2-11-2003

Title: #39 Forbidden Territory
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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"Hey, Heero?" Duo yelled up the steps.

"Yeah, what?"

"Hilde 'n' Rick want to know if we're going to Arnold's tonight. Rick says Howie and a bunch of the guys are gonna be in town. You want to go?"

Heero appeared at the top of the steps. "Sure, what time?"

Duo ducked back into the livingroom. A quick discussion of what time and who was driving later, he ended the call and headed up to let Heero know the final arrangements.

Heero was back in front of the computer, trying to locate a replacement for the chain that had broken while they were testing out the two restored motorcycles earlier that day. "They'll pick us up here in two hours," he told Heero.

"Okay," Heero answered, reaching up to gingerly rub his shoulder.

Duo gave him an accusing look. "I thought you said you didn't hurt yourself when you dumped the bike."

Heero grimaced, "I didn't. I did it when I picked the bike back *up*. Just put a little too much strain on that shoulder and it's letting me know it. No big deal - just a little stiff, that's all."

"Come on, we've got plenty of time before we need to get ready. Let me try and massage some of the stiffness out or it'll just get worse," Duo ordered.

"Alright, alright already," Heero said as Duo dragged him out of the chair and pushed him across the room. "I'm going, I'm going."

"Good. I'll get the massage oil and towels and meet you downstairs." Duo hurried off to gather up the supplies he'd need. It certainly wasn't the first time he'd had to work on Heero's shoulder. Considering that all Trowa had had to put the pieces back together again after Heero self-destructed Wing was some basic field medic skills and supplies that amounted to little more than a glorified first aid kit, it was no wonder that not everything had healed as perfectly as possible. Heero had more than his fair share of bad joints and easily-stressed muscles thanks to scar tissue. His survival had been a miracle in and of itself, expecting everything to have healed up just as good as new would be downright absurd. Particularly since Heero hadn't allowed himself the time to finish healing before returning to the fighting.

By the time Duo arrived in the basement, Heero had already laid the massage mat out on top of the workout mats. After the first time he'd tried to give Heero a proper therapeutic massage with him just lying across the bed, Duo had gone straight out the next day and bought a massage mat. And laying the massage mat on top of the workout mats meant that *he* didn't have to kneel on a hard floor with his bony knees.

Watching as Heero lowered himself to the mat, Duo frowned slightly. "Just a little stiff, huh? Heero, you're hardly moving that shoulder at all! You should have said something sooner."

Heero sighed. "You're right. I should have." He was silent for a few minutes while Duo lifted the bottle of massage oil out of the pot of hot water and checked the temperature before pouring some oil into his palm and starting to apply it to Heero's shoulder. "I guess I'm just so used to ignoring the discomfort or pain and keeping going that it's hard for me to get used to the fact that I don't have to do that anymore," Heero finally said quietly.

"Yeah, well, I guess I'll just have to keep nagging you to take care of yourself better till you *do* get used to it," Duo replied as he worked on Heero's shoulders and back. He wasn't surprised to receive nothing more than a non-committal grunt in response. 'Damn, my hands are going to end up aching by the time I'm done,' he thought. Heero's shoulder muscles were extremely taut and it was taking a lot of effort to make any impression on them whatsoever.

Duo had to stop and massage his own hands between finishing working on Heero's back and having him roll over so he could work on the front of his shoulder. "You sure you don't want me to call Hilde back and cancel?" he asked as he went back to work on Heero's muscles.

"I'm sure," Heero answered. "We haven't been to Arnold's since you got back from that salvage job. And it'll be nice to see Howard and the others again."

"Okay." Duo continued to massage for a few minutes, then asked, "So, what are you planning to wear?"

Heero's eyes had drifted shut as Duo worked, but now they opened narrowly as he said in a no-nonsense tone, "*NOT* the leather pants."

'*Yes!*' Duo cheered silently. 'Now if he'll just stick to his decision...' Duo managed to keep a neutral expression as he asked, "Oh? Why not? I'm wearing mine..."

"Because I hate them. They're too conspicuous, they're uncomfortable, and I'm never wearing them again," Heero answered a bit defensively.

"*Finally!*" Duo exclaimed. "It's about fucking time!" Duo stopped massaging and rocked back on his heels. Looking straight at Heero's startled face, he said, "Heero, that first day I more-or-less dared you into wearing those pants, I was trying to distract you from worrying about meeting Howie and the others. I never expected you to *keep* wearing them when we went out. At first I thought maybe you'd decided you liked them after all, which would be kinda surprising but cool. Then I realized you still didn't like them. I don't know whether you felt like you had to keep wearing them since I'd given them to you or whether you just wanted to wear the same kind of stuff as me, but man, am I glad you finally decided to stop wearing something that made you uncomfortable!"

Heero blinked up at him, looking a bit bewildered. "You mean you don't mind?"

"Of course not! Just because *I* like something, that doesn't mean I expect *you* to as well! I may bug you into *trying* something new, 'cause you really can't be sure you won't like it till you *do* try, but I sure as hell don't expect you to like *everything* that I do."

Changing the subject abruptly, Duo said, "So, how's the shoulder?"

Heero sat up and rotated it cautiously. "Better. Much better."

"Good," Duo nodded firmly as he rose from his kneeling position. As Heero stood and started to fold up the massage mat, the thought drifted through Duo's mind that while he was glad Heero was starting to be more independent - obviously, the month he'd been away had been a *good* thing in many ways - he was a bit sorry that Heero wouldn't be wearing those leather pants again. He had looked damn *hot* in them.

'Where the hell did *that* thought come from?! Forbidden territory there, Maxwell. He's your best friend and his last experience with a friend looking for more than friendship was *not* a good one. Do *not* go there.' Duo shook his head slightly as he gathered up his massage supplies. He was going to have to start being more careful. The last thing he wanted to do was wreck a great friendship by letting himself be attracted to said friend. 'Forbidden territory, Duo. Just remember that.'

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- tbc -