4-7-2004

Title: #92 - Reopening Communications - Part 1
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: April 6, 2004
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1x2, OCxH
Rated: PG
Warnings: 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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Firmly quashing the petty urge to be deliberately late arriving at the shuttleport - along with the equally great temptation to beg off entirely and send someone else instead - Duo shut down his computer on schedule and pushed his chair back from the desk. 'Time to hit the road and go pick up Heero. Whether I really want to or not.' And part of Duo *didn't* want to. The part of him that was angry and hurt and sulking wanted to make Heero feel just as ignored and unwanted as Heero's silence during the past week had made him.

Duo wasn't proud of that reaction at all.

'I know he didn't intend to hurt me.' Duo forced a smile and a wave as he passed Hilde's office. Rick was leaning over the back of her chair, reading a file spread out in front of her. They both called cheerful farewells but Duo could see the concern in Hilde's gaze. He knew that she'd guessed something was wrong; he was just deeply grateful that she hadn't persisted further in trying to get him to talk about it. The whole situation was far too personal to discuss, even with a friend close enough to be a sister.

Climbing into his car, Duo reminded himself yet again, 'Heero's behaviour has nothing to do with me personally and everything to do with the fact that he's upset and confused and feeling totally off-balance and out of control. Shutting down is just his way of dealing with emotional turmoil. I know that. I understand that.

'But it still hurts...

'Not to mention pisses me off.' Duo grimaced as he flexed his sore hands around the steering wheel. The punching bag in the basement had been given a thorough workout last night. Hopefully, he'd taken enough of the edge off his temper so that he'd be able to keep his cool with Heero. A calm, patient approach worked far better with Heero than a hot-headed, emotional one.

Especially if Heero had no idea what the hell he'd done to get Duo so upset. And that was entirely possible.

'This could go one of two ways, really. Either he's well aware that he screwed up by not talking to me all week - in which case he'll be guilty and half-defensive - or he's been so busy trying to handle the Tanaka contract *perfectly* in order to offset his feelings of disappointment and failure with ones of success and satisfaction in a job well-done that he really hasn't realized he should have called...'

Or Heero could come back contrite and apologetic, well aware that he'd fucked up and prepared to make a genuine effort to make up for his behaviour.

Duo snorted, wryly amused despite himself. Maybe in the movies things would happen that way but this was real life. It would be either option one or option two. Defensive or oblivious. And in either case, losing his temper wouldn't do their relationship any good whatsoever.

As he pulled into the shuttleport parking lot, Duo muttered quietly, "Especially since I'm the one who told Heero that he was in control. Tearing strips off him because he didn't do what I wanted when I wanted would be just a *teensy* bit of a contradiction..."

***

"Hey buddy," Duo said casually as Heero approached him. He pushed away from the pillar he'd been leaning against but didn't offer his usual exuberant greeting. Nor did he offer to take any of Heero's luggage. He wasn't going to be nasty but he didn't intend to pretend everything was hunky-dory either.

Heero's quiet, "Hi," and hesitant half-smile were subdued and ill-at-ease.

"I'm parked in Lot 2," Duo remarked, leading the way out of the building. A soft sound of acknowledgement was the only answer he received. He kept moving anyway, not bothering to make casual conversation. He and Heero needed to talk but Duo had no intention of starting such a discussion until they were safely in the privacy of their own home. 'With the phone ringer turned off, doorbell disconnected, doors locked, and blinds pulled,' he added silently.

"You need to swing by the office?"

"No," Heero answered.

"Okay."

Silence descended on the car. It wasn't a comfortable silence between good friends. Nor was it a particularly foreboding silence. But it was still heavy and awkward and Duo hated it. However, he really wasn't in the mood for idle chitchat and he didn't want to bring up things better left until he didn't need to concentrate on his driving. Since Heero didn't seem to be prepared to speak up either, the silence remained throughout the drive.

***

Duo waited until they were home, seated at the kitchen table with mugs of herbal tea in front of them, before broaching the subject. He didn't waste time beating around the bush; Heero was a straightforward kind of guy after all. Duo set his mug on the table and stated calmly, "Y'know, Heero, I said you were in control of our relationship's progress and I meant it but I *did* kinda expect to hear from my *best friend* at *some* point during the week."

Heero avoided Duo's eyes and hunched his shoulders defensively. "I didn't know what to say."

"How about 'Hey buddy, how're you doing' or maybe 'I miss you'?" Duo sighed and dropped his gaze to his mug. "We're best friends, Heero. Yeah, last weekend was awful and nothing went the way we wanted it to. But if you weren't ready to talk about all that - hell, if you just plain didn't *want* to talk about it - you didn't have to. You could've told me how the Tanaka deal was going or we could've made plans to go to a game on Saturday or something. *Anything*."

Despite his best efforts, Duo's volume rose as he continued, "You could have - *should* have - called just to tell your best friend hi. Not ignored me *all* *fucking* *WEEK*!" Duo's chair crashed over backwards as he shoved away from the table, stalking over to dump the dregs of his tea down the sink.

Very, very carefully, Duo set his mug down in the sink. "Last weekend wasn't a hell of a lot of fun for me either, y'know. Before *or* after you ducked out," he whispered, the words seeming almost deafening in the silence of the kitchen. Wrists braced on the edge of the sink, his hands curled into tight, white-knuckled fists as he struggled to regain his composure. "And the past few days haven't exactly been a barrel of laughs. Call me crazy but I'd like to think things would've been better with a little support from my best friend."

Behind him, a chair slid across the floor, shockingly loud in the quiet room. The hum of the refrigerator's motor kicking in a second later almost obscured the slow steps crossing the floor. Almost - but not quite. So when strong arms hesitantly slid around his waist and a voice murmured a soft, simple, "I'm sorry," in his ear, Duo wasn't caught off-guard.

Held loosely in the circle of Heero's arms, Duo stood very still. An apology from Heero Yuy was not something to be taken lightly. But he wasn't sure whether it was enough. Whether Heero really understood what he was even apologizing *for*. Or, hell, whether *he* understood what Heero was apologizing for. It would be so very easy to just accept Heero's words and let the whole thing go. But would that really solve anything or would they just end up in the same mess the next time things didn't go exactly as planned?

Before Duo had a chance to make up his mind, Heero spoke again, slowly and hesitantly. "I really didn't know what to say, Duo. I just couldn't get past the thought of talking about Saturday. It never occurred to me that I didn't have to deal with that. That I could just call to talk as friends...

"So I waited and hoped that I'd find some way to talk about what had happened. But the longer I waited, the harder it was to just pick up the phone and call. Finally, I decided that it would be easier in person..." He swallowed loudly and repeated, "I'm sorry..."

Duo closed his eyes for a moment. He'd meant well when he'd turned control of their relationship over to Heero but maybe he shouldn't have taken his own words quite so literally. Leaving the next move in their physical relationship up to Heero was all well-and-good but... 'Maybe I should have just made a friendly call during the week rather than leaving the next move completely up to Heero. Maybe I screwed up by assuming too much about Heero's understanding of the situation...' he admitted silently. 'Maybe I should've realized that he would assume the next move on his part *had* to be something other than one of friendship... That he'd think that I'd expect him to talk about everything that went wrong if he called...'

Heero swallowed again and offered one more time, "I'm sorry."

The arms around Duo loosened as if to pull away and he moved his own arms quickly to hold them in place. He leaned back against the solid warmth of Heero's chest. Turning his head to meet uncertain eyes, Duo dredged up a rueful half-grin. "Just - try not to do it again. Okay?"

Heero's arms tightened almost painfully around Duo. He shifted so that their cheeks were pressed together, his mouth next to Duo's ear. "Okay," he breathed.

Turning in Heero's arms, Duo kissed him gently and chastely. 'No pressure,' he reminded himself. "Okay." He laid his head against Heero's shoulder and wrapped his arms snugly around Heero. Heero's head came to rest on his shoulder. The embrace was a bit awkward - they were both a little self-conscious and ill-at-ease - but it still felt amazingly good after a week of isolation from one another.

'We've still got some serious talking to do but at least we're communicating again. That's a start...'

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