Disclaimer: I wanted to use affection in a different way with this. I've no doubt in my mind that there's probably been fics involving telephones and sexual distraction. That's not what I wanted with this. I wanted to combine the fact that these are two people who are still recovering from the war a few years before, but that they're together, solidly dealing with the memories and the pain. In that sense, they're adults. But I also wanted to portray the fact that they've missed out on being children, and in this fic, I wanted to have them behaving in a way that's probably more immature than the series would have them be. Yes, these characters are incredibly brave, wonderful mature people. I wanted to pay tribute to that, and for that to come across initially in their determination to overcome the past. But I also wanted to show a side of them that is a throwback to the childhood they missed out on. If it comes across that they're OOC, so be it.

Essentially, they're still only teenagers. They still have their serious sides, their very realistic traumas resulting from all they went through. But the way I see them now is together in a very steady, secure relationship, and enjoying that. This fic isn't about sex. It's more about the sort of easy affection that occurs between couples who've been together for some time and know each other almost too well. It's an intermission into their daily life as partners, and for this, it's not about the smut. I really just wanted to portray a sense of comfortable affection, of security in each other, of trust. I still don't know if I achieved it, but I hope I did. Perhaps it's not for me to say, in the end.



By almasy


It was one of those moments where everything was completely, and utterly, and blissfully at peace. A jewel-like segment of time about which even the most superior miser could not complain. If it were a work of art, even the greatest of perfectionists could have spent a lifetime seeking a fault within it. Gather together every critic in the universe, thought Duo Maxwell smugly, and challenge them to find a flaw in this moment.

Almost as if in response, Hiiro Yui grunted softly beside him and blew a strand of dark hair from his face. Persistently it fell back to its former place, and Duo watched with a wry smile as his lover reluctantly gave in to its attack. Stretched out on his back as he was, it was hardly surprising given the pull of gravity that the strands would fall back to brush against his nose, but it didn't mean the youthful Japanese had to be happy about it. The two knew very well about the repressive nature of modern science and technology, and Duo felt the familar surge of bittersweet memories of the war. The past was where they belonged, but something about them was unrelenting and the American found that they visited him somewhat frequently. Both of them had had trouble letting go of guilts, regrets and painful recollections of their experiences in wartime, but as Hiiro often mused, it had a greater affect on Duo. Denial was implicit in Hiiro's nature; he hid from anything that hurt him and had found a skill in pretending that most of it had never befallen him. He'd managed to convince himself for years that it simply hadn't happened, and by and large, it had worked. Of course, he still had his low points, but most of the time he'd succeeded in chasing the ghosts away by refusing to acknowledge or feed them.

It had not been as simple for his lover. Duo had a far more logical outlook, one that was not as easily fooled by tricks of the mind. He itched to do something about the demons that pursued and hurt him. He saw them all too vividly, and thus, was far more affected by the pain that they brought with them. Not being able to sweep things under the carpet as Hiiro did had often seen him subjected to agonising reminiscences, but then, he sometimes saw the way he met problems head-on as being therapeutic. He was far more vulnerable to spells of depression, and experienced more heartache than Hiiro did in these post-war times, but it seemed in an odd way to make him stronger. His somewhat confrontational nature with the ghosts of the past had enabled him to deal with much of it, learn from it, and move on. Hiiro in this sense was weaker; he became hurt just talking about it. Duo still did not know which of their approaches was better, both having their pros and cons, but to him it seemed crucial that they were together.

Maybe alone, neither strategy would be effective. But together, they seemed to unite in order to protect each of them. Duo's more realistic outlook helped Hiiro to come to terms with certain experiences that they had gone through, which otherwise he might have driven himself to insanity denying. There were some events that even Hiiro had not been able to forget, and Duo's strong nature had helped him to forgive himself for many of them. Hiiro's tendency to hide, meanwhile, had aided Duo in knowing when to stop dwelling and return to the future. It was a unique balance, and part of the reason they functioned so well together as lovers. Their past would always be a part of their present, after all. It was part of them. Neither of them had expected their history to be wiped out in the aftermath of their first kiss. The memories would always be there, but it was a pleasant feeling that their being together was as effective in dealing with their past traumas as it was in nearly every other aspect.

Comforted by this conclusion to his reflections, Duo pulled the warm duvet higher over his bare shoulders and curled into Hiiro. He frequently seemed to awake before him, and regularly found his lover a cosy body to cuddle up to as he waited for Hiiro to open his eyes. He had, at least, gotten over the habit of staring at him, he scolded himself. That had been an early habit, borne out of the fact that Hiiro was underneath his facade, painfully shy. Being looked at made him nervous and uncomfortable, and Duo had resigned himself to observing him intently only when his lover wasn't aware of it. Hiiro had improved with it, but indeed now, he rarely stayed still for long enough for Duo to spend time watching him. Something about his lover fascinated him; perhaps the face that was always changing or the grace of his movements. Hiiro was somewhat of a chameleon, always changing. Every day, it felt as if Duo could pick out a fresh expression or gesture that his lover had made, and it intrigued him. He himself felt to an extent predicatable, his character shaped long ago, but Hiiro was a creature ever altering. Maybe it was the slow shrugging off of his insecurities, the climb out of his closed-off shell. He was like a flower blooming; becoming more confident, happier, every day. Realising that he had spent now a good while staring at Hiiro, Duo resigned himself to the notion that perhaps old habits die hard after all.

Brushing the offensive strand of hair out of Hiiro's shut eyes, Duo forced violet eyes away from his lover and instead, tried to will himself back into sleep. He was a little tired, and it was just the sort of morning in which a long lie-in should occur. The sunshine was warm against his skin, travelling in rich beams through the curtains, and everything seemed deliciously hazy. Hiiro's skin was toasty against his, and it wasn't long before he found himself drifting off. Even the fearful nature of recollection had not dampened his mood. He had dealt with the ghoul, and it was gone. All that remained where it had been was the beautiful man whom he loved and a long, free day ahead of them. Gently, he wrapped both arms around Hiiro's bare back and stroked one toe absentmindedly along the back of his calf. Getting a slightly bemused shiver from his lover in return, he allowed himself an indulgent smile and laid his foot to rest. In relieved response, he felt Hiiro's sleepy arms embrace him before he returned to his sleep-addled, breathy state. Resting his nose against Hiiro's, Duo closed his eyes once more.

Complete, utter, bliss.

And then, almost as if punishment for his gratuitous pleasure, the telephone rang.

There is something about the noise a 'phone makes, Duo mused irritably, that always seems louder when you're half asleep. Louder and far more whiny. Burying himself against Hiiro, he began to make silent pleas for it to cease in its intrusion into their peaceful and rather heavenly daily life. His lover seemed strangely unaffected by the vivacious cry of the object next to him, considering he'd been so disrupted by the touch to his lower leg. Then again, that was Hiiro. A complex little creature underneath the icy veneer. Still, it didn't make the noise any less painful on Duo's ears, and as it didn't seem that the caller would be ending his interruption anytime soon, he finally saw fit to take action. With a sharp growl of anger at having to haul himself out of Hiiro's very comfortable embrace, a short succession of curses followed at the location of the device. If Hiiro was immune to the noise of the telephone, Duo muttered, why did it have to be on his bloody side of the bed? There was simply no other option. He wasn't about to get out of the warm bed just to walk around the room to answer the call, he would just have to retrieve it from where he was.

With a somewhat sadistic nod, Duo detached himself from Hiiro's arms and watched briefly as his lover settled onto his back with an unimpressed exhalation of breath. There was a moment or two where he conceded that Hiiro was wondering just where Duo was off to and when he would be coming back, before he put him out of his misery and clambered over him to get the 'phone. Wincing on Hiiro's behalf at the ungainly position of his knees and elbows, Duo settled himself across his lover and waited for the inevitable opening of pissed off, but otherwise beautiful blue eyes. Picking up the receiver, the American adjusted himself on Hiiro's bare body and spoke as quietly as he could into it.

Only once the intruder had responded did it seem that Hiiro had realised the new weight pressing down on him. With an unsettled groan, he cracked open one eye to look at Duo lazily. The look was met, with only a touch of amusement on the older man's part, and Hiiro eventually subjected his full gaze to the bright morning sun. Frowning a little, he stretched himself underneath Duo and yawned to welcome in the day. This was a familiar routine, Hiiro being very slow to get out of bed; forever stretching and having a few more minutes of sleep before yawning and remaining still for a good while before he eventually got up. He'd developed somewhat of a passion with lying in a comfortable bed, and Duo couldn't say he minded all that much mostly. It wasn't the most useful habit when he wanted things done, but it was always relaxing to spent the entire day in bed with the man he loved. Good for the soul, perhaps. Unlike fucking telephones, in any case.

At the dying stages of his yawn, Hiiro blinked a couple of times and then put in his protest, "You're digg'in ta me." He said cryptically, sleep making his voice rough and throaty, and his speech a little incomprehensible. By way of explanation, Duo wiggled the 'phone at him, at which point Hiiro stared at it as if it were an enemy that should certainly be destroyed there and then. Either that or it was an unfamiliar object on his sleepy brain and he was trying to remember what it did. The puzzled look was rather endearing, all in all, and Duo reluctantly shifted a bit so that Hiiro could get more comfortable. It was only with the greatest resistance that he allowed himself to shift his knee from Hiiro's groin, at which point his lover smirked dozily and informed him,

"Nah, you can leave that there."

Duo rolled his eyes and carried on his conversation with an air of importance, being fairly sure that this would silence Hiiro considerably. His sense of duty had never left him, and he wasn't one for distracting his lover if he thought that the call was important. Most of the time, anyway. They were both somewhat still bound to their professional senses, and Hiiro was happy to leave Duo to his conversations without threat of further sexual harassment. Other types of harassment, though, were a less secure bet. After a while of technical talk relating to the field of vehicular engine function, it was clear that Hiiro was bored. Looking up at the American with a languid gaze, he tapped his fingers gently at the base of Duo's bare spine. Giving in to the pleasant sensitivity, Duo allowed himself to be shifted more comfortably to Hiiro's shape, so that he could talk and cuddle at the same time. Seeming satisfied with the new positioning of limbs, Hiiro pulled the duvet over Duo's shoulders, wrapped his arms around him and put his head back against the pillow for some more shut-eye.

Given all the years he'd known Hiiro, Duo knew he shouldn't have been surprised. Sleep seemed to have taken somewhat of a priority occurance for Hiiro, and it did not astound Duo that he could complete it even when someone was holding a telephone conversation inches from his ear. Unimpressed with the sudden deflection of attention, however, Duo propped himself up on one elbow, holding the phone with that hand, and used to other to stroke through Hiiro's hair.

"Ha, now try and sleep." He mouthed at his lover, who once more opened his eyes and made a rumbling noise in his throat. There was something about the contact of fingertips on his scalp that laid Hiiro completely vulnerable to anything and everything. It made him think without any clarity whatsoever, and for the most part, do whatever Duo wanted him to. Which was at this point especially true, Duo thought, watching Hiiro's eyes half-close happily and a slow smile cross his face. All the while maintaining the rather uninteresting but strangely familiar conversation, Duo continued his assault on Hiiro's hair follicles, bringing forth a variety of purrs in varying pitches. Indeed, it seemed that he had a very happy boyfriend beneath him, one who was now not even remotely interested in going to sleep. How well they knew one another. It was strange to think that they had come so far. Meeting when they were so young, Duo had had a fleeting belief that they would never understand one another. Hiiro had taken a while to decode, that was for sure. But now, it was almost as if Duo knew him better than he knew himself. Maybe it was a pretty insignificant knowledge to most others, he thought, but the fact that he knew exactly where Hiiro liked to be touched meant a lot to him. Hiiro had long suffered from a near pathological hatred of physical contact. It had taken him some time to accept hugs, or a hand on his arm, or even a kiss. The fact that now, he not only accepted Duo's hands on him but seemed to seek certain caresses seemed to say as much about how far they'd progressed in their relationship as did their having dealt with much of the past together.

It did seem, though, that his touch had awakened Hiiro's more childish side. This had been a rather recently unveiled character trait, also and one that surfaced for Duo alone. Now utterly awake, there was a mischievious look in his eyes that had a certain tinge of inevitability about it. As Duo was talking and keeping a watchful eye on his naughty lover, Hiiro managed to sneak a hand upwards against Duo's side, fingertips light and breezy. Indeed, his path seemed completely innocent until he struck in one vicious, swift movement. Hard fingertips in a tickling motion straight into the underarm.

It was all Duo could do not to screech into the telephone. He now found it hard to believe that he'd spent so long praising Hiiro's mature nature, given that the man was so humoured by immature games. He knew that Duo hated tickling. He knew, and he loved knowing. And exploiting, evidently. Just as he knew what Duo liked, he knew all too well what drove him up the wall, and he seemed to take an enjoyment in testing his knowledge. It was an innocent game, nonetheless. He knew of many things that would bring Duo actual pain and a great deal of trauma, and this knowledge he would never practice. He knew where the line was, and stuck to it religiously. It summed up their relationship, in a sense. Neither was afraid to tease the other plenty, it not being a fragile partnership, but each knew the other well enough to be aware of the exact borderlines to their banter. Nevertheless, his actions earned his a complimentary whack on the arm, at which point he began to nibble happily on Duo's earlobe. There was nothing the young American could do as Hiiro tirelessly entwined his entire body in his arms and because to assault his ears by blowing into them.

How has this happened? Duo thought, though he was half laughing. It was a picture of tranquil perfection only half an hour ago. We've been lowered to the standard of Hiiro behaving like a six-year old and me giggling into the telephone where, I suspect this client will not be similar amused. We're behaving like a couple of lovesick bloody teenagers...

A smile crossed his face at the realisation.

...Which is exactly what we are.

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