disclaimer: about the same as always, i'm out of my head, and know not what i do.

pairing: heero/duo
warnings: implied sexual situations, some waff

notes: written for no real reason, but to post something to [ gw500 ]

Middle Ground
by Merith

They had been lovers for the night, falling into a well-sated sleep. It didn't surprise him to wake up alone in the morning. Rather, Heero was expecting it, for it wasn't the first time Duo extracted himself, and left on cat-like feet before dawn, before Heero's internal alarm roused him. But, knowing and expecting wasn't what he wanted.

'I'll make you breakfast in the morning,' he had murmured to Duo, nose buried in the back of Duo's neck, and took the soft grunt as acceptance to his plan.

Instead of making pancakes, Heero drank his tea, made some toast, showered and dressed, and, just like every other weekday, went to work.

Duo was predictably five minutes late for the morning meeting, rueful smile in place. He took his place next to Heero, giving Heero's knee a nudge with his own, and a wink when Heero glanced his way. Life went back to normal, and Heero focused on current assignments, special cases slated for the future, and discussions of rumored personnel transfers.

It was a Friday, and though he had no weekend plans, he knew Duo would somehow be involved. By the end of the work day, Heero had taken to frowning at his phone, wondering if Duo wasn't going to call, wasn't going to make some excuse to 'drop by for a minute', or invite him 'to the bar on the corner for a game'. These ploys, Heero understood and he rolled with the flow and pace that Duo set.

By nine that night, Heero was certain Duo wouldn't call, wouldn't 'just be in the neighborhood', and ate dinner alone. It was while he was washing up that he discovered the message, a bit of paper stuck under an advertiser's refrigerator magnet. And in a moment, Heero knew his next step.

He shed his sweats, showered again, and dressed with a care not normally shown. His car keys in hand, Heero picked up the scrap of napkin, folded it and put it gently in his pocket.

Duo answered on his second ring of the doorbell, a robe hastily thrown on and loosely belted. He was staring with blurry eyes at Heero, and for a moment, Heero wondered if he had erred. Before Duo could speak, he thrust the napkin scrap out at him.

"I've come to collect," he said, and waited for the slightly confused look to clear.

It took Duo another minute of starting at the note, guarding the doorway and leaving Heero on the step. "At eleven o'clock at night?" Duo asked. Heero only nodded. Another three breaths and Duo began to smile. He stepped back inside his apartment, and jerked his chin by way of invitation. "Mi casa es su casa."

Heero spent the night in Duo's bed, but woke up in the morning, alone. A flash of regret passed; chased by the understanding that carried him this far. And his day began by tossing back the covers, and searching for his boxers.

It was the smell of coffee that drew him down the hall, and the muttered curses coming from the kitchen that made him smile. Through the open space, Heero stopped to watch as Duo juggled a flatcake on a spatula from pan to plate. On the counter space, a platter was piled with what looked like a full package of cooked bacon, and at least ten links of sausage. Duo's tiny table was set with dual plate settings amidst glasses of orange juice, plates with two different kinds of eggs, toast, jars of jam and jelly, and a bottle of syrup.

"What's this?" Heero asked, coming into the room.

Turning his head, Duo flipped a pancake, yelped and stuck his finger in his mouth. His glance took in the breakfast spread, and back to Heero. "I didn't know what you wanted." He shrugged.

Heero stepped closer, peering at the nicely browned cake, at Duo dressed only in a tee shirt, boxers, and socks, his finger still in his mouth. Something settled within him, and he rested a hip against the counter to watch Duo manage the pancake, and pour batter for another one.

"Why?" he asked suddenly, and it was Duo's turn to smile at him.

"You cashed in my marker," Duo said, tapping the spatula to the napkin scrap on the counter. And Heero read the words again, lost for a moment in their complex simplicity.

I O U breakfast, whenever you want it.

"Can I use it again?"


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