- The Twenty-Fourth Encounter -
Most people would say having one's significant other
move into their home is a rather pleasant turn of
events. I would have thought so too, until I realized
just how much of a selfish person I really was.
Only three days after Heero's temporary move in,
problems became apparent. The first main problem was
that I was not in the habit of sharing living spaces
with anyone. Before college, I had my own room, my
sanctuary which served me quite well. I had all kinds
of personal space when I needed it and had parents who
understood my need for privacy. Personally, I think
they were just afraid to walk in on me either jerking
off or doing indecent things to a girl, but hey, it
worked out. Then there was college in which I chased
off my first roommate quite quickly to his
girlfriend's dorm room and had a single for the rest
of my stay there. Then law school provided me with my
own place for the first time, a rather dingy apartment
then my fancy digs here.
All in all, I have not had the displeasure of living
with a roommate at any point in my life. I got used
to eating dinner in front of the television in my
underwear, walking out of the shower butt ass naked,
prancing like an idiot in front of my fridge, you get
the picture. Then Heero suddenly has no place to live
for a bit and I'm the solution to his temporary
homelessness. I was quite happy, thinking that I
would enjoy our time together.
Boy, was I wrong there.
He folds his towels, do you know that? After he
showers, instead of throwing the used towel into the
hamper, he folds it and hangs it back up. Does he not
know what kinds of bacteria fester in wet cloths under
dim lighting in a warm environment? Then there is the
issue with the food. He does not appreciate the fine
culinary art that is fast food which I live on when I
work as hard as I do. I mean, sure, it'd be nice to
indulge in fancy cooking every day since I enjoy it
and all, but let's not get fantastical. I'm usually
up to my eyeballs in work and time is of a premium. I
can't cook all the time, damn it!
Oh, there are more things, and I'm sure I annoy him
greatly with the way I live, but Heero is used to
living with someone. He's got experience under his
skin so that he can live with my little foibles.
I am not so generous.
The biggest problem is probably the fact that I had to
give up my second room to him. I certainly wasn't
ready to share my bed with him and I didn't want him
crowded and uncomfortable on the couch, so I made room
for him in my office room. That created a load of
problems, since I work in there quite a bit. And when
I work, I tend to smoke a bit. Okay, a lot. That bit
about me slowing down this habit of mine is a lie of
sorts since I can't do anything productive on the
computer unless there is a cancer stick dangling from
my lips. Sad, but true, what can I say but that I
have many vices that have the potential to kill me one
day? But you see, Heero is not a smoker and I can
tell he hates it so I was forced not to smoke. Nearly
drove me insane.
Three days and I was ready to kill him. Does that say
anything about the kind of person that I am?
On the fourth day of our living together, I came home
grinding my teeth down to the enamel. January, though
it may be a slow month for many other professions, is
a busy month for criminal attorneys. It has to do
with the little fact that most judges take long
vacations in December and schedule all the trials in
January. I was loaded down with major court dates
practically daily and had so much work to do that I
began to see paperwork in my dreams. That added on to
my current living situation, family problems and
otherwise, it was a wonder that my teeth still were
there for me to grind.
Suffice to say, my mood was not at its best when I
slammed open my door and stalked into my apartment
like a starved panther. Unfortunately, Heero was the
unsuspecting rabbit in my path.
I have heard from good sources, mainly Quatre, that
coming home to find the person you love already there
is a wonderful thing, causing many different types of
warm and tingly sensations. That was not my reaction,
however, when I walked in and found Heero sitting on
my couch surrounded by files. Oh, I will be the first
to admit how great he looked with his little glasses
on for reading, the faintly gold rimmed edges giving
him that sexy, intellectual look, but damn it, it was
my couch, my place, my space.
It was mine and I felt like I had been invaded by the
local unfriendly alien. And when he raised his head
and smiled beautifully in welcome, my heart turned to
lead in my chest instead of fluttering like it should
"Duo," he said in a very warm tone, "you're late.
Hard day. Let me see, there. I was in the office by
seven in the morning for preliminary work, was in
court from nine until four during which I missed lunch
due to prepping a witness, and had paperwork until
eleven. At current time of a wee bit after midnight,
I was tired, wanted a shower, quick greasy microwave
food and sleep.
And there he was, looking tasty and great, offering me
comfort and contentment. He was the devil.
Perhaps I should realize that I'm not being entirely
rational. Perhaps I should cut Heero some slack
because nothing is really his fault. Perhaps I should
let go of my selfish needs and not resent him for
being in my living room, sitting on my couch.
But no, I just want some.. space.
"Heero," I grind out through my clenched teeth, "don't
take this the wrong way, but.. I gotta go."
That was more intelligent than just blowing up at him
for no reason. So I tossed my briefcase down, turned
around and left. I didn't even turn to see if he was
hurt or surprised at my curt departure. I needed room
to think, to be alone.
So of course, I go to a bar.
I went to my favorite, the Tornado Fodder, and took a
booth in the corner. I ordered scotch, neat, hell
with the ice, and seethed. For the love of god, what
was wrong with me? Did I not love the man? Had we
not come through worse things than living
arrangements? Why was it that the little things were
driving me mad when there were other things that I
should have been worried about?
Around one or one fifteen, who knows, but it was
during my fourth glass of scotch, a very familiar
person slid into the booth with me, drink in hand.
"Quat," I greet, "is it just that you have a Maxwell
misery meter? You have this knack for showing up
whenever I'm feeling like shit."
He shrugs and sips his drink like nothing was amiss.
Then he looks at me straight in my eyes and lectures
"Heero was worried, so he called. That's getting to
be a habit for him, don't you think? Something eating
at you today, again? I swear, Duo, you have the
biggest problem just communicating with him."
Well, don't I know it? But being an intractable
bastard is what I do best when I'm feeling miserable.
I had just wanted to come home and collapse onto the
bed, moaning like the pitiful creature that I was, but
no, I had been faced with a caring boyfriend who had
waited up for me.
Oh yeah, I concede that such a situation would not irk
most people, but I'm Duo Maxwell. I can be as
irrational as they come sometimes.
"Quat, I just wanted some space, you know? Some alone
time with my misery. I don't know how the hell you
live with Trowa so well, every day."
Quatre lifted one blond eyebrow nearly to his hairline
at my comment.
"So well? What the hell are you talking about? Did
you know that he uses the dishwasher as a drying rack
for clean dishes? I can never tell what the hell is
clean and what isn't! Drives me batty."
"Really," I say in a bit of surprise, "so you have
problems living with someone, too? It's not just me?"
"Duo, everyone has problems living with someone. It's
not easy putting two people under the same roof, what
with all the differences they have."
"So you're telling me I'm not being an idiot."
Quatre snorted and rolled his eyes, giving me the
distinct impression that he had implied no such thing.
"I'm being an idiot then?"
"Oh yeah," Quatre says without sympathy, "big time
idiot. But that can't be helped. We all act like
idiots sometimes, it's our nature. Anyway, I'm
telling you little things will happen and they will
piss you off. The best solution is to talk it out and
compromise a little."
Did Quatre just say compromise? As in give in, give
up, let it go, go with the flow, et cetera?
"Blondie, compromising isn't really my style."
"Well, it's going to have to be if he's living there
"But," I whine, much to my chagrin, "it's only
Then it hits me. Heero's only living with me until he
finds a place of his own. It is not like he and
Relena can make up with each other or anything since
it'd be plain wrong and I'd have a seizure if they
moved in together again. I had forgotten in my fit of
nitpicking through the difficulties of living with
someone that Heero wasn't going to be there forever.
Now, the question then is, does that bother me? The
fact that Heero was only a guest of sorts in my
apartment, that he did not have his little
knick-knacks all over the place, that he did not have
his clothes hanging side by side with my suits?
Honestly, I can't say. After all, I'm still whining
about the living situation.
"Yeah, temporary," Quatre responds with a nod, "so how
hard can it be to swallow your own needs for a few
days? Don't you ever plan on moving in with him
permanently? This could be your trial period."
Well, I suppose Quatre has a point there. I think I
plan on moving in with him one day, don't I? Isn't
that where every serious relationship goes one day?
You date, you fall in love, you share space and
shampoo. I think that's the way of things and
everyone else seems to fall within the pattern one way
or the other. Unless you're Wufei, in which case you
move in together, then date then fall in love. If
they date at all, that is. Wait, I'm going way off
topic, but that's what my brain does when it is
thinking too hard.
"So you're telling me in your esteemed opinion, I
should go back, apologize yet again, and then work
Quatre gives me a pat on the head like a patronizing
kindergarten teacher and shoos me off. Literally.
All I can do is roll my eyes, resist the urge to stick
out my tongue and trudge off home to see if there is a
way for me to explain my strange behavior to Heero.
When I get home, all I do for about fifteen minutes is
stand outside of my door, staring at it as the hands
on my watch creep ever closer to two in the morning.
I haven't the slightest clue as to what to say to
Heero, if it merited an apology at all, or if I should
just pretend I had a mood swing and let it go at that.
I mean, hasn't Heero and my relationship so far been
nothing but a series of making up after stupid shit we
do to each other? Besides all the talking, kissing,
groping, talking, laughing.. Okay, I get the damned
Finally, I open the door and step into the apartment,
only to find Heero still sitting on the couch, wide
awake and looking rather tense. I suppose I'm
responsible for that, Heero being less than happy.
"I'm back, Heero."
He doesn't look at me, but nods at my voice. I stand
with my back against the door, still wondering what to
say, when Heero speaks.
"You've never lived with anyone, have you?"
I chuckle. I can't help it.
"That's obvious, right?"
Heero finally looks at me then and there is a gentle
light in his eyes and a slight curve to his lips.
"Very much so. So, what about me gets on your
I walk towards him, my lips mirroring the small grin
on his face.
"Many, many things. But I think we can work them
Heero scoots over on the couch, making room for me. I
sit next to him and stare into his blue eyes and
realize that although there are little things that
send me to the brink of homicidal rage, in the end, I
love him too much to let it truly drive him away.
"There are things you do that make me wonder if you're
human," Heero says with a rueful grin.
"I want you to stop putting the toilet seat down."
Heero laughs genuinely, the sound lifting my miserable
self up considerably.
"Well, Duo, after living with a woman for so long, it
had become a habit. After the first time she fell
into the toilet and yelled at me, I just.. well, I'll
try to remember to leave it up."
"Atta boy," I cheer, "so what do you want from me?"
He thinks about it for a while, tilting his head this
way and that, as if I had asked him about the state of
the nation's finances.
"I want you to stop leaving leftovers in the fridge.
You never eat them and they start moving in there."
"Easy enough," I reply, and from there, we have a good
conversation about exactly what irks us. The talk
goes on for a while, but there is no complaining, just
talking things out. We concede, compromise and in the
end, agree on a few things.
Sure, we won't be having a blissful time of it for the
time Heero's here, but in the least, we won't bottle
it up until it explodes. Heero will give me some
space, I will give him some space. Living together
does not mean being with each other all the time, you
know? Everyone needs privacy, even from the one they
love. Perhaps, most from the one they love.