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fic - one hot night [dorm] - the turnip patch
version 2.0
fic - one hot night [dorm]
Title:  One Hot Night
Series:  Moments in a Dorm Room
Summary:  One hot night for no other reason than that I was sticking to my chair during a couple of hot nights writing this.

One Hot Night
A Moment in a Dorm Room

The night was fairly normal.  After dinner, they'd had a short pilot powwow to share information regarding their government check-ins earlier that day, and then they had adjourned to their rooms.  Heero took to reading a memoir of an old Earth leader.  Duo spent half an hour pondering the nuances of the quantum computer, followed by twenty-five minutes clicking away at a casual game on his laptop, followed by twenty minutes of reading up on carnivorous plants.

It was hot in their room.  The windows were open but there was no breeze.  The stifling heat was a reminder that summer would soon be upon them.  Summer, the end of their probationary period, and the beginning of... something else.

Duo headed for the shower.  He came out less twitchy, but the trade-off may not have been worth it.  He threw a dark glare at Heero's inattentive form and sat down with a thump at his desk, his elbows making a notable sound against its surface as he leaned forward and directed irritable thoughts toward the utterly useless windows and non-existent breeze.

Whatever it was that caught Heero's attention, it caused him to glance up from his book and look at his roommate.

The glance was barely inquisitive, but Duo took it upon himself to answer anyway.  "I just remembered that I hate you."

Heero blinked.  "All of me, or just a part of me?"

Duo stared at him for three seconds before laughing.  He was rarely sure whether Heero was exercising a dry sense of humor, or if the guy was just amusing because he was such an oddball, a serious, earnest little oddball, but either way, it managed to derail Duo, at least temporarily.  He shook his head and heaved a sigh.  "Nah... I like the fact that you're a quiet roommate."

"Oh."  Heero's hands fidgeted a little with his book, seeming unsure whether he should resume reading, or put it away for a longer exchange.  "That's... good."

Too quiet, as he finally went back to his book.  It made Duo remember again why he hated Heero.  He tried to ignore it for a little while, unpinning his braid from the top of his head and fooling with the end for a bit before throwing it aside in disgust.  "Goddamn this stupid heat," he muttered, getting out of his chair to stand next to the window.  It was so frustrating to be able to take a deep breath and feel the cooler night air outside, separated only by a mesh screen, but it could have been a brick wall without a breeze to drive it across the barrier.  So bleeping close, and yet so bleeping far.

Three classmates walked across the quad outside, a few words of their joking around reaching his ears.  If he strained, he could hear pop music coming from somewhere off to the left and down maybe two floors.  "So friggin' normal, the lot of you," he accused under his breath.  He finished his thought more loudly, turning in his roommate's direction.  "But you know?  You're no different."

Alright.  Surely this would take a significant amount of time to hash out.  Duo sounded convinced, but Heero was anything but.  He took note of the page number before putting his book down.  "I fail to see the comparison."

"They thought you were on your way to being 'well-adjusted'."  The words were fit into an incredulous sneer.

It was always a roll of the dice, what sort of mood Duo would be in when they got back from meeting with their handlers.  Well, to be honest, it was a roll of the dice almost all of the time, but the dice got stacked with some weird bias on these days in particular.  "It's not that hard to 'fit in' enough to pass inspection."

"But that's just it, yeah?  Sorry, but not all of us had the benefit of someone training us to fit in when we were little."

"You fit in well, Duo, when you want to.  Your infiltration skills are high, and--"

"Infiltration's one thing, but... but..."  He had some angry words in store, but he knew they would just come out incoherently without the proper context, and then Heero would get confused, and Duo would get more annoyed, and it would all go downhill from there.  It was way too hot to be thinking about throwing punches tonight.  With an effort, he reined in his irritation and tried to make a solid case.  "We're talking before that.  We're talking way back, when you had that guy of yours teaching you how to be a good little hitman."

"Assassin," Heero murmured automatically, mostly to himself.  "How is that any different from infiltration?"

"You've said it yourself.  The guy did more than just kill people.  As professional as you want to make it sound, it was just a job."

"I still don't get your point."

Impatient little bugger, wasn't he?  He was usually more than happy to keep his mouth shut and let Duo arrive at his point in his own good time.  That he didn't now meant that Duo's point seemed like it had the frustrating potential of making sense this time around, or that Duo was pushing his buttons again about the man that had raised him in his early years.  Heero was the protective sort, even of men long since dead.  "You guys did things when you weren't out killing people, yeah?"




"You had a normal life."

"I disagree."

Duo grit his teeth for a moment before deciding he'd be prouder of himself if he didn't.  "You'd think I knew better by now."

"I can agree with that."  Heero wasn't quite certain what Duo's problem was tonight, but he was sure that Duo should have at least remembered that, between them, outarguing the other meant outstubborning the other, and that was rarely a possibility.

He'd emerged from the bathroom with a sharp edge of bitterness.  It had quickly mellowed into a dull, sour ache.  He threw his attention out the window again, searching for something to hold it.  He found nothing.  It came back depressed, burrowing inward, back into its dark, cold nest.  "My guy just tried to teach me to be a good guy.  'Course, that didn't stick, so... I guess there's nothing much to show for all that."

"He tried.  That counts for something."

The answer surprised him only because he wasn't surprised by it.  Heero was the friggin' savior of the world.  He didn't get that way by being a pessimist.  Then again, he was no optimist, either.  He was just a stubborn pain in the ass.  "What did you used to do, between jobs?"

Heero took his time in answering.  His book stayed open in his lap, but Duo got the feeling he wasn't reading it.  "Trained some.  He taught me things."  He paused again.  "I don't think I'd call that normal."

"No, it wasn't... which I think was actually my point."  Duo waited for Heero to tell him how idiotic it was for him to contradict himself, but nothing came.  It threw him off a little but didn't stop him.  "Your guy had been at that for a long time.  And he was teaching you how to follow in his footsteps.  It was normal for him to be doing that stuff, to be killing people one day and, and... I dunno, doing whatever it is a hitguy thinks is fun the next.  Chatting with the guy down the hall and buying bread from the market on the corner.  That's where we're going, don't you think?  Or what we're aiming for?  Not 'normal' normal, but normal for us?"

"I tried telling that to my shrink once.  He seemed... nonplussed."

Duo chuckled.  "Yeah, I'll bet..."  He tried to picture what the shrink must have pictured as 'normal' for them.  Must have been worrisome.

"They should consider themselves lucky that I'm aiming for 'normal' normal.  In all likelihood, I'll find my own normal long before I ever reach that point, but they should be glad I'm at least pointing in that direction right now."

"Yeah, those guys... don't know how to count their blessings..."  A poor choice of words, perhaps.  He frowned as his past poked him in the side.  "That's why I hate you, you know."


It should have pissed him off that Heero seemed to consider that nothing more than a passing curiosity, but then he realized how much he had been taking advantage of that.  It took a lot to make Heero raise his hackles.  Usually it involved threatening the things he considered important.  But no matter what kind of shit Duo threw at him, Heero typically remained unfazed.  That was kind of handy.  "Your guy... Maybe I'm completely off my rocker here, but I get the impression that your guy... well, what you learned from your guy will probably help you find your normal.  My guy tried to teach me how to be kind to others.  Woohoo.  Your guy... I dunno, was much more practical about things?  Yeah, I don't know much about him, but if he lived that long, and he wasn't a total nutcase, he must have done a pretty decent job of figuring out how to be both one thing and another.  Not all of us have the advantage you do."

Heero was silent for a good long time.  "I've never thought about it that way.  I have a lot to be grateful for from him.  But one could say that it's because of him I am currently in the situation that I'm in, so I wouldn't consider it so much the advantage you think."

"Yeah, maybe," Duo answered non-committally, suddenly not very interested in this line of conversation any longer.  Now that he'd said his piece, dissecting it didn't seem very appetizing.  Probably because it was still digging under his skin.  What he wanted didn't seem to matter much to his restless thoughts.  Come on, turn it around, he exhorted himself.  Yeah, he knew he had some anger management problems, and he didn't need some damn shrink to tell him that, either.  And he didn't need to do any stupid shrink trick about counting or channeling or whatever the hell else they had droned on about.  He was master of his own damn mind, dammit, and he absolutely insisted on finding the silver lining in this stupid raincloud of his.

It didn't used to be so hard for him, though it felt like ages ago that he'd been able to stay upbeat and positive about things.  Crazy, really, that when all those odds had been against him, he hadn't had any problems dealing with it, but now that life had decided to take it easy on him, it was the most stupidly stupid thing ever.  God, had he really been so ill-adjusted all that time?  Maybe he was just good at dealing with the shit that life threw at him.  He'd always been kind of competitive.  There wasn't anything to keep him busy anymore, though, and apparently that was a problem.

Wasn't his fault he was used to living life on the edge.  Maybe it wasn't anyone's fault.  And he remembered Father saying something along those lines, maybe, that not everything had to be someone's fault.  That sometimes things just happened.  Duo remembered with a wry smile some of the debates they'd had.  In retrospect, he wasn't sure who had won when he'd finally gotten the Father to admit that God's hand wasn't in everything.  "Hey... were you there when he died?"

The stillness from Heero's side of the room didn't last long.  "No.  Before and after, but not... not right when it happened."

"Chance?  Or on purpose?"

"...On purpose, I suppose."

"Which one's better, you think?"

"...Both of them kind of suck."

He snorted.  "Huh.  Yeah."  It all kinda sucked, usually.  Time to get over it and move on.  He stared out the window some more, held his breath when the faintest of breezes moved some of the cooler outside air into the room, but it didn't last for long.  "Hey... kinda stupid to hate you for that, I guess.  Not like you had any control over it.  But... envy?  Maybe."  He shrugged absently, watching a little bug land on the outside of their window screen.  He flicked the mesh near it and it fluttered away.  "Shit, you may have had all this time to get used to the idea of living a funky, two-mix, integrated kind of life, but clearly it hasn't worked too well for you, anyway, so what the hell do I even have to be envious of?  Not like I need that, anyway.  Don't have a concrete plan yet, but I'm getting there.  I'm gettin' there..."

"It's good that you put this much thought into this... It means you care."

"Or it means-- nah, you put just as much thought into this... You just don't monologue about it."

Heero shifted in his seat.  "Maybe I'm just not used to having someone to monologue to, yet."

Duo pulled his eyes from the scenery outside to throw a lopsided grin at his roommate.  "There's always yourself."

He got a faint, wry smile in return.  "I'm poor company."

"Don't short yourself, man.... You're short enough as it is."  He left one more quirk of his mouth in his wake as he turned back to the window, looking up at the moon this time.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
hostilecrayon From: hostilecrayon Date: November 12th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how they have this strange, almost understanding of each other, and yet they're still working at getting to know each other.

I also really love the sentiment that Heero is still getting used to having someone to listen to him - someone he'd actually like to share with.
turnippatch From: turnippatch Date: November 13th, 2011 07:40 am (UTC) (Link)
They're slowly developing the vocabulary they need to talk to each other in an increasingly intimate way... 'your guy' and 'back then', etc.  It allows them to reference sensitive material without really having to mention it, which in turn allows them to talk about stuff without it having to get awkward all the time.

Heero's naturally an introvert... definitely not in the habit of letting his thoughts out into the open air. ^_^
2 comments or Leave a comment