6-20-2004

Title: #96 Communications Restored - Part 3
Arc: Life With Heero
Author: Calic0cat <calic0cat@fastmail.fm>
Story Completed: June 20, 2004
Genre: Shonen Ai/Yaoi, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: 1x2
Rated: R
Warnings: OOC, Non-explicit Lemon
Archives: At Lev's Lair http://www.gwaddiction.com/levlair/ and at http://calic0cat.freeservers.com/ (my site) and at Mediaminer.org under Calic0cat. Anyone with archive permission for my other fics can help themselves.
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. Heero 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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Heero had expected that giving Duo a handjob would be awkward and a little nerve-wracking. And it had been, at least at first, though he'd become more confident as he'd started to figure out what felt good to Duo and what didn't. He'd become so caught up in watching Duo's response, in making Duo feel as good as he possibly could, that he'd forgotten about his own self-consciousness and uncertainty. Had, in fact, taken pleasure of his own from the fact that he could give pleasure to Duo.

Though maybe he'd enjoyed that a little *too* much. There'd been a certain rush of - well, *power* - from being so totally in control. Heero wasn't sure that he liked the fact that he'd enjoyed that feeling. In fact, he felt kind of guilty about it. He hadn't expected to react that way and he certainly hadn't been prepared for it.

Nor had he been prepared for just how awkward he would feel in the aftermath, kneeling beside the couch, both he and Duo spattered with the inevitable mess. Duo's rapid breathing seemed loud in the suddenly too-quiet room. Heero didn't know what he should do; he hadn't thought things through to this point. He'd been too focussed on his determination to get *this* far to worry about what would happen next.

'I didn't think about what would happen afterwards... I never even thought about the mess, let alone what to say or do...' Action was easier than words. And cleaning up would give him something to do for a few minutes. Maybe by then he could somehow figure out how to react.

"Stay..."

The breathless gasp and a hand clutching his arm halted Heero's move to rise from the floor. Uncertainly, he met Duo's eyes. "I... I should get something to..." he motioned vaguely towards Duo's torso and the back of the couch, "...to, ah, clean up..."

"In a minute..." Duo tugged Heero's arm. "C'mere..." Heero yielded to the pressure, letting Duo wrap an arm around him and pull him down for a brief kiss. He was grateful for that unspoken reassurance that Duo was okay with what had happened, that *they* were okay. After the kiss, he stayed bent over, his cheek pressed to Duo's, relieved that Duo had stepped in to smooth over the awkward moment. Duo murmured wistfully in his ear, "Wish you'd let me return the favour..."

For a moment, Heero considered it. But conditions weren't exactly ideal; his earlier anxiety and the focussed determination that had gotten him through thus far meant that he was far from relaxed. The thought of marring the so-far-successful evening with yet another failure was too strong a deterrent. He drew away slightly and shook his head. "Not tonight." Mindful of his promise to try not to shut Duo out, to try to let Duo know what he was thinking and feeling, he explained haltingly, "I don't... I don't want to risk - spoiling - things. I want... I *need* to know that tonight was a success... that nothing went wrong..." He shrugged slightly, uncomfortable with the explanation and all too aware of that wistful note in Duo's voice. "I'm sorry..."

"Hey, nothing to be sorry about." Duo propped himself up on his elbow and pulled Heero into an awkward one-armed hug. "It's okay, buddy. Told you before, we do things your way and at your pace; no need to apologize for that. No pressure and *definitely* no guilt. 'Kay?"

"Mmm." Heero hugged Duo tightly to distract him from the noncommittal answer. Duo pressuring him had never been an issue; he put far more pressure on himself than Duo ever would. And he knew too that if he *hadn't* put pressure on himself, tonight's small advancement of their relationship wouldn't have happened.

Duo showed no signs of wanting to end the hug, despite his awkward position. In fact, when Heero started to loosen his arms and draw back, Duo seemed to cling to him for a moment. It was only for an instant but it was enough to make Heero reconsider his cleanup plans. He'd intended to send Duo on upstairs while he tidied up the couch and took care of the ice cream bowl. But if Duo was feeling even close to as confused and uncertain about tonight's events as he was... Maybe that wasn't a very good idea. The ice cream dish could spend the night on the coffee table just as easily as on the kitchen counter. And the back of the couch had been protected by the blanket that was always draped over it; he could just stuff that in the upstairs hamper.

"Come on," Heero urged, tugging Duo to his feet. "Let's get cleaned up and go to bed."

***

Cleanup hadn't taken long at all, even including the time it had taken for Heero to brush and braid Duo's hair for the night. Much of the awkwardness between them had faded away during that simple task.

It had taken even less time for Duo to fall asleep once they were spooned together in bed. Heero, on the other hand, was finding sleep somewhat more elusive, despite the warm, trusting body curled so peacefully in front of him. His mind was far too busy mulling over the evening's events and his own confusing reaction to them.

There was an undeniable satisfaction in having finally been able to bring Duo to completion, in *not* leaving him hanging yet again. In watching Duo surrender to pleasure, pleasure caused by him. It really didn't matter that Heero himself hadn't even been fully aroused.

But at the same time, Heero felt - well...

'Guilty. Guilty that I liked the feeling of power that Duo's complete surrender gave me... Guilty that I can't give Duo that same surrender, that same *trust*...' Despite the fact that he trusted Duo with his life. It was both frustrating and disturbing that his training - training to have absolute control over both his body and his emotions - reached such a deep, instinctive level that he couldn't consciously override it.

It wasn't as if Heero had never jerked himself off; he had. Not very often - but he had. The high degree of self-discipline that he was used to exercising meant that it wasn't something he'd felt particularly drawn to do but he'd certainly been able to do it when he wanted to.

That, however, had been simple physical release, devoid of emotional significance. No real loss of control - physical or emotional - was involved. Making love with Duo was an entirely different situation.

Heero had thought that getting through this first time together, despite it being one-sided, would somehow change things for the better. That a success would make him confident that next time it could be mutual. Or so he had hoped.

Reality was somewhat different. Heero wasn't confident that next time would be mutual, let alone a success. He wasn't even sure just how successful this time had been, really. It hadn't been a failure... but it hadn't been an unmitigated triumph either. It had been awkward and emotionally confusing and he had a sneaking suspicion that he hadn't handled the "afterwards" part very well.

But he and Duo had gotten through it and they weren't arguing or upset with one another. That was good enough. For now.