3-15-2004

Title: #10 Give Thanks
Series: The Holiday Series
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: March 15, 2004
Genre: Yaoi, Fluff, Sap, Romance, Holiday Fic
Pairing: 1x2x1, background 3x4
Rated: PG-13
Warnings: OOC, Swearing, Lime/Implied Lemon, Violence
Archives: At Lev's Lair http://www.gwaddiction.com/levlair/ and at
http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site) and at Mediaminer.org
under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can
help themselves.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine.
This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: Tenth in the Holiday Series (written for American
Thanksgiving).

'Thinking'
"Speaking"
*** Time passing or scene/POV change

Author's Notes: Yes, this is late - *very* late. At least I finally
got it finished... Feedback is appreciated.

#################################################

'Thanksgiving... I have a great deal to be thankful for this year...' Beginning with the man sprawled on his back across considerably more than his share of the bed, hogging all the covers and snoring none-too-quietly.

Propping himself up on one elbow, Heero grinned tolerantly down at his partner. Braid unravelling in a ratty tangle, unruly bangs sticking out in every direction, mouth slightly open and a trickle of drool snaking its way down the side of his face, Duo was still a beautiful sight to wake up to as far as Heero was concerned. He brushed a careful fingertip lightly over the very ends of Duo's eyelashes. Duo stirred slightly as Heero transferred his attention to the other eye and repeated the delicate caress. A faint murmur of content escaped Duo's throat and a hint of a smile tugged at his lips. Repeating the feathery contact, Heero followed up with a tender kiss to each eyelid, feeling them quiver beneath his lips. Soft sounds of wordless approval and a hand stirring lethargically in the bedding indicated Duo's growing awareness.

Heero hovered over his lover as Duo opened his eyes and drowsily blinked up at him. Before Duo had a chance to speak, Heero placed a gentle finger against Duo's parted lips and shook his head. He smiled slightly in response to the puzzled look dimly visible on Duo's face. It was very, very early in the morning and Duo was undoubtedly wondering why Heero had woken him. They didn't have to leave for Quatre's until after noon. Despite his obvious curiosity, Duo readily acquiesced to Heero's unspoken request and held his silence. Heero bent to kiss Duo softly, silently thanking him for his cooperation.

This afternoon, he and Duo would be celebrating with friends, giving thanks as a group for another year of peace. Heero intended for them to spend the morning hours in their own private celebration of thanksgiving.

***

Lying in Heero's arms, sweaty, sticky, and sated, Duo snuggled a little closer. He was unwilling to break the peaceful stillness of the morning with words just yet. It had been difficult to honour Heero's request not to speak but it had been well worth the effort. Without words being spoken, other noises became evident. The quiet rustle of bedclothes, the soft susurrus of skin against skin, the faint whisper of callused fingers sliding through silken hair, the tiny wordless gasps and murmurs of desire...

Heero's tender caresses and loving kisses had conveyed his love and appreciation for Duo - body, heart, and soul - in a way that words could not begin to match. There had been no rush, no urgency, to their lovemaking. It had been a beautiful expression of Heero's thankfulness for their relationship.

And as soon as he found the energy to actually move, Duo intended to make his own love and appreciation equally clear. They had all morning, after all...

Though he *would* need to go let the dog out at some point...

A few all-too-short minutes later, Duo was rudely shaken from his contented half-drowse by the strident ringing of the phone. Neither he nor Heero made any offer to get up and answer it. That was what the answering machine was for, after all.

***

"Yuy? Maxwell? Pick up the phone, gentlemen. I'm sorry to disturb you on the holiday but we have a situation..."

Heero groaned in resignation and reluctantly untangled himself from Duo. Sitting up, he reached for the phone. Duty called and he knew that Une would not interrupt their holiday lightly. "Yuy here."

As Une began to brief him, the mattress creaked and shifted. Heero turned his head and nodded in acknowledgement of Duo's gesture towards his tangled hair. Duo blew a quick kiss towards Heero and Heero gave him a brief smile in return. Then he turned his full attention towards the phone while Duo left the room. He knew that Duo was heading off to let Chocolate out and start getting cleaned up for work. They both would definitely need showers before they left the house.

This wasn't quite the way that Heero had hoped to spend their first Thanksgiving as a couple.

***

Crouched outside the back door of a rundown house in a very bad section of the city, Duo couldn't help thinking wistfully of where he - and Heero - were *supposed* to be right then. Namely, at Quatre's luxurious residence, visiting with friends. And instead of wearing Kevlar vests and holding guns while preparing to invade a house and - hopefully - rescue a senator's kidnapped daughter, they should have been enjoying a huge Thanksgiving dinner.

'Of course, that poor kid should be safe in her own home watching Thanksgiving Day parades on TV, not stuck in *this* dump, held hostage to try pressuring her mom into voting against a certain piece of legislation when parliament reconvenes after the holiday...' Duo thought grimly. "Try" being the operative word.

L4 Representative Senator Greaves was not a stupid woman. She'd known damn well that following instructions to *not* report her daughter's kidnapping wouldn't guarantee the child's safety. And she had no intention of allowing what she'd referred to as "cowardly scum" to influence her vote. However, she also had no intention of unnecessarily endangering her child's life. Rather than report the kidnapping directly to local law enforcement and risk the kidnappers finding out that she'd done so, she'd contacted an old schoolfriend who just happened to have a "baby brother" with very close ties to the Preventers. And Quatre, of course, had taken things into his capable hands and had very discreetly contacted Une.

'Which of course meant Une reluctantly cancelling our holiday...' Duo's eyes swept repeatedly over the area as he waited for the time to enter the house. He hated this part of a mission - the interminable waiting while nerves tingled and muscles quivered in readiness. It was even worse when waiting alone as he was right now. Especially knowing that somewhere around the side of the house his partner was also waiting for the operation to get underway.

Flicking a quick glance at his watch, Duo tightened his jaw at the confirmation that he really *did* still have another two minutes to wait. He really wanted this over and done with so that they could all give thanks for the safe return of the young girl.

Gun in hand and lockpicks at the ready, Duo stayed behind the dubious shelter of the reeking garbage can and waited for the signal.

***

Voices raised on the sidewalk in front of the house right on time. Heero immediately set to work carefully and quietly cutting a hole in the basement window he was crouched beside. A small part of his mind admired the sheer volume that Dorothy and Noin were producing in their little spat; Dorothy seemed to be really getting into her role. As he reached through the hole and unlocked the window, Heero shook his head slightly, faintly amused by the language being used by the usually aristocratic young woman. He'd had his doubts about letting her and Noin provide the distraction out front - they weren't exactly familiar with the characters they were playing after all - but they were doing a pretty damn good acting job. He could almost believe that they really *were* just a couple of hookers having a very loud argument over whose territory this block was.

Once inside the basement, Heero performed a cursory sweep to verify that it was unoccupied. Sweep completed, he signalled for the other agents to climb down through the window. Then he headed up the stairs and silently eased the door open a crack, listening carefully and peering through the narrow space. Satisfied that the area was clear, he gradually pushed the door open far enough to slip through. There was no one in the narrow hallway but he could hear voices towards the front of the house commenting in amusement on the "cat-fight" taking place outside. A glance in the opposite direction revealed Duo gliding soundlessly into sight, two agents close on his heels.

Duo signalled an all-clear and gestured at the stairs leading to the second story. Heero nodded his acceptance and headed off to take care of the suspects he could hear on this floor, his own team close behind him, while Duo's team ascended the staircase.

***

With a few quick motions, Duo sent his team to reconnoitre the upstairs rooms. Only one of the doors stood open and that room - overlooking the street out front - was empty. Hand signals told Duo that sounds were confirmed in two of the remaining three rooms.

He ordered an agent to take the apparently-empty room anyway. No point taking unnecessary chances.

Silently, Duo marked off the countdown with one upraised hand, then kicked the door open in unison with the others taking out their own assigned doors. A chorus of "Preventers! Freeze!" rang out.

Behind him, a shout of "Code Green!" came from the supposedly-empty room and Duo grinned in satisfaction even as he dodged gunfire from within his own room. The kidnapped girl was alive and in stable condition. Whether she was genuinely unhurt or not would remain to be seen but she was at least not in need of immediate medical attention.

Duo returned fire, sending the shooter diving for cover behind the bed. "Drop your weapon and come out with your hands up!" Duo barked sharply. He ducked as another gunshot answered his demand. Distantly, he was aware of the sounds of a struggle in the adjoining room. An instant later, the connecting door burst open and two figures staggered through it. Seeing that Agent Brook was seriously outclassed by the hulking man currently trying to stab him and unable to get a clear shot, Duo lunged into the fray.

***

'This was *not* how I wanted to spend Thanksgiving...' Heero laced his fingers through Duo's and bent his head to press a gentle kiss to the back of Duo's hand. He threw a glance at the monitor readouts and settled back into his chair with a sigh. It would probably be quite a while yet before Duo woke up.

A quiet knock on the doorframe caught Heero's attention and he looked up. "How is he?" Quatre asked softly.

"Lucky," Heero replied.

Quatre gave him a disbelieving look and repeated, "Lucky?"

Heero nodded and gave him a rueful half-smile. "Yes. He'll be limping for a while but the bullet didn't seriously damage the bone and it missed the tendon." They'd had to dig the bullet out of Duo's calf but it had barely chipped the tibia and the bone fragments hadn't caused any serious further damage.

"And his arm?"

"The Kevlar vest deflected the stab," Heero leaned forward and gently touched the targeted area on Duo's chest, knowing that Quatre would understand just how fortunate the vest's presence had been. "The knife slid off and sliced into his arm instead. Soft tissue damage only; they just repaired the blood vessels and stitched it up." Again, Duo had been lucky. The knife wound hadn't caused any permanent damage although Duo had lost a fair amount of blood. 'I'm just thankful that we had paramedics standing by. Having them already on the scene made a big difference...'

One ambulance had taken the kidnap victim - she only had a few bumps and bruises but the hospital was keeping her overnight for observation - and the other had taken both Duo and Agent Brook, who'd also been injured. The suspects responsible for their injuries had left the scene in body bags; another Preventer had downed the shooter and, despite being wounded, Duo had managed to turn the other assailant's own knife back on him.

Shaking his head slightly, Quatre agreed wryly, "Lucky." He gazed at Duo's still, pale form for a few moments, then turned back to Heero. "Trowa's gone to pick up Chocolate and take him back to our place. We figured that you wouldn't want to have to leave Duo just to take care of the dog."

"Thanks," Heero answered gratefully. Since the hospital *would* actually allow him to stay with Duo - thanks to the fact that medical science had finally gotten a clue and realized that the advantages to the patient of having family continuously present far outweighed the perceived inconvenience to the hospital - he had every intention of remaining at Duo's side unless and until Duo himself ordered him to go home.

"Is there anything else we can do for you?"

"Not really. He won't be awake much before tomorrow, Quatre. You might as well go home for now."

"Wouldn't *you* like some company?"

Heero gazed steadily at Quatre and raised one eyebrow slightly. "Actually... No." He would rather just be left alone with Duo. Belatedly, he added, "Sorry."

Quatre smiled faintly and murmured, "Why am I not surprised...

"Alright." He crossed the room and gave Heero a hug, then leaned over the bed and squeezed Heero and Duo's joined hands gently. He instructed Heero firmly, "Call if you need anything; otherwise I'll see you both in the morning."

Nodding his acceptance, Heero was silently grateful for the understanding of good friends. Not everyone would be as tolerant and sympathetic towards his preference to keep a solitary vigil. As Quatre headed towards the door, Heero called softly after him, "Happy Thanksgiving, Quatre." The day might not have gone as planned but it could have been far worse. An innocent child was safe and although Duo was injured, he was in stable condition and would probably spend only a few days in the hospital. Heero would far rather give thanks for the positive than dwell on the negative.

Quatre turned and gave Heero a startled look that softened to one of comprehension. Inclining his head slightly, he agreed, "We *do* have a lot to be thankful for, don't we...

"Happy Thanksgiving, Heero."