Story:               LAUGH OR CRY?

Author:              FancyFigures (fancyfigures@hotmail.com)

Disclaimer:        I don’t own ‘em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about ‘em for free etc

Pairings:           1+2

Category:          POV, romance

Warnings:         Yaoi, lime

Spoilers:           None

Notes:               Life is about choices.  Not always easy – not always clear.  Not always understood…

Feedback:         If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!

 

jo, you said: My life is a fanfic....someone needs to write me a happy ending.

I want to do that for you – though somehow I don’t think it’s ever quite that easy! ^_^

 

 

 

 

Maybe it was Quatre who raised the toast to him – to his new job; to his new city home!  Maybe it was one of the others round the table.  They clinked bottles and laughed nervously at the unusual flux of emotion.  We were guys, after all, albeit intelligent and presumably articulate ones.  It was late in the evening – we’d been there for some hours, marking the occasion.  It was hardly important who actually said the words.

 

It was the response that was surprising.

 

“Nah,” he said, raising his beer bottle easily to his lips.  “Maybe I won’t go after all.  I’m not sure it’s the thing for me.”

 

I didn’t see the arm that Trowa flung round his shoulders, or the grin that crept across Wufei’s face.  Quatre’s eyes were wide, delighted, questioning him, demanding to know the details.  They all seemed pretty glad to hear this breaking news.

 

I just stared at him.  I saw the sheepish grin on his face, the slight flush high on his cheeks; the moisture of the beer still on his lips.

 

He didn’t turn to face me but he knew I was watching him.

 

He knew how I felt.

 

 

*

 

 

We stood at the bar, side by side, an hour or so later.  Trowa had gone home; Quatre was still at the table but his eyes were half-lidded with alcoholic sleepiness and his head was almost bedded down on his bent arms.  Wufei was singing over by the jukebox, but everyone ignored that as usual.

 

We weren’t looking at each other.  Maybe it was deliberate.

 

“Heero,” he said, softly.  Was it a question?  Endearment?

 

“You were so sure it was the right move for you.”  I couldn’t believe I was letting the words spill out so easily.  I’d promised myself I’d save any argument until later.

 

Assuming there was going to be a ‘later’.

 

“That’s what I thought,” he replied.  He leaned forward on to the bar counter, a little wearily.  “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

 

I turned to face him.  “So what’s changed, Duo?  The money – they didn’t offer the right money?“

 

“No, not that.  It’s damned good money.”

 

“Don’t tell me you changed your mind about this place!”  I made it sound like it slipped out on a laugh.  “Weather drives you mad; the people here bore you; there are all those irritations in your current job…”

 

He hung his head a little further.  I thought he was scowling.  Was that at me?  ”The weather sucks, sure.  I like the heat.  I was kinda looking forward to that.  The job I’m in sucks, too, like most jobs do.  A change is often good, though not always the best.  But the people are great.  No complaints there.”

 

“So what are you saying?  I still don’t see what’s changed.”

 

He straightened up then, and looked back at me. His expression was very calm; it felt painful to me.  “It’s all the same shit, Heero.  Life usually is, in my experience.  It’s just a different balance.  Life’s full of that, full of balancing the good with the crap.”

 

Someone came to sit on his other side at the bar and in the distraction, I lost the thread of my answer.

 

That was my story, anyway.

 

 

*

 

 

Quatre had gone home as well.  Wufei was running through the selected hits of Johnny Cash and would shortly be asked – fairly politely, but firmly – to go home.  It was OK – that was his ideal Saturday night.  He loved it here.

 

I sat closer to Duo at the bar, our thighs feeling the pressure.  It was a comfort I’d taken too long a time growing used to.  “But isn’t it annoying, changing your mind again?  Doesn’t it stress you out?”

 

He grinned.  “Nah.  I feel good.  I feel better for the whole experience being over.  Stress is no longer my middle name, y’know?”

 

I think my face twisted awkwardly.  Whatever the reason, he seemed to flinch back a little.

 

Guess it wasn’t over for me just yet.

 

“I’m still confused,” I said, doggedly.  “You’re not making yourself clear.  I don’t see how I’m meant to keep up with it; I don’t know whether to believe you.”

 

“I’ve told ‘em,” he said, bluntly.  “It’s a done deal.  I’m applying for my old job back, but I think it’ll be OK.”

 

“A done deal,” I said, slowly.

 

He stared back at me.  He knew many of the nuances now.  “OK,” he said, his voice tight.  “We’ll talk some more later.  We’ll go round to yours when the bar closes.  You want that?”

 

“Do you?”  I felt a lump in my throat that made it difficult to talk.  My fists seemed to have been clenched on my knees for a hell of a time.  I wanted the rest of the bar to be someplace else; I wanted us alone.  And yet I feared it, too.

 

“Yes,” he said, but the weariness was still there.  “Whatever.”

 

 

*

 

 

I was home first; I wasn’t sure he’d follow, but he did.

 

He threw himself down on my couch with some relief – we’d both drunk a little too much at the bar.  He made space for me when I came back in the lounge with coffee, but I sat opposite him on the chair.  He made a small grimace.

 

“So what’s up?  I thought you’d be pleased.”

 

“Pleased?”

 

“That I’m not going after all.”  He shifted restlessly.  His eyes flickered over me and I knew he wanted to be nearer; to touch me.  I wasn’t immune to it myself, but I needed to be able to think.

 

“I am.  If you are.”

 

“Huh?”

 

I sighed softly.  “I’ve been getting used to the idea, Duo.  Of you leaving.  Thinking about the journey there; how often we’d have the time to make a visit.  Whether my car would be up to it.  Too many miles on the clock.”  I laughed, but it was a strange, rasping sound.  “I was going to make things more comfortable for us whenever you come back, because you’d have to stay all the time with me.  Thinking about meals; places to go.” 

 

“Get a bigger bed…” he murmured and I laughed again, more genuinely.

 

“Sure.”  I didn’t know what else to say.  Shit, we’d been through it so many times already.

 

“You could come with me,” he said, abruptly.  “I’d like that.  A lot.”

 

I breathed out slowly, like an athlete preparing for a run.  “We discussed that.  It’s not that easy.”

 

“But a possibility,” he persisted.  His eyes were very bright and they watched my head move impatiently to one side, then the other.

 

“Sure.  Always a possibility.”

 

He drank from his coffee, not noticing I’d forgotten the sugar.  Perhaps he didn’t notice anything at all.  “But anyway, it’s a moot point now, because I’m not going.”

 

“It’s a definite decision?”  

 

“Definite.”  He grinned; sat forward on the couch, moving towards me.

 

“The guys will think you’re mad, blowing hot and cold like the wind, sweeping things one way then the other.”

 

His voice was low.  “You mean you do.”

 

There was an awkward silence for a moment.

 

“I’m happy about it, Heero,” he urged.  “Why won’t you believe me?  Isn’t it what you want?”

 

And there was the question of the moment; of the century.  I wanted him, with his wide, easy grin and his strong, bold movements.  I wanted his body and his eager passion and his nurturing of me out of my shell.  I wanted his wit and his care and the intimacy that we’d spent months letting creep into all aspects of our lives.  I wanted to know more about him, be more close to him, share more with him.  Just more, more, more, it seemed.

 

But what I wanted wasn’t the issue.

 

“I’ll get some sugar,” I said, standing up to go to the kitchen.

 

 

*

 

 

It was even later, and we lay together on the couch, a movie flickering to a muted standstill on the TV and two half-cups of coffee gone cold on the table.

 

“I don’t want you to be unhappy,” Duo murmured in my ear.  He reached a finger round and tucked a stray lock of my hair behind it.  “You’ve been unhappy.  Are you saying that’s not true?”

 

“No, it’s true.”  It had been a hell of a time, full of confusion and worry.  Worry for him – what he wanted, what he needed, where he’d find it.  And worry for me.  How much I already had – what I might keep; what I may lose.

 

We’d talked a lot.  We’d talked both too much and not enough, if that made any sense.  Sometimes it was just circular, just rerunning over the same stuff, no-one moving forward, no-one learning anything new, no-one feeling any the better for it.

 

I’d had enough of it.

 

“I’m a little flaky about the whole thing,” I said, attempting to make a joke of it.  His chest lay at my back.  I could feel the steady beat of his heart against my skin, even through our shirts.  “You’re not the best at telling me how you really feel.”

 

He tensed against me.  “I think that cuts both ways, Heero.”

 

I frowned.  “Maybe.”  Sometimes I’d think the same; sometimes I’d admit it, too.  But rarely to him.

 

“Shit,” he grumbled against my hair.  “Are you still unhappy?”

 

He moved restlessly; maybe he was annoyed.  I thought he might get up and leave me there, alone. 

 

“It’s not easy for me,” he continued.  He was using our positions to his advantage, keeping his face hidden from me, his words muffled behind me.  “It’s been so good.  You know that.  But I can’t always find the words.  I’ve really messed things up in the past, y’know?  I don’t want to do it again.  Not with you.  But I’m fucked if I know what to say.”

 

You and me both, I thought.

 

I wriggled myself round and brought my rueful smile close to his lips.

 

 

*

 

 

It was deep night outside, and we lay together on the bed, his body warm and relaxed, his back against my back.  I wondered if he was asleep.

 

“You asleep?” he asked softly, and I smiled in the darkness.

 

“Yeah.  You woke me.”

 

“So bite me,” he growled back.

 

I contemplated following through, but I was just too comfortable for the moment to move.  Maybe in a while.  I stared at the wall and felt the muscles bunching round his shoulders as he moved behind me.

 

“Still brooding on it?  My job – or lack of it?”

 

“Just thinking,” I said.  “Are you sure you’re doing this for the right reason?”

 

He grunted, shifting to get more comfortable.  “You mean because I’ll miss the games if I move?  The trips out with the guys?  The beer and the action –“

 

I nudged back against him, my body hard and just as strong and for a minute there was a tremor of aggression between us.

 

“Cool it,” he murmured, and I could tell from the shape of his mouth on my neck that he was grinning.  “I’m not going to tell you that you worry too much because it’s the way you are.”

 

“Thanks,” I said, dryly.  “You’re full of bounty.”

 

He laughed, and the bed shook gently beneath us.  “I just feel good about it all, Heero.  We’ve both been under stress, maybe we showed it differently.  And now I feel clear of it – now I feel relaxed.”

 

“It’s –“

 

He tugged me round.  His hair was loose and brushed across my bare torso, as warm and soft as fleece.  “It’s what I want to do.  I want to be with you.  I want you to be happy about it, too.”

 

“We don’t know how things will be in months ahead,” I protested softly.  Didn’t he see that?  Maybe he’d regret it later; he’d wish I hadn’t been a distraction; that I hadn’t brought influence to bear on him.  That I hadn’t held him back.

 

“Hold me,” he sighed.  “I need you.  Things aren’t black and white, but I like the grey.  I like going with what I feel.  It’s my life – my choice.”

 

We were quiet again for a while; not silent, for he brought out strange sounds from my throat that could challenge Wufei’s worst garglings at the karaoke.  He made me feel that I didn’t care, either.

 

“So good…” he sighed once.

 

“My choice,” he gasped into my ear as his body pressed tightly around mine.

 

I laughed with him; I sighed with him.  I was with him in every possible way.

 

It felt good to me, too.

 

Maybe things were like that – like he said.  No right answers – no true certainties.  Instead, a balance.  A quest.  A mutually enjoyable, thrilling, risky adventure. 

 

I lay enclosed in the unit we’d made, a tangle of limbs and laughter and an intertwining of lives and new experiences.  A relationship that we both struggled with and revelled in.  Making new memories – taking fresh steps.  However long it lasted, it would always be good; always be precious.  It’d get stronger, I knew.

 

I believed.

 

It was my choice, too.

 

 

 

 

 

End