TITLE: When It Hurts
BY: Dev-Aki Basaa

PAIRING: 2x1, 2x2, implied 3x4
CATEGORY: yaoi, angst, kink [rough sex], lemon, drama
WARNING: ANGST, dark subject matter [cutting], references to OC NCS (not GW boys). This is NOT your typical 2x1.
SUMMARY: Heero's unique up-bringing and training has instilled in him a special need, with Duo's help he tries to manage it.
NOTES: Part of this fic takes place during the series, but I'm not perfectly true to the timeline. My attempt is to be somewhat vague so as not to annoy my own canon sensibilities. That said, I will note that the fansub script I have implies that the school we actually *see* Heero and Duo at together is not the only one they attended together - actually more like one after a string of them. I thought I'd run with that ^_^
AUTHOR NOTES: I broke my own rule about during-series fics - most specifically, lemons in during-series fics. But, at the same time, for me, I feel like I explained it [read: justified it] well enough and... oh, hell, just ignore me and go read the fic.

Part One: Prelude


He wanted pain. He needed it. The agony that came with training instilled in him a need for the sensation - that eye-opening, body-jarring feeling of sharp, stinging pain. He was always looking for new sources, new ways to break through his growing tolerance level. New ways to assure himself he really was alive. Because that was the root of it - pain made him feel alive and if he didn't feel alive, if he didn't see the blood leak from his skin, then he found himself wondering if he was merely a pre-programmed machine, unable to be more than a fleshy robot doing someone else's bidding. So pain became reassurance. He reacted to pain in an unplanned, non-programmed way. The unpredictability excited him. The sensation relaxed him.

As long as he breached his tolerance level. That part was the trick.

So, he was always looking for new sources of pain.

He remembered, from the latter days of traveling with Odin Lowe, of turning down an alleyway, walking aimless, killing time while Odin killed. He'd seen a young man, small of stature and build, shoved, face first, up against the filthy brick wall, his legs flailing, knocking over trash bins and struggling in vain as the grip of a large, burly man tightened around his neck. The large man held him in place against the wall with just one large paw of a hand. The other hand he busied with pushing down his captive's trousers and then his own.

Heero saw the large man's penis stiff and upright, as he'd once or twice seen Odin's, first thing in the morning. He'd thought at first that the large man meant to pee, but after some fumbling at where their bodies made contact, the hip and groin area, the large man began rutting against the smaller one. His grunts and groans had made Heero's stomach turn, but it was the smaller man's pain that had kept him riveted in his spot, watching it all take place. Not his emotional pain - that flowed off him in horrible, desolate waves that were so strong Heero could sense them as if they were corporeal, physical currents flooding past him. He did his best to ignore those. But, it was the blood staining the pale flesh of the man's inner thighs that told him there was physical pain. That existed as well and it was that which intrigued him.

It wasn't until years later that he understood the incident for what it really was, but the memory never left him. The memory of that man's pain.

A new source of pain.


Part Two: Exposition


Piloting a Gundam is its own source of pain.

Be it the jarring sensations of crash landings or the gravitational momentum of plummeting to Earth; the sharp metal edges of a cockpit console cutting into your skin, or the way bones crush when your body strikes the ground - it's all pain. Pain from an explosion against your chest - a failed self-destruction; painful, burning heat as you ride under a truck; stabbing, throbbing agony as you're struck with two bullets fired by an idiot in a black cap and priest's collar.

Life-giving pain.

More still from ripping leather straps by hand, tumbling end over end down a bluff or the torture of resetting one's bones.

Every incident hung at his tolerance level and challenged him, revived him, allowed him to focus on the mission and piloting. The adrenaline rush kept him alert and on edge; the agony reminding him of his humanity. He never doubted his ability to complete a mission to its fullest because he did not fear pain. He welcomed it, thrived on it and knew he could handle any situation thrown at him.

That is, until the words 'lay low' came across his computer screen.

Lay low...?

Do nothing?

"Lay low, huh?" The idiot in black, Duo, always stood too close. It made things coil in the pit of Heero's stomach.

He had been reading over his shoulder, again. Damn him. He was continually *right there*, no matter where Heero turned on this floating mechanics' commune.

"I got the same shit message," Duo said as he sat down next to him, perched on the edge of Wing. Heero cringed at the sound Duo's boot heel made against the Gundamium. Yet, at the same time, he puzzled at the extreme warmth he felt with Duo's closeness - a rise in temperature that did not reflect combined body temperatures and the anticipated increases.

Was it hot in here?

Heero shifted away from Duo, ignoring his attempt at conversation. Even if Heero had any interest in talking, he didn't know what to say to Duo. The only person he'd ever just sat and talked with for no reason was Odin and that was so long ago. Never mind that Duo was *nothing* like Odin Lowe - what would they even discuss? No. It was far better to just pretend he wasn't there.

Though, with Duo, that was practically impossible.

"So, anyway..." Duo began. Heero could hear the annoyance in his voice. "I guess I'll just leave you alone and shit, huh? Seems like that's all you want."

Heero frowned. It wasn't all he wanted. He wanted a mission. He wanted what he understood. He wanted to know why he seemed hyper-aware that Duo was no longer sitting by his side.

Shoving the last thought aside, Heero began working through his file system, wiping it clean of the message he'd just received, erasing every trace. The clicking of his keyboard echoed in the expansive hanger, ringing after Duo's receding footsteps.


It only took three days of 'laying low' before Heero could no longer stand it. He needed his pain, that release. It didn't just focus him during a mission; he was discovering how it had balanced and even cleared his mind. As a focal point it had forced out all these unending thoughts that now seemed to tumble through his brain, one over the other, unable to be stopped. There were blank spots in his memory, what was he missing? Duo spoke of a kindly nun and priest in his past and it made Heero wonder how had he come to be with Odin Lowe? Duo had made some rambling, excuse-filled apology for shooting him in defense of 'that girl' and it reminded him that he'd thought Relena seemed...familiar to him. Why would that be? And Duo! Why had he rescued him? Why was he always so close? How had Duo come to be a Gundam pilot? Why did he even think of him so much?!

Dammit! He didn't want these thoughts.

So he needed pain to refocus.

The accidental bumps and scrapes from working on Wing were not enough. Even working closely with Duo didn't help. Upon initial analysis, Duo had looked to him like he'd be the clumsy type, but that wasn't the case. Therefore, there were no huge disasters, no tools dropped on his foot, no large pieces of machinery swinging towards his head. He was mildly disappointed, but also relieved to learn that Duo wasn't a complete idiot, after all.

However, he also realized that if he wanted pain, he'd have to actively bring it on himself.

On the forth day of lying low, Heero found himself assisting Duo with repairs on Deathscythe, Duo's Gundam. Interestingly, Duo had gone to great lengths talking him into helping. Not that Heero would have said no, actually - he'd stalled just so he could listen to Duo talk. All his bargaining and justifying fascinated Heero and, frankly, it was nice to be asked and not told. Most everything Dr. J had ever said to him came as an instruction. If not that, then he was speaking of him as an object. It was tedious and distressing. So Heero sat back and enjoyed Duo's rambling, letting himself be 'convinced' for a while, before he'd finally acquiesced.

They'd been busy for a while when he'd moved from uploading a file security system he'd had on Wing to rewiring a faulty perimeter sensor. It was then that Heero had noticed a red cased pocket-knife sitting on the cockpit console. Without hesitation, he picked it up and turned towards Duo.

"Can I borrow this?"

Duo looked up from where he was adjusting a seat bolt, bent over the arm of his seat. His brow quirked for a moment, but then he shrugged. "Yeah, go for it." And he turned back to his task; the sound of ratchet clicks returning.

Heero climbed down to the hanger floor, the knife held tightly in his fist. He considered settling himself into Wing's cockpit, but Duo was likely to bother him there if the silence stretched too long. Their sleeping quarters were communal and there was only one bathroom. Since he couldn't say how long this would take him, better not to draw attention by monopolizing the john. In the end, he located a small closet and settled himself on the up-turned bottom of a bucket. Heero knew enough about Duo already to know he wouldn't let fresh wounds go unnoticed - too damn curious for his own good - so Heero pushed down his shorts, exposing the top of his thighs.

The first cut almost made him cry out. He bit his lip, squeezing his eyes shut and without allowing himself a reprieve, he sliced again. He let out a small whimper, but soon the sharpness of the pain was receding and he felt that familiar relaxation come over him, his nerves settling and his mind finding focus. Resting long enough to catch his breath, Heero ran the blade edge across his skin, scraping, not breaking through. Then, gulping another lungful of air, he cut again. He sighed for the relief it brought him. This was what he needed and now he knew how he could cope with any break in training or battle. Maybe even the end of the war - if he survived that long.

Taking another breath, he sliced his skin again.


Heero had half expected Duo to badger him upon his return. He had taken a fairly long time between the cutting, resting, tending to the wounds and cleaning the blade; he thought Duo would question what he'd been up to. But it seemed that Duo had been up to something himself.

Heero wasn't sure what though, at first. The other boy had just acted very embarrassed and flustered when Heero had surprised him, sticking his head into Deathscythe's cockpit to let him know he was back. Duo had quickly flipped off a screen on his console, startled.

"Hey Heero, back so soon?" he'd said and Heero raised a brow at both the statement and the odd quiver in Duo's voice. Then Duo began rambling on about absolutely nothing of importance - about stripped bolts and blown gaskets and then hot meals and lots of exercise. Nothing that actually made sense together in one long gush of words. Also, Heero noticed, Duo's hands were out of control, threading through his bangs, messing with his shirt, tapping on the cockpit wall and playing with the end of his braid, all in quick succession. Heero waited out this little show with a kind of curiosity. He folded his arms across his chest, leaning against the cockpit threshold, letting Duo do whatever the hell he was doing.

Soon, he was excusing himself.

"Gonna go get something from my bed, just some stuff I left there," Duo had said with a wave of his hand, toying with the cross around his neck. "You can just stay here, don't wanna drag you along, wouldn't wanna be a pest you know, ha ha ha."

Duo couldn't leave fast enough. Heero simply nodded his response as Duo hurried past him and made his way down Deathscythe. Then he practically ran across the hanger into the common sleeping quarters. Heero waited exactly two minutes before he followed after him.

At the door to the sleeping area, Heero could hear some soft sounds, but nothing distinct or telling. Maybe the sound of someone changing their clothes, little more. At that thought, Heero scowled, his annoyance directed inward. What was he doing? Hadn't he just gone to lengths for his own privacy? No matter how suspicious Duo seemed, there was no reason for Heero to be spying on him in this manner. Duo had proved to be very little threat. This was absurd.

However, just as Heero turned away from the sleeping quarters door, he heard a sound that stopped him dead on the spot.

Duo groaned.

Images flashed in Heero's mind, so fast and furious he couldn't sort or analyze them. Distant memories, answering feelings - nothing clear. No, that wasn't true. There was one thing he did know - the only certainty. He'd heard a sound just like that before. So similar, only...deeper.

Another groan floated to Heero's ears from behind that door and gooseflesh rose on his skin, the hairs of his nape stood on end. Turning slowly, Heero returned to the door and pushed it open, just enough to peer in.

He could barely see Duo. He sat on his top bunk, his back towards the door, but at an angle. Heero could see his profile, mostly. The light from a room across the quarters cast an outline of Duo's body, a glow that shimmered against his arched neck and caught the frantic movement of his hand, rising and falling repeatedly at his groin.

Watching Duo, the memory solidified. Heero recalled moans, grunts and groans. Rutting. A large burly man and his poor victim. The roughness, the intensity. That smaller man's pain.

Heero's body reacted to that thought; his body reacted to the sight of Duo's hips jerking forward and the way he moaned as orgasm overtook him. Heero found his own breath shallow, panting in rhythm with Duo's heaving chest.

Heero turned away from the door, willing away the tenting in his shorts, his mind buzzing. It didn't have to be non-consensual. It didn't have to have that emotional pain - not if he didn't want it to. Heero stopped, hearing the sound of running water - probably Duo cleaning up in the sleeping quarter's bathroom. He may be returning to the main hanger soon. Heero launched forward, making his way up Wing as quietly as he could manage. He swung himself inside the cockpit and opened a diagnostic program, giving the impression he'd been occupied for some time. However, his mind returned to his musings, even as he heard the thump of Duo's footsteps across the hanger floor. New source of pain. Intense, satisfying pain.

"Hey, you up in your Gundam?"

As he waved a hand just beyond the cockpit threshold, Heero tried to focus his mind back towards the original efforts of fixing and upgrading their Gundams. Yet even as Duo clamored into Wing, his litany of pointless talk already begun, there was still one thing that Heero couldn't shake from his mind. An image that may well be imprinted on his brain forever.

The look on Duo's face as he came.


Part Three: Development


It seemed fairly universal. The first, the next, the most recent. Insulation between the walls of dormitories was non-existent. If Heero lay at just the right angle, if he pressed his ear against the cool plaster just a little harder, he could hear him. Oh, he tried so hard to be quiet, but Heero could still hear him.

It had been approximately two months since Heero had appropriated parts from Deathscythe in deference to his own Gundam and mission. After all Duo had done for him, it was probably cruel and unforgivably rude, and yet... Heero had felt spiteful. Did that make any sense? Duo had done nothing wrong. He'd not cajoled Heero into watching him pleasure himself that first time. Or the time after that. Or the third. Duo had not purposefully made Heero think and feel things he neither wanted nor completely understood. Yet Heero lashed out at Duo for those things all the same. He wouldn't speak when spoken to, he didn't follow when asked, and he scavenged from Duo's Gundam -- the ultimate offence. By the time he'd left for his mission, Heero was certain Duo Maxwell hated him.

All of which, was for the best.

So, when Heero had found himself enrolled at a new boarding school, encountering a very familiar face and braid, he had expected disdain, even contempt from the other boy. Surely blatant anger. Perhaps a coming fistfight (which Heero would have appreciated). That, at least, would have made sense. Not...awkward moments and mutual gazes that lingered just a little too long. Not a sense of gravity drawing the two of them together, crossing campus grounds not so much to speak to each other, but just to be near. That wasn't supposed to happen. Not at all. And not between him and Duo.

Heero shifted against the wall again, listening, straining to hear. Something. Anything.

From one school, they moved to another. Then another. And then yet another and so on. For all intents and purposes, the parallel transfers had been coincidental. Yet, Heero knew he'd stalled long enough this last time just so he could determine where Duo was heading. Another time, he had reason to believe Duo had followed him. So, perhaps not so coincidental.

But for all this seeming connection between them, nothing much had changed. They would bicker. Heero would just walk away if Duo asked him not to. And Duo still talked at him with a stream of barely connected ideas while Heero only pretended not to listen -- and sometimes didn't listen at all, but would think way too much. His mind a jumble of questions and resentments. Sometimes he would at least acknowledge to himself that he...wanted. That Duo enticed him and he wanted...from him....

And that was about as far as he might let his mind travel on the subject.

Heero shifted closer to the wall. He knew if he couldn't allow himself to even think certain things, than this...spying was an effort in futility. It would only build on the already existing fascination he had with the other boy. But tonight, he would allow himself this one last invasion. This little thing, just one more time. He would stop listening for him and his low moans of pleasure. Stop picturing that look of pure ecstasy on Duo's face as he came.


He would stop...


Or maybe the day after.


Was it twisted? Considering who it was? Probably. Did he know what to do about it? Not a clue. However, that didn't change the facts. Fact: for the past three months and four school transfers, whenever Duo closed his eyes, Heero was there. Fact: when he opened them, Mr. Stoic was still there. Fact: when he lost himself in fantasy jerking off, Heero was somehow part of that too. Even if he soiled his sheets in the night, it was an image of Heero that lingered from his fading wet dream. Maybe it was some fucked up version of imprinting. Maybe it was just over exposure. Maybe his hormones were way out of control.

But whatever it was, he couldn't get the other boy out of his mind. Couldn't catch any distance without breaching it again of his own accord. He couldn't stop...looking.

And, frankly, he wasn't sure he wanted to.