New Years Eve
NEW (AC 195-196)
"Hey, Quatre - here."
Quatre smiled politely, and accepted the offered glass. "Thank you, Duo." Brief concern painted his face. "This is non-alcoholic, right? You know-"
Wide grin. "Sure, Quat. I know you've got religious issues with-"
The blond smiled, gave the glass a quick stir. "Oh, that's not the main reason." A whiff. "No, it's how it affects my judgement and temper. I tend to get violent - really violent." Duo's face paled just slightly, grin unsteady. Quatre didn't notice, and chuckled to himself. "Last time I got intoxicated, the property damages were... quite extensive." Another laugh. "Trowa said he thought I was under the effects of the Zero system again." He locked smiling eyes on Duo, raised his glass. "Cheers."
Before his lips could make contact with the brim, however, Duo's hand was on his, holding the glass back. "I think - this one might have alcohol in it, after all." Duo smiled sheepishly. Quatre's hold on the glass loosened, and Duo stole it back with a wink. "I'll just go get you another one - be back in a flash."
No sooner had Duo left did Trowa approach. He put an arm around Quatre's shoulders, the blond shooting a sunbeam to his partner's eyes before leaning into the loose embrace, chin resting on shoulder. "I couldn't help but overhear," the taller one began. "You were just toying with him, weren't you?"
Nod. "Yeah - just like he was with me." Sigh in a smile. "He wants me to loosen up, and probably figured that might do it."
Trowa's embrace tightened a tad, and he rested his cheek against the blond locks. "You seem to loosen up just fine to me."
Quatre momentarily tensed, gave him a glance, and blushed lightly.
In a whisper, Trowa added "I'm sure you stiffen nicely, too."
"Trowa!" Quatre hissed back, tearing free from the halfway hug, shaky smile on his lips.
Short, subdued snicker. Trowa reached out to capture the blond's hands. "Duo has the right idea, though - teasing you is fun."
Quatre shook his head, sighed. "For you, maybe. Not so much for me."
Step closer, slight head tilt. "Oh, I don't know..." Another step. "Are you sure there isn't a part of teasing you enjoy?" Closer still. Trowa's lips parted to speak again, but was interrupted by the sound of glass shattering, tearing the blond's attention and hands away from him. Trowa mentally cursed and glared in the direction of the sound.
Over by the drinks table, Heero and Duo were both watching the shattered glass at Heero's feet - until they locked eyes; Duo's wide with worry, Heero's with surprise.
"Looks like Duo finally told him," Trowa dryly commented.
Heero began smirking, stepped over the shards, and tentatively hugged Duo, soon trapped in an eager return embrace.
Quatre chuckled. "Looks like he got his answer, too." He turned to Trowa, soon enough engaging him in a hug of their own. "A new year, a new couple... new possibilities." He sighed, glanced at the big clock at the wall mercilessly ticking down towards midnight, and looked up to face Trowa. "Think 196 will treat us better than 195 did?"
Trowa kissed Quatre's forehead, hugged him tighter. "I'm sure it will. As long as you're here with me, it is certain to keep getting better."
The crowd of the victory party had long since begun parting and pairing up, and at ten seconds, the unison countdown began. At seven, Quatre's fingers grazed from Trowa's cheek to fasten at his neck. At five, he drew the Heavyarms pilot a bit closer. At three, the blond stood on his toes. At one, their eyes closed. At zero, their lips met, and a new year began - their new year.
YEARS (AC 196-197)
Heero tentatively opened his eyes, barely noticing how sore they felt, how sore his entire body felt. He blinked to adjust to the dim lights of the room, ignored the signals of pain his nerves sent - along with a warm touch.
"Hey... You awake?"
Heero tilted his head in the direction of the voice, despite protesting neck muscles. Duo sat in a chair beside the hospital bed Heero was resting in, both his hands cradling Heero's left, his eyes bloodshot and voice remarkably meek.
Strained chuckle. "Yeah, you're still alive. Told you I wouldn't let you leave." Duo quickly offered Heero some water from a canister.
Heero took a few sips, and it did wonders for his parched throat. "You..." He cleared his throat. "You've sat here since - how long have I been out?"
"Not that long." He sighed within his shaky smile. "But it sure felt like eternity."
Heero curled his fingers, pressuring the hand left in his own. "I think we need to stop meeting like this, then."
Duo shrugged. "Yeah..." Amused snort. "I'm tired of doing my hero worship by hospital beds, anyway. Regular ones are better."
Heero rolled his eyes. "That pun is only fun the first hundred times, Duo - I'm done being the hero now. No more killing."
Nod. "I heard - still, you can't really escape that fate, can you? I mean, it's in your damn name."
Negative headshake. "You know my name is an assumed one. All my names have been - I don't know if I even have a real name anymore. My last alias just stuck, since I haven't had anyone give me another."
Duo dared laugh. "Then maybe we should change that." Nod. "Yeah, I think I'll call you 'Bob' from now on. How about that, Bob?"
Snort, lopsided smile. Brief consideration of a pillow fight, concluding against.
Duo's grin widened even more, oblivious. "Yeah, I think that'd be fine. 'Bob Maxwell'. I kinda like the ring of that."
Grunt. "Enough, Duo. Or should I say 'Duo Yuy'? I like the sound of that better."
Duo smiled down at him, briefly brushed aside Heero's bangs and planted a soft, quick kiss on his forehead. "I have a feeling we'll both keep our names - and each other."
Laugh. "Damn right - and proud of it, tough guy. And you know damn well you've been plenty mushy on me too."
Another grunt, both acknowledgement and dismissal. From outside, they heard a rocket go off. And another. A third; brilliant colorful lights reflecting of the whitewashed walls of the room. Heero was startled at first, but Duo's calm told him it was safe. "New Years Eve..." he reasoned, dismissing the fear of continued fighting. "Duo, you should go - at least over to the window or something. I don't want you to miss the fireworks, I know you love those."
For a moment, Duo gave him a stunned look, and then broke out laughing. "Oh, I think I've already seen enough fireworks to last a lifetime this last week, Heero."
Heero smirked again. "Oh, I'm not so sure about that... Come here, Duo - closer."
Duo obeyed. Heero tentatively reached for Duo's shoulder, coaxing him down for a prolonged, tender kiss. Outside, the rockets kept on their racket, lights dancing on the naked wall.
With some effort, Heero scooted a little to the side, and softly tapped the open bed-space in invitation. Duo accepted, and carefully lay down beside him. Their eyes locked, he sighed, and whispered "I can't believe it's been a year already - a damn good one, too. Well, except this last week."
Strained chuckle. "We'll have many more, Duo. As many as you like - together."
Duo let go of his hand, and caressed Heero's cheek instead, quick to deliver another kiss. "Told you you had your mushy moments too. Happy new year... Bob."
To the sound of fireworks and interrupted laughter, Heero retaliated only with soft lips on lips.
EVE (AC 197-198)
Wufei had abandoned the stuffy ballroom in favor of the balcony. Certainly, the crowd would follow him in a few hours, but for now, the chill, food and drinks kept them inside. He had neglected going by the way of the reception area in the hall, thus forfeiting his coat, and the cool air was beginning to get to him - not that he'd ever admit that to anyone.
It had long since gotten dark, and beyond the lights from the ballroom, only the stars and the moon reflecting sunlight shone upon him. He gazed up at them as if waiting for an answer - but instead, he got a question.
Scowling, he turned to see who had interrupted his solitude. It took him a moment to recognized the blonde. "Miss Catalonia," he offered, making a curt nod.
She smiled, raised her eyebrows. "Leaving miss Relena's party so soon?"
Wufei snorted. "I haven't left, I just needed a breath of fresh air."
Dorothy came closer, one hand still hiding behind her back. "So you say - yet, you've been absentminded all evening." At his slightly widening eyes, she continued. "Yes, I noticed, and I probably wasn't the only one. Your friends seem concerned."
He returned to his scowl. "Then let them be. I don't care."
She chuckled, took a final step, halting a good six paces away. "Funny - to leave you alone was the best they could think of, too." She paused, and as she brought forth her hidden hand and threw one of the two objects at him, she stated "I thought differently!" And then, she grabbed a firm hold of her rapier, and attacked.
On mere reflex, Wufei caught the rapier Dorothy had tossed at him, and got down to a kneeling parry just in time, deflecting the blow, ignoring the sparks. "Are you crazy, woman?!"
She laughed, one step back, parry, riposte. "I keep hearing that..."
Wufei frowned, sidestepping the counter-attack. "If you keep this up, I won't hold back."
Smirk. "Good. I would be disappointed if you did."
Their rapiers clang together again, and the duel continued, moon and stars the only specators as the crowd in the ballroom went on oblivious.
"You fight good," he quietly offered amidst his panting, leaning back against the stone wall below the balcony patio. The party guests had finally come outside, awaiting the fireworks. That had cut the duel short, despite how long the stalemate had already lasted.
"Why, thank you - and so do you," Dorothy replied, equally exhausted.
She thought it over. "Because you needed it."
Scowl. "That's no answer, you vile temptress."
She laughed, unconcerned they might be heard. The murmur of the crowd drowned all anyway. She leant in a little. "They say the way to a man's heart goes through his stomach. Sometimes, however, it goes through his head - upper or lower, depending on the man." Another potent chuckle. "For you, it is the upper. A show of strength seems to appeal more than apples or beauty to you." She shrugged. "I merely picked the proper bait."
Decidedly uncomfortable - for a variety of reasons, Wufei straightened up. "That's still no answer."
She sighed, looked up at the sky. The first rocket was screaming towards the sky now, and the crowd cheered in awe. "I saw where you were looking - and I believe I know why. I was there, not long ago." She inched closer, and kissed his cheek. Into his confused face, she whispered "Happy new year, Wufei."
Wufei was truly dumbstruck now, and while his jaw worked to speak, not a word came out.
"I do not know for who or how many you are mourning - but surely you have paid your respects by now?" She began walking away. "Let the dead rest, Wufei - or you'll live with them forever - and them alone. Respect their memories, but live on your own, not through them."
She was gone. Wufei frowned as the crowd laughed, smiled, cheered as more of the fireworks splashed against the night sky. He looked up; saw his heritage on a backdrop of ancestry. With clenched teeth, he got up, and went after Dorothy.
This eve was not going to be a solitaire one.