disclaimers: You know the drill. Don't own any of the songs or movies mentioned in this fic.

pairings: 1+2+1
rating: PG
warnings: Fluffy! Fluffy! And even FLUFFIER!! (I think...) After EW.
Flashbacks not in order. Flashbacks offset by asterisks.

notes: This is written for several very special folks. ~Quatre&Wufei Winner, two of the sweetest girls and funniest authors I know. Also, the 1X2X1ML, for all their support during my trials of lemon life.
~for Levi, my wonderful koibito, and inspiration. Ich liebe dich, meine Heuschreche.
~And, as always, for my dear friend, the illustrious Tsuki-Moon.

Duo Just Grinned

Heero was jarred awake by the sound of yet another one of Duo's old CDs. He opened his eyes groggily and saw that the spot next to him was empty. He groaned. Here he was still getting used to the after war comfort of sleeping in, and Duo woke him up every morning with crazy music. He shook his head and smiled. Heero Yuy was learning to live.

Three years had gone by since the end of the Eve Wars, and the so-called perfect soldier was discovering the wonders of life with a braided baka. And he was liking it very much. Duo was teaching him that there was fun in life, and that Heero didn't need to have a mission plan for doing everything to enjoy it. He chuckled as he stared at the ceiling above their bed, remembering when Duo took him bowling for the first time.

* * *

"Come on, Heero! This is fun!" Duo was ecstatic to finally be in a bowling alley. He'd never had the opportunity on L2.

"What is fun about tossing a ball down a lane? There is no gainful objective. And the shoes are quite..." Heero asked, eyeing the ugly blue-and-red monstrosities with disdain.

Duo just grinned.

* * *

Now that Heero thought about it, that was also the beginning of letting his guard down. He'd always had feelings for Duo, but that was the first time he'd actually let himself stare at those violet eyes, let himself admire the way the silken rope of Duo's hair fell over his shoulder, the dimple in his left cheek when he laughed. The way that ass of his looked as he leaned over to bowl...

Heero shook his head and smiled. He'd been so preoccupied that day that the first time he threw the ball he put a hole in the lane floor.

He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed to stretch. His muscles rippled beneath the white tee shirt he wore to bed. He stood up and straightened his boxers, then padded downstairs in his socks.

At the bottom of the stairs he stopped and peeked around the corner into the living room, where the music was coming from. Duo was shirtless, clad only in jeans and argyle socks, cleaning the bookshelves. He was singing into his feather duster.

"Looks like somebody forgot about us, standin' on the corner, waitin' for a bus..." Heero's grin could've split his face, it was so wide. This was what he loved about Duo.

He snuck up behind the braided boy, getting into the rythym (however slight it might have been) and reached his hands around to grab the feather duster and sing into it.

"Come on, Mr. Driver Man, don't be slow..." Duo whipped around at the sound of the rich baritone, his braid almost hitting him in the face. When he saw Heero his face lit up and he gave him one of his biggest smiles.

"Cause I got somewhere I got to go..." Heero gave him a big, and no longer so rare, smile, and kissed him soundly.

"Hey there, Mr. Driver Man, drive that thing fast!" Duo sang when they parted, and Heero joined him, the two laughing, "'Cause my precious time keeps slippin' past!" They collapsed in a fit of giggles. He still couldn't believe his luck, being with Duo.

* * *

"Hey, Heero?" Duo asked, chewing on a piece of grass. They were overlooking the field where only a few days before they'd blown up the Gundams. "What are you gonna do, now that the war is over?" He cast him a glance. "You going to Relena?"


"Gonna be an assassin?"


"Gonna get married, have a house full of dogs and kids?"

". . ."

"Well, what *are* you doing?"

"I...I don't know."

Duo looked down and almost ran his next words together. "Youwannacomewithme?"

"What? I can't understand you when you mumble."

Duo took a deep breath. "Do you want to come with me? I'm just gonna be wandering."

"You aren't returning to Hilde?"

"Naw. She's met a guy, and he's gonna help her with the scrap yard. I can tell when I'm not wanted!" He laughed, and leaned a little closer to Heero. "I'll tell you a secret...I also know when I don't *want* to be someplace! Man, is Hilde a nag." He grinned.

Heero wasn't sure why, but the news pleased him immensely. But all he did was nod. "It would be beneficial to travel as a team until we determine future direction."

He could tell his companion didn't believe a word of it. Duo just grinned.

* * *

"So what do you want for lunch?" Duo asked when their giggling calmed down a bit. He planted a kiss on Heero's nose.

"Lunch??? What do you mean, lunch?" Heero asked.

"It's 12.30, you baka! You slept forever, practically!" Duo shoved him playfully. "I feel like something cheesy..."

"You *are* something cheesy," Heero told him. His reward was a slap in the face with a feather duster. "Duo!"

"Yeah, well, remember you're dealing with Shinigami, here. Hamburger Helper sound all right?" [1]

"Sure," Heero said, remembering his first experience with Duo's favourite "dish."

* * *

"Oh, yeah. Haven't had this stuff in ages!" Duo squealed, sighing deeply as he dumped the hamburger into the skillet. "It is soooo good, you know, Heero?" He looked over to the living room of the small flat they had found together. Heero was in the armchair Duo had gotten as a gift from Hilde, trying to look comfortable, as one is supposed to be in armchairs.

"No, I don't know."

"Heero, it was rhetorical. You didn't need to answer me," Duo said, rolling his eyes.

Heero just grunted and watched Duo finish preparing the food, their first dinner together in their new flat. Duo had insisted they make use of the stove before they got settled into their rooms, and Heero had agreed, although he wasn't sure why.

"Done! Come on Heero, let's eat at the table." It was a big mahogany job, a gift from Quatre. When he gave it to them, Heero had scowled and said it was too valuable, and even Duo thought it might be a bit much for their shabby apartment. But Quatre just smiled and said that it would find its way into the house it was supposed to in time.

Heero sat in one of the matching chairs and waited. Duo placed a heaping plate of bright orange-coloured macaroni mixed with ground beef in front of him, and Heero looked at it apprehensively. He smelled what he vaguely knew to be cheese, and looked at Duo.

"Is this edible?"

Duo had already seated himself across from Heero and was stuffing his face. "Oh yeah, Heero! It's great!" he said around a mouthful. "Think of it as...sustenance. Yeah, it's necessary to survive on our budget."

Heero took a bite, and was surprised when the tastes melted together to create something not wholly unpleasant. In fact, he actually kind of liked it. It was a vast improvement on the rations they'd eaten during the war. He shoveled another forkful into his mouth.

Duo just grinned.

* * *

"So, what do you want to do after lunch, Heero?" Duo asked, starting up the stove. "After you take a shower, of course. You reek!" He laughed and tossed the now-empty box of Hamburger Helper at Heero, who was seated at the same table he'd been the first time they'd eaten this together.

"Hn. Baka. I do not reek...like you're any rose garden yourself," he tossed back, grinning at what they both knew was an obviously lie. Duo took great care in hygiene, because he hadn't always had the luxury, and Heero liked the scents that commonly wafted after him as a result of his shampoo or cologne.

Duo's violet eyes sparkled as he sat the pan on the stove and dusted off his hands on the seat of his jeans. "I noticed you've been using my gummy bear shampoo." [2] He wagged a finger at Heero, who shrugged nonchalantly.

"I like the way it smells. So sue me." Duo laughed.

"Well, then, I'll get some more when I go to the store. I was wondering if you were ever going to start caring about that mop of yours." Heero shot him a mock death glare. "Ooooh. That is so not scary anymore, Heero!"

Heero grinned as he watched Duo get up to finish up their lunch. "What do you want to drink, Duo?" Heero stood up and went to the massive refrigerator, another gift from Quatre.

"Coke's good." Heero pulled out two bottles while Duo spooned out their plates. "Ready?"

"Definitely. I'm starving." They sat down and ate in companionable silence for awhile, before Duo spoke up again.

"So what do you want to do? I was thinking maybe just getting a movie. We haven't done that in awhile." He looked at Heero hopefully.

"Sure. As long as I can pick it out." He gave Duo a stern glance. Or tried to, but the famous staring skills of one Heero Yuy were fading fast. "You picked last time."

"No prob. As long as we don't have to watch The Meaning of Life again." Duo grimaced. He loved Monty Python, but who would have guessed that Heero Yuy would have regarded one of their films as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls? Well, not quite that bad, but still...

Heero laughed. "No, we won't watch that," he agreed. He finished his lunch and stood up to take his dishes to the sink. "That was good, Duo. And you didn't burn the hamburger, either!" He dodged a napkin thrown at him by Duo.

"I've never burned it!" Heero gave Duo one of his brightest smiles and leaned down to drop a kiss on his koi's head.

"Just teasing, Duo." And he headed upstairs to take a shower. Duo sighed. He was so lucky to have Heero this way. And now that he was in a playful mood, maybe he wouldn't...

"Oh, and Duo? Your turn to take out the trash." The bathroom door shut.


In the shower, Heero poured a puddle of the gummy bear shampoo in his palm and started soaping up his hair, which had gotten cosiderably longer in the three years since the end of the war. It now hung shaggily around his shoulders. He would have cut it, but Duo loved it that way. Usually he wore it in a ponytail. He remembered the first time Duo pulled it back for him.

* * *

"Oi! Heero, your hair is getting so long!"


"Oh, quit acting like you don't talk now. You do, I hear you all the time. Now let me look at that hair."


"Because, I want to. Now let me see." He got behind Heero on his bed and started playing with the longish tendrils. "OI! Soon we won't be able to see your face!" He laughed and pulled the longest parts back into a ponytail, then snapped the band off the end of his own braid to secure it. Jagged bangs hung around Heero's face, much like before, but now his jaw and cheeks were accentuated. "Nice, Heero."

Duo dragged him to the mirror in the room and stood behind him. "What do you think?"

Heero appraised himself. It looked different, but he found himself liking it. And if Duo thought it looked good...Speaking of Duo, Heero noticed that the other boy's braid was unraveling slowly, and that the hair was beginning to surround his back and shoulders. It shone like nothing Heero had ever seen. Duo noticed him looking and smiled.

"We make quite the pair, don't we Heero? Maybe someday you could have a braid too. 'Course, I think you look pretty good the way you are." Heero blushed furiously, and Duo just grinned.

* * *

Heero shook out his hair and wrapped a towel around his waist as he stepped out of the shower. He could hear Duo whistling as he started up the dishes downstairs. He set about trying to find something clean to wear. He finally pulled out a pair of faded flares and a ratty old blue tee-shirt that had "dork" screened across the front. [3] It had been a gift from Duo to him at the last high school they were at.

* * *

"What is this, Duo?"

"I made it in print tech. Open it, Heero!"


"I just felt like giving you a gift."

"But it is not my birthday. And there are no holidays."

"It's just because." Duo was exasperated. Heero unwrapped the black paper and pulled out the tee shirt.


"Yeah! Isn't it the cutest---I mean coolest?" Duo blushed.

"Thank you, I think."

Duo just grinned.

* * *

Heero pulled the shirt over his head and smiled. Duo had been so cute that day. He replayed Duo's bright eyes in his mind as he ran his hands through his hair and tamed it back into its usual ponytail. Then he headed back to the bathroom to brush his teeth. "Purple Dino Bubble Gum." He laughed out loud every time he saw Duo's favourite toothpaste. He pulled out his own Pepsodent and finished up his morning routine. Or rather, afternoon.

Coming down the stairs for the second time that day, he called out, "Du-chan? Are you ready?"

"No! This blasted hair...I swear I'm going to hack it all off." Duo was in the downstairs bathroom, trying to redo his braid. "Didn't want to bother you while you were getting ready," he said sheepishly. He handed the mussed braid to Heero, who began unraveling it tenderly.

"You are never cutting your hair, Duo. You just say that." He brushed through the tangles. "French braid today?" Duo nodded.

Heero's hair wasn't the only hair that had grown over the past three years. Duo's was now brushing the backs of his knees, and a french braid was generally the best way to shorten it. He trimmed it occasionally, when the split ends of summer came along, but he never sacrificed more than two inches of length.

"It's gonna have to stop growing some day, isn't it?" he whined good-naturedly.

* * *

They were at a boarding school. Duo had wanted to try being a normal kid, but it wasn't working out too well. He slammed the door behind him as he flew into the room. "Stupid brats."

"What happened?" Heero heard himself asking.

"Oh, I'm just the 'girly man,' that's all." [4]

"What do you mean?"

"My hair." He looked down and pouted. Heero got up and made his way over to Duo's bed.

"Well, I like it, if that helps." He started to pick it up, then stopped himself to ask. "May I?"

Duo's eyes became huge with disbelief, and Heero found himself lost in a haze of violet. Duo finally found his voice and asked meekly, "Would you?"

Heero responded by unweaving the braid and brushing through the hair for over an hour. When he was done, he braided it neatly, the first time he'd ever had the privilege. He turned Duo to face him, and looked him straight in the eye. "Now, ignore them." He wrapped his arms awkwardly around his friend.

Duo just grinned.

* * *

"Yes, Duo. Now, are you ready?"

"Yup! Just gotta get my shoes." The two stopped at the door, pulled on their shoes, and headed out to the truck that had been a surprising gift from the scientists.

"You'll need to get around," they'd said. "And you don't have your Gundams," they added with a chuckle.

Heero remembered the hell of learning to drive a stick-shift. Neither he nor Duo knew how, so Trowa was called in for what would prove to be one hell of a mission.

* * *

"Okay, are you both watching closely?" Trowa shifted the stick into first gear. "Now, I'm going to put the clutch in first, because it will allow the gears to change without grinding." He demonstrated, then drove the pair around the block to show them how to shift while using the gas. Heero thought that it looked easy enough, and said so when they pulled back into the driveway of their house and greeted a waiting Quatre.

"Okay, you going to try, Heero, or do you want Duo to go first?"

"Duo? Do you want to go?" Duo shook his head no. "Okay, I'll try." Heero climbed into the driver's seat after Trowa exited, and succeeded in promptly stalling, which lurched the truck forward into the garage door and nearly Quatre as well.

"He can pilot the Zero system, but he can't drive a stick shift." Quatre shook his head in wonder.

"Oh, be quiet. You ride camels!" Heero shot back childishly. "Are you going to try, Duo?"


"Oh, great. So I have to be the one to learn."

Duo just grinned.

* * *

At the video store, Duo made his usual show of flirting with the clerks, while Heero followed and rolled his eyes knowingly at them. The girls giggled.

"Okee...what should we see? Something old?" Duo loved old movies.

Heero thought about it. He wanted something romantic and funny, too. Well, they had all night, they could see a couple.

"Okay, why don't you pick out something. We can watch whatever you like first." Duo's eyes lit up like a kid who just got the motherload for Christmas. He headed off for the classics section.

Heero hit the comedy section, and found what he wanted almost immediately. As soon as he left the aisle, he saw that Duo had finished quickly, too. Duo held up his choice.

"Rebecca? That's a good one. Haven't seen that in forever." Heero held his own title up.

"OOOOH! I *love* Benny and Joon! [5] Hee-chan, you are so perfect!" And he planted a sloppy kiss on Heero's lips, right there in the middle of the video store. Mothers hid their young children behind them while the girls behind the counter giggled. Heero could vaguely hear them, but didn't care. He'd long since ceased to be bothered by Duo's public displays of affection.

* * *

They'd just finished their nightly jog together, and stopped into the convienence store to grab some more water. "Here ya go, Heero. It's on me," Duo said. Heero just nodded. On their way out, Duo caught himself admiring the light sheen of sweat on Heero's back that was visible due to his tank top, and reached out and grabbed his shoulder. Heero stopped and turned, confusion on his face.

"Uh, Heero, there's something I wanted to...well, we've been living together for awhile now, and I want you to know..." Duo fumbled for words for what must have been the first time in his life. Finally, he just leaned forward, and whispered right at Heero's lips, "I think I love you, Heero. And I think you might love me a little bit too. Would you mind if I kissed you?"

Heero looked taken aback. "What if someone sees us, Duo?"

"I don't care. Then they'll know how I feel about you too." Duo looked down.


Duo's eyes snapped up, and saw sincerity on Heero's face. Tentatively, their lips touched for the first time, while they stood outside of a 7-11 next to the pay phones. Duo couldn't have thought it more romantic. When they pulled away, Heero looked at Duo and said seriously, "Duo, you were wrong."

Duo's face fell.

"I love you a lot."

Duo just grinned.

* * *

"You wanna stop and get snacks, koi?" Heero looked over at Duo, who was making faces at some kids in the car next to them. He waved his braid at them, positively horrifying their mother, before turning to Heero and smiling.

"You have to ask?" Heero rolled his eyes and pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store near their house.

They walked through the store, and Duo grabbed chips, cookies, beef jerkey and Goldfish crackers (his favourites) while chattering about how much fun they were going to have, just cuddling and watching movies. Heero's mind wandered to the first time they'd actually sat down and watched a film together.

* * *

"So, what is this called?"

"The Talented Mr. Ripley. [6] It's one of my very favourites. I think you'll like it. Makes your brain work." Duo grinned and cuddled cautiously next to Heero. The relationship was still pretty new, after all. He needn't have worried. Heero slipped his arm around Duo, and Duo's doubts slipped from his mind. They remained that way until the end of the movie, when Duo sat up and looked at Heero. "Well?"

"I liked it."

"So, why do you think he killed him?"

Heero thought for a moment. "I think he was sick of running. I think he knew he would be caught. And he loved Peter, and Peter loved him, so he wanted to spare him the misery of finding out that he'd been deceived. It seemed cold, but I think it was what needed to be done. It was out of pure love."

Duo hugged him. "You're the only other person I know who saw the movie that way, besides me."

"Well, it wasn't hard to see that there was love there, especially when I had you in my arms." Heero kissed his forehead.

Duo just grinned.

* * *

They were in line, waiting to pay for their items, when Duo started squawking about the Weekly World News. [7] "Oh my gods! This is outrageous!" He gestured at the cover. "Looks like Bat Boy is at it again." He laughed. "Gods, that is stupid." Thankfully, the line started moving then. Heero paid and Duo took the bags, singing the theme from the old Batman series. Heero rolled his eyes.

"Baka." He smiled.

The drive home was uneventful; that is to say, there were no kids for Duo to tease and Duo kept his singing to a reasonable level. As they pulled into the driveway, Heero looked up at the house that he and Duo called their own. He could still hardly believe that it was theirs. The day they'd moved in had been one of the happiest of his life. There had been a huge housewarming party.

* * *

"Happy House greetings!" Quatre exclaimed. Wufei looked at him with skepticism.

"Happy House greetings?" he asked with a hint of teasing in his voice. Quatre pouted.

"Well, what else could I say? There isn't exactly a prominant slogan for this event."

"How about we just say, welcome home?" asked Relena, leaning to kiss Duo and then Heero on the cheek. "Congratulations, you two."

"Yes, congratulations," Trowa echoed, and was followed by Sally, Noin, Zechs, and Dorothy. Even Une showed up to wish them well.

"Thanks sooooo much, guys!" Duo gushed. He ran around, inspecting all the gifts they'd been given. Dishes from Relena, silverware and an embroidered table runner from Quatre ("Told you that table would find its way here, didn't I?") candles and incense from Wufei, a plant and a welcome mat from Trowa, a full-length round mirror from Zechs and Noin, big fuzzy bath towels from Dorothy, a down comforter from Sally ("Put it to good use, you hear?") a beautiful men's jewelry box from Une, and fish magnets from Mariemaya, who sent her best wishes with Une. Duo simply glowed.

"Thank you all so much. You have no idea how much this means!" he smiled.

"I think they do, Du-chan." Heero put his arm around Duo's waist. "Thanks, guys. We really appreciate it." He looked at Duo. "And tonight, I'm sure we're going to be appreciating that comforter," he chuckled. Everyone whooped and whistled. Duo just grinned.

* * *

Duo settled on the couch with their snacks. Heero popped in Rebecca and cuddled up to Duo. "This is romantic," Duo sighed happily. "I love you, Hee-chan."

"And I you, Duo." He wrapped his arms around Duo and snuggled in closer.

As usual, Duo yelled at the movie, and got scared, and gasped when Laurence Olivier revealed that he hated Rebecca. *Just like he does every time,* Heero reflected. He smiled to himself. The same thing happened during Benny and Joon. Duo cried when Joon broke down on the bus.

"That's so sad, Heero. But I love the ending. Do you think we could try that tomorrow? With the toast?" he asked when it was over.

"Sure, Duo." The tape began rewinding and Heero took the opportunity to run his fingers through Duo's long hair. He began singing softly.

"When I wake up, yeah I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man that wakes up next to you..."

Duo snuggled in and sang back. "When I go out, yeah I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who goes along with you..."

Their voices met while they laughed, "If I get drunk, yes I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you...And if I haver, yeah I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who's havering to you...But I would walk 500 miles/And I would walk 500 more/Just to be the man who walked 1,000 miles/To fall down at your door..." They giggled like kids while they sang the la-la-la chorus.

Heero thought about all that he'd learned from Duo, and all that he had yet to learn. He felt truly blessed to be able to do it next to the most wonderful person he knew. "Thank you, Duo, for loving me. And thank you for a wonderful day."

"I love you too, Heero." Their hands intertwined, and one could see the twin platinum bands on their fingers.

"Every day with you is wonderful, Duo." Heero hugged him tightly. Hugging back, Duo just grinned.

Authors Notes:

[1] I love Hamburger Helper. Mmmmm....
[2] My fave shampoo! Wooo-hooo!
[3] I actually made and wear a shirt like this...::sweatdrops::
[4] I put up with a lot of crap for having long hair in high school. So
here's my way of sympathising with all those who have had the same ordeal. Long haired dweebs, unite!! LOL.
[5] Luna, do I love Mary Stuart Masterson...I love this flick!
[6] Great movie, I inserted this especially for Tsuki.
[7] Aren't these things a riot? I actually saw one once that said Hitler's brain was found alive in Portugal or someplace and plotting WW3! LOL!!


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