A Rose By Any Other Name (Valentine's Day Fic)
By SkyLark
Betaed by Rebecca


Humming to himself, Duo headed down the long corridor towards his office at the Preventers' Headquarters one brisk, February morning with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. Despite the chill in the air outside, it was a clear and sunny- enough to help put him in a cheery mood to start his day.

…Even if it was a certain day that he never really care for.

Valentine's Day. A day for people to really express their true feelings to someone they loved. `Why the hell does a person need to be reminded to do that?' he thought to himself. `If you really love someone, shouldn't they find a way to express that every day?'

It was all just a scam for Hallmark and other like stores to rake it in as far as Duo was concerned.

Once he reached his office and stepped inside, the braided removed his jacket and started booting his computer back up. Hand-ironing his uniform, he sat into his leather chair with a deep sigh. Taking up his coffee for a long sip, he went through the reports that were already sitting on his fax machine tray.

Half-way through his read, the phone rang. Lowering his mug in exchange for the receiver, he answered, "Agent Night."

"There is a special delivery here for you at the front desk, Agent Night" the voice of Jessica, the head receptionist replied. The smile grew in her voice, "I think you'll want to come get this right away."

Blinking in surprise, the former Gundam pilot repeated quietly, "A delivery for me?" `Today?' he wondered to himself. "Thanks, Jess," he said. "I'll be right down." Quickly returning the receiver to its cradle, he rose from his seat and headed for the elevator.

In the lobby, several Preventers were gathered around the front desk with smiles and wide eyes as they whispered amongst themselves. When he stepped into the room, Duo froze a moment before clearing his throat. All talking stopped and every eye turned to him with amusement sparkling in them. `What the hell,' he grumbled as a path to the desk was cleared for him.

With a small gasp when he finally saw what was causing such a stir. Sitting on the reception desk was a large, crystal vase with a colorful arrangement of roses in full bloom. No two roses were the same color and each had a little piece of paper wrapped around them.

Smiling brightly behind her station, Jessica brushed back her curly locks of brown hair from her shoulders. As she gestured to the flowers, she announced, "Your delivery, Duo."

Dumbstruck, the braided pilot's jaw fell slack. A Valentine!? For him!? He never received one before.

With so many people around, staring at the gift, his cheeks started burning. Wrapping his arms protectively around the vase, he turned to the small crowd and announced, "All right, people. Nothing to see here. Get back to work." All but running from the room, he stepped back into the elevator and punched the button for his floor.

Once the doors closed, he breathed a deep sigh of relief. Still carefully cradling the vase in his hands, he waited until he was back in his office before really taking in the display. Gingerly setting the flowers on his desk, he looked to the many different colors of the huge bulbs.

"My first Valentine," he grinned. "Granted it's flowers, but…" Looking around the display for some sort of card to show who it was from, he could not find one.

Focusing back on the papers wrapped around each stem, his closer observation found that each one was numbered. Slightly tilting his braided head, Duo found that the lavender rose was marked as `1.' Carefully unraveling the paper like a scroll, he found a typed message inside.

`This rose stands for `Love at First Sight.' You captured me the first moment our eyes met. The lavender also means enchantment- just as you enchant me every day.'

His eyes widening, Duo fell back into his seat. So this gift was far from any sort of joke or a friendship thing. Setting the message aside, he searched through the display to find the second marker on the yellow rose with red tips. Unraveling the paper, he read:

`The `Friendship' rose. For being my best friend and the only person that I know I can count on.'

Biting his lip, Duo carefully unwrapped the paper from the pure yellow rose.

`Yellow represents `Joy' and `Delight.' You've brought both into my life.'

Unable to help the small smile in reading those words, Duo's mind was already reeling over who went through all of this trouble for him… and who would feel such a way about him. Moving on to the light pink rose, he found the note:

`I Admire' you, and have been from afar for too long.'

Taken aback, the agent blinked his wide eyes. Suddenly having an idea of who may have bestowed him with this offering, he quickly searched for the fifth rose. He found it in the coral-colored bud.

`'Desire'- You are everything that I want and everything that I need.'

A deep blush burned Duo's cheeks at that one. Swallowing roughly, he unwound the little scroll around the deep pink rose.

`The color of `Gratitude.' I am thankful every day for you.'

His heart warming, the braided youth smiled widely and moved on to white rose. Marked with a `7,' the words inside said:

`There is no other that I `Revere' more.'

Chuckling almost nervously, Duo looked to the last flower left. Gingerly opening the message from the peach rose's stem, he read aloud, "And now for us to `Get together.' Go to the door." He gasped sharply as his eyes grew.

Slowly looking to his door, he rose from his chair and padded his way over. Knowing who he wished was on the other side, he held his breath and pressed the keypad to open the door.

As it slid away, Heero was revealed standing his in hallway with both hands behind his back and a timid smile on his face. It was the first time in his life that Duo could recall ever seeing the former `Perfect Soldier' nervous. Sighing deeply, the braided pilot breathed, "God, I was hoping it was you."

Instant relief washed over the ex-Wing pilot's face as he released the breath that he had been holding. Wrapping his arms around, he held out a single, red rose in one hand and a brown teddy bear with a heart around its neck in the other. There was no need for a message to explain the meaning behind the last rose.

Pulling his partner into his office, Duo hugged him tightly around his neck. "I love you, too," he whispered. Strong arms wrapped tightly around him and a kiss feathered against his cheek. Pulling back, he took up the bear and flower with a wide smile. "I really need to get you to work on your gift selections, though,' he chuckled deeply.

"Well, practice makes perfect, I guess," Heero smirked with a shrug. As Duo placed the bear on his desk and placed the red rose in the middle of his colorful display, the Japanese agent bit his lip and said quietly, "I'm sorry it took me so long to-"

His words were cut off when a pair of lips suddenly captured his. Sighing deeply, Heero leaned into the kiss with his wide eyes drifting closed. The kiss deepened only momentarily before Duo pulled away to catch his breath. Still grinning, he reassured, "No apologies needed. I knew you'd come along eventually."

Not the least bit surprised, Heero just shook his head in amusement. "Happy Valentine's Day, Duo," he breathed while wrapping his arms around his partner's waist.

"Happy Valentines Day, Heero," Duo replied in kind, snaking his arms around the taller pilot's neck. Slowly leaning in, they engaged in another kiss. `I guess this day does serve a purpose after all,' he thought to himself.

Sometimes, people did just need a little push to say what's in their hearts.


Happy Valentines Day, everyone!!