Warnings: AU, possible OOC
Parts 1 & 2
Duo and I entered Café Nuit at sunset. I didn't really understand why it was called a cafe, as it was really an out of the ordinary nightclub located on the outskirts of town. But, unlike most nightclubs, it wasn't really involved in fast tempo dancing. It had only one set of strobe lights located above the main stage and that, when on, placed an eerie red strobe over the gathered crowd. The music was mostly live gigs from local bands, but according to Duo, it also served as a medium sized venue for mainstream rockers, rappers, and DJs. The night I had gone, many garage bands had been playing.
The building the Cafe Nuit was in was huge. It was an old warehouse that had been furnished with black leather couches in the corners of every room, a main stage, two smaller stages in separate rooms, a bar that served any consumable liquid ranging from coffee or Coke to vodka or grain alcohol. A very large dance floor was available for the DJ block and dancing in general, as well as a mosh-pit area for the rock concerts. Duo’s favorite section, however, was the arcade. Soundproofed against the others sections of Nuit, it was the perfect place to play Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Freak, Beatmania, and In the Groove. Duo loved to play DDR, and had downloaded every song from 5th mix onto my laptop before burning them onto a CD. I had found this humourous and genuinely enjoyed watching Duo dance around the apartment while listening and singing along to "Butterfly."
His joy at seeing DDR was infectious as he scurried happily towards it shortly after we made our way into the arcade. He immediately latched onto it, rambling happily as he put his coins in and selected a difficulty and a song. I immediately recognized it as "Paranoia Survivor Max," and I smirked against my will. He’d told me that it was the only song he’d never been able to get only perfects on, and that he would, someday, be able to do it. I watched him for a few moments, his eyes focused on the screen as his feet moved swiftly to the correct arrows. I was enthralled by his grace and speed, amazed that the two where not contradictions. I’d always thought of him as slightly clumsy, but watching him play that game made me realize he wasn’t just graceful, he was practically floating.
My musing were pulled away when I noticed the small crowd that had formed around us, and sparing one more look at Duo, I pushed myself out of the arcade and towards the bar. I hadn’t seen a single transvestite since entering Nuit, and feeling more secure in that knowledge, I wasn't too nervous about being alone. I was going to let Duo bask in the glory drawn in by that small crowd while I stayed away.
I tapped my fingers lightly on the counter to the rhythm of the drummer currently playing on stage. The band was pretty good, and I glanced behind me to see them. The young woman singing couldn’t have been much older than 19, but her voice was amazing. I quirked an eyebrow, my mind stating that Duo’s singing voice was even better, especially when he wasn’t aware anyone was listening.
"Whoa, I recognize you!" I turned at the voice, my eyes focusing on the short haired bartender, a woman only a little older than myself. My eyebrow raised higher.
"Doubt it." I muttered, turning back towards the band.
"No, really! You came in with what's his name... uh, Waffle... or somethin'... shit, I can't remember his name!" the bartender persisted, her eyebrows furrowed together in concentration, "But you got so fall-off-your-ass drunk that your friends had to drag you out over Waffle-man's shoulder!"
"His name is Wufei, not Waffle." I sighed, turning to glance at the bartender. She did look vaguely familiar, but it didn't matter. Duo had just come barreling out of the arcade, his eyes wide in fear. Upon sighting me at the bar, he seemed to relax and came waltzing over. He grinned loosely at me, plopping down on a stool next to me.
"Hey, why'd you go? I was on a role! You missed it! I did PSM perfectly!!" Duo rambled happily, his eyes locked on mine. The bartender had walked away.
I was silent for a moment, not really understanding his statement had included a question, "I guess I'm just not very fond of crowds."
"Oh. Okay then." He turned to the stage, his back leaning against the counter. He looked hurt, and I felt a pang in my chest. My hatred of crowds was beginning to get in the way.
"I'm sorry." I said, my entire being focused on his ethereal face, "I'm claustrophobic, and tight crowds like that make me... skittish. It's not like I wanted to go away..."
He turned towards me, a smile across his face as he waved a nonchalant hand at me, "Really, it's fine, Heero. I completely understand. It’s not a big deal. Besides, we can always just go and play again, right?"
I stared at him for a moment before nodding my head, "Right."
At this point the raven haired bartender had returned, carrying in her hands two bottles of what I assumed was beer. She lightly set it down on the counter and grinned, "Hey, Duo."
"Hilde?" I blinked, looking at the short haired bartender. This was the woman who had once made Duo cross dress?
Duo looked prepared to cackle, "Yep, this is Hilde, my old roommate, the evil one who kicked me out and made me wear women’s clothing." He grinned wildly at her, "Hilders, this is my NEW and MUCH NICER roommate who's never made me wear women’s clothing, Heero."
How does someone react to meeting the only person you trust's best friend and old roommate? I had a vague feeling that whatever that response should be, my own personal reaction definitely wasn't appropriate. Most people would have said something witty or humourous, or something remotely intelligent. However, I did none of these things. My mind was running on a simple function: Duo's best friend. That's it. He had said before that they had once lived together, along with her boyfriend. The only positive thing about that was that she and Duo hadn't been romantically involved. To my knowledge, at least. I took a long gulp of the beer before me. Yes, drown conscious thoughts behind a pleasant haze of unawareness. "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Hilde."
She beamed, "Wow, Duo. You found a nice polite one! Do you want me to invite him to my wedding?"
"Doesn't your fiancé think I'm a bad influence or something stupid like that?" Duo laughed and I took another swig of the amber liquid. Drown, drown, drown.
"Of course he does. But you're gonna go anyway! I've known you forever! You not going would be like me not going to your wedding, you moron."
Duo flinched, "Hil, we're not in Massachusetts. I couldn't get married even if I wanted to."
"Riiight. Gay marriage isn't legal here, is it?" Hilde scratched her head, and I jerked to attention. Marriage? Gay marriage? I thought I had heard her wrong, but from the way Duo laughed and nodded his head, I knew I hadn't. I hadn't really thought about whether Duo was homosexual or not. It had never crossed my mind to ask him, or to even consider that maybe he was. However, as I sat there in Cafe Nuit, my eyes staring back an forth between Duo and his friend Hilde, it dawned on me more and more that I had noticed, but that I hadn't put two and two together in order to form the whole picture. But why hadn't he told me? It seemed, that at that moment, I wasn't noticing much. I hadn't even realized I had stood until Duo's hand on my arm and his voice caused me to withdraw from my train of thought.
"N-nani?" I said in the language that came to me more naturally than English. I shook my head and blinked, trying to formulate the question in a way Duo wouldn't stare at me in confusion at,
He looked concerned as his voice echoed through my mind, "Where're you going?"
"Nowhere. Just... standing." I didn't know where I was going, why I had bothered to stand up, so I lied, "My legs were starting to fall asleep."
"Oh. Hey, you wanna go and attack the pit for a while? The bands are starting to kick up!" His voice was grounding me. I was coming back down to Earth. He didn't tell me he was gay because he probably thought I'd already figured it out. That had to have been it.
"Uh, yeah. Sure." I rubbed my eyes, and forced a small smile.
"You sure you're all right, Hee-dude?"
"Of course. It's just this place is louder than I'm used to." I rubbed my face nonchalantly. "A lot louder."
Duo's face looked unconvinced, but he dropped it. "Okay. Well, we're free to mosh. You up to it?”
I nodded, and took an extremely long gulp of the amber liquid before me before he proceeded to drag me out into the crowd. I’ll admit that I’d only consumed that much alcohol on that dreaded night, and I was beginning to feel a bit muddled. If only I’d known what that meant at the time.
I probably enjoyed the mosh pit the most that night. I was more than a little drunk, and it made the band on stage sound even louder. Duo and I were surrounded by people as we made our way to the edge of the pit, men and women alike shoving and pushing and yelling as others did the same. Was being moved by the swollen crowd, and I moved against the tide they had created. I was lost in a sea of pushing bodies.
Someone slammed into my side, and I glanced at the offender, Duo’s face greeting my vision with a wide grin as he repeated his action, only to be pushed from behind right onto me. In my mild drunken haze, I wrapped by arms around his waist, and we proceeded to wreck havoc amongst the pit together.
I don’t know how long we stayed there, but by the time we headed back to the bar, a different band was preparing to get off stage. I all but fell onto my stool, a soft chuckle escaping as I swallowed some of the beer that Duo’s friend had placed before us upon our return. I rested my head on my arms and closed my eyes, listening as Duo described our adventure to Hilde. I wasn’t really paying attention to the words, just the sound of them. His diction was perfect; I wasn’t sure if he’d had anything to drink that night. I realized that they stopped talking and I glanced up, seeing them stare at me.
“What?” I muttered, quirking an eyebrow.
“You feeling okay, buddy?”
“Yeeeeaaaaah. I’m fine.” I pointed to the bottle, “Just a tad bit… uhh…”
“Wasted?” Hilde put in and I blinked.
“Is that the right word?” I pondered aloud, grabbing the bottle and examining it. “I’ve only had two, right?”
I listened to Hilde laugh and Duo stared at her. “Try an entire six-pack. You were gulping those fuckers down!”
I didn’t remember drinking that many. I honestly only remembered getting two, but looking at the serious yet amused expression on the woman’s face, I knew she told the truth. “I guess I wasn’t paying attention.”
It explained why I felt more than just a bit uncoordinated, why I felt, as she so casually called it, “wasted.”
Duo didn’t believe it quite as quickly, “But I’ve only seen him drink three! Where the hell’d you get six from?”
“When you were in the arcade, dumbass. He looked miserable and was off in his own little world. He wasn’t even paying attention to what he was drinking! Could’ve been rat poison or something.” Hilde giggled, patting me on the back. I stiffened at her touch. “Whoa.”
Grunting, I put my head back down and yawned, “Hn. I’m tired.”
Whether or not that was the reason Duo grabbed me up and waved a curt goodbye to his friend was never known to me, but before I could even comprehend the movement we stood outside Nuit, and I found that I was having trouble standing. I hadn’t felt that weak and susceptible since the last time I’d been to that place, and Duo actually had to hold me up. Despite the fact that I was nowhere near as screwed up as last time, my movements were sluggish and we both knew I wouldn’t be able to walk back to our apartment unaided.
I’d never actually owned a car, which at that moment I was both thankful for and very annoyed at. Yes, it would have been easier to have gotten back to the apartment if Duo or I had a car, but I doubt I would have been able to drive and I didn’t trust Duo to drive anymore than myself. So I suppose that lack of transportation was a good thing, even if it was an inconvenience.
“I… I think I’m going to puke.”
He chuckled, “Well that’s a nice image.”
If I hadn’t been holding back a vast amount of vomit, I would have sneered and glared at him. However, I wasn’t able to do this, and all that was recognizable on my face was a very pitiful expression, which caused Duo to almost fall over laughing. He probably would have, if he hadn’t been so intent on getting me safely home – and to a toilet. I was so focused on keeping the bile from rising up, that I didn’t even notice when we stumbled into our apartment building and onto the lift to our floor. I was thankful that it was in service.
“We’re almost back, ‘kay?” Duo patted my arm reassuringly as the lift door opened and we stepped off.
“Just open the damned door.”
He chuckled as he used his free hand to dig in his pocket for the door key, and I zoned out before hearing the familiar click of the lock right before we stumbled inside. The movement caused the vomit to rise up in my mouth and I swallowed it back down before looking at Duo. I wouldn’t make to the bathroom unaided.
“Bathroom.” I gagged, “Now!”
The sun was too goddamned perky. My head felt like it was going to split in two, the sun was shining brightly, and Duo was singing his heart out just outside my room. Whether this was a good thing, I couldn’t tell you. But it didn’t help with my hangover. Oh, I didn’t think anything would help with the monstrous migraine caused by the six beers I’d consumed the night before. I think I came to regard that day as a kind of blessing and curse. It was the first time in a while I’d honestly had fun and that thought made the skull pounding hangover worth it.
However… Duo’s singing wasn’t. While normally his voice was quite nice, listening to him sing with a headache, added to the fact that he was more or less screaming along with the lyrics, didn’t do much for the pounding. I averted my eyes from the window and instead focused them on the ceiling, trying to persuade my limbs to cooperate with me. It was difficult, but I eventually was able to drag myself from the bed and into the hallway. Duo’s off-key singing became more pronounced, and I groaned, staggering into the living room to see him head banging along to some rock song or another. I glared at his back.
“Duo…” I growled.
He twirled and blinked, his singing coming to an abrupt halt, “Good morning, grumpy. How’s your head?”
My glare intensified, “Pounding. Can you keep it to a dull roar?”
He grinned, “Yeah, sure. D’ya want some aspirin or something?”
“No,” I gritted out, “Just want you to be quiet.”
“Aww, but where’s the fun in that? It’s a beautiful day and I’d like to continue singing along with the wonderful CD shoved in your stereo player.” He grinned and I swear the sun dulled slightly. It was going to be a long day, and it didn’t take a genius to figure that out.
“Whatever. I’m going back to sleep.” No matter what I felt for him, sleeping seemed to be ahead of joining him in whatever the hell it was he was doing.
He grinned again, “Fine, fine. Go sleep the day away!”
I turned to head back to my room, giving him a half-hearted thumbs up. I loved interactions like that, and as I plopped back down on my bed, I smiled.
“But I’m not turning off my music!”
3 hours later found me able to function and the two of us bored beyond belief. He dug through his things in search of something to do to pass the time. He found Scrabble.
“Hah!” Duo exclaimed as he finished putting the small tiles down on the board. He seemed very pleased with this word, but I just allowed a smirk a triumph.
“Shinigami isn’t an English word.” I said simply. I leaned back in my chair. “It’s not legal.”
Duo narrowed his eyes, and hmphed. “Quid’s a slang word! But you used that!”
“No, quid isn’t slang. It’s English. For money. We’d say something like ‘I’ve got 5 bucks.’ The British might say, ‘I’ve got a few quid.’”
“Buck is slang! That automatically makes quid slang!” Duo smiled triumphantly, crossing his arms. “Just admit you’re wrong!”
I raised an eyebrow. “The queen doesn’t use slang.” (1)
And on it went for the entire game. I’d put down a word, he’d remark, and vice versa, until I finally gave up and proclaimed him the winner. He grinned and stood up from the table happily, striding into the open kitchen with a superior look on his face. I shook my head and followed him, leaning against the wall by the refrigerator. In honour of my second smashing, Duo had insisted on cooking. I couldn’t decide if he was plotting something or not, but I agreed.
“Aren’t you full of yourself today?” I asked dryly, my arms crossed as I looked him over. He was wearing a Star Wars tee-shirt, a Finger Eleven beanie, and a pair of pink Hello Kitty pants. No shoes. His hair wasn’t in it’s usual braid, but was pulled back in a loose ponytail near the nape of his neck. The Hello Kitty pants didn’t seem as out of place as one would think, and actually looked interesting on him. As I continued to regard his appearance, he turned to look at me with raised eyebrows and a haughty grin.
“I have all the rights to be! I FINALLY got you drunk AND made you admit defeat!” Duo’s eyes seemed to glow, and he turned around to look through the cabinets. He scowled at what he saw. “We have 54 bags of ramen noodles, but we don’t have any normal pasta! What’s wrong with us? Heero!”
I glanced up at him from my refrigerator rummaging, “What?”
“We’re going shopping.” He exclaimed, pumping a fist in the air for emphasis. He looked adorable doing that, and the Hello Kitty pants only made it more so.
I shook my head at him, “You’re not going out in those pants.”
“Huh? What’s wrong with them?” He looked down, snatching the pink fabric and examining the perky cat design.
“They’re pink and Sanrio. What more of a reason do you need?” I deadpanned, putting a mild glare in the general direction of his pants.
Letting out a sigh, he huffed out of the kitchen, “Fine, I’ll put on something else. But the shirt and beanie stay!”
“Whatever.” I called after him, heading towards the door where my sneakers sat waiting patiently for the next time I put them on. I honestly didn’t mind the Hello Kitty pants. If they had been any colour other than pink, I wouldn’t have asked him to change out of them. However, I’d never had brilliant luck with individuals who were fond of the colour and I had thus formed an aversion to it. Once my shoes where tied, Duo had pranced from his room, his pants now simple black jeans. As he neared the door, he reached down and snatched up his derelict Converse and untied the dog-eared laces.
“So, what should we get?”
“I thought you knew.”
“Well, I have an idea. I really wanna make chicken lasagne or something like that, but whatever works, ya know?” Duo rambled as he pulled the sneakers on. Glancing up at me, he flashed a brilliant grin.
I gave him a small smile back, enthralled by how his face lit up and made his eyes look so much more pronounced, “If that’s what you want, then I don’t have a problem.”
The grocery store was crowded, but considering that it was a Sunday, I suppose it wasn’t that unusual. Duo dragged me through the store, sending me off towards random aisles in order to retrieve as many of the ingredients for his lasagne as possible in one shot. It didn’t take us long, but again there was an incident at the check-out where the cashier got this strange glint in her eyes when she saw us.
We were the only people in line, and as she was ringing the groceries up, she continued to glance at us with that look. Duo noticed also, and just blinked at her. He was leaning on my shoulder, and I assumed that was the reason she was sending us strange looks.
“Is there something on my face?” Duo suddenly asked the cashier, and she stopped what she was doing momentarily to blink at us.
“No.” She said simply, going back to trying to get the chicken to ring up.
I examined her name tag, “Well, then, Miss Relena, may I ask why you’re giving us such strange looks?”
She looked at us as if she’d been caught doing something horrible, “Oh, uh, I was just thinking what a cute couple you make.”
Duo sputtered and then laughed. I stared and then stared some more. It never failed, it seemed.
“Thanks!” Duo exclaimed, grinning widely at the blonde girl. I snapped around and stared at him. He just shrugged. I suppose denying it wasn’t really working, considering that this happened at least twice a week.
As we were leaving, I noticed the girl shot us a purely lecherous look. I had the feeling she watched quite a bit of gay porn in her free time, and was extremely pleased with herself.
Duo’s lasagne was wonderful, and we ended sitting on the couch watching Fuse after dinner. He kept shooting me looks and grins.
“What is it, Duo?” I asked, sighing and raising an eyebrow at him.
“Huh? Oh, nothin’.” He grinned sheepishly, but his expression remained otherwise the same.
He blinked and rubbed the back of his head, “I, uh, was just thinking’ ‘bout all the times people think we’re a couple.”
“Oh.” I didn’t quite know where he was going with this, but I had feeling it wasn’t anything negative.
“I mean, would it really be so weird if, you know, we were?” He looked quickly away and I blanched slightly. Of all the possible things he could have said, that was something I hadn’t expected.
“What exactly are you saying?”
He looked panicked for a moment, quickly looking away and gulping, “I guess I just… Well, I… I’m just sayin’ I’d like it if we were a couple. I mean,” my face was blank with shock, and my mind was whirling as he continued, “it’s just, I really, really like being around you, and I’ve kind of been… inlovewithyou since I met you and… Oh, god.”
I couldn’t breathe and he visibly paled at my silence.
“You probably didn’t want to hear that, I mean, why would you want to know that your male roommate is in love with you? Ugh, I’m an idiot. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I’m gonna go and shoot myself now. Shit, I completely mess--”
“Shh,” Smiling ever-so-slightly, I reached for him across the couch and pressed my mouth to his eagerly, effectively silencing his ramblings as I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him closer. He reacted almost instantly, clutching at me as he took the reigns and pushed me down onto the cushioned armrest. My hands clung to his braid, my lips burning against his. There was an amazing urgency to our kisses, our touches, as if it was all that mattered. And as far as I was concerned, they were all that mattered. Duo’s body pressed against mine, our hands and lips searching… it was the only thing in the world, and I never wanted it to end. His scent radiated around me, and he tasted like ashes and cloves.
A/N: Chapters 3 & 4. This will be rewritten eventually.