5-6-2003

Title: #70 Uncomfortable
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: CalicOcat
Story Completed: May 6, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1+2
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: Also at Lev's Lair http://www.gwaddiction.com/levlair/ and at http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site) and 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. Heero 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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Heero snuck a sideways glance at Duo. Duo had been awfully quiet ever since they'd left the shuttleport. And it really wasn't the sort of comfortable quiet that they sometimes shared. Had his own nervousness and hesitation over the kiss showed too much and bothered Duo? He had thought that he'd done a good job of hiding the worst of it; hadn't thought that Duo had picked up on his discomfort. But he hadn't really made any attempt to prolong the kiss. Maybe Duo was disappointed by that...

But Heero wasn't sure whether he *could* have done any more than he had. Just suggesting the kiss had taken every bit of determination he could summon up; initiating it had been completely beyond him. And he really hadn't enjoyed it; he'd been far too conscious of their surroundings despite his attempt to narrow his focus down to Duo alone.

"Tanaka seemed reasonably pleased with the presentation," Heero ventured, trying to draw Duo out. He still wasn't really comfortable being the one to start conversations but he could and did make the effort from time to time. And right now, the silence was getting to him enough that he was willing to attempt to break it.

"That's good," Duo said rather absently.

Heero waited expectantly. But apparently Duo didn't have anything further to say on the subject. He'd thought that Duo would ask for more details but no such luck. He sighed slightly in resignation then tried again, "One of the other firms that was supposed to make a presentation was five minutes late arriving. Tanaka wouldn't even speak to them; he sent his secretary to tell them that they were out of the running."

"Huh."

Heero gave up. He had a feeling that he could have said he'd seen a circus troupe waltz in and do a presentation and he'd have got a similar response. Duo just was not paying attention.

Though at least Duo *was* paying attention to his driving. But the way he kept drumming his fingers against the steering wheel was driving Heero nuts.

'Dammit. He only does that when something's bothering him. I must have disappointed him. I should have kissed back instead of just letting him kiss me. That must be why he made it such a quick little peck...'

Now, when it was too late, Heero wished that he'd waited till they reached the car to suggest a kiss. That would have offered at least a bit of privacy yet still would have been more public than anything they'd done before. He might have been able to actually enjoy the kiss then.

As it was, he was left with the uncomfortable feeling that he might have made a major mistake. That he had ended up disappointing Duo by not responding more enthusiastically and also giving a false impression of how ready he was for the next step.

Heero knew that he could handle a date. It wouldn't be a whole lot different from just doing things together as they had in the past really. And he could probably manage a bit of handholding, that didn't seem nearly as forbidding as a public kiss. But he really hoped that asking for a kiss in public hadn't given Duo the impression that he would be prepared for some genuine necking in a movie theatre or anything like that. He wasn't even comfortable being around people who behaved like that; to him, that sort of thing was private and belonged within the walls of your own home not out in public. Heero wasn't sure that he would *ever* be able to handle something like that.

It wasn't a matter of being ashamed of his relationship with Duo. Not at all. Duo was handsome and intelligent and caring and hardworking; a real "catch" so to speak. And while homosexual relationships were not exactly common nor were they universally accepted, they also were not completely socially unacceptable. Heero had no objection to everyone knowing that he and Duo were dating. He didn't even care if they assumed that the relationship had moved beyond that. People knowing that they were a couple simply wasn't an issue.

Kissing in public however... Well, he had assumed that his reluctance to display affection in public was a holdover from his wartime training; a reluctance to draw unnecessary attention to himself. He had hoped that the fact that he *enjoyed* kissing Duo would overrule that particular inhibition. But it hadn't. He had still been uncomfortable, too uncomfortable to even enjoy the kiss. And now he wasn't so sure that discomfort was just a holdover from his training. It hadn't really been that mission-paranoia feeling that made him uncomfortable. That was probably *part* of it but - well, now he wondered if maybe most of the problem was simply that he felt that even things like kissing were too personal, too intimate, for public viewing. He didn't really mind seeing other people kiss in public, at least not so long as they didn't get too carried away. But - when he and Duo kissed, he wanted to be free to lose himself in the kiss, to let it lead them wherever it would, without always having the knowledge that they were giving a free show to a bunch of complete strangers.

And that was a whole different situation. If it had *only* been his training causing problems, he would have simply kept forcing things until he retrained himself. Until he learned to adjust. It might have taken a while but eventually he'd have gotten at least reasonably used to it. But if it was a matter of his personal feelings, of his own *personal* need for privacy... That probably wasn't going to work. And Heero wasn't entirely sure that he would want it to. Not after all the time and effort that he and Duo had put into digging his own true personality out from under all the conditioning and training. He wasn't sure that he was willing to bury his own feelings like that again, not even for Duo. And he really doubted that Duo would *want* him to. Which meant that he was going to have to discuss this with Duo.

As Duo turned the car into their driveway, Heero decided that he didn't want to bring this up right now. He would wait until later on. Till they were in bed with the lights out. Somehow, it was easier to talk about things that way. To discuss subjects that he had difficulty broaching in the light of day. 'But I won't wait longer than that. I don't want to let this go too long. Don't want to wait until something else happens that pushes me even further out of my comfort zone. I need to know exactly how much Duo expects of me in public; whether he can settle for what I'm comfortable with. And if not, what kind of compromise we can manage to reach.' He was pretty sure that they *could* reach a compromise; the two of them had been doing that sort of thing ever since they first became tentative friends during the war. Finding a middle ground that was, if not *completely* comfortable for them both, at least reasonably so.

'We'll find a compromise. I know we will...'

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- tbc -