8-18-2004

Title: Imitation Is...
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Pairing: 1+2
Rating: PG
Genre: Shonen ai/Yaoi
Warnings: Swearing
Notes: Written for the GW500 LJ community challenge #34 "Flattery". Post-EW.
Word Count: 837
Archive: At http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site). Those with previous permission to host my fics, help themselves.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

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"Come on, buddy, rise and shine, it's wake-up time."

Heero groaned and rolled over to hide his face in the pillow as the curtains were flung open by his dormmate. He wasn't ready to face Duo - or anyone else, for that matter. Not after the keg party last night. Acting like Duo's other friends - and, more importantly, like the kind of people that Duo dated - had seemed like such a good plan... How the hell had it gone so wrong? How had an attempt to show Duo that they did have something in common, that he *could* fit in with Duo's friends, that he could be Duo's "type", turned into a demonstration of just how much he *didn't* fit in? His attempts at jokes had fallen flat, his complaints about his professors had been totally lame... The harder he'd tried to fit in, the more out of place he'd become.

And then he'd let himself get dared into that drinking game... Oh god...

He vaguely remembered Duo trying to talk him out of it, arguing that he didn't have anything to prove... Duo - jaw set and lips thin with... anger? - watching from the sidelines while he'd tossed back shots to the cheers of the other partygoers...

Heero groaned again and pulled the covers completely over his head as flashes of alcohol-hazed memory returned. Flashes of Duo, grimly silent, half-carrying him across campus and back to their room. Duo holding him up while his body had rid itself of the unaccustomed alcohol. Duo implacably forcing him to drink glass after glass of water. Duo, tired and exasperated, stripping him down to boxers and bundling him into bed.

Oh god. Heero wished he would just vanish from the face of the earth. Maybe he should.

The mattress dipped and the covers were gently but firmly removed from his desperately grasping fingers before being pulled away entirely. A cool hand patted his bare shoulder. "Come on, buddy, it's not that bad. Okay, so you acted like a complete idiot. It was a college keg party, people are expected to act like idiots. Just don't do it again, okay? I was starting to worry about alcohol poisoning, the way you were putting those shots away. What the hell got into you, Heero?"

Expecting to hear either anger or derision, Heero was caught by surprise. Duo's tone was one of exasperated affection tinged with concern. Hesitantly, he lifted his head from the pillow and reluctantly met Duo's eyes. "I just... wanted to fit in. To be more like your other friends, like Jason and Eric and Chris..." Duo's gaze sharpened and Heero realized with a sinking feeling that he'd just listed three of Duo's friends alright - his three most recent *boyfriends*. "Shit." He hid his face in the pillow again. He still had some money left in hidden accounts, he could just disappear...

After a long moment of silence, Duo sighed and started to rub slow, gentle circles on Heero's back. "Aw, man. Look, they may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but, Heero, man, don't go there, okay? You don't want to be like them. You're *you*, the guy that's not just *a* friend, you're my best friend."

Voice muffled by the pillow, Heero said flatly, "But not your type."

Silence. The hand on his back stilled.

Heero lifted his face from the pillow again and turned it towards Duo. "I said, I'm not your type, right?"

"I wouldn't - exactly - put it that way," Duo admitted awkwardly. "I just - tried not to go there, okay? You're my best friend and I don't want to do anything to mess that up. It's too important to me. The guys I've dated were just casual friends, people I wouldn't really miss if the dating thing went bad. It was never anything serious, y'know? Just - part of the whole college deal." He brushed Heero's unruly bangs back from his face and gave him a wry smile. "You and me - that'd be serious. Damn serious. 'Cause you don't do casual and I wouldn't - couldn't - do casual with you."

Cautiously, Heero sat up, half expecting the pounding of his head to bloom into excruciating agony. It didn't; the water that Duo had forced down him last night had worked its magic. Eliminate dehydration and hangovers became a lot less unpleasant. And it was amazing what a little hope could do, too. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, sitting with his thigh touching Duo's. "So is that an offer?"

Duo was silent long enough to make Heero nervous. Yet at the same time, he was relieved that Duo was considering this so carefully; he didn't want a glib, thoughtless response. Finally, Duo sighed and half-turned to lean against Heero, arms sliding around his waist and head resting on his shoulder. "Yeah. It is."

Heero brought his arms around Duo and hugged him close. "Good. Offer accepted."

Most definitely accepted.

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