7-6-2004

Title: #97 Communications Restored - Part 4
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: July 5, 2004
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1x2
Rated: R
Warnings: 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 woke slowly, memories of the previous night returning along with awareness. Opening his eyes, he was relieved to find Heero sleeping mere inches away. He'd been a bit concerned that Heero would already be up, putting distance between them physically and emotionally while he dealt with his own reactions to last night's events. The way that he'd tried to last night.

He really hoped that Heero didn't feel the need for that today; he didn't think that he'd dare interfere again if that turned out to be the case. 'I pushed pretty hard last night in order to keep him from doing that,' Duo admitted guiltily. 'I just... needed that closeness right then. Needed the reassurance that what had just happened meant more than just him jerking me off...' Logically, he knew that it did. But in those moments, lying there feeling naked in more ways than just the physical, he'd needed something other than logic to ease his concerns. He'd needed Heero's lips on his and Heero's arms around him, tangible reminders of the feelings - the love and friendship - that they shared.

Love and being "in love" weren't things that they talked about. Not since that first, awkward discussion at Hilde's wedding reception. Neither of them was really comfortable with the whole concept of "being in love". As he'd told Heero then, there were a lot of kinds of love and while both love and attraction were undeniably part of what he felt for Heero, he really didn't want to try to pin his feelings down like that. The term was too cliched, too lightly used, to suit either of them. It didn't seem to encompass the full depth and range of their relationship. The trust and faith and simple acceptance that formed the bedrock of their friendship. Constant, consistent demonstration of each one's importance to the other - a massage for a sore back, a meal fixed out of turn when the one whose turn it should have been had had a rough day - meant more than a few glib words could ever convey.

Friendship, on the other hand, was a concept that they *were* comfortable with. "Best friends" held more meaning for them both than "in love" did. They *knew* what being best friends meant. Which was precisely why it made such a good regrouping point whenever the newer parts of their relationship left them in uncertain territory.

'Like last night did. I'm not sure how I feel about it, let alone how Heero does...

'I mean, what Heero did - the handjob - felt good, obviously. And I know Heero really wanted to give that to me... But I still feel kind of weird about it being so one-sided. And I feel kind of guilty about trying to talk him into letting me return the favour - he was supposed to have the lead, not me - as well as about pressuring him to stay with me afterwards. I'm okay with the fact that the whole thing happened - but I honestly don't think I'm ready for a repeat performance. I need a little time to sort out all these mixed feelings I've got.

'But if Heero's decided that he's going to just try to push his way through this with sheer determination...' Duo took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Yeah, that would be a thoroughly typical Heero approach to the problem. One that he didn't feel ready to deal with just yet.

'I think... today needs to be a "best friends" day...' Duo decided as Heero began to stir. 'At least for part of the day. If he wants to try something sexual later on, okay. But this morning - this morning, I think we need to go shoot a few hoops.'

But first... A little mutual reassurance would be a good idea. He didn't want to plant any doubts in Heero's mind regarding last night's events. Didn't want Heero to think he'd had second thoughts or was upset. Duo knew that backing off completely would be a really, really bad idea right now. And that wasn't what he wanted, anyway. He wanted a short breather, not a time-out. 'Best way to keep things light is to take the initiative, I think. Heero won't mind me suggesting a good morning kiss; it'll confirm that I'm okay with last night. I can always plead the call of nature if I need to keep things from getting too serious.'

As Heero's eyes opened, Duo gave him an affectionate grin. "Hey there. Mornin', Heero." He tapped Heero's lips playfully with his fingertips. "Feel like braving morning breath before we start the day?"

The initially cautious expression vanished from Heero's face as he gave an amused snort before answering the question by the simple expedient of taking Duo up on the implied invitation. As their mouths met, Duo noted with satisfaction, 'Awkward moment successfully - and pleasurably - averted.'

***

Sweaty, grubby, and breathing hard, Duo dodged Heero's attempt to block him, deflecting a grab with a well-aimed elbow. Leaping to make a hurried jump-shot, he managed to make the basket, bringing his score to twenty-one. "Yes!" he crowed triumphantly.

Heero caught the ball on the bounce. "Your game," he conceded. "I'd suggest best of five but..." he gestured towards the weeping abrasions on his own knee and shin then towards Duo's bloody elbow and scraped palms. "We *do* both have to be fit for work tomorrow."

Duo grimaced. "Yeah, true. Guess if we're gonna play this hard, we're gonna have to give in and wear protective gear." Tennis elbow and golfer's shoulder were perfectly acceptable in the business world. Asphalt rash from playing street-style basketball - well, that was another story. Didn't quite fit the professional image a successful business owner needed to project.

Picking a few bits of debris out of one palm, Duo headed towards the edge of the court. They'd been here early enough that they hadn't even had an audience. At some point, the other courts had filled up but there wasn't anyone waiting for theirs.

Heero fell into step beside him as they started the walk home. "Duo?"

"Yeah?"

"This was a good idea. Thanks."

Duo shot him a sideways glance. "No problem. Figured we could both use a little change of pace this morning."

Heero bumped shoulders with him companionably. "You figured right."

Wanting to prolong the easy camaraderie, Duo estimated the distance home and grinned. 'Close enough for my sprinting speed to have an edge over his stamina... Plus he's carrying the basketball which will mess with his stride...' "Last one home has to fix lunch and do dishes, first one gets dibs on the shower!" he yelled, launching himself into a run. His grin broadened as Heero shouted indignantly behind him.

Yep, they knew how to do friendship. The rest - well, they'd figure it out eventually. They'd just have to keep working on it and count on the friendship to keep them from screwing up too damn bad.

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