Author: Merula

Starting the New Year off Right

I threw myself down face first on the sofa. What an awful fucking day. From the moment the hot water ran out in the shower to the having to run after a perp because my tire went flat, to falling off of a fence it had been just one thing after another.

It had been, I reflected damn near typical-- at least for this year. Nothing had seemed to go right for me.

In January Hilde had tossed me out of the scrap yard, she had been nice about it, but I just wasn't fitting in there-- so I'd had a few arguments with some of her other hires-- Hilde had hired from the side she'd fought on and the ex ozzies didn't like working with a former gundam pilot.

So I had gone to the Preventers. In the only stroke of luck I'd had all year, Une had partnered me with Heero...

But the Heero had injured himself on that raid right after I finished basic and I had spent nearly five months with temporary partners-- most of them ex--Oz, most of them hostile.

Heero had recovered, gotten himself back on the active list-- and barely four weeks later I was injured in the line of duty... and out for two months. I, unlike Heero, at least could do the office work-- but two months of filing and filing out forms had driven me nearly crazy.

October had begun well enough, but halfway through, I had gotten a phone call in the middle of the night-- Howard had suffered a stroke, things looked bad-- and I was listed as next--of--kin on Howard's papers, I had the power of attorney, I had to make the decisions about Howard's treatments.

I'd been thankful for Heero then-- my partner had helped me with the paperwork, arranged for time off, and when I had finally made it up to L1 to see Howard and talk with his doctors, Heero was right there beside me when the doctors told me that there wasn't much hope...

They'd been wrong. Howard was doing better now-- not 100 percent and not well enough to fly a spacecraft, but he was alive. I was thankful for that.

I'd worked through November on a missing kids case-- Heero and I had caught the guy by the beginning of December, but not before the guy had murdered several children... I hadn't slept well that month...

I sighed into the cushions. Next year had to be better-- it had to be. I looked up at the clock-- it was one hour til midnight. I was supposed to have gone to Relena's annual ball, but our little escapades today had landed us with some paperwork-- I knew we could've pushed it off until later, but I'd told Heero I'd at least get it started.

Heero had wanted to stay with me, but I knew Relena would be disappointed if Heero didn't show up for her party. So I told him to go on ahead without me-- that I'd do the few things that needed to be done and then I'd catch up. I'd lied. I really hadn't felt like partying. Today had simply been an awful day to end an awful year on-- I'd written up all the reports, filed all the papers and then just come home. I was exhausted-- I just wanted to rest and forget today ever happened-- hell, forget this year ever happened...

I knew I wouldn't be greatly missed anyway-- plus being home by myself beat having to go to some stupid fancy party and watch Relena dance with Heero...

My doorbell rang. I lifted my head up again and squinted at the door. Who would be visiting this late?

The doorbell rang again. Was it even worth bothering to get up? With my luck it'd be my illegitimate love child wanting their inheritance early... not that I'd ever had the chance to have one, but with my luck this year...

I heard the sound of a key in the lock. I blinked-- only one friend had a key to my apartment-- but what was he doing here?

As anticipated, Heero opened the door and stepped inside. He was in a tuxedo, looking drop dead gorgeous, a bottle in one hand. He smiled at me. "Thought you'd be back by now."

"What are you doing here?" I frowned at him.

"I'm happy to see you too Duo." He closed the door behind himself and walked towards me. "How long have you been home?"

"Heero-- if you're here to drag me to the party-- I'm not going. I'm exhausted. Go have fun." He put the bottle down on the table in front of me and lifted his eyebrows.

"You mean you're moping." He slid off his tuxedo jacket and shook his head. I watched as he undid the neat bow tie at his throat and slipped it into the jacket pocket.

"What are you doing?"

"Getting comfortable." He dropped the jacket onto my recliner.


"Because," he reached down and lifted my legs up so that he had room to sit on the sofa, "I'm staying here with you and I didn't think you required that I dress formally."

He dropped my legs back across his lap, and before I could move them myself, he slung his arm over the top of them and started undoing the laces on my boots.

"What about Relena's party?"

"What about it?"

"She's going to be mad you aren't there." Heero pulled off one of my boots and went to work on the other one.

"Hardly. I said goodbye, wished her a happy new year, and she gave me the champagne to bring to you."

I looked at the bottle on the table. "Really?"


"Who is she going to kiss at midnight then?"

Heero turned his head and gave me a surprised look. "I imagine she's going to kiss Chang."


"Well, she is dating him," he shook his head at me. "I wasn't going to even try to get in his way-- he's very possessive of her you know."

"He is?"

Heero pulled off my other boot. "That's true-- you haven't been assigned duty there in the last month. Trust me-- Chang is very possessive-- don't even hug Relena if he's frowning, okay?"

It took me a moment to process this new information. "Got it."

Heero in the meantime had leaned over and was undoing my tie. I wasn't quite sure why he was feeling the need to undress me all of a sudden, but I wasn't going to argue with it. Maybe I had fallen asleep on the sofa and was dreaming...

Heero slid my tie off and tossed it onto the recliner next to his jacket. Then he bent a little and lifted me into a sitting position. "Take off your jacket."

I did as he said, taking off my Preventers jacket and tossing it beside his on the recliner. "You had to be tired not even to change out of your uniform."

"It was a hellish day." Heero let me lay back again, his arm still holding my legs on his lap. "All part of a hellish year. I'd be glad it's almost over except I'm afraid next year will be worse."

"Well, they say that how you spend the first day of the New Year sets the tone for the rest," Heero smiled faintly.

"Then you should've stayed at that party," I told him, glancing at the clock. "You have half an hour, I'll bet you can make it there."

Heero moved, sliding himself down beside me on the sofa so that we were nose to nose. What was he doing? "I have a better idea."

Before I could say 'what?', he kissed me.

It was a hesitant kiss, light and gentle.

I had to be dreaming.

So I kissed him back.

He made a faint sound in the back of his throat-- surprise? pleasure? – and then his mouth wasn't so gentle, but I didn't mind...

I never heard the clock strike midnight.... It was way past then when Heero and I finally moved into the bedroom and curled up together under the sheets.

As I snuggled up against Heero's chest I reflected that if Heero was right, and what you did at the beginning of the year set the tone for the rest, then it was going to be one of the best years I ever had...


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