title: Engagement Period
fandom: Gundam Wing
characters/pairings: Heero/Duo, Hilde
rating: G/Teen
warnings: a little romance
summary: Heero thinks it's time to shake up the routine.
notes: for Caroline, because it's her birthday, and she rocks. ^_^

Heero circled his spoon through his coffee, creating eddies as the thick cream on top intermingled with the coffee below. He was at their usual table, at his usual seat, with his usual drink before him, and Duo's usual drink sitting across from him. People bustled around him, some of them familiar and some not. The barista winked at him knowingly as she took the order of the man with the stained trench coat. He always hemmed and hawed over his order, but he always ended up with a cafe au lait with vanilla syrup.

Duo was always late. And he always entered in a rush of words as he greeted Heero, explained his tardiness, commented on the weather and traffic, and nodded to the baristas.

So damned predictable.

Heero picked up a packet of fake sugar, shaking it back and forth, just to hear the sound it made as it slapped against his fingers. They had a new display of coffee mugs by the door, made out of fake wood.

They did this every Friday afternoon.

Every Monday, they met for breakfast at the bagel shop across from the university. Every evening, Duo called him as soon as he got home, and they chatted for most of the night. Sometimes, they talked about important things, and sometimes, Duo just talked, and Heero listened. Every Saturday morning, Duo would come over with some project or idea or problem, and they would spend the rest of the day doing what Duo said. Every Saturday night, they went to the pub across from the ballpark, and played pool while nursing pitchers of dark, creamy beer. Every Sunday, Heero went to Duo's place, and they went to the crêpe place to get breakfast and read the paper. Heero read the sports section, and the main news section, and Duo read the comics, and the arts section.

They'd been doing this for a year now. Heero was done waiting.

Duo came in, his jacket open and his braid flying behind him. Heero smiled, because he loved to see Duo so animated. There was something about a bird's nest. Duo talked too much for Heero to follow unless he listened to every word, and sometimes, he just liked to watch Duo's mouth when he talked.

Heero let him talk, acknowledging his thanks for the coffee, and making the appropriate noises and gestures at the appropriate time. Duo's cheeks were pinked a little from the exertion of talking, and from running to the coffee shop. Heero watched him until his color faded, like he would watch the sunset over the ocean until dusk had fully settled over the horizon.

"Duo," Heero interrupted him mid-sentence. "When did you first know you were gay?"

Duo came to a full stop, blinking quickly and looking around at the nearby tables to see if anyone had heard Heero. He shrugged, clearing his throat to gain a little more time. "I... don't really know, you know? In the colonies, it's not such a big deal as it is here. I don't think anyone really thinks about it one way or the other, it's just whoever you fall for. I guess. Why?"

Heero picked up his spoon, and started to stir again. The coffee was a smooth color now, the cream having nearly melted in entirely. "When was the first time you were attracted to another man?"

Duo shrugged, hunching his shoulders in a way that showed he wasn't entirely comfortable with the conversation. A year ago, he might have stopped, but Heero knew now that he could ask Duo anything, and no matter how awkward or painful, Duo would be happy to answer. "Oh. I don't know how old I was... I guess... five? six? Maybe seven. That's when I met Solo."

Duo had told him about Solo before. Duo had told him about nearly everything before. Heero had even told Duo everything that he could. There were no secrets anymore between them; it never even occurred to either of them to hide from each other. "You loved him."

It wasn't a question. Heero knew that Duo loved Solo. But he was so young when Solo died, Heero had never considered the possibility that desire might enter the equation as well. Duo smiled shyly. "I did, completely. As soon as I met him, I knew we would spend our lives together. He was my... everything."

"Have you ever had sex with another man?"

Duo blinked, but he was used to Heero's schizophrenic conversations by now. "Well, um, not, you know, not the full-on deal, no. No. I mean, I didn't really have time, did I, with the war and all, so. No."

Heero nodded. He wasn't sure if he was disappointed or not. Probably not. "Have you ever been in love with anyone else? Besides Solo?"

Duo blushed.

Heero leaned forward, stirring his coffee faster. "Duo?"

Duo shrugged, not looking at Heero. "Um. Sure."

Heero nodded. He was pretty sure, but he liked to know. "Come to my house for dinner tonight. Dress up."

"Huh?" Duo blinked. "Really? Is it... some sort of thing? Are you having people over? Should I bring anything? Is Relena coming, because if she is, you really should get flowers."

Duo's mind could be quite dizzying from time to time. Heero shook his head shortly. "No, I don't need anything. You'll come?"

Duo smiled. Heero liked Duo's smiles; they were fierce and fiery. "Of course!"

Heero smirked.

The doorbell rang just as Heero lit the last candle. He had timed it all perfectly. Smiling proudly to himself, he answered the door, taking a deep breath before swinging it open. Duo stood nervously on the other side, decked out in black leather pants, a black silk shirt, with a silver chain hanging just to his collarbone.

Heero grinned. "Come on in."

"Hey," Duo nodded, stopping short as soon as he was in the door. "Wow. Um, wow. This place looks... wow. Uh, romantic..."

Heero nodded. "Wine?"

Duo blinked. "Um. Who... who else is coming, Heero?"

Heero smirked. "We don't need anyone else to come, Duo. Just us."

Duo didn't get the joke. "But, ah, I mean, you've gone to so much trouble..."

"It was no trouble," Heero shrugged as he poured the wine, perfectly chilled and uncorked for the optimum amount of time. "It is our anniversary."

"Our... what now?" Duo asked, taking the wine glass blindly.

"Our anniversary. Sit down. Let me get the brie and pastry." He slipped into the kitchen, pulling the treat out from the oven and sliding it onto a wooden cutting board he had bought just for this. He grabbed the knife, and the loganberry sauce that he had already heated on the stove.

Duo was sitting numbly on the couch, staring at the myriad of candles Heero had lit. They were all vanilla scented, and he had differently colored glass tornado lamps over them, so they wouldn't have to worry about any fire hazard. He was especially proud of that touch.

"Here," Heero said, cutting up the cheese and pastry. "Try this. It's very good."

"Um. Ok, but..." Heero put a piece of the treat into Duo's mouth, leaving his fingers on Duo's lips for just a second. He traced the line of Duo's lips for a second, running the back of his knuckles against Duo's cheek before pulling away. "Uh. That's. Good. But... "

"Duo," Heero scooted closer to Duo, putting his arm behind Duo on the couch. "I don't want to push you into anything you are uncomfortable with, but I think it's time we took the next step in our relationship. We have been together for a year now."

"A year? Wait, what? Relationship?" Duo shook his head and tried to shrink back, but Heero kept moving closer.

"I think it's time to move forward. I won't hurt you," Heero promised, leaning ever closer.

Duo was probably trying to think of a response, but before he could, Heero kissed him.

He didn't have time to reply for a while, because Heero was very thorough about kissing, and he was enjoying it.

When they did break apart, Duo was pressed against the arm of the couch, with Heero stretched out on top of him. Had he thought of a response, he was too stunned to give it.

Heero began unbuttoning Duo's shirt. "I just think that after a year of dating, we might be ready to make some choices. I don't want to talk about moving in together right now, but I do want to celebrate the past year."

"Wait!" Duo threw up his hands. "What do you mean, we've been dating for a year?"

Heero blinked. "A year ago today, you called me and asked me out to dinner. We've been dating ever since."

Duo stared up at him.

Heero decided to kiss Duo some more, and Duo didn't object.

When Heero started to work on Duo's pants, having already removed his shirt, Duo decided to get any questions he might have out of the way. "Heero. Aren't you straight?"


"Oh. See, I thought you were."


"Oh. That does make more sense."

"Duo. Do you love me?"

Duo stared at Heero, who was now staring deeply into his eyes. He took a deep breath. "Well... yes..."

"Then we're decided?" Heero started tugging at Duo's buttons again.

"Heero... do you... do you... " Duo looked abashed and almost ashamed.

Heero scowled. He had missed something. "Yes, I love you."

Duo took Heero's head in his hands, and kissed him soundly. "Yeah, we're decided. And let's get to it, you've kept me waiting for a year!"

Hilde tapped her pen against the plastic casing of the calculator. She hated doing the books. She was no good at them at all.

Duo sauntered in, wearing something that had clearly spent the night on the floor. And he was whistling.

Hilde frowned, and buried her head in the books.

"Hey, Hil? Did you know that Heero and I have been dating for a year?"

She grunted. "Of course."

He blinked. "Am I the only one who didn't know?"

"Probably," she sighed. "You are a twit."

"Thanks!" He snorted. He grabbed the books out from under her. "If I'm such a twit, how come you're the one who needs a cheat sheet to tell the red from the black?"

"You do it, then!" she snorted, secretly pleased that things had worked out how she wanted.

He shook his head, and started to make sense of her scribblings. "I'm glad Heero finally decided to tell me we were dating. Comes with a lot of perks. Perky perks. Heh."

Hilde rolled her eyes. "You're going to be insufferable, aren't you? I'm going for coffee. Don't you usually spend Saturdays with Heero, anyway?"

Duo smirked brightly. "Can't get too mired in routine, Hil, or you just can't grow."

wow, that really changed tone midway through... sorry... also, i've apparently pulled my kink for dressing my boys in leather and silk out of storage. woot! ^_~