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fic - high [haven] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - high [haven]
Title:  High
Series:  Moments of Haven
Summary:  Aww, I've ruined my streak of titles starting with 'p'.  Ah well.  This one's about, um, paint.  There's a p word.  And perception.  There's another.  And fondling.  Which doesn't start with p.  But I'm sure you knew that.

A Moment of Haven

Duo tilted his laptop a bit, examining the LCD display from this angle and that.  "I'm not sure how accurate the colors on the screen are, compared to what would actually turn out in the paint."

"Doesn't really matter.  We can always figure out what color we like on the laptop, and figure out what paint best matches that color later."

"Yeah, I guess.  So, let's see..."  He called up the webpage he had found earlier on the color swatches they had picked up from the store and started hitting the links.  "Hey, cool, they have pre-matched palettes for you to choose from."

"Hm.  Maybe."  Heero turned slightly in his seat and rested his head on Duo's shoulder, studying the screen along with him.

Duo obligingly turned it a little in his direction so the viewing angle would be correct as he continued to poke around the services offered by the site.  "Their showrooms look sweet, but seriously, who has a house that actually looks like that?"

"Mm."  Duo's hair was simply tied back today and pulled over his shoulder so he wasn't sitting on it.  The very same shoulder that Heero was also occupying.  He discreetly rubbed a corner of his chin along it while letting a hand drift up to play with the ends.

"Think our house will ever look that nice?"

"Hm?"  A question.  Damn.  Focus.  But let the hand continue its own thing.  "Mm, no.  Obviously, those rooms are much larger than ours."

"Oh."  The shoulder fell a little.  "I guess."

Okay, take another look at the material and focus better this time.  "And they look... sort of fake, don't you think?  Arranged.  Unlived in.  They look nice, but I don't think it looks very comfortable."

"Yeah?"  Duo's head cocked a bit to the side, as if to take a look at the room displays from a different angle.  Heero just almost pouted when it pulled the hair a few centimeters out of his grasp.  His fingers compensated, and the pout further disappeared when Duo's shoulder expressed less sadness.  "Yeah, I guess so.  Check those cushions out.  They don't look very squishy at all."

"Nope."  He shifted his chin on Duo's shoulder, which could get somewhat bony at certain angles.  "Not squishy at all."

"And that table is completely not practical at all."

"Too low," he agreed amiably.

"And look at that huge window.  Why, anyone at all could just walk by and look in."

And while he certainly didn't want anyone looking in to catch them in a private moment, enough was enough.  "Duo.  If we want to look at home furnishings, then we have home furnishing catalogs.  Right now, we're just looking at colors."

"Yeah, yeah."

Duo went back to navigating submenus while Heero got a head start and studied the colors of Duo.  There were the golden-red-browns of the strands of hair between his fingers, of course, but if he turned his head, he would see the light light browns of the scattering of freckles across the bridge of Duo's nose.  Duo liked to deny the existence of those.  Heero preferred to acknowledge them and give them their due every once in a while.  He would have to remember to give them a kiss later.

"So here we go.  Lessee.  Select color by number, by palette... inspiration library.  That sounds about right.  Interior.  By color families.  By mood.  By style.  By lifestage?  What the heck?  What stage do you think we are, Heero?"

"What are our choices?"

"The Early Years, On Your Own, Home Sweet Home, and All Grown Up."

Heero hummed thoughtfully.  "I'm tempted to say The Early Years."

It prompted a chuckle from Duo.  "What, we're not all grown up yet?"

"Well, we're not on our own."

"Oh?  That's news to me.  Who are we dependent on?"

"We're not 'on our own'," Heero repeated, dropping just the hint of emphasis on the phrase.

"Yeah, I--"  He paused in the middle of his sentence, then dug his elbow into Heero's side, shaking his head.  "You."  All he won was a content exhalation and a shift into a more comfortable snuggle.  He rolled his eyes with a well-used fondness.  "Early Years it is."

Heero let his eyes drift over the color combinations on display.  "I like that one," he said, sort of gesturing with his chin without moving his head from its position.

"This one?"  Duo moved the cursor over the second to last palette.  At Heero's sound of agreement, he clicked.  "Heh, congratulations, Heero.  You've just selected 'Kindergarten'."

The name of the palette hardly fazed Heero.  He was more interested in the yellowy orange that filled the main block of the color set.  "'Warm glow'.  Sounds nice."

"Sounds warm and glowy.  Though I'm surprised you're not, you know, filling this place up with your own warm glow or something."

"I can certainly do that.  But there's no reason why we can't spread the warm glow to the walls themselves."

"You don't think it's a bit..."

"Much?  Yeah, I do.  I just liked the name.  But maybe something a little more subtle."

Duo snorted in amusement.  "Since when have you been subtle?  Or is that the point?  It can be subtle while you're unsubtle?"

"Hm, I like balance."

"You're going to give me split ends if you keep that up."

Heero's hand came sliding to a halt.  Once he stopped paying attention to its actions, it had taken off on its own prerogative to comb through the ends of Duo's hair.  "I will not."

"Will, too.  Do you even know what causes split ends?"

"Do you?"

He could hardly admit to ignorance.  "Well, if it's going to be anything, it's probably going to be that."

"You saying your hair isn't up to the challenge of being fondled a little?"  Heero fondled the hair some more.

"Heh, 'fondled'?  You said it, babe, not me."

"Nothing wrong with fondling."  The fondling transformed into a contemplative brush against his cheek.  He took a moment to tickle Duo's own cheek with the hair before reclaiming it for his own.

Duo sighed with tolerance.  "Hair is just made up of dead cells, you know."

Heero pressed the collection in his hand to his lips.  "This, coming from a person that refuses to lop it all off."

Now seemed the time to make a tactical withdrawal.  "You know, I can't really get into any of these color choices.  They look nice for, like, two seconds, and then they just look... I dunno.  Like this one's too bright, and that one's too dark, and that one's too cool..."  He waited a few seconds for a response before turning slightly to find the target of Heero's attention.  "You're totally and completely distracted, aren't you?"

Heero glanced up from playing with the strands woven around his fingers.  He was, if nothing else, fascinated by the way so simple a thing became so suddenly enthralling.  "Too bright, too dark, too cool.  I'm listening."

"But you're not helping."

With his fingers still partially tangled in the loose mass of hair, he slid his hand soothingly across Duo's chest.  "We don't need to find a color tonight.  We could even wait until everything else in the house is done and then come back to the matter.  If we don't find any color inspiration tonight, we'll find it some other night."

"But you're still not helping," Duo pouted, unwilling to relinquish his point.  He knew full and well that they were in no hurry, but this was a decision that would eventually shape the tone of their entire house.  It'd be nice if Heero could at least appear to care.

After another brief contemplation of Duo's hair, Heero offered an opinion.  "I think I'm fond of wood-toned furniture."

It took a moment's blinking between his hair and Heero and back again before he shook his head once more in mild exasperation.  "What are you high on tonight, Yuy?"

Heero started to say something, but then stopped for further consideration first.

"What?" Duo asked.

"I was about to say something, but I just realized that it didn't quite make sense in this context."  He looked faintly amused by this turn of events.  It wasn't often that his thoughts didn't fall into line properly.

"God, it was something sappy, wasn't it?"

"I'll save it.  You'll find out."

"Great."  A chuckle moved his shoulders to and fro.  "Man, what would the others think of you now?  Being all sappy.  Getting distracted by hair.  Choosing color schemes like 'Kindergarten'.  Hm, you know, maybe we should decide on a theme ourselves.  Like, the whole house should probably stay rather consistent, right?  So we should probably choose something that'll work just as well in the kitchen as the bedroom and stuff, right?  And then we'll only really have to make this decision once."

A faintly positive sound was all he got.  Heero's mind had frolicked off in another direction.  "What would they think?"


"What would they think, I wonder.  The others."  He let his hand finally drop to rest on Duo's leg.  "Do I really need to be high on something to be happy?  To express that happiness?"

That wasn't good at all.  Duo frowned slightly, though at what in particular, he wasn't quite sure.  "You know I didn't mean it that way, Heero."

Heero nodded, kissing his shoulder briefly.  "I know.  Just got me thinking.  Is it really so strange?"

"Well, obviously not to you."

The answer was obviously an evasion.  "It isn't.  It really isn't.  Not the actual expression part, anyway.  At least a little strange that I have the opportunity to be this way, maybe.  Maybe I just needed to be madly in love before any of it came tumbling out."

It was said casually, so for a moment it slid beneath Duo's radar as just a plain old fact.  But it wasn't said so often that, after he registered the statement, it didn't cause him to go all surprised and melty inside.  "Ah.  So that's what you're high on, eh?"  He poked Heero in the side again.  "I was right."

"Is it really so odd?"

"Hey."  He kissed the top of Heero's head.  "You'll remember that in the beginning, even I thought you were weird."

"You still think I'm weird, Duo," Heero responded dryly.

"Well, yeah... it's part of your charm, you know.  But 'weird' doesn't equate to... to... whatever it is we're talking about here.  I think... if you'd asked me a year ago, I think it would have been more like, I just never thought about it.  Maybe I'd be surprised for a little while.  But I'd get over it."

Heero sighed quietly.  "But that's you, Duo."

When he shifted positions against Duo's side again, Duo was finally prompted to get his arm out of the way by draping it across Heero's shoulders.  "And what, suddenly I don't count anymore?"

"Now you know that's not what I meant.  I'm just... curious, is all.  It doesn't bother me what people might think.  But I do wonder why they might think that."

"You can't tell me that you don't think it's a little... 'unexpected', can you?  I mean, even me, suddenly finding out that apparently I harbored some secret dream of happily ever after?  Now that was a shocker.  We have these things inside of ourselves, Heero, and like you said, maybe they only come out under certain circumstances, but damn, when those circumstances hit... I barely even recognize myself.  A year ago, did you even imagine this for yourself?"

Heero answered after a long, contemplative breath.  "No.  I suppose not."

"So would it be surprising if others never imagined it for you either?  Which is entirely a separate issue from believing you capable of it or not."

"But two, two and a half years ago, you would have thought I was incapable of such things."

Duo rolled his eyes, wondering what was making his partner so intractable at the moment.  "Two and a half years ago, I didn't know shit about you.  Now I do."

It seemed that that was the end of that until Heero spoke up once more.  "Do I really seem that standoffish?"

"Yuy," he began with a frustrated tone, trying to turn towards the man at his side.  He was thwarted by the laptop sitting across his knees, and took a few irritable moments to remove the thing to the end table sitting next to the sofa.  Once that was done, he was free to turn more earnestly.  "Heero..."  He tried it again, but though he now had freedom to say what he wanted to say, he was no longer certain of what it was he wanted to say.  He was torn between wanting to know why and wanting to blindly comfort.

Heero took one look at his expression and shook his head with chagrin.  "Sorry," he apologized.  "Just... just forget it.  It's not important."

"It obviously is, Heero.  You usually let my remarkable powers of persuasion get you off the topic that's bothering you."

He got a snort for his self-assessment, but the passing moment of humor quickly faded into a period of introspection.  "I... If I am being standoffish, I assure you, it's entirely indeliberate."

The lightbulb of understanding finally went off.  Indeliberation was a blight upon an otherwise purposeful personality.  "Heh, is that why you sucked so hard at fitting in with the kids, back in the day?"

Heero understood he was referring not to the school they had attended after the war, but the one during the war.  "I still think you stuck out more than I did."

"You know, short of a formal survey, that's one debate we're never gonna settle."  He grinned lopsidedly.  "Though I still think Relena's pink limo stuck out more than the both of us combined."

"I would still prefer Relena's pink limo over Dorothy's gold one."

Duo shuddered dramatically.  "Okay, now there's a point you just won.  I ain't arguing that one.  So, that it?  Ain't nothing else hiding in that head of yours?"  He poked Heero in the middle of his forehead.

Heero swatted the hand away.  "I told you it wasn't important.  Only... it's mildly disconcerting sometimes, maybe."

Duo batted the hand that swatted his own hand.  "Huh?"

"Seeing the world in an entirely different fashion from everyone else."

There was nothing wrong with being unique.  "Well, I think we'd do that, no matter how socially well-adjusted we were.  We are who we are, after all."

"We are who we are," Heero echoed.  "Reality... it's just a matter of perception, isn't it?"

"Don't get all metaphysical on me, please, Yuy?  I can't stand all that 'do we really exist?' crap.  I mean, whether we do or not, this is what we're living right now.  This is what's real for us, this is what we're thinking and feeling, this is what we believe."

Heero picked up the hand that had assaulted his own and toyed with the fingers.  "I am not questioning our existence."

"Oh, you're just questioning reality, then?  That's so much better."

Some things were just open to questions.  And some things were not.  He took up Duo's other hand and gave him a straight look in the eye.  "I can question the nature of reality all I want, Duo, but I know that this is what's real for me.  This, right here, right now.  This is what's real.  This is what I'm thinking and feeling and believing.  This.  I know this.  I embrace this."

Man, just one stupid goddamn *look* and Duo was getting that fluttery breathless giddy fuzzy feeling in his chest.  This was so not fair.  "There are times, Yuy," he started slowly, the careful nature of the words meant to indicate a coming jest, "when I could cheerfully strangle you with my braid."

Heero grinned.  "Guess I better give you reason to trim it more often, then."  He released the captive hands to reach forth and fondle Duo's hair some more.

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