5-31-2003

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Title: #74 "Sore wa... himitsu desu" - Part 2
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: May 31, 2003
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1+2
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: At Lev's Lair http://www.gwaddiction.com/levlair/ and at http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site) and at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves.
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 couldn't help grinning as he drove towards their next destination. Picking something fun and casual was definitely the right choice for their first date. He and Heero were both relaxed and enjoying themselves. Enjoying being together. And he kind of figured that was what dating really should be about. That and getting to know one another and - well, the two of them already knew a hell of a lot more about each other than he suspected that most couples did by the time their first wedding anniversary rolled around.

What little they didn't know about each other was primarily sex-related or relationship-related stuff. They'd never had a reason to discuss that kind of thing before. And in a lot of cases they didn't know for sure about those things themselves since knowing what you liked kind of involved trying it first. And their past experience - or lack thereof - had been a topic during one of those bedtime cuddling sessions where the darkness hid their embarrassed faces.

He'd done a little more "fooling around" than Heero - not that much was required to meet that criteria, seeing as Heero's only experience beyond the kissing and making out that they'd done together was that one lonely kiss from Relena - but he'd never gone beyond the fooling around stage. That required a degree of trust that he just didn't have with anyone he'd dated before. And trust was one thing that certainly wasn't going to be an issue this time.

But since the "getting to know each other" part of dating was pretty much already a done deal, that left the "enjoying being together" part for them to concentrate on now. Well, that and just really getting used to thinking about each other and about their relationship in "couple" terms rather than "best friends". Which was a rather major paradigm-shift when you came right down to it. Though they seemed to be handling it okay now that they'd settled the question of public displays of affection and settled on keeping things subtle. Which reminded him...

"Heero?"

"Mm-hmm?"

"Let me know right away if you get uncomfortable with what we're doing, okay?" Duo said. They had sort of implied that previously but - well, he didn't want any confusion over the matter. It was too important to risk messing things up. "I promise I will too. We're still just figuring things out so we both may make mistakes and need to back off a bit once in a while. Don't worry about disappointing me or anything like that, just do what feels right for you and I'll do the same, 'kay?"

He did not want a repeat of the public kissing incident. Both of them had forced themselves to do something they weren't comfortable with because they made false assumptions about what the other one wanted. It had worked out okay in the end but only because their friendship was so solid and the lines of communication between them were so open. They were used to talking through their differences and that had saved them a lot of potential problems.

"Okay. I will," Heero agreed.

"Good," Duo said simply. A few minutes later, he pulled into the parking lot and shut off the car. He was out and in the process of removing an awkward bag from the trunk while Heero was still giving the building they'd parked in front of a disbelieving look. "C'mon," Duo urged. "Let's go in... Oh yeah, almost forgot..." He set his bag down while he dug a pair of earplugs out of his pocket and handed it to Heero. "You'll probably want these eventually, Rock'n'Bowl nights get pretty loud..."

"Bowling?! Umm, Duo, I've never..." Heero started to say faintly.

Duo snickered, "Good! I hoped I'd figured out something you wouldn't have done before. C'mon, I've got my own stuff but we need to get you outfitted before our lane reservation time." He laughed again at the curious but slightly dubious look on Heero's face.

"Outfitted?"

Picking up his bowling bag with one hand and grabbing Heero's elbow with the other, Duo headed them towards the Bowlero's entrance. "Yeah, you need shoes and a ball; might as well buy'em rather than using alley ones 'cause now that things are settling down - nobody having a major life crisis or getting married - Hil's probably gonna want to get the yard's league team going again. Makes for a fun night out as a group once a week anyway," Duo shrugged. The team had sort of fallen by the wayside after Heero moved in with him over a year ago; he'd been too worried about Heero to want to leave him on his own all evening at that point and they'd had trouble getting a spare bowler to fill in for him. Then by the time Heero was doing better, Hilde had been caught up in wedding plans, then he'd had his own little life crisis to deal with, and they'd just let the bowling go for the time being. It'd be fun to get the team going again though; it made for a fairly inexpensive night out with friends.

"I haven't even tried it yet and you're planning a team?" Heero asked disbelievingly. "Duo, I might not even be any good at..."

"Heero, you're good at everything," Duo interrupted, giving Heero an affectionate but exasperated look. "Well, everything you want to be that is," he amended. "It's just hand-eye coordination and some basic physics really. Well, and you'll have to figure out how much strength to use 'cause the maximum ball weight's pretty damn light for me so you're really gonna have to take it easy on the throws but you're used to having to compensate for your strength anyway. If you don't really like it or just don't want to be on the yard's team then it's no big deal; the equipment's not all that expensive and we'll still probably go bowling once in a while so it won't go to waste."

"Okay," Heero agreed dubiously, looking up and down the alley and watching other bowlers. "I'll try it. Umm, does it matter which arm I use?"

"Uh - not really..." Duo said, "you're ambidextrous anyway... But you'd probably better figure on bowling right-handed Heero; I dunno whether that left shoulder of yours would take it very well." He'd almost forgotten about Heero's shoulder; it only flared up occasionally when Heero overstressed it. But Duo was pretty sure that bowling and it would not get along very well.

"Now c'mon, let's get you outfitted..." He grabbed Heero's hand and tugged him along towards the pro shop at the far end of the alley.

***

Duo snickered at the dubious look on Heero's face as he slid his new bowling shoes on the alley's approach, testing to see just how slippery they really were. "Heero, relax," he ordered in amusement. "This is just for fun; if you slide too far and end up on the lane you just need to wipe the oil from it off the bottom of your shoes; the foul won't matter since we're not in a tournament or anything."

"Easy for you to say," Heero muttered. He gestured towards the couple a few lanes over and pointed out, "I don't want to end up like him."

Choking back a snicker at the mental image of Heero actually forgetting to let go of the ball and ending up halfway down the alley, covered in oil from the lane, Duo promised, "Don't worry, you won't. 'Cause I'm actually going to show you what to do instead of just expecting you to figure it out."

"Good," Heero said in response.

Duo forced himself not to laugh at Heero's obvious relief. Heero did not like being the centre of attention and the poor sucker who'd followed his ball down the lane had drawn the notice and amusement of practically the entire alley. He didn't blame Heero for not wanting to emulate the other obvious newbie.

Making a face at the wild hook he threw for his practice ball, Duo decided that it had been way too long since he'd bowled. Walking back to the ball return, he told Heero drily, "And that, my friend, is an example of how not to do things. Shit, am I ever out of practice." He reset the pins for Heero's practice shot then motioned for Heero to pick up his ball. He stepped up close behind Heero - just a smidgen closer than was really appropriate for friends, but not quite touching - and helped Heero position his hand and wrist to support the ball properly.

"Okay, now let's get you in position," Duo said, shifting his hands to Heero's waist and nudging him over to the guide marks on the approach. "It's three strides from here; start with the left foot since you're bowling right-handed. You want to pull the ball back during the first; it should be at its furthest back point during the second; and you pull it forward and actually release at the end of the third. Most people slide on the third step, some more than others, but don't worry about that too much. It kinda happens automatically as long as you don't rock your weight forward onto your toes. When you let go of the ball as you swing it forwards on the third step and slide, try to keep your thumb up and pointing where you want the ball to go. Don't worry if it doesn't go where you think it will the first few times; you'll get the hang of it."

"Duo, I think I prefer basketball already," Heero complained, shooting a semi-exasperated look over his shoulder. "This sounds awfully complicated."

Duo snickered, "Nah. Not really Heero. Once you try it you'll see what I mean; it's just kinda hard to explain in words. And where the ball ends up going varies depending on the individual lane and the ball and the person throwing it so you just have to start with a basic approach and throw, then adjust things from there."

Seeing Heero's scepticism, Duo took the ball away from him. "Look, try it without the ball once just to get a feel for how long your strides need to be and how to time the swing. Don't worry about looking odd trying it; other people do the same thing." He jerked his chin to indicate a lane further down the alley where a couple of other people were doing just that. "See, Heero? They're getting a feel for the way their shoes are sliding and getting in the groove. You only get one practice ball per lane so people find ways to get around that a bit."

Heero gave Duo a half-hearted glare. "I feel silly," he muttered but he tried it anyway and almost slid over the foul line.

"Okay, so you need to start a little further back," Duo told him calmly. "If you'd had the ball, you'd have probably either overbalanced and touched a hand down on the lane or slid over the foul line. Try it again."

It took a couple more tries but by the time Duo finally let Heero take his practice shot, he had no problem making the throw without overbalancing or tossing the ball rather than releasing it.

"See, that wasn't so bad was it?" Duo demanded, nudging Heero in the ribs while they waited for the pins to reset so they could start their game.

"It would have been better if I'd actually hit something at the other end," Heero commented drily.

Duo chuckled and shrugged, "Well, that's what we work on next - keeping it on the lane and out of the gutter." He picked up his own ball and stepped into place. He turned his head and added over his shoulder, "Let's see if I can manage that this time..." Adjusting his position a couple of arrows to the left, he started his approach. He knew the moment the ball left his hand that it was going to be a good one; he'd hooked it but it felt like a good hook, not the wild kind. "Yes!" He grinned and dusted his knuckles against his chest as he walked back to Heero. "Now that is the way it's supposed to be done," he smirked, pointing towards the empty lane as the automatic scorer marked the strike.

"Oh it is, is it?" Heero grinned back. "So I take it you're going to help me manage one of those too?"

"Before we leave - sure," Duo said confidently. He knew Heero would pick this up fast. Though hopefully not too fast - he liked having the excuse to touch Heero while helping him get set up for a throw. And if Heero picked up the knack too fast - well, maybe they'd just have to put a wager on their scores. 'Different types of kisses for strikes and spares maybe... Yeah, that'll work...'

Duo grinned as he helped Heero get positioned to try his next throw. It wasn't like they needed an excuse to kiss but it would just add a little more fun to the whole thing. And maybe... Just maybe he had another little idea for something to do on the way home from the bowling alley.

Maybe.

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