Warnings: This contains non-consensual sex, angst, a bit of violence, hints of yaoi, definitely some shonenai and 1x2 pairing. It is a romance that spans the series that showed on Toonami, with some things I think could have happened. I don't own these characters, obviously, but I enjoy writing about them. I like this fic, but if you don't please let me know. I can use your flames for a sarcastic comedy fic. Any constructive criticism will be taken seriously. // denotes thoughts * * is emphasis. Watch out for changes in time, * * * means time has passed or the story comes from a different episode.
From the Beginning
//I can't believe I've been captured. I've only been on earth for two days and I've already been captured. I don't know what happened. How could that guy have gotten behind me? No one can sneak up on me like that. And that girl. I should have killed her the first time I saw her. Instead, I...hell, I hesitated and gave him enough time to stop me. Now there are two people who've seen my Gundam! If I'm alive, my Gundam probably survived as well. I have to get out of here.// Heero strained at the straps holding his wrists down. Ignoring the pain in his right shoulder, he pulled with steely determination. Then he heard a fuzzing sound from the monitor to his right. Opening his eyes into slits, he looked at the monitor. //What the hell?! That's him!// Duo's lips moved on the screen as he spoke. //Yeah//, Heero thought angrily, watching the boy through his eyelashes, //I can hear you. And I don't need your help. I don't need anyone's help. You're the one who put me here.//
When the wall exploded, Heero turned his head to stare at the boy who'd first shot him, then got him captured, and was now helping him escape. //You fool.//
Duo stared at the boy strapped down on the table. "Damn. How do you get these things off?!"
* * *
Heero stood, wavering back and forth, on the beach stories below the window from which he and the guy had jumped. //What is this? I hear her voice and pull the cord?// Heero's hand curled into a fist. //Unfinished business. I have no reason to die now. There is the mission. But...// "Damn. I shouldn't have pulled my parachute."
//He's insane!// Duo thought as he stared at the boy. "Now I can understand why you'd want to take your own life, but maybe, just maybe you should find a new way of commiting suicide, buddy."
Heero stared at him, eyes drawn to the outrageously long braid that trailed down his back. //If I wanted to die, I'd be dead now. I changed my mind.// Duo pulled his arm around his shoulder, taking weight off Heero's leg. "..I'm the only friend you got, pally."
//What did he call me?// Heero looked down. //Pally?//
* * *
//What is he?// Duo watched the silent boy, standing and staring at his Gundam. //I can't believe he just set his own leg. I can handle pain, but that...that's just so..// Duo shuddered. //He's just so...intense.//
* * *
//I can't believe he's a Gundam pilot. He hasn't shut up since we got here.// Duo was talking, sarcasm rolling off his words, "Here I am, mister-nice-guy, offering to fix your Gundam with mine and you just brush me off..."
//Nice//, Heero thought with disgust, //a nice killer. That's just great.// "Look," he said staring at Duo and frowning, "I don't want anyone touching my suit. That's all, pal." //Maybe he'll take a hint and leave me alone, now.//
Although he didn't show it, Heero almost fell over when the loud-mouthed pilot climbed onto his Gundam. //Is he deaf?! I just told him...ahh, what's the use.// Heero concentrated on what he was typing into his Gundam until Duo's voice finally got to him. "Hey!" he glared at the offending pilot.
"What is it?" Duo asked, not looking at him, "You're too late if you're going to ask for my help."
//Not likely//, Heero's eyes narrowed, "Can you keep it down over there?" //I really would like to strangle him, but he might come in handy later. After all, he is a Gundam pilot, no matter how difficult that is to believe.// Heero's call beeper went off, //Perfect, a mission.//
* * *
//I'm going to kill him!// Duo growled as he thought about Heero. //I can't believe he did that. And after I saved his ass. God! I'm not just going to kill him, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of killing him. Gundam pilot, or no Gundam pilot. Stealing parts from my Gundam to fix his! The gall. We'll see how far he gets before I catch up with him. If I were him, I'd be running.//
* * *
Having completed his mission, Heero laughed an evil laugh. //Pissed the hell out of him, I'm sure. Wish I could have seen his face when he realized I practically dismantled his Gundam.// Heero stopped laughing and grew silent. //Duo.// Suddenly Heero felt something he didn't recognize immediately. //Is this remorse?// As he thought about it, he frowned. //It was low. After all//, Heero sighed, //he only shot me because he saw me getting ready to shoot Relina. And he did get me away from OZ. I guess I'll have to make it up to him. Then I can forget about him and get on with my mission. I won't be distracted.//
* * *
As Heero aimed at the target, it suddenly exploded. Turning in surprise, he spotted a very familiar suit. //It's him.// Then he saw movement behind Duo and raised his gun. "Seems the two of us are going to have to fight it out after all," Duo called. Heero's mouth twitched as he steadied his aim. //I could just warn him, but...I don't want to. I think I'll let him sweat some first.// Suddenly the foot of Duo's Gundam sank into the surface of the metal as a weak point gave way. Crying out in surprise, Duo fought for his balance, and Heero saw the mobile suit behind him make its move. As Heero fired, Duo looked up in time to see the beam coming in his direction. //I can't dodge!// Duo screamed. And the head of the suit behind him desintegrated. //I'm still...alive?// Opening his eyes, Duo stared at the image of Heero that came up on his screen.
//He sure can scream.// Seeing Duo's statement, Heero smirked. "I've returned the favor." He threw his head back and laughed as he transformed his Gundam into wing-mode and flew away.
"Damn you!" Duo's voice reached him through the intercom, "I'll get you back!"
//I hope so//, Heero thought as he piloted his Gundam, //in fact, I'm looking forward to it.//
* * *
//Where the hell did he come from?// Heero stared down at the long haired boy who leapt out of his Gundam and waved at him. Not lowering his gun, Heero muttered his surprise, "Duo..." //What are the chances? That both of us would choose the same base to steal a shuttle from. And why, when he obviously knew I was taking this carrier, would he pick it too. Doesn't he remeber. What I did?//
"...trust me." Duo's voice reached him.
//Irresponsible. But surely he can do that much.// Nodding, Heero lowered his gun and turned to go back to his Gundam.
//He remembered my name. I get the feeling he doesn't hear half of what I say to him, but he remembered that much. I guess he really is determined to succeed in this mission. Well//, Duo finished up and headed for the cockpit, //so am I.//
"I don't think you get it. This is a really important mission..." //Is he even listening to me?// Heero glanced at Duo who had a grin on his face. //I can't get over the fact that he is a Gundam pilot. Is he ever serious?//
"..Then I go back to space." Duo stared unseeingly through the winshield of the cockpit.
//The colonies. Both of us?// Heero stared intensely at Duo's profile. //How could he grow up in the colonies, what with all of the conflict and struggle there? And still be so...so...so damn cheerful.// Still thinking about the boy beside him, Heero slowly turned and faced forward. //Focus.// He ordered angrily. //On the mission.//
* * *
//Damn. They are stronger than we thought. It's a good thing he's here too.// Heero spared a quick glance at the Death Scythe. //He's good. Very good. Maybe I misjudged him.//
"Those are missils!" Duo's voice reached him just as they were hit.
They were thrown to the ground, Heero slowly go to his feet, sparing another glance at Duo who was getting up as well. //He's fine.//
"Because you're all buched up." A voice came over their radios.
* * *
"What have I done..." Heero's eyes were wide, his statement unguarded. //My fault. I did it. It doesn't matter if I was tricked. I should have checked. I should have known. How could I kill the leaders of peace? They were fighting for the same thing as me, and I killed them. I. I have to die. That is the only way I can atone for this.//
Determination written on his face, Heero lowered the defenses of his Gundam and felt the enemy's shots hit him. Then they no longer hit him as Duo and one of the other pilots got between him and his enemy. "How long do you expect us to protect you?" Duo's sarcastic voice reached him. //I don't. Just get lost. Why are you interfering. Protecting me. I don't deserve to live. You don't deserve to be hurt protecting me...//
"Your friend's just got a lot on his mind right now," the blond pilot told Duo.
//No I don't//, Heero thought angrily, //I only have one thing on my mind...death. And you're interfering. And he is not my friend...is he? I don't have any friends...//
* * *
"You're quite the guy. Way to go, Heero." //He is absolutely amazing.// Duo smiled, //Heero...the perfect name for him.//
"I screwed up." Heero threw his head back and stared at the stars, "I totally screwed up!"
* * *
//I can't beleive this is another coincidence. There are simply too many schools in this area for him to have chosen mine merely as a coincidence. But how...?// Heero looked at the boy dribbling the basketball toward him, braid trailing out behind him. //It's a wonder no one accidentally yanks that braid and steals the ball from him.// A strange statement crossed his face as he caught the ball Duo passed, //I can just see his stupified statement if anyone did that.// Then Heero was making his way through the guards from the other team, making a slam dunk simply to rub his superiority in their faces. //If I wasn't trying to maintain a quiet image here, we would have won this game without letting them make any scores. I detest losing on purpose.// Suddenly Heero realized there was a warm, muscular arm around his shoulder. //Duo...?// The long-haired American was waving to a group of screaming girls, rediculous grin on his face.
"They're cheering for us, Heero."
Shoving Duo's arm off, Heero stalked away. //What do I care. They are all too weak. The sight of a gun would make them faint with terror, or run to hide behind some guy. Girls. The only one I've ever seen with the least bit of courage was Relina.// Heero stared at his next target, a sea base, //and she wasn't courageous. She was just stupid. Thinking herself as infallible. Just because I didn't kill her. Doesn't she realize that I would have if Duo hadn't stopped me? I would have. Even though she looks like...//
"...after all, it's natural for kids our age to be in school." Duo's voice interrupted his thoughts as he leaned against the railing beside Heero.
//He is so...// "What's the idea?" Heero's eyes bore into Duo's as he tried to figure out this strange, lively boy.
"I'm just trying to act normal." Duo smiled slightly.
//Hah. If he's normal then this world wouldn't be a warground. Or rather, it would be full of smiling, laughing, blabbering killers. He isn't normal. He's...// "You stand out." //He's angry again...am I the only one who makes him angry? He never glares at anyone else. I'm the only one he loses his smile with. His irritating smile...//
"...you should have a little fun as a student." Duo wasn't smiling, but his frown was gone.
//Advice from him...if I ever started to smile maniacly like that...I'd have to kill myself.// "Leave me alone." //You're a distraction...//
"And stay out of your way, right?" Heero turned to shoot him a surprised look. //Man, I absolutely love ryling him.// Barely controling the grin that threatened to split his face, Duo returned Heero's gaze. "You can't hide it from me." Duo found the corners of his mouth twitching from the effort to hold back that grin. "I can see it in your eyes as plain as day, pal."
//What the hell? None of my emotions show on my face, or in my eyes. I've worked too hard for that to happen. It isn't possible for anyone, let alone this...guy to see what I'm thinking.// Heero's eyes narrowed. At Duo's challenge to see who could destroy his objective first, Heero turned to look at the sea base again. //Maybe it was just a lucky guess. After all, it is the nearest enemy base to this school. That's it. It's actually very obvious.// Heero's eyes narrowed again. //As if he could read me...nobody can do that...//
Suddenly a large, unbelievable car pulled up. It was a pink limosene. //Pink//, Heero thought, //no...damn.//
"Heero, I wanted to see you." Relina's eyes shined at him, drool practically falling from the corners of her smiling mouth.
"...wanting to see the guy trying to kill her." Heero snorted and looked away from the smiling twit. //How did she find me?// Shooting a glance at Duo, he paused, //What is he looking so downcast about? She's not here for him. Or is that the problem?// He looked abruptly at Relina, who's eyes lit up at his gaze. //Surely not...why would he want the attentions of a twit like her?// He stared in concealed disbelief at Duo's suddenly depressed features as the long haired boy looked out over the water. //He's too smart...despite the way he acts. Why would someone like him want...// Heero froze, eyes widening slightly, //a guy like him...what does that mean? Is it possible...that I...?//
* * *
//I really didn't give him enough credit. He is a very good pilot. A Gundam pilot.// Heero watched from a distance as Duo created havoc on the base. Then he reached it and did his own damage. "Mission accomplished." //He left something for me? How "nice" of him.// Heero watched Duo's Gundam for a minute before turning to make sure there were no witnesses left on the base.
* * *
//Sharing a room with him is like living in a pigsty. He's so disorganized. How can he work like that?// Heero watched as Duo entered the room, medium sized grin on his face, and threw his books on his bed before plopping down next to them. Heero turned back to his computer.
"So, whatchadoin, Heero?" Duo called from his position sprawled over his bed. "Gotta mission, or ya just doin homework?"
//Should I answer him//, Heero wondered, //or will he just take that as an invitation to talk even more?// Heero voted for silence and continued to type.
With a frustrated groan, Duo got off his bed and came to stand behind Heero. Leaning forward, he placed an arm around Heero's shoulder and peered at the screen. Heero froze.
//Why the hell does he keep touching me? I should break one of his fingers. Maybe then he'd get the point.// "Get off me," Heero growled, throwing off Duo's arm without looking away from the screen.
"You don't have to be so mean," Duo complained, rubbing his arm. "You should try to get along better. Lighten up, I mean seriously man, you're way too tense. I was just trying to be sociable. You could try--"
"Shut. Up." Heero turned and glared at the long haired pilot. "Just be quiet."
Duo looked wounded for a minuted, then he grinned. "Wow. For a minute there I didn't think I was going to get a reaction from you. Guess it was easier than I thought. Maybe I should--"
"I said shut up!" Heero turned back to his computer and clenched his fist. //He is so irritating. Why does he have to talk so much? Why doesn't he take a hint?//
"You are so used to getting your way, aren't you?" Duo asked, eyeing the back of Heero's head. "Well, just this once." With that, he turned and picked up his books. Setting them on his desk, he made his way into the bathroom to get changed.
With a silent sigh of relief, Heero looked toward the closed bathroom door. It was getting harder and harder to ignore the American baka. Especially when he kept touching him. It was a combination of little things, an arm thrown over his shoulder, a hand on his back, poking a finger at him--that one had almost been more than Heero could handle. The worst, however, was his mouth. //The way he gets so close I have trouble looking at anything other than him. His lips moving at such a fast rate. I know what that means. Anyone capable of talking as fast and constantly as he does is sure to be an excellent--//
"Man! Am I bushed!" Duo had changed into a pair of boxers and a black tanktop. The same outfit he wore to bed every night. He had his brush in his hand and it was all Heero could do not to groan out loud.
//Why can't he do that in the bathroom? Does he know what he's doing to me?// Heero looked at Duo. He was sitting cross-legged on the edge of his bed, his braid thrown over his shoulder. His eyes were on his braid as he quickly undid it and, eyes closed, proceeded to brush out its length. The edge of his hair hung over the bed. Out of the corner of his eye, Heero watched as Duo suddenly fell onto his back, stretching on the bed and running his hands through his hair. //Baka. He's practically begging. He's done this every night for the past week. I should just give him what he's asking for. That would surprise him. Well, tonight will be the last night. Tomorrow I'm requesting a different room. It isn't weakness//, Heero told himself, looking at Duo's shoulders framed by his golden brown hair, and swallowing violently, //it's simply that I don't want any distractions.// As Duo slowly sat back up and braided his hair again, Heero frowned at his computer. //Maybe one more night...//
* * *
//He looks like a child...but he's strong. Despite the way he acts, he is strong.// Heero smirked slightly, //he doesn't look it though, curled up like that.// It was still dark, Heero sat at his desk, watching Duo in the glow of the computer screen. Duo lay on top of his covers, on his side with one hand tucked under his pillow, legs drawn up slightly. His other arm was bent over his waist, the end of his braid clutched in his fist. //He's the one who requested me as a roommate. Was this his intention, to tempt me?// Heero frowned as he thought about it. //No//, he decided. //He doesn't even realize what he does. I can tell. He has no inhibitions. If he was trying to tempt me, he would be much more obvious. I don't know how he has survived this long, if he has this effect on people. Yes. I definitely need to get a different room.//
* * *
//Good-looking?// Heero almost choked. //He thinks...Relina...is good-looking?!// He shot Duo a quick look and frowned. //He's looking depressed again. How can he...have feelings for her? Relina...if she didn't look so much like that little girl...I'd have killed her by now. She keeps coming back, following me. Looking at me as if I...belong to her. Ugh. Duo no baka. She's much too weak for you...//
* * *
//Just watching him. He's so quiet when he sleeps. I don't think I like it. It doesn't make sense. All day long I wish he would shut up, if only for a minute and when he's finally quiet I miss his noise.// Heero's lips twitched. //But I could always wake him up.// He thought about that for a minute, then sighed. //But then I'd be wishing he'd shut up again. Why does his non-stop talking bother me so much?// he asked himself. But he knew the answer. //No matter how much he talks, he never says what I want to hear.// Heero was sitting on the edge of his bed, legs folded, watching Duo. With another sigh, he turned off the light and lay on his bed. Duo muttered in his sleep and rolled over to face the wall. Heero started as the light from outside the window glanced off something under Duo's pillow. //A knife?// he thought with surprise. Heero kept a gun under his. //I'd never have thought he worried that much. Especially with me here.// Dismissing the notion that he might be the reason for the knife, Heero nodded in approval. //Maybe there's hope for him yet.// Clearing his mind, Heero went to sleep, he had classes in the morning.
* * *
Heero glanced over at Duo. The battered boy's eyelids were drooping closed, no sooner had he forced them open than they began to close again. "It's alright," Heero said, "we're safe enough now."
"Huh?" Duo blinked and turned to look at him, wincing at the pain caused by that motion.
"They're not following," Heero said, trying not to sound gentle. "Go to sleep."
"It'll be hours before we get to the colony I'm staying on."
Duo smiled weakly, a shadow of his usual grin, "Okay. Thanks Heero. Wake me up when we get there." He leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes. He was asleep almost immediately.
Although it didn't show on his face, a mixture of emotions ran through Heero's mind. Foremost was concern as he wondered how badly Duo had been hurt. There had been no time to find out between their escape from the OZ space station and piloting the stolen shuttle. His face was a mess, and Heero didn't think his left arm was working. Also, there might be something wrong with his legs. If not for the lack of gravity in the station, he'd have had to carry him rather than simply holding him up. But his breathing was regular, so Heero wasn't afraid he'd die. That brought him to his second feeling of relief and anger. Relief that he'd not had to kill him and anger that Duo'd thought he really wanted to. //He believes everything I say. I guess that isn't a bad thing since it implies trust and faith, but he actually thought I'd come there to kill him.// Heero'd offered to do it when Duo had asked as he first entered the cell, but it had taken alot of resolve. //I can't believe he was kidding about something like that. I almost pulled the trigger.// His chest tightened at that thought. Looking at Duo, Heero growled in frustration. //He never once thought I was there to rescue him. Of course, I told him that I'd only come to kill him but I didn't think he'd believe me! I just don't understand what I should do. When I'm trying to be serious he makes everything I say into a joke and when I'm being sarcastic he thinks I'm serious.//
So softly Duo didn't rouse, Heero reached out and stroked the back of his hand along Duo's cheek. //I haven't seen him in so long. Not since I had to self-detonate when they threatened the colonies. I'm glad I lived.//
Looking to the sleeping pilot, Heero heard his voice in his head. //"Ohh, Heero."// Another frustrated growl escaped his lips. //The way he said that! Of course it had to be in response to my telling him I'd kill the doctors! The emotion//, Heero felt a tingle go down his spine and his fingers curled into fists, //how many times I've wanted him to say my name with any emotion other than amusement or anger.// Duo interrupted his thoughts by letting out a soft groan and shifting in his seat. Glancing at him, Heero's lips thinned, //Don't worry, Duo, we'll be there soon.//
* * *
When he got Duo to his room, he was surprised that Duo woke up. Shrugging off the coat Heero'd wrapped around his shoulders, Duo mumbled something and stumbled into the bathroom. As he sat at his desk, Heero fought his urge to follow him and told himself to stop it. //He's probably just using the bathroom. I know how furious I'd be if he walked in on me.// Looking at the door, he saw that it was not closed completely. //Absolutely not! I will not check on him like he is some weak child. But...it's too quiet.// Suddenly he stopped arguing with himself and listened. He heard the bathroom mirror slide shut and then nothing. //What is he doing in my cabinet?// Moving silently, Heero walked to the door and peered through the crack.
Duo was standing with his back almost touching the mirror, his head twisted to look at the mirror, and his right arm curved behind him. Holding his breath, his face suddenly twisted and his arm jerked along his back, a bloody blade glinting in his hand.
"What are you doing?!" Heero threw the door open and snatched the knife.
Raising his bowed head to meet Heero's gaze, blood rushed to Duo's white cheeks as he blushed. "Umm," his cheeks reddened even more as he backed up, "Could I have that back?"
"What is wrong with you?!" Heero pointed at the rainbow of bruises covering Duo's bare chest and stomach, "Don't you think you're hurt enough?!" He threw the knife into the bedroom, Duo's eyes following it. "Let me see what you've done." Grabbing Duo's right arm he tried to turn him so he could look at his back, but Duo jerked away.
"Don't even think about it!" he cried, color draining from his face. "I know what I'm doing so just back off!" Backing up, Duo hit the side of the bathtub and promply toppled into it. "Shit!" Duo screamed, jerking his back away from the tub and panting for breath. "Damnit!" Propped up by his right elbow, he panted for a minute then passed out.
Heero stared in shock at Duo. //He's lost it.// Shoving the thought aside, he picked Duo up and carried him to the bed, laying him on his stomach. Wetting a wash cloth, he gently washed the bloody back. He froze. A fresh cut, Duo's, went in a straight line across his back just below his shoulderblades. Below that, was a name. Carved into Duo's back.
Heero moved off the bed to sit on the floor. He bent his legs and put his head down so that his chin rested against his folded hands. Overcome with rage, he couldn't think. Couldn't move. Breathing deeply, he let the fury flow through him until, finally, he could control it. Push it down, back, until it was anger, but controlled anger. Slowly he stood up and moved back to Duo. //Was he going to cut it off?// The name was large, written in five long, capital letters nearly three inches tall. //Was he really going to take such a huge chunk out of his back?// Glaring at the name, Heero made up his mind.
* * *
The first thing Duo felt was pain. His back was on fire, making his other injuries insignificant. With a groan, he started to pull at his wrist only to find that it wasn't tied down. Opening his eyes he realized he was lying face-down on a bed. A soft one.
"Here, drink this."
Duo looked to the right to see Heero, holding a mug of something with a straw in it. "What...is it?"
Heero was looking at him with an intensity in his eyes that was almost frightening. "It will make you numb."
"I guess I could use it then," Duo gave a forced chuckle before drinking the thick liquid. "I don't know why it hurts so much. I know I didn't cut it that bad."
Heero seemed to search his face, then he looked away abruptly. His voice was low and filled with guilt mixed with something else, "No...but I did."
With a sigh, the Japanese pilot stood up and left the room. When he came back, he was carrying two mirrors. Placing one in front of Duo, he paused. "Are you sure you're up to seeing this?"
"I...when you put it like that, I'm not sure." Duo stared up at Heero warily.
"It's not so bad," Heero's voice sounded strangely gentle, "It stopped bleeding." Then he held the other mirror behind Duo's back and put his hand on his shoulder. "You don't have to...if you don't want to."
"What did you do?" Duo's voice was small and filled with fear.
"What...," Heero's eyes lowered to Duo's back. "What I thought you would want."
Duo's eyes widened at the emotion he could have sworn he heard in Heero's voice. //No way.// Taking a deep breath, Duo looked into the mirror. And burst into tears.
//What have I done?!// Throwing the mirror aside, Heero knelt beside Duo. "I'm sorry. Duo? I...I thought..."
Duo suddenly lifted his head and looked at Heero. Tears streamed down his cheeks, hitting the corners of his wide smile. Throwing his arms around Heero, he hid his face against his neck.
"Duo?" Heero's voice was filled with self-loathing.
"Thank you, Heero. It's exactly what I wanted, but I don't think I could have done it myself." Duo lifted his head and moved back onto the bed. Moving his shoulder, he looked at his back and made a sick smile. "How'd you do it? It's kinda nasty, but it's not very deep."
With a silent sigh of relief, Heero nodded. "If you'd tried, you would have taken off more skin than was necessary. Unfortunately the cuts were pretty deep, so I had to take off all of the skin, but just the skin. It should heal soon. Skin grows back."
"Soon?" Duo asked incredulously. "How? I'm missing about 36 square inches of skin!"
For a minute Duo could have sworn Heero was about to smile. //Naw. Must be the drug.//
"I got some cream to rub on it that will help. Medicin is very advanced, you know."
"Cool! Thanks. I mean that," Duo looked at Heero, wondering if he was going to ask about the name, wishing he wouldn't.
"Does it still hurt? I can give you some more of that drink, but not too much, you could get addicted to it."
"No, actually," Duo's grin widened as he realized that Heero wasn't going to ask. Then his smile wavered. //Why should he ask? It's not like he cares. But why would he do this for me if he didn't care?// He sighed. //Because without me it will be that much harder for him to accomplish his mission and that's the only thing he ever thinks about.// "I can't even feel it. The only thing I feel is that I'm tired and," Duo's grin reached the splitting point, "I'm starving."
* * *
Duo stared, unseeing, out the window long after Heero had left. It hadn't been a very pleasant parting. //Why is he always so callous towards me? Sure, I'm injured and maybe I would just get in the way, but he didn't have to say it like that. It's not like it's my fault.// Duo sighed and ran a hand lightly over his back. It was tender, real tender, but it was healing as quickly as Heero'd said. //I guess I could go to classes tomorrow. Come to that, why did he enroll using my name? Surely he could have found a different one. But no, he had to use mine. Maybe mine was the first name that came to mind.// Duo laughed abruptly, //don't go there! Knowing him he'd already accounted for the possibility of my not letting him kill me and went ahead and enrolled using my name so I'd be able to go here. He's always thinking ahead. Then, if he did end up killing me it would be easy for him to go into the computer and change the file.// Duo leaned lightly against the wall and closed his eyes. //There's no use reading things into his actions. With Heero, what you see is what you get. The mission. That's all that matters to him. And maybe Relina.// Thoroughly depressed, Duo flopped onto his stomach and went to sleep.
* * *
Staring out the window of the spaceship carrying him to the moon, Heero sighed. //It's so difficult. Finally I feel emotions, strong ones at that, and I have to hide them. Damn, that bit about his getting in the way really hurt him.// Heero looked down at his folded arms. //But it was true. If he went along, I would be worrying about him the entire time. To think that I would be distracted that much. The mission used to be so important to me.// Heero's lips twitched as he remembered Duo's statement when he'd told him whose name he'd enrolled under. //Was it outrage? I think so. But, I kept thinking about him. Just to hear someone say his name out loud felt right somehow. Even if they were saying it to me. It's almost like...I don't know. I can't keep thinking about him. I have to focus. On the mission.//
* * *
"...but right now, I need a nap!" Duo flopped on the cement floor of the cell and fell asleep immediately.
"How does he do that?" Wufei muttered, rolling his eyes.
//Duo. Damn, why did he come here. Why did he have to get captured when I'm in no position to protect him? Also, if I cause trouble I may interfere with Trowa's plans.// Heero gave a silent sigh and moved to look at Duo. He wasn't hurt too badly, in fact, Heero was surprised at how light he'd gotten off. It wasn't like the guards to be so lenient, especially the way Duo ran his mouth. //But I've missed him. He certainly can make an entrance.// Not wanting the guards to realize Duo's importance to him, Heero moved to the other side of the room and looked at Wufei. The black-haired boy was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. Heero contented himself with looking at Duo. He was lying on his stomach, head resting in the curve of his arm. His long, golden brown braid trailing down his back. //Beautiful. A sight for sore eyes.//
When the door opened, Heero was sitting on the steps near Wufei, and Duo was sitting with his back against the wall, facing the door. Expecting Trowa, Heero turned, but it wasn't the undercover pilot, but a middle aged man and two soldiers. Duo jumped to his feet, his eyes shining with pure hatred, an statement that Heero had never seen on the long-haired boy's face. He looked at the men. The two soldiers stayed near the door, guns trained on Heero and Wufei as the third man approached Duo.
Duo's braid was hanging down his left shoulder, and the man grabbed the end of it, twisting it around his right wrist. Forcing the shorter boy's head back, he leaned down to whisper in his ear, his left hand brushing over Duo's back. Shaking with fury, Duo whispered something back. Pulling his right wrist back, Duo was pulled forward by the man's grip on his hair, he hit him hard in the stomach, sending him down. Pulling a gun, he pressed it to Duo's temple, giving the braid a jerk. "Get up." Moving slowly, Duo got shakily to his feet. Narrowed, violet eyes still sparking with fury, he proceed the man to the door, not looking at Heero or Wufei.
//What's going on?// Heero's eyes narrowed as he watched Duo's stiff back as he exited the room. When the door slammed shut, it hit him and he actually gave a sharp cry of disbelief, startling Wufei, who stared at him in shock. Duo's instant recognition of the man. The lips, nearly touching Duo's ear as the man whispered to him, hand moving over his back. The small smile playing over his lips as he pushed the braided boy through the door. The fingers moving slowly over the hair wrapped around his wrist. Head in his hands, Heero gave a low, anguished cry. //I did nothing! Nothing...// Hands clenching uselessly, he stared blindly at the door. //I...I'm so sorry...Duo...//
* * *
He was carried in, suspended between the two soldiers from earlier, body limp and legs dragging the ground. Dropping him near the wall opposite the door, the two turned and, giving Heero and Wufei knowing smirks, left the room, door sealing behind them. For a moment, Heero was unable to move, then he slowly started to get to his feet. But Duo was moving, and he paused, not knowing if he should go to him.
Ever so slowly, he made his way to his knees, unbound hair falling in waves around him, hiding his face. For a moment, he paused, his harsh breathing audible to the two silent pilots, then he moved until his back was against the wall of the cell. Drawing his knees up to his chest, he wrapped his arms around them and laid his chin against the fold of his hands. Face statementless, and glazed eyes unfocused, he stared at the dark surface of the cell floor. Blinking slowly, his breathing slowing as well, he stared...at nothing.
Heero stared at the unmoving boy, eyes roving over his bloody lip and bruised face to stop at the dead look in his eyes. The everpresent spark of life was absent. The lavender eyes dull. He could feel his helplessness down to his bones. //Duo...so full of life...always smiling no matter how many people you have killed...joking no matter how serious the situation....gone...// Heero stared at him. With his hair down, he looked so...fragile. //No...//
He didn't move, didn't seem to hear him.
"Duo." Heero took a step toward him and the boy suddenly flinched as if struck and turned his head away. Halting, Heero looked at him, desperately wanting to go to him, take him in his arms and just...hold him. //No//, Heero thought as he slowly sat back down, //I have failed him. He...// A small voice whispered in his head, //He needs to be alone. Let him be.// With an inaudible sigh, Heero closed his eyes and let his failure fill him.
When the guards visited them again, Trowa was with them, but Heero didn't dare speak to him in front of them. When Trowa ordered him to leave the cell, it was all he could do not to blow his cover and refuse. He had no choice, however, as the two accompanying guards had their guns trained on him. With a feeling of impending doom, he slowly left the room, shooting one last glance at Duo, who hadn't moved since the day before. He met his eyes, and for a moment he thought he saw something flicker in those dull depths, then Duo lowered his head again, the contact cut off.
When he returned, Duo was curled up where he had been when he left, and Heero gave a silent sigh of relief. It was premature, however. Wufei was standing, arms crossed over his chest, scowl on his face. Once the door was shut, he moved to Heero's side and glared at him.
"What's going on around here?" He demanded, glaring at Heero as if he knew a secret and was keeping Wufei in the dark. "What *is* it with him?" He pointed at Duo, not bothering to keep his voice down. "The moment you left that soldier came in here with his subordinates and beat the hell out of him. It wasn't even an interrogation! He didn't say a damn thing--" His voice was cut off by Heero's cry of fury as the Japanese pilot moved to the curled up boy's side. "He's alive," Wufei said sharply, "I checked."
Heero had turned Duo onto his back, and, having wiped some of the blood off his face, quickly checked him for broken bones. Despite Wufei's words, the worst damage he could find was a large cut on Duo's forehead and a bump on the back of his head. Glaring at Wufei, Heero pulled Duo onto his lap and held him as he'd wanted to earlier. Pressing Duo's head to his chest, he wrapped his arms around him and rested his cheek against Duo's long, soft hair. //I won't leave you again...I promise you, Duo. No matter what happens, I will do everything in my power to protect you.//
Duo was awake, and Heero was back to his previous position when the door was opened again. As he'd hoped, there were three guards and not four, the leading officer was not present. One stayed by the door, gun moving from the two pilots as the other two went to Duo. Each taking an arm, they lifted him so that only his feet touched the floor. The abrupt flow of blood to his head made Duo lose consciousness again, and the guards tightened their grip. As they started to reach the stairs, Heero moved. In a moment, he'd taken the solitary guard's gun, knocked him out and had it trained on the other two.
"Put him down. . . gently." Heero's voice was cold, and dead serious. Wufei stared at him in surprise, and the other two soldiers froze, uncertain as to whether or not to do it. Heero moved closer to them, gun aimed at first one and then the other.
"Heero!" Wufei cried in warning.
"What the hell is going on here?" asked a flat voice from the doorway.
Heero froze, shooting a quick glance at Trowa, but kept his gun trained on the two guards in front of him. "Shoot me and I shoot them."
Trowa glanced from Heero, to Duo, and finally to the two guards. "What are you doing?" His voice was monotone, and slightly curious, but there was anger there too.
"S-sir," the first guard said shakily, looking at the gun which was now aimed at him. "Just following orders, sir."
"Lady Une's orders?"
"No, sir. Captain Trent's." He looked at Trowa's impassive face, begging for assistance, "We have orders to bring the Gundam 02's pilot to the interrogation room."
Trowa's eyes narrowed. "Forget it. Lady Une has left all handling of the Gundam pilots to me alone. Put him down and tell that to Trent."
The guards started to obey when Heero's gun moved again. "Gently." Nodding, the guards lay Duo on the floor and backed toward the door. Once they were out, Heero turned to Trowa.
"The gun?" Trowa looked at him.
Looking down at Duo, Heero frowned. "And if they try again?"
For a moment, Trowa looked at Duo with concern, then his back straightened and he looked straight at Heero. "They won't."
Nodding, Heero tossed the gun to Trowa and sat back down on the steps. He gave Wufei a warning glare when he looked as if he would say something then leaned back and stared at the ceiling, waiting for Duo to wake up. //I can't believe I put the mission in jeopardy like that. But//, he kept seeing Duo's lifeless eyes and the way Trent had touched him. Images flew through his head, causing him to stiffen and clench his teeth. //I will not let him do that to Duo.// Heero looked at Duo, his eyes dark with pain, //Not on my watch. Not while I'm still here.//
When Duo woke up, the first thing that came to him was his throbbing head, then his stomach, then his side. Lifting his head, he realized his wrists were still handcuffed together. He looked around. //I'm still here. But...was it all a dream? "Say my name. Tell me how much you like this."// Duo shuddered. //No dream. They came for me. Then how?// Slowly, Duo sat up and looked around. Wufei was sitting on the steps, watching him with a puzzled look as if he didn't understand what was going on. Heero was on the steps across from Wufei, his eyes clouded with something Duo didn't recognize. Refusing to blush, Duo looked straight at Heero for a minute then turned to Wufei. "What happened?"
Wufei opened his mouth to answer, but Heero's voice over-rode him and he closed it again. "Trowa. Lady Une's given him sole jurisdiction over us."
"Why did that Trent guy--"
"Shut up." Wufei looked at Heero and closed his mouth again.
Duo heaved a sigh, and leaned against the wall.
* * *
"Trowa Barton, I just received a disturbing call from Captain Trent."
Silence greeted Lady Une.
"He says that you are protecting the Gundam pilots. What do you have to say to this?"
"Did he happen to tell you exactly what I was protecting them from, Ma'am?"
"He said he wanted to question one of them, but that you wouldn't let him."
Trowa's eyes narrowed. //Question him, huh? Is that what he calls it?// "He was going to take the pilot of Zero-Two out of the cell."
Une frowned. "But he's already been interrogated extensively on two occasions."
"Yes," Trowa smiled an ironic smile. "He wasn't going to question him." Trowa looked her straight in the eyes, "He was going to molest him."
"What?!" Lady Une shook her head in disapproval, "Trowa Barton, sometimes force is necessary to get enemies to talk. As long as the torture is not life threatening and does not cause lasting harm, we at OZ are not against causing enemies pain."
"By traumatizing one of my potential pilots, how is he not causing lasting harm? Ma'am."
"Surely a Gundam pilot can stand pain." Lady Une was angry now. "I thought you understood how we work."
"So did I." Trowa's voice was icy, "I didn't realize you raped your prisoners."
* * *
They were overwhelmed immediately. As soon as the doors opened, six soldiers burst inside, two restraining each pilot. Not one of them had guns. Trent stood in the doorway, looking at each of the pilots, and favoring Heero with a smirk. "Lady Une has given orders that none of you may be taken from this room without permission from officer Trowa Barton until she has had a chance to talk to him. However," he turned to give Duo an evil smile, "she also gave me permission to question whomever I please as long as it is done in this room and without any firearms."
//Oh, God. Not in front of Heero! And Wufei. Please God.// Duo felt his heart stop. //This isn't happening. This can't be happening.// He struggled violently against the two men holding him, but instead of hitting him as he'd hoped they would, one of them actually chuckled. //In front of all of them.// A single tear rolled down his cheek. Then he gritted his teeth and fought even harder, determined not to submit. Not this time. He couldn't let Heero see him so weak. Suddenly he wished he'd put his hair back in a braid. With it loose around his shoulders, he felt as if he was giving in to Trent. //"Keep it down. I like it this way."//
Across the room, Heero was fighting his guards as well, but Trent had been warned about him and quickly shackled his ankles together so he couldn't kick. This done, they wrestled him to the ground and held him relatively immobile. They also held him so that his face was turned toward Duo. "Let's see how much you like this," Trent said to him in a low voice. "I know you're the one who stopped me last time, but this time there is nothing you can do. You're very protective of him, aren't you." Trent smiled and gripped Heero's chin, "Kinda pretty yourself, actually. Maybe when I'm done with Beautiful over there I'll come back and try you out. I think you'd be harder to break. It only took two hours to shut him up," he gestured toward Duo, who was still struggling and grew silent. Eyes narrowing, he turned back to Heero. "I see you've undone some of my work. He's got his fight back. Well, no matter, I'll let you watch me break him again." He moved his face close to Heero's, cheek to cheek as he whispered in his ear. "I don't know how you usually do him, but as much as I enjoy his cries, it's much better when he tries to be quiet. It's so hard for him. His entire body gets tensed." Trent's fingers brushed over Heero's cheek. "Especially his tight, little-"
Duo froze and looked up at Heero's torn cry of fury. //Heero! Surely he's not going to...not to Heero!// "Noo!" Duo screamed, pulling violently at the men holding him.
Trent stood abruptly, his face red with anger. "Silence!" He aproached Duo slowly, "Shut up! Have you forgotten everything I taught you?" His voice was cold, "Do you want me to teach you again?"
Duo choked off his scream abruptly, his will to fight threatening to leave him. Then he looked at Heero's pale face, the fury blazing in his eyes turning them a dark midnight blue. //I can't give in. I can't let him think me a coward.//
Heero looked up as the man stood to face Duo. Pain tore at him at the way Duo obeyed immediately when Trent ordered him. His mouth clamping down on his loud cry. //I'll never tell him to shut up again. I swear I won't. If only...//
Wufei was looking confused, and angry at his confusion. He watched as the man, they called him Trent earlier, approached Duo who was still struggling. Trent produced a knife, and Duo's eyes widened as he began to shake. Taking hold of Duo's colar, he cut his shirt down the middle and then cut through the sleeves, not bothering with the buttons. The shirt fell to the floor. Wufei's eyes flew to Heero as the dark-haired boy gave another cry of fury, then returned to Duo. The man was...kissing him?
Using his hair as leverage, Trent forced Duo's head back and his lips moved over his neck. Then he motioned for one of the guards to hold his head and he forced Duo's mouth open, holding it there while he slipped his tongue inside.
Wufei's face turned bright red as he finally realized what was happening, then he closed his eyes and bowed his head so he wouldn't have to watch.
When Trent pulled away, he was panting. Duo gagged and started to cough. Trent moved around the guards so was facing Duo's back. "You shouldn't have touched my brand. I had to punish you for that. Now I must punish you all over again. You will not forget my lessons this time." He jerked Duo's head back until his eyes were on the ceiling and he coughed again at the pressure in his throat. Jerking Duo's mouth open again, he kissed him, holding his nostrils shut this time. Duo convulsed when he ran out of air, but just as he started to sag, Trent released him. "I don't want you to pass out, Beautiful. I want you to feel every bit of this." Trent bit the curve of Duo's neck and shoulder, drawing blood and a small cry. "By the time I'm done, I won't need a brand to prove you're mine." He bit him again. "Scream," he said, his voice suddenly hoarse. "I love to hear you cry."
Duo clamped his mouth shut.
Trent laughed. "Oh, you'll cry. Last time was a fluke. I know you'll be screaming this time. I'm still waiting for you to say my name, Beautiful."
"Never." Duo ground out, steeling himself for silence. //I won't cry, I won't. I won't make a sound.//
Holding his mouth with his right hand as he kissed him, Trent slipped his left hand down the back of Duo's pants, fondling the muscled cheeks. Releasing Duo's mouth, he pulled his knife out of his pocket and passed it in front of Duo's eyes. Showing him how long it was, especially the hilt. Duo's eyes widened in horror and Trent laughed in his ear. "Just a preliminary, darling. The real thing is much bigger, as you well know. I want to make sure you're prepared for it this time. Especially with your dark eyed lover watching."
//I can't...I can't...// Duo choked, //please don't let him be watching. not this. please.// Another tear ran down his cheek. //I...I...I...can't...can't//, Duo felt the cold hilt move down his back and blessedly passed out. Just as the door to the cell was thrown open.
* * *
Duo slept for thirty-two hours. Heero knew, because he held him the entire time. He had dreams, nightmares in which he shook, mouth clenched shut but whimpers escaping anyway. Heero held him tighter, whispering to him until he stilled again. //It doesn't matter//, Heero thought hopelessly. //I can't atone by simply being here. If Trowa hadn't shown up with Lady Une, I would have been helpless and unable to stop Trent. There must have been something I could have done. Something besides watching that man...rape him. I did absolutely nothing.// Not caring what Wufei saw, Heero wrapped his arms tighter around Duo and laid his cheek against the top of Duo's head.
That was the last time they were to be together until the final battle arose between the World Nation and the colonies.
* * *
Walking with Trowa, Duo watched as Quatre floated ahead to greet Wufei...and Heero. //Heero.// Duo hadn't spoken to him since Heero'd left with Trowa to fight Quatre. He hadn't been able to. Now, so much time had gone by that he wished he'd said something in the week before Heero left. //I couldn't. I could barely stand to look at him let-alone say his...// Duo gulped. //His name, Damnit! I won't be terrorized by someone who is dead!// Trent had died in the Wing Zero after catching Duo again once he and the others separated and forcing him to pilot the insane suit. //He's dead. I can say Heero's name. I can say anyone's name. But I won't.// He couldn't say Trent's name. Not ever. Shoving aside his thoughts, Duo allowed himself to simply look at Heero, a small smile playing across his lips.
//He's still beautiful.// Heero ate Duo with his eyes. //I don't care if he never speaks to me, just knowing he's alive and being able to see him is enough. It has to be.//
"Long time no see, Heero."
Although he didn't show it, Duo's words hit him like a blow. He couldn't even answer him. //I never thought I'd miss the sound of his voice so much. I could listen to him talk...forever.// Later, when Duo sought him out, he was still recovering. Having heard from Quatre about Duo's experience with the Wing Zero and Trent's death, Heero wished Duo hadn't met him next to the suit. Trying to reasure Duo, he told him that he wouldn't have to pilot it. This backfired, however, as Duo proceded to get angry.
"I forgot what you're like," Duo muttered, turning away from him. "You're about as far from human as they come."
As Duo left him, Heero once again felt his inability to express himself. //I'm human, Duo. Too human for my own good.//
* * *
Duo'd touched him. As he copied the Zero program from his gundam, Heero could feel the place where his hand had lain on his shoulder. Could hear the soft questioning in his voice as he'd asked what was going on. //Maybe there is hope. It's not like me to give up so easily. How many times have I told Trowa to act on his emotions?// Looking up for a moment, he smiled. //Maybe it's time for me to take my own advice.//
* * *
"I no longer need this system," Quatre called to Heero, "Don't worry. I can still fight without it."
Duo, who stood near Quatre, looked at Heero. //He's got the strangest statement on his face.// "Be careful yourself, Heero," he called, "I know you can control it now, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a dangerous system."
//Is he smiling?!// With a shocked statement, Duo stared at Heero's departing figure, "I can't believe he actually agreed with me."
That night, he sought Heero out again. He found him staring up at Wing Zero. "Hey, Heero."
Heero turned to face him, that peculiar half-smile on his face once more. Stepping forward, he placed his hands on Duo's shoulders. Duo flinched, then searched Heero's face with a starstruck statement. //Is he going to kiss me? Please//, he thought desperately, //I could handle it. I know I could. If it's him...// "Heero?"
"Duo. I..." Heero looked as if he were choking, "I..." //I have no right...// Suddenly he closed his eyes, turned his head and walked away.
Duo stared after him, wanting to call him back. Then his shoulders slumped with defeat. //I told you not to read too much into his actions. Why would he want me now. Knowing...having seen for himself...// With a shaky and very disappointed sigh, he went to bed.
* * *
"Hey, Heero, you wanna play?" Duo was playing a game of chess against Trowa, and losing badly. Heero didn't answer. "Heero?" Looking at him, he saw that his mind seemed to be miles away. //What is he thinking about? Or is it a who...?// Duo exchanged glances with Quatre.
"Is anything the matter, Heero?" Quatre asked, concerned.
Then the alarm went off and it was time to fight again.
* * *
Duo stared after Hilde as she was pushed away on a stretcher. //It's all my fault. She came here because of me. Does she love me? God, I hope not. I could never explain to her that I'm...//
"We can't let the data she brought us go to waste," Quatre said, interrupting Duo's thoughts.
"No..." Duo looked at Heero, //I'm about to lose any chance I ever had. If he leaves...if she's the one he's been thinking about...// "Relina Peacecraft's on Libra."
* * *
Heero stared up at Wing Zero. "Relina." //What is it about that girl? I can't help myself when it comes to her. I have to save her. Even when I'm trying to kill her, I end up saving her. She's such a nuisance. But...I simply can't help myself. Maybe it's the same as it is with Duo. He irritates the hell out of me yet I still...//
* * *
"He makes mistakes just like the rest of us." They stared at him. Silence from each of the three eyes. //But it's true!// Duo's mind ranted, //he makes mistakes. Why else would he choose her. I don't care if he really is in love with her, she doesn't love him. Hers is an obsession. It is not love. Mine is...//
* * *
//I can't die!// Heero's mind screamed as he raced to get in front of the falling battleship. //Not without telling him! Not without seeing him one more time. If I live...I'll tell him. If I live.// Heero's mouth thinned into a line, //I guess I have to live, then. I have to survive. I will survive. I will...//
* * *
Duo's eyes flew across the blinding light caused by the explosion, searching. Searching for some sign that Heero was still alive. Any sign. //He can't die. Not now. He always lives. Even when he tries to kill himself. He can't die.// Then he saw something, something dark flying toward him from inside the light. //It has to be...//
"He made it!"
* * *
"Mission...Accomplished." Heero gave a sigh of relief. //Now I start my new mission. A mission for love.//
* * *Epilogue* * *
//Just watching him. He's so quiet when he sleeps. I don't like it. If he's not talking, I can't hear him say it.// Heero sat at his desk, watching Duo sleep. He was lying on his side, his hands near his head and his braid over his shoulder. With a groan, Duo rolled over, his left wrist getting caught in his braid. Finding his hand bound, he moaned and jerked furiously at it, pulling his hair and his head in the process. Heero hopped out of the chair. With a wordless cry, Duo pulled his knife from under the pillow and started to swipe at his captor, the braid. Leaping on him, Heero snatched the knife away and kissed Duo awake. Duo's eyes were wide for a moment then he saw Heero and they widened even more. "I thought you were too tired to--"
Heero laughed, something Duo had taught him to do. "I think it's time you stopped sleeping with a knife under your pillow," Heero said with a soft smile, giving him a deep kiss that left them both breathless.
"W-why?" Duo asked as he ran his hands up and down Heero's back, then his lips moved over Heero's bare chest.
"Because," Heero let out a soft moan, "you...almost cut your braid off."
"No way!" Duo cried, as Heero rolled them over so Duo was on top. "You're kidding, right?" His mouth covered one of Heero's nipples, sucking with a passion.
"Nuh...no," Heero panted as he threw his head back and buried his fingers in Duo's soft, soft hair. "Your...hand...got c-caught and..." he let out a shaky breath as Duo moved to the other nipple, caressing the first with his fingers, "you..almost cut...aah."
Duo pulled off Heero's shorts.
Massaging the boy beneath him, Duo moved in for another breathless kiss. "Only if you get rid of the gun."
For a minute they froze, staring at each other, then both grinned. "Under the bed?" Heero asked.
"Perfect," Duo said and, having thrown the offending weapon onto the floor, proceded to show Heero exactly how much he loved him. A display which Heero reciprocated almost immediately afterward.