Warnings: Yaoi, AU, sap. Use, and perhaps overuse of random story quotations, all of which belong to the people who wrote them.
Disclaimer: I don't own GW.
First Star to the Right
"I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh. "I wish I were there to be doing it, too."
Duo sighed as he finished straightening up the bookcase, dumping the napkin someone had stuck in between the books into the trashcan before returning to his stool behind the counter.
He glanced out the window. A storm was moving in, which meant the bookstore would either get really busy, as all the tourists who were out on the streets fled inside to stay dry- or it would be dead as all the tourists fled back to their hotels. Judging by the darkness of the clouds rolling in, it was going to be a bad one.
Without thinking about it, his hand touched the small fairy perched on the edge of his register. He looked over and caught her painted eye, brushed some dust off her green skirt. "Let's hope he's someplace safe," he whispered to her and sighed.
The windows rattled under the constant blows of rain and wind. Duo watched as Heero shivered in his seat by the fireplace.
"At least we're in a good place to wait out the storm, even if the electricity is out," he offered and the other pilot just nodded. Duo bit the inside of his lip. Okay, so they didn't know each other all that well, and yeah, he hadn't made the greatest of first impressions shooting Heero like he had- but he had made up for it, right?
"Don't think I can sleep through it though." He said and Heero nodded again, drawing a little closer to the fireplace. Was he really unhappy about sharing the safe house with Duo?
Then again, it wasn't like he had gone upstairs and locked himself into one of the rooms. So maybe Heero was just... not used to other people? Having run out of conversational topics, Duo got to his feet. Maybe there were some cards or something stashed around here that he could use to coax Heero into playing a game. At the very least, he could play solitaire.
He didn't find any cards, but he did find a small stack of books. He picked them up and took them over to the fireplace. Much to his surprise, Heero looked interested as Duo sat down beside him.
"Have you read any of these?" Duo asked as he flipped the books over.
"No," Heero replied and picked one up out of the stack, opening it to the first page. A moment later, he was smiling.
"What is it?" Duo expected Heero to share a joke, but instead, the other pilot started to read: "All children, except one, grow up."
Duo jerked himself back to the present with a sigh. He really needed to be paying attention to his business. Granted, at the moment, the only customers were a mother with her son in the young adult section.
He looked out the window again- the streets were emptying fast. Apparently the tourists were choosing to flee to the hotels today- not that he could blame them. He loved the city he lived in, but it was not built for rain. Rain meant flooded streets and traffic jams.
"How about this one?" He heard the mother say to her son in the tone of someone who is fast losing patience. "Treasure Island- all about pirates and things like that..."
Duo smiled to himself.
"Treasure Island?" He wrinkled his nose at Heero. "What kind of name is that for a story? Sounds like a theme park." He wasn't seriously going to say no. After last time, when they had curled close to the fireplace and shared Peter Pan between them, Duo had found himself pulling out that memory to hold close when he seemed to be caught a never-ending cascade of battles and death...
Maybe Heero had too?
The other pilot just shrugged, settling himself down onto the sofa- the only piece of furniture in this so-called safe house. "It's pirates," Heero said after a moment, and that had been enough to lure Duo onto the couch beside him.
"Like the ones in Peter Pan?"
"Don't know. I was waiting for you before I started it," and Heero handed Duo the book. Duo opened the worn cover and began to read: "Squire Trelawney, Dr Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure island..."
The mother put the books down on the counter and gave Duo a weary smile. "Looks like rain," she offered as he rang the books up.
"So it does. Visiting?"
"Just for a week. Wasn't expecting it to rain here!" She glanced at her son. The kid was moping in the doorway, frowning at the sky.
"It usually doesn't," he said as he handed her the change. "I'm sure it will be sunny tomorrow."
"I hope so." She took her package and left, one arm around her son's shoulders.
Duo glanced around the shop again. Empty. He looked at the clock and then out at the sky. Only an hour or so until he planned to close. He'd stay out the last hour; maybe sort through some of those boxes he'd picked up at the estate sale.
He did a circuit of the store, making sure the books were straight, that the shelves were tidy. He picked up the stuffed Eeyore in the children's section and patted him on the head before putting him back on his shelf.
"Poor guy, this is just your kind of day." He said.
"Why is this animal always so gloomy?" Duo frowned at the page and heard Heero chuckle in his ear.
"You've never felt like that?" He asked in a soft tone and Duo shrugged.
"Of course," Duo looked over his shoulder at Heero. The basement was cramped, so they had retreated to the corner with the least mold and were huddled over the book, Heero's tiny penlight illuminating the words. "But I had a good reason to be. This guy lives in the woods with all his friends! He has no reason to be depressed."
"Sometimes you don't need a reason." Heero's shoulder nudged his, and Duo sighed.
"Good point." He looked around the small dirty basement and sighed. "Sometimes it's hard to look on the bright side of things."
Heero closed the book with a snap and stuck it in his knapsack, before Duo could complain, he pulled out another familiar-looking book. "I think we need something more cheerful," he said and Duo chuckled.
"We've read that a dozen times at least."
"Is that bad?"
Duo shook his head. "Not at all." He sighed. "I'd like to think somewhere my mother has left a window open for me."
He hadn't meant to say it, had half expected Heero to deride him for it. An orphan wishing for a mother he knew had to be dead?
Instead the other pilot put a careful arm around his shoulders and opened the book to a random page. He started to read in a quiet voice: "Do you know," Peter asked "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories."
Duo put his head down on Heero's shoulder and listened.
The store once again faultlessly tidy, Duo sat down behind the counter with the first of the boxes he'd picked up and opened it with a faint sense of anticipation. He had bought the boxes in a lot, not knowing what the contents were. Hopefully there would be a few good things.
His computer chimed softly and he turned away from the box to check his email program. Ah, Quatre's weekly email, right on time as always. He scanned it, smiling. It was always the same. A few work stories, an update on everyone else- and the inevitable query into Duo's own life.
Duo knew that Quatre wanted him to move closer to himself and the other two- maybe join the Preventers as Wufei's partner.
He didn't want to fight anymore. Not even to preserve the peace they won. G had left him money enough to buy the bookstore and Duo was content with that.
The last line of the email was unexpected.
Duo, it's been three years. You can't wait forever.
He closed the email with a wry smile. He wasn't waiting. Not really. If Heero ever did reappear it wouldn't be to see him. Duo had realized that ages ago when Heero had vanished after the first war- and only shown up again when Relena was in danger... and after that last battle... well, he could be dead.
Duo pushed that thought away. He didn't want to think about that possibility. Heero had to be alive somewhere. Alive and hopefully happy.
Duo just had to live with the fact, that wherever it was, it wasn't with him.
They were on the Peacemillion. Duo was lying on his side, eyes half closed, listening to Heero read. They both knew that the coming battle was one that might be the end of things, one way or the other, and so when Duo had declared that he simply couldn't sleep, Heero had pulled out the book and scooted over on his bunk.
Heero had reached the part where Wendy had decided Peter wasn't quite so bad after all. "Surely you know what a kiss is?" she asked, aghast. "I shall know when you give it to me," he replied stiffly, and not to hurt his feelings she gave him a thimble." Now," said he, "shall I give you a kiss?"
Duo chuckled. "That is still funny," he said to Heero who lifted an eyebrow at him. "Even as a kid I knew what a kiss was."
Heero looked back down at the page, and an odd expression crossed his face. "Did anyone ever kiss you?" He asked.
"Sister Helen did," Duo smiled at the memory.
"No one's ever kissed me." Heero didn't sound sad, Duo thought, studying him in the faint light, but there was a faint hint of something in his face that made Duo ache for him. And so, without thinking, he leaned forward and kissed the spot right above Heero's right eyebrow.
Heero blinked and Duo was surprised to see his cheeks turn a faint pink. His own face was feeling a little warm.
He watched Heero bite his lip and wondered if the other pilot was going to punch him. "Thank you," Heero said after a moment and Duo let out the breath he'd been holding. "Shall I give you one?"
Duo felt his face grow even warmer. Heero didn't wait for an answer, just leaned over and put his lips on Duo's.
The book tumbled to the floor, forgotten.
The door chime shook him out of his memories. With relief he popped up over the counter to look towards the door. No one was there.
He frowned. The door had chimed- he was almost sure. Unless the customer had ducked to the right immediately and was hanging out in classics... Duo waited for a moment, and then shook himself. The wind was really kicking in out there- maybe the door had moved in its frame just enough to shake the bell.
He looked back down at the opened box. Some paperback thrillers, a few book club editions. Nothing too exciting. Nothing worth staying here in a storm and sorting through. He'd close up and go home. Maybe watch some TV if the power didn't go out.
Maybe Quatre was right... he was lonely....
There was a soft thump as a book landed on the counter. Duo started, ducking his head to hide his expression from the unexpected customer. He looked over, and put one hand on the cover. The Adventures of Peter Pan, he noted and had to clear his throat.
"Is this all for you?"
"I'm not sure," said a familiar voice, and Duo's head snapped up in shock. "I was also wondering if you had a copy of Treasure Island? The House at Pooh Corner? Or maybe The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?"
Heero smiled a little, but Duo noted the way his hands were gripping the edge of the counter.
"Where have you been?" Duo asked and Heero bent his head a little.
"Lost." He bit his lip. "Am I too late? Is the window closed?"
Duo reached out a hand and touched Heero's. "Never. Never too late."
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