Not Going Anywhere
"I'm not going anywhere." I looked up from my book in surprise. Sitting on
my left was a boy about my age. He was buckling those pointless seatbelts
that they have on airplanes. "I'm safe. If this plane crashes, I'll be right
here on this seat. And don't forget the floaty seat cushion." He grinned,
revealing a straight row of white teeth.
"Hn." I looked back at my book, trying to ignore this kid. I didn't want to
talk to anyone. I'd been hoping that there wouldn't be too many people on
this flight so that I could sit alone. No such luck. The plane was packed.
"Hn? You're quite the conversationalist," the kid said. "We haven't even
taken off yet, and already you've talked my ear clean off!" He rolled his
eyes. "Let's try this again, shall we?"
"Try what?" I asked, noncommittal.
"Talking, of course!" He stuck out his hand. "The name's Duo Maxwell. I like
dogs, old movies, and provolone cheese. My favorite flowers are daisies, my
favorite color is red, and I'm fascinated by how aspirin knows exactly where
it hurts." He grinned. "And you are...?"
"Yuy. Heero Yuy."
"Heero...That's an interesting name." Duo's smile was fading a bit at my
lack of interest. He sighed. "Well, Heero, I'm warning you now. I might be
needing this while we're in the air," he said, holding up an air-sick bag on
which he'd scrawled "Mrs. Field's" in red pen.
That got a smile out of me.
"A-ha!" Duo grinned triumphantly. I buried my nose in my book, embarrassed
at having let my guard down. But Duo knew he'd already won. He kept his
mouth shut for a while after that.
The stewardess was coming down the aisle, serving drinks to the passengers.
When she got to our row, she smiled sweetly and asked what we would like.
"I would just love a cranberry juice," Duo gushed. She poured his juice into
a plastic cup. "And some water," he added. She looked a little exasperated,
but complied. "And my friend here," Duo continued, "would like whey mixed
with clam juice."
The poor woman looked like she would be needing Duo's sick-bag soon. "Oh,
you haven't got any?" Duo asked quickly, miraculously keeping a straight
face. "Don't trouble yourself then. He'll be fine, won't you, Heero?" he
said, turning to me. I grunted and looked out the window to hide the amused
look on my face. The stewardess nodded weakly and continued on.
Duo turned to me, his eyes bright. I noticed then that they were a rich
violet color. "So, Heero, ready to talk yet?" he asked with a twinkle in
those velvet eyes.
I couldn't help it. He had me then.
"Cranberry juice or water?"
Duo and I talked throughout the flight, although he was the one doing most
of the speaking. In a short time I found out that he was an orphan, drifting
around the colonies trying to find adventure.
"Adventure? What do you mean, adventure?" I asked incredulously. (I had
given up on trying to be stone-faced with him.)
"Oh, you know, money, friends...love," he said shyly. I was amused that he
could be bashful.
"Well, how did you end up on Earth, then? There's a lot more adventure in
space, isn't there?" I asked, eager to get him talking again.
He was relieved to get out of his awkward situation. "Oh, space is
wonderful. But the earth is so...beautiful," he said. "The stars and the
moon are most beautiful from Earth. And just look at that," he said, leaning
over me to look out the window. I turned my gaze in the same direction and
saw a beautiful crystalline lake that was occasionally obscured by fluffy
clouds. It was beautiful, I had to admit. Embarrassed by the almost delicate
thought, I looked down at my lap. What I saw there shocked me. A pile of
chestnut brown braid was laying in my lap as Duo leaned over it to look out
the window. How had I not noticed it before? Duo must have sensed my shock,
because he looked down at his hair, then blushed crimson.
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean---" he stammered, yanking his hair from my lap,
trying to get it out of the way. "Damn! It's always where it doesn't belong.
Kinda has a mind of its own. Of course, that seems to be a problem with all
of me---oh, crap," he said, blushing even more furiously.
I grinned. He was so...cute...when he got flustered. *Stop it.* I thought. I
needed to remember that it was pointless to think that way, especially when
no normal person would. Guys just weren't supposed to be attracted to other
Duo broke me from my thoughts with a laugh. "You have a nice smile," he
said, giving me one of his own. I couldn't believe my ears. *He doesn't mean
it like that,* I told myself sternly. *He's just being nice, that's all.*
Then Duo surprised me again. "We have almost an hour left," he said. "Mind
if I, uh, borrow your shoulder for a quick nap?" He looked what I thought
was almost hopeful, but I dismissed that thought too.
"Sure." He leaned his head on my shoulder, and I got a whiff of what smelled
like lavender. *Must be his shampoo.* I thought. He must have used something
nice, to get his hair looking like that. Taking a quick look at his peaceful
face, I leaned back a little, careful not to disturb him, and waited for the
end of the flight.
We landed before Duo even stirred. "What the---" he mumbled sleepily, as we
taxied into the terminal.
"Wake up, Rip van Winkle," I said playfully. *Me, playful? Strange...* "You
must be able to sleep through anything. We're here."
"Oh," he said, grinning. I was having a great dream."
"About what?" I asked, innocent.
He was flustered. I don't think he expected me to ask. "Uh, nothing
special," he said quicky. I wondered what he was hiding. He didn't seem like
the kind of person who would need to be anything but blunt and open. My
thoughts turned, though, as the seatbelt light went off and we got up to get
After we were off the plane, I turned toward the phones to call a cab and
get a hotel room. I didn't want to admit it, but I was sad to see Duo go.
"Well, uh, what are your plans now?" I asked.
"Oh, just wandering," he said cheerfully. "I'll figure something out."
"What do you mean? Where are you staying?" I asked, a glimmer of hope in my
"Oh, here, there, everywhere..."
"Don't have the money. I spent the last of it on that plane ticket."
"Don't have them either."
I took the plunge. "Do you want to stay with me? I'm getting a room," I
rushed on, "and I'm sure it'll be plenty big enough."
His eyes did one of the most beautiful things then: they lit up. "I would
love to! I've never been in a hotel before!" He was like a kid on Christmas.
I was thrilled. "All right then, I'll make the arrangements," I said,
smiling. He practically dragged me to the phones.
Duo was rushing around the room, picking things up and giggling like a
madman. "Look at this!" he exclaimed, holding up a tiny bottle of shampoo.
"Baby shampoo! I'll need like twenty of these!" I had to smile. He was
right, after all. That hair of his hung well past his butt, and was surely
longer when unbraided.
"Calm down, Duo. I was thinking we could go get something to eat. What do
"Oh, everything! I love food!"
"Then get dressed." He grabbed his bag and all but flew into the bathroom. I
smiled, and began to dress. I chose a simple pair of black pants, a blue
silk shirt with short sleeves and buttons, and black shoes. I had just
finished tying them when I heard Duo emerge from the bathroom. I turned to
look, and lost my breath. He looked stunning. A pair of black pants similar
to mine were topped with a dark crimson shirt. His hair had been neatly
rebraided, and he was wearing a pair of black combat boots. Why were those
boots turning me on? *Down, boy. You're trying to get away from that part of
you, remember?* Aloud I said, "You look great. Let's go."
He twirled like a model. "I was hoping you'd like it. I may be broke, but I
still have my style," he grinned.
The restaurant I took us to was crowded. When we walked in, nearly every
girl who was available (and many more who were not) looked at Duo hungrily,
but he paid no attention to them. *He could have any girl he wanted,* I
thought. Oh well, the better to help me get over my "problem."
We were seated in a booth toward the back. A waitress gave us menus and took
our drink order, and Duo looked over the menu. "Lobster? What kind of place
is this?" he crowed.
I grinned. I knew he would be pleased. "Are you going to order some?" I
"Oh, no. I think I'll have a hamburger." I smiled. That was just like Duo. I
felt like I'd known him forever by then. "I am going to get a lobster bib,
though," he said, smiling wickedly.
After our food had arrived and he had tied that ridiculous bib on, we had
some uneventful conversation. That is, until Duo's eye began to bother him.
"I don't get it," he said, rubbing at it with his fist. Maybe this will
help." And with that, he picked up his salad fork and stuck it in his fist
to scratch his eye. As I watched in horror, white liquid spurted from
between his fingers.
"Duo! Are you all right?" I cried, jumping up. He suddenly began laughing
hysterically. I didn't understand until he showed me the coffee creamer
container he'd hidden in his hand. "You baka!" I scolded. Soon, though, his
hysteria caught on, and not long after we both had tears in our eyes from
laughing so hard.
After dinner, we decided to walk back to the hotel. After a while we came to
one of those silly little photo booths that charge a buck or so for a strip
of pictures. "OOOH! I love these things!" Duo cried, pulling me into it.
"Hn. Those things are silly," I said, trying to be my usual gruff self. But
it was no use. Duo had brought out a part of me I didn't know existed, and I
could deny him nothing. I let myself be yanked in and onto his lap. I forked
over a bill to him, and he slid it in.
"Now, smile," he commanded. I gave a cheesy grin. The photo snapped. We
proceeded to strike funny poses, with rabbit ears and exposed tongues. When
we were finished, we eagerly waited to see how they came out.
"These are great!" Duo laughed happily. "Can I keep them?"
"Of course. They're yours," I said. I started to walk toward the hotel
again, when I heard Duo's soft voice, so soft that I almost missed it.
"I'll treasure them always."
Back at the hotel, I was flipping through the television channels while Duo
got ready for a shower. "Is there anything you'd like to see?" I asked.
"Are there any good movies on?" he called from the bathroom.
"Well, it looks like there's a Humphrey Bogart marathon."
"YAY! I love Bogie!" cried Duo. "I shouldn't be in the shower too long. When
does it start?"
"Not for another hour or so," I said. I heard him start the shower, and I
caught myself wishing I could be in there, washing his hair, just touching
him. Damn! Why did I have to be so impossibly hopeless? I couldn't get away
from it, no moatter what I did. I heard Duo humming to himself and thought
of how beautiful, how innocent he was. Not like me. He wasn't tainted with a
socially unacceptable "disease" like I was.
"Heero?" Duo's voice startled me out of my thoughts. "Heero, can you come
help me?" He sounded embarrassed.
"What is it, Duo?" I asked, nervous. If I saw him in the shower it would all
be over. I wouldn't be able to stop myself.
"This shower is kind of narrow, and I can't get all the soap out of my
hair," he said. Did he sound nervous? No, of course not. It was only my
"What can I do?" I asked, stepping into the bathroom. It was filled with
steam, and I could see Duo's slender frame through the glass shower door.
"Well, if I open the door and turn sideways, you can rinse it for me. You
don't have to if you don't want to," he added softly.
Not want to?? There was nothing that I wanted to do more! "Sure, Duo. I
would be glad to." I stepped closer, feeling my throat tighten. *Control
yourself, Heero,* I thought to myself. He opened the door and quickly turned
away from me. His hair streamed down his back, brushing the backs of his
knees. *He's beautiful.* I stepped forward and took the soapy hair in my
hand, marveling at its softness. I guided the stream of water down it,
making sure to rinse it clean. The water was spraying me also, but I didn't
care. I was touching Duo. How could I fall in---love, was it love? Yes, it
was. How could I fall in love with someone I'd met on an airplane? I was
trying to avoid loving at all, and I fall in love in exactly the way I was
trying not to---with another man.
"All done," I sighed, ending the barrage inside my head.
"Thanks, Heero," Duo said. I handed him a towel, sensing that he didn't want
to turn around, and left the bathroom. *Of course he wouldn't want to turn
around. Why would he want another man to see him naked?* I plopped on the
bed, face down.
I could hear Duo brushing out his hair next to his own bed. *What I wouldn't
give to be that brush.* I started crying softly when I heard a rustle behind
me, then a weight on my bed. An arm around my waist. I looked up, and there
was Duo, laying beside me.
I wiped my eyes quickly, but he'd already seen the tears. "Duo, I'm sorry. I
can't stop it anymore." I sobbed into my arms. Duo sat up, and pulled me
with him, his arms enveloping me in a warm embrace.
"Holding in my feelings," I cried. "I was on that plane because I am
running. I'm running from who I am, toward what everyone wants me to be. But
I will never get there. I know that now, after meeting you. I know I can
never be anything other than what I am."
"And what is that?" Duo asked softly.
"You would hate me."
"I could never hate you."
"Duo, I have to tell you the truth, even if it means you think I'm crazy." I
tried to stop crying, to take a deep breath and speak clearly. "Duo, I just
met you, but I feel like I have always known you. And I think I...I love
you, Duo." Fresh tears poured down my face as I closed my eyes and waited
for rejection. I would never be able to go on, not after I'd opened myself
up to him. I knew I loved him, but could never have him.
Instead of a fist, or a scream, or anything that I was expecting, I felt a
hand on my chin. It held it gently, but I still wouldn't open my eyes. The
hand pulled on my face, until I was inches from Duo. I only opened my eyes
when I felt his lips brush my own.
"I love you, Heero."
"What?" He kissed me again. I couldn't believe that he hadn't got up and run
out, let alone that he was kissing me. It was so tender, and I felt like I
was truly loved.
"You aren't going to leave? You feel the same way? I can't believe---" I was
babbling like Duo normally did.
Duo put his finger on my lips to silence me. "Heero, I know we must be
soulmates, because I feel like you read what you said to me just now from a
script written on my heart. I love you."
"You aren't leaving?" I asked again, still in shock.
"Do you remember what I first said to you?" he asked. I looked at him, my
eyes widening with hope.
"I'm not going anywhere."