Tangled in the web

sequel to Web of Betrayal

Chapter 7:

By Dyna Dee

Warnings : Yaoi and a dose of angst as well as some violence and Duo torture. If you haven’t read Web of Betrayal, you may be a tiny bit lost, but I recount enough of the past in this first chapter that you probably don’t have to read it if you don’t have the time or inclination. Please enjoy!




Tangled In The Web

By: Dyna Dee

Web 7

Heero woke promptly at six a.m. on his first day of work feeling unusually excited about leaving for his new office and the challenges that awaited him there, then guilt crept in for feeling that way because of the man sleeping peacefully in his arms. He carefully disengaged and eased himself away from Duo, sleeping like the dead and slightly curled around the small dog, now an almost permanent fixture in their bed despite his protests. He showered, shaved and dressed in the black slacks and light-blue dress shirt that he'd purchased over the weekend. As a security consultant, he wasn't required to wear the Preventer Uniform, so he'd spent the weekend scrambling to find the appropriate attire for the office, which included several pairs of dark dress slacks and long-sleeve shirts. Once dressed, he picked the groggy dog up from the cozy nest he'd made in the covers and carried him downstairs and put him outside while he fixed and ate his breakfast. Once he'd finished cleaning up after himself, he let Sinjin in and brought him back upstairs, knowing Duo liked the dog's constant presence.

Holding the squirming dog, Heero paused and looked down on his lover's sleeping form, tracing with his eyes the outline of Duo's body, which he knew to be naked and sprawled beneath the covers, and eyed his rich brown and loose hair trailing over the pillow that gently cradled his head. He still worried about how the emotionally fragile man was going to react to their being separated for the entire morning, but he knew his lover was right; they needed to try for some independence from each other or the strain that they'd been feeling from constantly being together would only intensify.

Setting the dog down gently on the bed, he watched as Sinjin moved up to Duo's side and snuggled down against him. Bending over, he brushed a portion of hair away from his lover's face and placed a gentle kiss on the exposed temple. "I'm going now," he said softly, the backs of his fingers stroking the upturned cheek in order to ease Duo awake.

"Hum?" was the murmured reply.

"I'm going to work now." Heero paused to wonder at how foreign those words had sounded coming out of his mouth.

Duo sluggishly turned his body to face the direction of his lover's voice and a bare hand and arm came out of the covers and pushed more of the long hair away from his face. "Tell me why I didn't braid this last night?" he grumbled.

"You were too worn out from wearing me out," Heero replied with a lingering smile on his face at the memory of their rather prolonged and immensely satisfying bout of lovemaking the night before.

An identical grin grew on the handsome face that was turned towards him. Duo's eyes remained closed as he too recalled their late night activities. "So I guess you'll be coming home to me, right?" he teased in a husky voice.

That question earned a quick response from Heero, who cupped his sleepy lover's face with both hands and with his lips answered the question, leaving no doubt that he would definitely be returning. Both men sighed as the kiss came to a satisfactory end and Duo's eyes finally fluttered open to see Heero sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning over him, the smile on his face was a definite contrast from the worry that was evident in his eyes.

Gazing down at his lover, Heero's hand pull the blankets down to reveal the chest buried beneath them. His hand lovingly stroked the soft, pale skin that he knew so well. "This is your last chance," he said, a slight teasing smile tugging at his lips that belied the feeling of reluctance he was experiencing at leaving Duo alone. "Are you sure you can do this? That you're ready?"

Plucking up the teasing hand, Duo raised it to his lips and kissed the caramel-colored skin on the back of it. "Go to work and impress the socks off of 'em, Heero. Then hurry home to me. I'll be fine. We've practiced all the scenarios last week and I have Dr. McAdams and Mrs. L's numbers by the phone in case I forget them. I'll be fine, try not to worry yourself into an ulcer."

The knot in Heero's stomach seemed to double in size as the moment of leaving approached. This was proving to be more difficult than he thought it would be. Looking down at his lover, he knew that Duo was as anxious as he was, but he could see in his lover's eyes that he was willing, if not ready, to face it, at least for a couple of hours. Suddenly, illogically, all he wanted was to throw off his new clothes and climb back into the warm bed and enjoy the comfort of his lover's willing body. Duo must have seen the shifting of gears in his mind, for he abruptly released his hand and motioned for him to get off the bed.

"Get going before you're late," he said, dismissing him. "You might have a great reputation but what will people think if you're late on your first day at work?"

Heero stood and nodded, Duo was right, he needed to leave now in order to make it to work on time. "So you'll be here when I get home?" he asked with a grin.

"I'll be waiting at the door dressed in my apron and nothing else but a cup of tea in my hand," Duo grinned back mischievously.

Heero laughed, his pensive mood lightening. "How am I going to explain the bulge in my pants all morning with that image in my head?"

"You don't," Duo grinned back. "It just guarantees that you won't be stopping off anywhere on your way home, that you'll come straight back to me."

Heero nodded, feeling better about leaving now because of the light bantering. "I'll see you around twelve thirty," he said, then let his eyes linger a moment longer on the titillating picture his lover made by lying languidly in bed, his chest exposed down to several inches below his waist where the faint beginnings of the dark trail of hair seemed to tease him as it pointed southward beneath the covers. He knew if he didn't leave at that moment, that he wouldn't be able to leave at all. "Call if you need me," he said, then turned and forced himself to leave the room.

Duo remained in place, his eyes following Heero as he left the room with his right hand moving mechanically as he scratched a favored spot behind Sinjin's ear. As the happy dog leaned heavily against his hand, he listened to the sounds of his lover leaving and waited until he heard the the front door locking before he pulled the covers up to his chin and turned onto his side to curl around his pet. He'd been awake well before Heero but had kept still, making his lover believe he was sleeping. They both knew Heero's leaving would be difficult for him, but he was determined not to show his lover just how hard it really was.

Five hours, that's how long it would be until Heero returned home, how long it would take each day for his lover to feel like a productive human being once again. Three hundred minutes really wasn't long for Heero to be gone, he told himself, and not when it meant that his lover would be happy again. It was for that reason alone that he was willing to do just about anything to make that happen, even facing his debilitating fears.

He stayed in bed that first morning, dutifully answering the phone next to the bed when Mrs. L. or his well-intentioned neighbor called to check on him. Quatre, Trowa and Wufei also checked in that first day, just to make sure he was alright. He left them all with the impression that he was coping well, and he did, in his own fashion, until Heero came home.

Each day following the first he made it a habit of staying within the safe confines of their warm and cozy bed until just before noon. He then made the bed and quickly showered so he was presentable by the time Heero came home, giving his lover the impression that all was well on the home front while he was out conquering the business world. It wasn't until Thursday that Heero caught on to what he was doing when he unexpectedly came home an hour early.

Duo heard the front door unlock and bolted up to a sitting position in bed, clutching the bedcovers to his chest, his heart beating so rapidly that he was sure it was going to cause him to pass out. He fixed his eyes on the digital clock to see it was eleven thirty, too early for Heero to be home. Fear propelled him out of bed with Sinjin following after, leaping off the mattress and bolting out the bedroom door, barking as he went down the stairs.

Frantically searching the room for a weapon to protect himself from the intruder, he stopped short upon hearing Heero call out his name. Relief flowed into his tense body that swayed as a feeling of vertigo assailed him. Quickly grabbing onto the edge of the dresser to steady himself, he tried to pull himself together before Heero found him that way.

"Duo!" Heero looked dumbfounded at his lover, dressed only in his crumpled boxers with his hair barely braided, giving the appearance of having just gotten out of bed. The dark-haired man went to his lover and with his hand lifted Duo's chin so he could study his face.

"You're early," Duo said, with wide eyes and a shaky voice. "You scared me."

"I'm Sorry," Heero said, studying the pale face a bit longer before pulling Duo forward, giving him a quick reassuring hug. Releasing him a moment later, he moved to the bed and put his hand on the sheets and felt the warmth still lingering there. Sighing, he turned with a knowing look on his face as he met Duo's guilty eyes that answered his unasked question.

"Go take your shower, Duo. We'll talk about this over lunch." He watched as Duo gave him a sheepishly-guilty look before he shuffled off to the bathroom. It was actually a good look for him, Heero thought with a slight grin, but not one he wanted to see too often. Shaking his head, he made his way down to the kitchen to prepare them some lunch, or in Duo's case, breakfast, with the little gray dog following at his heels, his tail wagging furiously with excitement.


When Heero left for work the next morning he made sure that Duo was up, showered, shaved and dressed for the day. They'd breakfasted together and the braided man was introduced to the daily schedule.

The moment the car pulled out of the driveway, Duo went to the couch and flopped down onto its soft cushions and lay there for several minutes, staring at the ceiling. He brought his hand up above his head, holding up the list that Heero had placed into his palm as he left for work and let his eyes scan the day's list of chores.

1. Feed the dog.

2. Do the dishes.

3. Make the bed.

4. Water the plants in the back yard.

5. Check the mail box after nine-thirty.

6. Check email.

7. Prepare lunch.

He'd agreed to all the tasks the day before when Heero decided he needed to keep busy in order to pass the time rather than staying in bed all morning. The chores weren't difficult and he was more than capable of accomplishing them in less than a half hour.

While he appreciated that Heero was concerned for his welfare, he felt resentful about being told what to do. His lover had even left him with an incentive to finish the chores, saying that if he chose not to do them, opting to stay in bed all morning, that it was proof he wasn't ready to handle being alone and he'd end the trial period and quit his job. Duo knew he couldn't let that happen. He'd seen a spark of excitement in Heero's eyes on that first day, when he'd returned home from the office, that he hadn't seen in a long time. It was a glimpse of the past, when they'd felt the whole world was theirs. They'd survived a war, found love and happiness with each other and enjoyed working together on L-2. Life was good then, opening up so many possibilities to them that they'd been afraid to even dream of during the war. And as the realization of being truly free to live their lives began to sink in, a never before seen spark of joy had radiated from Heero's deep blue eyes, just as it had done on Monday afternoon. He'd always thought Heero was downright sexy, but that look of happiness on his face was the biggest turn on of all, and he wouldn't take that away from his lover no matter how insecure he felt.

It took him fifteen minutes to do tasks 1, 2 and 3. He'd have to wait for the mail to come just before ten a.m. and a bit more time after that before making lunch. "Come on, Sinjin," he called to the dog after making the bed. "Wanna go outside?" He decided it was a good time to water the plants in the back yard, checking off number 4 on the list and, at the same time, Sinjin could get some much needed exercise. As he moved down the stairs and through the house on his way to the kitchen and the back door, the thought came to him that most 'normal' people walked their dogs for exercise. His steps slowed as he pondered that idea. He'd been around the block once by himself and he was pretty sure he could do it again, especially with Sinjin at his side.

Turning around, he went to the table behind the sofa and opened the drawer that held the dark green leash. He took it out and attached it to the matching collar. Grabbing his light nylon jacket and cap, he put them on, snatched up the keys from the box by the door and put his hand on the door knob... and stopped, suddenly frozen in place.

"I can do this," he told himself, his voice suddenly shaking, like the rest of his body, as his mind finally caught up to his intentions. "Even a child can take a dog for a walk," he firmly told himself. "I can do this!"

After several long moments of talking himself into it, he managed to get Sinjin and himself out the front door, locked it behind him, then let the excited dog pull him off and away from the porch and down the sidewalk. "One foot in front of the other," he told himself, recounting the mantra that had gotten him around the block the last time he'd attempted an outing by himself.

The walk, though not physically strenuous, was mentally exhausting. Duo tried hard to appear calm and actually managed to do so by keeping his eyes focused on the sidewalk, just in front of his feet, and concentrated on the movements of his dog rather than his surroundings. He was determined to control his fear and paranoia by blocking out everything else and by looking at the ground and Sinjin. As the walk progressed, he felt he was doing well.

He didn't really know how far he'd gone until he stopped short at a stubborn pull on the leash. Looking behind him, he realized his dog was crouched in a recognizable position and in the process of leaving a "present" on someone's front lawn. Unfortunately, he'd forgotten to bring something with him to pick up Sinjin's waste like a conscientious dog owner should. Feeling embarrassed and guilty, he waited until his dog was done, then looked about sheepishly and hoping no one would see what was going on. It was then that he realized he'd been a little too good at blocking out the world around him as he walked for he was no longer in his own neighborhood. Sinjin, straining fiercely against the leash, had pulled him much further away from his comfort zone than he realized.

Finished with his business and ready to move again, the small dog began to strain at the leash. Duo held tightly to his end of it to keep Sinjin in place until he could get his bearings. Looking up from under the rim of his cap, he anxiously scanned the houses around him and tried to determine where he was. He recognized a house halfway down the block, one that he'd seen before with it's pink painted siding, white trim and a large stone dog sitting on the front door step and he realized where they were. It seemed that Sinjin had pulled him halfway to Mrs. L.'s house. With his heart pounding in his ears and his breathing short and quick, he knew he had to make a quick decision about which way to go, forward or back. He calculated that Mrs. L.'s house was closer than his, but on the edge of a panic attack, he desperately felt the strong urge to be within the confines of his own home. With his mind in turmoil, he was finding it hard to make the decision, so in the end he let Sinjin make the choice for him. His small but sturdy dog pulled relentlessly at the leash, leading them forward with Duo following, but this time he would make sure he didn't become overly distracted and over-shoot their destination.


Mrs. L. gasped as she opened the front door of her home and saw who was standing there, his skin pale and bearing a look of utter relief on his face. "Duo? Are you alone? How did you get here?" The elderly woman looked around him for his escort and her eyes went wide in not seeing anyone else.

"I walked with Sinjin," he said, slightly breathless and looking into the house a bit wild-eyed, hardly able to believe that he'd come all that way by himself.

The elderly woman stepped out of the doorway and drew the handsome young man into her arms for a warm, welcoming hug. When she stepped back, she gave him a pleased smile and took him by the elbow and led him into the house with Sinjin trotting alongside his master. "Does Heero know you've left the house?" she asked, concerned as to how the dark-haired young man who doted on his partner's well-being would take the news if he didn't already know.

"Um... no," Duo replied, working the end of the dog's leash between his finger in a nervous gesture.

"Then I'll just give him a quick call in case he's phoned home and you weren't there to answer."

"Tell him I'm fine and not to freak out about it, okay?"

The gray haired woman gave him a look of sympathy and a reassuring smile, then went to the phone table and dialed Heero's cell phone.

Duo listened as Mrs. L spoke in her soft, soothing voice, telling Heero of what a lovely surprise she'd had that morning. After several minutes of conversation and assurances, the matronly woman put her hand over the phone. "Heero wants to know if he can pick you up on his way home from work."

Duo looked at the clock on the fireplace mantle, it wasn't even ten o'clock yet. "I don't want to put you out," he said, uncertain if he should stay that long, but in truth, he really didn't want to try and make the walk home either. He was already feeling the shaky aftereffects of his solo, surprise excursion to her house.

"You could never do that," the gray-haired woman assured him with a genuine and warm smile. She then turned her attention back to the phone. "That would be fine, Heero. Why don't the both of you stay and have lunch with me?"

Duo sat on the sofa as Mrs. L. made them tea. As she carried the tray into the livingroom and set it on the coffee table, she glanced up at her unexpected visitor. "Do you want to tell me what prompted your visit today?" she asked. "Not that I'm complaining," she added with a sweet smile and Duo appreciated the way her eyes sparkled with affection when she looked at him. "You know you're always welcome here at any time."

Duo looked at her through the long fringe of hair that fell over his eyes. "I thought Sinjin would like a walk," he answered while watching her pour the tea into the two cups. "Before I knew it, we were almost here. I decided that since I was this close that I would just keep going."

"Well I'm glad you did," she said. "Now we can have a nice visit before I make lunch for the three of us to enjoy. Do you have any preferences for what you'd like to eat?"

Duo shook his head. "Whatever you make will be fine by me," he replied, finally managing a smile.

The chiming clock on the wall sounded ten times and for the next two and a half hours the elderly woman and the former Deathscythe pilot equally enjoyed each other's company.


Heero's disapproval was loud and clear on the silent car ride home. Sinjin was settled on Duo's lap, panting excitedly as he put his front paws on the window's edge and fogged up the passenger side window. "Don't be mad," Duo said, his eyes fixed on the glove compartment as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world.

Heero sighed audibly. "I just wish you'd wait to pull these stunts for when I'm home."

The braided man could feel his own anger mounting and attempted to swallow it down. "I just went for a damn walk. I thought you'd be happy that I'm trying to do some things on my own," he snapped, his voice on the edge of yelling.

"I am," Heero said softly, hoping to quell the rising anger in his lover. "But what if something had happened? What if you had a panic attack?"

"But I didn't," Duo insisted.

"Not even a little one?" Heero looked at him dubiously, one eyebrow rising in question.

Duo knew it would be in his best interest to lie, but he couldn't, not for something as trivial as his pride. Instead of answering, verbally shooting himself in the foot, he pressed his lips together and looked out the passenger window, knowing Heero would get the answer he was looking for from his stubborn muteness. The rest of the ride home was made in silence, and with their thoughts on anything but the surrounding area, they were both blind to an unfamiliar car parked several houses down from their own, the closed, tinted windows effectively hiding the identity of the person sitting in the driver's seat and watching them, taking note of their arrival home.

It wasn't until the dinner dishes were finished that Heero sought his lover out. Duo was sitting on the far end of the sofa watching television with his dog happily cradled in his arms. The braided man's gaze remained focused on the television show he was watching, even after Heero sat next to him.

After several moments passed, Heero lifted his arm and put it around his lover's stiff shoulders and pulled him close against his side. Sinjin raised his head to see the cause of the disturbance, and when he saw it was Heero, he set it back down. "Do you want to do something tonight?" he asked. "Go out for ice cream or see a movie?"

Duo shook his head. "But you can go if you want."

Heero snorted. "Like I'd go without you," he said. It was several moments later before Duo turned his head to look at his lover, his face serious. "You can, you know, go out without me."

Heero sighed then canted his head as he studied his lover's face. "And why would I want to do that?"

Duo's shoulders shrugged under his arm. "To have a life, Heero. If you want to go out, you should. Don't wait for me to get my shit together. You might just grow old sitting on this couch waiting for that to happen."

"And that would be so bad?" His question went unanswered, and he didn't like the distance that had been growing between them since he picked him up from Mrs. L's home. He ignored his normal inclination to push Duo into getting his feelings out, to clear the air and then let go of whatever it was that was bothering him, and so the unsettled feeling between them continued much longer than usual. The evening ended early for the both of them with few words passing between them before they fell asleep.

After hearing from their three friends on Saturday, Duo's mood improved and the weekend was filled with all the chores that were now neglected during the week because of Heero's job. The extra house cleaning, work on the front yard and grocery shopping headed the list of things that kept them occupied on Saturday. Sunday, they slept in, played basketball and visited Mrs. L.

Duo awoke Monday morning to the sounds of the front door being locked, followed by the hum of the garage door lifting and the car starting, signaling his lover's departure for work. With a forlorn sigh he flopped onto his back and turned his head to see the clock. It was 7:30. He found a folded note with his name neatly written on it propped up on Heero's pillow. Snatching it up, he raised it above his head to see a schedule of tasks that he was expected to complete that morning. At the bottom of the list, Heero wrote an additional note stating that he loved him and would be home at the usual time for lunch.

Closing his eyes, the braided man felt remorseful for being so stubborn that weekend. It wasn't entirely Heero's fault that he was a bit over-protective. His own weakness and dependency on his lover and their friends had created the protective monster Heero could be at times. If he was honest with himself, he knew that deep down he liked Heero doting on him, protecting and caring for him. But he also knew that they couldn't keep on that way. Heero was slowly showing his need to break out of their safe cocoon, built to shelter his insecurities. He sighed, and had to admit to himself that on those few occasions that he'd stretched himself, had gone out on those torturous walks or broke through some of his phobias, that he'd felt incredibly good afterwards. And even though he was still a far cry from the person he'd been, he really did want to be more like the person Heero had fallen in love with.

A sloppy, wet lick across his cheek and nose alerted him to the fact that Sinjin was hungry. He grabbed the wiry bundle of fur and play-wrestled with him for a moments before climbing out from the warm bedding that still held the scent of his lover.

Later in the morning, after the mail had arrived, the master and dog were out in the backyard once again. While the sprinkler watered the vegetable bed, Sinjin barked at a squirrel that was walking effortlessly on top of the wood fence that surrounded their backyard. Duo busied himself by pulling a few of the weeds that had sprouted in his garden during the last week. He paused in his task upon hearing activity in the neighbor's backyard. Because of the tattletale noise, Duo wasn't too surprised when Frank McAdam's head popped up from over the top of the fence.

"Good morning!" the older man called out, smiling down on him.

"Morning," Duo replied a bit nervously and immediately berated himself for it because the older man had been nothing but kind to Heero and himself. There was no reason to be fearful of his presence.

"I just made some coffee cake, fresh out of the oven. Would you like to have some with me over a cup of coffee?"

Duo wondered if Heero had put the man up to this as some kind of a test to see how he'd react. Well, he'd be damned if he was going to fail such an easy one. "Ah, sure. That'd be great," he replied, brushing his dirty hands on his black pants.

The elderly man grinned. "I'll be right over." His head immediately disappeared behind the weathered fence.

Duo had time to rush into the house and wash his hands before a knock sounded on the front door. He quickly dried them on a paper towel, tossed it in the trash and headed towards the front room.

Peeking out from behind the curtains to make sure it was the doctor at his doorstep, he visually confirmed that it was and then moved to open the front door for him. Butterflies fluttered nervously within his stomach as he forced his hand to turn the knob and pull it open.

"Hel...lo, Frank," Duo greeted the smiling man nervously. The retired doctor came through the open door, carrying a large dinner plate with a sweet cake on it, covered with powder sugar and plastic wrap hanging loosely on the top. "Looks good," he managed to add, eyeing the treat.

"I hope so," Frank replied. "I spent all morning baking it." He then laughed, telling the younger man how ridiculous that sounded. "Did you start the coffee?"

Duo shook his head, there hadn't been enough time to get to that task. He turned and led the man to the kitchen, trying to stay relaxed and appear calm, two things he certainly didn't feel at the moment.

Frank put his plate on the table while Duo took the coffee canister out from the cupboard just as the buzzer on the dryer sounded from the laundry room. "Why don't you let me make the coffee and you can get the laundry?" Frank offered, coming to stand by the braided man.

The nearness of the other man sent warning claxons off in Duo's head, and he stepped back to lengthen the distance between them, a move that Frank seemed to take as an agreement to his suggestion as the older reached for the clean coffee pot and put it under the coffee maker.

Duo turned to escape to the laundry room. He felt a bit guilty for not trusting the older man, but he just couldn't help it. Being alone with anyone other than Heero and their friends and having Frank standing within close proximity was still too unnerving to be comfortable. He looked down to see Sinjin happily scampering at his heels and was grateful for his little companion and began talking to him as they entered the laundry room to fold the newly dried clothing before they wrinkled.


The moment Duo exited the kitchen, the older man stopped his movements and cautiously, with an ear to any sounds that the younger man was returning, began to go through the cupboards of the upper kitchen cabinets as quietly as possible. His search slowed when he found what he'd been looking for. In the cabinet to the right of the kitchen sink, his fingers sorted through several medicine bottles until they discovered the prescription bottle for Duo's vitamins plus iron pills and studied them carefully. He opened the bottle, shook out two pills into the palm of his hand and put them into his pants pocket before quickly closing the bottle and placing it back into the cupboard, then shut the cupboard door. He then resumed the task of making the coffee.


After taking the clean and folded laundry to the bedroom and shutting the door to keep the dog from chewing any more of Heero's clothes, Duo returned to the kitchen. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee helped to draw him back into the room where their neighbor waited for his return. Frank was sitting at the table and his coffee cake had been cut. Large slices of delicious looking cake with swirls of cinnamon through it had been placed on small plates next to the two cups of steaming coffee. Duo breathed in deeply through his nose while mentally steeling himself to sit and talk to the other man, telling himself that this was something he would have liked doing... a long time ago.

Sitting stiffly in his chair, the braided man quickly picked up his spoon. "Thanks for fixing the coffee and the cake," he said with his head down and eyes focused on the dark beverage.

"You're welcome," Frank replied. "I didn't add anything to it, not knowing what you preferred," he added, referring to the coffee.

Duo reached for the cream and the sugar bowl that had been set out. A dollop of cream and two teaspoons of sugar added to the coffee brought the brew to perfection. With both hands, Duo raised the mug to his lips and took a careful sip. Over the brim of his cup, he saw the elderly man smiling broadly at him. "What? he asked, curious about what was so amusing.

Frank gave a genial shake of his head, the grin softening as he answered, "You take your coffee just like my son used to. A touch of cream and two sugars."

Swallowing the hot, sweet mouthful, Duo nodded. "Yeah, Heero claims I only drink the stuff in order to get my sugar fix throughout the day."

"Robbie liked sweets, too," the other man said a bit wistfully, then he smiled. "How's Sinjin's training going?"

The next half hour was spent talking easily about the dog, the delicious sweet cake and gardening, a pastime enjoyed by the two men whose ages differed by decades. Duo also learned that the older man liked to work in his basement, fixing and building machines. He'd rebuilt several classic cars and was an inventor, though Frank said most of this inventions were more inclined towards medicine and home care. He'd confessed to having patented several devices he'd designed and built after his wife had been diagnosed as being terminally ill and was cared for at home.

At the end of the hour, Frank excused himself and left behind all but one slice the remaining cake, and that piece he took home only at Duo's insistence. Once along, the braided man sat for several minutes pondering the visit and was pleasantly surprised to find that he'd actually enjoyed it, and that a lot of his previous anxiety at having Frank in their home had eased up for the most part as they'd talked. He was suddenly excited to tell Heero about his latest accomplishment, knowing Heero would be pleased that he'd made an attempt to be cordial to Frank. He stood up with the intent of cleaning the kitchen and then fixing their lunch, eagerly looking forward to surprising his lover upon his arrival home at lunch time.







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