2-6-2003

Title: #33 Thinking About the Subject
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Domestic, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: Also at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: The arc begins between one and two years after Endless Waltz. Duo POV in this story.

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

Author's Notes: See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.

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Duo set aside the schedule for the next day's salvage operations and gave his watch a thoughtful glance. Should he call or not? If Heero had stuck to his original plan - which he undoubtedly had - he would have had "the talk" with Relena by now. And was probably feeling pretty lousy about the whole thing. Duo hated to imagine just how bluntly Heero had probably approached the subject. But he had firmly refused to give in to the temptation to help Heero out on this one. 'It had to be his own words, blunt or downright harsh as those might be.'

Just as Heero really needed to get through this on his own. 'He's a big boy, Maxwell, he doesn't need you hovering over him every minute. He can handle this. And if he needs to talk to you, he knows how to reach you. Unless and until that happens, just keep out of it.' Duo sighed, dropped the idea of calling home, and started looking over his notes on this job again. He *could* have turned the job over to Hilde and stayed home this week. She would have probably been pretty pissed, but he could have done it. He had - very briefly - considered doing just that. If Heero had asked him to, he would have. But since Heero hadn't, Duo had decided it would be best to go ahead with things the way they were already planned.

Giving up all pretense of working, Duo leaned back and stretched. He was - relieved - that Wufei had gotten fed up with waiting for Heero to finally settle things with Relena and had created an opportunity for that to happen. He was pretty sure Heero had been emotionally ready to deal with the situation for a while now but Heero had seemed content to just let things keep going as they were. And since Heero had been quite clear with Relena regarding the fact that the next move was his, she wasn't too likely to do anything either. Which left things at a standstill. One that Duo himself would not do anything to break.

Once Wufei created an opportunity for Heero and Relena to end up face-to-face, Duo was perfectly willing to offer that to Heero and let him decide for himself whether to go through with it or not. But he wouldn't have set it up himself. Heero trusted him and he wouldn't jeopardize that trust by meddling. Though he had to admit his answers to some of Heero's "love and marriage" questions had started drifting in that direction. That was why he'd finally refused to answer any more of them.

Duo just couldn't see a marriage between Heero and Relena working out. One or both of them would end up miserable. Heero had opened up a lot over the past months, yes, but Duo still didn't think he could meet Relena's needs in a mate. Had Heero fallen in love with her - yes. Without that - no. A relationship with mild caring on one side and intense love on the other would be a disaster. Even if Heero never *did* fall in love with someone else. And despite Heero's own doubt that he even *could* fall in love, Duo believed that he not only could but *would* eventually do so. He wouldn't have been too sure about that back when Heero first came to live with him. Heero hadn't particularly liked *himself* at that point; falling in love with someone and having any chance of a relationship working out would have been almost impossible.

But now, Heero had his self-confidence back. He was employed and he had a home. He still didn't *like* crowds, but he could handle them without slipping into "mission mode" and intimidating everyone around him. He would never be as gregarious as Duo, but he could and did handle social interaction reasonably well. On one memorable occasion, Duo had been late meeting him at the court for a little basketball. When he had finally made it there, Heero had been helping one of the neighbourhood kids perfect his layup. Apparently, the kid had hung around watching Heero practise for a while before finally getting up the nerve to ask if he could give him a few tips. 'Not that long ago, Heero would have glared him into retreat just for asking. Not anymore.'

Heero's whole attitude had changed for the better. And while Duo was willing to take credit for giving him a little support, the credit for the actual change belonged to Heero himself. Heero had had to *want* to change. And that was why Duo thought Heero *would* eventually fall in love. Because he was pretty sure that, deep down, Heero *wanted* to.

'I've seen him watching Hilde and Rick together. The only way I can describe the look on his face is "wistful". And it's not just the two of them, either. It's like talking about the subject has suddenly made him hyper-aware of couples everywhere.' And there *were* couples everywhere, once you started watching for them. In just the past week, he'd caught Heero watching everything from mere teenage kids - probably about their age, actually, though they seemed eons younger than Heero and himself - to young parents with kids to white-haired elderly couples. Always with that same half-wondering, half-wistful look.

Of course, all of Heero's questions had gotten *Duo* thinking about the subject too and now *he* was noticing couples everywhere he went. Hell, he'd even realized that there was a budding romance or two going on in the salvage crew he had with him right now. He shook his head with an amused grin at the thought and pulled his work crew lists over to double-check that he had *not* put two lovebirds on the same task. He *did* want to get this job done on schedule after all.

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- tbc -