VALENTINE'S DAY, MORNING NOON AND NIGHT
3x2, lemon, angsty
Duo woke, stretching and yawning, the sheet tangled awkwardly between his knees. He slammed a hand down on the alarm button, silencing it, caught sight of the time and groaned. Then he sighed and smiled, and rolled over.
The other side of the bed was empty and cool.
He pulled on some sweats and got up, rolling his shoulders to get the joints moving smoothly after his restless night. He found Trowa sitting on a chair in the lounge, the dark head bowed over a large open book, absorbed in his task.
“What’s up?” Duo stood a few feet away, watching. He never crept up on Trowa, not even in jest.
Trowa glanced up, his face a little flushed. The book tilted precariously on his bony knees. “Nothing.”
Duo rolled his eyes. “Making a hell of a lot of mess for nothing,” he remarked, dryly. He would have sat down on the couch, but it was covered with stuff: envelopes, open folders, scattered photographs. “What is all this?”
Trowa looked back down at the book. “I’ll clear up later. I thought you had to get in to work early.”
Duo shrugged. “I could help you before I go -”
“No.” Trowa spoke very sharply, and Duo was startled. “I don’t want you to. Go to work and leave me to...” He couldn’t seem to find the right words. He frowned, and shook his head. “Go.”
Duo felt his fists clenching by his sides. He did indeed have to be at work early today, but that was why he’d set his alarm even earlier. He’d wanted to spend some time with Trowa before leaving the apartment, even if it was only a brief half hour or so. Hell, they could do a lot in a half hour, they’d proved it plenty of times. He started to smile at the remembrance, but the tension in the room didn’t seem to match the mood.
“Something the matter?” God, he thought, how trite that sounded. How not what he wanted to say. He ran a hand through his hair, knowing he needed enough time to re-braid it before leaving for work, but reluctant to leave the room without some kind of connection.
“No. Nothing.” Trowa seemed to have that broken record technique down just fine.
Duo shrugged again. Fuck him. Or not. Whatever. It was only a day.
He turned to leave the room. There was a sound behind him that wasn’t a word, but was more than a breath. “What?” he said, not turning around. Two could play that game.
Trowa shifted himself: Duo could hear the pages rustling in the book and the squeak of the chair leg. But he didn’t speak.
“Sure, I know,” sighed Duo, scratching aimlessly at his belly. “Nothing.”
The apartment was never completely silent, of course it wasn’t. Machinery whirred and hummed in the kitchen; the boiler clicked off as the air inside warmed up. Cars passed on the road outside and there was the echo of an argument in the apartment upstairs.
Trowa listened carefully to all of this. To him, it sounded like silence. Duo found things easy – he opened his mouth and out came laughter and conversation and generosity. Trowa opened his mouth and heard himself snap and confuse.
And maybe alienate.
He’d woken two hours before Duo, while the light still yawned in the sky and contemplated opening for business. He’d watched the body beside him in the bed as it wriggled in sleep: Duo’s long legs hanging over the side of the mattress; his arms alternately gripping the pillow, then being flung outstretched. He talked in his sleep, sometimes, and it was amusing to hear the jumble of nonsense and non sequiturs.
In his own sleep, Trowa only cried. Duo would wake him sometimes, to stop the noise that they both knew he had little control over. Trowa wasn’t always sure whether Duo was upset for him or just pissed that his sleep had been disturbed. They both suffered from nightmares, it was just that Duo’s seemed to have become less frequent.
At that time of the morning, Trowa would often slip his hands under Duo’s hips and roll him over on to his belly. It was something he liked very much – to possess Duo in that sensual, no-man’s-time between unconsciousness and awareness. Duo loved it, too. His legs would open willingly, his back arch up under Trowa’s chest, rubbing against him like something feline. His eyes would still be closed but his body would be craving. For those moments, when he slipped hungrily into him, Trowa could believe that time was magically suspended.
But he hadn’t done any of that this morning.
He looked back down at the book on his lap. It was a photograph album, though the photos were old and faded. The quality of the cameras they’d used had been poor, and of course they were all too young then to have cared about technique. He examined one then another - held his palm over a top corner; squinted to see other angles.
He knew exactly what he wanted, but he didn’t think it existed, at least not anywhere he could access with only a few hours left of the day. It was a curse, to be so sure of what was right. It meant that he couldn’t compromise.
He picked one up, holding it to the light. And then he smiled.
Trowa often wondered what the hell life was about. What it was for. What it achieved. It didn’t mean he couldn’t function efficiently – or that he didn’t enjoy things. His life with Duo had proved that to him, time and again, even while the reasons and justifications eluded him. It was just that he knew he didn’t possess the mastery of it.
But now, for maybe the first time, he understood there was still time.
Duo hesitated before he put the key into the front door. He immediately hated himself for it, but it had already been a hell of day, right? And he didn’t know what he was going to face tonight, good or bad. Sometimes that uncertainty was more of a threat than a thrill.
The first thing that struck him was the smell of good food. It was delicious. It wasn’t that they didn’t cook at home, but he knew his culinary skills were limited. OK, so more like they were crap. Trowa was much better at creating, but he hadn’t been very interested in domestic matters recently. Duo felt his saliva rising: he hadn’t realised how hungry he was.
The music in the background was low and not particularly gentle, but the beat was a familiar one. Duo smiled, slowly and warmly, flushed with the memory of a special day. He’d been playing that album when Trowa first came to call, on his own. Maybe it had started with him asking Duo to keep the damned noise down, but it hadn’t ended like that.
He – honestly – hadn’t thought Trowa would remember as well.
Trowa appeared at the door of the kitchen, slightly tousled, cloth in hand. “Sorry,” he said.
Duo shrugged, wrinkling his nose. He didn’t see any point in dwelling. “Me, too. Whatever. I was pretty tense myself. Too many early mornings, you know? I’m hoping work should ease up by the end of the month.”
“Not good enough,” said Trowa, softly. He put down the cloth and stepped towards Duo.
Duo frowned. “Huh?”
Trowa’s eyes flickered to Duo’s mouth and back up. “I want you to ease up right now.” He began to loosen a button of his shirt.
Duo grinned. He dropped his bag in the hallway and peeled his own shirt up over his head. “How long until supper?”
Trowa smiled, too. They were a match, the pair of them - their eager eyes, the sudden leap of need in their bodies. “No time at all,” he hissed. “Sauce is warming.”
“Not just the sauce,” murmured Duo, taking three steps forward and grasping Trowa’s shoulder. A gasp, a groan, and their mouths met. Duo was startled by Trowa’s passion: teeth and hard lips and fingers digging into his neck. Trowa twisted him around, pressing him against the wall and quickly slipping the button of his pants. Duo moaned, his cock hardening almost painfully. His pants and boxers crumpled down around his ankles and he stepped out of them, kicking them to one side where they draped over his discarded bag.
“No time at all,” he echoed, gasping. “One of my favourites.”
Trowa grinned, almost ferally. He unzipped himself, grunting as he released an already swollen cock. Then he placed his hands firmly under Duo’s bare buttocks, hitching him up on to his toes.
“Yeah,” growled Duo. He flattened his shoulders against the wall and lifted up one leg, tilting his hips to meet the thrust of Trowa’s groin. Trowa groaned, bending his legs slightly, then pushed on up into Duo’s ass.
They clung to each other, gasping; thrusting; reaching for satisfaction, fast and furious. Trowa’s pants slid part-way down his thighs, catching above his knees, and his breath was hot on Duo’s ear: Duo’s fingers gripped tightly at Trowa’s hips, seeking to keep the rhythm. His ass thumped against the wall several times and a couple of the postcards they’d tacked up in the hallway slipped their moorings and fell to the floor.
It took no time at all. Trowa came first, almost sobbing with the speed and the ferocity of it. Duo held on to him for a few more moments, his head sunk down on Trowa’s shoulder, rubbing his cock between them both until he spurted his own climax over his naked belly and Trowa’s badly creased shirt.
They laughed and cleaned up, and laughed again. Dinner was saved and served, and shared with low, sparse conversation. They sat afterwards on the couch, Trowa with his arm around Duo, Duo with his feet up on the cushions. It was comfortable; comforting.
“I know you forgot the day,” said Duo. He felt a fool for even mentioning it. “Valentine’s day. Stupid commerciality, I know. I got you some… things.”
Trowa watched his embarrassment with amusement. “What things?”
Duo smiled, ruefully. He uncurled from the couch and fetched his bag, spilling a pile of brightly coloured bottles on to the floor. He sat back on the couch and watched Trowa bend over them with curiosity; watched the way the dark hair fell forward over his eyes; watched the lithe grace of his crouch down on the floor.
“Oils,” he said, softly. “For massage. I wanted to get you… something to bring you peace at night. I thought I could work out a routine of massaging you, over a few months or so. We can find what relaxes you enough to sleep without the nightmares.” He smirked, covering the lump he felt in his throat. “Expect it’ll be a pretty intense experience sexually, too.”
“Peace for me. For months,” repeated Trowa. His eyes shone. “You’re planning on that?”
“Yeah,” said Duo, bemused. He’d always been in this for the long haul. He thought he’d made that clear. He thought Trowa had understood, even when they fought; even when they misunderstood; even when he, Duo, had to take a walk to stop his damned mouth from running too freely in the heat of the moment…
“I didn’t forget the day,” said Trowa, haltingly. He sat back on the couch beside Duo.
Duo raised his eyebrows. Trowa reached under the back cushion and pulled out a card. He held it for a few seconds, as if reluctant now to give it away. “I wanted something to make you think of us. A record of us.” He lifted dark, pained eyes to meet Duo’s gaze. “I wanted to give you something that I couldn’t put into words.”
Duo held his breath, unable to answer.
“I couldn’t find it,” said Trowa, very quietly. “Nowhere is there a picture of us – a memento of something we’ve done together. Just us. Plenty of pictures of all the guys, but nothing…”
“Special,” said Duo.
Trowa nodded. He held out the card at last. “This is all there is,” he said: almost a whisper. It was a photo of the whole group of them, at some function or other from a year or so back. He had hand-decorated a border around it, a delicate but distinctive thread of art décor, in deep, rich colours of ink.
“It’s beautiful,” said Duo, gently. “Special.” He looked at the faces of the people they knew so well – had shared so much with. Their expressions were half-bored, half seeking mischief. There was a wealth of history in the picture. He and Trowa were at the opposite ends of the group, their heads turned towards the camera. But not their eyes.
“You saw that?” he asked, a little breathless. He’d never realised how obvious it had been.
Trowa nodded again, flushing. He had hoped Duo would see it, too, though he never knew with Duo, with his boisterousness and his flippancy and his fondness for distraction. But he had.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Duo smiled. He leant in to kiss Trowa, moved by passion and greed, and a whole lot more. They leant back on the couch, tugging clothes apart again, Duo sliding down Trowa’s body with hands and lips. The card slid gently from his lap on to the floor.
It showed the lovers standing at opposite ends of a group shot, but with their eyes locked on each other. There’d been hunger in their faces, even back then; fascination; need; something fierce and determined and strong.
Then, as now.