The Holiday Series by Calic0cat
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Heero tried very hard to ignore the butterflies fluttering in his stomach. One month ago he had made a mistake of monumental proportions. Fortunately, he had discovered it in time to correct it. But he had still ruined Duo's romantic Valentine's Day dinner plans. Duo never uttered a single word of complaint, but Heero still felt terrible about it. Reheating their meals in the microwave and eating at his kitchen table while they talked was *definitely* not what Duo had planned.

Today, Heero intended to make up for that mistake. He had everything all planned out. He just had to take his gift of White Day Chocolate home and he would be all set. 'Leave the gift at home, pick Duo up and take him to the restaurant where we have a nice romantic dinner, then I take him back to my place to give him his gift.' Giving a quick glance sideways at the gift sitting on the seat beside him, Heero smirked slightly. He thought Duo would like his White Day Chocolate. He just hoped Duo would also like the suggestion he was going to make.


Duo stole a glance at the clock and swore silently. The stupid meeting was running *very* late. Heero was supposed to be picking him up in half an hour and here he and Wufei were still stuck babysitting Relena at a damn *budget* meeting. The only threat to her life here was the chance of dying of sheer *boredom*.

Though she certainly hadn't been bored when he and Wufei showed up to escort her instead of him and Heero. Relena had been a wee bit - upset. And she had pretty much confirmed their suspicion that her own bodyguards had only been unavailable because she was expecting Une to send Heero as requested. 'She knows damn well that today's White Day and she was hoping Heero would show up with chocolates for her. That girl just never gives up. Unfortunately for her, Une's on to her little game and doesn't like being manipulated like that. So Heero got an unrequested day off and Wufei got stuck joining me in this pointless task.'

And he was going to be late for whatever Heero had planned for tonight. Dammit.


Heero stood in the hall outside Duo's apartment. It was now twenty minutes past the time he was supposed to pick Duo up and still no Duo. If Relena had actually had any idea that he and Duo were dating, he would suspect she was doing this on purpose. Since she didn't, however, Heero decided that whatever cosmic force there was, be it God or Fate or *whatever*, it obviously hated him.

With a sigh, he pulled out his cellphone and called the restaurant. He might as well just admit defeat and cancel the reservation. At least he hadn't had to prepay for the meal. He and Duo could just order pizza or Chinese or something whenever Duo *did* finally get home.


"Maxwell! The car's still moving!" Wufei yelped.

Duo just yelled back over his shoulder, "Thanks for the ride!" as he hit the ground running and raced into his apartment building. He ignored the poky elevator and ran up the four flights of stairs. Slightly out of breath, he skidded to a stop in front of Heero and apologized, "I'm so, *so* sorry, 'Ro! That meeting just went on, and on, and..."

His words were cut off abruptly as Heero gave his mouth something better to do. Duo quite willingly accepted the new task, wrapping his arms around Heero's waist and tilting his head to give Heero better access. They hadn't explored anything beyond kissing and cuddling since starting to take their relationship beyond friendship, but oh, were they ever exploring those...

When Heero finally drew back, Duo gave him a grin and said, "Guess I'm forgiven, huh?"

"Nothing to forgive," Heero answered. "The universe hates us, that's all there is to it. We are obviously not supposed to have a romantic dinner out."

Duo winced. "Well, if you still want to do something tonight, it'll only take me a bit to shower and change..."

"And pack a few things for tomorrow?" Heero suggested. "It's late now, so rather than coming all the way back across the city, you can just sleep over tonight..."

"Okay," Duo agreed, turning to unlock his door. The fact that they lived on absolutely opposite sides of the city from each other was making dating somewhat difficult. Weeknight dates were pretty much impossible unless one stayed over at the other's place. Which wouldn't be so bad if either of them had a spare bed but sleeping on couches wasn't too great for being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work the next morning.


Heero slipped into his small condo and made sure that Duo's Chocolate was safely out of sight. He wanted to wait till after they ate to give Duo his gift.

Leaving the gift in the computer room, he took a moment to put some soft classical music on the stereo before returning to the front door to help Duo bring in their meal. 'From romantic candlelit dinner at a steakhouse to Chinese take-out in the kitchen. The universe really *doesn't* want us to get that romantic dinner...'

Though Duo "accidentally" breaking all but one set of chopsticks *did* make the meal rather more - *interesting* - Heero decided with a smirk.


"You *do* recall what the traditional White Day gift is, don't you?" Heero asked as they tidied up, throwing away the empty take-out boxes and washing their glasses.

Duo gave him a puzzled look. "Sure. Chocolate, right?"

Heero nodded and said, "Don't you want yours?"

Actually, Duo was more interested in curling up on the couch with Heero and finding something to watch on TV, but since Heero seemed to be anxious to give him his gift, he grinned and answered, "Of course!"

"It's in the computer room. Why don't you go get it?" Heero said.

Somewhat surprised that Heero was sending him off to find his gift rather than bringing it to him, Duo agreed, "Okay," and headed down the hall. He opened the door and switched on the light, expecting to find a reasonably large white box sitting on the computer desk. Instead, he found that the computer desk and bookshelves were gone, replaced by a bed and dresser. And, in one corner, a very large white box. A white box with small holes in the sides. A white box that was - whimpering and barking?

Duo crossed the room and disbelievingly opened the end of the crate. An instant later, he was fending off the ecstatic kisses of a half-grown chocolate lab.

"His name, believe it or not, is Chocolate," Heero said from the doorway. "Don't blame me for that, his previous owners named him.

"I went to the breeder intending to pick out a puppy. But..." he shrugged. "The breeder sells all her dogs on a contract that specifies that she gets first refusal if the new owner decides to sell. This guy had too much energy for the family that bought him and they brought him back. He was moping because he was used to having two kids to play with and the run of the house. He didn't like living in a kennel again. He's already housebroke and crate-trained and everything. But if you'd rather have a puppy, she'll let you switch him for one."

Duo was speechless. He'd wanted a dog for ages but... "Heero, you *know* I can't have a pet in my apartment! I complained about that for a week after I had to pass up those kittens Trowa was trying to give away!"

"That's why the computer room isn't one anymore," Heero said softly. "I thought..." His voice trailed off, then he started over, saying, "I know we both agreed we wanted to just date and take things slow. I'm not trying to change that; I still think it's a good idea. But we hardly get to spend any time together outside of work, between our work schedules being so busy and living on opposite sides of the city. My lease allows pets and I thought if you had your own room, we could still take things slow and date; we'd just be living under the same roof while we did."

Reduced to speechlessness again, Duo gently but firmly pushed the young dog away so that he could get up from the floor. Crossing to the doorway, he took Heero's face in his hands and kissed him. Kissed him fiercely and passionately and with all the love and thankfulness in his heart.


As Duo finally drew away from Heero and dropped one hand down to pat the dog trying to force his way between them to get his share of attention, Heero said in an amused tone, "I take it that's a yes? You'll keep the dog and move in?"

Duo replied, "Damn right I will! How's tomorrow after work sound?"

"Perfect," Heero answered. "Just perfect." 'Maybe the universe doesn't hate me after all...'
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