FiND ME (10/?)


It was better the next day. He was better the next day. And as the sun rose, Duo was still awake, avidly reading the Bible. Memorizing the words he'd already memorized over and over.

His head hurt slightly, and Duo wanted to temporarily get away from it all. He reached into the drawer of the night table and pulled out a bottle of aspirin. Walking over to the kitchen area, he opened the bottle and then poured himself a glass of water. Nonchalantly, he poured himself a small pile of pills and downed them all. It didn't matter. Took a lot more than that to kill somebody. Most it would do was make his headache worse.

Wearily, Duo returned to his bed and tossed himself onto it. He winced as his head tapped against the wall. 'What to do now?'

A yawn completely took him by surprise. 'Hmm, sleep. Sounds like a damned good idea right about now.' And Duo succumbed to Morpheus.


Bella tiredly popped her head into Duo's room before retiring to her own. She smiled slightly seeing him sprawled on his bed and snoring softly. Closing the door carefully behind her, she began to walk to her own room.

Although the tiredness was spreading over her like a warm blanket, Bella wanted to think for a while.

She could remember the day she'd first met Duo. He'd been on the streets for about 6 months and basically knew the ropes. She'd been through several horrible foster homes and had finally run away to the city, unknowing of what was there. Duo and Sugar and Joe had taken her in, and taught her everything they knew. Within weeks, she'd been turning tricks on the streets and bringing in a tidy income for herself, no longer having to live off the charity of her newfound friends.

Nobody really knew the pasts of Sugar and Joe except themselves. They never talked about it and if the conversation began to swerve in that direction, they'd gently nudge it somewhere else. No one had the courage to outright ask about who they'd been in their past lives. Some just assumed they'd been born on the streets. Bella gave up wondering - there were other things to think about.

She didn't remember her parents. Bella had been left and orphan at the age of 2 - so she'd been told - and her name had changed at nearly every foster home she went to. Someone had actually been kind enough to tell her her real name - Stephanie Grace Moran - but it didn't seem to fit her anymore. The day she'd been taken in by Duo, Sugar, and Joe, she'd created a new name for herself, and they hadn't disputed it.

Bella. Italian for beautiful. It was the only reminder to herself that perhaps a part of her *was* beautiful, and she deserved a chance at life and happiness.

'And yet...'

Bella threw herself onto her bed, willing herself to forget about everything. But it was so hard to forget...

'And yet. I feel like I'm worthless now. There're only so many days and nights you can take, waking up in the mid afternoon to see a tiny apartment. To look outside and see people sitting on the streets, trying to get whatever food and money they can get their hands on. To know that you run the risk of dying, from disease or from just fuck-up, every day and every night.'

She ran a hand through her hair and stared at the cracked and peeling ceiling above her. This was the life she'd been living for nearly 6 years, and this was most likely the life she'd lead for a while. Hoping for something better wouldn't do anything: if anything, it would make her feel worse as she crashed back into the impenetrable wall of reality, at full tilt.

'Have we ever grown up?" she wondered. 'We're all children inside, because we died as children. There's a naiveté that we all try to keep - even Koi, who acts so jaded and cynical. Somewhere inside of him he still wants to believe he's going to wake up from this nightmare and be carried off by some Prince Charming. 'Cause I know he swings that way.'

She had to smirk at her last thought. Some of the boys did it only for the money; they were straight as arrows. Koi, on the other hand... well, he was his own confusing identity.

'I wonder if Sugar and Joe believe that someday their day will come? Or do they see release in the imminent death just three steps down the road? How old do they expect to get? And every year, they take in a newbie or a few, and teach them for to stay alive for a few more years, a few more months, a few more days. Do we owe them something?'

Remembering. Bella could remember the day she'd run away. From that last family; they'd been utter hell and she couldn't take it any longer. During the middle of a trip to New York City, she'd been seized with the romantic idea of running away to the city. For Christ's sake she'd been 11. But for some inane reason, she'd followed through with it, gathering a few things into pillowcase and running away in the middle of the night. Getting lost. Beginning to cry. Being found by Sugar, who, at 2 am, was waiting for her lover to return. Or to hire herself out. Bella'd been lucky to find Sugar.

And at first she'd wanted to pursue dreams of becoming a famous actress, until Sugar gently broke it to her that it was just as likely she'd sprout wings. Offered to take her back home. Bella refused, thinking life on the streets couldn't be worse than the hell she'd been living.

She'd been wrong. Dreadfully wrong. But it was too late to go back now. It had been too late 2 days afterwards; the family was going to leave, and she knew it was with or without her.

But she'd grown up quickly. Well, at least as much as they ever grew up. Learning the tricks, understanding and knowing the rules. Selling herself, getting a little money to feed herself and live another day. Everything boiled down to living another day. Damn.

"You know, if you don't talk to him soon, I'm going to throw you in a broom closet together and lock the door."

"NANI?" Heero kicked the door of the broom closet after Trowa had bodily hauled him in. "Trowa! Kisama!!!"

Someone - not himself, was all he was sure of - fumbled around in the dark and finally made contact with the little string dangling from the center of the ceiling. Pulled. The glow of a single light bulb filled the tiny closet. What with being filled with mops, buckets, brooms, and whatnot, there was just about enough room for two people to sit side by side.

Two people.

Heero had been glaring at the door until, belatedly, he realized there was somebody else in the broom closet. Of course there was somebody else - the light had been turned on, right?

A quiet cough came from behind him. Then a shuffling. "I'm pretty sure a metal broom handle should be able to open the door," came a familiar voice, grumbling. More shuffling as Heero slowly turned around.

Trowa had made good his promise. He'd locked Heero in a broom closet with Wufei.

'When I get out of here, I'm going to beat him so hard even Quatre won't recognize him,' Heero thought fiercely to himself.

Wufei was crouched on the floor, inspecting various broom handles. "Try this," he said simply, holding one out. Heero accepted it silently and rammed it against the door. No effect.

"You forgot this is an assassin base," came a muffled shout from through the door. "All the doors are made of titanium alloy or something of the like, remember? All the brooms in that closet won't open it."

"Fuck you, Trowa!" Heero shouted through the door. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Wufei clear a few things away from the wall and sit down, back against the wall, complacent. Heero could perceive a furrowed brow, though.

He sighed loudly. "All right. Funny. Nice joke, Trowa. Now let us out?"

"Nope." Heero could hear quiet laughter, and it wasn't just Trowa. Damn. He'd gotten some other people involved in this, too.

"What's he going to do, wait until we starve?" Wufei said, wrinkling his nose slightly.

Heero glared at the door again. Then, in defeat, turned around and slid down the door to a sitting position. "Trowa o korosu."

"I don't speak Japanese, you know."

Heero was surprised for a moment, then began to laugh slightly. Wufei raised an eloquent eyebrow at him. "Trowa always says that," Heero explained.

"I see." Wufei was carefully not looking at Heero. Instead, he had his knees drawn up loosely and his arms resting on his knees. Heero was in a similar sitting position and both were staring at the floor in front of them.

They sat like that for a good 20 minutes.

Heero smirked inwardly, thinking Trowa must be getting quite frustrated, outside that door.

"Trowa?" Heero finally called. "You still out there?"

"Hell yeah. Christ, Heero! What'd you think, I'd leave?"

"Damned straight!"

Laughter again. "No way. I'm waiting right here."

"For what?" Heero muttered under his breath. A glance at Wufei showed him that the Chinese boy had his eyes closed and his head was leaning back slightly. To the world, he was asleep.

And Heero let himself sneak furtive glances at the beautiful boy in front of him. The glossy hair always tight back neatly in a tie. Those pouty lips. His beautiful sloe eyes, now closed. The lithe and graceful body. Everything.

'Oh, fuck this all,' Heero swore to himself. He leaned forward - that was just about all the room there was in the closet - and firmly kissed Wufei on the lips.

"Should I go?" Heero asked himself out loud. It was nearing the evening again. True, it did nothing to make him miss Wufei the less, but the sexual release was something. And that beautiful boy...

'Wufei was more beautiful,' he told himself.

But this was where his mind had to disagree. 'He is the most beautiful person I've ever known,' he finally admitted to himself. 'And he's... he's so wounded inside. Maybe like me. Not like me, but... we've both lived terrible childhoods. I an assassin, he a prostitute.'

"I'll go."

Decision made, Heero threw himself back on the bed. No reason to go too early. True, he wanted to get there early enough so no one else would take Duo. But something in the back of his head told Heero that if possible, Duo would make sure he was waiting for him. Meanwhile, it was certainly too early.

A shower would probably be a good idea.

Heero walked to the shower, stripping on the way. He let the water get hot; he managed to glance into the mirror.

Yes, it was the same familiar black hair. The blue eyes that somehow didn't fit but fit with the rest of him and his heritage. And his statement had always been called cold, even by Trowa.

Except... except when he laughed. And Wufei had said he was like the sun rising, when he laughed.

Sighing, Heero decided to go to his waiting shower, letting the desert heat surround him, the water nearly scalding and the steam feeling wonderfully hot. As his hair plastered against his forehead, he let his mind blank and simply enjoy the hot shower, rather than dwell on anything, as he usually did.


Walking. Down those streets again. Amid the catcalls again. Amid the dirtiness and the otherworldliness.

'Duo, you'd better be here'.

"Looking for someone?" came a husky female voice from behind him. Heero whirled silently, one hand instinctively going behind his back, to the gun. The girl noted it and shrugged lightly. He recognized her as one of the girls who had been hanging out with Duo.

"I'm Sugar. He'll be out in a few, want me to go get him?"

Dry-mouthed, Heero could only nod. Sugar gave him a little smile, a quick look over, then disappeared into a somewhat dilapidated building.

She returned in a moment and merely said, "He's coming." Heero barely noticed as she shot a warning glance to everyone surround Heero. The message was clear: he was Duo's; hands off.

But Heero wasn't given a moment to think about that. Because Duo walked out that door that moment and Heero couldn't think of anything else.

Duo was dressed in tight black leather pants, combat boots, and a tight blue shirt. Heero could feel all this blood rushing between his legs and it took all his self control not to blush. Or jump Duo right there.

Instead, he just nodded at Duo and said curtly, "Come on."

"Sure, lover." The low, husky voice ran chills up his spine. With Duo behind him, Heero closed his eyes for a moment to get himself back under control. Duo being within touching distance was certainly not helping. And Duo occasionally brushing up against him was *definitely* not helping. Heero gave a low growl and walked slightly faster. Duo grinned behind him.

Heero ruefully thought to himself that they were making good time back to his hotel room. Throughout the subway ride Duo fidgeted again, trying to touch Heero. Heero was just as quiet and immovable as he'd been before.

'I feel like I'm trying to seduce a brick!' Duo thought to himself frustratedly as they arrived at the hotel again. 'This guy practically has an ON/OFF switch to his sex drive!!'

Up the elevator, down the hall, into the room. Again, Heero gestured towards the mini-kitchen. "Want something to eat or drink?"

Duo shrugged, walking into the center of the room. "Anything to drink. Alcohol."

"Same things as before."

"White zinfandel is fine."

No answer. Heero's nigh-silent padding to the kitchenette. The opening of the fridge, the clink of glasses. Duo saw Heero coming back, in the corner of his eye. Heero nodded towards the bedroom and Duo obeyed.

Inside, Heero gently kicked the door closed. He offered a wineglass with clear liquid to Duo, who took it nonchalantly and gulped down nearly half of it at once. Heero didn't comment, instead sipping at his wine. Duo paused a moment, then finished the other half of his glass and set it down. Heero set down his glass, nearly full.

In the moment of silence, Duo turned away to peek out the window. He always reveled in the city lights and the sounds of night. Almost mesmerized by the view, he twitched slightly in surprise when Heero wrapped an arm around his waist, very stealthily, very gently. Duo leaned back slightly as Heero began to nibble on an earlobe, then work his way down the neck.

'Damn, he's seducing *me*! The hell? Most guys usually take what they want, and leave. He's actually trying to seduce me!' Duo's mind ran in circles for a few moments as he tried to comprehend what was going on. So rarely was anyone ever gentle with him that he was immediately suspicious.

Heero could feel Duo stiffen up, almost imperceptibly.

"You think I'm going to hurt you, don't you?" he repeated what he'd said two nights before.

Silence only confirmed the answer he had suspected. Duo stepped away from him lightly, his face now turned away from the streetlights seeping in the window. In moments, he whirled around to face Heero, the mask firmly in place, smiling saucily. "Well, people are like that sometimes," he tossed off lightly. "No biggie."

"Yes, it is." Heero took one step forward and looked Duo in the eye. "You - you should not be hurt."

Another light shrug. "Says who?" He turned his back again, slightly, in order to look away somewhat disdainfully. 'Touch me. You're - you're making me feel soft inside. I've got this whole cold facade and it's a mask I've memorized... but you're making me feel warm inside. Please touch me... please hold me.'

"Says me." Two more strides forward and Heero wrapped one arm around Duo's waist, holding him firmly against him. Duo tried to get loose for a moment, froze, then began to press teasingly backwards, wriggling slightly. Heero wrapped the other arm around his hips and effectively held him still.

And Duo turned to look in his eyes.

He could see that Heero had his own mask he wished he could break but it was so well-worn and so easily fitting it was often hard or even tedious to remove. And behind that mask, he could sense... something.

And Duo took a chance he'd never taken before. For a moment, he let the mask drop from his eyes and hoped Heero would do the same.

In Duo's eyes, Heero could see so much depth and loneliness; it was filled with pain, with hurt, and perhaps a desire to just give up. The mind had become jaded and cynical, but somewhere underneath, there was a child who still believed. He'd said he was 17: 17 was no age to be so world-weary.

Meanwhile, Heero had dropped his own mask for a moment. And Duo nearly cried at what he saw.

It was a boy who had never been a child. It was a killer who did not know how to live. Everything inside of him was cold and blocked off; if this boy had ever known love, it had hurt him so badly he'd shut it off. There was a softness, though, that pleaded to be understood. A frailty that was being threatened to be shoved into a corner and forgotten about.

Duo kissed Heero softly, but achingly. There was no war of tongues this time. It was two boys, both so broken inside, and yet both were trying to build up the slightest of scaffolds to pull themselves onto. Two boys trying to infuse a little soul into the other; trying to revive what little soul they had left. It was a boy who could not remember his parents; who learned only to steal and kill; who'd just had his heart wrenched out of his chest, thrown on the ground, trampled on, and knifed through. It was a boy who had to bear the burden of memories of happier times; who went only day by day hoping to stay live; who had always been wary of anything too emotion, anything that he could be hurt by, anything that would break his mask.

Their lips pressed against each other, barely touching. Then Heero pressed forward slightly, and was rewarded by a warm tongue gliding hesitantly over his lower lip. Opening his mouth slightly, he let his tongue greet Duo's in an age old dance they both knew so well. Lips suckled lips, breath mingled, tongues danced a slow waltz together, and they barely parted every so often to breathe.

Heero's arms wrapped around Duo's lithe waist while Duo's wrists crossed gingerly behind Heero's neck. Pulled closed together, trying to escape the reality of life for only the duration of a prolonged kiss.

And they pulled away together, breathless and confused as to what had come between them for those few minutes.

"Anata wa uruwashii desu," Heero said softly. Duo's face creased slightly in puzzlement. "You are beautiful."

A slow blush began to creep into Duo's face, a sensation he was shocked to find was unfamiliar. Never had someone saying that to him made him blush before.

"Th-thank you."

Heero leaned down for another kiss, and Duo relinquished his mouth to him. It was like the sweet taste of honey and sugar candies, swirling in his mouth. The kiss alone was sending chills down his spine, and he unconsciously moaned into Heero's mouth. Heero's arms, since behind his back, began to stroke his spine fleetingly, with feather touches.

Duo leaned forward, moaning again. "Mm, lover," he managed to gasp out. "That feels good."

A nibble at Duo's neck was rewarded with another pleased murmur. A kiss on the cheek elicited the faintest of blushes, but a blush nevertheless. And the tentative massaging of Duo's back was evoking the most erotic sounds Heero had heard.


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