12-24-2002

Title: I'd Like You For Christmas
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Started & Completed: Dec. 23 & 24, 2002
Genre: Christmas Fic, Humour, Fluff
Pairing: 2+1, 3x4x3 (implied), 5x6x5 (implied), DxR (implied)
Rated: PG
Warnings: OOC, Tiny Bit of Swearing, Sap, Fluff
Archives: Anyone who already has permission to archive anything else of mine, go ahead. Anyone else, please ask.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: This was written in response to Dacia's second "wild x-mas plot bunny" (see it at http://raygunworks.net/xbunnies.html ). The "inspiration" song was "I'd Like You for Christmas". This was a very definitely *wild* little plot bunny that decided to follow Heero around instead of Duo as requested (but it *is* 2+1 in spite of that fact). Yes, it's odd. Oh well.

## Recorded conversation ##
************ Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: Meet Quin (short for Harlequin, as in Harlequin Romances), my romantic humour muse. She's the one to blame for "Mission: Marriage", "Apology Accepted", and this little baby. She's also the most demanding little muse anyone could possibly be stuck with. Hopefully, once I've posted this, she'll let me go wrap presents. Feedback is appreciated.

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"Quatre, I need your help."

Surprised, Quatre looked up from his desk. Heero Yuy stood in front of him, a very serious look on his face. "Of course, Heero. I'm always happy to help a friend."

"I have recently realized that Duo is never very happy with the presents I give him for his birthday or for Christmas. As his best friend, I should be doing a better job of selecting gifts for him, but I do not know where to start."

Motioning for Heero to have a seat, Quatre asked, "Why do you think Duo doesn't like the gifts you have given him?"

"When one of you gives him a gift that he likes, he grins from ear to ear, jumps up, and hugs you. Mine get a 'Oh, how thoughtful, thank you, Heero' and nothing else. Clearly, there must be something wrong with my gift selections," Heero explained.

Leaning back in his chair, Quatre considered his answer carefully before replying, "There's nothing wrong with things like socks or gloves, or even gift certificates. But perhaps always just buying black socks or gloves and generic 'mall dollar' gift certificates seems a bit - well - lacking in creativity."

"But his favourite colour is black! And I really don't know what else to buy him," Heero admitted. "He has so much music already that I don't know how to even begin choosing music for him that he doesn't already have. Anything that he needs for his car, he buys himself. What else can I get him?"

"Well, what about tickets to a concert by a group that you know he likes? You could even offer to go with him - you know he likes getting you to try new things."

Making a mental note to buy earplugs before following through with the second part of this idea, Heero nodded and rose from the chair. "Thank you, Quatre. I will try that for his birthday since I have not yet purchased a present."

Heero had just left the office when Trowa entered. He raised his visible eyebrow in inquiry.

"Heero just wanted advice on a gift for Duo's birthday. He has apparently finally figured out that his gifts aren't particularly - ah - exciting, shall we say. I didn't have the heart to tell him that black isn't Duo's favourite colour anymore," Quatre explained.

"You could have at least suggested that perhaps Duo had other favourite colours as well. Maybe finding out that they're cobalt blue and chocolate brown would finally give him a clue," Trowa observed drily.

"I doubt it. I think Heero is the only one who doesn't know that Duo fell for him ages ago. I doubt he's even realized that Duo doesn't go out on dates anymore."

************

Heero watched closely as Duo opened his birthday presents. So far, Quatre had received an ear-to-ear grin for some new computer game and Zechs had got a grin and a high five for an out-of-print music recording. A long-haired black kitten with a white crescent on her chest was promptly christened "Scythe" and earned Trowa a full-fledged glomp. Heero directed an evil glare in Trowa's direction. Sure, he had no problem giving Duo a kitten, he wasn't the one sharing an apartment with him. Catherine got a hug for all the supplies for said cat. A chocolate brown leather jacket earned Relena and Dorothy a "group hug" and a kiss on the cheek each. New tools from Hilde got a big grin and a hug. Despite his threats, Wufei still got hugged in thanks for a gift certificate for lessons at a new martial arts centre just a block away from Preventers HQ. Finally, it was Heero's gift's turn.

Duo looked at the envelope with resignation. Obviously, Heero must have gone the gift certificate route again. Opening the card, he read the note twice in disbelief, fingered the tickets to assure himself of their reality, then jumped up and gave Heero a big hug and a kiss on the cheek before quickly dancing back out of range just in case he didn't take that too well. "Thanks, Heero! That concert sold out within an hour of the tickets going on sale and I was on duty so I didn't get a chance to get any! This is great!" Duo enthusiastically proclaimed.

"You're welcome," Heero answered, feeling a warm glow of satisfaction. Finally, he'd got a gift right.

"Didja mean it about going with me if I wanted?" the braided youth asked a bit disbelievingly.

"Yes. If you wish me to attend with you, I will," he answered firmly. He had his sound-dampening earplugs already purchased, he could survive one evening of loud music if that was what Duo wanted.

"Great! You'll see, it'll be a blast!"

As Duo answered Quatre's summons to the table for the cake, Heero gave himself a mental pat on the back. Quatre had suggested tickets, true, but he had managed to find out one of Duo's favourite groups and had managed to get tickets to their only concert in this area on this particular tour. Now all he had to do was figure out what on earth he was going to get Duo for Christmas. This time, he was determined to figure it out on his own. Somehow.

************

Christmas was now only a month away and Heero still did not know what Duo wanted. He was determined to get him the very best gift possible and earn himself another hug and a kiss on the cheek. That first time at the birthday party had felt good and had left him with a warm glow, but the second, the hug and kiss he had unintentionally earned in exchange for letting Duo pick out his clothes for their trip to the concert, had felt even better and had left him with a funny fluttering feeling in his stomach and the wish that he had hugged Duo back. He wanted to know what a third hug would feel like and was determined that this time he would be better prepared and would manage to hug Duo back before he could get away. It didn't seem right that Duo's best friend was the only one who didn't hug back. But first, he had to find out what Duo would like for Christmas and he wasn't having much luck with that. The direct approach, asking Duo, had got him the standard "Oh, I don't need anything in particular, whatever you wanna get me will be fine" response. Now it was time for a more subtle approach.

"Duo, explain this whole Santa Claus thing to me again," Heero said. "On second thought, don't just explain. Show me how people write letters to Santa."

Giving Heero a very odd look, Duo said, "Oookay... Here, take a sheet of paper and a pen. Just write 'Dear Santa, I would like' then list the things you want for Christmas."

"No, you do it. I want to see how it's done."

Giving Heero another odd look, Duo picked up the pen and started to write, "Dear Santa, these are the things that I would like for Christmas:" Pausing, he looked at Heero and said, "Hey, if you're gonna make me do this, you can damn well do it too. Start writin'."

"Fine," Heero agreed, picking up a pen and paper and starting his own list.

Starting to warm to the idea, Duo said, "Now remember, you have to put down what you really want, and you're not supposed to show anybody. Then you put your list in an envelope and drop it off in one of Santa's mailboxes at the mall or the post office."

"How are you supposed to get what you want if you don't show anyone the list?" Heero demanded, suddenly discovering a flaw in his plan.

"The list is for Santa, he's supposed to make sure that you get what you want."

"But there's no such..."

"...thing as Santa Claus, yeah, I know," Duo said, rolling his eyes. "But if you do this when you're five like most kids, you're supposed to believe that there really is a Santa Claus. In reality, their parents probably put an empty envelope in the mailbox and keep the list or something, I dunno. Look, do you wanna do this or not?"

"As long as you do it too, yes. I want to know what normal people do at Christmas." Mentioning wanting to know what normal people did pretty much guaranteed Heero would get his way. He'd figured that out a long time ago, though he tried not to overuse it. Sooner or later Duo would figure out that he'd figured it out, and then it wouldn't work anymore. So he saved it for times when he really wanted Duo to go along with his plans.

"Okay then," Duo answered, "just write out the list, then put it in an envelope addressed to Santa Claus, Christmas Village, North Pole, postal code HOHOHO and we'll find someplace to drop them off. Geesh, next thing you'll be wanting to go sit on Santa's knee and tell him your wish list yourself."

"Do people really do that?" Heero asked. "Other than very small children, that is?"

"Yeah, sometimes, just for kicks," Duo answered. Giving Heero a wary look, he said, "You don't seriously want to do that too, do you?"

"Well, Zechs is playing Santa at the Preventers Christmas party in a few days. We could drop the letters in the mailbox there. And last year, you went and sat on his knee in order to show the kids that it was okay..."

"You've gotta be kiddin' me," Duo said in disbelief. "There's no way in hell Heero Yuy is gonna go sit on Santa's knee and tell him what he wants for Christmas."

Reminding himself that he really, really needed to find out what Duo would like, and that he might not be able to get hold of the letter, assuming Duo had even written his real wishes down, Heero said, "Oh, really? You don't think I'll do it?"

"Never in a million years."

"What'll you wager?"

Feeling very sure of himself, Duo answered confidently, "Laundry and dishes duty for a month."

"Throw in cleaning the bathroom and you've got a deal," Heero told him.

Suddenly feeling slightly less confident, Duo hesitated for a moment, then said, "Done."

************

"You and Heero are going to what?!" Wufei exclaimed in disbelief.

"Sit on Santa's knee and tell him what we want for Christmas," Duo repeated. "Heero's on this 'what do normal people do at Christmas' kick, and somehow that turned into this bet. Don't ask me exactly how it happened, I'm not quite clear on that myself, but if Heero goes through with it and I don't, I'm stuck with laundry, dishes, and cleaning the bathroom for a whole month. If he backs out but I do it, he gets the jobs. If we both do it, we share the jobs as usual. Heero hates cleaning the bathroom - he hates having to unclog the drains 'cause of my hair. There's no way he'll back out, so I've gotta go through with it - doin' laundry to suit him is practically impossible, I end up ironin' the damn sheets and pillowcases. I just thought somebody'd better warn Zechs so he doesn't have a heart attack when Heero turns up to sit on his knee."

"He's getting changed right now, but I'll tell him," Wufei answered, wide-eyed. "Damn, I knew I should have brought the camcorder..."

************

Retrieving his tiny bugs from the Santa beard while Wufei was busy helping Zechs get out of the bulky, hot costume, Heero fervently hoped that he had got something worthwhile. That had been extremely embarrassing. Zechs had really played up the part, ho-ho-ho-ing and asking "And what do you want for Christmas, young man?" in a condescending tone. If it wouldn't have made life difficult for Wufei as well, he would have arranged for the environmental controls in their apartment to malfunction tonight. And if Wufei looked at him and snickered one more time, he just might do it anyway...

Back at his and Duo's apartment, Heero could barely wait for Duo to head off to bed. He wanted to be sure that he wouldn't be interrupted while listening to the recordings made by the bugs. He had placed one near each side of the beard as well as one near the centre in the hopes that at least one would pick up whatever Duo said.

Finally finding the correct spot in the recording, he played it back. Then he played it back again. It still didn't make much sense. So he listened to it yet again, only to find that all three recordings matched.

## "So what would you like for Christmas, Duo? Or do I even need to ask?" Zechs said. ##

## "The same thing I wanted last year, and the year before that," Duo answered. "Don't think Santa can help much there, though." ##

## "No, I don't think Santa can get him for you when everybody else knows what - or rather, who - you want, yet the man in question is still totally clueless." ##

## Duo laughed, "Maybe Santa will bring him a clue for Christmas - then maybe I'll get what I'd like too!" ##

Duo wanted a "him" for Christmas? And had for at least the last couple of Christmases? "Him" who? How could anyone possibly overlook Duo's interest in them? And how was he going to find out who this "him" was in order to "clue him in" and get Duo what he wanted? Heero's self-imposed mission to get Duo exactly what he'd like for Christmas suddenly seemed much more difficult and, for some strange reason, somewhat less appealing as well.

************

Heero checked through his list one more time. No, he was sure he hadn't missed anyone. Every male that Duo was acquainted with was listed. He had gone through the list one by one, marking names off as he eliminated them as possibly being the "him" that Duo wanted. Zechs evidently knew who it was and other than the person being clueless, didn't seem to have any objections, so that ruled out Zechs and Wufei, as well as Quatre and Trowa. Several other established couples were also eliminated. A whole bunch of names on the list were definitely too old for Duo. A bunch of others didn't fit the "wanted him for a couple of Christmases" criteria since they were much more recent acquaintances. Now all he had to do was watch Duo's behaviour around those names remaining and see who he treated differently. Since Zechs said "everyone else" knew who Duo wanted, there must be an obvious difference in the way he acted around that person. One thing Heero had noticed in writing out the list, however, was that Duo wasn't dating anyone on the list. In fact, Duo wasn't dating anyone, and when he started really thinking about it, Duo hadn't dated anyone in at least a couple of years, which matched up with how long Duo had wanted "him", whoever that was. Evidently Duo was very serious about this "him" person.

************

After a week of watching Duo, Heero was no further ahead than before. Duo didn't seem to treat any of the men on the list any differently. But after watching Duo so closely all week, Heero was starting to think that this "him", whoever he was, didn't deserve Duo. Several of the names on his list belonged to men who would clearly jump at the chance to have Duo, and with good reason. Duo was friendly, good-natured, helpful, intelligent, and extremely attractive. Whoever this "him" was, he obviously couldn't recognize a good thing when he saw it. Heero was going to have a few words with "him" before cluing "him" in.

If he clued "him" in.

************

With less than a week left before Christmas, Heero was fast running out of options and patience. He had been watching Duo constantly for the past few weeks without any success in finding the elusive "him". Having confessed to bugging Santa, he had tried to get a straight answer out of Zechs without any success. He had then tried Wufei, Trowa, and Quatre, all with the same result, "That's Duo's place to say, not mine". He had also picked up the distinct impression that they were all finding something tremendously funny about this. Fine, if they wanted to be difficult, he'd try other sources.

"Relena, do you know who it is that Duo wants?" he demanded, glaring at the vid-phone.

"Zechs warned me you'd probably be calling," she answered drily. "I'll tell you the same thing everyone else did - that's Duo's place to say, not mine. Have you tried asking him?"

Heero glared at her. Unfortunately, she, like Duo, seemed to have developed an immunity to his glares.

"There's nothing else that I can tell you, Heero," Relena said. "Now, I have other things to do. So if that's all you wanted..."

"Hn," he snorted, reverting to an old habit in his frustration.

"Good-bye then, Heero," she said.

As Relena stepped off-screen, Dorothy stopped the call from disconnecting and stepped into view. "She won't let me tell you either, Heero, but I would suggest that you try comparing this list," she tapped a key and transmitted a file to his terminal, "with the one you made. The list I just sent you is one of all the male acquaintances that Duo and I have in common. Perhaps you'll find someone you've missed."

"Hn. Thank you," Heero said grudgingly. At this point, he'd take what he could get. Not that he had any remaining intention of actually cluing the blockhead in. No, he wanted to know who the competition was so he could figure out what attracted Duo to "him" in the first place and why Duo was still waiting to be noticed by "him" instead of moving on. Once he knew that, he could work on getting Duo to transfer his affections to someone much more appreciative of the incredible individual he was. Someone who would see Duo as a gorgeous, sexy, intelligent, creative, giving person. Someone like Duo's best friend.

Someone like him.

************

Heero sat and stared at the computer screen. Blinked. Stared some more. Blinked again. The two lists matched perfectly - with one, single, solitary exception. Someone he had completely overlooked. Someone so obvious that it had never even occurred to him. He finally had the name of the dense, unappreciative blockhead. "Him" was him. Duo would like him for Christmas? Well, that was one gift he would have absolutely no problem finding.

************

Heero gave the huge red bow a glare of distaste before reluctantly wrapping it around himself. Quatre had insisted this was a very romantic thing to do, but he had agreed with Trowa, who had kept his silence but rolled his eyes and shrugged as if to say what else can you do but humour them. If Quatre thought this was romantic, Duo probably would too. But he had checked with Zechs and Wufei as well, just in case. Zechs had agreed with Quatre, while Wufei had simply declared that, considering how long Heero had been oblivious, being rather obvious now, even if it made him feel silly, was only justice.

"Heero said he would give you your present in here." Quatre's voice drifted in from the hallway. "Somehow, I don't think he got you socks or gloves this year."

"Mebbe not, but I doubt he got the top thing on my wish list, either," Duo answered from right outside the door to Quatre's study.

Opening the door, Duo made it all the way into the room before he spotted Heero leaning against the corner of Quatre's desk. Dressed in a deep green sweater and black jeans, Heero had a bright red bow wrapped around his torso and over one shoulder. Duo stopped in his tracks and rubbed his eyes in disbelief. "Heero?!"

"Santa told me you had a certain specific wish that I was uniquely qualified to fill," Heero told him, straightening and stepping away from the desk. "Duo, tell me - what would you like for Christmas?"

Meeting deep blue eyes sparkling with a reassuring affection, Duo felt a slow smile spread across his face as he answered, "You. I'd like you for Christmas."

"Well?" Heero asked, holding his arms out in invitation. "Going to come unwrap your present?"

Out in the hallway, Quatre shooed the others away and pulled the door closed as Duo enthusiastically took Heero up on his offer.

 

OWARI