VALENTINE
1x2x1






“I didn’t know you’d kept this.” Duo knelt on the kitchen floor of Heero’s new apartment, surrounded by a selection of open and closed packing boxes, and stared down at the photograph in his hand.

Heero was crouched by another of the larger boxes on the other side of the room. He lifted out a pile of crockery, carefully wrapped in newspaper, and blew off some stray shreds of the packing material. He didn’t look up immediately. Hm?”

“This snap of us.
It was from last spring break. We were going to go on that hiking trip but never got that far, remember?” Duo’s voice was low and gentle, and the question sounded rhetorical. He still gazed at the photo, tilting it as if to get a better look. “It rained solidly, all that week. You know, I had to throw out those boots, the soles never recovered.” He smiled at the photo. “You looked like a drowned rat.”

Heero made a huffing noise. “Thanks a lot.” He carefully put the crockery down on the floor and sat back on his heels. He watched Duo. One of his hands was gently fisted at his side. “You were there too. You were soaked through as much as I was. Two drowned rats together.”

Duo gave a chuckle. “Right. Looks good on you, though. Your hair low on your forehead; a wet shine on your cheeks. And with a physique like yours, the wet tee shirt contest is a done deal.”

Heero laughed softly. He relaxed his fist a little. “Where did you find it?”

It was in one of your books.” Duo still sounded thoughtful. “I was going to unpack that last box of them into your spare room, plenty of space there. Just tucked in as a bookmark, eh? You probably forgot it was there.”

Heero shifted gently. “No.”

“Huh?” Duo lifted his head but he didn’t look right around.

Heero cleared his throat. “I didn’t forget it was there. I always use it as a bookmark, whatever I’m reading. That’s my current book, I’ll put it beside my bed…” He paused. Both hands were in fists now and he looked flushed.

Duo’s body seemed to shiver a little. “We really did get wet that day, didn’t we?”

Heero nodded, though Duo wasn’t looking at him. “Yes.”

Duo glanced back down at the photo. He smiled, but this time there was less amusement, more tension. “Took us ages to get properly dry again, back at your old apartment.”

Heero bit his lip. “Yes. It was good, though. I wouldn’t have minded it taking even longer.”

Yeah?” This time, Duo swivelled around on his knees to look over at Heero. “You were pretty damned rough, towelling my hair off.”

Heero laughed. “That’s the part I wouldn’t have minded taking longer.”

Duo snorted. He was flushed now, too. “It’s just hair.”

“It’s your hair.” Heero held his gaze. “And it gave me the chance to hold you close.”

“And my wet tee shirt…” Duo was staring at him.

“Yes,” Heero nodded. “You looked pretty good in that department, too.”

Duo grinned. He took a careful breath. “So it wasn’t an accident? When you kissed me that day?”

Heero didn’t answer directly. He swallowed quickly. “You didn’t seem comfortable with it. Not that day.”

“I wasn’t sure. I wanted to be, but I wasn’t sure about… you. What you really meant.”

Heero nodded. He put his hands on his bent thighs as if it might help him to stop them shaking. “What about now?”

Duo nodded, as if to himself. He turned the photo over in his hand. “I’m sure now.” He stood up and walked over to where Heero was still kneeling. He dropped gently down beside him and put his hand over Heero’s. “You wrote on the back of the photo.”

Heero grinned back, though his eyes were full of something more nervous. “Call me sentimental.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day, you wrote. That was the date, though I didn’t remember until later. You keep that with you every day. By your bed.” Duo bent his head and touched his lips to Heero’s.

Heero sighed into Duo’s mouth and his hands lifted up to Duo’s face. He could feel his heart beating faster. Duo’s was, too, he could feel the pressure against him as he pulled Duo into an embrace.

“You feel just as good with a dry tee shirt on, you know,” murmured Duo.

Heero pulled back briefly, just to admire Duo’s flushed, expectant face, so close to his own. He shifted to get them more comfortable on the floor. There was a clatter as his foot caught the edge of the pile of crockery, but he ignored it.

“Yes,” he smiled. “You too.”