Intentions of Time
Part 2 - The Present
The shuttle touched down with a soft thud, barely disturbing the sleeping occupants within it. One passenger in particular, however, noted the slight movement and opened his violet eyes to the rather harsh sunshine through the unclosed hatch window and squinted at the sudden violation. Duo had forgotten that it would be early morning when he arrived and had fallen asleep on the shuttle without closing the little blind. But a small thing like assault to his eyes would not discourage him today. No. He was finally home after that blasted week long business trip. He could finally go home, jump on Heero and have a nice, relaxed meal. And have wild sex, of course. Breathing the faintly stale air of the shuttle, Duo looked out and saw the runway race by with a gleeful smile on his face. He couldnít wait to get home and see Heero. A week was too long of a time to be without his lover.
I watch him as he sleeps, his hair tousled and messy, his bright blue eyes closed to the world. He breathes softly, his chest rising and falling almost imperceptibly with each intake of oxygen. God, he is beautiful. Sure, there is a war going on out there and we are living on the edge of sanity with our giant gundams as our partners, but right now, all I see is Heero. The moon is high up in the sky, casting a romantic silver glow all around the tiny room we share. It bounces off Heeroís bronzed skin and brown hair, sparkling merrily like tiny little jewels. I know Iím lucky to have this wonderful boy as my lover, my best friend and my soulmate. I would have never guessed that we would be like this only a month ago, but here we are, sleeping in the same bed in the nude, our limbs entwined and our breaths mingling. I donít think Iíve ever been so happy with my lot in life. I run my fingers through his hair, touch his cheek and his lips. He stirs slightly and then opens his eyes. Silver tinted cobalt eyes stare at me, mesmerizing me. He smiles, his eyes soften ever so gently, and I know, for as long as I live, I will never forget the look.
Duo waited impatiently as the line off the shuttle ambled along at the pace of a turtle. People getting their carry-on luggage blocked his way to the exit and little children stumbled past him in an amazing display of dexterity. He figured that it was some weird law of nature that made every shuttle port experience slower than molasses in February. Every time, it took at least an hour to get off the shuttle and get out of the port. It was ridiculous how inefficient most people were with their time, wasting it away by being snail-paced at such an unimportant locale as a shuttle port. The line of people in front of him moved yet another small pace and Duo took a small step forward. At this rate, by the time he got home to Heero, it would be night. He sighed.
I look at our new home and pinch myself to make sure Iím not dreaming this time. Itís a small little thing, three bedrooms, a kitchen with a breakfast nook, standard living room and dining room spaces. And of course, the huge lawn. Itís all ours now. Heero and I signed the papers just this morning and here we are, staring at our new house. This is where weíre going to live together, build our life together. Iím so giddy that Iím bouncing up and down like an idiot, but Heero is looking at me with indulgence in his eyes. He reaches out his hand and grasps mine and we run into the house at full speed. Iím kind of surprised that we donít trip over each other in our haste to get inside, but we are trained soldiers. We donít trip. Iím in such a good mood that I donít even want to chastise myself for that last bit of a stupid joke. Excitement is just pouring out of me, infecting Heero too, and we collapse on the hardwood floor of our living room and laugh. Just laugh. This is our home! I have a home. With Heero. Iím going to cook meals here that Heero will look at with a suspicious eye before tasting. Iím going to needle Heero when he does laundry because he has to use the most precise amount of detergent. Weíre going to argue over lawn care, house care, hair care. Weíre going to do everything in this home. I think my life just canít get any better. I love this house. I love him. I love life.
People milled around the economy parking lot like so many flies on honey. They were slow, a little lost and extremely surprised at a running figure dodging around them. Smiling insanely, Duo ran around the people in his path and practically flew towards his car. His house was a three hour drive from the port, but it was an open road that led to his part of the world. He couldnít wait to get in, start up the car and zoom down the road in a speed designated by law enforcement as Ďreckless and dangerous.í His patience had worn thin when getting off the shuttle had literally taken an hour. It was no surprise that as soon as his feet touched the asphalt of the runway that he took off like a bat out of hell, screaming ĎIím free!í and pumping his fists into the air. It was rather sad to see him stop abruptly and walk dejectedly towards the luggage pick-up. But here he was now, luggage in tow, finally free from the slower members of society. His car awaited him in this huge parking lot, the car of his dreams. It was the sweetest piece of equipment barring Deathscythe. Three hours of top speed on land would help him vent his frustration before he got home to Heero.
I admit, Iím not a drooler. I only drooled over Heero and I think thatís a fairly good thing. But here I am, little drops of saliva falling out of my opened mouth as I stare at the beautiful sight before me. Moonbeam silver. Curves that defy laws of physics. Leather and wood blending like they were natureís first choice of mates. Yes, Iím staring at my new car. Heero bought it for me for my birthday. I came home from work earlier today, kind of sad that my birthday so far had been a total bust. Heero had zipped out of the house in the morning so fast that I barely caught him saying happy birthday to me. Then work had made me cranky. But I get home to find my lover laying on the hood of this amazing piece of machinery. So Iím currently too busy admiring the new car. Heero comes up to me, enfolds me in a hug and whispers Ďhappy birthdayí to me. I canít believe it. Sure, weíre not impoverished, but this car.. how can we afford it? I look into his eyes and he kisses me on my nose lightly. All he does his show me a piece of paper that I know is the title to this car. It is really mine. The car. Heero jingles the keys in front of me and all my thoughts of money and budgeting goes out the window as I jump into the driverís side. A convertible to boot, you know. My god, Heero knows my taste in everything! Heero gets into the car more genteelly, using the door. Iím so excited that I have trouble shoving the key into the ignition. A small part of my mind is telling me to calm down or the drive would be a short one, ending in a fiery crash at the end of our driveway. But who needs caution? Not me! So I start up my new car, or dare I say, my second love, and back out of the driveway. The gentle whirring of the engine, the smooth feel of leather, itís all real! And then Iím off, tearing down our little road, probably scaring the neighbors to death in the process, on my way to a bigger road. Heero laughs, throwing his head back while the wind tears at his hair. I laugh with him. As birthdays go, I think Iíll put this one at the top of my list.
Duo sighed and gave up. He had looked forward to driving home at an insane speed, but thanks to all the slow people ahead of him blocking his way, he was going at a mere speed limit. It seemed to him that every time he wanted to get somewhere quickly, some gods knew about his diabolical plans and conspired against him. He sighed once again, and tapped on his steering wheel with his fingers. It looked like it would take longer than he thought to get home to Heero. But he did not want to go home looking frustrated and haggard. He wanted to greet Heero properly, with a big smile and a tender look. Therefore, with much self-control, Duo calmed his frayed nerves and took deep, cleansing breaths. He counted backwards from a hundred in a measured pace, settling his heart beat into a reasonable rhythm. He thought about nice, calm things like a sunset in the park, waves breaking on beaches and golf. Slowly, he felt his shoulders unclench and his hands undo the death grip they had on the steering wheel. His feet stopped itching to press on the gas pedal and his spine lost most of its ramrod straight pose. He figured, if the drive was going to be this boring, he might as well relax. With that thought, Duo turned up the volume on his radio and blasted songs on his personal mix CD. In his convertible, with a state of the art stereo and speaker system at full volume, everyone within a five mile radius could hear his idea of good songs. People driving near him gave him strange looks and pointed at him, whispering things into the ears of the other occupants of their car. Duo smirked and waved tauntingly at the other people on the road. ĎHeh,í he thought, Ďthey donít know how lucky they are that they canít hear ME singing!í
I must admit that Heero has a damn good aim. Here I am, sitting innocuously on the sofa, singing a nice song while I leaf through my magazine, and then thud. Heero throws a pillow at me from the door of our bedroom. Which is on the second floor! And surprise, surprise, the pillow smacks me right on the head. I look up and see him throwing me his death glare, daring me to continue singing. Okay, so itís really early in the morning. Or should I say dawn? But I couldnít sleep thanks to all the alcohol I drank at the party earlier. Quatre knows how to throw a party and Wufei makes a terribly flirty drunk. I think I saw Sally blush to the roots of her hair at least five times within an hour span. I wonder what he said to her to make her do that. But Iím brought out of my revelry by Heero telling me to shut up and come to bed. I should, since Iím supposed to work some extra hours tomorrow, but I canít. I just canít sleep when there is alcohol swimming through my blood veins. I get dizzy just thinking about lying down. I shake my head at my pissed off lover, smiling my best, innocent smile, and bury my head in my magazine again. Yes, the words are blurring together and I seem to be reading about kitchen decorations, but who cares? Iím happy as a clam. A very drunk clam. Iím so absorbed in the intricacies of embossing tiles that I fall out of the couch in surprise when Heero sits next to me. I look up at his impossibly handsome face and grin like a fool. Doesnít he know how good he looks with the lamp light behind his head, his hair sticking up at odd angles and his night clothes all bunched up around his shoulders? Heh, probably not. I know my smile is goofy as I put my head on his lap, still looking up into his eyes. He tries to look annoyed, but it doesnít last long. Instead, he smiles and caresses my face. Then he calls me an idiot. I canít help but burst out laughing because I swear, no one can make the word idiot into an endearment except for my crazy guy. I think I tell him that I love him, but my brain is too fuzzy to make out the words Iím making. But I must have said something sweet because Heeroís face softens and he pulls me up to him. He, breathes my scent in and tickles that sensitive spot on my neck. I sigh in contentment and finally, sleep kicks in.
Duo slumped forward and touched his head to the steering wheel. For some reason, there was a traffic jam. On a country road that hardly anyone used. He saw a line of cars ahead of him, lined up like little children on a field trip, moving sluggishly ahead at a pace of an inch per hour. He had turned the music down long ago, tired of the owlishly suspicious looks thrown at him by people near him. Besides, he figured that just because he was annoyed did not give him the right to annoy the rest of the world. All the relaxation he had instilled into his body was gone now, replaced by a boiling frustration at this unexpected turn of events. He was home finally, after a hellishly boring business trip and a horrendous flight on the most uncomfortable shuttle in space, and he had to run into traffic. In the middle of an afternoon on a work day. He wondered what had caused this strange circumstance on his way back home. Was there an accident ahead? Some road construction? A meteor that crashed into the road? What? More than the traffic, he was frustrated by his lack of knowledge at the situation. The traffic guys on the radio would not be reporting most likely because this road was a small, dinky road in the middle of nowhere. He would not get out of his lovely car to check out what was ahead because he could not leave his car behind, all by itself. That would be like screaming out Ďplease, someone steal my car.í Duo could only think murderously that if there was construction ahead, he might scream obscenities at the crew and speed off. Or if it was an accident.. To cause him this much mental anguish, somebody better have died in a spectacular crash involving explosions and body parts.
Itís a nice day. I have my little packed lunch and Iím running at a break neck speed towards the park. Iím late, again. Heeroís probably waiting for me on our bench, his eyebrow twitching as he stares into his watch. Iím always late. I swear, if he wants to have lunch with me at noon, he should tell me to be there by eleven thirty so Iíll be on time. So I pick up the pace a little more and grin at the fact that Iím still in shape. I can still run like Iím fifteen. And Heero would say, I still think like Iím fifteen. Well, Iím a big believer in nurturing the inner child. I can see our bench and yes, Heero is sitting there. He has his little bagged lunch beside him, unopened and tidy. Thatís my Heero. He never starts to eat until I appear. One night, I forgot to call home to say Iíd be really late for dinner and when I got home at around two in the morning, Heero was still waiting for me, dinner uneaten. That was a hell of a night. We ate our cold meal together and then made love until the sun came up. Our neighbors gave us funny looks the next day, but what can I say? Iím a screamer. And so is Heero. I finally get to the bench and I bend at the waist so I can catch my breath. My lunch is clutched in my left hand, the paper bag scrunched and looking sadly squashed. I guess I didnít pay
attention to my lunchís condition as I ran like hell. I sit next to Heero, waiting for the inevitable lecture about punctuality, but I donít get it. Instead, he takes my lunch from my hands, looks inside disapprovingly and shakes his head. Then he hands me his lunch bag, still crisp and quite unsquashed. While I gape like a fish out of water, he takes out my very malformed sandwich and battered juice and begins to eat. When I keep staring, he gives me a look that basically tells me to start eating or he would stuff it down my throat. So I take out his sandwich, the crusts cut off in neat lines and looking like it just came out of a conveyor belt of perfectly shaped sandwiches and take a bite. We sit in companionable silence as we eat each otherís lunches in this beautiful park. Itís too bad that lunch breaks are so damned short.
Duo accelerated as soon as he passed the orange cones and nearly rear ended the car in front of him. He had finally passed the thing that had caused the traffic jam, a tiny little fender bender that some old blind lady caused by running into a boy who probably had just gotten his license. The worst of the driving world, old lady and reckless beginner driver, had collided to make his life utterly frustrating. A part of him was glad that neither person was hurt in the accident, but there was that other part of him, the part that had allowed him to pilot Deathscythe with precision, that had wanted to jump out of his car and throttle the careless twosome into hell. But there was no more traffic and he was speeding along quite nicely. Duo put on his sunglasses, took a deep breath and yelled at the top of his lungs. He yelled until he felt that all the frustration was gone from his system, then he yelled some more just because it had felt good.
Five card draw is not my game. Poker, in general, is not my game. Heero says itís because I take too many gambles and risks, but really. Itís a card game of chance more than strategy to me. If I get a good hand, Iíll keep it and bet until I run out of chips or someone calls me on it. If get a bad hand, Iíll bluff like crazy. My policy of never lying does not extend to the card table. But then again, my pile of chips right now is the lowest out of the five of us. Heero has a nice stack of chips going, but it is Trowa whoís really raking it in. Right now, we are all staring at our cards and each other, trying to see who had a good hand and who was a sucker. Itís not fair that we know each other so damn well that we can pick out the little movements that tell the others what weíre holding in our hand. For instance, Wufei is looking rather intensely at his cards and not paying any attention to us. He is tapping his index finger of his left hand on the table while his right hand is gripping the cards like they are going to fly away if he loosened up. That says to me, Wufei has a terrible hand and heís not happy with it at all. Next, I look at Quatre. His eyebrows are knit together in concentration, crunching his nose in a most adorable way. He purses his lips. And there! He just licked his lips. Yes, Quatre has a great hand, probably a full house or better. I move onto Trowa only to see that he looks as emotionless as ever. That guy has the best poker face, better than Heero. But I know every nuance of Heeroís face, so itís not a fair comparison. But then again, Trowa takes a drink from his glass. He never takes a drink unless he thinks he needs to bluff. At least he did in the past. Maybe he knows that I know that he takes a drink when heís about to bluff and heís just faking me out. Whoa. Too many words in that train of thought. Anyway, I stare at Heero last. My lover looks thoughtful, probably deliberating the risk factor against the victory factor. He is so very analytical. I love that. He looks so cute when heís deliberating. I keep staring at my lover, no longer looking for signs of a Ďtellí but for the sheer joy of just looking at him. Iím jolted out of my adoration by Wufei who kicks me in the shins and tells me either to bet or fold. Iím sure he had more ungentlemanly words in mind, but Wufei is always polite when at other peopleís homes. Even ours. Sheesh, Wufei, stick up your ass or what? But I take his suggestion and I bet. Of course I bet! My hand of cards shows two queens and three jacks. I have a really good hand. I canít lose on this one. And as I suspected, Wufei folds. He slams his cards down on the table and grumbles about unfairly dealing Americans. I guess he means me since I dealt this round. Quatre smiles beatifically and matches my bet. And he raises. Damn. He mustn have a killer hand. Trowa folds. I canít imagine what he had in his hands, but I guess me and Quatre starting the betting so high and raising did not sit well with his intention to bluff. Heero bets and raises too. What is this, clean-me-out night? Well, I canít back down now, so I bet and I raise. Hell, Quatre, Heero and I continue this, weíre all going to be putting down the deeds to our houses like those old western movies I hate and Heero loves. The madness ends when I finally break and call Heero on his last raise and Quatre complies. Hell, Quatre probably saw how low my stack of chips were and decided to be nice. Heero lays down his cards in his usual manner, one at a time. I see an ace, which is not too good, then another ace, which really sucks, then two tens and a king. I breathe a little easier since I know I have a better hand. I put my cards down, my fabulous full house and grin like a maniac. Iíd like to see Quatre beat that one. Well, not really, but itís a saying, you know? I hold my breath as he lays his cards down. If I win, Iím going to have a nice hefty pot to collect, maybe enough for those curtains Heero and I have been eyeing for some time. The yellow ones with the peach colored dots on them. Quatre lays his cards down, all at once, and smiles at me. I think itís a gracious smile, but is it one of defeat or of victory? I look at his cards and I realize I won this round. He was bluffing, that sly bugger. He just made me think he had good cards. But that doesnít matter now. I rake in the winnings from the center of the table while Wufei grumbles more loudly about low dealing Americans. But Iím not paying him any heed because Iím too busy dreaming about those curtains. Theyíd look wonderful in the window of our living room facing out to the lawn.
Duo finally saw the sign for his little town. It was only twelve miles from here and at the speed he was going, heíd make it there in less than five minutes. Heero had told him over the phone just before he left his hotel at the L3 colony cluster that he would be home to greet him. The elation was building in Duo again. His lover was so considerate and wonderful that he would take a day off work just to welcome him back after a business trip. By now, those curtains they picked out last week should be hanging in the window. Duo could not think of a better way to come home. He pushed down further on the gas pedal and the car raced down the little road to his lover and his house with the curtains.
There are lights everywhere and the stars canít compete with them. Tonight, all of the earth and the colonies are celebrating the end of the Eve war. I hear that itís winter in some parts of the earth, but Heero and my part of the world is quite warm. I can feel the warm stirring of the wind weaving through the crowd. This party is Relenaís affair and she must have invited every single person she had ever met. Iím in my Sunday best, a nice suit and tie. Heero is too and he looks good enough to eat. Everyone we know is here, dancing, drinking, talking, laughing. This night is a blast and Iím going to enjoy every last minute of it because tomorrow morning, Iím going on a stupid business trip to L3. For a week. So I grab a flute of champagne off the nearest waiter, grab Heero by his wrist and drag him off for some mingling. He is not the most sociable, but he can hold a conversation contrary to popular belief. Iím convinced that he could out-talk me if I gave him half the chance. We walk together, pausing once in a while to talk to other people. All the time, we hold hands, our fingers linked together in an intricate mesh. His palm is warm and dry against mine and even though Iím only touching his hand, itís like I can feel his entire body. But then again, itís always like that when Heero and I touch. We do the rounds for a while, talking, socializing, drinking and laughing. So many stories are told in this night because alcohol makes tongues a little bit looser. Heero and I listen with apt rapture as Trowa drunkenly explains to us how he got the bruise on his elbow. He even rolls up his sleeve to show us the bruise. I laugh and Heero cracks a joke that sounds dirty even to my experienced ears. Quatre blushes at Heeroís comment and Wufei shoves Trowa in a friendly way, shooting him a taunting look. Relena looks properly shocked but she laughs, too. The night wanes further and people are drifting off to their homes or hotel rooms. Heero and I say our good byes and we head home, too. Itís an hour drive or so and Heero is driving my car. He doesnít drink like I do, thankfully. The drive home is easy and peaceful, both of us talking softly about how good it was to see everyone again. He is holding my hand with his free hand, gently squeezing every minute or so, as if to assure me that heís always going to be here by my side. I gaze at his profile and fall deeper into love. I can only hope that the week away from him wonít be as painful as I think it will be.
Duo drove up the driveway as silently as possible. He wanted to surprise Heero by jumping into the house with a loud yell. He wanted to see that look on Heeroís face. The one where surprise and joy mixed so evenly. He cut the engine to his car and debated for a split second whether or not to retrieve the luggage. Deciding that luggage could be dealt with later, Duo opened the door of his car slowly and shut it without nary a noise. Duo looked at the window with a cursory glance and noticed that there was a stain on the curtains that they had just bought shortly before he had left on his trip. The yellow with the peach dots seemed to be sporting a dark splotch from where Duo stood. Duo sighed melodramatically. It looked like steam vacuuming time sometime in the week. But he did not want to worry about the curtains now. That would come later. He crept up to the front door and opened the screen slowly so that Heero would not be alerted to his presence. He drew in a deep breath so he could yell ĎIím homeí as loud as he could and he turned the door knob and opened the door.
I love the way he smiles. I love the way he speaks. I love him in all his ways and quirks, faults and foibles. So I leave him a note on the table just before I shoot out the door to the shuttle port. I miss him already. Iím a total romantic fool, you know? Itís not like Iím never going to see him again.