Warnings: AU, possible OOC
Parts 3 & 4
The exchange was brief. A slight brush of the shoulders, a moment where their eyes were locked, and following the other with their eyes inconspicuously. It had been the same for the past week, since the new tenant had moved in. The man was fairly mysterious, according to the residents. He had full, long chestnut hair always tied back in a braid, and large and expressive violet-blue eyes. At first, he was mistaken for a woman because of his small, lithe figure and his hair. Some insisted that he was a woman. Others said he was an angel because of his feminine appearance.
But everyone agreed on one thing: He was beautiful. Not handsome, not even gorgeous. Beautiful was the only word that seemed to fit when describing the man. Everyone thought so. They knew nothing of him, not even his name, but they all wanted him to notice them, to talk to them. He didn’t. All he saw was one person, the one person who he brushed into every morning. The one person he stared into the eyes of on a daily occasion. He saw this person as what everyone called him. Beautiful.
A cold man with unruly chocolate brown hair and impassive cobalt blue eyes, Heero Yuy was, at one time, the man the girls stalked. He was tall, with chiseled oriental features and a defined face. His expression rarely changed, his eyes rarely strayed from their target. At only 21, he had women swooning over him as much as the violet-eyed tenant. Yet, Heero was thought to be unreachable, unattainable to anyone. He wanted no one.
They always bumped into each other at the same times almost everyday. When Heero locked his door in the morning, the violet-eyed man would be returning from his night-job. When Heero came home, the violet-eyed man would be leaving hastily, usually pulling on a jacket or shoe as he scurried down the hall.
It happened on a Saturday. The violet-eyed man had been at the apartment complex for only 3 weeks, and he and Heero had yet to speak. But, it finally happened that day. They spoke. It was one of those instances that don’t happen very often, only when you should be doing something you’re not. Heero’s apartment, while was usually stocked with non-perishable foods, was completely devoid of any edible substances. Slightly annoyed and irritable that he had to go shopping on a Saturday, he stormed from his apartment and collided with the violet-eyed man. Both fell to the ground, shocked. The violet-eyed man was the first to his feet, and, as if by habit, automatically reached to help Heero up as well.
“Hey, Sorry ‘bout that. Didn’t mean to bump into you.” His voice was melodic tenor, and he smelled of ashes and cloves.
Heero shook his head, not removing his eyes from the man’s symmetric face, “We’re both in a hurry, it’s perfectly reasonable that we collided.”
The man grinned, his eyes shining, “Great! Erm... I know your face, but not your name...”
Heero blinked, realizing quite suddenly that he and the violet-eyed man hadn’t really spoke until just that moment, “Heero Yuy.”
“I’m Duo! It’s fantastic to finally talk to you! I mean, I see you everyday and all we’ve ever said to each other is ‘hi’ and ‘hn.’” Duo rubbed the back of his head, laughing slightly, “Sorry, I go off on tangents a lot. I’m probably delaying you. Plus, I gotta restock my fridge, anyway.”
Heero stared at Duo for a moment, his mind going over a list of ways in which he could shut the man’s mouth. No matter how much Heero disliked the idea, the first item on each list he came up with was simple. Grab him, kiss him and grope him. He quickly killed each thought, knowing that you don’t make out with people you’ve just met, even if they were the most beautiful person on earth. Heero smirked inwardly, ‘He is.’
It took a moment, but Duo’s words finally sank in. “You’re going shopping? That’s where I’m headed.” Heero, despite the fact that his every neuron, every fiber in his body had never suggested such a thing before, added, “You can tag along with me, if you want.”
Duo’s eyes lit up. To him, it was amazing. The object of his unhealthy infatuation since he had arrived wanted to go shopping with him. So what if it wasn’t glamourous, but it was a start.
And a wonderful start it was. It became a normal event. Every Saturday, they would go shopping together, and then have dinner together. Sometimes they went out, other times they ate over at Heero’s or at Duo’s. That was the beginning of their friendship, and as most friendships go, it continued to grow with time.
Saturday. It became, very quickly, my favorite day of the week. We didn’t go shopping that Saturday. Instead, we wandered around town. The sunlight spilled over Duo’s hair and skin in a display that made him look extremely attractive, and I found myself stealing glances at him as we walked. He wore a simple outfit, a black tank top and black pants, but it accentuated his form so perfectly that he looked like a mythological god. Was I physically attracted to him? You would figure that after being around someone for over a month, you would become used to their appearance. But with Duo, it was like not noticing a great piece of art, because that’s what he was. Flawless, a perfect portrait of a god. I noticed every small detail, and I cherished all of him as inconspicuously as possible. I was, without a doubt, physically attracted to him. Hell, maybe even more than that.
He made everything interesting. His laughter would fill me, and I’d find myself smiling at his jokes, listening to his voice. He was the only person who could make me smile, and he knew it. I’d only known him for a little over a month, but I already knew more about him than anyway, and I already trusted him more than anyone. He had that effect on me, and I would’ve gone to the end of the world for him. But I never spoke these sentiments to him; I never even dared for a long time.
“So, are we eating out or am I cooking?” Duo looked at me with raised eyebrows, and I shrugged, not allowing my thoughts to be displayed on my face or in my eyes. I could tell that he wanted to eat out. His eyes strayed to a small diner on the corner every few moments, and I didn’t want to disappoint him because we’d eaten out last weekend.
“Out. That diner seems fine.” I glanced at the diner, seeing Duo’s face out of the corner of my eye. He grinned, grabbing hold of my arm and pulling me towards it. It was all I could do not to blush at the contact. His hands, I found, were always quite cool, and sent invisible shivers through me. This time was no different. As he pulled me through the door and released my arm, I found myself wishing he hadn’t. My arm felt bare now, devoid. But, I ignored the feeling efficiently, sitting down at a booth in the corner across from where Duo had sat down. Our knees were touching.
“What kind of diner chit-chat are we going to start today?” Duo asked, an impish look on his face. I didn’t like that look much. It frightened me slightly. “Maybe we should start with a subject I find very interesting.”
I quirked an eyebrow, still not liking the look on Duo’s face, “What would that be?”
“Oh, not much. I’m just moving.” The impish grin widened and I gasped in horrour. He couldn’t move, I wouldn’t let him! He’d only lived in the apartments for two months, and leaving now was out of the question.
I remained collected in my response. “Where to?”
He obviously wasn’t expecting me to be calm about it, even though I was screaming on the inside, because he looked taken aback. He shook it off, and grinned, “Guess.”
I shrugged, although I wanted to strangle him, “Hn.”
He rolled his eyes, and leaned forward slightly, our knees pressing against each other more forcefully. His amethyst eyes sparkled in the florescent diner lighting, and his mouth turned up into a crooked grin. “Do you really want to know?”
I followed his lead and leaned in myself. “What do you think?”
Duo leaned back casually and slowly, his mischievous look never faultering. “I’m moving in with you.”
Whatever I was expecting, that wasn’t it. I had expected him to say that he was moving to another country or something of the like. But not that. I was silent, and he looked disappointed. He must’ve assumed that I didn’t like this idea. But, I thought it was wonderful, magnificent. It was welcomed with open arms. I grabbed his hands in mine and squeezed, a small smile forming on my lips. My cold disposition was melting, and I found myself not really caring.
“This is wonderful!” I exclaimed, finally letting go of his hands. Duo stared at his hands for a moment before looking up at me and grinning ear to ear. I wished I knew what he was thinking. I loved his smiles. They were always so expressive, so full of life and so very beautiful. He had begun to speak again, but I was more focused on his voice and gesticulations. I never moved my eyes from him.
He finished speaking, and I grunted the affirmative. His question? His bed was going to be the last thing brought into my –our- apartment, and Duo needed someplace to sleep. He and I were going to share a bed. It actually worked out nicely that way, I suppose, although I was saddened that we were only in the bed together on Saturday and Sunday. Duo worked nights at a local café, while I have daytime hours at a large software company. So it was very much as if we both still lived alone. We only really saw each other on weekends and when one left for work.
It was the same thing for weeks. Eventually, Duo got around to moving his bed in and I lost the joy of sharing a bed with him on the weekends. God, how I missed waking up with his right next to me, sometimes with his arm thrown lazily across me. I never said anything about that, and feigned sleep when he would awake to find what he had been doing during the night. His face was quite a sight at those times. His eyes would get very wide and he’d bite his lip, slowly removing his hand as not to “wake” me. He would then rub the back of his head and stare at me for a moment before lying back down and sighing. It was always the same.
I had finally figured out that I was more than physically attracted to him. The realization had hit me like a sledgehammer to the gut. I was in love with the incandescent man called Duo, and I wasn’t satisfied with the current situation. I needed to see him more, to talk to him more. As I said, it was as if we both still lived alone.
So when he told me one Friday morning as I left for work and he came home that he had new working hours, I couldn’t help but grab him in a long embrace. Everything felt right in those few moments, he felt right in my arms. I hadn’t really paid it any attention before, his scent. Like ashes and cloves. It was a very pleasant scent, and one all Duo’s own. It encircled me, and I breathed it in eagerly. When I finally released him, I thought that I would see some sign of anger at the longer than necessary hug. But I saw neither anger nor resentment in his eyes or on his face. He didn’t seem to even notice. He didn’t seem to notice I was showing much more emotion than I usually did. He didn’t notice, or maybe he did and just said nothing. That was like him.
His new hours made it so he left after me, and got home not long before me. We’d finally be more like roommates, than like strangers living in the same house, anonymous to the other if not only for the weekends.
The weekend. We had plans to celebrate the new hours. The weekend before we’d eaten out, thus it was my turn to cook. Duo then, knowing from experience that I was lacking in the culinary department, had stated the distinct implication that we go out. Not wanting to poison him with my barely fit for human consumption garbage, I agreed hastily. We left the apartment at 3 pm, and rather than take the bus, we walked. It was a beautiful day, much unlike it had been that week with all the rain. It was a rather wonderful break in the weather, and Duo was thoroughly enjoying it. He was always a few steps ahead of me, as I was not wavering from my leisurely tread. It was humourous to observe him stop walking to wait for me, and as I became level with him, he would start at my pace, and then speed up again. He beamed at this as well, and we continued at this little game all down the street. He stopped again, and laughing in a very disturbing manner, he slung an arm over my shoulder. My breath caught in my throat for a moment.
“I have an idea!!” He announced loudly, beginning to walk again. He pulled me along with him and I raised an eyebrow in question, my breathing returning to normal.
“A miracle.” I muttered simply, knowing full well he had heard me. This was confirmed when he locked my neck in his arm and held his hand in a way that threatened pain. Immense pain. He grinned widely and released me from his grasp, but left his arm over my shoulder.
“As I was saying, Mr. Interruption, I have an idea! Since we’re celebratin’, I’m picking where we’re going.” His grin widened, “We, my socially unstable friend, are going to my favourite Saturday night party place.”
I opened my mouth to argue, knowing full well he meant the Café Nuit, a daring and flashy place that was more of a nightclub then a café. I had been there only once shortly after my 21st birthday, and I had been terrified of the place due to… events that had transpired that night. It was the first and last time that I had ever gotten fall-over drunk. I was told it was very funny watching me make a fool of myself in front of so many people, and the fact that almost all the people were either transvestites or had no respect for the “No groping” sign hanging behind the bar didn’t sit well in my mind. So, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I was not able to argue with Duo, however. He could be very persuasive when he wanted to be, and he always found a way to get me to agree to almost anything. What did he do to keep me from arguing? I walked around with one of his arm socks shoved in my mouth. The red and black cotton tasted exactly like it had the last time he shoved it in my mouth.
He grinned evilly, “You’re going and you’re not arguing.”
I had to agree. Damn.
I was thankful for one thing that evening as we wandered through town. We weren’t going directly to Café Nuit. This, I found, was cause for rejoice as we crossed the park towards the diner we had been to only once before. It had kind of become a symbol of good things, and we only went when something exceptional occurred. We had both agreed this to be so. When we entered, it was very much as it had been the last time we were there, and Duo immediately led the way to the booth we had sat in then as well. Our knees didn’t touch this time. Duo had long since retrieved his arm socks from my mouth, and raised an eyebrow at me. He was smiling faintly, and I gave him a questioning look. He turned his head quickly, and laughed.
“Have you ever been to Café Nuit?” Duo asked, looking out the window with a leisurely look on his face.
I nodded, “Once. It was probably the worst experience of my life.”
Duo didn’t turn his head, but laughed lightly, his disposition very different than it had been only a few moments before. “How so? It’s a great place!”
I cringed inwardly, shaking my head. “Certain aspects were acceptable. The music, for instance, was pretty good. But…”
He smirked as I trailed off, turning to look at me, “You went on a Friday, didn’t you?”
I grunted the affirmative, wondering what that had to do with anything. He leaned back and chuckled to himself, not appearing to be interested in sharing what he found so funny. I didn’t quite see the humour in any of it. Duo sighed loudly, obviously sensing to some degree my absolute confusion.
“That’s the night that mostly transvestites show up. They have a weekly ‘Cross-Dresser Extraordinaire’ contest, and it’s usually held on Fridays. I was forced to participate by some friends once. It was actually pretty fuckin’ funny.”
“Your friends made you cross-dress?” I raised an eyebrow as the words escaped my lips and imagined Duo in a dress. The image left me chuckling to myself. “So, did you win?”
“Nope. I wasn’t ‘lady-like.’ I was cursing people out the entire time, especially Hilde.”
“The girl who thought I’d make a wonderful transvestite. I used to live with her and her boyfriend across town. They kicked me out when I accidentally set the cat on fire.” He stretched his arm over his head lethargically. His arms were mostly bare, since his armsocks were still covered in my saliva from being in my mouth. He wore nothing like the other out-fits I’d seen him wear. He liked the elaborate outfits with spikes and leather and fishnet. It was strange seeing him in nothing more than a plain red tee-shirt and black jeans. He grinned mischievously.
“You set their cat on fire…?” I raised an eyebrow, “Why did you set their cat on fire?”
Duo stared at me for a moment, his face deep in thought. “The cat was giving me dirty looks, and then it jumped on me. So I threw it… and it just happened to land on a candle…”
I don’t know if it was wrong of me, but I found this to be extremely amusing. Much like the thought of Duo in drag, the image of Duo throwing a cat across the room into a candle just appeared in my mind. I actually did laugh at this, and Duo just beamed.
“That cat was evil, I swear. Anyway, Hilde said that her boy-toy, Mike, didn’t want me around if I was gonna ‘Go all pyromania on Monsieur Fluffy-Cakes.’ Who the fuck names their cat Monsieur Fluffy-Cakes? So they told me to leave. And guess what?”
I stared at him blankly.
“I met you, ya doof!” He grinned at me, and I smiled slightly. That was probably the best thing I’d heard all day.
“Interesting story, hun.”
It would have been a falsehood to say that both Duo and I didn’t jump in shock. The waitress seemed to just appear out of nowhere, and I found myself gapping stupidly at her. Duo chuckled.
She smiled warmly, almost maternally. Her nametag read “Sally.” “So, what can I get you kids?”
Duo grinned at her while I leaned back in the booth. His grin was amazing and I found myself warmed slightly by it. “Well, uh… how about some Coke, and uh…”
I chuckled, and Sally glanced at me, her face all smiles as she asked, “Is your boyfriend always like this?”
At first I didn’t catch what she had said. When it dawned on me only a moment later, my eyes widened and I opened and closed my mouth a few times stupidly. My face felt very warm. “B-boyfriend?” My voice made a squeaking sound that hadn’t occurred in nearly 9 years, “N-no, he’s no—”
Duo laughed and reached across the table to pat my shoulder, “Whoa, Heero! No need to get all stuttery!” He looked to the waitress, “We’re not dating, Miss Sally, ‘course, this doof wouldn’t know even if we were.”
I glared lackadaisically at him. However, I was thanking anything and everything that he had saved me from making a fool out of myself.
I felt the urge to disappear as Sally put her hand to her mouth and giggled. “Oh, I’m sorry! I just assumed. I guess assumptions really are wrong 90% of the time.”
A grin spreading across his face, Duo gave Sally the thumbs up, “S’ok!”
“Well, sorry anyway. So, you want a Coke and what?” Sally smiled lightly at us, and went back to her waitress duties.
“Oh, yeah. A Coke, and a Greek salad with extra stuffed grape leaves! This loser wants a Coke and a egg-salad sandwich!” Duo ordered for us and I sighed. I was forced to eat egg salad, but I didn’t complain. Rather, I stared off into space as Sally nodded and walked away to do whatever waitresses did. Duo blinked at me, “Hey, Hee-dude, you still alive in there?”
I stared at him for a moment, nodding my head before looking away, my eyes instead landing on the street outside. Cars sped by, pedestrians walked along, chatting or listening to music, while Duo and I sat in the diner, my silence causing him to be silent also. I glanced at him, my breath catching in my throat for the second time that day at the sight that greeted me. His eyes were focused on me, his hair shining in the window-filtered sunlight as it shone through the window to reflect off his braided hair, which cascaded loosely over one shoulder. Leaning on his right hand, he smiled slightly as he noticed me looking.
“Sooo… That was a little awkward.” He broke the silence and snickered quietly. I turned my head to face him.
“It’s only awkward if you want it to be,” I mused, tilting my head and sighing, “But, yes, that was fairly awkward.”
“At least she won’t accidentally say that again.”
I felt an unexplainable pang in my chest at hearing those words, “Yeah.”
Duo raised an eyebrow at me, blinking, “No need to sound so disappointed.”
“What?” It was my turn to blink as I functioned what he had said. Had I really voiced my disappointment at it being only an accidental occurrence? I rubbed my eyes, “I’m not disappointed, I’m just slightly… out of it.”
He stared at me for a moment, as if sizing the response and I up. I returned his steady gaze with a blank one of my own. He shook his head and grinned, as if shaking off a sour thought, just as Sally returned with our food. I nodded my thanks to her and Duo exclaimed his, his face a wide grin. I was amazed at how quickly his mood could change.
I took a bite out of my egg salad sandwich, “So, what time are we going to head to Café Nuit?”
Duo looked shocked and swallowed his mouthful of stuffed grape leaves, “You mean you’re willing to go?! Without me dragging you by the ear?”
I chucked, “Yeah, Duo, I’m willing to go. As long as we don’t stay out all night. 3 AM is the latest I’m willing to stay out. Deal?”
He nodded his head rapidly, “Deal!”
His smile lit up the entire room.
A/N: Chapters 1 & 2. Written between 2003 and 2005.