title: Bending
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Heero/Duo, Quatre/Trowa, Wu Fei, Relena
rating: G
warnings: crossdressing, waxing, dance belt
summary: A Halloween theme party, ie, the flimsy excuse to get boyz into drag.
notes: this takes place... well, in canon continuity, loosely. after the wars. let's say everyone went to college, or something.
this is for Sunhawk, who insisted that i needed to make things up with heero after rattlesnakes. since she's a genius, i do what she tells me to. *shrugs* i'm easy like that. ^_~
you know, years later, this title seems to mean something entirely different than it did at the time...

"You don't have to go. If you don't want to, I won't get all psycho about it." Relena made a gesture with her hands and her face that was apparently supposed to mimic lunacy, but it didn't help to convince Heero of her sanity.

He just continued to stare blankly at her.

"I don't understand, Miss Relena," Quatre cleared his throat delicately. "Are you hoping that we don't go?"

"Oh, no! I would love for you to be there." She smiled coyly at Heero, fluttering her eyelashes just enough to get across the impression that she had something in her eye. "But... it's a theme party, and if you come, you would have to participate, you know, go along with the theme, and I don't want to force you to do anything."

Wu Fei snorted loudly enough to be heard but ignored, and continued to read his book.

"What's the theme?" Quatre inquired with obviously forced pleasantness.

"Well..." Relena bit her bottom lip, shrugging slightly. "I already talked to Duo about it. It's a Gender Bender All Hollow's Eve Bash. See, you have to dress in costume, like the American Halloween custom, and... you have to wear a girl costume. I mean, boys have to come dressed as girls, and vice versa. But you can wear any costume you want! As long as it is feminine."

Wu Fei shut his book closed promptly, took his cup of tea, and stood up. "I decline." He walked briskly out of the room, too fast to hear Quatre's soft sigh.

"Don't worry, Miss Relena." Quatre smiled diplomatically. "I'm sure we can figure something out."

"No." Heero got straight to the point. He didn't like the idea of attending one of Relena's parties, even though she seemed to have accepted that her fixation was one-sided. And he really didn't like the idea of dressing in drag for the privilege of attending one of Relena's parties. He just didn't look good in dresses.

"Oh," Relena's face fell, but she worked hard at keeping an upbeat tone. "Ok. I had sort of figured that you might not be interested. That's ok."

"We'll be there." Quatre offered quickly, turned to look at Trowa for validation only afterward.

Relena smiled. "Thank you. I think it will be really fun!"

Heero glared at the kitchen table. There was no way in hell that party could be fun. He sat and endured the rest of Relena's brief visit, even sitting still as Relena leaned over to peck him on the cheek as she was leaving. He had been working on his socialization, and he thought that he was coming along nicely.

Trowa was tapping his finger on the table. Quatre was ignoring it, but it was clear that it was making him nervous. The corner of Heero's lip curled up just a little. Quatre was making lunch, anxiously bouncing from the stove to the refrigerator when he finally couldn't stand it anymore. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, ok! I don't like the idea much more than anyone else, but she came out here to invite us in person, and it's the polite thing to do!"

Trowa stopped tapping his finger as soon as Quatre stopped. "I have tan cords, and a sweater that matches."

"Huh?" Quatre stared at Trowa, his estimation of Trowa's sanity evident from his facial expression.

"With a tail and some ears, I could be a lioness. No mane." Trowa gestured around his head, obviously pleased with himself.

Quatre immediately brightened. "Oh! Good idea. See, now, that's creative. Heero, you really should consider going. It would make Relena so happy."

Heero snorted. "Her happiness isn't a priority."

Quatre sighed, and continued to make lunch. He even cajoled Heero and Trowa into helping set the table.

When lunchtime came, they realized that Duo was not around. Wu Fei had looked upstairs before coming down, and they checked the garage. Duo's bike was missing. It wasn't unusual for one of them to take off without telling anyone, but it clearly bothered Heero that he didn't know where Duo was. Quatre contained his mirth, and suggested to Heero that Duo was just out getting a costume for the party.

Wu Fei snorted. "No self respecting man would dress like a woman for a party."

"Hey!" Quatre immediately objected. "That's rather judgmental, don't you think? Drag has been a legitimate part of homosexual culture since before the colonies, and what about transvestites?"

"As I said," Wu Fei replied, dryly, "no self respecting man."

Heero privately agreed with Wu Fei, but he wasn't about to get into it with Quatre, who was already launching into a historical diatribe on the history of alternative lifestyles and their significance in the colonial cultural revolution.

Dresses were not made to be worn by men. It was pure logic. And even if he could come up with some lame costume like 'lioness,' what would be the point? Get all dressed up so he could mingle with Relena's circle of overly educated pseudo intellectual elitist drunkards? No thanks.

Lunch was finished with no resolution to Quatre's and Wu Fei's debate, as per the usual, and Heero was just starting to get really worried about Duo, when he heard the front door slam. Sitting back to appear more casual, Heero waited for Duo's arrival. He had made sure that no one finished off either the potatoes or the salad, so Duo would still have plenty of lunch.

"Hey guys," Duo called out before even entering the kitchen, "dude, has Relena stopped by yet? I met her outside. Man, this thing has a lot of buttons on it... Oh, Trowa, cool, I got a question for you. You ever use one of those dance belt things before?"

Heero's eyes quite literally were about to pop out of his head. Duo had a plastic shopping bag hanging from his arm, and he was holding a... thing from his fingers. He was holding a female thing by the straps from his fingers. A leather female thing with lots of satin laces and buttons. The sort of female thing that kinda looked like a really tight tank top, only it was a female thing. With leather and laces.

Wu Fei nearly fell out of his chair. "What the hell is that thing, Maxwell!?"

Duo shrugged. "I dunno what they call it. Bustier? Corset? Whatever. It's for my costume. Anyway, Tro, here's the thing I got," Duo shoved the female thing back into the bag, and pulled out something that looked vaguely like a nylon stocking, only much too short and with straps. "But I can't tell the back from the front, or anything! How the hell am I supposed to put this on? You familiar with these things?"

Trowa was grinning a little too widely. "Yeah, I had to wear one a couple of times in the circus. I'll show you how it works."

Heero got his brain to function long enough to speak. "What the hell is that?" He didn't mind that he sounded a little like he was mimicking Wu Fei. He felt like Wu Fei looked.

"Oh," Duo blushed slightly, and Heero was certain that it was completely unfair how the stain of the blush highlighted Duo's cheekbones perfectly, "it's, you know, for keeping the 'boys' in place so I can wear the skirt." Duo grinned lopsidedly, smiling directly at him, and suddenly Heero felt very warm.

And then he processed.

Practically jumping out of his chair, he stepped around the table and stood between Duo and Trowa. "I'll help you get it on."

"What?" Duo confusedly looked from Trowa to Heero. "But... I mean... It's kinda complicated, and, uh, delicate. And you didn't even recognize it. Do you... really think you know how they work?"

"No problem," Heero assured. "I was just thinking of the German name. ...Der Flederhosen."

"Oh," Duo responded, shell-shocked. "But... um, you didn't recognize it when I pulled it out..."

Heero turned to glare at Trowa, sure that everyone in the city could hear his muted chuckles. "I got it. When do you need to start getting ready?"

"Oh," Duo shook his head, looking at the clock. "Well, I told Relena I would help her get the party started, you know, get there early, help her with the last minute stuff, do shots with her and her early guests... She wants us there at about seven she said, but I need to do this rinse thing on my hair, and put this wax stuff on my legs..."

Quatre sputtered. "You're waxing your legs?!!?"

Duo shrugged, smiling. "Sure. The guy at the store said it was better than shaving, cuz the hair grows back more naturally or something. Anyway. I got this wax stuff, and it's not supposed to be too hard..."

"I'll help," Heero immediately offered.

Duo stared at him like he was sprouting testicles from his neck. "O-Ok... I guess... Do you need to wax for your costume?"

Heero blinked. "Yes. I mean... I don't have a costume yet. But, probably."

Quatre was not so discreetly hiding his laughter behind his hand, and Wu Fei was grumbling something about no real men left, but Duo was too busy thinking to pay much heed, so Heero didn't need to kill either of them. "Oh, ok, let's think... Well, no, that won't work... Um, probably something not too demanding, eh, how about..." Duo eyed Heero critically for a minute, and suddenly Heero felt like turning around so Duo couldn't see through him anymore. "Oh! I know! You can be Sailor Mercury!"

Duo looked so damn proud of himself that Heero was willing to overlook Trowa's sharp guffaw. "Who?"

"It's easy! We just need a Sailor suit... like one of those girl's high school uniforms. Mercury never wore much makeup, so we can get away with just some lip liner and eye shadow, and she has short hair, like you. You can even be her pretransformation, so you can wear a longer skirt. No dance belt." Duo grinned happily, so Heero just nodded in agreement.

He wasn't sure why Hilde had a sailor school uniform, but since she was stressing how it had just been cleaned, he decided not to contemplate it. Then there was the whole process of getting ready. Heero had himself and Duo secluded in the upstairs bathroom, citing Duo's hair rinse as a reason for them to be left alone. No one made any stupid comments, so all of his roommates got to live.

Duo stripped down to his boxers unabashedly, and started to unwind his braid. He was saying something, too, but Heero was working on not making a complete fool of himself, so he just nodded mutely at appropriate intervals. The color was a fruit-based dye that was supposed to make Duo's hair black, but wash out in 10 washes. To get it in, Heero had to massage his fingers through Duo's hair, making sure to evenly spread the stuff throughout the length of Duo's hair.

By focusing very closely on what he was doing, he managed to not become aroused.

Duo was chattering away about some time when he was a kid, and he got all this raw sewage in his hair. Heero thought it was a terrible story, but Duo was so cheerful, he pretended it was nice, too. Then he got to wash out the gunk under the spigot in the tub. He had his hands and Duo's hair under the water, getting all wet together. It was nice.

Heero cut the inside of his lip trying to keep himself from reacting.

It was going to take Duo a long time to dry his hair, but fortunately, he was planning on pulling it up into a tight ponytail on the top of his head, so he didn't bother getting it perfectly dry. He worked in some styling thing, and then started to brush out his hair. Heero watched while sitting on the toilet, fingering the dance belt.

There was no way in hell he was going to let Trowa of all people help Duo fit this thing on, but that did mean that he had to figure out how to put it on himself. It looked like some form of medieval torture, and Heero hated the idea of binding Duo's... 'boys' like this, but apparently Duo deemed it necessary.

Duo had finished with his hair. It was pulled up high on the back of his head, secured with something that looked like a tightly wound black spring, and then tied off in intervals with black leather straps. It looked a little like a leash, all sleek black and bound like that. Heero did not mention that.

It was now time for makeup, apparently, and Duo was using a lot. He painted his lips blood red, and wiped some liquid thing over his face so it looked all pale, and evenly colored. It was the first time that Heero had really considered that not all women had as good of skin as they appeared to have. Then Duo started working on his eyes. Heero watched in dumb fascination as Duo lined his eyes in thick black, and attached extensions to his eyelashes. He brushed some powder over his face, and did some other things that Heero couldn't even identify, nor see the effect of; he really wanted to ask Duo where he learned to do all of this, but he was afraid that either Duo would answer, or kill him.

Heero shrank back a little when Duo turned his narrowed eyes onto him, but it was relatively painless. He wasn't sure how Duo expected him to sit still when he was approaching his eye with a sharp pencil, but it was all over rather quickly.

Duo rummaged through his bag. "Oh, I guess we should have done this wax thing before, huh? Ok, well, let's get the damned dance belt thing on, and then do it. Give me a sec to pee, ok?"

Heero nodded, stepping away from the toilet. It was do or die time. He could either fit this thing on Duo, or else Trowa was going to be called in to help. Heero narrowed his eyes. That would not be happening.

"Ok, I'm ready." Duo was grinning. And naked. He was grinning naked. Totally naked. No clothes. Nothing. He was hanging loose and free, his hair up in this dark, twisted ponytail, his face painted up like a vampire's whore, completely naked.

Heero swallowed, and nodded. He had a mission. "Ok, spread your legs a little..." He had to get down on his knees in front of Duo. Naked. Had to. He could do this, it was a mission. And Duo probably wouldn't notice if he got a little hard.

He pulled the nylon thing up. There was no obvious way to do this, so he did it in the least obvious way possible. Duo leaned over, putting his hands on Heero's shoulders, and Heero thought his blood pressure would rise so high his head would explode. Maybe even both.

"Ooh. Ah. Watch it, watch it! Careful with those now... Ah... Ah... Ouch. Damn it, Heero!"

Heero snapped the thing into what seemed like place, and scooted back. "Done."

Duo stretched out a little, trying to adjust the thing as best he could. "Damn, it feels like it's gonna floss my ass... Damn, these things are uncomfortable! Ick, ow, ish... Does it look like it will hold?"

He angled around a bit, trying to test the belt. Heero stared. Duo was naked, and stretching, his 'boys' bound like naughty little bitches. He swallowed. "Looks good."

Heero stayed on the floor while Duo set up the wax stuff. It was supposed to heat up under water, and then there were these paper strips to rip the wax off after you put it on your legs. It looked vile.

"Women sure have it hard, huh, Heero?"

Heero shook his head. He was maybe ready to get up now. "Yeah."

"Kinda makes you respect Relena more, huh?"

Heero thought about all the times that Relena had interfered in his life, disrupting his plans, keeping him from being with Duo so that she could indulge in some silly girlish fantasy about knights falling from the sky... "No."

Duo shook his head, grinning. He perched himself on the bathroom counter, stretching his legs out in front of him. "Aw, c'mon, she's not so bad."

Heero snorted. He supposed he needed to do this, too, so he dropped his pants quickly. Thank goodness it was a black boxer day; that was about as discreet as he could get. "Says you. She never stalked you."

Duo rolled his eyes. "You did encourage her during the war."

"No, I didn't!" Heero hotly denied. He was sick to death of hearing about how perfect he and Relena were for each other. "When did I encourage her?"

Duo winked, looking very saucy in his makeup, hair, and relative nudity. "Well, there were all those times when you could have killed her, and didn't."

"I never killed Zechs or Treize either, but no one ever just assumes I was madly in love with either of them! I wasn't in love with her!"

Duo smiled as he spread the hot wax over his leg. "Well, I didn't think so... But everyone kept telling me that you were, so..."

Heero fumed. Perhaps he had spared his roommates foolishly. "Why? Really, why?"

Placing a strip of the paper on his leg, Duo shrugged. "Here, get up here and get going... And I don't know. I think... it wasn't really anything that you did, so much as that you two seemed to fit so well. You were both idealists, fighting for peace..."

Heero frowned. He didn't think that the wax could have gotten that hot just from sitting under the water. Apparently, it was in some sort of special container that heated up fast. "I was never an idealist."

"Sure you were," Duo cheerfully contradicted right before ripping off the strip of paper. "God damn son of bitch! Did it work?"

Heero poked Duo's leg, letting his fingertip glide up the narrow expanse of waxless skin. "Yeah. Seems to."

"Fuck. Well, have to keep at it, then... and you were an idealist, at least compared to me. Or Trowa. Or Fei. Quatre was a bit of an idealist, too, but he was kinda politically savvy at the same time. He never thought we could end the war with just fighting. Or that peace would stay without some force."

They kept spreading wax over their legs, and ripping it off again, until they were completely hairless. Heero considered Duo's words, but only casually. There were other things to do; he could figure it out later.

Duo ran his hands up and down his legs. Heero watched Duo's hands with rapt attention. Duo grinned at him, looking utterly wicked. "Is it wrong that I really like this?"

Heero hesitantly reached out, and smoothed his palm over Duo's leg. He couldn't muster up the courage to slide his hand up past Duo's knee, but it was nice. The skin was so smooth, like satin. He grinned at Duo, hoping he didn't look too goofy.

Duo stood up quickly, and rushed them along. They had already spent four hours getting ready, and they didn't have much time left. Duo combed Heero's hair, using gel so that it slicked down and did what he wanted it to do. He tied a small blue ribbon in Heero's hair, more to make it look more feminine than because Sailor Mercury wore ribbons in her hair. He helped Heero get dressed, although there wasn't much to the costume. The skirt was too short for boxers, but he was able to change into some briefs without being too conspicuous, after thwacking Duo on the shoulder for suggesting that he wear panties.

Heero didn't even think he looked that bad, once he got the knee socks on. It was sort of cute, if it were on someone else.

Next, he had to help Duo get into his costume. The female thing took a lot a pulling and stretching to get it to work. It was a mesh of interlocking leather, lace, and satin straps, with thick leather cups where the breasts would go, and tiny satin buttons running down the middle. The buttons were like Chinese buttons, so there was a gap even when it was all trussed up, and there was a lot of skin exposed by the interlocking straps. It was also virtually backless except for the criss crossing satin laces.

Heero had to pinch himself behind his balls while Duo was rustling through his bag to keep from making a mess of Hilde's skirt.

Duo pulled out his skirt, which was easily half the size of Heero's. It was actually little more than a tiny flap of vinyl, with a belt sewn into the top, with a large silver shinning buckle that rested on the hip. But even when the skirt was buckled, there was no way to keep the bottom of the flap in place, so Duo's entire left leg was pretty much exposed.

Heero's heart thudded in his chest, and he swallowed hard. Fortunately, Duo had to rummage through his bag again, so Heero had enough time to twist his balls to keep himself from getting up.

Duo put his leg up on the counter to put on the long fishnet stockings. They had thick elastic bands so that they would stay up about mid-thigh, and Duo was enjoying a little too much snapping them to show Heero how stable they were. Then he needed Heero's help to lace up his knee-high boots.

Heero was on his knees before Duo again, and even though Duo was now technically clothed, it seemed even dirtier.

"Ta da!" Duo struck a pose as soon as his boots were fastened. "What do you think?"

There was no way in hell that Heero could actually say what he thought, so instead he said something else. "Wait, that's not your whole costume, is it?"

"Oh, no!" Duo rolled his eyes at himself. Heero sighed in relief. If Duo went out like that, he would practically be naked... "Here we go!" Duo triumphantly pulled out a gleaming black riding crop from his bag.

Heero stared. "What the hell are you?"

Duo winked at him, grinning. "I'm a dominatrix. I figured it would be good to tap into some female power, you know, show that the feminine side could be just as tough. What do you think?"

Heero blinked. "Won't you get cold?"

Duo rolled his eyes and laughed.

Heero followed Duo downstairs, feeling struck dumb. Duo's tight tail swished behind him viciously, and his tiny tiny skirt flipped up as Duo stepped down each step.

Heero's vision went fuzzy, and he started to chant a short mantra to keep his thoughts from getting too far afield.

Trowa and Quatre were waiting for them downstairs, Trowa wearing his sweater and cords, with little kitty ears poking up on the top of his head, and a long tail swishing behind him. Quatre had wrapped himself up in gauze, clearly taping something to his chest to make it look like he had breasts. Wu Fei was reading, and pretended that he wasn't in the room with him, although even he ogled Duo from behind the safety of his pages.

Heero saw him stare at Duo, and he saw the way Trowa's lips curled, and the way that Quatre blushed. He would kill them all when it was convenient.

Duo twirled his riding crop around his finger. "Let's go, girls! It's time to party!"

Trowa leaned against the wall, angling himself in Quatre's direction. As was the usual when they went out, Quatre was the designated driver, and Trowa was three sheets to the wind. "Hey."

Quatre grinned. He loved it when Trowa got drunk; he also got chatty. "Hey."

"What do ya think of the party?"

Quatre smiled, looking around the room. Relena was dressed as Charlie Chaplin, and she was still arguing with Dorothy, dressed as Eddie Izzard, that dressing as a man in drag was defeating the purpose of the party. Noin was in the corner, dressed up as a Frankenstein, though she hadn't been able to talk Zechs into dressing as the bride of Frankenstein. Zechs was at the punch bowl, chatting with a Norma Jean, in his Arabian princess get up. There were throngs and throngs of people, all running the gamut from 'clever' outfits like Trowa's to full-out drag like Duo's. "It's fun. I like the theme. Helps people to break away from the norm."

"Heero's being protective again." Trowa was looking at Duo and Heero, who were riffling through the music. Duo was actually riffling through the music while Heero was preventing a guy dressed as streetwalker from getting a better look at Duo's boots.

Quatre shook his head. "I think it's cute."

Trowa looked doubtful. "And vaguely stalkerish. That girl who asked Duo to dance is still crying."

Quatre shrugged. "They make a good couple."

"I suppose," Trowa said doubtfully. "But don't you think Heero is crowding Duo?"

"Ooooooh, I don't know," Quatre countered, trying to sound seductive. "Crowding can be good, if you catch my drift."

Trowa snickered madly.

That was another reason Quatre liked it when Trowa drank. It was the only time he could hear Trowa laughing like that.

Duo's boots made a sharp clonking noise as they clunked over the boards of the deck. "Whoosh! Daaaaamn, is it hot in there!" He walked with only a little bit of a swagger to the railing, his narrow hips sashaying back and forth entrancingly.

Heero had not let more than three feet separate them the whole night. Duo was the hit of the party, his costume attracted all kinds of attention, most of which was the kind that Heero didn't like. Duo hadn't stopped, either, from the time the party started. He had done about five hundred shots, danced for four hours, laughed at every stupid joke...

Heero was very glad to have this time on the deck with Duo alone.

Duo was swaying back and forth as he leaned over, giving Heero an excuse to put his hands on Duo's hips. He had been aching to touch Duo all night, so much so that by now he thought he would spontaneously combust with the thrill of it.

"Maaaaaan, Heero, what a party! Itss good to get some fresh air, issn't it? It's hot in there!"

Heero thought it was hot out there, and he pressed himself dangerously closer to Duo. Duo smelled like leather and hair rinse and alcohol. Heero slipped his hand further along the line of Duo's hips, so that his fingertips on his left hand were touching the bare skin of Duo's exposed leg. "Hey, Duo, how much have you had to drink?" Heero spoke directly into Duo's ear, his nose brushing along the reddened rim of flesh.

Duo laughed quietly. "Was I supposed to keep track?"

Heero boldly moved his hands so that his arms were completely encircling Duo's waist, and his hands were resting just above Duo's crotch. "Will you remember this in the morning?"

"Remember what?" Duo asked foggily.

Heero pulled Duo tight against his body. He could feel Duo's legs against his own, that narrow contact of skin enough to cause his belly to flare into flames. "I want to fuck you so bad. I want to lay you out the bed and take hours defiling your body. I love you so much, but I'm so afraid that if anything happened, it wouldn't last more than a night." He was just whispering, his lips moving on Duo's skin, behind his ear, and he felt groggy with the feel of it. He turned Duo in his arms, and tasted Duo's lips.

Duo opened his mouth, and Heero moved in, taking the kiss as deep as he could. He couldn't help grinding his hips against Duo's, or holding Duo so tightly to himself he thought they were start to meld. He was getting high off the passion.

"Heero! Duo!" Quatre's voice reached them long before he did, and Heero took a step back, leaving Duo to list against the railing alone. "Heero! Duo!" Quatre sighed with relief. "There you are. Look, Trowa threw up in the houseplants, so it's time to go, ok?"

Duo nodded, his eyes half-lidded. Heero balled his hands into fists and shut his eyes tightly. If only they had taken separate cars...

Heero led Duo to the car, and Quatre and Relena helped Trowa. Relena kissed Quatre's and Heero's cheek, but Duo swooped down to kiss her lips as a goodbye. Relena backed away giggling, purposefully avoiding Heero's glare. Heero was too preoccupied helping Duo get into the car with seemingly endless limbs to care that Quatre was laughing at him.

When they got home, Heero had to help Quatre get Trowa to his room, and to bed. By the time they had finished, Duo was already in the bathroom, and when he got out, he had already stripped, leaving his costume strewn over the floor, and changed into boxers. Duo blearily reminded Heero to wash his face before going to bed, and then disappeared into his room.

Heero dug his fingernails into his palms, gritting his teeth. He fell asleep fitfully after taking the time to beat off, an imaginary Duo propped up beside him, egging him on.

Mornings after parties sucked, especially when Wu Fei decided to get all superior and snotty. Heero ignored him, comforting himself with memories of when he nearly killed him.

Duo was the last one down, although Trowa looked much worse for the wear. Duo amiably took Wu Fei's ribbing about his costume, cheekily suggesting that Wu Fei was only joking like that to cover for how horny seeing him dressed up like that had made the other man.

Heero didn't like the way that Wu Fei blushed when Duo said that.

Duo offered to do the dishes for everyone, so Heero stayed behind to help.

"God," Duo sighed, "I'm going to have to wash my hair about fifty million times today. Why did I think it was so important that it was black?"

Heero looked down the length of Duo's bedraggled black braid. He wanted to offer to help, but he didn't think he could in this circumstance. "Well, you looked great. And we had fun, yeah?"

Duo beamed. "Yeah, it was a great party. Didn't get to meet a whole lot of people, but Relena's friends tend to be irritating anyway."

Heero nodded emphatically, feeling a little foolish when Duo smothered a giggle.

"Oh, and Heero?" Duo slipped the last dish in the dishwasher, having done a moderately decent job of rinsing them off. He shut the dishwasher with relish, wiping his hands on his pants to dry them. He walked over to Heero, a few deliberate steps away. He leaned very close into Heero's personal space. He spoke conspiratorially, as if he were imparting a great secret. "I wasn't nearly as drunk as I was pretending to be last night, and I remember everything. Don't be so afraid, ok?" He kissed Heero, lingering just a little before trudging upstairs to the bathroom to begin deblacking his hair.

Heero stayed rooted to the spot, his heart thammering in his chest, his eyes wide, his legs unsteady.

A smile was toying with his lips, but he needed to calm down before he could give in to the elation.