Heero had accomplished very little at home on Saturday, as he’d been too busy helping Relena get some of her furniture to a consignment store and fondly watching Duo flirt with her. Technically Relena didn’t need to be getting rid of the contents of her apartment just yet, but she was so eager for her wedding and moving in with Colin that apparently certain organizational activities in preparation for that were sometimes the only way she could keep herself from going crazy. So, since she’d known Lindsay would be out most of the day, she’d bribed her brother with pizza to help her make sure the furniture she was selling was clean and in good repair, which had turned into a many-hours-long term of hanging out.
Ironically, when that little party had broken up, it had been so Relena could go off to the dinner with their parents that Heero had claimed a prior engagement to get out of, and Heero could spend the evening not having dinner with his parents. Relena had reminded him that he was going to have to accept the invitation next time or risk insulting their mother, and she threw a surreptitiously thoughtful look at Duo as she said this.
At any rate, this had prevented him from doing much at home besides wasting time and reading to Duo, so his usually weekly cleaning took place on Sunday instead. What he was really concerned about was the vacuuming, which he’d neglected for a while.
As he was getting this done, he came across the doll he’d bought off Amazon a couple of weeks ago in order to divest it of its uniform. He’d completely forgotten it in the midst of Duo’s excitement about the gift, and poor Spock had fallen to the floor and been hidden by the skirt of the sofa in back. Now Heero picked the thing up and looked at it thoughtfully.
“Aww,” said Duo, who was, as often, in Heero’s jeans pocket. “I forgot about him.”
“This one’s an ‘it,'” Heero smirked.
“So it is.” Duo shook his head pityingly. “Put a paper towel on that thing!” He added in a suddenly much-altered tone, as if he was seriously concerned but masking it with casualness, “Unless you’re just going to throw it away.”
Considering how unnerving it would be to see a body that resembled his own tossed carelessly into a trash can, Heero answered immediately, “No, I wouldn’t throw it away; it’s in such good shape. I’ll send Quatre to Goodwill with it; or wait ’til you’re human again, so you won’t have to go, and take it myself.”
“Oh, I think I’d be OK to go to Goodwill if you were there to protect me.”
Heero, who was playing with paper towels and making a skirt for the second time in his life, smiled at this. “You know, I can’t really see you as a damsel in distress.”
“Really?” Duo sounded pleased. “Even though I can barely even move on my own?”
Heero shrugged. “Maybe physically you need some help sometimes, but you definitely don’t have the personality of someone who needs ‘protecting.'” He was heading into the computer room by now, taking Spock to set by his computer so he’d remember to deal with it at some point.
“Well, thanks, Heero!” said Duo in satisfaction. “It’s nice of you to say so.”
Heero liked the way Duo said his name. He couldn’t help contrasting the doll in his left hand with the doll in his right, nor thinking in some interest of how much more real one seemed than the other. Even though he’d never seen Duo except as a doll, even though the Spock figure was modeled after a living person he had seen (on screen, at least), Duo seemed infinitely more human in every possible way. Heero could picture Duo as a human a hundred times more clearly than he could Zachary What’s-His-Name, and he was definitively attracted to one and not the other — hot though Zachary was.
He thought about Duo as a human all too much these days; as he went back to his vacuuming, he was dwelling on the image once again. He wondered how accurate it was. A week from tomorrow night, assuming everything worked properly, he would find out, and he speculated that it might drive him mad. That he would find Duo attractive as a human, whatever he looked like, he had no doubt whatsoever, and he was bracing himself for it. But he feared he could never be adequately prepared for whatever form Duo would present.
Once he’d finished dealing with the carpets and had put the vacuum away in the coat closet where it lived, he pulled Duo out of his pocket and looked at him.
“What?” Duo wondered.
Heero tugged on the untied end of the doll’s little braid. “Was your hair really like this?” he asked.
“Yep!” Duo sounded a little curious, probably wondering where the question had come from, but didn’t seem to mind answering. “I guess the curse liked it too, since it left it like this.”
“That’s a lot of hair,” Heero murmured. He hadn’t really thought about it before, but Duo’s braid went all the way down past his lower back; on a human that would probably equal pounds.
“Yep!” said Duo again, this time in a tone of great pride. “It was the envy of all the lovely ladies.”
“Yeah, I bet. I don’t think I’ve ever met a guy with that much hair.”
“Yes, you have: that super-gay friend of yours.”
“Oh, Zechs?” Heero hadn’t thought of him. “I guess you’re right.”
Deliberately to pet the hair in question as he’d once seen Trowa do Heero did not dare, though his hand longed to feel its texture again. And since he’d never braided anyone’s hair and really had no idea how, he couldn’t even use the excuse of repairing the failing braid. But his brain was flooded with images… he knew what he would be fantasizing about tomorrow in the shower…
“And how ’bout you?” Duo wondered. “Was your hair always all messy and stuff like that? Did you ever bleach it like your sister does?”
“The style’s always been about the same, but…” Heero grimaced slightly. “Quatre once convinced me to bleach part of it, back in high school. Just the top…” He gestured. “He called it ‘frosting’ or something.”
“And you hated it,” Duo guessed, sounding amused.
“I want to see pictures!”
Heero snorted. He was looking around now for The Scarecrow of Oz, since continuing to stare lustfully at Duo didn’t seem advisable.
“There must be some,” persisted Duo. “I remember listening to you guys go on and on and on about those pictures of you and Relena at your parents’ house; it sounded like there were about a million.”
“I wasn’t going on and on and on.”
“No, you never do. But pictures? Are there pictures of your frosty hair?”
“Probably somewhere,” Heero mumbled. “Do you want Oz?”
“Yooouuu are being evasive. I bet there are a bunch of pictures, and you’re embarrassed about them, and I will totally see them one day and see how your hair looked.”
“I plead the Fifth.”
“You are the Fifth!”
Heero laughed. In actuality, though he hadn’t much liked the bleach effect in his hair back then, he wasn’t particularly embarrassed about pictures from high school — but it amused Duo to believe he was, so Heero let him think that.
“Oh, and I do want Oz,” Duo added.
So Heero, who by then had located the book, headed for the couch to make use of it.
In case you, like Duo, are curious about Heero’s high school hair adventure, have a look at this excerpt from his senior yearbook that I drew:
It tends to be rather a matter of chance whether or not people I draw look attractive, and I’m often just happy if they look human. In this case, that Heero turned out looking not very handsome I don’t mind specifically because of Duo’s thoughts on the matter in part 74; Duo finds him attractive and doesn’t give a damn what the rest of the world thinks, so it kinda doesn’t matter how he looks when I draw him for this story :D