by Orcus

Heero undid his left shoe, took it off and tipped it up. Sand cascaded out. He repeated the exercise with his right, then put the shoes back on.

"I have a question."

Tying the laces, Heero didn't lookup. "Of course you do. What?"

"If I were drowning, would you throw yourself into the sea to rescue me with your shoes on, or would you take them off first?"

"I wouldn't."

"Wouldn't what? Take them off?"

"Wouldn't throw myself into the sea."

There was an un-Duo like silence, and he looked up. Wide, expressive eyes watched him, with that are-you-serious expression he knew all too well.

"You wouldn't? Even I was drowning?"

"Duo. You can swim."

"But...ah. . . I might be hurt. A broken arm. My legs eaten by a shark. I could be flailing helplessly, going down for the third time, pitiful and defenseless-"

Heero gave a brief snort. "Ah. So there you are, shark-eaten and helpless, and I should go in and save you?" He unbuttoned his shirt and looked down at his chest. "No, there doesn't seem to be any underwear here bearing a large S. You must be thinking of another Heero."

A soulful sigh, then, and he looked out of the corner of his eye to see Duo unbraiding his hair. It was his most devious ploy. "Yes, I must. My SuperHeero, defender of the legless and drowning. Luckily, I'm used to disappointment."


Duo tisked. "When you curse at me in Japanese, I know I'm on the right track. Did you ever see Frankenstein?" he asked, switching subjects as rapidly as a gundam in flight. "I always remember this bit where the monster is watching the little girl toss flowers into the pond to see them float, so he takes her and tosses her in to see if she'll float. She doesn't, of course, and he gets very sad. I always thought that was in pathos, you know."

Heero knew he did it deliberately -- threw those quirky conversations at him because he couldn't resist trying to figure them out, even though there was no figuring them out, because they were Duo, in all his relentless monogurui. . .craziness.

"What do people do at the beach, if they don't wish to swim?" Heero asked, trying for his own distraction. "Wait until it's time to leave? I wish --" He stopped for a breath and a thought as Duo curled against him, his hair curling around Heero's body like silk in the sea wind, whispering of salt smells. One slender arm slid around his waist and held him still. The other rested on his chest and he looked down, seduced from thought by that touch.

In their lives, where death was just waiting for them to make mistakes and life was all about priorities, this thing they had was as illogical as it was precious. In between the noise and the words, were these moments of perfect silence.

They stayed there, watching the sea, and finally Heero gave Duo what he wanted, the gift Heero gave only to Duo. Honesty, wrapped up in an irrefutable love.

"I'd leave them on," he said finally, "and throw myself into the sea for you."

The warmth of the sun-dappled smile was its own reward.

The End
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