3-8-2003

Title: #46 That Sneaky...
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Angst, Friendship
Pairing: None yet
Rated: PG
Warnings: AU, OOC, Swearing
Archives: Also at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat.
Disclaimer: Duo and Heero and the rest of the GW gang aren't mine. This story is. Nuff said.

Notes: The arc begins between one and two years after Endless Waltz. Duo POV in this story.

'Thinking'
"Speaking"
************ Time passing or scene change

Author's Notes: See earlier fics for notes on the arc as a whole. Feedback is appreciated.

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"Duo, it's just a dream - wake up! Duo!"

Heero's voice brought Duo back to consciousness. Memories brought back in full force by the nightmare still overlaid his senses, filling his nostrils and mouth with the remembered sickening scent and taste of smoke and charred flesh that had clogged the air on his return to the church with the stolen suit. Clamping one hand over his mouth, Duo struggled free of Heero's reassuring hold and lurched off the bed, heading for the bathroom. Barely making it in time, he bent over the toilet, retching and gagging until there was nothing left in his stomach to lose. Vaguely, he was aware of Heero's hands holding his braid out of the way and rubbing his shoulders soothingly.

"All done?" Heero asked.

Duo managed to nod wearily. He sure as hell *hoped* he was.

"Okay," Heero said, gently steering him over to the sink.

Duo managed to rinse his mouth with the glass of water Heero handed him, then to wash his face with the dampened washcloth that followed. He couldn't stop shaking long enough to get the toothpaste on the toothbrush, so Heero did that for him too before leaving him to brush his teeth. By then, Duo had regained enough control to refill the water glass and drink in small, careful sips. In the background, he was aware of Heero flushing the toilet and tidying up.

Duo carefully backed up and sank down to sit on the edge of the tub, still clutching the glass of water. He was careful to take very small sips, not wanting to trigger off another round of retching. 'God, it hasn't been that bad since right after it happened... I hope this is just a one-time thing...'

But he doubted it. If - *when* - he actually visited the base, he could probably look forward to several repeats of this episode. 'And what happens when you go back to the church, Maxwell? More of the same?' With difficulty, Duo wrenched his mind away from that train of thought.

The more he thought about it, the more he doubted the wisdom of actually returning to *either* place. But if he didn't, he might never get past this. It would always be lurking in a dark corner of his mind, waiting for the chance to pounce. Ignoring it hadn't made it go away before; Duo doubted it would work any better now.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Heero asked, crouching in front of Duo.

Duo thought about it for a moment, calling a faint smoky smell back from memory in the process. He swallowed hard and took a deep breath, forcing the memory back away again, then shook his head. "No. Not tonight. Maybe in broad daylight."

"Come on then," Heero said, taking the glass away and gently tugging Duo to his feet.

Duo let Heero steer him out of the bathroom and into the hall, but balked at the bedroom door. He was *not* going back to bed after that. "No way, Heero," he said, shaking his head.

Heero let go of him and said, "Just wait here a minute then. You're too shaky to tackle those stairs alone."

Duo didn't bother arguing the point. The steps were both narrow and steep and while he certainly could go down them alone if he had to, he wasn't dumb enough to turn down assistance if it was being offered. Particularly since they'd taken the railing off earlier that week to refinish it. Without that, there was only smooth wall on either side, nothing to grab hold of if you slipped or tripped.

Duo wrapped his arms around himself, trying to stop his shivering. He knew damn well that the thermostat was set for a perfectly comfortable temperature; unfortunately it *felt* at least ten degrees colder than that right now.

Heero returned to the hall with an armload of blankets and pillows. "Just follow me down," he instructed. "That way if you lose your balance, you can grab my shoulder."

Duo nodded in response. He wondered whether Heero had left anything on the bed for himself. *He* certainly wouldn't need all those blankets and pillows. He had no intention of even trying to sleep. There had to be some old cartoons or movies or something on TV that he could sit and stare at till morning. Something that would keep him awake and distracted for a while.

Downstairs, Duo watched, bewildered, as Heero arranged pillows and blankets on the couch. 'If he thinks I'm planning to *sleep* down here... Oh well, just let him set things up the way he wants. I'll just wait till he goes back upstairs...'

Heero pulled Duo over to the couch. He sat down, swung his legs up, then pulled Duo down in front of him.

"Uh, Heero - I am *not* going to sleep again," Duo said, sitting on the edge of the couch and twisting to see Heero's face.

"Of course not," Heero replied calmly. He picked up the remote and turned the TV on before handing it to Duo. "Just humour me and lie down to watch TV. Because I *am* going back to sleep. *One* of us had better get some rest if we're going to work tomorrow."

Duo sat and blinked at the remote in his hand for a minute before a tug on his braid and a growled, "Lie *down*," had him obediently swinging his legs up and snuggling back against Heero, who flipped the covers down over them both. Sharing the couch was far tighter quarters than sharing the bed and not quite as comfortable, but Heero's body heat gradually soaked through Duo, warming him and finally banishing the shivers that had been shaking him ever since he woke up from the nightmare.

Duo flipped through several TV shows without finding anything particularly interesting. He finally left some old Hollywood musical production playing. He was careful to leave the volume quite low since he didn't want to keep Heero awake. 'Don't know why he didn't just go back to bed. I'd have been fine on my own and he'd have been a helluva lot more comfortable up there.'

Duo yawned and flipped channels again in an attempt to stay awake. He blinked and rubbed his eyes. It was so warm and cozy here. And Heero's steady breathing and heartbeat were so soothing...

As his eyelids slid inexorably shut again, Duo thought sleepily, 'That sneaky bastard...'

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- tbc -