Disclaimer: Gundam Wing is owned by Bandai, Sunrise and Sotsu Agency and probably a host of other folks I know nothing about.

Pairings: 2x1

Comments: This fic takes place about 4 years after Endless Waltz, so all of the pilots are about 20 years old. I'm using the NewType idea from the other Gundam universes, so but it doesn't show up too much in this part. This one's a little slow--gomen!--but it is short and sweet. I've just about got chapter 12 ready to go, though, so I'll see if we can get a bit more action up here in a day or so.

A huge and very special thanks is due to Sunday--thank you for waiting so patiently!! Now you have to write the next part of OBAB!!!! So there! Nya!

I also wanted to say thank you to Vi, Sapphire, Karen, Chiaki, Suzume, and Brighnasa! It's good to know this doesn't drop away into the nothingness of the net without someone out there liking it--at least a little. I love getting feedback, questions, complaints and all... HINT, HINT, HINT

Growing Wings

Chapter 11


Duo's seat was four rows behind Heero's, on the opposite side of the shuttle. Though he couldn't see his travelling companion, it was probably for the best. The whole of the trip he was torn between the desire to pin Heero down in one of the confining shuttle seats and explore just where that kiss could go and the desire to strangle Wing's pilot. Kael was alive. Heero didn't miss. And while Duo refused to believe that Heero had really joined forces with Kael and the Shadow Army, he couldn't think of a single, plausible reason for Heero to have lied to him about shooting the man. Hell, if Heero hadn't wanted to kill him because of some misguided notion of fellowship, he should have let Duo do the job. Duo certainly wouldn't have lost any sleep over it.

He sighed, pulling his bag out from under the seat in front of him when they landed. He needed answers; Heero could provide them. He just had to be patient, that was all.

Patience almost lost out when Heero managed to get off the shuttle before him only to vanish in the crowd. Duo didn't question it right away. They had to split up, make sure no one noticed them together. Besides, it let him check his safehouse to see if everything was still intact.

But when he was done with checking things over by early afternoon, he went back to the hostel to wait... And wait...

Heero didn't show up at the hostel until after half the night had slipped away, and by then Duo was pacing along the edge of the roof of the ugly, pink civic law building, an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. Rather than light the cigarette, he kept his hands pushed deep in the jacket pockets to keep his fingers from freezing off. He understood the need for the colonies to simulate weather and seasons; it helped the colonists stay grounded, helped them keep track of the passage of time. But did the synthetic winter have to be so damn cold? It was like being in New York again, only worse, because at least in New York, a body knew there was nothing to be done about the weather. He should have planned for December, but he'd had other things on his mind--the same things that were keeping parts of him warm, actually: thoughts about what he could do with Heero once they got back to his place. That was about it for heat, though, because leather jackets weren't exactly well insulated, and even thoughts of Heero weren't making feeling come back to his toes.

Then he saw that slip of movement on the street below and he stilled, watching it. Definitely Yuy. Only Heero could skulk so ineffectively; when he tried for nonchalant, he came off looking like a serial killer out prowling for a good time. It made Duo laugh.

Heero looked up.

Knowing he couldn't see him where he was, Duo stepped forward and waved over the edge before sliding down the fire escape to meet him.

"Jesus, Yuy. I was gonna freeze up there waiting for you."

Before he could stop himself or think better of it, he caught Heero by the front of his coat, pulled the pair of them together, and kissed him hard right over whatever reply he had been about to offer. It wasn't like the kiss at the spaceport--that had been a magical thing, their first kiss--but it was damn good, more than worth exposing his fingers to the cold. It made him giddy somewhere inside when Heero's own chapped, cold hands wrapped around his back, holding him in a tight circle. Duo leaned back when he remembered that they both probably needed to breathe, and even then it was far, far too soon. He needed to learn how Heero Yuy tasted, find out what it took to make those eyes flutter open in a kiss, hear what he had to say about this thing between them, find out why he was sorry...

Kiss the scarred, beautiful skin on the backs of Heero's thighs...

Okay, so that last was moving a little faster than Heero was proabably ready for, but it was a thought. Just a thought to stay warm with for now and maybe explore later. When Kael was dead and Heero was whole again.

He leaned down over the Japanese man, resting his forehead against Heero's. "My place is still here. It's still safe. Let's get out of this cold, ne?" The words came out husky, sounding like sex.

That was not how he'd meant for that to sound.

Heero's eyes drifted open at his words, widening a little. "Duo, iiya. I--" He shut his mouth with a sharp click, pride and fear chasing across his eyes at the same time. Duo reached up, touched his face.

The vulnerability there made something in Duo burn, but he forced a smile, dropping his hand and fumbling out his lighter with stiff fingers to give himself something to do while he pushed the anger down before he combusted something on accident. "You have a better place to stay? The Maxwell hospitality is unmatched. Sharing my table, you will get to experience such untold wonders as the Maxwell egg and... Uh... egg omlette--not to be confused with scrambled eggs--the Maxwell tuna fish special, and--if you're really, really lucky--the Maxwell chili-cheese dog. Depends on if the Velveeta is still good. You never know after the first 12 months. My bed is probably the softest on the colony--real goose down, with a fine layer of moon-base dust to give it that touch of home. Or, if the bed isn't to your liking, I'll happily give you my spot on the couch."

It had been a mistake, he knew, to openly acknowledge Heero's fear or his own desire so soon. While Duo had spent most of his life facing down his harsh realities, forcing honesty even on himself, Heero had spent most of his life refusing to deal with emotion or thought. Duo had seen the man lie to himself about his beliefs, his friends, his loves; he had seen Heero Yuy lie to himself about everything that mattered.

So for the moment, until some of the more recent wounds healed, Duo offered him the escape he needed. He frowned, taking a long draw on the cigarette, blowing it out slowly into the chilled night air and quirking an eyebrow in Heero's direction. "Hell, Heero, it was just a kiss. Are you saying that in two years you still haven't learned to take a joke? I'm warning you now--if you hit me, this time I'm gonna hit back for real."

Not a lie. Technically. Just a gentle bending of the truth to let a friend hide.

"Baka." The word came out tired, worn down to the barest edges, but at least it was a familiar trace of the Heero he knew.

He waved the airily. "Hai, hai. So you say. Don't you have any better insults? Surely there's something truly vicious that you can offer me?"

Heero frowned at him. "Hn."

"What was that?"

"--waste of effort." Heero muttered.

Duo tilted his head back and laughed. "Fair enough, Heero." He waved down one of the darkened side alleys. "Seriously, let's get out of this cold. I'm gonna turn blue in a minute."