title: Just Words
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Duo/Trowa
rating: G
warnings: romance
summary: Duo realizes he's never said it.
notes: for my aisoku, who pointed out to me that Duo never told Trowa 'I love you' in Rattlesnakes. which, in retrospect, i knew... but it made him sad. this is emphatically not a part of Rattlesnakes, though. (sorry, luv.) however... it is in a uni where Duo and Trowa are living in L2 together, happily, Trowa a vet and Duo a colonial architecht. just not Rattlesnakes. ^_^ (altho, i suppose, if it makes you happy, you could be forgiven for confusing the two.. hmph.)

Duo swung the cage door shut a little more forcefully than he needed to, and the brown tabby inside sulked, having missed his chance to cause any real havoc. "I don't understand; explain it to me again."

Trowa smiled slightly, carefully clipping the nails of the sedated terrier. He liked it when Duo came in with him on Sundays. Technically, this was normally a job for a tech, but Susan and Lisa both had been working overtime a lot this week, and anyway, he needed to do this dental before Jeeper's people returned to pick him up on Wednesday. "There's nothing to understand. Clowns are just creepy."

"But... you were a clown." Duo frowned, absently petting the calico with care.

Trowa's lips twitched in amused pleasure. "I never wore the makeup, though."

"But..." Duo sighed. "You worked in a circus. There were real clowns, right?"

"And they were creepy," Trowa asserted, firmly.

Duo shook his head, filling the calico's water dish while rubbing the cat's belly. "You are a strange, silly man, Mr. Barton. I guess that's why I love you so much."

It was probably the stillness that made Duo turn to look at Trowa, alarmed. Trowa was trying to swallow his reaction, but he couldn't help flushing all over. He suddenly didn't know what to do with his hands, and he couldn't look up at his partner. He couldn't breathe right, even, and he had the sick sense that he might start to tear up if he wasn't careful.

Duo shoved the cat back in her cage quickly, and locked the door without even looking. Trowa thought that maybe his chest might either explode or implode, with all that he was feeling. "What? What did I say?"

Trowa shook his head. He needed to speak. Yes. Words, or else Duo would think that something was wrong. More than he already did. "Nothing. Nothing." Duo was not convinced, clearly, or he wouldn't be kneeling next to Trowa, gently taking the clippers from his shaking hands. He felt so damned stupid. "It's nothing. I must be... I just... You never said..."

Duo's eyes were moving rapidly in tiny motions, his brain spinning fast through all the available facts. His eyes went distant as he went over what he had said. A stain of blush stole across his face, and Trowa stared at Duo's cheekbones, imagining that he could see the expanding blood vessels. "Ah. I said... I've never said that before?"

A single finger reached up to touch Duo's cheek cautiously. Trowa had never been good at relationships. They tended to self-destruct in his hands. People betrayed him, people died, people left, people got tired of putting up with his shit... But Duo had been so laid-back about everything, so relaxed. It had been so easy to slip into his life. Trowa wasn't sure if he was in a minefield or not, but there was an alchemy at work inside his veins, and he was afraid to mess with it.

The pause lengthened, and Duo sighed. Trowa wasn't sure what it meant, and his limbs went lax, his mind blanking.

"Oh, Tro... You know that's how I feel, right? I mean, you've known, right?"

Duo's eyes were so beautiful. Trowa loved to look into Duo's eyes, to be able to look into those eyes, to stare intently into Duo and get lost in the prismatic array of life that he found there. He pushed the words past the lump of prickly coal in his throat, wanting to get back to some sense of stability. "Of course."

Duo was in his arms now, just like that. Trowa held him, tightly, the feel of him, the smell of him, bringing peace and comfort. "Trowa... I'm sorry. I do love you. I'll try to remember to say it more."

"No," Trowa protested, almost mutely. "No, it's understood..."

Duo's lips ghosting on his, grounding him, kept him quiet until Duo could speak. "I love you, Trowa."

Trowa smiled softly, his hands running up and down Duo's body, his nose brushing against Duo's nose, his eyes lost inside of Duo's eyes. "I love you, too."

A soft yip tried to get their attention, but Jeepers wasn't at full strength yet. He would have to shake off the drugs a bit more before his tiny bark could break the hold they had on each other.