Title: Impetuous Arrivals
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Theme: #25, fence
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Sunrise and Bandai, not me.
This is my first Gundam Wing kiss - please let me know what you think!
Duo knew there was something behind the intensity of Heero’s eyes – there had to be because the concept of hiding was one familiar to him. He looked up for a moment from the engine he was working on and examined his friend’s profile – his hair just as unruly and his expression just as serious. They’d known each other for almost eight years now, and sometimes he felt like he didn’t know the man at all. After the war and all that ensued in its aftermath, they’d not so much drifted apart as their paths diverged. Duo had gone back to L2, and Heero had just gone where the winds decided to take him. They’d kept in touch via email and sporadic phone calls, gleaning information from their fellow pilots as the years passed. Every now and again their paths would cross, and they’d spend an evening in each other’s company. After this happened, Duo would return to L2 in a state a little more restless than he’d left in.
It was rare for them to actually see each other, but the winds had deposited Heero on his doorstep the night before, and Duo was genuinely happy to see him. Almost seven years had passed since the Mariemaia Incident and Duo could count on one hand how many times he’d actually seen Heero since then. It wasn’t for any reason other than the complications of life and the almost alarming pace of the passing of time. Duo was two months shy of his 23rd birthday, or the birthday that Sister Helen had selected for him as she did so many of the orphans, but seeing Heero here made him feel like a kid again – like to time had passed at all.
Duo had just opened his second beer and was nuking some leftovers in the microwave when there had been a knock on the door. It wasn’t unusual for people to stop by unannounced at his small apartment over the garage –someone looking for help with a broken down car after he’d closed up shop, or one of his friends looking to share a six pack and their woes. He hadn’t thought anything of it, as he opened the door, not caring that he hadn’t even been home long enough to change out of his greasy clothes. He was rendered speechless as his mind tried to take in the man standing on the landing, a brief glimpse of hesitation flashing in blue eyes before his expression closed up tight.
“Pluck me cold and call me drafty,” Duo said softly, a grin spreading across his face as he looked closely at the man standing before him. “Heero! Come on in, man.”
Duo stepped aside and waited for Heero to come into his small living room before swinging the door shut behind him. To say he was shocked was an understatement; there was nothing that could’ve prepared him for Heero Yuy knocking on his door.
“What the hell does that mean?” Heero asked, raising an eyebrow and adjusting the strap of the bag over his shoulder.
“Huh?” Confused, Duo reached out and took Heero’s bag and set it on the floor. “What does what mean?”
“’Pluck me cold and call me drafty,’” Heero repeated, a small, amused smile touching his lips. He let Duo take the bag willingly, and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jacket while he waited for an answer.
“You surprised me.” Duo said with a small chuckle, setting the bag down and turning to face his friend. “I heard it on a cartoon once and have been trying to puzzle out its meaning ever since, but surprise was as close as I could get. Howard was always getting feeds of the strangest shows.”
“Sounds like it.” Heero ran his hand though his hair, and looked at Duo through the dark fringe of his bangs. “I’m sorry to surprise you.”
“Nah, it’s all good.” Duo suddenly remembered he was holding a beer and went to the fridge. “Let me get you a beer and we can play catch up.”
Without waiting for an answer, Duo pulled a second bottle of beer out of the refrigerator before closing the door with his hip and handing it to Heero. Time is a funny thing – it must have been at least three years since he’d seen Heero in person, but it didn’t really matter. It didn’t surprise him how easy it was to be standing with the guy in his kitchen, as if time hadn’t passed at all. Duo knew he looked older than the scraggly kid he was during the wars. Time had gifted him with a few inches and broader shoulders, although he would never be considered a ‘big’ guy. Now Heero on the other hand took Duo a bit by surprise. He’d seen Heero’s face here and there over the vidphone, but Duo wasn’t aware at how much the rest of him had changed over the last three years. Heero had a good three inches on Duo’s 5’ 10”, and where he’d always been a fit guy, he’d also been thin – now he was filled out and quite solid, although there didn’t seem to be even an ounce of fat on him.
Motioning towards the kitchen table, Duo took a seat and waited for Heero to sit across from him. “We’d probably be more comfortable in the living room, but I haven’t changed from work yet and I’m a mess.”
Heero eyed Duo’s grease smeared t-shirt with a smirk. “That hasn’t changed anyway.”
“What hasn’t changed? That I’m a mess?” Duo asked with a smirk of his own, tipping the bottle into his mouth and taking a long swallow.
“You always get so into your work,” Heero stated simply, taking a sip of beer before setting his bottle down on the table. He looked at his hands for a moment, turning the bottle in them. “I am sorry for showing up unannounced.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Heero, you know you’re always welcomed here. For as long as you want to stay.” Duo drained the last from his bottle, leaning back in his chair so far he brought the front legs off the floor. “Although I have to admit I’m curious about what brought you.”
Heero rolled the bottle between his palms for a moment before looking up at Duo thoughtfully. “Would you believe me if I said I didn’t know?” He made a small noise in his throat that could be interpreted as a laugh if one listened hard enough. “I’ve been on Earth for the last few years, and the night sky was starting to seem too far away.”
Rocking back in his chair farther, Duo crossed his arms and nodded. “You’re just homesick.”
“Maybe.” Heero drank from his bottle and shrugged slightly. Maybe he was homesick; maybe it was more – who knew? Not him, that’s for sure.
“It doesn’t matter,” Duo said seriously, looking Heero in the eyes. “I’m just happy that you thought to come here – I can honestly say I missed you. You’ll stay for a while, won’t you?”
Heero shrugged again, just the slightest movement of his shoulders. “I’d like to stay in one place for a while – I’m tired of traveling.”
“Good.” Duo said, straightening his chair and standing up. “I’ve been swamped lately and could use a hand in the garage if you’re interested. The last guy I had working for me thought he could skim money off the top and I wouldn’t notice.” Duo’s eyes grew cold for a moment, before he shook his head and started towards the bathroom. “Hey, make yourself at home, I’m in desperate need of a shower.”
By the time Duo had emerged from the bathroom, still squeezing water out of his hair with a large bath sheet, Heero was stretched out on the couch, dead to the world. Duo stood over him for a moment, noticing that even Heero Yuy could look innocent while sleeping. It was like an optical illusion, his mind seeing the boy he once knew in the man before him – the peach fuzz cheeks under the days growth of stubble and the soft roundness of early adolescence superimposed over the hard angle of his jaw. They’d thought they knew it all back then, but they really had just been kids trained to kill. Now they were men with skills rendered useless and harsh memories to never let them forget what they once were.
Duo shook his head to pull himself out of his thoughts. Now standing in the garage that he’d taken the last five years to build up, Duo suddenly felt restless, watching Heero and wondering what brought him here. Heero had a smudge of grease on the side of his nose as he leaned under the hood of the car and continued to disassemble the engine. As if sensing Duo’s thoughts, Heero looked up and quirked an eyebrow – standing up and hearing his back pop, “What?”
Duo shook his head and turned his attention back to the engine. “Nothing. Just pondering the meaning of life and all that crap.” Fighting with the wrench, he swore under his breath. “Sometimes it’s just weird to think of the way things turned out … almost like flying Gundams never happened, y’no? Like it was some sort of shared illusion.”
Heero nodded in agreement, removing a length of tubing from under the hood and looking for a hole. “But it made us who we are.”
“Who are we exactly?” Duo asked softly, looking up at Heero’s startled expression. He spent way too much time pondering who the hell he was, too much time drinking away his regrets and wondering if it was all worth it.
“We’re survivors just like everybody else.” Heero wiped his hands off on a rag and moved to stand near Duo. The front of his shirt was smeared in grease, and he wondered why Duo didn’t have any coveralls. “Has it been hard for you?”
Duo didn’t have to ask Heero what he meant by that, he knew that something brought Heero here, and was patient to learn what. “Some days I still wake up so fucking relieved that it’s over, and other days I wake up wondering what the fuck I’m doing … y’no?”
“Yes.” Heero answered, running his fingers through his hair. “I think I’ve spend years traveling, unable to stay in one place longer than a few months just trying to figure out who I am … what I am. Quatre said I needed to achieve some sort of inner peace …”
“Have you seen Quatre?” Duo asked, realizing that he’s barely talked to Heero since he’d arrived the night before, and hadn’t remembered Quatre mentioning a visit with Heero the last time they spoke.
“I went to visit him about 6 months ago, he and Trowa had decided they needed a vacation and asked me to stop by.” Heero’s mouth twitched into the makings of a smile. “It was interesting.”
“I bet.” Duo had probably kept in touch with Quatre the most since the war, and Trowa by proxy. “Who would’ve thought that Trowa had it in him to be domesticated?”
“Tamed is more like it.” Heero said with a snort. “But it was nice to see them both so … happy.”
“Yeah, it gives me hope.” Duo said with a laugh, taking the rag from Heero’s hands and wiping the excess grease of his fingers.
Heero looked at him for a moment, and Duo couldn’t read his expression. “You’re not happy?”
Duo grinned, and motioned around the garage with a wave of his hand. “With all this? Sure I’m happy.” He let his grin fade to a small smile. “What right to any of us have to be happy?” Duo didn’t miss the flash of sadness in Heero’s eyes, gone in as quickly as it came.
“We have as much of a right as anyone else. Probably more.” Heero took Duo’s hand and flipped it over so the palm was pointing up. He traced the wide scar across the heel. “We all paid for peace.”
Duo looked down at the fingers caressing the scar. For some reason the contrast of Heero’s skin against his made his stomach tighten. “Did I ever thank you for untangling me from that razor wire?”
“Actually, you cursed me out because I’d ruined your favorite shirt.” Heero remembered finding Duo stuck to the fence with razor wire embedded in the flesh of his hand. Heero had gotten him free, and actually had been the one to sew Duo up again. He ran his thumb across the scar again, lifting Duo’s hand higher. “Fifteen stitches.”
“Yeah, fifteen stitches with no Novocain.” Duo said softly, watching the fingers on his palm with awe. “You told me to stop being a baby and sit still.”
“You asked me to kiss it and make it better…” Heero smiled gently. Duo had been bloody and struggling to hold still as Heero had taken the needle to his flesh, sewing him back together as neatly as possible. Without thinking, Heero raised Duo’s palm to his lips and kissed the scar, closing his eyes. He could hear Duo’s sharp intake of breath at the contact, but didn’t let go. “You were the strongest person I knew.”
Heero opened his eyes and looked down into Duo’s slightly shocked expression. “I think I’m one step closer to inner peace.”
With that, he let go of Duo’s hand, and picked up the piece of tubing he’d been checking out before. He almost couldn’t hear beyond his pulse roaring through his ears, but he wasn’t the least bit embarrassed. They were kids back then, and could’ve used someone to kiss it and make it better every now and then.
Duo stared at his hand for a moment, not moving. He’d seen something unfamiliar in Heero’s eyes and was trying to place it. Trying to shrug off such an odd interlude, he picked up his wrench and leaned over the engine once again.
“Maybe we both are…,” Duo spoke to no one at all.