5-31-2002

Title: Finding Yourself 3/?
Author: Sana and Sayuyuki, this part by Sana
Emails: smj@neobee.net (Sana) and mistress_sayu@hotmail.com (Sayuyuki)
Pairing: 1x2, mention of 1xR
Warnings: angst, lemon, bastardized Relena, AU
Disclaimer: We don't own them, we're just playing with them!

A/N: Huge thanks to everyone who is reading this story! I'm really sorry it took me so long to get this part out, but I was really, really busy. I'm sorry if I didn't reply to someone's comment... But be sure they mean a lot to both me and Sayu! So... Please C&C! :) Thanks!

~Sana

*~*~*

Heero sneezed loudly, suddenly waking up. He shuddered, wrapping his arms tightly around himself in an effort to warm up. He groped for the sheets, still refusing to open his eyes, and found none. He opened his eyes, then, slowly, reluctantly, and set up on the couch. He quickly regretted the movement, as it caused the bolt of pain to surge down his back. He cursed the couch, remembering how many times he said he'd never sleep on it again, yet always breaking the promise.

Heero brought his hand up to his face, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He yawned. He glanced at the clock next to his laptop, his eyes widening; it was 11:45. How could he have slept so long? And where was Relena? She'd never let him sleep so long before... He sighed and shook his head. He always liked to write in the morning. From experience, he knew that was when he had best inspiration and Relena wasn't there to bother him. Then he noticed the diskette on the desk - his story; he smiled. He could have a small break from writing today, Heero decided, he deserved it, after all.

He shuddered from the cold, looking for the blanket. It was on the floor next to the couch, wrapped around his feet. He'd probably thrown it off during the night; he'd always been a restless sleeper. He sneezed again and picked it up, wrapping it tightly around his shoulders. He stood up, his back protesting once again, and headed to the kitchen to make some tea.

After he had made the tea (The maid wanted to do it for him, but he refused. He liked to do things on his own; Relena was the one who had insisted on getting a maid in the first place), he went to the living room and turned on the TV before easing himself into a sofa. He flipped the channels - nothing. Well, nothing worth watching, anyway. He sighed irritably; this day started wonderfully, who knows what's going to happen before the end of it.

Just as he was about to turn off the TV, something caught his eye. The program itself was not important, nor the people, but there was a girl... A girl with really long hair that reminded him of Duo. As his thoughts began to stray, he remembered another thing - Duo was a man.

The smile that graced Heero's lips only moments before disappeared and turned into a frown. He shook his head disapprovingly. He was fantasizing about a man! He felt dizzy, almost sick. Although he'd never really been homophobic (he considered himself to be a tolerant person), he knew he wasn't..."like that", either. So, what could this mean?

He sighed again, turning off the TV. He decided to go and take a shower; it always made him feel better.

When Relena came home that evening Heero felt little better. He tried desperately to keep himself from thinking about the beautiful amethyst eyes or those perfect, deliciously pouty lips... As there was nothing else to keep his mind occupied, he decided to start writing another story.

Relena found him in his room, typing on the laptop, too caught up with his story to notice she was even there. It was only when she said, "Hello, dear. I'm home," that he registered her presence, and even then he merely nodded before returning to his work. Two hours later, she managed to pry him away from the laptop, so they could "spend some quality time together"- or so she said. He still couldn't forgive her, however, for what she'd done the night before. The indifference she'd shown him... He realized it was the first time she's ever been honest with him. If he tried telling her about the story now, she'd pretend to be interested, or at least she'd try to find an excuse why she couldn't hear his story. Last night, however, she was too tired for pretence and gave away her true feelings for the first time.

Heero didn't say anything to Relena, of course, pretending everything was perfectly normal. He didn't say anything that night, or any night that followed, but he knew that she finally managed to crush the little affection he felt for her.

Regardless of his anger, Heero returned to sleeping with his wife, for the sake of his poor back. He didn't know what he would have done if she tried something, but he needn't have worried; Relena seemed to be uninterested in him just as much. It occurred to him that it was probably strange for a newly wed couple not to have sex with each other, but even before marriage, he and Relena rarely slept together. He could count the times they had sex on the fingers of one hand.

Over the next week, Heero went to talk to different publishers, trying to find someone to publish his story. He didn't have much luck, but he was still an optimist. Whenever someone turned him down, he'd just repeat to himself that there are many others and that they would recognize a good story when they see it.

Relena wasn't as optimistic, however. Every day she'd rant at him, demanding (yes, demanding!) he got a job. It infuriated Heero beyond words. That's why he started going for long walks every evening, usually around the time Relena liked to spend with him. At first, she protested, whining that he avoided her, but seeing there was nothing she could do, after about a week, she accepted it.

Heero liked to walk through quiet streets with barely any traffic. It gave him the inner peace he so desperately needed. The alleys were practically deserted at night, so he could keep to himself and his thoughts.

Often he thought of Duo during his long walks, wondering if the boy -- no...he was young, but he was definitely a man -- remembered him. He regretted the fact he'd run like that; the man seemed interesting, so it would be really nice to have him as a friend. He contemplated going back to the bar and apologizing, maybe even trying to befriend him, but the fear always stopped him. Heero would never admit it was fear, of course, but it was - fear of the unknown. He'd convince himself that he was too tired to go all the way to the bar, or something of the kind, and say he'd do it tomorrow. Tomorrow there would be another excuse.

One evening, he walked to the bar, but it was rather unintentionally. He was so deep in thought, figuring out the plot of his next -- fourth already -- story, that he didn't even notice he'd walked that far. The noise was what he'd registered first -- then the lights. At first, he didn't know where he was, and then he noticed the familiar bar. The bar.

This time he was too close to run, although it did cross his mind. So, he continued walking, a little slower perhaps, finally stopping at the entrance. Two drag queens stood there talking and, every once in a while, giggling. He frowned slightly, moving his eyes to read the name of the bar: Pink Moon. His stomach turned; it was a gay club.

Heero stared at the flashing pink neon lights, then again at two figures giggling at the entrance; he nearly ran away screaming. He didn't, however, only taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down. It was hard for him to accept that he went into a gay bar... He wouldn't mind having a gay friend; he had a few in high school, actually, but this was different. This was him.

He'd never thought about another man in a sexual way before he'd met Duo. He tried convincing himself that it meant nothing, that it was only because he thought Duo was a girl, but those were just excuses. He was aware that Duo was a man, but that didn't lessen his desire in any way.

It was probably that desire that made him enter the bar that night and look for Duo.

The club looked little different since the first time he was there. The music was playing quietly in the background, loud enough to be heard, but still no too loud for people to talk. A few heads turned as he entered, some people gave him an once-over, checking him out, before they all turned back around and continued their conversations.

The interior was completely made of wood -- there was no pink. Actually, there was nothing that gave it away as a gay bar, other than the fact there were no women in it. So, it was not surprising Heero didn't suspect anything, especially when he thought that he followed a woman inside.

He looked for Duo through the thick cigarette smoke that filled the room. He spotted him after a while, serving drinks behind the counter. He was talking, amusing the customers, while his hands moved on their own. He poured drinks with almost calculated precision without even looking at them; Heero couldn't help but stare in awe.

For a few moments he stood there, gathering his courage, before moving to the counter and sitting on a barstool. Duo was talking to some friends, his back turned to Heero, so the Japanese man decided to ask for a drink.

"Hey, can I get a JD here?"

"Sure! But have a little patience, will ya --" Duo stopped mid-sentence as he realized who he was talking to. The smile disappeared instantly and his face took on a much more serious statement; he looked almost irritated. "It's you."

"Yeah, well..."

"What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to get a drink."

"And of all the bars you came to this one? You do realize this is a gay bar, don't you?"

Heero blushed a little, but nodded. "Yes."

"So, you're gay?"

Heero's eyes widened and he shook his head vigorously. "No!!" he nearly shouted.

Duo raised one eyebrow. "Okaaaay..."

"Look, I know it sounds crazy," Heero began, "but I came here to apologize. The way I acted was immature and stupid. But, imagine what you'd feel like if the girl you were hitting on turned out to be a guy!"

Duo raised both of his eyebrows at what Heero had said, looking at him incredulously.

"Oh! Right... Well, imagine what you'd feel like if the guy you were hitting on turned out to be a girl."

Duo grimaced. "Point taken," he said and laughed; Heero joined him.

"So, can I get that drink now?" Heero asked after they'd stopped laughing.

"Sure! I forgot you asked..." Duo rolled his eyes, grinning. He reached for a bottle of Jack Daniels, pouring it into a glass with his unique skillfulness, before placing the glass in front of the Japanese man.

"That must take a lot of practice, huh?" Heero asked amazedly.

"Wha--? Oh, yeah." Duo smiled sheepishly. "But it's not as hard as it looks, really. I bet you could do it too, if you tried."

"Me?!" Heero started to laugh, shaking his head. "No way! I've always been a little clumsy."

"Aw, don't say that! I'm sure you're just being modest."

"I wish!" Heero grimaced and Duo giggled.

"Well, I can teach you if you want," Duo suggested.

"What, like, now?"

"No, I'm working now. Well, I'm supposed to be, anyway." He winked. "You could come to the bar tomorrow, so I could teach you on my night off or something. Or... You could always come to my place," he murmured the last sentence almost inaudibly.

"What was that?"

"I said you could come again some other time when I'm not working. You will come to the bar again, right?"

"I don't know, really..."

"What, you don't like it here?"

"No, it's not that. I just feel a little...uncomfortable, that's all."

"Well, I can't help you with that." Duo shrugged his shoulder and turned to put the bottle of Jack Daniels back on the shelf.

"Maybe you can, actually," Heero said uncertainly. Duo turned to look at him, obviously surprised. "Well, um," Heero cleared his throat before continuing, "I think that the reason I feel that way might be because I don't know anyone here. You know what it's like going to a new place and not knowing anyone there. So, um, I thought you might want to have a drink with me. It's on me."

It took a moment for Duo to process what he'd just heard. He did hear that, right? The look of surprise turned slowly into a grin and he nodded. "Sure! But there's no need for you to buy me a drink. I get free drinks, remember?" He winked and poured another glass of JD as he was already holding the bottle. He placed the bottle on the shelf before turning back to Heero.

"You didn't answer me," Duo reminded him.

"Huh?"

"Do you want me to teach you?"

"Oh, that. Sure, why not." Heero took a sip of his drink, looking at Duo. "What happened to the fancy outfit?" he said.

"Oh, shut up!" Duo mock-glared. "I can give it to you if you like it that much. It would be nice seeing you dress up like that." He tried hard to stop himself from grinning.

"Hmm... As alluring as it may sound, I think I'll pass." Duo laughed, taking a little JD from his glass. "You're allowed to drink?" Heero asked him suddenly.

"Why wouldn't I be? I mean, I know I look young, but I'm not that young!"

"No, that's not what I meant. I was wondering if you're allowed to drink while working."

"Oh, of course! Besides," the young man grinned mischievously, "Thomas isn't here. You remember Thomas, right? The stocky bartender that's also my boss?"

"Yeah, I remember him. You know, all that time that he was laughing at you, I couldn't figure out why," Heero admitted.

"So, I could pass as a girl?"

"Oh, definitely! You looked really good!" Heero bit his tongue. "I mean..." He blushed.

"Thanks. You know, you look really good, too. It's a shame you're straight," Duo said, smiling.

Heero was blushing scarlet. He had no idea how to react to what Duo had said. Of course it felt good that someone found him attractive, but the fact that it was another man still bothered him. "Don't..." he murmured, looking at the glass he was holding; he took a long swig, emptying it.

"Whoa, easy on the drink, man! That's JD, not juice, you know." He frowned a little, finally asking, "Do you want another?" Heero nodded. After filling Heero's glass, he re-filled his own, as well. "There's no need to be so jumpy, you know. I mean, how can I talk to you if you're gonna freak out at every other thing I say?"

"I don't freak out at everything you say. Just... Don't say things like that."

"For god's sake, Heero, it was a joke. I mean, you do look good, but I understand you're straight... So why can't you understand I'm gay? When you came here tonight, I thought you wanted us to be friends. And do you, really?"

"Yes, I want us to be friends. But..."

"But just as long as I don't act gay in your presence! You can either accept who I am, or not." Duo was looking at him seriously for the first time since they'd met. He meant what he said and he was right, Heero knew that. So, as he really liked the other man's company, he finally gave in.

"You're right. I need to apologize for the second time tonight. I acted wrongly," he said, looking straight into Duo's eyes.

"Apology accepted," Duo said and winked. "Now, I just can't wait for the male strippers to get here." The longhaired man grinned broadly.

"WHAT!?" Heero choked on his drink, jumping from the chair. Many people turned to see what the fuss was about, quickly losing interest and turning back to their dates. Heero was looking nervously at Duo, desperately trying to get him to explain what the hell he meant by that. Duo couldn't do it, however, the fits of laughter making it hard for him to breathe, let alone talk. He was clutching his stomach, nearly laughing himself to tears. As he couldn't find out what was going on, Heero emptied his second glass for the evening, filling it up on his own as Duo left the bottle on the counter.

After a few minutes, Duo finally managed to calm down, still grinning widely. "You should have seen your face," he said at last.

"What?" Heero frowned, obviously clueless as to what Duo was on about.

"It was a joke, Heero. And your statement..." he giggled, "It was priceless!"

Heero glared at him. "That was so not funny!"

"Says you! I think it was hilarious!"

"I noticed," he concluded coolly.

"Aw, don't be like that. It wouldn't kill you to see a striptease."

"I'm not so sure about that..."

Duo rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Oh, what happened to your writer's block, by the way? Did you write anything?"

"You actually remember I said I was having a writer's block?" Heero asked incredulously.

"Yeah. I remember pretty much everything you said." Duo smiled sheepishly.

There was a moment of silence before Heero spoke, "Well, um, that's nice of you. And I don't have a block anymore. I wrote a few stories since the last time we've seen each other."

"That's great!" Duo exclaimed enthusiastically. "I'd really like to read them, if you'd let me."

"Um, yeah, sure." Heero took some more of his drink. "Do you have a computer? I could mail them to you if you do."

"I don't have it, unfortunately. Could you print them out for me?"

"Ah, sure. Are you really interested in reading them?"

"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, my wife didn't seem to care about them..." He took another swig of JD and continued, "You know, she's always telling me I have no talent and she's never even read my stories. I'd really like to hear someone else's opinion..." he concluded and then drank some more.

"You know, I really think you've had enough to drink for tonight." Duo reached for the bottle, but Heero held it firmly. "Just one more," he said and hiccupped.

"Heero, you're drunk."

"No, I'm ::hick:: not!"

"Oh yeah? Can you stand?"

Heero stood up, determined to prove Duo wrong. He swayed dangerously, holding onto the counter so he wouldn't fall. "You see? Now give me the bottle," Duo commanded. Reluctantly, Heero obeyed, plopping down on the barstool. Duo took the bottle and placed it back on the shelf.

"How are you gonna get home?" Duo wondered aloud.

"I'll walk," Heero said, followed by another hiccup.

"You can't even stand!" Duo shook is head, contemplating what he should do. "Do you live far from here?"

"Not very far, why?"

"Well, we're closing in about," he paused, checking his watch," an hour, so I could follow you home."

"Thanks, but I can manage." Heero tried to stand again, failing miserably.

"Of course you can," Duo said sarcastically. "What I want to know is can you wait an hour or do you want me to get someone else to take you home?"

"I can wait."

The next hour passed fairly quickly, mostly with Heero drooping over the counter, half asleep. As midnight approached, the crowd slowly lessened until there was hardly anyone there. Duo was washing the glasses and placing them on shelves, occasionally glancing at Heero to see how he was doing.

It was only then, when Heero couldn't see him, that Duo allowed himself to smile at him. He was really glad to see the other man again; he thought about him a lot over the past weeks, secretly wanting him. He reminded himself that Heero was straight and that nothing could ever happen between them (Straight men were forbidden fruit and Duo, like most gay men, knew that. If you don't want to get hurt - both emotionally and physically - just stay the hell away from them. So why was it that they always looked so damn good?), yet the fantasies still consumed him.

He sighed, wiping the counter with a wet cloth and looking at his watch yet again. Five more minutes. The bar was already empty, save for him and Heero, but still he didn't dare to close early, as Thomas would surely kill him if he ever found out.

With the music off, the place was almost eerily quiet; he hated being there alone. That was another reason why he liked having Heero there, the first being that he would get to see where the man lived, of course.

When it was time to go, he walked to Heero, shaking his shoulders gently. "Heero, wake up. You need to go home." It wasn't hard to wake him, as he was just dozing. He opened his eyes slowly, looking around. "Where am I?"

"You're still at the bar, remember? I'm taking you home, come on," Duo said, tugging on Heero's arm. Heero stood slowly, swaying a little and leaning on Duo for support. Duo wasn't religious, but he realized right then that hell existed; or was it heaven? It felt wonderful having the gorgeous Japanese man so close, but the fact that Heero was drunk and unaware of what he was doing was painfully obvious. Duo forced himself to ignore his feelings, wrapping one arm around Heero's waist and leading him out.

On the way home, Heero was constantly talking. About what, however, Duo had no idea. The drink that made him so talkative also made him completely incoherent, so after a while, Duo simply chose to ignore him.

It wasn't easy finding Heero's house with the directions he'd given him, but somehow Duo managed. As they walked, Heero had come to rest his head on Duo's shoulder, looking at him as he talked. When they finally reached the house, Duo turned to look at him and time stopped. Their eyes met at long last and Duo couldn't turn away. They both seemed enchanted standing there, lost in each other's eyes. Heero leaned closer, ready to kiss him.

Duo snapped out of his reverie, the realization of what was about to happen dawning on him. He pulled away hastily, looking at Heero with sad longing. Regardless of how much he wanted to kiss the Japanese man, he couldn't let it happen. Heero was drunk; he didn't know what he was doing and Duo didn't want him to regret his actions or possibly hate him for the rest of his life. He sighed. "Here's your house, Heero. At least I think that's the one. Is it?"

Heero was looking at him confusedly for a few moments, still trying to comprehend why Duo had rejected him, before shifting his gaze to look at the house. "That's the one," he murmured.

"Good. Can you make it alone from here?"

"I think so."

Duo led him to the door and helped him unlock it. After wishing Heero goodnight, he turned around and left.

Although drunk, Heero somehow managed to get to his and Relena's bedroom. Luckily, he didn't need to take the stairs to get there, or he'd probably spend the night sleeping on the floor.

When he entered the bedroom, Relena was already there, but she wasn't asleep. She was sitting in bed, her back rested against the wall, obviously waiting for him. "Where have you been?" she asked as soon as she saw him.

Heero looked at her strangely, gripping the doorframe so he wouldn't topple over. She frowned slightly, trying to figure out what was wrong with him; she gasped. "You're drunk!" she shrieked, disbelieving.

Heero completely ignored her, way too tired to listen to her and, leaning against the wall, moved to the bed. He undressed quickly (somehow he managed to pull it off) and put on his pajamas, before moving to lie down.

"Oh, no you won't! I'm not sleeping with a drunk!" She placed a hand on Heero's chest, pushing him away. "You can sleep on that couch of yours, or the couch in the living room, I don't care, but you're not sleeping with me!"

Normally, Heero would simply tell her to shut up and she would. But, seeing as he was too drunk and tired, he didn't feel like arguing, so he obeyed. He picked up a blanked and, walking close to the wall, moved to the living room.

*~*~*
TBC