost always stays up past my bedtime and he’s already dressed when I wake up. I’m surprised he’d allow himself to sleep on the train unless he expects me to keep an eye out for him. Then he frowned, Either that or he finds me really boring. He leaned closer and saw a little custard lining Heero’s upper lip. I wonder how the custard tastes on Heero’s lips, he thought. Then he opened his eyes really wide. What am I thinking?
At that exact moment, Heero’s eyes opened. “Something wrong?”
“Ah. . . no, I just noticed there’s some custard on your upper lip.” Heero quickly licked it off while Duo looked intently at his own reflection in the window. From now on, I’m going to keep it professional. I’m not going to bother him anymore. He does say I bother him by talking too much. I . . . A sweatdrop appeared at his temple.
"Stop mooning at your reflection! It's our stop!"
Duo watched as Heero took off his shirt. He hasn’t said a thing since we got off the train. I know he doesn’t like to talk, but . . . “So, tonight wasn’t any fun for you?”
“Why do you say that?”
Why am I even trying to explain stuff to him? It's not as if he's going to listen to me. “Well, usually when someone’s had fun, they say so or they talk about it afterwards."
“So, you want me to thank you?”
“Well, not exactly that, but . . . Never mind, it’s not important.” What am I thinking? After all, he never said thank you when I got him out of that hospital, he thought. He’s not the type who says things like that. One day he’ll find out how important words really are. But for right now I’m just going to sleep. He began pulling off his shirt up and off. Once he had gotten it over his head, he heard Heero say, "Duo?"
"What?" He still had his shirt on his arms. Heero was standing in front of him, his face inches away from his. "You're awfully close, He--" His statement was interrupted when Heero wrapped his arms around him and kissed Duo, his tongue lazily licking the upper lips gently. He couldn't push him away because his arms were still in the shirt and Heero's body was pressed against his . . . not that he wanted to push him away. Then Heero pulled off the shirt completely off Duo’s arms and threw it to one side before began nuzzling his neck, then teasing his nipples by alternately sucking then tugging them gently with his teeth.
“Heero? Mmph . . . what . . . mph . . . why?” Duo asked between kisses.
“I’m giving thanks.”
“Giving thanks? For what?”
“Why . . . mph . . . didn’t you. . . just say something?” By this time, they were lying on the bed making out.
“Words are inadequate,” Heero replied. “Now let me show you how grateful I am.” He unzipped Duo’s pants.
“Wait . . .”
“Duo, answer this one truthfully. Do you really want to stop?”
Duo listened to Heero’s voice with its undercurrent of hope and desire. He must really want to do this. Tonight’s been really strange, he thought. In his own way, he’s been doing his best to reach out to me. And the truth is, I want him to reach out to me. “No.” Then he sat up, peeled off his pants, then laid back naked on the bed.
Heero took his face in his hands and said, “Thank you.”
Duo's eyes were drooping from a dreamy tiredness, but he managed to say, "So, Heero, is this a one-time thing or were you planning on ‘saying thank you’ more often?"
"How about everyday?" Heero sleepily mumbled, a small smile on his face.
"Nani?!" His eyes popped right open.
"Shhh, go to sleep." Heero reached up and turned off the light. Within a few minutes, there was the sound of one then two persons gently snoring.
Three girls were sitting in the cafeteria. “Did Heero tell you that he’d kill you if you went out with Duo?” one asked.
“That’s so cruel!”
“We must do something about it. We should go up to Heero and demand that he . . .”
They saw Duo walk by with Heero walking next to him. One of the girls stood up and was about to say something when Heero glared at her. She immediately sat back down.
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