When Heero’s alarm sounded on Wednesday morning, his first response, as was frequently the case, was to hit the snooze button. But as he struggled into wakefulness and felt the warmth at his side, it occurred to him that the sleeping Duo didn’t really need to hear the buzzer go off as many times as was often required to get Heero out of bed. So he made an effort, forced his eyes to stay open, sat up, and turned off the alarm entirely.
Duo shifted and abruptly threw an arm around Heero’s waist. “Nooooo,” he groaned. Smiling, Heero bent and hugged him, somewhat awkwardly because of how they were arranged, and found himself looking into sleepy half-lidded eyes. “You hafta stay within five feet of me,” Duo muttered tiredly.
Heero kissed his cheek. “After work I will.” And, really, at the moment, he wanted nothing in the world more than just to sink down into Duo’s embrace and go back to sleep at his side… but he seriously couldn’t afford to miss more work.
Not without a noise of protest, Duo allowed Heero to extricate himself from limb and bedding, then curled up on his side hugging Heero’s pillow. Heero smiled down at him for a moment, then turned away to get ready.
Last night before they’d gone to bed (or what passed as going to bed in a new relationship), they’d discussed today and made arrangements for anything Duo was likely to want to do while Heero was at work. All of Heero’s pants were a little short on Duo, but his shorts functioned perfectly well, so clothing was not a problem now that they’d found Duo some tennis shoes that fit. Duo had made several suggestive comments about wearing Heero’s clothes, to which Heero had finally been in a good position to respond properly.
Heero had given him the last spare key to the apartment in case (as he had no doubt) Duo wanted to go wandering; Heero had also given him his cell phone number in case (as he had little less doubt) he then got lost and needed to figure out where he was. He wished he had a cell phone to give him as well, but it was nothing odd that he didn’t have a spare one of those lying around.
All the cash currently in his possession had gone over to Duo too, and this for some reason had rendered Duo somewhat misty-eyed. Heero was getting used to (and, indeed, rather enjoying) Duo tearing up over random things, and had watched in pleasure and amusement as Duo painstakingly identified the various pieces of currency and added up the total with intense satisfaction. It was the first money to be in his possession in a very long time, and he’d had interesting comments to make about the size and the designs.
After all of this, and a lot of accompanying and rather silly discussion of what Duo could and could not (or, rather, probably should not) do within the apartment, Heero was not concerned about Duo’s ability to keep himself entertained all day without having to resort to television; but he still didn’t want to leave him. He was looking down at him again now as he did up his tie, noting that Duo seemed to have gone back to sleep in earnest and unclenched somewhat from his possessive curl around the pillow, and he found that the wish to crawl back into bed with him and hold him until they both woke up at their leisure — as they had yesterday — had not diminished.
It wasn’t just that it was early and bed was comfortable; Heero found he simply didn’t want to go through an entire day without Duo at his side. He’d known he was attached to having Duo close by at all times, but he hadn’t realized how much it was going to bother him when that was no longer the case. Once he had his jacket on and was essentially ready to leave, he found himself still standing silently staring down, unwilling to move. Finally, though, sluggishly, he shook himself, and bent to kiss Duo’s cheek once more before heading out.
It proved, as he really should have anticipated, the most unproductive work-day he’d ever experienced. None of the previous distractions — checking on a magical message board at frequent intervals, pondering whether the doll on his end table might really be a cursed human, mulling over Duo’s relationship with Trowa and his own feelings on the matter — none of it had been anywhere near this bad.
Between wondering what Duo was up to, wishing Duo were here or that he were at home with Duo, forgetting that Duo was not here and turning to say something to him and finding the desk empty, and the thought of Duo’s human limbs and skin and face and his warmth and the signs of attachment he’d given and their future together, it would be nothing short of a miracle, Heero thought, if he came out of the day with one single item of legitimate business completed.
Dorothy, rather than chiding him, merely rolled her eyes with one of her knowing smiles — and although the latter did look rather condescending, Dorothy’s smiles always did, and she didn’t seem upset with him. On the contrary, she seemed deliberately to be trying to draw off their co-workers’ questions to herself, as far as she could, so as to leave Heero in relative peace. He wondered what she thought was going on.
The distraction, oddly enough, actually made it easier to put up with Wufei. Indeed, the latter had been going on about something in a comic book — apparently there was a movie coming out? and it was destined to suck? or something? — for several minutes before Heero even realized he was speaking. Glancing at his computer clock, he was startled to see that it was almost lunch time. Had he really made it all the way through half the day already? He was doing better than he’d thought. He wished Duo were here.
But wait. He could go home for lunch. Quatre had been making the trip to Heero’s apartment during lunch for a while, hadn’t he? There wouldn’t be a huge amount of time, given how long the drive would take, but he could go home and see Duo before tackling the rest of the day.
So exciting was this thought that he almost got up right then and there and headed out to his car; but he forced himself instead to remain in his seat and continue making noises at Wufei as if he was listening — something about someone’s weakness being the color yellow? no, he couldn’t really have just heard that — and wait out the last quarter hour or so before he could go to lunch with impunity.
With two minutes left on the clock and Wufei having expanded into the territory of the failures of comic book movies in general, Heero’s cell phone unexpectedly rang. It was an unfamiliar local number, and he was tempted to ignore it entirely, but the awareness that it could possibly be Duo prompted his hand rather to dart for the device more quickly than he would have moved if it had been a caller he recognized.
“Hello?” he said a little breathlessly, interrupting and thus silencing Wufei.
“Heero, I figured out the phone all by myself!”
Heero could not have predicted the flood of joy and the increase in heart rate he would experience at hearing Duo’s voice after so many hours apart. Was this how a parent felt after a child’s very first day at school? No, that was creepy. He had no proper analogy. It felt wonderful; that was all.
“Was it difficult?” he answered Duo’s cheerful statement.
“Nope. I just pushed the numbers and it went right through. This is my first phone call! As a human, I mean.”
“You never talked on the phone at all before?” Heero wondered. “Didn’t they have them back then?” In glancing around, he found Wufei still there, giving him a strange and, in fact, perhaps somewhat worried look — whether in response to his odd words or the unusual joy in his face and tone, Heero could not guess and did not care. He gestured apologetically, locked his computer, and stood.
“Yeah, rich people did. I think Trowa even had one, after he started being rich. I just never happened to use one. Hey, they’re starting to give me weird looks here; I don’t think they like people just walking in and asking to use the phone without buying anything.”
“Where are you?” Heero was heading out of the cubicle now, not paying the slightest attention to how Wufei was reacting to all of this.
“The McDonald’s up the street from your apartment. Um, I don’t know which street.”
“I bet I know which one it is,” Heero grinned. “Stay there, and I’ll come meet you.”
Duo gave a very pleased, “Oh!” and followed it up with, “OK! I’ll see you in a minute, then.”
So lunch went unexpectedly well. Heero wasn’t a big fan of McDonald’s, but he hardly noticed what he was eating in the pleasure of seeing Duo enjoying food — and seeing Duo at all. Plus he got some kisses out of it, which won them some scandalized looks from other customers that Heero was better able to ignore than he would ever have thought he could be. And then he went back to work even more distracted than before.
And he found that, whatever the provocation — be it Wufei’s incomprehensible talk, Dorothy’s condescension, or being forced to make up a reason why he no longer had a doll on his desk and a whole new wave of resultant curiosity from his other co-workers — with the bolstering memory of that happy lunch with Duo and the evening and night with Duo to look forward to, he could put up with just about anything.