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fic - the young and the restless [haven] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - the young and the restless [haven]
Title:  The Young and the Restless
Series:  Moments of Haven
Summary:  Duo catches up with a friend between one thing and the next.

The Young and the Restless
A Moment of Haven

He was just finishing a lazy stretch when the door to the church opened.  He glanced up, and found a faithful half-member of his flock slipping inside as cautiously as ever.  "Hello, Duo."

"Hey, Father Mac."  Duo hesitated that half-moment in the church's foyer before proceeding down the aisle.

"Just dropping in for a visit?"

"Yeah, sure.  How was your holiday?"

Holidays were a busy time of year for him, pre- and post-season, but unless he missed his guess, Duo wasn't here because of guilt accumulated over stressful family visits.  No, Duo had probably dropped by for his normal confession and penance.  Father MacKenzie suppressed a sigh over the apple turnover waiting for him in the kitchen, but it would keep.  He put on a genuine smile.  "Not bad, Duo.  Not bad.  Visited an old friend of mine.  What about you?"

"Uhm, went up to the mountains, actually."  Duo shifted awkwardly on his feet, not looking comfortable enough to take a seat.  "Got together with some old friends, too."

"Sounds like fun.  Did it snow?"

"No, no snow."  His gaze wandered randomly over one of the stained glass windows.  "Too bad, really.  Woulda gotten a kick out of that."

Father MacKenzie found his own eyes drawn to the window before remembering he had to find something for Duo to do.  He kept up the small talk as he thought.  "Have you seen snow before?"

"Seen it, sure.  Never played in it, though."  Duo bounced a few times on his feet before deciding it would be alright to lean against one of the pews.  "But I guess Heero's probably had enough snow to last a lifetime, so maybe it's better..."

"He doesn't like snow anymore?"  Hm, he couldn't think of anything around the church or house that was broken, and none of the silver had really lost its polish yet.

"Well, I'm sure he's just fine with it, but just the other week, he was having a mid-life crisis about snow."  Duo rolled his eyes.  "And penguins.  So it's probably best not to make him think about that stuff for a while.  And despite what you might hear to the contrary, I so did not brush him off."

"I see."  The pastor doubted he would ever hear anything to the contrary, but Duo's faint frown seemed to require reassurance.

"Well, okay, maybe just temporarily, but geez, how was I supposed to know he was that serious about the penguins?  I mean, come on.  Penguins?  Who worries about that kind of stuff?"

"Apparently, Heero does."  Other than that, he had no idea.  Fortunately for him, Duo was low-maintenance enough to talk to that he didn't really need to understand what penguins had to do with anything.  All he had to do was find a chore for the young man.

Duo snorted, but the exasperation faded in favor of a fond amusement.  "Yeah, I guess.  He's such a nut some times."

"How's he doing?"  Ah, the cabinetry.  Of course.  Father Mac drifted casually over to the cabinets and pulled out a spray bottle of orange oil.

"Heero?  Great."  Duo shrugged a little self-consciously.  "Um, you know, just being his usual Heero self."

"Good to hear."  He fetched a roll of paper towels from another shelf before returning to the cabinets.

"We'll be doing some work in the city soon.  Teaching some classes."

"Oh?  Sounds interesting."  Excellent.  Duo had detached himself from the pews and was watching the orange oil carefully.  Father Mac tore a sheet off his roll and folded it neatly in half.  "What kind of classes?"

"Uh, well, you know.  Some self-defense-type classes.  Well, Heero more than me.  Mine's more about improv."

He spritzed a corner of the cabinet and started rubbing.  "Looking forward to it?"

"Yeah, absolutely.  It'll be fun.  Kinda weird, but fun."

"You'll be commuting?"

"Yeah.  Here, let me help."  Duo partook of the paper towels himself and appropriated the orange oil to work on the opposite end of the cabinet.  The pastor hid a smile.  "It's not too bad in the off hours.  And we're not really staying there that many hours in a day to justify getting a room on base.  And it's kind of... less stress at home.  Don't have all those people around all the time.  And there's always something to do at home.  It'll be nice to be able to come home and just relax and not worry about that stuff.  Kinda funny, I know, to be saying that right after we get back from vacation, but..."

There was a reason Father MacKenzie saw an increase in traffic before and after the holidays.  "One of those vacations you need a vacation from?"

"Kinda."  Duo paused to take a deep breath of orange-scented air before returning to the business of polishing wood.  "Well, not really, but... I mean, the guys were great.  And the girl.  We just hung out, no big deal.  But... well... we kinda, um, 'came out' to them.  And, uh, it wasn't exactly planned, if you know what I mean?"  He tacked a chagrined expression on to the end of his words.

"Ah.  I see."  An accident, then.  Had someone stumbled in on something?  Was that why he didn't want anybody around for a while?  Oh, to be young and in love.  "How did they take it?"

"Not bad, actually.  Not bad at all.  The one person I would have thought might have a problem, well, she already knew, so no problems from that quarter.  As to the rest of them... they seemed pretty okay with it.  Well, excusing the one guy, but he didn't really have a problem with it, so much as... Heero says he had problems of his own, and finding out about us just sort of gave him a focal point for letting that stuff out."

Father MacKenzie stole back the bottle of orange oil for a while to do his part.  He worked slowly, though, to leave more surface for Duo to attack.  "Insightful as always."

"Yeah...  I don't know that I buy that one hundred percent, but... it's better than thinking our buddy's turned into a... a... an alcoholic playboy or something."

"Oh my.  That sounds serious.  I fail to see how that connects to your circumstances, though."

"Well, he's a busy guy, you see," Duo explained, reclaiming the spray bottle.  "And Heero figures he's just gotten to the point where he's looking to balance the work life and the personal life, and then we showed up with personal lives, so I guess it kind of makes sense that he'd be really interested in ours... but geez.  That was really kind of... tactless.  Kind of unusual for him.  Though I guess I'm not really sure which questions I disliked more.  There was the sex stuff, which was like, okay, I don't want to go there with you, thanks.  And then there was the general relationship stuff, which was also like, don't want to go there with you, either, but it was a different 'there'... but then I went there anyway, just not with him, and... well..."

Apparently the little tasks Duo got assigned were also an effective way to avoid eye contact.  "So he got you to thinking?"

"Yeah... got me to thinking."  He made a sour face.  "I hate thinking."

"Thinking is good for you."  Heero would no doubt agree.

"Yeah, but I always come up with the sucky answers."

At first, perhaps, but Father MacKenzie had never seen Duo decide that the sucky answers were the correct ones.  "What kind of sucky answers?"

Duo's hand motions slowed as he thought over the laundry list of sucky answers in his head.  It must have been a long list, since it took him a while to respond.  "You know, to my credit, I've never chickened out."

"That's important."

He threw Mac a sidelong glance under the cover of his bangs.  "Yeah?"

"Yes," the pastor answered firmly.  "It means you may sweat the details once in a while, but you don't have any problems with the core issues."

"Oh.  Yeah.  I guess."  He paused to work his paper towel contemplatively into the scrollwork along the edge of the cabinet.  "It's funny.  The more our buddy asked, the more I thought, geez, stop asking me questions that don't have any answers.  But you know, they're pretty much the same questions I asked myself, that I still ask myself sometimes, and there not being any answers has never stopped me before."

He was preparing himself for a lifetime of dissatisfaction if he was going to continue looking for answers that didn't exist.  Father MacKenzie thought he'd head that off at the pass.  "So long as you enjoy your time with each other, what more is there really to question, Duo?"

"Yeah, yeah, I know."  Duo shrugged apologetically.  "I know.  But loving Heero's not quite the same as loving love or loving sex.  If I'm gonna commit to something, it'd be nice to know what I'm committing to."

A little late for that.  He was well and truly committed, and most of the time, he even admitted it.  "Were those just examples?  Or are you really worried about those things?"

"I..."  He spent an inordinate amount of time polishing a single spot, developing such a great rapport with the polish-resistant spot in question that he spoke his words to it and not his priestly companion.  "Well, I'm not *worried* about them... I just... you know... think about it sometimes."

Father MacKenzie broke his concentration by handing him a fresh paper towel.  "What do you think about it?"

Duo took the sheet reflexively, but delayed putting it to use until he threw the previous one in the trash can several meters away.  Even then, he fidgeted with the sheet first.  Father MacKenzie gave him the time to do so by taking the orange oil away from him for a little bit.  "I think... well, they were always asking stuff like 'why?' so naturally I started asking myself why, too.  Question without an answer, yeah, I know.  Kinda good, actually, since I don't feel so stupid not being able to come up with an answer, then.  But still.  I'm pretty sure I'm just psyching myself out.  I come up with all sorts of crazy ideas, and none of them really seem really right, but there's always at least something right about them, and that's the worst."

"I think that's alright, Duo."  Now seemed like a good time to insert a fatherly smile.  "I think you can love the sex and love being in love, as you say, and not love Heero any less."

Duo gave him another shy look before going back to his fidgeting.  At this rate, he was going to need another paper towel before he ever started using this one.  "Yeah... Yeah, I guess."  He smirked.  "Maybe it's just like three times as good, then?"

"I could believe that."

He ducked his head, confidence and humor spent for the moment.  "I don't think I'd like those other things so much if it weren't Heero.  He just... I mean, half the girls in town had a crush on me, back in the day -- not to be immodest.  Well, okay, maybe exaggerating just a little there.  But anyway, it's not like I was ever interested in hooking up with one of them, just because of that.  So it's not like I like Heero just because he likes me back.  And the same goes for the other thing... You know, am I allowed to talk about that inside a church?"

"About what?"

"You know.  Sex.  Gay sex."  His eyes flickered briefly to the ceiling as if he was keeping an eye out for an angry god.

"Are you thinking impure thoughts, Duo?"

"Well."  His need for a task kicked in again, and he went back to his polishing.  "It is gay sex, you know.  By definition..."

Certainly no definition that Father MacKenzie approved of.  "Or are you thinking about your love, and celebrating it with your bodies?"

"Uh, well, technically, no, I wasn't thinking about that, either."

"Heh."  Kids these days.  Probably had a much more vivid imagination and graphic way of conveying it.  "Don't worry about it, Duo.  The only way your love could be an affront to God would be if you loved him so much it wrapped back around to the other side."

Duo regarded him skeptically.  "If you say so."

Perhaps he pushed it a little too much.  But it was so rare to see two people so in tune with each other, and even better still, to not take a moment of it for granted.  He wanted very much for these two to be happy with each other for a long time to come.  "Have you... have you run into someone that suggested God was opposed to your relationship?"

"Well, no... But..."  Duo attended to the flat panel in front of him with wide, slow strokes.  "I kinda had a religious upbringing, way back in the day.  Well, okay, someone *tried* to give me a religious upbringing, anyway.  I was just a kid then, so sexuality never popped up, but... I remember some of the people that came around to the church were all fire and brimstone, but... I don't know what 'they' ever thought about it..."  He shook his head, and his movements came back up to speed.  "So I guess I'm just thinking, better safe than sorry.  Never hurts to check up on these things, right?"  He flashed a quick grin to back up his words.

"Indeed.  Check up as much as you need to.  I'll try to change up my answer every once in a while so I don't sound like I'm just repeating myself."

"Gee, thanks."  He chuckled with self-deprecating grace.  "I never considered myself the worrying type.  I usually leave the worrying to Heero.  He's good at it."

"You're not too shabby yourself."

"Guess he's rubbed off on me."  His smile had a somewhat goofy edge to it as he finished rubbing the cabinet down with orange oil.  Once he was done, Father MacKenzie sent him back home to go rub against his boyfriend some more.

The pastor looked at his watch.  Too late for the apple turnover, he judged mournfully.  It was getting close to dinner.  Then he struck upon the brilliant plan of dessert, and returned to his small house to the rear of the property with a lightened step.

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