For Clarediva: Californication guys

“Don’t forget!” Duo called down the hallway. “We have that Halloween thing tomorrow.”

Yay,” Heero called back as he sorted the mail, something that had always been a daunting task before he met Duo, but now was even worse. They really needed to hire an assistant- or have all the mail sent to Doro’s office first and let her staff deal with it.

He paused over a white envelope. The return address was smudged, but the street name and city were clear.

Who would be writing him from there? He didn’t know anyone there. Not anymore.

His hands were shaking. He put down the envelope and took a deep breath. No need to get worked up over what was more than likely just a fan letter. He couldn’t read the numbers of the address, it couldn’t be the same…

For a moment he considered taking the thing down the hallway to Duo and asking him to open it. But it was probably nothing. Just a fan letter. Nothing to worry Duo over. Giving himself a quick shake he picked up the envelope and tore it open.

A photo tumbled out. Heero picked it up, his heart pounding in his ears, mouth dry.

The lake… his ten year old self in front of it.

Want to learn how to swim, boy?

“Heero?” He tore his eyes away from the photo to find Duo in the doorway. “Heero? You okay?” Duo moved quickly into the room, and Heero reached out for him, dropping the photo.

He pulled Duo onto his lap and wrapped his arms around his lover’s waist. Duo returned the embrace, his fingers stroking the nape of Heero’s neck soothingly.  “What is it love? What’s wrong?”

Heero opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. He felt Duo’s grip tighten and he reached out to pick up the photo. Duo beat him to it, lifting it up and out of his grasp.

He heard Duo’s  gasp. “It’s you! It is, isn’t it? Where are you?”

“The lake. That’s the lake.” He managed. He knew Duo would understand.

“Shit. Where did this come from?” Heero gestured at the envelope and Duo picked it up, pulling out a sheet of paper.

He read quickly. “Guess you had next door neighbors? The Grants?”

The Grants? Right. A younger couple. His uncle hadn’t liked them.

“I guess she took this one day down at the lake- some kind of church party? She found it the other day and sent it to you.”

He didn’t remember Mrs. Grant taking his picture. He knew he had gone to a couple of church picnics down there, his uncle had insisted, Heero spending the day in fear that someone would make him go in the lake again. He didn’t want to go near the lake. Not after…

“Heero,” Duo’s voice pulled him out of the past. He looked up into his lover’s worried face and managed a shrug.

“I’m okay.”

“Like hell.”
Duo looked at the photo again and then dropped the letter on top of it. “I think you are done with mail for the day.”

“But-

“Nope.” Duo wiggled around until he was straddling Heero’s lap. “Done. Finished. You have more important things to do.” He smiled and Heero found that he was able to smile back.

“And what would those be?”

“Well, let’s start with this, shall we?” Duo bent his head and claimed Heero’s mouth with his.