*growls* I really hate this part. Somehow this thing turned in a... *pauses dramatically* Christmas fic. Yes, that's right, Christmas. I hate Christmas, and somehow this thing morphed into a an evil sappy holiday thing. I know what did it, to. I went to my Grandmother's for Thanksgiving and sat in the parlor writing late into the night. Too many memories. But, anyway, here it is. Enjoy! And PLEASE send me feedback on this thing! I swear to God sometimes I think that MSN decides to be pissy and not send my stuff.



As Imperceptibly as Grief part 6

By: Kyuketsuki

Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply.

Warning: OOC. major OOC.

My house resembled the old plantation houses of the Garden District. They were more like mansions and so was the monumental brick fortress in which I lived. It was an ancient place once the height of technology and now a burden despite the new electricity, water, and insulation. During the winter is was cold even with the numerous fire places that always seemed alight with a cozy pyre. And while the rest of the house was decorated in stylish and rich fabrics, my room seemed a world unto itself, save the massive dark wood canopy been I protested for its decadence.

Duo loved it. Duo fawned over my house relentlessly, constantly running slender fingers over the fine embroidery that my father kept up only so he wouldn't have to change anything. He thought I didn't notice the appreciative glances and touches, but I did. I noticed every slight gesture, every rushed breath, every blush that claimed his pale skin. My house fit him and his black clothes and delicate features and worn cross.

He flung himself down on my bed, arms out, legs almost obscenely spread.

Something about him was almost frightening. He had too much grace for a boy his age, too much beauty, and I was constantly overwhelmed by him. It seemed like everything dulled in his presence, and I could see it in others, as well, not just me. It was visibly in the way everyone was drawn to him the moment he entered a room. And for the life of him, he honestly didn't see it.

I think it must have been Christmas, because when we wandered down the stairs the parlor was alight with multicolor strands wrapped sporadically around a massive tree. It was dark from the thick clouds that blotted the sun, and the room was dimly lit by just the tree and the meager illumination that managed to push through the windows.

Duo smiled happily and sat down on the sofa to admire the scene. He folded his hands in his lap and leaned toward the tree like a child in the grip of anticipation.

He loved Christmas.

I sat beside him--perhaps a bit too close--so that mere inched separated us. But through the thick clothes we wore it seemed like an eternity between our bodies. I sat beside him and contemplated the box in my pocket.

Duo sighed contentedly, but behind the smile on his lips, something danced. I could see it when I looked him in the eyes. There was a nagging pain there that I would have given anything to dispel.

He turned to look at me. "Do you remember when we had to write those letters to Santa Claus in school?"

The question made me pause. "Yes."

"I used to ask for the stupidest things." He looked wistful, but the moment was fleeting. "I used to ask for my mother to get getter, and for the power to be on when I got home so it would be warm. I asked for mom to be awake enough to make dinner like on the TV." He frowned. "I asked for stupid stuff and the teacher read it. She sent a letter to my mom. Did you know that?"


"Yup. She sent a letter to my mom about it. Guess what I got that Christmas. I'd give you a hint, but you're smart enough to figure it out."

"Duo . . ."

He shook his head. "Sorry. I didn't mean to get all cynical on ya there."

"Here." I shoved the bow into his hands. For one blinding moment he looked horrified. "I . . . I just saw it and thought of you. You don't have to . . . Don't . . ."

He just stared down at the box, eyes wavering.

"Don't get me anything, Duo. I don't need anything. I've . . . I've got everything I need, I mean . . ."

Duo wiped viciously at his eyes with his sleeve. "Heero, you shouldn't have. I can't--"

He didn't keep going. He couldn't. I pulled him into a fierce hug, crushing him to me desperately. And Duo just pressed his forehead to my neck and tried not to cry even though I think I must have been. Maybe he was repaying the favor. It seemed like I was the one to lick the wounds, but I wasn't. I would only ever to that for him. Only for Duo. For my Duo.

I pulled him closer and let every barrier shatter. I hadn't cried in years. Hadn't since my mother had died three years ago. And so I sat on the sofa with Duo Maxwell clutched desperately to me. I wept for him and for me in the soft multi-colored illumination of the Christmas tree. I cried and breathed him in and rejoiced for the feeling of his arms around me. I sobbed, letting his presence intoxicate me until I didn't even realize the feeling of his fingers on my neck, my cheeks, and finally his lips so gently on mine.