10-22-2001

Title: Innocence Faded 9/16 (1x2 lemon - revised)
Authors: Jenn & Kea (Dreamscape Studios)
Email: HeeroYuy1x2@aol.com and DuoMaxwell1x2@aol.com , respectively
Archive: Dreamscape Studios Ltd (www.dreamscapestudios.net) ; anyone else please email and permission will be gladly given
Feedback: Absolutely. ^_^
Rating: R throughout, pushing NC-17 in parts
Warnings: Angst, hurt, despair and heartache with spoonfuls of hope to make them go down smoother. Mild lemon and strong lime in some parts. This fic takes place following the events in Endless Waltz (movie version). This is a completed multipart fic.
Pairings:1x2/2x1, implied 3x4
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by a bunch of companies in Japan (Bandai, Sunrise, Sotsu Agency), and their sandbox is only on unsanctioned loan for us to play in. ^_^ The song "Innocence Faded" belongs to John Petrucci and Dream Theater, lyrics used without permission.

Authors' notes: Innocence Faded is written completely in alternating first-person perspective. The three asterisks usually denote a shift in POV, with thoughts or emphasis indicated by single asterisks. In-monologue flashbacks will be denoted by slashes, complete ones or scene changes with the asterisks.

This is also known as the fic that ate our lives. Or was it our lives that ate the fic? I believe we started this in June of 2000, and when Jenn moved out here in November, we got kind of distracted for several months. I'm certain there are a lot of people who have long ago given up this fic for dead; I'll admit to being one of them. ^^; But some stories simply won't go away until they're fully told.

Huge thanks and worshipful adoration go out to Moe-chan, the best beta reader anyone could ask for, and the constant motivating force behind the rest of this fic. When I sent her a pathetically rough draft of the monster known as IF6 (that became IF 10-15 after chapter breaks), asking her to read it and let me know if it should be finished or scrapped, I never knew what a friend I'd be gaining. Without her help, this very well might have lingered unfinished and certainly would have had lots of inconsistencies and stupid errors.

Background music, title and constant source of inspiration: Innocence Faded, by Dream Theater...from the "Awake" CD.

**********************
Innocence faded
the mirror falls behind you
**********************

In the back of my mind lies a memory of the first time we were together like this. A night a thousand lifetimes ago, when the war still raged just beyond the doorway of a borrowed room. The fury never penetrated past that barrier. Inside there had been only twinned heartbeats, ragged breaths, and need. A need that never stopped, that pounded within us even now.

Does it seem surprising that I remember it so clearly? That night Duo Maxwell seared himself into my blood, setting me on a path that would eventually lead me here. I couldn't have forgotten if I tried... and I tried, God I tried to forget.

Attachments are nothing but a liability in war. I did the best I could, I pushed that night so deeply into my mind, that its memory lay quiet...until now.

The urgency, the desperation, every bit of it was there. But ultimately, everything we had gathered in experience in the interim was sacrificed to the inferno of the moment. That alone made me as clumsy as a virgin as I reached for him. I could feel it. Need was burning its way outward through my skin, I felt like it was turning my body to ashes as it manifested physically, demanding to be driven deeply inside him until the ache was quenched. My hips moved restlessly in response, a low growl beginning at the back of my throat as the hardened length of his shaft grazed against mine.

My control was slipping, and I turned my back, not even caring to watch it go.

Animal ferocity surged beneath my skin and I claimed his mouth again, urging his thighs apart. My hand closed around him, stroking slowly as I swallowed his moan of pleasure. The other hand quested lower, seeking...and finding. My fingers slid inside of him, he tensed, then I felt him clench around them, his nails digging into my back in mute encouragement, and that was all it took. The beast shattered its chains and I pulled free, bracing myself above him and nipping his neck as he wrapped both legs around my waist. There were no questions, no solicitous requests or pleasantries. It was not a moment for pretty words or imagery, it was raw, and as inevitable as death. A low, animal sound of pain or pleasure or both wrung itself from my chest as his body yielded beneath me.

The moan that won free from his clenched teeth was his only reply.

Maybe this is what insanity feels like... I was embraced, caressed, buried in his tight heat, subject to its maddening constriction. A sob nearly choked me as I eased myself inside him, and. I bowed my head, tangling my fingers in the sheets as I fought again for control....

Damn control.

I pulled back. "Mine." The word was punctuated with a single, swift thrust... and that declaration of possession became a litany as desire finally slipped its leash.

***

Lost in a maelstrom sea of want and desire that utterly stole my power to form thought, my body embraced him, drew him deeper with every frantic, needy thrust. It hurt like hell, but I wasn't conscious of pain. Pain had crested into something far more powerful, more demanding, more addictive until the very concept of pain became meaningless. There was only the mind-numbing, body-blistering ecstasy flooding me, filling me as surely as Heero did.

Without the burden of conscious thought to hold it in place, my mind arrowed into another place, another time with those powerful thrusts, harder and faster and driving us towards an inevitable conclusion. *Saa,* I had said, glancing towards him with eyes half swollen shut, cracked ribs whistling the breath in my chest, *I'm destined to be killed by you.*

And I was. His final thrust knifed into me, body and soul, and he killed me. I died, and culmination claimed me while I sobbed out his name as a prayer.

Le petit mort. The little death. French, for orgasm.

Reality splintered around me, fracturing like brittle glass as I slammed back into that shell called my body, awareness returning of the weight inside and on top of me. As he collapsed on me, gasping, I realized Death had claimed Heero, too, in more ways than one. "Yours," I whispered fiercely against his ear, maneuvering my boneless hand to place it palm-to-palm against his equally boneless one. "Mine," I echoed, giving that hand a fragile squeeze. His head lay on my chest while his breath pooled hotly over one of my nipples as he fought to catch it. Fatigue was drawing her night-dark cloak over me and I was helpless to resist, my eyes heavily lidding despite my earlier nap. "Ours," I pronounced with finality.

***

I lost myself for a little while, aware of nothing and everything. After what seemed like hours of drifting, I opened my eyes, blinking owlishly as the light from the bedside lamp stung them. I felt warmth from beneath me, inhaled and felt the taste of sex brush my tongue on the way down. Startled, I forced myself to awareness, tried to move and winced as overtaxed nerves lodged a fervent complaint. It wasn't pain exactly, but overstimulation. Lifting my head, I looked down into Duo's face.

Damn.

I pulled free and rolled to the side, pushing up on an arm that trembled with exertion. My mind was racing through what had happened, processing my feelings and intentions. Comparing it to what could have happened. It made my heart clench with fear, nightmare images passing before my eyes, summoned by one inescapable fact. I'd lost control.

No. Not true. I'd willingly, willfully, let it go.

I swallowed hard. "Da--daijoubu desu ka?" I asked softly.

God, I'd hurt him, I know I did. I could almost remember feeling flesh tear... and enjoying it. Dammit, what's wrong with me? Why can't I do this? Why am I ruining something--something wonderful?

***

I lay there for what seemed a long time, surrounded by this pure, perfect lassitude that had taken all will to move from every part of me, leaving behind a peculiar, acute awareness of my body that rarely came in even semi-conscious moments. I felt...hypersensitive...that's the only way to really describe it, my brain hardwired to every whit of sensory input available. There was some pain, yes, centered in a small, slowly pulsating wave at the very base of my spine, and it throbbed in my consciousness, but despite my increased sensitivity it could be ignored.

Pain, after all, was the body's signal that something was wrong, and its source was something very, very right.

A still, small part of me latched onto the tether of his voice, letting it pull me hand over hand out of the warm, comfortable sleep void my body craved after the exertion. My eyelids rose little by little until they opened on an endless sea of Prussian blue.

I think my heart stopped again.

*Daijoubu desu ka?* he asked me. *Oh, Heero, if you only knew...*

"Nan demo nai. Hontou ni." *It's nothing. Really.* I willed my left hand to move, to lift and stroke away in reassurance that unruly half-curl falling just over his eye.

I willed harder. My pinky twitched.

At least my face obeyed into a smile, not one of my normal repertoire of good cheer. This one touched my eyes completely. "I'm a little sore," I confessed, my smile turning wry and the words loosening the immobility below my waist, "but just fine." My hips squirmed a bit and I wasn't fast enough to cover the small wince that escaped.

He had asked me another question, not with his mouth but with his eyes, the concerned look that had so unnerved me earlier hammering out from their depths. Perhaps it was the afterglow of having held him in my body, but it no longer seemed quite so strange to see.

*Was it worth it?* my eyes answered. *Every bit.*

***

From where did this feeling come? It welled up inside of me, an ache as fierce and demanding as the one so recently sated. Instead of urging me towards heated, desperate union, however, this one called for gentler action. I shivered, brushing my lips across the fine bones of his cheek as they crested upward towards the summer-wheat silk of his hair. "Gomen," I said quietly, and meant it. If not for the strange glow in his eyes that made my heart lose its steady rhythm, I would have been furious with myself. My loss of control had hurt him. I had hurt him... Damn it, I'd hurt him.

That was unacceptable. I didn't deserve to be anywhere near him, not if this is what I was capable of.

I rolled away, so angry with myself that I was shaking. I'd sworn to protect him. *Kuso.* A hand stayed me as I moved to leave the bed, and I could almost feel him willing me to look at him. As though obeying a spoken command, I turned. Helpless, I drowned, unable to get the message to my eyelids fast enough to close them before he captured me with those impossible purple-dusk eyes.

"Gomen," I whispered again, at a loss of what else to say.

"Iya. Kitte kudasai." *No. Please listen to me.* "Daijoubu desu yo. Hontou ni." I swallowed hard, realized I was holding my breath. His touch gentled me, coaxing me back towards him. He was my undoing...Not all the training in the world could prepare me for the kind of war Duo waged when the outside world was no longer a concern. It was the sort of battle in which he was the perfect soldier and I was merely a man, like any other.

***

Slowly, carefully, I tugged him back inch by inch to our bed. Our bed. "Listen to me," I repeated in English, my hands returning to service and stroking gently over his tanned pectoral muscles, feeling the tension in them flicker beneath my fingers with every tender touch. "Who asked...no, begged you to bring him upstairs? To take him?" The unblemished hurt that briefly flashed through those indigo-blue eyes confirmed I was on the right track.

*I wanted you so badly, please don't blame yourself.*

I fumbled through the infinite words in my mind for the ones that would soothe the self-recrimination rising off him like heat off the road. One hand wandered up to his cheek. "There's not just an 'I' or 'you' anymore. You're part of a 'we' now, ne?" It had never entered my mind to blame him for the results of our skyrocketing libidos and desperate urges for one another only moments before.

I wanted him. I...I loved him, and that far outweighed some mild discomfort.

A contented smile spread itself over my face as my fingers tiptoed around the back of his neck, lacing together behind and drawing him down to meet me. There was nothing to be sorry for, nothing to forgive. I loved him, and my lips whispered it without words as they joined with his.

***

In spite of myself, my body relaxed. I swallowed hard, turning my head to avoid his gaze, but I couldn't bring myself to avoid his touch. Have you ever needed something so badly that your body hurts with craving for it? That's how I needed his touch on me. *Don't*, my eyes said. *Yes*, my soul cried, restless in its newborn strength.

He tamed me like a wild horse, pulling me down to drink at the sweet water of his lips. I drank, taking long, deep draughts of him with helpless abandon. But I didn't let go this time, keeping a tight rein on myself. Instead I tugged him into my arms, cradling him against me. I needed to get out of this bed, right now. I was afraid I might see blood on the pristine sheets...but I couldn't be apart from him. Irony, bitter irony, I'd hurt him, but I couldn't stand to let go of him.

The rug was velvet soft beneath my bare feet, giving way to the smooth coolness of tile. I paused at the lip of the tub, still holding him against me, pulled tight to my chest as I leaned forward to start the water flowing. "We'll sleep better if we're clean," I murmured quietly, brushing a strand of hair from his face without meeting his eyes. It was a small comfort, you learned to take them when you could get them during the war. Now I just wanted us both to be clean. The uncertainty of but a few days ago was still with me, still ready to pounce if I let my guard down.

Taking a deep breath, I stepped into the warm water, lowering us both down into it. If the tub were any bigger, it would have been suitable for swimming. As it was, we could both comfortably stretch out in the heated water. Impulsively, I pulled him back against me, hard, burying my face in his hair. God, I... I don't know. I just don't know what I feel...

***

He was hurting, a lot more than the minor ache in my backside, I realized, and for several moments as we thoroughly explored one another's mouths, I puzzled over exactly what was setting him off, what had strung this impossible tension and almost fearful gentleness through his body. This was hardly the first time we'd had sex, hardly the first time we'd had urgent, impatient sex, and certainly not the first time I didn't think I'd be able to sit down afterwards. The first time had actually been the worst, neither of us knowing technique beyond what felt good and drowning in wild, desperate, teenaged need. So what was so different this time?

He reached for me, snuffing my theories like a candle, hauled me into those improbably strong arms yet again and carried me into the bathroom like I weighed nothing. There wasn't even enough time for the oxygen to rekindle the sparking thoughts in my head before warm water closed around my body. I think I even forgot my name for several minutes as he drew me close against his chest, gently rocking me back and forth, his breath warm on my neck as he nuzzled against my dampening hair.

During the war, I was never conscious of the miniscule difference in our heights and weights. A few centimeters here, a kilo there, never enough to matter. The Eve Wars and what followed had passed in such a rush that my powers of observation had failed to notice what my body was telling me now as Heero abruptly pulled me into his arms.

In that year we'd spent apart, he'd gained at least two, if not three, inches on me and probably close to fifteen pounds...still slender, still wiry, but if it was possible, he was harder and stronger than the perfect soldier who unwittingly had stolen my breath and my heart with those intense blue eyes. I studied the legs that stretched past mine under the rippling waters; we'd been around the same height for a long time, but his was always more torso while mine was leg. Not anymore; his legs now seemed determined to win the race.

Gently, I stroked my foot along the underside of his firmly muscled calf, falling deeper into my inner musings, the buoyancy of the water and the strong arms around me proving quite relaxing. In some ways, he had changed so much; in others, not at all.

Cautiously, reluctantly, like the first rays of morning sun a slow smile of comprehension dawned on my face. In some ways, some very important ways, he hadn't changed at all.

I wriggled just enough in his arms to turn over, my legs and hair trailing behind me as I fit myself to his body, my arms around his neck and my face just inches from his. Strange wariness clouded his eyes, and I forced myself to look past it, look deeper into what those shadows sought to conceal. He made a move to speak, my name formed on his lips, but I quelled it with my fingers, pressing against his mouth, and a slight shake of my head.

God, it was so surprisingly simple; all it took was a backwards glance at our history together. Heero Yuy could be brusque, dismissive, uncaring, and downright rude, but there was one thing that, no matter the circumstances, he wasn't.

"I want you to tell me," I began, easing just slightly my pressure on his lips, "just with yes or no, if what you wanted was to hurt me. That's all that matters."

***

I swallowed hard, feeling a painful stab of hurt somewhere in the vicinity of my chest at the implication. Could I hurt him? God yes. Unbidden, my mind offered up any number of quick and efficient ways to hurt, maim, even kill him. What was truly frightening was that, in a certain mindset, I could have done it without flinching. The consequences would hit me later, when I allowed myself time to consider them, but in the cold clarity of the moment...

Can you see the monster lurking beneath the guise of the man? I can. Sometimes I pretend that I've lost sight of him, but he's there. He's always there.

However, the question was whether I wanted to hurt him. "No." When Duo's around, sometimes I can pretend the monster doesn't exist at all...

***

My face softened into a gentle, slightly weary smile. "I know," I assured him, my thumbs rubbing in small circles behind his ears. "There has never been any doubt in my mind of that. You aren't the type of person to want to hurt. I wanted you to say it so you could hear it and believe it as strongly as I do."

*Heero, I keep seeing glimpses of this wonderful, tender heart inside you. They make me want more. They make me want all of you.*

*Quid pro quo, Duo,* I told myself. Wanting all of him entitles him to the same from you. "Did what we did scare you like it did me?" I ventured softly, baring just a little more of my soul. After all, just by being here with me, it was his to accept or reject, no one else's. "Not the sex at all, but the...intensity? It was like flying without a Gundam, wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Suffocating and liberating both. I don't have better words for it, but my heart still pounds just remembering it."

***

Fighting the desire to look away again, I took several slow, deep breaths, trying to calm what I felt welling up inside. He just kept breaking my barriers down, refusing to let me stand behind what I had used for protection all those years... I was left naked, shivering...afraid. I did shutter my eyes then, twisting my head to the side as I struggled for words, or perhaps to keep the words in. "Hai," I said at last and I did shiver, then.

Swallowing hard, I threaded my fingers through the hair at his nape, pulling him forward until our foreheads touched. "You always make me feel that way. Like I can't... control...." I broke off, closing my eyes.

***

Suddenly, I knew why he had been upset before, and I kicked myself for not noticing what had been right before my nose. I told him I needed him. And in thinking he hurt me, he had failed to protect me. It bothered him, because...he cared. There was no other logical conclusion. It was a good thing I was sitting down, albeit in a tub of water; I wouldn't have been standing long against that realization. Heero Yuy cared about what happened to me.

Heero cared...about me.

I shook my head just a bit, marveling at the irony. "All that time, I thought it was just my hormones and emotions on overload, but...you were feeling it, too," I whispered, something akin to wonder in my voice. We had wasted so much time, it seems, but could either of us have effectively fought the war we needed to fight, knowing that the feelings throbbing inside with a maddening pulse were felt by our occasional lover, too? I couldn't have, I know. It was hard enough loving him and fighting when I thought he didn't give a damn. Loving him and fighting when I knew he felt something back? I would have been hobbled and helpless.

But there was no more war. Nothing and no one but us. Already, I was helpless, the warm presence of his forehead seeming to physically fuse our thoughts together. "I can't, either," I confessed. He had to know that this--not just the sex, or the house, but all of it--was both of us. "It's too much, there's not enough of me to hold it back." My fingers drew small curlicues in the patterns of water on his chest, feeling the slick droplets slide down to join the pool of their fellows. "And I don't want to."

***

*All that time...* All that time, you were my worst enemy, my strongest liability. You committed the worst sin of all... You made me feel. That's part of the reason I ran for a year, because not only could I not face the fact that I was a soldier in a time of a peace...I couldn't face you.

I kissed him then, gently. I wanted to quiet what was happening between us. I didn't trust myself, not tonight. I wrapped my arms around him, pulling slowly away from the kiss to speak. "Tonight... just be with me." I said quietly. "I can't...It's too much tonight."

***

The tempest slowly stilled, the storm at an end. It might only be the oasis in the desert, the eye of the hurricane, but for the moment all that surrounded us was refreshing calm. I turned around and curled my body to his once more, my head fitting nicely against the solid support of his shoulder, the fierce, steady pound of his heart against my back rhythmic and comforting. "I want to be with you," I whispered, the sleep I'd been denied earlier launching a stealthy attack on my consciousness. "Just hold me, please?"

***

I let my breath out slowly, leaning my cheek against his, breathing in air that was rich with his scent. "Itsumo," I replied softly, my arms tightening around him. *Always, Duo... Always...I'll do whatever I have to, to protect you...*

***

TBC...