2-13-2005

This is my little contribution to the Valentine’s Day. The idea of this story came from a sweet shounen-ai manga called Imitation Lovers by Kae Maruya.

Title : My Dearest
Genre : AU, Romance
Pairing : 1+2


The lunch bell just rang and students of class 2A began to walk out to the school cafeteria.

Heero, a good-looking youth, walked towards Duo and said, “Let’s grab some lunch from the cafeteria and have them at the school garden.”

Duo Maxwell, another striking looking youth with an unusual long braid of hair smiled up at his classmate and best friend, “Sure, it’s such a nice weather today.”

The pair bought the food and went to a willow tree, sitting under the shade, having their lunch and enjoying a light breeze.

“Umm…Duo?”

The boy looked up from his food, “Yeah?”

“I….I need a favor from you.”

“What is it?” Duo peered at his friend curiously.

Heero sucked in a deep breath and said, “I want you to like me, to go out with me.”

The amethyst eyed boy dropped his sandwich in shock.

“What are you saying? You already have a girlfriend.”

“Yes, I know but recently I feel that she is not making any effort to progress our relationship. So I am thinking that perhaps I should provoke her a little,” Heero explained.

“And you want her to think that you and I are dating?”

Heero nodded. “Well, can you do me this favor?”

Duo was in a dilemma. His secret crush was asking him to pretend to be his lover so as to make his girlfriend jealous. Can things be more complicated?

“I don’t know. I don’t want to hurt Relena.”

“Don’t worry, it’s only for show. When she realized that I have switched attention, she will start to panic and do something about it,” Heero said confidently, munching onto his sandwich.

“But...”

“Heero?” a girl suddenly appeared before them.

“Relena?”

The girl smiled, “Sorry to interrupt your lunch but I need to borrow Heero for a while, hope you don’t mind, Duo.”

“Ah, no, of course not,” Duo replied quickly.

“That’s great. Come on Heero,” Relena said, grabbing onto the boy’s arm and pulled him to a side.

Heero shot Duo a look that said ‘Act more reluctant!’ while Duo waved at him apologetically.

He watched the two of them talking, feeling unusually envious. Heero and Relena, they were a great couple. One was a captain of the school basketball team while the other was the captain of the cheerleading squad. They did make a great pair.

And Heero must have loved her a lot since he was concerned about the development of their relationship.

Duo sighed. ‘If this is going to make Heero happy, I will do it. As for my feelings, it shall be locked away forever in my heart.’

***

“Duo, I have a meeting this afternoon after class to discuss on the upcoming basketball match with another high school. Would you like to wait for me, then, we can go home together?”

“Sure but I hope I won’t be bothering you guys.”

“No, you won’t,” Heero assured him as he ushered him into the basketball clubroom.

Duo watched as the meeting commenced. Heero was a natural leader; he exhibited good leadership and had great teamwork with the rest of the teammates. Not to mention that he was popular around school especially among girls. Sometimes he wondered why Heero bothered to befriend him.

As the meeting continued, he picked up a random magazine and began to leaf through it. He came to the costume jewelry section and saw a beautiful chain with a heart pendant encrusted with man-made sapphire stones. He was so engrossed looking at it that he didn’t notice the meeting had adjourned.

“What are you reading?” Heero asked, casually leaning over Duo’s shoulder, his arms hanging around his neck. “Hmm…that’s a very nice chain,” he remarked.

Duo blushed; he could feel Heero’s warm breath against his cheek.

“What are you doing?!” he whispered anxiously, trying to pull away Heero’s arms.

“What a slender neck,” Heero said nonchalantly as he gently caressed the other boy’s neck, running his fingers up and down his neck. Duo shivered at the touch.

There was a sudden silence around the clubroom as everyone had turned their attention to them. Even Relena was watching them intently.

Duo saw her look and quickly batted Heero’s hands away.

“If you want to buy the chain for Relena, go try it on her neck, not mine!”

After a while, the girl laughed, “You guys are always goofing around.” That broke the tension in the air as everyone started laughing as well. Both Heero and Duo were smiling sheepishly.

‘She is wearing a mask just like me. We have to pretend everything is all right to hide the pain that is hurting us,’ Duo thought sadly.

“I’m so sorry to make you wait until this late,” Heero apologized as they boarded the bus.

“It’s ok.”

“Duo, what’s wrong? You are unusually quiet,” Heero queried with concern.

“I’m all right, just tired,” Duo replied, looking away. “Heero, I really don’t think we should continue this pretend thing. Someone is going to get hurt.”

“Don’t worry. Didn’t you see that earlier? She noticed something about us already, that’s a good sign. Relena is a strong girl; she won’t be hurt that easily.”

‘But I am the one who’s hurting!’ Duo wanted to cry out but he quickly looked away, hoping that Heero would not noticed his despair look.

But the other boy did noticed and he frowned in silence.

***

The basketball team was having an inter-class match to prepare for the competition the following week.

“Cheer for me, ok?” Heero said, tightening his shoelaces.

“I will, do your best!” Duo promised and went to sit on the bench to watch the game.

The game started out great with Heero’s team on the lead.

“Great game, isn’t it?”

Duo looked up and saw Relena sitting down besides him. Immediately he felt an unexplainable uneasiness.

“Yes, it is,” he replied, trying to calm his nerves.

“Heero is such a good player,” she remarked, her eyes observing the player’s every moves.

“Good work!” she yelled when the boy scored a triple point.

Heero waved at them and Relena threw him a kiss. Duo was beginning to feel awkward at their open display of affection. He had a hunch that the girl will be trying to interrogate him for their unusual behavior recently. They continued to watch the match in silence.

“Duo, what do you think of Heero?” she asked suddenly, turning her focus towards him.

‘Here it comes,’ Duo thought and grimaced inwardly at Relena’s scrutinizing.

The boy cleared his throat nervously. “He...he is a good friend, smart, helpful and kind.”

Relena nodded. “What else?”

“You know I was a transfer student, right? The first day I came to this school, I was kind of lost and lonely because I don’t know anyone here but Heero befriended me and helped me to settle in. He introduced me to all his friends to help me to mix around but he is always by my side. We study together, have fun together, coming to school and going home together,” Duo smiled as he reminisced the past.

“He is very good to have as a friend but as a boyfriend, he is not being attentive enough,” Relena commented.

Duo was surprised by what she said. “Why do you say this?”

Relena shrugged. “I just don’t think Heero makes a good boyfriend because he doesn’t reveal much of what he is really thinking. That makes it hard to know what he really wanted and it takes two to make a relationship work.”

“That’s because you don’t understand him,” Duo was getting agitated. ‘You don’t understand him like I do.’

“Heero is a good guy, a person that’s hard to come by. You should learn to appreciate him more.” With that, Duo stormed out of the court.

Relena was stunned by his sudden outburst. ‘Something is definitely fishy here.’

Duo ran towards the school garden, wiping away tears that cascaded down his cheek. He was so upset by the comments Relena made. That girl didn’t deserve Heero at all. She didn’t know his good points to be criticizing him like that.

‘No one will love Heero more than I do.’

The clock on the bell tower rang; it was four in the afternoon.

‘The match should have ended by now,’ he thought, ‘I better get back to look for Heero. If only I can tell him truthfully that I like him.’

 

<In the clubroom>

“Heero, there is something I wanted to tell you,” Relena pulled at his jacket sleeves to lower his head and whispered something in his ears.

Duo walked into the clubroom and saw Heero and Relena standing very closed together with the girl holding onto his best friend’s arms. Their faces were even closer together….

‘They are kissing?!’ he gasped.

Both Heero and Relena looked up to see an astounded-looking Duo staring at them.

“Duo?”

Tears welled up in Duo’s eyes and he quickly dashed out of the room. ‘I mustn’t cry, I mustn’t cry,’ he told himself but what he just saw crushed his heart and it hurt, it hurt so badly.

“Duo!” Heero called out, chasing after him.

“Duo, wait up!” Heero managed to grab his arm, stopping the boy in his track. “Duo, why are you crying?”

The pair of amethyst eyes were still brimming with tears as the owner tried to put on a smile.

“She has finally taken the initiative to kiss you. Isn’t that good? I’m….I’m so happy for you. We don’t have to pretend anymore. We can go back to being just friends.”

At that, Duo began to sob even harder, the tears just kept coming. He yanked his arm out of Heero’s grip to run away but the other boy caught both his wrists instead.

“Duo, you have misunderstood, I wasn’t kissing Relena,” he tried to explain but Duo wasn’t listening, he kept struggling against him. Heero leaned forward and captured his lips, stilling his struggles momentarily until Duo pushed him away.

“Why…why are you doing this?”

“It’s you that I want to kiss, not Relena.”

“You…you are horrible. Why must you play with my feelings like this?”

“Duo, you really have misunderstood,” a voice said from behind them.

Both of them looked over. “Relena?”

“Duo deserves to know the truth; we cannot let him hurt like this,” the girl said. “The truth is; Heero and I are not a couple at all. What I said to you earlier, I was only teasing you.”

“What?” Duo glanced from the girl to Heero who stayed in silence.

“Well, I actually have a girlfriend. I think you know her too, it’s Dorothy.”

“Dorothy, your girlfriend?” Duo was truly dumbfounded.

Relena nodded, twirling her hair with her finger.

“You see, I like girls and Heero, being a good friend, not only helps me to keep it a secret but also agreed to act as my boyfriend when I approached him for help. You know what will happen if the student council came to know about this. That’s why; Heero and I are definitely not in love with each other.”

Duo looked shocked and turned to his best friend. “If…if that’s the case, why did you ask me to pretend to be your boyfriend?”

Heero looked defeated, running a hand through his messy moss green locks.

“That’s because I don’t know how you feel about me. You are a great friend but I want more than that. However, you don’t seem to hold any special feelings for me and when I purposely told you about Relena and I dating, you actually congratulated me. It really upsets me. So I thought if I ask you to pretend to be my boyfriend, I could use this opportunity to get closer to you. I’m sorry I lied to you.”

Duo took in all these in silence, still trying to grasp hold of the sudden twist in the situation. Heero liked him more than just as a friend?

“Just now when you saw us in the clubroom, I was telling Heero that I am quite sure you feel something special for him and I am right about it,” Relena smiled smugly.

“Ok, so everything is cleared up now. Both of you already know how you feel towards each other and I hope you know what to do next,” she winked at them suggestively.

Heero looked a little uncomfortable while Duo blushed furiously.

“Bye,” she waved and walked towards another girl with long blond hair and arched eyebrows.

***

“Duo, I’m really sorry about this whole thing. Will you forgive me?”

They were back in the changing room, Heero leaning against his locker and Duo sitting on the bench. The latter was still confused by what happened earlier.

“Heero, you really like me?” he looked up at the other boy, his voice sounded insecure.

Heero kneeled down in front of Duo and took hold of his hands. “Yes, I have fallen for you the first time I saw you.”

“You mean on the first day of the new semester when I joined the school?”

“No, earlier than that.”

“Earlier? Have I met you before somewhere else?” Duo was trying hard to recall.

“Remember the day you came to register in this school?” Heero prompted.

“Uh-huh. Wait a minute, since then?!”

“Yes, since that very first day I met you.”

Flashback

A longhaired boy stood besides his parents in the principal’s office of the local high school.

The father just had a job transfer and the parents were arranging for their son’s new school registration.

“Mom, can I have a look around the school?”

“Well,” Mrs. Maxwell looked at the principal who smiled and said, “It’s ok, just don’t lost your way.”

It was almost 4pm, most classes had ended. This new school looked quite similar to his old school but he liked the ambiance here. He walked to the field and stopped at an outdoor basketball court, watching a player shooting hoops.

“That’s a nice shoot!” he shouted excitedly. The player turned around and saw this strange boy smiling at him.

“Duo! We got to go now,” his mother called out to him.

“Everything’s done?”

“Yes, registration all done. You will be attending this school next semester.”

“That will be great.”

The player continued to observe the boy as he exited the school with his parents.

‘A transfer student?’

End of flashback

“And so, that’s the first time I met you and I had fallen for you there and then when you smiled at me. It was love at first sight for me. I eagerly wait for the new semester where you will join the school. You have no idea how disappointed I was when I approached you and you didn’t remember me.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t remember you,” Duo apologized but Heero shook his head.

“I befriended you and am glad that you have grown close to me but in my heart I wish that it is something more.”

Heero reached into his pocket and took out something. He leaned towards Duo and reached his hands behind his neck.

Duo felt something cold slipped around his neck and gasped when he saw what it was. It was the heart pendant chain he saw on the magazine.

“This?”

“Duo, you have captured my heart. Will you please be mine?” Heero implored.

With his heart full of love, Duo smiled happily and wrapped his arms around Heero.

“I have waited so long for you to ask.”

Outside, the sky was slowly turning to dusk but the pair of lovers was still basked in the warmth of their newfound love.