Duo was decidedly comfortable on the couch, leaning heavily against Heero's shoulder, fast slipping to rest his cheek against Heero's creased collar, Heero's half-embrace preventing Duo from falling into his lap. Starting to feel drowsy, Duo looked at the flames of the fireplace before them. It was general fatigue that had gotten to him; he was confident he could never tire of watching the flames flicker and dance. Something so destructive, yet providing such peace...
He'd always had a weakspot for elaborate fireworks. Yet, now, the cozy warmth before him, beside him, around him, was all he could possibly crave.
Yawning, he glanced over at the dining table. Remnants of cake, a general clutter of confetti and discarded paper hats covered the mahogany surface - with some stray spots at the chairs and carpet.
He sighed contently, picking at another shirt button, resting his ear just above Heero's breast pocket, listening. Yeah, he was definitely getting old, if this was all the fire he needed for a kick. Briefly, his eyes closed. The big three-oh, this time. He had to go and pick himself a January birthday... At least he'd only be the guest, come April. Maybe he'd find a ribbon and make himself a present in August. Hardly an original gift, but he suspected Heero would appreciate the sentiment. And him.
The grip around him tightened for a moment as Heero wrote down another word. Duo turned his head, watched Heero fill out another row of blank squares under the picture of a snowman knocking the door of a fridge room. The crossword was nearly done now. The pen tapped another puzzling clue intersecting the light blue solution line.
Looking up, Duo noted the crease of pondering he knew would be on Heero's forehead. "You know, the solution phrase is 'baby, it's cold outside'..."
Duo merely grinned as the crease doubled over, eyes going stern. Heero always hated it when Duo saw the solution before he did - especially if he said it. Not that a knowing grin in his peripheral vision wasn't aggravating too.
Not voicing his minor frustration, Heero flipped the pages of the magazine, skimming over the comics. Duo was about to tell him to backtrack when Heero paused.
The slight tense in Heero's embrace made Duo think the time for vengeance was near. The headline in bold pink flashing his retina bolstered the idea. 'What would be your perfect relationship?' the magazine asked. Heero tilted the questions and score interpretations out of Duo's sight. "Want to take it?"
Duo glared up at him, then ground his cheek against Heero's collar, undoing yet another button. "I don't need some stupid test to tell me that..."
The embrace tightened, and Duo heard Heero's heart skip a beat. It could have been his answer, it could have been the hand Duo had snuck under Heero's shirt, smoothing across his belly. "Duo..."
He sighed, paused his fingers. His lover was dead-set on revenge, apparently. Might as well get it over with, Duo figured. "Fine, ask..."
Heero rested the magazine against the back of Duo's head, his other palm rubbing Duo's bicep. "The eyes are the mirror of the soul. True or false?"
Duo didn't answer.
Heero moved the paper aside. "Duo?"
He looked up, met Heero's eyes. "Perhaps..." he started. "I can look forever, but I would never get to the bottom of them..." He paused, just long enough for Heero to grow a bit smug. "...before you blink," he added, watching Heero deflate, then snicker. Fingers moved to curl his neckhairs, nudge his braid.
"Okay, next question - A marriage is more than a vow. Agree or disagree?"
"Disagree," Duo replied immediately, earning a look. "Hey, Howard's been married three times - white bride, church bells, rings - the works every time. None of them lasted a year." He reached around to place his hand over Heero's, trapping it against his shoulder. "All we've got so far is... an understanding. It's lasted us half a lifetime so far."
Tentatively, Heero shifted his hand to return Duo's soft clasp. "We could have the bells and rings..." He smirked. "And you in a dress..."
Luckily for Heero, Duo chose to laugh rather than ram his elbow into the softer parts of Heero's body.
"If you want," Heero reaffirmed.
Duo mulled on it momentarily, then shook his head. "Nah, what we got is good enough." He glanced up. "Isn't it?"
Heero nodded, brushed aside Duo's bangs and gently kissed his forehead. "More than enough."
A minute passed. Another. "Next question?"
Heero cleared his throat, lifted the magazine to his line of sight again. "To really understand and value love, you must also have lost in love at least once."
"I never lose," Duo cut in.
Heero snorted, but refrained from mentioning Duo's overwhelming loss in a private game of strip Parcheesi the evening prior.
"Is love at first sight possible? Yes or no?"
Duo started a chuckle. "Well, given how we started out, I'm not sure..." He gave it a second thought. "...but if what Quatre told me of his first meeting with Trowa... Yeah, I guess it is."
He glanced at the fireplace again, exhale slowly as the back of Heero's fingers brushed down his temple. "That other question... it's really wrong, you know..."
"Having lost in love," Duo explained. He straightened up, trailed his hand up Heero's chest, neck, cupping his cheek, barely needing to coax him closer, their lips touching fleetingly. The magazine slipped to the floor. "I've never been burned..." he admitted. Heero had been his first real love, and he knew the reverse was also true. "But..." he added, "I know how to appreciate what we have."
As they kissed again, Duo felt his partner smile softly.
The flames died down in the fireplace.
The fire merely moved some steps beyond.