disclaimer: i do not own gw. it is unfair.

pairing: 1+2+1
genre: waff, heero pov
warning: not too many.. unless laundry is your enemy as it is mine.

note: well, this is kinda sorta a sequel to 'cooking lessons' - jana said i should do it and who am i to refute?

Laundry Day
by 0083

I do not understand Duo's penchant for trying to teach me these normal, everyday things. Sometimes, I think he just wants to shirk off some of his chores at me, but I do not fully know if that is the case. But whatever his reasons, he looks so damned happy when he is teaching me the little things about our domestic life so I will not contradict him.

Sometimes, I think these little experiments actually cause him pain. The other day, he taught me how to cook his chili. He was patient and very instructional, understanding all my needs and quirks in the endeavor. I must admit, my chili did not taste like his, but I thought it turned out fairly well. Despite that opinion and the fact that my lover ate every last bite I put before him, he spent the rest of the night in the bathroom. I never could figure out the source of his distress, but I do know that he and the porcelain god became very close friends that night.

And so it is of no surprise that he has decided to teach me how to do laundry today. It is a lovely Saturday and I do not have work, so it is the perfect day to teach me the joys of washing, drying and folding clothes. My lover comes to me with a big grin and a hamper filled with clothing. I smile back and I can feel the glow of his presence wash over me. It is the warmest feeling and I know it is love.

When Duo puts down the hamper on the laundry table beside the washing machine, I carefully take out the clothes and examine them. I go through the pockets as he instructs, looking for loose change, scrap paper and other things that may hamper the washing process. I am nothing if not thorough and by the time I finish, there are five dollars and twenty three cents, a receipt from a novelty sex shop and a parking ticket on the table.

Duo looks curiously at the receipt and I have the presence of mind to blush lightly and rip it away from his hand before he gets a good look. It is a surprise for him, for teaching me how to live a normal home life. He gives me an amused smirk, but says nothing about it. He merely tells me that I must separate my whites from my colors before I can do the wash.

Then it occurs to me. All these clothes are mine. None of Duo's eccentric t-shirts, funny print boxers nor worn out jeans are in the pile before me. I ask him out of mild curiosity where his laundry is and am surprised when he tells me he has already done all his laundry. I am suspicious of his answer, but I let it slide. He will tell me the complete truth when he is ready.

First, under my love's watchful eyes, I separate the whites from the colors. Then my perfectly logical brain comes up against a problem. My shirt that I wore on Tuesday is blue and white. It is of both families of color and I do not know quite which pile I should put it. I assess it carefully, trying to determine if it is more white or more colored, depending on the area that each color occupies. Whichever color has the greater surface area upon the shirt would triumph.

My intense scrutiny seems to amuse Duo because I can tell that he is trying to hold back laughter. His cheeks are a little puffy and his face is undergoing some rapid changes of color, becoming red, then blue, then purple. I glance at him and apparently, that was a mistake. He starts laughing, the beautiful sound bouncing off the walls and echoing like chimes in the enclosed laundry room. I must amend that... not chimes, but full out church bells. It is loud.

When he finishes laughing, he must have caught the look of puzzlement on my face because he suddenly straightens his face into a bland look. Then he leans over and gives me a quick kiss on my lips, silently apologizing for laughing at me. But I do not mind. I like it when he laughs. It is a sound that is precious to me.

Back to my laundry dilemma. I have just come to the conclusion that the white dominates the blue on this particular shirt and therefore it must go with the white pile. I am very proud of my achievement for it took intense analysis, systematic mathematical reasoning and some complicated computations. I had no idea that doing laundry was much like a mission. Duo just tosses things in from what I have observed in the past.

He just must have more experience than I do and can compute faster.

I continue to separate the clothing, occasionally taking directions from my lover turned teacher. He tells me that no matter what the color of my underwear is, it is best if I put it in with the whites rather than the colors. There is no logic in it since one of my boxers is entirely red without even a trace of white. It does not fit within the parameters my beloved set out before this activity began, but he insists that it is for the best. Therefore, I ask him why the red boxers must go with my white things. Was there an underwear exception when it came to separating laundry? Did they receive special compensation to join their white tidy-whitey brethren in the washing machine?

My Duo just stares at me for a long moment. He seems to have lost his powers of speech for the moment. Either that, he has no reasons why the red boxers should go with the whites. For a teacher, my lover sometimes lacks in answers to my very logical and pertinent questions.

After a while, my love shakes his head and gives me a look that I can only describe as rueful. But he still says nothing and I can only follow his strange directions and let the red boxers go into the white pile. When I do, it looks strangely out of place, even with the blue and white shirt complimenting it. However, Duo said it was right so I ignore the feeling in my head and continue on separating. Thankfully, I wear mostly solid colors and I do not run into that blue and white shirt dilemma again. I am not entirely ready to do complicated math equations for every shirt on a Saturday afternoon. Even I have my limits.

After the separation of the clothes, Duo tells me that I should choose if I want to wash the whites or the colors first. It is not a momentous decision so I choose the white pile, the one closer to the washing machine. Satisfied with my choice, my domestic teacher tells me to measure out the amount of grain detergent I will be using. Little does he know that I have already read the label and have figured out exactly how much detergent I need for my load of whites. Smugly, but not too much so, I take the scoop and carefully measure out three-fourth of a scoop, right up to the line. I shake the detergent around, making sure there are no lumps, and eye it carefully. I do not want too much or too little. The label said three-fourth and I will be using three-fourth.

That takes me about fifteen minutes before I'm satisfied that I have precisely that amount. Of course I notice my lover waiting for me to finish this tedious yet necessary step with affection shining out of my eyes. I would have to be dead and blind not to notice my lover. When I am done, I look to Duo and he points to the washing machine. Taking the hint, I go to pour in the detergent when he clamps his hand gently around my wrist.

I look at him mildly puzzled, but then he explains. I must set up the washing machine first, for it is important that the detergent dissolves smoothly as not to clump on my clothing. I see the efficiency and logic behind that reasoning quite well. I file the information away.

I set the washing machine at warm water wash and warm water rinse and see Duo nod in agreement. Phase One of Washing Machine Setup is complete. Then I set the load at medium, seeing that the whites pile is not quite large. Another nod of confirmation follows and I have successfully completed Phase Two of Washing Machine Setup. Then I choose the quick wash cycle, the one that is used for all things non-polyester and non-silk. Duo smiles at me approvingly and I realize that the final phase, Phase Three of Washing Machine Setup is done. I pull up the knob in victory and am rewarded with warm water flowing into the basin of the machine.

I toss in the detergent, making sure that each grain is dissolved in the water. Then I carefully put in everything that is in my whites pile into the machine, close the lid and wait for thirty minutes.

My lover tries to induce me to get away from the washing machine and do something else, but I cannot leave. What if something goes wrong? What if the washing machine suddenly halts and my clothes are left in a sodden mess? What if the detergent bubbles over the sides as I have seen in many television commercials and senseless movies? My lover seems to understand my trepidations for he sits on the table and waits with me. He talks to me about anything and everything, and I let his soothing and cheerful voice wash away the anxiety in my stomach. I had no idea that laundry could be this stressful.

After the wash is done, I carefully remove everything to the dryer, but I am distracted by Duo smiling at me lovingly. I nearly miss tossing my clothes into the dryer thanks to him, but my perfect reflexes kick in and I do not drop a thing. Then I repeat Phases One through Three for the colors, but I use the permanent cycle this time. I do know what I am doing, even if my lover is convinced that laundry is not my specialty.

I start up both the washer and the dryer, but my love gets up from the table and stops the dryer. He opens the dryer door and calmly puts in a dryer sheet, informing me that if I wanted soft and snuggly clothing, I should use one of those things. He also cleans the lint basket and I must concede, perhaps I do not know as much as I thought.

The washer finishes well before the dryer, but Duo tells me that it is the norm, so I wait patiently for the dryer to finish. I will soon have clean underwear and shirts. My spandex was relegated to the colors pile so I will not see them for a while yet. When the dryer finally buzzes, I open the dryer door and extract my whites.

Only they are not so white.

They are entirely purple.

Not the color of my beautiful lover's eyes, but this ghastly, unimaginably surreal purple.

My eye twitching ever so gently, I turn my head to glare at my lover. I shake my tidy-whiteys, or rather, my tidy-purplies, at his face, demanding an explanation. He has the grace to look somewhat sheepish at turning my entire load of underwear into this unbelievably unfortunate color of lavender. I knew that the red underwear was at fault. That was the only thing of color in my lovely whites only load.

Then my logical brain kicks in and asks me how in the world the red boxers could have turned anything purple. I frown ever so slightly and realize that the only way red could become purple is if mixed in with blue. Blue. As in blue and white shirt. As in..

Oh crap.

The consternation sets in and my Duo begins to chuckle. He manages to apologize for his contribution to this god awful mess, but I know now that it was also my fault. I miscalculated the blue and white shirt. Its cotton fibers, not so color fast as it should have been, caused my downfall. All that tactical advantage I had over that one piece of clothing was just an illusion. In the end, I failed my laundry.

Sighing despondently, I remove the rest of the laundry from the dryer and rest my head against my lover's shoulder. He pats me gently, telling me that I have tons of other white underwear and that all is not ruined. He is so supportive in my time of need.

When I put in the colors into the dryer, I make sure to check that none of them are different in color. When I am satisfied that all the clothing had retained their original color, I put them into the dryer, put in the dryer sheet and turn on the machine. This time, I will not fail.

I wait for the dryer with my Duo, talking idly with him as I fold my purpled laundry in a precise manner. A crease here, a fold there. Even if my underwear and shirts are a horrible color, they will be folded carefully and precisely. I do not abandon mutilated and disfigured comrades, especially when they have supported me so well.

When the dryer buzzes, I have finished folding my purples. I open the dryer door and find that everything is in its original color and I breathe easier. Smiling at my success, I take out my colors and am gratified to see them all well. Then I see my spandex.

Oh crap.

My spandex.. they are still the same color, but..


How in the world can a pair of spandex shrink so much?

Not even my arms can fit through those now, no matter how much they stretch.

As I despaired over my irrecoverably shrunken spandex, my lover who knows how much I adore these things soothes me. My laundry day lesson had been a failure and I only had purple underwear and Barbie-sized spandex to show for it. Then it finally occurs to me why Duo had already done his laundry.

He had seen this coming, that little sneaky holder of my heart. This can only be rectified with vengeance.

Therefore, next time I learn something domestic from Duo, it will not be laundry.

I will learn the fine art of toilet scrubbing. Using Duo's braid.


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