Heero had laid Duo’s invitation and its envelope on the end table where Duo could easily see them whenever he was sitting there, and Duo had lost track of how often he’d gleefully reread them by Saturday. He was beside them now, staring at them in contentment as he talked to Heero. Without being a dick (given that the transportation and money and television were all Heero’s), Duo was trying to convince his host that renting all the Star Wars movies was a great way to provide themselves with entertainment for the weekend.
Heero, who was eating a leisurely breakfast on the couch, just smiled and said, “If I get my cleaning and laundry done, we’ll go rent them tonight and watch them tomorrow.”
“All six of them? How long will that take?”
“Well, maybe we’ll watch one tonight.”
“Yay!” Duo waved his arms and legs as he cheered, and this reminded him… “Hey, did you notice I can bend my knees now?”
“No! Since when?”
“I’m not really sure,” Duo admitted. “I don’t need them very often since I still can’t walk anyway — doll does not stand alone — so it could have happened a long time before I actually noticed.”
“But when did you notice?” Heero’s tone was accusatory.
“A couple of nights ago while you were asleep. I tried not to freak out about it and wake you up.”
“And then you didn’t tell me until just now?”
Heero looked at him sternly. “You owe me, then. You’ll have to tell me some interesting story about the 1910’s while I do my cleaning.”
Thus they spent the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon. Heero got his apartment cleaned up, at first to the sound of Duo telling him what he remembered of the orphanage that had been his first home and from which he’d run away while still very young. This concerned the decade before the one Heero had specified, but Heero didn’t seem to mind.
When that story was finished, they experimented with Duo taking a turn reading aloud, but this was a definite no-go for a variety of reasons. First, Duo’s voice was often insufficient to rise above the sounds of bathtub-scrubbing and the like. Then, although he could keep the book open by sitting on it, his subsequent range of vision did not include the full two pages; he couldn’t tilt his head far enough down, and got in his own way. And those same pages proved almost impossible for him to turn; in fact, levering himself up in order to attempt it at one point led to the book’s closing and falling off the bathroom counter into the trash can. This was frustrating, but in an entertaining sort of way, and Duo was generally pleased with anything that could make Heero laugh, even if it was at his expense.
After this, Heero took a shower while Duo sat outside the door and practiced whistling. This was largely for the sake of being able to whistle more loudly and elaborately at Heero’s towel-wrapped figure when it emerged from the bathroom — partly to express his genuine appreciation, and partly because it made Heero laugh.
“You’re getting better at that,” was Heero’s remark upon being greeted with Don’t Be Cruel (as accurately as Duo could remember it).
“It’s all for you,” said Duo solemnly. “You deserve the best whistle I can give!”
Heero rolled his eyes, but he was smiling.
True to his word, Heero agreed that it was Star Wars time once the housework and shower were taken care of. So they went to a rental place, and on the way Heero educated Duo about Netflix. “I don’t have a subscription right now,” he said, “because there haven’t been a lot of things I’ve felt like watching lately, but maybe I’ll start it up again.”
“Aww, would you do that for me?”
“If it keeps you from watching TV all day.”
“How is watching movies different, though?”
“I’m not really sure. But it is.”
The look the rental store clerk gave the somber man that walked in to rent all six Star Wars movies at once with a uniformed Star Trek doll peeking out of his jeans pocket was absolutely priceless. Duo thought he should really stop being so amused at Heero’s embarrassment and discomfort, but at least Heero was relatively good-natured about it; besides, when Duo could actively enjoy some aspect of being a doll, it seemed impractical not to. Besides besides, Heero had laughed at him earlier when he’d dropped the book.
“You guys have fun,” was the clerk’s sarcastic goodbye.
As Heero had his back to her at that point, Duo felt safe in replying audibly, “OK!”
“I’ve been thinking about that,” Heero said as he set Duo down in the passenger seat and stacked the DVD’s beside him.
“Having fun?” Duo interrupted in a suggestive tone.
Heero did an excellent imitation of not having heard. “About you talking to people. We’ve been pretty secretive about you and your curse, and pretty careful about you talking where people might hear you… but why? Of course if you talked to people at work, it would turn into complete chaos, but, just in general, is there any particular reason to keep you a secret?”
“Me?” Duo made a thoughtful noise. “Not really, I guess. Most people would just think what you guys did at first: robot, practical joke, whatever… It’s kinda funny how I’m a super-great example of really strong magic, but I seem so mundane that magic’s the last thing anyone thinks when they meet me.”
“You? Mundane?” Heero wondered.
Duo beamed, and could tell they were turning a corner when the entire pile of DVD’s slid over on top of him. From his new position lying on his side underneath at least one of them he said, “My point is that I’m not really something that gives away the existence of magic right away, so, no, it’s probably not all that important to keep me, specifically, secret.”
“But magic in general?” Heero reached over blindly and pushed the DVD’s off the seat (and Duo) onto the floor.
“Thank you.” Painstakingly Duo righted himself as he answered the question. “Back in the day, Trowa and I never bothered hiding the fact that we could do magic, and nobody got on our case about it. But we couldn’t really do anything big at that point, and I don’t know how many people we did tricks for believed it was actual magic and not just… tricks.”
“So there aren’t any laws about magic and who can and can’t see it?”
“Not that I know of, but I’m really not the best person to ask, since I’ve, y’know, been a doll for ninety years. There’s probably got to be something, though, or else more people would know.” He paused. “Huh, now I want to know too. I’ll have to ask Trowa.”
“It makes sense,” Heero mused, “that magic should be a secret, at least most of the time. You said you’ve seen some of the Harry Potter movies, right? In that world, they have all sorts of laws and things preventing non-magical people from finding out that magic exists so they don’t all start demanding magical assistance in their everyday lives.”
“You know, I used to think that was a good idea too, but eventually I changed my mind. I mean, having magic is a natural talent just like being able to sing well, isn’t it? Why shouldn’t people with magic help people who don’t have it, just like people who sing well entertain people who don’t?”
“Good point… But we’ve lived in a society without magic for so long; if magicians started publicly using their magic for non-magical people, it would change everything about how the world works.”
“Only because they’ve been hiding it for so long, though. If magicians hadn’t been holed up in secret cults or whatever for so many centuries, we’d have evolved societies where magic was just a normal part of life.”
“But since we haven’t, it’s probably best to keep things the way they are and keep it a secret, isn’t it?”
This discussion was so interesting that it took them all the way home and then lasted a good while into what they had previously intended to be Star-Wars-watching time. When the latter did eventually arrive, Duo found Heero looking thoughtfully at Trowa’s door as he loaded up the first DVD.
“Quatre mentioned a few weeks ago that he wanted to rewatch these sometime,” Heero murmured. “I wonder what he’s up to…”
“I haven’t seen him in days,” remarked Duo, following Heero’s gaze. “I wonder if he’s gotten sick of going over to Trowa’s and making him eat lunch and stuff.”
“No, he’s… he’s still been going over there. You’ve just missed him.”
“How could I have missed him if you noticed him?”
“I guess your dazzling presence was just distracting me from everything else.”
With a monosyllabic laugh Heero said, “Well, now it’s time to be distracted by Star Wars. Quatre will just have to rewatch them on his own time.”
Duo cheered. Then he settled happily against his lamp on his end table next to Heero on the couch to watch. But that didn’t mean that the interesting and somewhat pleasing revelation that Quatre had still been going over to Trowa’s house on a daily basis — surreptitiously, even — wasn’t a little on his mind until nearly halfway through the movie.