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The Little Box



Peace spread through the Earth and the Colonies quickly.  Relena had done well solidifying treaties and talks throughout the system.  She had asked me to stay with her for a while to get my bearings, but I had only planned to stay for a short time.  Trowa returned to Catherine and the circus, but kept in close contact with Quatre, usually spending the weekends and holidays with his love.  Quatre took over Winner Industries in its entirety, and developed many different programs to help both the Earth and Colonies deal with their economic and industrial issues resulting from the war.  Wufei went to work for, or rather with, Relena, as head of security, and dealt with espionage and any threats, among other trifles.  I stayed with Relena for a short time before leaving.  I still remember the disappointed look in her eyes.  And Duo, well, he returned to L2 for while, I had heard.  Then we all lost track of him, until he showed back up on the Earth.  It’s strange thinking about how we had all come from the Colonies, and now we’re here, finding our futures on the Earth.

 The season was turning cold again, Christmas was fast approaching. Winter, and Christmas, did strange things to the people of Earth.  It had an affect on them, like a supernatural force or medieval magic.  I didn’t understand it, until later in my life.  How frozen condensation could make people more charitable, or how the gift of a new pair of socks, could evoke such emotion from a homeless child.

Duo loved it, from the cold and snow, to the hustle of people that moved through the streets.  I didn’t particularly like the cold, and thought the people were foolish, including him, but relented and went with him to shop for gifts for the others’ that year.  He was so childlike, bouncing from store to store, scrutinizing each choice he made.  I just watched him, curious to know why it all moved him.  He was beautiful, more radiant and alive than I had ever seen him.  He had a similar look about him in battle, but this was a serene, a genuine glow, not from adrenaline, or power, but from his heart and his eagerness to make others happy.  I know it now, but was a fool, blind and careless, then.

We all sat in Quatre’s place (one of many), drinking, and watching the snow fall softly outside.  Trowa had made a meal that seemed to go on forever.  I never saw the reason for such a fuss, but enjoyed the meal all the time. No-one spoke of their past Christmases, which was fine with me, seeing that I never experienced one before that.  It was so quiet and melancholy, but I would rather be there, than here, where I am now, alone.  It didn’t even faze Duo that I never got him anything.  He was so excited seeing the looks on all our faces when we opened the carefully wrapped packages from him.  I remember he didn’t even look upset that I never opened the box he gave me.  I only wish that I had seen through the mask he always had so cleverly in place.  I forgot the box with the red ribbons on the table, having a little too much wine, when he stopped me outside the door as I began to leave.

“Heero, you almost forgot this.  Merry Christmas.”

“Huh? Oh. Yeah.”  Was all I said looking into those beautiful eyes, filled with hope and only later I realized, with love.  I was such a fool.  Wufei made note to tell me later when I was still at Relena’s, how quiet Duo was after I had left, and that Quatre thought he heard him crying in the middle of the night.  I was too stubborn then to let it get to me.  I had just shrugged and walked away from Wufei, not wanting to deal with such foolishness from the braided baka; over a box given for a religious day I didn’t understand or believe in.

Now I made my way through the crowded streets looking for the address of Quatre’s place.  I received an invitation for Christmas Eve dinner, and jumped the first shuttle to make it there in time.  I was running pretty late, especially because I had stopped off to purchase gifts for each of my comrades.  I felt foolish asking the girl to wrap Quatre’s ornamental teapot carefully, but I spent quite a bit of time searching for it.  Wufei and Trowa, were more difficult to buy for.  I choose an elaborate hilt for Wufei’s ancient blade, made of black onyx with jade accents.  For Trowa I bought a rare volume of Shakespeare, knowing he had the soul and patience for it.  That only left Duo, and I knew exactly what I wanted to give him.  A gift to go along with my heart, if he’d take it.

Quatre opened the door allowing the wonderful smells and warmth to spill out to the street.  It hit me like a wave, reminding me of the Christmas I had spent with them during the war, when the snow hadn’t been the only thing so cold.  I shut my eyes for a moment, then walked inside.  It was so good to be with them, it was what I wished for.

“Heero, you made it!  It’s so good to see you.”  Quatre beamed, he and Trowa looked so happy.

Members of the maguanacs were there, along with Wufei, Rashid, Catherine and Sally Po.  I was a little taken aback to see Sally on Wufei’s lap.  But he shrugged and smiled at me.  I set down my packages and removed my coat, looking for Duo.

“Where’s Duo?” I asked Trowa as Quatre played host.

“He wasn’t sure he could make it, but said he would try.”  Trowa saw the disappointment that I’m sure was written all over my face.

“How ‘bout a drink, and you can fill us in on where you disappeared to, Yuy.”  Wufei said.  So I made my way into the parlor and chatted with them for a bit.

Dinner was like I had remembered it from the past as well, but this time I tried to savor each moment of it.  It was hard to do, being the later it got, the more concerned I was that Duo wouldn’t show.  We had all gone into the other room and begun exchanging gifts when the door blew open, and a very loud, very snow covered, braided, ex-gundam pilot, exploded into the room.

“Merrry Christmas!, Did you all eat without me?”  Duo was smiling from ear to ear, and had his arms full of gifts.  Trowa and Quatre immediately set about helping him and took his coat.  I just stood and stared.  He was as alive and beautiful as I had ever seen him.  His cheeks were flushed from the cold, and his eyes sparkled like purple fire.  He was dressed in a sleek black turtleneck, grey sweater and dark trousers.  I wanted to grab him and hold him to me.  It felt like I hadn’t seen him in 20 years, when it had in fact, only been two.

“Duo?”  I heard how small and nervous my voice sounded next to his confident laughter.

“Heero, Merry Christmas, man.  Good to see you.”  He smiled warmly at me, but his eyes never met mine.  He went off to squeeze Wufei in a big bear hug and went right into stories about his fame and fortune.

My heart just about stopped.  Now I was the one with the hope and love in my eyes, and he was the blind one.  I took another drink and sat down near Trowa and Quatre, listening to his warm voice and cheerful laughter.  He never once looked at me in the hour and a half we sat there.

Quatre’s maguanacs left shortly before midnight, followed by Rashid.  Trowa took Catherine home, while Sally and Quatre cleaned up a bit.  Duo finally ate leftovers in the kitchen while chatting busily with an excited Quatre.  Wufei and I sat in the other room next a crackling fire and sipped our drinks.

“I didn’t think you’d show, Yuy.”

“Why?”  I looked at him intensely.

“I didn’t think you participated in other people’s religious holidays.”  He smirked.

“I could say the same for you, Wufei.” I felt my face getting warm.

“I celebrate with my loved ones, not because of the holiday.”  His eyes drifted to the kitchen where Sally and Quatre were laughing from another of Duo’s stories.

“Hn.”  He knew.  It was obvious to everyone there why I had come, but not to the person I wanted most to know.  I was relieved when Trowa returned.

“It’s pretty bad out there.  It took me quite a while to get back here after dropping off Cathy.  You should all stay here tonight.”  Trowa was so logical about it.

“That’s a great idea!  It will be great having you all here.  I’ll make up the other rooms and get some extra blankets.  This is great!  Then we can exchange gifts, okay?”  Quatre was ecstatic, running around getting blankets and pillows and clean sheets for the beds upstairs.  “In the morning, we’ll have a big Christmas breakfast.”

“No more talk about food, I’m stuffed.”  Duo came out to join us from the kitchen.  Still not making eye contact, he sat next to me.  My pulse began to quicken as I breathed in the warmth of him so close to me.

When Quatre returned he settled next to Trowa, and we began the exchanging of gifts.  They were all generous and thoughtful with their gifts, especially Duo.  He gave me a long box with silver and blue ribbons.  I stared at beautiful violet eyes, that never left the floor, then opened it.  It was a long cashmere scarf with my name embroidered on the one end, very small in white script lettering.  I felt a knot in my throat, and thanked him.  He then moved on, bouncing with excitement.  When they were done and began cleaning up the carnage of wrapping paper, I retrieved my gifts from the other room, and handed out the packages I painstakingly picked for them.  Their looks of wonder and shock were almost gift enough for me.  Seeing the expressions on their faces made my mind confirm my hearts’ decisions.  I really thought that Quatre was going to cry, but his chin just trembled as he smiled at me.  Wufei bowed, and Trowa squeezed my shoulder.

Duo didn’t open his.  He looked at the box, and set it down, then excused himself to the kitchen to get a drink.  Everyone felt the tension, me the most.  I picked up the box and followed him into the kitchen.

His back faced me as I walked into the room.  His long braid draped down his back.  I fought the urge to come up behind him and run my hands over it and his shoulders.


“Yeah, Heero?  Did you want another drink while I’m in here?”  He sounded cheerful, but strained.

“No.  I wanted to…thank you again for the scarf, it’s beautiful.”

“Sure.  No biggie.”



“Why didn’t you open this?” I tried not to let the emotion fill my voice, but it was all or nothing now.  I was never going to let the opportunity slip away from me again.

He turned and finally met my eyes.  Eyes filled with that same look of hope and love that I once failed to see, and my heart almost exploded within my chest.
“I wanted to open it away from the others, later.”  He answered quietly.

“Why?” I searched the vast oceans of violet.

“Because it came from you, and so it’s special.  Private, I guess.”  He smiled sweetly.

“Special?”  I was stunned.


“Duo…I opened that box you gave me, the one with the red ribbons… I’m sorry I didn’t open it then…I was a fool.”  I stared at my feet, my face felt hot, and I was very uncomfortable, but determined to get it all out in the open.  “Please open this.” I held out my shaking hand with the small box tied with similar red ribbons.

He pulled the ribbons off slowly, then lifted the lid to the little box.  I almost gasped when I saw tears start flowing from his wide, sparkling eyes.  He looked up at me smiling.

“How did you know?” He whispered.

“I knew that if I kept the one you’d given me, I had to replace it with one as special, so I had it made for you.”

“But…I thought…you didn’t even see that I …that you…didn’t care.”  He choked out.

“I was a fool, I told you.”

“So you have it?”

“Yes. I will always wear it.”  I put my hand to wear it touched my skin.

“Even though you don’t believe in God?”  He sniffled.

“I wear it…because it came from the one…I love.”  I could finally exhale.  I lifted the cross from the box and fastened the chain around his neck, carefully lifting the beautiful chestnut colored braid.  Then I slowly wrapped my arms around him looking into eyes full of wonder, and whispered to him.  “Merry Christmas, koi.”  He was the most wonderful gift I could ever hope to receive.

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