6-4-2006

Title: A Helping Hand
Author: Tayjena
Pairings: Solo+2, 2+1x2, 3x4, 5x?, R+1
Parts: 1-9/?
Warnings: sap, possession, ghost, angst, implyed NCS, language
Archived: Please feel free.
Disclaimer: Don't nag, don't own a thing.
Note:
//...// ~thoughts
*...*~ bold

 

Part 1:

Heero sat at his desk, working on a mission report. Much to his relief his loudmouth braided, American roomate was not there. If he had been, Heero knew he wouldn't have been able to finish, the "chatterbox" would have kept trying to distract him until he was unable to ignore him anymore and had to give up on what he was doing.

He sighed a few minutes later as he finished. Sinking back in his chair, he sent off the report. For a moment he stared at the screen, then he closed all the programs he had opened only a short time before.

Heero heaved himself out of his chair. Going to the door, he unlocked it. It was just something he did to keep the braided idiot out while he worked on important things. Even though he knew that if Duo really wanted to get in, he would.

Next he turned and his hand came up and began massaging the back of his neck. He knew it would only be a matter of minutes before Duo burst thought the door. His eyes drifted to his laptop, but instead of seeing the dark blue background he usually kept on the desktop. there was a new document open.

Tensing in anticipation, Heero glared around the room. Was it possible that Duo had snuck into the room and was playing a trick on him.

Heero quickly discared that thought. Even ifDuo had managed to be silent for that long, there was nowhere in there small room for him to hide.

None the less Heero glanced under the beds, though it would be nearly impossible for Duo to squeeze under either of them. Then he thoroughly searced the cramped closest the two of them were forced to share.

No sign of the American.

"Then who...?"

Heero went to the desk prepared to close the new document. As he approached it though, letters slowly began to appear on the blank screen.

Heero stared at the computer, convinced he must be imagining things, he had spent a lot of time sitting in front of the screen and his eyes had to be playing tricks on him. Then he looked at the keyboard in disbelief, but the keys were in fact being pushed down by some invisible force, and now the letters had formed words on the screen above.

TAKE CARE OF HIM

The four words appeared over and over again until they filled half the page. Then the keys stopped moving.

"Take care of him? Take care of who?" Heero asked the computer for lack of anyone else to question, unsure of what the message meant and who he was suppose to take care of.

"Hee-chan!" A light voice rang through the hallway beyond the door, sounding unusually cheerful. It was still outside the room so Heero quickly clicked the close button on the document then 'no' to save it.

Just then the bound of energy walked through the door. But instead of his insistant rambling, Duo paused at the door, mouth hanging open.

Heero turned to him, fixing his piercing blue eyes on the loudmouth American.

Duo seemed to have come out of his momentarily trace. "Wow! You're actually *not* on your laptop! Have you learned that there's a world beyond that piece of technology?"

Heero snapped," Baka."

Duo grinned and glomped Heero. " I love you too Hee-chan." replied Duo cheekily.

Heero rolled his eyes and growled something. He removed Duo's arms from around him.

Duo tried hard not to let his dissappointment show. He was after all use to this kind of thing from Heero. It didn't bother Duo too much, at least he could get close to Heero and that was enough for him right now.

Dropping don on his bed, he watched Heero. He knew the reaction his next words would get from the Japanese boy, but he said it anyway. Attention was attention!

"Oh that's right! You've got Relena."

Heero lunged at Duo, and grabbed him by the throat. He squeezed lightly. His intent was not to really hurt Duo, just warn him and let him know that such comments would not be appreciated.

"How many times do I have to tell you *not* to say that!?"

Duo grinned. "Dunno. Maybe when you do something that'll convince me otherwise?"

Heero's hand tightened a little more around Duo's neck. "Baka."

"This doesn't convince me. It just.. leaves me to think that you're trying to deny that you really love her." Duo said between gasps for air.

As Heero's hands was about to close even harder around Duo's neck, he heard a soft voice somewhere in the room:

"No! No, don't hurt him! Take care of him!"

Heero looked at Duo, but it seemed the American hadn't heard anything. //Duo? Me take care of him?// Heero was baffled. What would want him to take care of Duo? And why? He could barely stand the AMerican most days. Everyone knew that.

"Take care of him." It came again and Heero withdrew his hands as fast as though they'd been burned. His eyes darted around the room, trying to find where and more importantly who the voice was coming from.

But save for him and Duo, the room was empty.

Duo stared quizzically at Heero as his roomate went into high-paranoia mode. Raising an eyebrow Duo glanced about the room, trying to decide what had Heero on edge.

Though for as long as Duo had known Heero he'd never been this jumpy and never in one of the bedroom's they stayed in since Heero always made a habit of checking every inch of the room for anything suspicious before unpacking anything.

"Hey Heero? What's wrond?" Duo asked quietly suddenly concerned and serious.

Blue eyes froze and narrowed as they returned once more to Duo. It was obvious now that Duo hadn't heard the voice. But he couldn't say anything about it. The last thing he neededwas for the Anerican to deem him crazy. "Nothing."

"Nothing? C'mon! *You* don't freak out and get all paranoid for nothing!"

Heero answered with his typical, 'hn', that Duo had come to expect from his roomate. He was still puzzled by Heero's actions. To him Heero had always been a little strange but now he seemed even stranger, almost crazy. Duo didn't like this one bit. Obviously something had Heero acting paranoid. And something was definately more than nothing.

//Or maybe he just needs to get out and relax... He's probably been in here all day.// Duo thought after rethinking Heero's actions. And that brought him to what he wanted to ask Heero.

"Ok fine. Don't tell me what's wrong." Duo shot back. "But hey would you..."

"No." Heero interrupted sharply.

"You didn't let me finish!"

"The answer would still be no."

Duo sighted heavily. "Would you like to go out with me tonight." The, blushing slightly, Duo quickly added, "Ya know just to get out and relax a bit. You seem a little stressed."

Heero glanced Duo over and thougth he caught a blush on Duo's cheeks. "No." Heero repeated curtly. He dropped down on his bed.

Duo got down on his knees in front of Heero. He placed his hands together, lining them up palm to palm, finger to finger, looking very much like an innocent child praying to God, instead of a Gundam pilot asking a friend to join him for a night out.

"Please Heero. Come with me? Please." Duo sniffed and batted his eyes. "Please?"

"No."

"Aw please Heero. Just this once."

"No." Heero said again.

That's when Heero heard it again: "Say yes. Go with him. Take care of him."

"No." Heero wasn't sure if he was talking to Duo or the disembodied voice that was seemingly tapping into his mind.

Duo persisted on, this time he'd keep trying until Heero gave in. "Please Heero. Please?"

"Say yes. Don't let him go alone."

Heero couldn't believe his bad luck. Some days it was hard enough not giving into Duo when he wanted Heero to go along with him. And he did, on some level, agree that it would do him some good to get out and maybe enjoy some of life. But it never seemed to be a good time, war wasn't the time to be fooling around when there was to much work to be done. Though now, it seemed like he had two people persuading him to go. And if he thought it was hard to say no to one Duo, it was even harder saying no to two.

"If I say yes, will you shut up?" Heero really asked the voice that he alone could hear.

"Yes!" Duo shouted and to Heero it sound like he had an echo.

Duo quickly hugged Heero. "Thanks Hee-chan!" When Heero didn't move Duo grabbed his hand and tugged him to his feet. "C'mon. We need to change. I've got the perfect thing for you!: Twently minutes later Duo was dragging Heero out of the front door of the safehouse, and yelling over his shoulder for Quatre not to wait up for them. Duo started tup the car and Heero finally voiced his quesetion.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll seen when we get there." Duo chnaced a glance at Heero and caught a menacing glare from him. "Oh come on Hee-chan. Trust me. Why is it so hard for you to put even a tiny bit of faith into me?"

"You've given me no reason to trust you."

"Hey that's unfair!" Duo protested, "I saved your ass! And ya stole parts of my Gundam... and left me to think you were dead! You owe me something!" Heero didn't respond. He didn't think his attempt to self-destruct had affected Duo so much. Getting no answer from the stoic pilot Duo decided to switch topics. "So why'd you agree to come?"

Heero remained silent. //Why did I decide to go? I hate going out to clubs... But that voice... it insisted I go with him and take care of him.... And it was like arguing with two of him.// "Someone has to keep you out of trouble." Heero finally replied coldly.

"You never cared before." Duo spat back just as forcefully.

"I never had a ghost follow me damand I go... Never had two against me..." Heero mumbled under his breath.

"Sorry I didn't catch that one."

"Hn." was Heero's only response.

The rest of their trip was spent in silence, Heero contimplating why he was going with Duo and what was happening to him and who that voice was and why it was so insistant about *him* taking care of Duo, and why also why it had chosen him in the first place. Duo, on the other hand, had remained quiet because he was sure he had already the line with Heero and didn't want to push it any further and he was wondering why Heero was even coming with him. Heero had never agreed to go clubbing with him before what could have changed his mind? Usually no matter how much he begged, Heero never wanted to come along.

Although, the fact that he had tonight, certain made Duo very happy.

After a long silence, and a boring one as far as Duo was concerned, he could have thought of better things to do with heero in the car than drive in silence, half an hour of driving around, Duo finally came to a night club he and possibly Heero might enjoy.

"Heero?" Heero asked suspiciously.

"Yeah. C'mon!" Duo insisted, already climbing out of the car.

Heero glanced at a group heading inside. It seemed like a few straight couples until two of the guys turned to each other and kissed. Not knowing whether to be horrified or intrigued, Heero stepped out of the car as well. It wasn't that he had anything against gays, since Quitre and Trowa had made it obvious that they were a couple and so he was comfortable around homosexuals. He just hadn't thought Duo was one too. This certainly raised a few questions about his roomate. It was just no one would guess by the way Duo flirted with every girl he met that he wouldn't be straight.

Heero also at this point and to admit at least to himself that he wasn't sure about his own sexuality yet.

"Duo?" Heero called out to his friend, his vioce trembling slightly.

Duo turned back to him. "Hm? Let's go Hee-chan." He ran back to him and took ahold of Heero's hand. "You're not afraid are you?"

Heero glared, snapping at Duo, "No." His hand closed tightly around Duo's and he allowed the braided boy to drag him into the club.

The inside was dimly lit with lights of all colors, smoke filled the air and loud music blarred all around them. The room was also very crowded making Heero a little more nervous. He huddled closer to Duo, not wanting to lose him. Nothing about this place appeared to him and he couldn't understand what Duo liked about this so much.

But the moment he thought about turning and leaving, he also remembered the oice he'd kept hearing . That voice that had convinced him to come with Duo and that one that had told him to take care of Duo. As annoying as the American was, Heero certainly didn't want anything to happen to him. Duo was after all, the only thing he had to a friend. So he'd stick around and protect him.

Duo pulled his Japanese friend toward the dance floor. He'd give anything to have just one dance with Heero. Since Heero had agreed to come along, he hoped he could convince Heero to share one dance with him before the night was through.

Heero wouldn't stand for it though. The minute he realized where Duo was taking him he jerked to a stop.

"Wha..?" Duo spun around to face Heero.

"I'm not dancing."

"But hee-chan.... Please..."

"No Duo. I came with you but I'm not going to dance to this."

"So if they played some other music you would?" Duo teased batting his eyes.

"Baka." Heero retorted. Duo sighed and gave in as Heero tugged him over to the only empty table in sight. "I agreed to come, to keep you out of trouble, not dance with you."

"No one here would care Hee-chan." Duo pointed to those couples already on the dance floor, some were straight, and there were some lesbian and gay couples in the crowd too. "Other guys are dancing together."

"No Duo."

"Fine!" Duo yelled frustratedly. "Sit here and be... be boring then! I'm gonna go find someone to dance with!" Duo shot up and hurried away, disappearing into the crowd.

It took Heero several minutes to locate Duo. And Duo had in fact found someone to dance with, actually when Heero looked closer, two people! A young blonde woman in a blank miniskirt and a dark hired man who'd removed his shirt. As Heero watched the three of them, his attention was drawn to Duo's slender waist swaying gracefully and sensually to the music. The more Heero watched Duo move with the two, the harder it became to ignore his jealousy. He had to admit that Duo looked exquiste in his tight black leather pants and purple mesh shirt. How he was alnost regretting saying 'no' to dancing with Duo.

Duo stayed out on the dance floor for several long pulsing songs. Heero though just continued to sit there and track him, watching his every move. Sometime while Duo was out there Heero had ordered a water. He sighed and wished he wasn't so stubborn. Maybe he'd give in and go dance with Duo.

Then the blarring music quieted to a slow soothing, calm, love song. After only a few measures Duo was back at the table, smiling at Heero, looking incredibly well for someone who'd been dancing for about two hours.

"Sure you don't want to dance?"

Heero still wouldn't allow himself to give in to the urge. "No, Duo."

Duo just grinned. He stared at those still on the dance floor. Sighing, the grin dropped from his face. "I hate sappy love songs. It sucks not having someone to dance with. I wish I had a date..."

Heero suddenly lurched forward, his hands slamming down on the table with such force his water tipped over. Duo jumped and turned to check on his friend.

"Heero! Heero, what happened? Are you alright?" Duo squeezed between the people crowded around the table to lay a hand on Heero's shoulder. He light shook him. "Heero?"

Heero's head suddenly shook. He glanced around a bit confused for a moment. Then he turned his head to look at Duo and his eyes focused and misted over. "Duo...?" He breathed softly. He felt the hand on his shoulder and seemed delighted at the touch. Heero's hand came up and covered Duo's, squeezing it lightly.

"Heero? Are you alright?" asked Duo, his voice filled with concern.

"Yeah. I'm fine Duo. " Heero said in an unusually light, clear, warm, soft voice. His words were slow as though he were unuse to speaking.

"You sure Heero? You sound kinda funny."

"No Duo. I'm fine." Heero's hand tightened on Duo's. "What were we talking about?"

"Uh...?" Duo was dumbfounded, this wasn't the Heero he knew. "I was just wishing I had a date... But don't worry about that. Are you...?"

"Yes fine." Heero interrupted. "Isn't that why you brought me?"

"Uh...?"

"As... you date...?"

"No!" Duo shouted, surprising both of them, and he blushed deeply. "No Heero... I just..."

Heero's body arose from his chair and he pulled Duo onto the dance floor, where another slow song just happened to be playing. "I'll dance with you." Heero brought Duo to him then his arms slipped around Duo's waist.

Duo blushed, not believing Heero was doing this. He laid his head on heero's shoulder and his hand rested on the opposite shoulder. Relaxing a bit he led Heero lead their dance.

"You sure you're alright Heero?"

"Yes Duo-chan." Heero saidsoftly in that light voice. Duo's eyes fluttered open, but he didn't say anything about what Heero had just said. No one had called him that since... He felt Heero's head being gently his and could've sworn he heard that same sweet innocent voice whisper, "I miss you.." He had to be imagining it, didn't he?

The song played on and it seemed to Duo that the whole rest of the world had disappeared. The room, crowded only a moment ago, now consisted of only him and Heero. He was totally aware of what kind of affect being this close to Heero was having on his body. But Heero wouldn't let him pull back enough to hide it. Then Duo realized that he was having the same affect on Heero! They both gasped as their clothed erections rubbed against each other.

Duo lifted his head. Through the smokey air he made eye-contact with Heero. Somehow his eyes seemed to have changed. They were lighter and there was something in them he recognized but couldn't place. But that had to be a trick of the light, right?

Heero's hand came up and outlined Duo's jaw and cheekbone. Duo lifted his head and leaned closer to Heero, his lips nearly brushing his.

Then suddenly the music changed again. Loud and hard. Reality came crashing back to Duo. There seemed to be even more people in the room then before and Duo felt crowded. Yet he pressed forward, eager to kiss Heero for the first time.

Just as his lips were about to make contact, Heero pulled away. "What are you doing?" He asked in his usual harsh monotone.

"I... I was just..."

Heero noticd he was on the dance floor but he had no memory of agreeing to dance with Duo. "How did we get out here?"

Duo stared at Heero, more hurt than confused. Dark blue eyes were as hard and cold as ever he'd seen. "You... you asked me to dance."

"I don't remember doing such a thing."

"Well you did!"

Heero said nothing, just stared back at Duo. He had no memory of asking Duo but yet he must have for them to be standing on the dance floor about to kiss. He couldn't make sense of any of it. Rather than seeing if anything else would happen, Heero dashed through the crowd as fast as he could, pushing and shoving people out of his way.

Duo stood there in shock, staring off in the direction Heero had gone in. He felt like part of him had been taken from him. He couldn't understand any of the resent events. Heero had been acting so kind and caring, something that made him think about...

Duo shook his head. He couldn't continue to think about Solo. He was dead...

Then Heero had gone back to old cruel self.

Duo whirled about, heading in the other direction. On his way he caught a few sympathic glanced, one guy even stopped him to tell him that 'that guy obviously doesn't know a good thing when he sees it'. Duo just rolled his eyes at the lame come on and kept going until he ran out the back door.

 

Part 2:

About an hour later, Heero felt horrible for what he'd done to Duo. Just because he couldn't remember asking Duo to dance was no reason to get so upset with him. He felt like such an asshole, Duo obviously had feelings for him -finally made apparent to Heero because of that fact that Duo was about to kiss him- and he'd just pushed him away and left him alone.

"And I call him an idiot..." he mumbled under his breath. //I'd better find him and apologize.// He told himself.

"About time you came to your senses," came that same voice again, light and clear despite the loud music, but there was something different about it now. Something that sounded like an underlying note of anger. "Damn you're stubborn! I didn't want him to be hurt! I asked you to take care of him!"

//Maybe you asked the wrong guy.//

"No, I didn't! You'll understand why later."

Then Heero shivered feeling a cold breath on his neck. He started to look around when an icy hand claimed his. He stared at the pale boy in shock.

"Come on. He needs help."

Heero too stunned to object followed the pale boy through the crowd. It was hard to keep up with him. Despite the boy's pale complexion and frail appearance, he was quick and shoved guys twice his size out of his way without any effort, and no one really seemed to care.

Once Heero saw the exit sign he knew where they were heading and no longer needed to follow the boy. After he'd pushed through the door and let it swing shut again he had to wait for his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the alley.

At first he could neither see nor hear the boy he'd followed all this way. Then he heard a soft voice beckoning him further into the alley. He listened and followed it deeper into it.

Seeing nothing, Heero became suspicious. What if this was some kind of trap, and he'd just walked right into it? He proceeded with extra caution. There was still a possibility that Duo was seriously hurt.

That's when he spotted something laying on the ground. It wasn't moving and the closer Heero got, the more he could make out. It was a person with very fair skin. Heero felt sick when he say long hair, tangled and knotted covering the unconscious boy. Standing over the form, he found that his shirt had been literally ripped off and his leather pants were down around his ankles.

Choking back the sickness that threatened to overwhelm him, Heero knelt beside the figure. Softly touching Duo's face, he noticed his lip was bleeding and there looked to be a bruise on his cheek and his eye was possibly swollen shut.

"Duo... Go get..." Heero started looking around for the boy who'd led him there to tell him to get help.

There was no one there.

"Hn." Turning back to Duo he tried to wake him up. "Duo. Duo. Come on, wake up."

It seemed like forever before Duo's one eye open, the other one too sore for him to open and too swollen.

"Duo."

"He... ero..."

"Shh... Just stay here. I'll be right back with help." Heero started to stand, when Duo's hand shot out and clamped tightly onto his, with what seemed to be all the strength he could muster.

"No... Don't... leave me..."

"Duo. I have to get help."

"Please... Don't go..."

Heero sighed frustrated. He couldn't blame Duo for not wanting to be alone, yet he knew he shouldn't move him and should get him help.

"Can you stand?"

"I dunno..."

Against his better judgment, he eased his arms under Duo and carefully lifted him up. Slowly Heero brought Duo against his chest. Duo shivered in his arms and Heero reached for Duo's pants. Looping one arm around his neck, he used one arm to hold Duo up, while the other slowly and tediously slid Duo's pants up his legs. He didn't bother to fasten them, it had taken several long minutes just to get them up and over Duo's hips, he couldn't figure out how Duo managed to squeeze into the pants, let alone fasten them.

Holding Duo against his chest, Heero slipped his other arm under Duo's knees and lifted him up. Slowly he rose to his feet. As he drew closer to the opening of the alley, more light shone on Duo and Heero noticed several bruises and wounds on Duo's chest.

"Dammit. I shouldn't have moved you."

Duo tried to laugh. "Concerned about... lil.. old me... Hee-chan...?"

"Baka."

"Yeah well... Blame it on me... I wouldn't let you leave.... me alone... So just get me home..."

//How long has he been like this??//

"It only happened right before I came to get you... Just hurry!"

//That was you!?//

"Don't worry about it! Hurry up!"

Heero only nodded at Duo. When he got to the car, he examined Duo more closely. There were three different kinds of stabbed wounds and Heero was worried Duo would bleed to death before he could get him anywhere to take care of him. He sighed heavily not ready to question Duo about what had happened. Heero set Duo down next to the car and took off his shirt, and placed it over Duo's wounds.

"Keep the pressure on it."

"I know Heero..."

Pausing a moment, he stared down at Duo. He began digging in Duo's pants pockets to find the keys.

"They keys are... in the car..." Duo stuttered, breaking Heero's thoughts about asking him what had happened and about his cuts and bruises, all replaced by wanting to get him back to the safe house and seeing what he could do to take care of him. "Under the seat..." Duo continued.

He opened the back door and then picked Duo up and as gently as he could set Duo down on the sear. Duo shivered when he was set in the cold car. Heero shut the door, and then got in on the driver's side. Reaching under the seat he felt under and sure enough, there were the keys. Heero shook his head, but he picked them up, put them in the ignition and started up the car.

As he drove out of the parking lot, he glanced in the rearview mirror and spotted Duo still shaking with cold. Despite the warmth of the night, Heero turned on the heat, setting it on high. Though Heero was very uncomfortable with it on, Duo nodded his thanks.

"Why under the seat?"

"Uh?"

"The keys? Why under the seat?"

Duo shrugged his shoulders. "My pants are too... tight to get 'em.... into my pocket...?"

"Baka." Heero retorted, but for the first time, he didn't mean it at all.

"Love you... too Hee-chan..."

"Do you know how much he really means that?" That haunting voice was back.

//No. He couldn't love me...// Heero thought he heard a sigh. //Where'd you go? Why didn't you start to help me?//

"Well it's not that easy... I'm not exactly... alive...?

//A ghost?//

"Yeah, I thought that was obvious... I'm an old friend of Duo's...

The rest of the trop back was quiet. Heero constantly checking the mirror, Duo had stopped shaking bit he, understandably, was not acting like himself at all. He was uncannily quiet and Heero could see tears rolling down his cheeks.

"He hasn't cried in a long time..."

//Why is he now?//

"He's scared. Embarrassed that you found him like this."

Heero pulled into the driveway and shut off the engine. He stepped out and opened the door to help Duo.

"I... I can walk..." Duo stated grabbing Heero's hand and used it to pull himself out of the car and onto his feet. Duo looked at Heero then hugged him.

Heero stiffened. He didn't know to respond to this right now. Then a cold hand grasped his arm and guided it around Duo. Embracing Duo, Heero noted how nice... almost right it felt to hold him like this.

"Duo," Heero took a deep breath, "What happened?"

Duo drew back quickly and had to brace himself against the car. "I don't.... wanna... talk about it..."

"Duo..."

"I just... not right now Heero..." Duo staggered away, holding the car to steadily himself. When he got away from it he barely maintained his footing.

"Help him!" The ghost shouted in Heero's ear. Within seconds Heero was at Duo's side, his arm around Duo's waist to support him.

"Thanks...” Duo mumbled as they walked into the safe house, holding Heero's shirt tightly against chest. The other three pilots were all still up, sitting in the living room. Wufei was on the floor in the corner meditating, while Quatre and Trowa were getting cozy on the couch.

When Quatre glanced up at the two and saw Duo, he pushed away Trowa's wondering hand. Jumping up, he ran to Duo, looking him over curiously. "Oh my Duo... What happened?!"

Heero spoke before Duo had the chance. "Just get the first aid kit and meet us upstairs. Quatre nodded and disappeared while Trowa and Wufei both got up and helped Heero carry Duo up the stairs.

Heero suddenly became very concerned about how much blood Duo had lost. He didn't remember seeing any in the leery due to the darkness but he'd seen Duo bleed when he'd carried him and now his shirt was completely soaked with the dark red liquid. Silently he cursed himself for not taking better care of Duo's injuries, but at least he'd sped home fast enough that they could take care of him now.

"He'll be alright." The ghost told him confidently, but Heero was not so sure."

"Believe me. Just take care of him."

But when they set Duo down on his bed, Heero left the room. Quatre came in with the first-aid kit and sat next to Duo. Heero came back a few moments later with some warm water and a sponge. He set them on the bedside table and went and sat down at his desk turning his back toward Duo.

Almost instantly words were angrily appearing on a new blank document that had opened by itself:

What are you doing!? You should be taking care of him!

Quatre can handle it.

Heero typed back.

Look over there you idiot! Duo's not letting him! Now get off this damn thing and go help him before I break it!

Heero glanced over his shoulder and the ghost was right. Duo kept moving away from Quatre's attempts nor would he talk to Quatre. Turning back to his laptop he asked"

What do you want me to do!?

He'll only talk to you. He'll respond to you.

Why me?

You found him; you are the only one to see him that way.

I thought you said he was embarrassed about me finding him like that?

He is. But he trusts you because you did. You found him, you know what he looked like back there; he doesn't want anyone else to see or know how he was found... He really didn't want you to find him like that either but he trusts you.

We've all seen each beat up before.

Not like this. He's more than just physically beaten. He's scared and hurt and you're the only one to see him that vulnerable.

It all clicked with Heero and he pushed away from the desk. Standing, he walked over to the bed. Softly he set his hand on Quatre's shoulder.

"Go, I'll take care of him."

Quatre and Duo both stared at him. "You sure?" Quatre asked.

Heero nodded. Quatre rose from his spot on the bed. "Alright; take it easy Duo." Duo gave him a brief nod and then Quatre was gone and Heero occupied his seat on the bed.

Duo stared at Heero with wide amethyst orbs. He shook a little more when he saw Heero wring out the sponge. Heero motioned for him to come closer and Duo scooted over to him. Taking his blood soaked shirt and throwing it on the floor, Heero carefully wiped away the blood from Duo's skin, stopped after each one to tend the wounds.

"I should take you to the hospital."

"But... can't you...?"

"Yes but..."

"I trust you Heero."

Heero swallowed hard. None of Duo's wounds really required to be sewn, but Heero was still worried. He cleaned and covered them with gauze, bandages and tape to hold them all in place. Duo flinched every time he touched one of the deep cuts, no matter how gently he was when touching any of them.

Halfway through the sponge bath and tending, Heero decided he'd better get some clean water. "I'll be right back. I'll get some ice for your eye too." Heero stood up, taking the water with him. "Why don't you take your pants off so I can wash your legs for you...?"

Duo shook his head furiously. His breathing had picked up and he seemed very nervous. "No Heero...I can finish myself... thank you..."

"Duo..."

"No!" Duo's whole body began to tremble.

Setting down the bowl of water, Heero resumed his spot at Duo's side. Without hesitating, and without any guidance from the ghost, Heero put his arms around Duo, hugging him close. His fingers slowly worked through Duo's tangled hair and Duo had to smile - a small smile but a smile nonetheless. He'd always wanted to have Heero run his fingers through his hair.

"I'm sorry, Heero..." Duo sobbed.

Heero was shocked. "You have nothing to be sorry for Duo. This wasn't your fault.""

"Sorry you had to find me like that this and have to take care of me. Sorry I'm such a bother."

"Duo, if I hadn't found you, who know what else, could have happened to you. And you're not a bother."

Duo sniffed and backed away from Heero's embrace. "... Thanks Hee-chan..." Heero nodded and got up. "I'll help you to the bathroom so you can..."

"Thanks..."

Heero helped Duo to his feet and helped him to the bathroom.

"I'll be back in a few minutes." Heero said as he left the room, shutting the door, to get some clean water from the kitchen instead.

Duo glanced at himself in the mirror with his one open eye. "Dammit... Not the way I want Heero to see me... I look like shit!" Slowly Duo began to pry himself out of his pants. Once out of them, he through them into the corner horrified by what he saw, and stared down at his naked self - he hadn't worn anything under his pants, made them easier to get into. He felt sick. Holding on to the sink, he moved over to the toilet. He unrolled a generous amount of toilet paper and ripped it off. Reaching behind him, he painfully started to clean himself.

Duo felt like crying again. He'd lost his dignity and self-respect in one swift moment. His physical innocence had been viciously taken from him. His whole frame of mind had changed. He felt so violated; he never wanted anyone to touch him again, afraid to be hurt again. It had felt like his body was being torn in two. Never before had he felt so horrible.

Yet he had let Heero touch him, clean him. Why?

"You trust him. You know he won't hurt you."

Duo smiled wryly as he heard the voice. One he'd heard many times, one he often talked to and asked guidance from. Even though from time to time he had to remind himself that the owner of the voice was gone, he still had to talk to him and hear him, always made him feel a little safer. "Solo... You're right... I do trust Heero..."

Meanwhile Heero had been pinned in the corner of the kitchen by Quatre. The blond was determined to find out what was wrong with his friend, what had happened on his outing with Heero. A boy Quatre knew, Duo absolutely loved. He stared at Heero with uncharacteristically cold, light blue eyes.

"What happened to him?"

"I'm not sure."

"You're not sure! You were with him! How can you not know what happened!?"

"I wasn't with him the whole time. I don't know what happened and he doesn't want to talk about it."

Quatre sighed and regained his gentle nature. "Is he alright?"

"I'll take care of him. When he's ready, he'll talk about it." Heero gently pushed past Quatre and went back up to the bathroom, stopping for a moment to get the first-aid kit out of the bedroom. Softly he knocked on the bathroom door. "Duo? Can I come in?" A flushing sound answered him before he heard Duo give him permission to enter.

Opening the door, Heero stepped in and closed the door behind him. There was Duo, sitting on the toilet, looking to be on the verge of tears. He was fingering a portion of his hair, inspecting the blood staining it.

"When you're done, I have to wash my hair."

Heero set the bowl and the kit down on the counter and took hold of Duo's wrist. "And how do you expect to do with this?" He turned his hand upward so Duo could see the defensive wounds on it. Ones he'd completely ignored and hadn't even realized were there until just now.

"I'll just do it with my other hand."

"Duo." Heero showed him his other hand.

Duo stared at his hands both supporting defensive wounds. "Well, I couldn't just let them, Heero... I had to defend myself! I..."

Suddenly he felt two strong arms around him. Duo leaned into the comfort they offered. He embraced Heero as well, and just cried again.

"I have to wash my hair..." Duo stated. "It's covered in blood... I can't..."

"I'll wash it for you, Duo."

Duo pulled away and just stared at Heero, startled. "You... you will?"

Heero nodded slowly. "I'll take care of you."

Duo's cheeks flushed slightly and a very faint smile curled his lips. "Thanks Heero... I owe you one..."

Heero shook his head. "No. I owed you." He didn't explain, but he was sure Duo would understand what he was referring to. Breaking their hug, Heero got the water and started to wash off Duo's legs. They weren't as bad as his upper half.

Then he got the kit and bandaged Duo's hands. He didn't need him trying to use them and getting them infected. Duo watched as Heero wrapped his hands. It made him feel good knowing Heero was taking such good care of him; the fact that it was *Heero* taking care of him also made him feel good.

With that taken care of, Heero had Duo stand up so he could look at his back. Duo was hesitant, but he finally stood up and let Heero examine and tend his back, cleaning it softly. Duo was very surprised by the tenderness Heero was showing him.

While Heero cleaned him up, Duo undid what was left of his braid. He tried to work through the tangles with his fingers, but to no avail.

"How should we wash your hair?" Heero asked as he finished.

"S'ppose I could stick my head under the faucet and you can wash it?"

"Alright."

Heero went over to the tub. He turned on the hot water first then slowly added cold. Waving Duo over he had him test it. Duo stuck his fingers under the water. He nodded to Heero.

Slowly duo got on his knees and bent over the side of the tub. Heero helped Duo flip his hair over his head and get it under the faucet. Carefully Heero moved Duo's hair under the flow of warm water, making sure to thoroughly drench all of it. When all of Duo's hair was completely wet, Heero reached for the shampoo.

"How much?"

" 'bout two handfuls.."

Heero flipped open the bottle and squeezed a handful of the clear-purplish ooze-like substance into his hand. Immediately his nose was assaulted with the rich scent of wildflowers and herbs. Duo must have smelled it too because he laughed tensely and said:

"Wow… There's what like five shampoo's sitting there and you miraculously pick mine on the first try. How'd you manage that?"

"How many times have you jumped on me?" Heero asked as he began working the shampoo into Duo's hair. Bringing it all to the top of his head, he massaged Duo's head, building up the lather.

"Um... too many?" Duo responded shyly.

"Yeah... I know how your hair smells and I guessed by the label which was yours." Heero returned, getting down to the nape of Duo's neck.

Duo felt nervous, yet excited at the same time. No one had ever washed his hair for him before; he barely let anyone touch it. Yet now he had the one person in world he's always want to touch his hair, washing it for him.

"Back, under the water." Heero instructed and Duo eased his head back under the water. He felt Heero fingers running through it again, flushing out the soap. He moved hair, checking it for left over shampoo.

"Conditioner?"

"Two to three handfuls..."

"Whoa..." Heero took a handful of conditioner and just worked it through the ends, rubbing them in between his hands. With the second handful he worked on the middle section and with the third he finished with the top. He pulled all the hair to the top again and just worked whatever was left through his hair, using another handful off conditioner just to be sure. As he did so he thought he heard a soft moan emit from Duo's throat.

Duo leaned forward and let the water wash away the conditioner. Again he felt Heero's fingers moving through his hair. Despite how much pain he was in, Duo felt his entire body beginning to relax.

"Anything else?" Heero asked as he rinsed Duo's hair.

"Sometimes I repeat, but you don't have to..." But as he finished his sentence, he already felt Heero massaging more shampoo throughout his hair. "Heero... You didn't have to..."

"It'll help to make sure all the blood and dirt gets out." So then the lathering and rinsing cycle began again. Then Heero repeated the same process with the conditioner.

Once he finished with it all for the second time, Heero stepped back. He started down at his wrinkled fingers. Moving away from the tub, Heero opened the small linen closet and pulled out a towel.

Duo had say up and turned off the water. First squeezing the access water from his hair, he then flipped it all back over his head, spraying Heero a little. He had a crick in his neck, but at least his hair was clean.

"Here." Heero said, handing Duo the towel. "I'll go get you something to wear."

Duo glanced up at Heero, taking hold of the towel. "Yeah... just a pair of boxers and a shirt will be fine... Boxers are in the top drawer and the shirts are in the second one."

"Alright; I'll be back to help you."

Heero stepped through and closed the door. Duo sighed, a small happy sigh. He used his sore hands to bring his hair back over his shoulder then he wrapped it in the towel and patted and squeezed it to help it dry.

While getting Duo's clothes, Heero checked the clock. He couldn't believe his eyes, he had to blink and read it again. It had taken close to an hour and a half to wash Duo's hair.

Heero came back into the bathroom and gave Duo his clothes. "I'll never yell at you for taking a two hour shower again."

"Told you, if you ever washed my hair you'd understand."

Heero knelt down beside him. With Duo protesting the whole time, Heero helped him dress. He slipped his shirt on over his head and helped Duo get his arms through.

"I can dress myself."

None the less, Duo allowed Heero to get him on his feet. He leaned against Heero as he pulled up his boxers. Duo almost laughed when he saw the boxers Heero had picked out for him; they were his champagne patterned ones.

Duo continued to lean against Heero as they walked to their room. Heero settled Duo down on his bed.

"You need anything?" Heero asked stifling a yawn.

"No... Nothing but sleep which it seems you need just as much as me." Duo reached over and picked up his brush, which always laid on his nightstand, he nearly yelped in pain as his cut up hand closed around the handle. He glanced over at Heero was already started to get himself ready for bed.

"Heero...?" Duo started timidly. His friend turned to him with a questioning look. "Will you do me another favor?"

Heero came back over to the bed. "What is it Duo?"

"Will you... uh... brush my hair?"

Heero couldn't think of what to say. He knew Duo hardly let anyone touch his hair, let alone brush it. And he certainly had never had to brush long hair. "Uh... Wouldn't you rather have Quatre do it...? I mean..."

"No... I'd rather have you do it... Please..."

"Sure thing Duo..." Heero smiled slightly.

"Thanks Hee-chan."

Duo scooted forward so Heero could sit down behind him. He handed his brush back to Heero. Duo tensed all over again. Heero was going to brush his hair! He almost felt giddy. It was another fantasy he'd always had of Heero. Having Heero brush out his hair for him and then both of them being so turned on by the simple chore that Heero would make slow, sweet, passionate love to him afterwards, and then they'd have to brush it all over again. In his dreams Heero always liked him with his hair down and he always obliged happily.

Right now though, he really didn't know if he was up to the act of love-making, physically or emotionally. He did still however like the fact that Heero was going to brush his hair.

"Be gentle with him," the ghost told Heero.

Timidly Heero raised the brush to the top of Duo's head. Slowly he began to bring it down through the chestnut locks. Immediately, he encountered a knot in Duo's hair. And because he wasn't use to brushing so much hair, Heero unintentionally pulled a little too hard and Duo whimpered.

"Sorry, sorry..." Heero's voice shook nervously as he apologized. He almost had to laugh at himself. After everything he'd been through the only thing that had ever made him nervous was this; brushing Duo's hair and pulling it too hard.

"It's okay... You've never had to deal with this much hair before..."

Heero sighed heavily; he didn't know how he was supposed to do it. Then he heard the voice again:

"Take hold of all of it at his neck and work through that first. That way it won't hurt him as much if you pull it too hard."

Heero did as the ghost instructed. He gathered all of Duo's hair and held it in a tight fist at his neck. He began again, being as careful as he could. Softly he eased the brush through Duo's long tresses. The ghost was right, the next time he encountered a snarl and began to pull through it, Duo didn't whimper this time, didn't even seem to notice it.

Duo felt himself relax even more. It’d been so long since anyone else had brushed his hair. It actually felt very nice. And he could tell by the way Heero was carefully tugging his brush through snarls that he was trying very hard not to hurt him

Heero went back up to where his fist was holding Duo's hair. He worked the brush back through the part he'd just gotten through. This time he got all the way to the end without a single snarl. Moving back up, he shifted over a little and began the process again. Slipping the brush through the hair; gently tugging through knots until he could get the brush completely through the new section without finding one. Then he'd start again."

"Hey... Heero?" Duo asked suddenly.

"Hm?" Heero grunted without stopping his motions.

"Why are you being so nice to me?"

That stopped Heero. "You just went through something tragic and it shouldn't have happened to you." Heero began to brush again. "And I guess I feel a little responsible... I shouldn't have gotten so upset. Obviously I did ask you to dance... then I snapped at you for no reason. I should have protected you..."

"Heero it's not your fault." Duo told him, tearing at the answer Heero'd given him.

"Hn"

Duo didn't say anything; he rally was not in the mood to aggravate Heero. He focused instead on the brush going through his hair. Smiling, he closed his eyes. It felt so good to have someone else do this for him. He was lost in the ecstasy and he made soft sounds of pleasure as he began to drift to sleep.

Heero passed the brush through the last of Duo's hair and he thought he was done until the ghost told him otherwise.

"You need to brush the underside."

//What? You're kidding?//

"Nope."

Heero sighed and lifted the hair to get his hand underneath and started to brush through. He found a few tiny tangles but they were small and didn't take long.

Heero released Duo's hair from his iron grip and spread it out. It fell down Duo's back and across the bed, ending in Heero's lap. Starting at Duo's head, Heero brushed all the way down, making sure he'd gotten all the knots out. He did that until he'd made it through all of Duo's hair. Then Heero set the brush down and just ran his fingers through the damp, soft, silky strands. He didn't know how long he'd wanted to do that.

"Duo, I’m finished." He told the other boy softly.

"He's asleep."

Heero leaned forward a bit and brushed aside a piece of Duo's hair to see his face. Sure enough, his eyes were closed and when Heero listened he could hear him softly snoring as well. Duo looked so peacefully. He thought about just laying Duo down and letting him sleep, when the ghosted insisted:

"Braid it."

Heero looked at the damp strands. He wanted to, but he had no idea how to braid hair. Then right before his eyes, the hair parted itself into three sections. They were slowly crossed over each other. After watching the weaving for just a few seconds, Heero took over.

"Why'd he fall asleep?"

"It was very relaxing for him to have someone else brush it for him. It's been a long time since anyone did it for him and so it made him feel good." The spirit was silent for a moment, then added. "Feel privileged."

"Why?"

"He doesn't let everyone see him with his hair down and only people he really trusts are allowed to touch it. And there's only been one other person to brush and braid it."

"You?" Heero asked as he came to the end of the braid.

"No. Not me. A nun, that took care of him when he was younger."

A hair band suddenly floated over to him. It put Heero a little on edge, seeing the black hair tie float in air by it's self, but he took it and tied off the braid. Silently he had to admit he liked having the ghost around, and learning new things about his roommate from him.

Heero shifted around Duo. Softly he touched Duo's face, brushing aside Duo's bangs. Setting his hand on Duo's shoulder, he shook his lightly.

"Duo... Duo, wake up. Wake up."

Duo jerked awake, blinking his eyes to focus. "Wha... happened...?" he asked drowsily.

"You fell asleep."

Duo's heart fluttered in his chest as Heero's hand moved toward him. But then it went over his should and the pounding stopped. Then a braid fell against his chest and Duo looked down at it. "You braided it?"

"Yeah, I know you like having it in a braid." Heero ran his hand over the braid.

"Thanks Heero... I really appreciate it." Duo leaned forward and wrapped his sore arms around Heero. He felt Heero's arms come up around him and hold him. Pressing a little closer he stayed in Heero's arms a little longer than necessary.

Heero pulled away slowly. "You should get some rest."

Duo nodded and let Heero lay him down on the bed. The blankets were brought up around him and he snuggled into the warmth, holding his braid tightly. He half expected Heero to kiss as forehead, it would have made the 'tucking him in' perfect. But he knew it wouldn't happen.

"Heero, did you mean all that? About me being too good a person to have this happen to me?"

"I don't say things I don't mean, Duo." Heero said as he finished tucking Duo in and walked around the room. Duo shifted a bit, holding the blanket down, so he could see Heero. While watching, he saw Heero turn off the lights. Then his eyes followed him as he went to his desk and turned on his laptop. The harsh light silhouetted Heero's form. Heero's fingers began steadily tapping the keys. This would usually drive him just as crazy as his annoying antics drove Heero crazy, but tonight was different. Tonight it was soothing, so soothing that it helped lure Duo back to sleep.

Heero really didn't have any reason to be sitting there. He was merely keeping himself awake until he was sure that Duo was asleep. His eyes fell shut and his head dropped forward slightly. He snapped back awake. Part of him just wanted to crawl into bed and rest for the night. The other part was determined to stay awake and watch Duo the whole night.

Rising to his feet, he swung his chair over to Duo's bed. He sat down and just observed Duo. The braided-teen seemed to sleeping sounding, clutching his braid. Heero was just about to give into his own fatigue when Duo began shivering. Heero drew the blankets tighter up around Duo and was just about to get up and get more when his whole body lunged forward again.

This time when he sat back up, his eyes blinked to focus. Glancing at Duo's sleeping form, a soft, tender smile came to Heero's lips. Carefully folding the blanket back, Heero eased in bedside Duo. Heero's arms slipped around him and he pressed close to Duo to keep him warm.

"I've missed you, Duo."

"Solo?" Duo asked in his sleep.

"Yes."

"I miss you."

Solo made Heero's lips twist in a small smile and then he touched them to Duo's cheek. It was one of the things he'd always wanted to do but he hadn't had the chance before he died.

"I love you Duo."

"Love you too Solo."

Solo let Heero's body give into the fatigue it was feeling, although he would have much rather stayed awake and stare at his best friend. He just hoped he'd made the right choice for Duo.

 

Part 3:

In the morning, Heero was surprised to find himself in Duo's bed, with said teen curled up against him. He tried to pull himself away from the other boy but Duo was clinging tightly to him and curled back up against him. Slowly he drew away again and like before Duo held tight and cuddled back into him.

"No Solo..." Duo mumbled in his sleep. "Don't leave me again..."

//Solo? Who's Solo?// Heero wondered.

Heero kept still with his arms firmly around Duo. The way Duo clung to him; he knew he wouldn't be able to get away from him. If so, he also knew he'd be there for quite awhile. This was certainly going to be different for Heero; he wasn't use to staying in bed all day.

Every once and awhile, Duo would shift or mumble in his sleep. Heero did his best to slip away whenever Duo moved but that proved useless, Duo would, even in his sleep, tighten his grip on Heero and snuggle close again.

About eleven-O-clock Duo started to wake up. Yawning cutely, he nuzzled against the soft flesh of Heero's neck. His legs stretched out and he cuddled for a moment again. Then his eyes blinked open. Shock filled them when he saw Heero in his bed with him.

"Ano... Heero...?"

"Ohayo Duo."

"Ohayo Heero. Uh... what are you doing in my bed?"

//Wish I knew...// Heero glared at the ceiling as thought it knew the answer and was keeping it from him. "I was tired last night and you were cold."

"So why not get me more blankets?"

"Hn, I was trying to take care of you. Physical warmth is better that just wrapping you in blankets. I thought this was the best thing to do for you." Heero said, logically, hoping it sounded truthful.

Duo scowled himself. //Shut up you idiot, You know you don't really mind that he's in your bed.// "Well... uh... thanks Heero... I think... I hope I didn't kick you too hard..."

"You didn't kick me at all, just... cuddled..."

"I cuddled you?"

"Yes."

Duo blushed, biting his lip and lowering his eyes. Slowly he backed away from Heero, relinquishing his hold on the other teen. He couldn't bring himself to look at Heero, embarrassed by what he'd done, even if he had been asleep.

"Sorry Heero... I just have a tendency to move toward the nearest heat source when I'm asleep."

"It's alright Duo. I'm the one that climbed into your bed." Heero said as he climbed out.

"Yeah..." Duo whispered under his breath. "You can climb in anytime you want…" But the thought didn't excite him as much as if would have a couple days ago.

"You hungry?" Heero asked.

Duo started to sit up. "Yeah sure, Thanks..."

Heero stormed over and shoved Duo back down on his bed. Then he walked out the door. "Stay in bed. I'll get it."

"Hey!" Duo called out then coughed. "You don't even know what I want!" But Heero was no longer within distance to hear him and he really didn't care. He knew Duo had to eat something to regain his strength.

As he was heading for the kitchen, Quatre caught up with him. "Heero! Heero! How is he?"

"Hungry." Heero responded sharply.

Quatre stopped in his tracks. "Well as least he still has his appetite." he ran to catch Heero again. "But what else, what happened? Is he alright?"

"I don't know. And yes."

"You don't know!?" Then Quatre looked Heero over. "Why are you still dressed for bed? Usually you're dressed by now."

"Hn." Heero went into the kitchen without answering either question. He ignored both Wufei and Trowa as they eyed him getting out Duo's favorite sugar filled sugar.

Then Quatre came in. "Heero."

"He didn't tell me yet. He just woke. I uh...I just didn't sleep well and so I'm going to get him something to eat and then I'm getting dressed and will be down for lunch. Is that alright with you Quatre?" Heero growled back.

Quatre gulped and dropped into the chair beside Trowa. He shook and his blue eyes were wide. "Ah... yeah... Course it is..." Trowa just glare at Heero for being so rude to his lover.

Heero poured some milk on Duo's cereal, then some orange juice into a glass. Looking in one of the cabinets he found a breakfast tray. He set both the glass and the bowl on it. Then he carefully picked it up and carried the tray up to the bedroom.

Duo's cheeks turned a light shade of pick when Heero came in carrying the tray. That giddy feeling nearly overwhelmed him again. This reminded Duo of yet another fantasy he'd had about Heero.

"Ah... thanks Hee-chan." Duo blushed even more. But unlike his fantasy Heero wouldn't be feeding him and he certainly wouldn't be kissing him either.

"You're welcome."

Duo took a few bites and then laid back down, a sickening feeling building up in the pit of his stomach. Heero sat down on Duo's bed.

"You have to eat, Duo."

"No... I'm not really that hungry... I don't deserve to eat..." Duo said mournfully.

"Duo, Don't say that. It wasn't your fault."

"It must have been... why else..." Duo trailed off, overcome with emotions.

"No Duo. It wasn't your fault. Now you have to eat." Heero looked Duo over. "Either you feed yourself or I'll feed you."

Duo's whole face flushed. Slowly he sat back up and began eating again. Heero's gaze never left him as he watched Duo eat every last bite. After Duo was finished he gulped down the glass of orange juice and then told Heero he was full. It was strange for Duo to only eat one bowl of cereal but Heero let it go, satisfied that he had at least eaten something.

Duo dropped back against his pillow, his eyes falling shut. His breathing stayed even and he seemed to be just resting. Heero took the tray off Duo's bed and set it on the floor. He stood up and crossed the room to his dresser. Taking a few minutes to get what he needed from each drawer he then left the room, heading for the bathroom.

Shutting the door, he went over to the tub and turned on the water. As he stripped his eyes fell on Duo's pants, still lying in the corner of the room. Flipping up the switch for the shower he stepped under the warm water. He only to minutes to wash himself and his hair and then he was out again.

Pulling a towel out of the closet, he dried himself off. Then he began to dress. After pulling his shirt on over his head, he picked up what he'd been wearing. As he was leaving he picked up Duo's pants as well. He carried them into the bedroom where he found Duo sitting up in bed unbraiding his hair.

"What are you doing?" Heero asked, dropping the clothes into a basket.

Duo looked up and saw him. Then lowering his gaze he saw his leather pants in Heero's basket. "What are you doing with my pants?"

"I was going to wash them for you and the rest of your clothes for you. It would be hard for you to right now."

"I'm not helpless you know."

"I know Duo. But you need to rest and I'm just helping until you feel better." Heero gathered Duo's heap of clothes from the corner, along with his blood stained shirt and tossed them in his basket as well. "Is there any special instructions for any of you laundry?"

Duo shrugged. "Dunno. I just washed 'em all the same." He saw the glare on Heero's face and added, "I know some of them need to be cleaned a certain way but... I just don't. And if anything happens to my clothes I won't blame you."

"So what about you? What are you doing?"

"Gonna re-braid my hair. It always gets messed up at night so I re-do it in the morning."

Heero walked over and got Duo's brush from his nightstand. "May I?"

At Heero's offer, Duo blushed and he thought he saw Heero do the same. "Ah... yeah... if ya want to."

Heero took a seat behind Duo and gathered Duo's hair. He let his fingers gently slide through Duo's hair. "It's still damp'"

"It happens all the time. But just do it."

Heero brushed through the long tresses without a snarl. Duo's curled locks were so much easier to brush now than they had been last night. Now Heero certainly did feel privileged, he could hear Duo practically purring.

Heero just kept slipping the brush through Duo's hair. Something about this made him feel different. He wasn't sure how to describe it.

Duo's hair was nearly completely dry by the time Heero finally stopped brushing. He separated it, brushing each strand away from each other. That done he took one side and crossed it over the middle then the other side of that and back and forth, slowly weaving. As he did so he also noted how quiet Duo was, as much as Duo's constant babbling annoyed him, at the moment he missed it. At least when Duo talked he knew everything was alright inside the Aerican's head, but now things weren't right and it bothered him.

"Duo?"

"Hm?"

"You're quiet."

"Oh... I... Well isn't that what you always wanted, me to shut the hell up?" Duo asked sourly.

"It's just... not you."

"Yeah well..." Duo sighed. "I don't feel like myself anymore."

Heero finished off Duo's braid without another word. Duo then turned to him. Heero looked down at Duo's hands, and softly touched his fingers.

"I hate being so helpless..."

"You're not helpless Duo. You just need to rest and heal. You lost a lot of blood last night and you need to let your body replenish is and regain your strength."

"Then you're gonna make me do your laundry?" Duo joked lightly.

"Only, if you're offering to." Heero returned them added, "I'm not doing any of this for you to repay me, Duo. I'm doing if because you're hurt and you won't let anyone else take care of you."

Duo blushed a bit. "Would you mind if I hugged you, Heero?"

"You've done it before without asking."

"Yeah... but... um..."

"No Duo. I don't mind."

Duo gave a small timid smile and leaned over, wrapping his arms around Heero. In return he felt Heero's arms come up around him. He moved closer, snuggling a bit into Heero.

Heero just held Duo for as long as he stayed in his arms. Again he noticed how nice and right it was to have Duo in his arms.

Eventually, Duo slowly backed away. It wasn't something he really wanted to do, but it needed to be done.

"Thank you Heero."

Heero nodded and rose from Duo's bed. He went over and picked up the basket, the headed out of the room and down to the laundry room. He sorted out their clothes into darks and whites. He started with darks, slowly loading them into the washer, making sure to balance it out. As he was about to throw Duo's leather pants in, he noticed something odd. Part of the back and between the legs were darker than the rest. Stopping what he was doing, Heero went upstairs to the bathroom. He shut the door then went to the sink. Turning on the cold water, he ran the pants under it.

After a few minutes he took them from under the water and wrung them out and the water was dripping red. Sighing he turned off the faucet and went back to turn on the washer.

When he came back up, he first went to the bathroom and grabbed the pants. Then he went back in by Duo.

"Duo, I think these should be dry-cleaned."

Duo glanced at Heero and saw the leather pants and felt sick again. "You can just throw those away. I *never* want to see, or wear those pants again."

Heero nodded and left briefly to throw out the soiled pants and then came back, determined to know what had happened to Duo in that alley last night.

Although now; he had a pretty good idea.

"Duo what happened last night?"

Duo shook and curled in on himself. "I don't wanna talk about it." Duo said childishly.

Heero took a deep breath and walked over to Duo's bed. Gently sitting on the edge of the bed, he laid his hand on Duo's shoulder.

"Duo, I won't think any less of you because of it."

Duo's head furiously shook from side to side. "I don't wanna..."

"Duo."

"Heero please no... I'll tell you when I'm ready ok?"

Heero sighed. "Alright."

"I'm gonna take a nap."

Heero nodded.

Duo laid down on his bed. His eyes closed and within moments after hitting the, he was asleep. Seeing Duo sleeping peacefully brought a tiny smile to Heero's usually emotionless face. With Duo sleeping soundly, Heero got up and headed to his desk.

 

Part 4:

About an hour and a half later, Duo woke up. Drowsy, he glanced around the room. He saw Heero standing with his back to him, next to his own bed. By the basket sitting on the bed, he guessed Heero was folding their clothes.

"You know I think I could help you do that..."

Heero looked over his shoulder. "Oh, you're awake."

"Yeah, Hey I can help with that."

"No Duo. You just lay there and rest." Heero told him returning to the folding. "I've got this."

"But I'm tired of staying in bed and I'm bored!" Duo whined.

"Then why don't you eat your dinner."

"Huh?" Duo blinked.

Heero nodded toward Duo's nightstand. "It's right there. I brought it up for you in care you woke up.

Duo murmured a soft, "Heero..." He very slowly lifted himself up into a sitting position. Then he carefully picked up the tray and set it on his lap; it did hurt his hands a little but he really wanted to do it himself and not have Heero do everything for him.

Duo stared at the piece of chicken and pile of rice on his plate. Then his eyes shifted to the glass of orange juice. Slowly he picked apart the chicken, eating small bits of it mixed into mouth full of rice.

"If you can't eat it all it's all right, just eat as much as you can, and when you're finished I'll change your bandages."

"Gonna give me another sponge bath too?" Duo asked a slight grin on his face.

"Probably should."

Duo blushed at the thought of Heero bathing him again. Despite himself, he felt himself becoming aroused by the thought of Heero touching him. Trying hard to stop his wandering thoughts, he moved the tray back to the nightstand and shifted to lay on his side, and hide the arousal under the folds of the blankets.

Then Heero turned, looking a bit disappointed that Duo had barely eaten anything. Sighing, he announced, "I'll be right back with some water and clean bandages."

Duo forced himself to sit up. "Hee-chan?" Heero just stopped and looked at him. "Will you... uh... help me? I... uh... need to go to the bathroom."

Heero came over to Duo's bend. Carefully he pulled back the blankets and helped Duo to his feet. Duo was glad for the long shirt he wore that hid the bulge. He just hoped Heero wouldn't notice. Also he wondered how he was going to take care of his erection with his bandaged hands.

Heero led Duo to the bathroom. Once there Duo went in alone and Heero shut the door. He hung around outside the door for a moment. Just as he was about to leave he overheard Duo talking to himself.

"What a fuckin' bad time to get a boner! Why does he have to be so damn sexy..."

Instantly, Heero knew Duo was talking about him.

"Damn... How am I gonna do this?"

Heero swallowed hard and knocked on the door. "Duo, You... Do you need any help in there?"

Duo froze with panic. Heero was right outside the door! Had he heard what he said?

"Uh... no Heero..." Duo sighed and did his best to take care of his erection. He did whatever he had too, even used his taped up hand, since he had no other choice, to stroke himself. It took a bit longer than usual before he was able to relieve himself. Still he had Heero outside the door that he was not prepared for.

Biting his lip, he went to the door and, steeling his breath, he opened it to find Heero leaning against the wall.

"You were standing out here the whole time?" Heero just nodded his head. Duo couldn't bring himself to look at Heero. "Did you ... uh... Did you hear what I said?"

Heero tried to meet Duo's gaze but the American kept avoiding eye-contact. Sighing he admitted, "Yes."

Duo's eyes widened and his face burned with embarrassment. Quickly, he headed down the hall, using the wall to steady himself. Falling on his bed, he covered his face with his hands. Right now he felt like such an ass.

Heero went into the bathroom and filled the bowl with some lukewarm water. Then he got the sponge and headed back to the bedroom.

"I leave you for a few hours and you've already managed to upset him!" the right now annoying voice, came again.

//Hn. And just where have you been all day?//

"It's easier for me to come at night Now what did you do?"

//Just tell me what his problem is.//

"He had an erection. And since the thought of *you* giving him a sponge bath is what led to it, he got embarrassed."

//I offered to help him...//

Heero heard a soft snickering. "He didn't think you'd help him with that. He doesn't know you're gay."

//I don't even know if I am.//

Heero peeked into the bedroom and saw Duo lying on his bed, covering his face.

"You care about him don't you?"

//Yeah...// Heero admitted openly. //I hate seeing him upset or in pain. I just want him to be happy and not have to feel like this.//

"You are falling in love with him?"

Heero didn't answer. Walking through the doorway, he approached Duo's bed. He sat down and touched Duo's arm.

"Duo..."

"Listen, Heero. I'm really sorry about what I said. I uh..."

"It's alright Duo."

"You must know I was talking about you! Please don't get mad. I just... uh..."

"Duo," Heero said sharply and Duo stopped. "It's all right. I'm not mad."

Duo forced himself to look at Heero but still couldn't bring himself to meet his gaze. "But you gotta know what... uh... and why..."

"I know Duo." Heero set the bowl down and opened his arms to Duo. "Come over here." Duo timidly moved into Heero's arms and felt them close around him. "I guessed how you felt about me when you were about to kiss me the other night."

"So you're not mad?"

"No, Duo." Heero laid his head atop Duo's softly touching his lips to the top of his head, a gesture Duo barely noticed, before resting his cheek against it.

Duo let himself relax and let out a contented sigh. He had to admit he liked this side of Heero. It was understanding and caring.

"Come on." Heero moved slightly, patting Duo on the back. "Let's change those bandages."

Duo nodded and slipped out of Heero's arms. Heero, first removed Duo's clothes and, then began peeling off the tape and with it pulling Duo's skin.

"Ow! Could ya be a little gentle?"

"I'm sorry." Heero said mutely, being more careful, he took off the rest of the bandages. Then he reached into the water for the sponge. He wrung it out and started to run it over Duo's body, being extra careful around his cuts. Gently he brushed the sponge over soft, silky skin and tenderly over sore bruises and tough wounds.

As he bathed Duo, Heero checked over the wounds again, carefully inspecting each one. This time Heero convinced Duo to let him wash his lower half as well. Nervous didn't even compare to what Duo felt when Heero began to wash his cock and his ass. He was scared and shaking, but also excited and anxious, yet jumpy. Every few touched and he fidgeted.

Heero dried Duo off then processed to replace the bandages. Once he was finished he got Duo some clean clothes and helped Duo put them on. Duo didn't resist him this time.

By the end of it all Duo was tired. Heero eased him down on his bed and covered him up.

"You need to rest."

"Heero will you do me a favor?" Duo asked breaking into a yawn.

"Hm?"

A hand came out from under the covers and Duo pointed to the laptop on Heero's desk. "Go type something... Last night it helped me fall asleep."

"You usually tell me you can't sleep with that tapping going on."

"Yeah well..." Duo laughed, "Things change."

Heero nodded and went to his desk. He just hit the keys in random patterns. There was nothing opened, he had nothing to work on so he just typed at nothing, letting the noise take it's affect on Duo. A glanced over his shoulder showed him that it was indeed luring Duo to sleep. His eyes dropped and his chest fell and rose in a slow steady rhythm.

Heero stopped staring and when he turned back to the laptop, a document was opening.

You're taking very good care of him.

Thanks. I was a bit worried after that little incident.

You must have said the right things because he still trusts you and he's not embarrassed about his feelings for you now.

Good.

Then Heero thought of something and quickly typed: Who's Solo?

For a long few minutes Heero waited for a response, but got nothing. So he typed again: Who's Solo?

This time there was an answer: Me.

Why did you want me to take care of him?

Because of a promise I made. A while before I died, we talking about what we would like in a lover, mate, life partner, whatever you want to call it and when he told me what he wanted in that person, I made a promise to myself that I would find that person he wanted. Someone who would accept and understand him and also see what a special person he is.

And you think I'm that person.

I know it.

I think you've made a mistake.

No, I haven't. You just admitted you care about him.

Yes but...

But nothing Heero, I know what I'm doing.

Heero sighed.

Was it you?

Me?

Who danced with him, I don't remember asking him. And did you climb into his bed last night?

I made you do those things, yes. Why?

I just wanted to know.

Are you upset?

Why me?

Because you do care about him even if you don't always admit it. You don't want him to be hurt. And he trusts you and he wants you to take care of him. And he wants to be with you.

Why?

He loves you.

Heero stared at the three words on the screen. Of course Solo had told him that before, but it still caught him off guard.

And, Solo continued, you love him too.

I what?

You love him. You just won't admit to it yet.

That's a lie. I can't love him...

Why, because he's a male too?

No... Because he's... he annoys me.

That's a poor excuse and you know it Heero. Now just go to bed.

Heero glared at the screen now. Furious he typed: I'm not going to wake up in his bed again am I?

No. You'll be in your own bed.

Heero quickly closed the document and then closed his laptop. Getting up he went over and checked on Duo finding himself sound asleep.

//Does he always do that?//

"Do what?"

//Hold his braid while he sleeps.//

"No."

//So why is he now?//

"'Cause you; braided it for him."

//Hn.//

Heero stripped himself and prepared for bed. Turning off the light, he went to his bed. After turning down the covers and climbing in, he started to fall asleep one thought on his mind.

Duo loved him.

 

~dream sequence~

"No! Leave me alone!"

Something struck the back of his head. Duo felt himself hit the cold, hard, unyielding ground. He glanced around seeing his assailants. His shirt was cut away from his chest and the blade pierced his skin.

Duo tried to call out for help, but something large and fleshy was shoved into his mouth. He attempted to pull away but there were too many of them holding him in place. Duo continued to struggle and was hit in the side with something hard and slightly sharp. He winced but refused to cry. Biting down on the fleshy object in his mouth only caused the blade to be sunk into his side. Then when it was yanked back, he felt his blood gush out of the wound.

Grimy hands tugged and pushed off his pants. More hands ran over his hair.

"So pretty..."

"Very pretty boy." He heard some of them saying.

Duo saw one of them holding something. Duo couldn't make out what it was but he did watch, frightened, as it was moved toward his most intimate spot. He whimpered around the penis in his mouth as if proceeded to fuck him. His eyes widened as something was rammed into him.

Whatever it was; was being moved around inside him. Then Duo choked on the man's semen. The dick wasn't pulled out until he'd swallowed. Even then he only got a few seconds to breath before another erect penis was shoved into his mouth.

After several more minutes the object was withdrawn, replaced with another intruder. Duo let out a muffled scream as his insides were torn and...

~end dream~

 

Duo shot up in bed, panting heavily. His body was covered in a cold sweat and his heart hammered in his chest. Panic stricken, he looked around the room, searching the darkness for any kind of threat.

Not seeing any, Duo slowly exhaled, relaxing. Taking deep breaths, he calmed his pounding heart. After fighting back waves of paranoia, he climbed out of bed. He jumped a bit when his bare feet touched the cold, hardwood floor.

//Get a grip Duo, the floor is *not* out to get you...//

Sighing, a bit ashamed of himself for being afraid of the floor, he stood up and gradually crossed the room to Heero's bed. Gently he sat on the edge of it doing his best not to disturb Heero's sleep. Bringing his legs up onto the bed, curling around them he stared down at Heero. His eyes had adjusted to the darkness of the room and he saw Heero's face relaxed in sleep. Gone was, the stone _expression and stresses and tension lines of war, leaving his face peaceful. Duo smiled, his first real smile, since the incident. Endearingly, he brushed a piece of Heero's wild hair away from his face only to have it fall back when he lifted his finger.

Wrapping his arms around his knees, Duo wept. He saw an innocence in Heero that he no longer felt in himself, one he knew he'd possessed only two days earlier. It had been savagely taken from him and he knew he could never get it back. So he cried, lowering his head to his arms to muffle his sobs. Sniffling and shaking he tried to calm down, but his sobs only grew louder,

Heero rolled over, moving him closer to Duo. His arm bumped against Duo's foot, causing Duo to jump and Heero to wake up. He sat up in bed blinking to see what was on his bed that would have awakened him. Hearing the muffled cries, he guessed.

"Duo?"

"Sorry... I didn't mean to wake you..."

"Why are you on my bed?" Heero asked drowsily.

"Uh..." Duo paused, unsure of what to tell Heero. Then he figured he might as well tell him the truth. It was what he always did. "I had a nightmare.... It was about what happened the other night."

"You want to talk about it?"

"No... I'll just go back to bed..." Duo rose from his spot. Heero's hand reached out and grabbed a hold of his arm. Turning Duo stared at his friend.

"No," Heero told him lifting the blanket up for Duo. "Come here." Duo blinked, looking at Heero with wide eyes. "Come on Duo. We slept together last night."

"We didn't exactly sleep together. We just..."

"You know what I meant, Duo. Now come here."

Duo sank down to the bed and laid next to Heero. The other boy brought the blanket down around them. "You sure this ok, Heero? I mean last time I cuddled with you."

"And I told you it was alright, now just get some sleep."

"I don't think I can go back to sleep."

Heero gently pulled Duo closer to him, getting a surprised squeak out of the other boy. "Then just rest." Heero suggested, already dozing off again. Duo pressed closer to Heero breathing in the scent of him. He shut his eyes and tried to go back to sleep. However being close to even Heero made the dream come back and the pain increased.

//Heero won't hurt me... he won't hurt me. Heero's my hero. He saved me. He won't hurt me.//

The paranoia subsided, but the pain remained and Duo gave into sleep just to escape it. But just before completely giving in he muttered a soft, "I love you."

 

~dream~

A prince on a black horse rode up to a band of men. They were crowded around someone. The price could hear the person screaming for help and couldn't allow whatever was happening to continue. Hopping off his horse, he confronted the men.

"What's going on here?"

One of the men turned to the prince. "Nothing your highness."

The prince looked between the bodies to see only a string of long hair.

"Let the maiden go."

"Tis no maiden, sire."

"Let her go." The prince demanded, blue eyes glaring.

Then men glanced about themselves, weighing the consequence of attacking the prince. Finally they all departed, leaving just the prince and the 'maiden'.

The prince started at the person. It was not a maiden at all, but a young lad with long, brown hair.

"Thank you, sire." The prince just continued to gawk at him. "How might I repay thee?"

"Thank nothing of it." The prince replied sharply, turning back to his horse.

"Please, allow me to show my gratitude."

"I don't think I should be accepting another man's gratitude."

"But please... I must thank thee for saving me."

"Nay."

"Yes," The boy walked over to the prince and spun him around. Not hesitating a moment, he kissed him, stunning the prince.

~end dream~

 

Duo's lips softly caressed the flesh of Heero's neck. The dark-haired Asian teen awoke slowly. He glanced down at Duo's form, pressed up against his own. Today though, he wasn't as willing to lie in bed all day with Duo as he had yesterday. Lightly, he shook the other boy.

"No... Leave me alone..." Duo whined in his sleep.

"Duo, wake up." Heero shook him harder.

A hand came up swinging at Heero. He grabbed it before it hit him. "Duo!"

The braided teen snapped awake. "Whydaya haveta wake me? I was havin' a good dream." Duo muttered still half asleep.

"I'd like to get out of bed *before* noon today."

"Oh," he replied with a blush. Duo moved away from Heero. Without meeting the boy's eyes Duo spoke. "Heero... I want to apologize... about last night."

"Don't. It's all right."

"It's just that..." Duo paused, looking for the right words, "I... like you... more than as just a friend..."

"I know Duo."

"I had to tell you..."

"It's alright Duo."

Duo chanced a look up at Heero. "Why are you so nice to me know? Taking such good care of me?"

"You'd have done the same for me."

Duo's cheeks flushed again. "Well yeah but... I mean... we are friends..."

Heero crawled over Duo. "Exactly Duo and friends help each other." After he'd gotten some clean clothes, Heero started to leave, but he stopped at the door and looked back at Duo. "Duo, if that happens again while your hands are still bandaged and I ask you if you need any help, tell me the truth."

Duo shot up and stared at Heero with shocked amethyst orbs. "You... You'd have helped me with *that*?"

Heero met his eyes with cool blue ones. "If you'd have said 'yes' I would have."

Duo stumbled for words. Heero had just admitted that he would have helped him with his boner! "H-Heero...? I didn't know you were gay...?"

"I'm not sure yet." Heero stepped out of the room, heading for the bathroom, while Duo fell back down on the bed, stunned by what he'd just heard.

A half an hour later, Heero came back. He'd taken slightly longer than usual because of the unexpected feelings just the thought of touching Duo had brought him. Duo was sitting on the edge of his bed when he entered. Heero glanced at him but headed for the basket.

"Heero." Duo called, rising to his feet and walking to intersect Heero. Dropping the clothes, Heero instinctively reached out to Duo in case he fell. He tried to search Duo's eyes to try and find what this was all about but nothing in the violet eyes gave away what his roommate was currently thinking.

"Would you mind terribly if I... kissed you?" Duo asked boldly. Heero knew how he felt so there was no longer any need to hide it. And because of Heero's earlier comments, Duo knew he had to try.

Heero only shook his head and Duo was slightly confused. "No you don't mind or no you don't want me to kiss you?"

"No, I don't mind." Heero said softly, surprising them both. Duo blinked and planted a tiny kiss on Heero's lips. Backing up he blushed. Smiling shyly at Heero, he sat back down on the bed. Heero tossed his clothes into the basket and left the room. Duo tried not to feel hurt but...

Duo stood up and headed out of the room and downstairs. Hugging the banister, he slowly made his way down the steps. One creaked under his weight and everyone looked up to the stairs.

"Hey guys..." Duo said shyly, forcing a smile.

"Duo..." Quatre smiled back, surprised to see his friend.

Heero glared up at the braided American. "What are you doing?" He got up and went over to the stairs and took Duo by the hand and helped guide him to the couch. After Duo was seated, Heero sat beside him.

"How are you feeling Duo?"

Duo latched on to Heero. "Better... Heero's been taking good care of me."

"Hn."

After awhile of talking with the other pilots, Duo fell asleep on Heero's shoulder. Wufei was the first one to say anything about it. "Aww, don't you two look cute?" Heero looked over to see Duo sleeping.

"He's been tired a lot..." Heero moved slowly around to stand up. Then he picked Duo up off the couch and carried him back upstairs and gently laid him down on his bed. He covered him up and bent down to softly kiss his head.

"Sleep well Duo."

Part 5:

A few weeks later Duo was feeling better, and became more active around the house. But he wouldn't leave the house alone nor would he go anywhere that there was a lot of people. He only left for missions, and came back right away. All of his partying days were seemingly over.

Duo was in the kitchen making himself something to eat. He was almost finished when Heero came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder, causing the other boy to jump. Eyes wide, Duo spun around to face who it was and then his face relaxed when he saw Heero behind him.

"Hee-chan."

"Let's go out...." Heero said quickly.

"W-what?" Duo asked, panicking.

"Let's go out."

"Ah... this is a little ironic... you asking me to go out...."

"So you'll go?"

"No, Heero... I really don't want to go... I uh..."

"Duo," Heero interrupted softly. "You need to get back out there. It's not good for you to just hide in here all day. And I know you don't even like staying inside all the time. You need to get out again."

"But I..."

Heero smiled slightly. "I'll be with you the whole time. I promise."

Duo looked at his feet shyly. In a soft voice he agreed. "I guess I could go out for a little while. I mean if you'll be there the whole time. You won't let anything happened to me?" Duo looked up at him with huge, purple eyes.

"Of course not."

"Ok..." Duo glanced down shyly again. "I'll just go change."

"No." Heero stopped him, thinking that if he let Duo go change, the braided teen would change his mind and not go. "You look fine Duo and we won't be out for that long."

"Can I eat?" Duo asked trying to put off leaving for as long as possible.

"No... Let's just go." Heero thought, //Before I change *my* mind.//

Before Duo could further object, Heero took hold of him and pulled him along as he headed for the car. Heero got Duo into it and drove away before either of them lost their nerve.

"Hee-chan. I'm hungry though."

"We'll stop and get something. Where should we go?"

"I don't care, any place that has food."

"I meant what club should we go to? I don't know where any are and I certainly don't know which one we should go to."

Duo tense when he heard the word club; but he gave Heero directions to a night club. "We can stop at Hardee's before we get there. It's on the way."

"Alright Duo."

~*~*~

A roast beef sandwich, curly fries, a cherry coke and a chocolate shake later, they were once again on their way to the night club. Heero kept looking over at Duo, this just wasn't the American's usual order, it was usually much larger.

"He's nervous." A cold hand lifted Heero's off the s tiring wheel and set it on Duo's.

//Don't you think you're pushing us too hard? I mean we haven't made anything official and I haven't approached him about things between us since he kissed me.//

"I haven't been around lately, have I? And I didn't make you ask him out. I'm just helping you to reassure him right now that's all."

Heero sighed. The ghost, Solo, did have a point. He hadn't been around the last couple of weeks and it had been entirely Heero's idea to get Duo to go out. So maybe Solo wasn't pushing them too hard, but just guiding them.

Duo was staring at Heero's hand on his when the car came to a stop. Then Heero gave said hand a squeeze and Duo raised his eyes to meet Heero's. A light blush came to Duo's cheeks.

"W-what are we waiting for... L-let's go...: Duo stuttered.

"Alright."

Heero got out and Duo slowly climbed out of his side simutaneously. He was very tense and really didn't want to be here. And he still didn't know why Heero had asked him out.

A hand fell on his shoulder.

"Aaah!" Duo jumped slamming into the car.

"Whoa Duo... It's just me." Heero calmly said.

"Oh... Sorry Heero."

Heero slid his hand into Duo's and gave it a soft reassuring squeeze. Duo glanced up at him with a shy smile on his face. With a soft smile and a gentle tug, Heero led Duo into the club. The first thing he noticed was that all the occupants were male, and that made Duo tense even more.

Upon entering, Duo looked about for an empty table, just wanted to sit down. But Heero led him right out toward the dance floor.

"Heero?"

"One dance please?"

Duo nodded. Once again, as though on cue, as they stepped out onto the floor, the lights dimmed and softened music filled the air. Heero took Duo in his arms and swayed to it. Smiling Duo leaned into Heero and just enjoyed this moment, his shoulders dropping, as the tension in them eased.

"You're not going to get upset again are you?"

Heero shook his head. "I won't." Holding Duo close to him, he added, "I asked you out this time, I can't get made at you. And I promised I wouldn't let anything happen to you."

"Alright."

Their conversation ceased and Heero thought about when he should make his next move. Since Duo had kissed him, they hadn't talked about it or what could happen between them. Heero had been thinking about it a lot though, and tonight he would make the next move.

The song ended.

//Now.// Heero thought, it just seemed fitting since their first kiss had almost been at the end of the last song they'd danced to, even if Solo had possessed him. Softly, he tilted up Duo's chin then he leaned down and touched their lips together.

Shocked, Duo sucked in his breath. When Heero pulled away, it rushed out and he was left speechless.

Once Duo regained himself, all he could utter was a soft, bewildered, "Heero?"

"You made the first move, now I let you know how I feel by making the second."

"So... are we dating? A couple now?"

"Whatever happens now is up to you Duo. We'll take this as slow as you need to. I don't want to rush you."

Duo nodded. "Ok. But can we sit down now?" Duo glanced around. "It's kinda crowded here." He didn't want to leave, not yet, especially not after what Heero had just done, but he was feeling a bit crowded.

"Do you want to leave?"

"No.... Not yet anyway."

Duo pressed close to Heero as he guided him through the crowd and away from the dance floor. Gently he tightened his grip on Heero's hand causing the stoic pilot to smile slightly. Duo smiled as well, blushing a little. It took a few minutes for them to find a vacant table, but Heero quickly led them to the nearest one.

"So uh... how long have you been waiting to do that?"

Heero blinked. "Do what?"

"Kiss me?"

Smirking, Heero closed the gap between him and kissed Duo sweetly. "Since, you kissed me."

Duo, although smiling happily, stared at Heero puzzled. "But you never said anything and you acted like... like it hadn't happened." Duo sighed. "I don't know about you sometimes Heero." Leaning over himself this time, he kissed Heero.

Heero watched Duo out of the corner of his eye for the rest of the time they sat there. There was a smile on his face as he bopped and swung in his chair. A gentle smile grazed Heero's lips at what he saw. //He must be feeling better.//

"Getting him out helped a lot. But he also liked that kiss you gave him. It let him know that you might have feelings for him. He's been waiting for you to do something like that for quite some time now."

"Hee-chan." Duo's sudden whine interrupted Heero's thoughts.

"Hn?"

"Can we go?"

"Sure Duo.

They got up and Duo clung to Heero as they walked out. He didn't let up until they were at the car.

"So where do you want to go?"

"Back home's fine."

"Alright." Heero started up the car and headed back to the safe house. Heero noticed that Duo kept scooting closer to him. He put his arm around the other boy and drew him closer once Duo was close enough. A bright smile was on Duo's face as he rested his head on Heero's shoulder.

"Thanks Hee-chan. I really did need to get out." Duo's smile grew. "And I'm really g lad about us. I've wanted this for so long. That's why I asked you out that night. And when you said yes it was like that was my chance and then..."

"And now you've got what you wanted." Heero cut in.

Duo nodded smiling. He was certainly glad Heero had stopped him from what he'd been about to say.

They pulled into the driveway and Heero shut off the engine. Duo groaned and as Heero climbed out of the car. He then scrambled over the driver's seat and out the door. Timidly, he took Heero's hand as they went inside. He wouldn't let go, not even when they were inside.

"You two are back early." Quatre started when they walked in.

"Yeah well..." Duo shrugged.

That's when Quatre noticed Duo's hand loosely in Heero's. Gently, he elbowed Trowa, who was dozing lightly beside him, and nodded at the two coming in. Trowa jerked awake and saw their hands. He said and did nothing, just laid his head on Quatre's shoulder and went back to dozing.

"Well... we'll see you guys in the morning." Duo told them before dragging Heero upstairs. Once in their room, Duo shut the door then went over to the stereo. After a moment, music filled the room, a soft love song playing.

"Can we dance again Heero, without the crowd?"

Heero smirked nodding. "Sure. I didn't like the crowd either. Just the two of us is so much nicer."

Duo crossed the room and Heero caught him in his arms. The soft music filled the air of their room and Heero spun Duo about the room. As the song played Heero noted the words.

"This is an old song."

Duo shrugged casually. "I like it... It fits how I feel about you."

Heero listened carefully to the words of the song. They were about not hiding feelings anymore, about said feeling going beyond friendship and letting them be known. "You feel that way about me?"

"Mmhmm."

Duo laid his head on Heero's shoulder and let his eyes drift shut. Being like, this in Heero's arms made him want to express his love to the Japanese pilot, however he held back. He wanted to, more than ever before he wanted to, but he was still scared and right now, it still didn't seem like the right time.

"You're the first friend my own age that I've had in a long time and..." Duo blushed. "Do to recent events I guess you can tell that that feeling's grown stronger."

Duo very lightly nuzzled Heero's neck. He could feel the heat spreading over his cheeks. Silently he reminded himself that he would have to tell Heero someday. Now he could tell him without fearing that Heero would hate him for it.

When he was there in Heero's arms, he just felt so safe and warm. But just being around Heero had always made him feel that same way.

With Heero he had something, someone, to give his life a purpose, a direction. Everything seemed so much better when he was with Heero.

Heero closed his eyes and pulled Duo tighter against him. Duo smiled softly to himself. This was better than any dream he'd ever had of this moment happening. It had to be real; it just had to be, because if this was just some cruel dream, he never wanted to wake up.

No matter what had happened to him, Duo had found strength in Heero. With the horrible incident that had happened to him, it had been his trust in Heero that had kept him going. And now his dream of being with Heero, being more than just friends seemed more and more possible. Even if it had taken something so terrible to get it to this point, Duo was nevertheless very happy about it.

Duo sang with the song, his head still resting on Heero's shoulder. "If I'd have known things would have turned out like this, I would have kissed you a lot sooner."

"Hm." Heero turned his head slightly to press a kiss to Duo's forehead.

Heero had to admit now, at least to himself, that he had deep feelings for Duo. What those feelings were he wasn't quite sure yet but he acknowledged that they existed. With said teen in his arms he couldn't remember why he hadn't let them show a bit more, earlier.

Well now it was time to change all that.

Duo let out a soft laugh startling Heero.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothin'. It's really not that funny at all." Duo admitted shyly. "It's actually really stupid."

“‘Baby I can't fight this feeling anymore.' (1) " The both sang and Duo glanced up at Heero startled.

"Hee-chan, Do-do you have feelings for me too?"

"I..."

"Now's the time to tell him."

//Tell him what Solo?//

"That you love him."

//What!?//

"Tell him."

"I care about you Duo and..."

"And!" Solo shouted at Heero.

"And?" Duo asked quietly.

"And I'm going to try and let how I feel about you show a little more."

Duo smiled, satisfied with the answer. Though Heero could have sworn he heard Solo curse something that wasn't very appropriate for someone the age Solo had been when he died.

Duo laid his head on Heero's shoulder again and thought back on the past few months since he'd met Heero. Duo had been going crazy trying to think of ways to get Heero's attention. His life hadn't been the same since he'd met Heero.

There was quite a few times where it had seemed like he was following the Japanese pilot. Most of it had been because of the missions they did. Though at times it was almost like Relena, but Heero at least never seemed to mind him being around too much. Every time he'd gone anywhere with Heero, he'd seen things that had he been alone he knew he would have missed.

Duo closed his eyes, feeling himself start to fall asleep. He tried not to, but to no avail. Heero noticed how sluggish and heavy Duo's movements became.

"Duo, maybe we should go to bed."

"Nah ah... After the song." Duo yawned.

Heero held Duo close as they danced, Duo falling asleep in his arms. He'd never thought something like this would happen between him and Duo. Just the same he was glad that it was. Taking care of Duo all this time, had given him something else to think about instead of just missions and the war. Duo was making him see that there was more to life than just fighting and he thought he might just have another purpose in life other than just fighting.

Heero carefully lifted Duo up into his arms, causing Duo to let out a soft moan. He stirred a little but didn't wake up. Gently Heero laid him down in his bed then he crawled in beside him.

"When are you going to admit that you love him?"

//When I feel we're both ready to hear it.//

(1) Yes the song they were listening to was in fact, 'Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore' By REO Speedwagon. Sorry if this chapter was a little weird, the original plans were for it to be a type of songfic... but I wasn't sure how that would work in a multi-part. So yeah...

 

Part 6:

Duo tossed and turned in his sleep. His arms swung out hitting Heero across the chest. A weak voice choked out, "Stop! No..." Soft whimpering escaped from his lips.

Heero awoke when an elbow flew into his gut. Shaking it off, he tightened his arm slightly around Duo, hoping to help calm him. Then the other teen screamed and broke away. Heero became fully awoke, sitting up in the bed. While watching Duo, he tried to figure out what was wrong.

"Duo?" calling out to him, Heero touched Duo's shoulder.

"No! Stay away from me!" Duo rolled closer to the wall, huddling against it. "Just leave me alone!"

"Duo..."

"He's having a nightmare about that night at the club." Solo told him calmly.

//He's still having those?// Hearing Duo start to cry, Heero reached out for him again. //What should I do?//

"Well, you could wake him or talk to him. Just try to calm him down. Let him know who you are and that you're not going to hurt him."

Since Duo wouldn't let him touch him, Heero ruled out trying to wake him. "Duo" Duo curled himself into a fetal position and let out a soft, pathetic sound.

"Duo it's me. Heero"

"He... ero..."

"That's right. Heero, I helped you that night. I'm your hero."

"My hero..."

"I won't hurt you Duo. I care about you."

"My hero... My Heero..." Slowly Duo crept away from the wall and closer to Heero.

"It's ok Duo. I won't hurt you."

Duo pressed close to Heero. He settled back into a dreamless sleep.

//Is he ready to talk about that happened that night?//

"He's been ready."

//Then tomorrow, I'll ask him.//

"Just be gentle and don't push him too hard to answer you, but don't be too lenient either."

//Alright.//

Heero closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep. He kept his arms firmly around Duo. Yet even though he was asleep, he got no rest that night.

~*~*~

The next morning Duo awoke, surprised to find Heero still asleep beside him. It was a welcome surprise though. Smiling sweetly Duo pressed as close to Heero's side as he could and tucked his head under Heero's chin. He just lay there, breathing deep the scent of his boyfriend.

After a few long minutes, Duo nudged Heero. When the Japanese boy didn't respond, Duo shifted to look at him.

"Heero?" A gentle shake, then another, "Heero!"

Blue eyes snapped open, then drooped shut again. Heero turned into Duo's body. Duo tried to wake Heero again. He gave him a harsh shove into the wall. "Heero! Wake up!"

Heero jerked awake, mumbling. " Wha..?"

"Daijoobu desuka"

"Hmmmn..."

"Heero, are you alright?"

"Fine... Naze"

"What?"

"Why?"

"Cause you're still in bed, asleep, and it's after eleven."

"Huh...?" Heero glanced up to look at the clock. "Oh... I didn't sleep very well last night."

"Daijoobu desuka?"

"Yea..." Heero closed his eyes. "You just had a few nightmares last night and I..."

"You were up all night calming me down." Duo finished for him. His eyes lowered, ashamed. "I'm sorry Heero. Maybe I should just sleep in my own bed from now on."

"No, cause then I'll have to talk across the room if it happens again."

Duo smiled at him. "Still, I'm sorry."

"It's okay." Heero sat up slowly and climbed out of bed. He leaned across it and softly kissed Duo. "It's okay."

"If ya say so." Heero nodded solemnly and Duo watched as Heero went to his dresser. "You gonna take a shower?"

"Yeah." With that Heero headed out of the room and toward the bathroom.

Sighing, Duo decided he'd take his own shower later that night. He went to his closet and fished through his wardrobe for something to wear. Once he was satisfied with his outfit, a pair of black jeans and a dark blue button down shirt that he didn't bother to tuck in. By the time he was dressed, Heero was out of the shower and had come back in to the room and was in front of his laptop.

"Hey Hee-chan," Duo started coming up behind his chair and wrapped his arms about Heero's shoulders. "I'm gonna go make me something to eat, you want anything?"

"No thanks Duo."

"Suit yourself." Duo kissed Heero's cheek. "Just remember you gotta eat." Spinning around, Duo skipped out of the room.

Heero shook his head while he began his work. //He's sure happy today.// Half of him expected Solo to respond with a reason for why Duo was so happy, but none came. And then he remember that Solo mostly came around at night, which he was glad for, having to deal with Duo and a ghost with Duo's best interests in mind was a little more than he could handle some days.

Downstairs, Duo was busy in the kitchen making sandwiches. One was loaded with everything fattening that Duo could find, while the others ingredients were chosen carefully.

Quatre walked in, finding him in the process of making them. "Hey Duo, what are you doing?"

"Just making sandwiches for me and Heero"

"Ah... for Heero? Did he ask you to do that?"

"He told me not to."

"Duo..."

"I know, I know. No peanut butter, no marshmallows or marshmallow cream, no cereal, no chocolate, yadda, yadda, yadda, on his. I know."

Quatre laughed. "Guess so." Taking a seat on one of the bar stools at the opposite side of the counter where Duo was 'working'. It was more like making a mess, but no matter. "So how are things between you and Heero?"

Duo just gave a little shrug. "They're alright."

"Just alright? Duo this is what you always said you wanted. *He's* what you said you wanted!"

"Yeah, I know. But since that night he brought me home all beat up, I just can't... We've decided to take things slow. Heero wants me to be sure I'm ready..."

"Duo, what exactly happened that night?"

"All done!" Duo exclaimed, grabbing a bottle a water and a coke from the fridge. Finding the tray Heero had used to bring his meals to him, he loaded it up with both sandwiches and beverages and headed upstairs.

"Duo!" Quatre followed after him. "You didn't answer my question."

"Later Kat!"

"Later.." Quatre sighed. Something told him that later did not mean later that night.

Duo set the tray down on his bed and picked up the healthier looking sandwich and the water. He took them over to Heero and put it down next to Heero's laptop.

"I told you I didn't want anything."

"And I told you, you have to eat. I know how you get when you're on this thing, you forget to eat."

"Hn" Heero stopped a moment to inspect the sandwich.

"There's nothing fattening on there. And the breads buttered; no mayo."

"There a tomato on here."

"I thought you liked tomatoes?"

Heero let out a small laugh. "I do."

Duo punched him in the shoulder. "Heero, you know we're not getting married." He teased.

"Baka"

"Yeah, I know." Duo went back to his bed and picked up the tray and headed out of the room and back downstairs.

"Where are you going?"

"Back downstairs, thought I'd be considerate and give you some quiet time alone."

Heero shook his head. //Sometimes I don't know about him...//

"What do you mean?"

//Well he brought his sandwich and mine up here, then took his back downstairs.//

"He just thought he'd be nice and leave you alone for a bit. He kinda feels like a bother to you because he's always around."

//He was always around before... but now he's my boyfriend and it's different. He's not a bother though. I mean I... I... you know.//

"If you can't even think it, how are you ever going to tell him?"

//I don't know... I... I... I care about him... a lot...//

"Yeah, I know that."

Downstairs Duo was sitting with Quatre at the kitchen table. While Duo was shoving his monster of a sandwich, which crunched in his mouth and bits of cereal fell on the plate, into his mouth, Quatre tried not to ask him the questions that had been plaguing him over the last couple of months.

'So Duo, things with you are Heero?" How did they start?"

Duo, a mouthful of his sandwich in his mouth, waved a finger to indicate for Quatre to wait. After finally managing to swallow it, he said, "Well a while back I kissed him, that day I came sneaking down the stairs. That started it."

"But that was weeks ago?"

"Yeah well, last night Heero asked me out and we went to a club, then he kissed me."

"So it's only been since last night then?"

"No. Last night we made it official. We've been sleeping together and..."

"You're sleeping together!?"

"Not sleeping, sleeping together! Just sleeping, get your mind out of the gutter Kat! We just sleep in the same bed, have been for awhile, and we cuddle."

"Heero cuddles?"

"Yeah" Duo nearly giggled.

"Wow. Sounds like things are going great for the two of you." The big grin on Duo's face made it difficult for Quatre to ask his next question. "Duo, are you ready to talk about that night when Heero brought you home from the club?"

Duo knew exactly what Quatre was talking about. Still he didn't feel quite ready to talk about it, especially not with Quatre. Duo pushed his plate away, three-fourths of his sandwich still sitting there. "I lost my appetite. Shoving his chair back he stood up and left the kitchen.

"Duo?" Quatre got up to follow him as he ascended the steps.

Duo whirled around, glaring at his friend. "Listen Quatre, I'll tell you *after* I tell Heero. Not before."

"After... great.. Ok..."

Duo hurried up the stairs, but forced himself to stop from bursting right into the room, he stood outside the door. Lightly he knocked on it, though it was slightly ajar. "Hee-chan, is it ok if I come in?"

"Duo, this is your room too."

"Yeah well, I don't wanna disturb you if you're still working."

"Get in here Duo."

Duo entered the room, going straight to his bed and flopping down on it. He stared at Heero's back. A laugh escaped him when he realized that he wasn't thinking the same kind of thoughts about the Japanese pilot that he use to. Normally, he'd be scheming to get Heero to notice him or having sexual fantasies about him.

"What are you laughing about?"

"Nothin', just thinking about, what I'm not thinking about." Duo caught the puzzled look his boyfriend threw at him over his shoulder. "Don't ask."

Shaking his head, Heero pushed his chair away from the desk. "Come here." He told Duo, patting his lap.

Duo jumped up and went and sat on Heero's lap. Arm snaked around his waist and he laid his head on Heero's shoulder. Right now, in Heero's arms, he felt like nothing could hurt him. Heero kissed his cheek and he snuggled closer. "I always dreamed of moments like this with you."

"Duo what happened that night I found you in the alley?"

"Not you too" Screaming, Duo tried to wiggle away from Heero. "I thought we were gonna have a warm, cuddly, cozy couple moment. I don't want to talk about that!"

Heero held Duo in place with an iron-clad hold. "We're going to talk about it."

"Heero, I don't want to!" Duo fought against Heero, but to no avail. Tears started running down his face. "Heero, please don't make me." Duo shook and cried in Heero's arms.

"Duo, it's alright. You're ok. Nothing's going to hurt you now."

"No... No...!" Shaking his head, Duo clutched Heero's shirt and buried his face in his boyfriend's shoulder.

//Solo?// Heero called out timidly. //What should I do?//

"Just keep doing what you're doing. He'll come around." Then Solo spoke to Duo. "Why don't you tell him?"

//Solo... I-I can't... I'm afraid that if I do... he won't want me anymore...//

"Duo, have a bit more faith in the guy you love."

Heero spoke softly as though to a child. "Duo, whatever happened, it's over. And I'm right here for you." Duo sniffed and showed his face to Heero. "Duo, why won't you talk to me?" Heero hugged Duo to him and kissed his forehead.

"I'm scared..."

"Duo whatever happened, it won't change what's happening between us." Heero continued to speak softly and calmly. "I just want to know so I don't do anything to upset or hurt you?"

"Heero..."

"I'm here. Just go slow and I'll hold you the whole time. Start whenever you're ready."

Duo shook just thinking about it, but he knew it'd be useless to try and free himself from Heero's arms. So he had no choice but to tell his boyfriend. For a minute he sat still and silent in Heero's arms, feeling protected and safe.

"You'll hold me the whole time?"

"I won't let go until you tell me to."

Duo flashed a small smile. "I get to tell you what to do?"

"Hn... yeah."

"Kiss me? " Duo looked up into Heero's eyes, his own violet orbs wide with innocence and shining with tears. Heero nodded and tilted his head to gently touch his lips to Duo's. The kiss was light and brief but it gave Duo the confidence to tell Heero.

//Hopefully this isn't my last kiss with Heero. But I've got to tell him.//

Heero pulled back slowly. "Whenever, you're ready. I won't let you go..." Heero paused trying to determine if he should say what he was going to say. Then he looked in Duo's eyes and knew he had to say it. "Koibito."

"Huh?" Duo's eyes grew wide. "You called me... Doesn't that mean... lover?" Heero only nodded. "I'm your lover?"

"Unless you; don't want to be."

"No it's not that. I just thought we were only boyfriends..."

"Well, koi can mean lover, but it also has the meanings of boyfriend or girlfriend. Does it bother you?"

"No. I-I like it." //Maybe things'll be alright with us...// "Well, I went outside to get some fresh air after you yelled at me. A couple of guys had followed me out and..." Duo took a deep breath before continuing. "I fought them off but more came out of the club and I couldn't hold them all off. One grabbed my braid then held my arms back. The rest got out their knifes, picked up shards of glass, crowbars, anything they could find lying around..." A sob escaped him and he felt as though his wounds would re-open just by speaking about that awful night.

Heero held him tighter. "It's ok, Duo. It's ok. "

"They hit me with anything they could find. Then the guy let me go. I staggered a bit, tried to keep fighting back, that's how I got these." Duo lifted his hands and could still see where they were healing. "Then something hit the back of my head. Things get a bit fuzzy after that. All I remember is something in my mouth and..." Duo broke into uncontrollable tears. "Then they switched and a dick was... They just wouldn't stop... I don't remember anything else, I must have passed out by then, but I can guess..."

Heero could guess too. "Duo..."

"Still want me as your lover?"

"Of course I do." Heero continued to hug him. "Now, just rest, cry if you need to. I'll hold you."

Giving in to the comfort that Heero's body offered, tears streamed freely down Duo's cheeks. He felt calm, relaxed and hoped that Heero would be there whenever he was upset again. Duo laid his head on Heero's shoulder, just to let himself rest, but his crying had worn him out and within minutes he was asleep.

Heero didn't move for an hour, he continued to hold Duo, keeping his promise to the other boy. But after that hour, his legs were starting to fall asleep, and his arm already was. Gently he tried to wake Duo up by nudging him and kissing him. He didn't want to hit him or drop him, like he use to do to the American to get him out of bed before they became boyfriends, because Duo's wounds were still healing and he didn't think it would be a good move in general.

Duo whined at his attempts and clung tighter to Heero, never waking.

Heero sighed and carefully rose, doing his best not to drop Duo. Then he managed, with much difficulty since his arm was asleep, to carry Duo over to his bed and laid him down. After squeezing his arms out from under Duo, he pried Duo's hands from him and softly kissed Duo's forehead.

Heero ran out of the room, and practically flew down the stairs. As he headed out the door, he yelled back. "Quatre, if Duo wakes up before I come back, tell him I went to the store and I'll be right back!"

"Ah... alright..." Quatre stammered. He tightened his arms around Trowa, as the tall boy laid against him, looking a bit worn out.

No more than five minutes later, Duo came downstairs, looking bewildered and red-eyed. "Hey guys. Where's Heero?"

"He went to the store, and he said he'd be right back." That's when Quatre turned to his friend and saw the tears that still stained Duo's face. "You ok?"

"Yeah fine" Duo forced a smile. "What have you two been doing?"

"Nothing much" Quatre winked.

Trowa laughed. "Nothing that you haven't been wanting to do with Heero"

"Hey! Mine and Heero's sex life... ha! Sex life.... we don't have a sex life..."

"I'm sorry Duo." Trowa said sympathetically.

Duo shook his head, disregarding the apology. "Kat, when you've got some time I... I need to talk to you ."

"I can right now if..."

"No." Duo interrupted sharply. "Like tomorrow or the day after that, k?"

"Sure Duo, tomorrow's fine."

"Thanks. Now I'll just leave the two of you alone." Duo turned around and headed back upstairs. He couldn't help feeling a little hurt and betrayed. Heero'd said that he was going to hold him until he told him to let go. But Duo decided to let it slide, he was sure Heero had a good reason for leaving.

So back in their room, he curled back up on Heero's bed, hugging Heero's pillow as though it were his boyfriend.

 

Part 7:

Heero stopped just outside the front door. Then he just dropped down on the stairs and sat there for a while. He took a few moments to think about Duo what had happened to him and what was happening between them.

Sighing heavily, he pushed himself up then went inside and got quite an eyeful!

"Uh... guys! That's for the bedroom!"

The only answers he got were several incomprehensible moans. Closing his eyes, Heero carefully, made his way to the kitchen to put away the surprise he'd gotten for Duo. Then with his hand over his eyes, he stumbled back out into the living room, knocking over a small table as he searched for the stairs. Cursing he leaned over and picked up the table. Once he'd found the stairs, he tripped up them and up into his and Duo's room.

It only took a second for him to find Duo, curled around a pillow. The Japanese boy walked over to the bed and dropped to his knees beside it. His hand softly touched Duo's cheek, but the other boy shrank away.

"Duo..."

"You said, 'I won't let go until you tell me to.' And I didn't tell you to!"

"I'm s-sorry Duo... I just went out to get you something."

Eyelashes lifted for Heero to see bright purple eyes. "You got me something?"

"Yeah, I did; but I don't know it you want to go downstairs to get it. Quatre and Trowa were in the middle of something when I came in."

Duo jumped up and grabbed Heero's hand. "I don't care. I wanna know what you got me!" He dragged Heero down the stairs, jerking to a stop at the last step as he saw Quatre and Trowa climax together. Duo let out a small sigh in seeing that. Then the two of them kissed softly and whispered in each other's ears. Duo, guess it was something along the lines of 'I love you', and other such sappy pillow talk.

A part of Duo resented them because they had something he didn't. The other part of him applauded and adored them, they were happy together and it gave him hope that someday he'd have what they had.

Heero's arm wrapped around Duo, startling him, "Something wrong?"

Duo shook his head, "N-no..."

Heero moved around Duo and headed to the kitchen. Remembering his surprise, Duo quickly followed him.

"So what'cha get me?" Duo grinned, sitting on a barstool at the counter.

"Close your eyes." Duo did as instructed. Heero went to the refrigerator and opened the freezer half, took out four buckets of ice cream. Turning and shutting the freezer with his foot, he went back to the counter and set them out in front of Duo. "Okay. Open them."

Duo opened his eyes to see Heero opening the first bucket. "Whoa! You got me four buckets of ice cream!?"

"Yeah," Heero sighed shyly, "I didn't know which you'd like better."

"Fudge Swirl, Chocolate, Rocky Road, And Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough." Duo smiled up at Heero. "These are good. Cookies 'n' Cream, Mint, Lady Bug, Elephant Tracks, Blue Moon, anything would have been good."

"I'm glad.” Heero went over to one of the cabinets bring down a bowl out for Duo. While he went to get a spoon from the silverware drawer, Duo thought about when he'd been feeling when he'd watched Quatre and Trowa.

//Maybe I don't have what they have...// He watched Heero with a smile, a genuine smile, on his face. //But what I do have looks pretty, good...// His eyes ran over Heero's body. //And it has the potential to be even better.//

Heero caught Duo's eyes on him and he felt a bit... strange. "What are you looking at?"

"You," Duo replied honestly.

Heero glanced himself over. "Why? Is something wrong?"

Duo laughed, shaking his head. "No, nothing's wrong. You're just..." Duo met Heero's gaze as he thought of the right word to use. As he stared into dark blue eyes, he found a softness in them he hadn't noticed before. "Perfect."

"I'm not perfect Duo." When Duo didn't respond, Heero returned his attention to the ice cream. So, what do you want?"

Duo's eyes let up as he looked over the buckets while Heero opened them. As he watched him, Heero caught a glimpse of what he could imagine Duo like as a child. A huge, bright violet eyed child with hair down his back, in a candy store trying to figure out what to pick.

"I can have anythin I want?" Duo asked innocently.

"Yes."

"'K! Then I want two scoops of each!"

"Two of each, uh?" Duo nodded vigorously. Heero began dishing out the ice cream; Duo looked at the single bowl and frowned.

"Where's your bowl Hee-chan?"

"I don't want any."

"But Heero!"

"I don't want any."

"Ok fine. Then make it three scoops of each."

"Three?"

"Yep, I have to eat some for you too!" Duo giggled.

Heero chuckled softly and kept spooning out the ice cream, piling it into Duo's bowl. Duo watched him, a big smile on his face. He picked up the spoon and dipped it in then took a bite.

"Mmm... thank you Heero."

"Well I just thought you could use a treat."

"Thanks."

"You're welcome."

Duo took another spoonful and raised it to his lips. "You gotta have some Heero." His lips closed around the spoon, and then he pulled it out only to dip it into the frozen dessert again. This time he got a bit of plain chocolate on it. "At least have the chocolate."

"I don't want any. It's for you." Heero declined, pushing it away. He moved closer to Duo. "I want this." Softly he planted kisses on Duo's lips, kisses Duo happily returned. Then Heero's mouth opened and he began to slip his tongue into Duo's mouth.

Duo withdrew quickly, shaking.

"Oh Duo... I..."

"It's alright."

"No, it's not. I promised I wouldn't push you. That I'd let you decide when we moved on."

"Heero, it's ok... I want to... I really do." Heero slipped his arm around Duo's waist. "Just... I'm just not ready."

"Let me try that ice cream." Heero wanted to change the subject. Now he felt like an ass for pushing Duo further than he was ready to go. He should have known better. He didn't want to make Duo uncomfortable.

Duo just smiled at him and moved the spoon to Heero's mouth. Heero closed it around the spoon, letting the cold touch his tongue. Duo laughed, "Now the fudge swirl." He fed Heero the next flavor. "Next chocolate chip cookie dough." He made sure to get a bit of cookie dough on the spoon and gave it to Heero. "Lastly… Rocky Road." Heero opened his mouth on more time for Duo.

"Maybe I'll just share yours."

"K!" Duo smirked.

Heero covered the four buckets and put them back in the freezer. Then he got a spoon and went to sit next to Duo. Smiling Duo slid the bowl over between the two of them. They split the ice cream between them. Duo giggled as they took turned feeding each other. As they nearly emptied the bowl, Duo took a bit of each flavor and raised the spoon to Heero. "Try this."

Heero opened his mouth and tasted all four of them together. "Hmm... very good."

Quatre peeked in on the two and smiled at what he saw. “Good for you guys..." He whispered softly, and then followed Trowa up the stairs.

Duo finished the rest of it. "Thanks Heero. I really needed that."

"You're welcome."

They headed back upstairs after setting the bowl in the sink. Entering their room, Heero went right to his laptop while Duo went to his dresser to pull out a pair of boxers and a t-shirt.

"Heero; I'm gonna take a shower."

"Want any help?" Heero asked curiously just because he was still worried about Duo's healing hands.

"No thanks. I think I can manage by myself."

"Alright, just call if you need me."

Duo nodded as he left the room. "Will do, Heero."

For the first hour, Heero checked on the news he'd missed while listening to Duo. Then he checked in with Dr. J, seeing if he had any orders yet.

While doing this, a new document opened.

Did he tell you?

I wish you wouldn't possess my laptop like that.

Heero typed back angrily.

So did he?

Yes.

How's he doing?

Why don't you go ask him!?

Why are you so angry? You know what was going to happen to him! You know that he was going to be, raped that night!

Why do you think I told you to take care of him!

Maybe you shouldn't have made me dance with him! Then he wouldn't have ran outside!

Then the two of you won't be boyfriends and Duo would still be driving you crazy with his constant nagging instead of being considerate of your need to be alone.

Heero didn't reply for a long time. Just sat there, staring at the screen.

You know all this was going to happen?

Not exactly, I know what happened and I know it would have been worse if you hadn't gone with him.

Worse?

Heero suddenly felt worried. He swallowed hard before he continued.

You mean he would have died?

It didn't happen; like that so don't worry about it.

However, it could have...

It didn't, so calm down... You care about him?

Yes! You know that. He's my friend, the only one I've ever had, and the only person I've ever considered a friend. Yeah he bugs me but... Now he's my boyfriend! Of course, I care about him!

Would you miss him if he did die?

Yes...


Heero sank back in his chair and thought about just how much he would miss Duo. It would have never occurred to him before now, but he would miss a lot about his loudmouth, braided, American boyfriend.

"Hey Hee-chan!" screamed someone in his ear and arms wrapped around his shoulders. Heero jumped, completely caught off guard. "Whoa... Heero, you ok?"

Heero looked up to see Duo smiling down at him. "Yeah, fine."

"I thought you heard me come in."

"No, I didn't."

"Wow. I actually snuck up on you." Duo rested his chin on Heero's shoulder. "So what'cha working on?"

"Oh... uh..." Heero panicked and quickly glanced at the screen. Luckily, the document had closed itself and Heero's previous work was up. "The usual."

"Same old, Heero," Duo kissed his cheek. "Can you break away long enough to braid my hair before I go to bed?"

"Sure Duo." Heero pushed away from the desk. He got up and went to get Duo's brush while Duo went and sat on his bed. Heero joined him a minute later and began brushing out the long brown tresses.

"It's been so long since I've trusted anyone besides myself to take care of my hair."

"Oh?" Heero asked plainly trying to act as though he didn't know. "Who was the last person?"

Duo hesitated a bit in his answer. "Well besides you, the only other person that ever brushed and braided my hair was..." Duo paused, a long heart-wrenching pause. "Sister Helen..." A single tear rolled down Duo's face at the mention of the nun.

"Hn." Heero noticed Duo's hesitation and pain at the thought of the nun and didn't press it any further but then Duo continued on his own.

"When I was little I lived in Maxwell Church on L2. Father Maxwell and her took really, good care of me... Then they were... And I couldn't save them... I was too late..."

"Oh Duo," Heero breathed apologetically. He petted Duo's hair. "How old were you?"

"Eight... I stole a MS to save them but I was too late... Father Maxwell was already dead, when I got there... and Sister Helen... she... I... she died in my arms."

"Duo, you were eight. You can't blame yourself."

Duo didn't reply.

"That why you took the last name Maxwell?"

"Well I was an orphan, never knew my parents... They were the closest thing I ever had to a mom and dad... so yeah... It just seemed right." Duo grinned wistfully. “I don't believe Heero Yuy's your *real* name."

"It's a code name. I don't know my name. I was just called..." Heero stopped, not able to recall being, given any other name other than Heero Yuy. "I don't know... I can't remember."

Duo turned around to face Heero and saw the first glimpse of sadness in his deep blue eyes. "Hey. It's in the past, it doesn't matter now." He hugged Heero tightly. "You are Heero Yuy. My Heero."

Heero returned Duo's embrace and buried his face in Duo's neck, hiding in his half-braided hair. "You're right... you're right..."

"How about the day after tomorrow, if nothing comes up, we just spend the whole day together?"

"Why, not tomorrow?"

"Cause I need to talk to Quat. After you he's my closest friend and I've kinda left him in the dark for awhile on what happened; now that I've told you... I think I can tell him... at least I hope I can..."

"If nothing comes up, we can."

"Thanks Hee-chan."

A few hours, later they went to bed. Duo clung to Heero, now that Heero knew; he hoped his nightmares would subside. Heero held Duo close, hoping that Duo would be alright.

That night though, Duo did have another nightmare, but Heero was awake, waiting for it and was able to, quickly calm him, back down this time and Duo was, left to dream a bit more pleasantly.

~dream sequence~

The prince got off his horse and approached the long-haired man he'd rescued a few days before, with great caution. Said man was sitting alone beside the river bend. "Sir?" He called out wryly.

The man turned and smiled at the prince. "Your Highness." He greeted him with a low bow.

The prince walked over and kissed the young man, shocking him.

~end dream~

Duo snuggled closer to Heero as he slept. Heero, awakened by the movement of his lover, instinctively tightened his grip on him, and then glanced down. He hadn't expected the peacefully look on Duo's face but was none-the-less glad it was there. Heero gently kissed Duo's forehead, then went back to sleep.

 

Part 8:

The next morning, Heero got up early, hearing the loud beeping of his laptop. He knew without even looking at it that he had a new mission. Leaving Duo a note and kissing his cheek before going, he headed off first, waking up Trowa to back him up, hoping all the while that he'd be back in time to spend the next day alone with Duo.

Besides he didn't want to leave Duo alone for too long.

~-~-~

Duo woke up a few hours later, searching the empty side of the bed, not finding the warmth of Heero's body, just his vacant pillow. Blinking his eyes open, he glanced around the room, but found no sign of his Japanese boyfriend.

Just as the first wave of panic was beginning to settle over him, he saw the note on Heero's pillow, written in Heero's sloppy handwriting. Duo shook his head at seeing it. Heero could make all those difficult Japanese characters so beautifully but when it came to writing English letters he needed work.

"Well, so he's not completely perfect." Duo smiled, reading over the note that explained where Heero had gone.

Feeling himself relax again, he pulled himself out of bed and went and knocked on Quatre and Trowa's door.

"Kat?"

"Come in Duo. It's safe, Trowa's not here. I think he left with Heero this morning."

Duo opened the door and found Quatre sitting on his bed with what appeared to be Trowa's shirt on since it was too big for his tiny body. Duo couldn't help but let out a small laugh at the sight.

"Oh shhh!" Quatre replied back, smiling himself. He knew he looked ridiculous in Trowa's shirt, but it was the first shirt he'd found when he woke up.

Duo smirked, “So can we have that talk now?"

"Sure." Quatre patted the spot next to him on the bed.

Duo laid down on his side, propping himself up on his elbow. He took a deep breath and stared up at Quatre.

"Well, let's see... that night Heero finally agreed to go out with him. I'm not sure as to why, but he did. And so we went to this club I'd heard about. After I danced by myself for bit, I went back by Heero and asked him to dance with me..." Duo paused trying to recall what had happened. "I made a comment about wishing I had a date and then... Heero started acting weird."

"Weird how?"

"I dunno. But it was like he was a completely different person. He suddenly wanted to dance with me. He pulled me on to the floor and we started dancing." A soft smile came to Duo's face as he reminisced. "We were about to kiss when he started acting like himself again. He got pissed and said he hadn't asked me to dance. Then I got really upset and ran out the back door and well, a bunch of guys followed me and... In the short run... I was..." Duo looked away and closed his eyes tightly. "I was gang raped."

Quatre gasped, frightened. "Oh my... Duo..."

"Heero somehow, thankfully, found me out there and brought me home." Duo looked back up at Quatre. "Sorry about how I acted that night. I know you were just trying to help me... but I... I dunno. I just didn't want anyone to see me like that... But since Heero had found me, I only wanted him to take care of me."

Quatre nodded, and then proceeded to scowl Duo. “You should have gone to the hospital."

"Nah... Heero took really good care of me." Duo smiled.

"Yes I know but still..." Quatre sighed. "He has become a lot more patient with you. I think he even smiles now when you're around."

Duo smirked and flipped his hair back over his shoulder. "Well can you blame him? I mean I am such a lovable and irresistible guy."

Quatre laughed. "So how are you and Heero?"

"Great I guess. I can't complain." Duo shrugged. "Even though, I won't let him kiss me."

"What?" blinked Quatre.

"Well we kiss but we don't *kiss*. Quatre still looked a bit confused so Duo sat up and leaned over. "We kiss," he planted a soft peck on Quatre's lips. "But nothing more."

"Why not? Doesn't he want to?"

"No he does. And honestly I do too..." Du sighed heavily, "But I'm scared. I mean that night I had so many dicks shoved in my mouth and... I really don't want anything in there right now... I think if frustrates him though."

"I think he understands Duo."

"He does... he says I can control when we move to the next step... but I know he wants to now."

"How do you know that?

"Because he tried to French me last night and I pushed him away."

Quatre smiled sympathetically. "Oh. Well I'm still sure he understands Duo."

Duo smiled back. "Yeah, so how are things with Trowa?"

"You don't see me complaining, do you?" Quatre smirked shyly.

"Yeah," Duo laughed, “after what I saw last night, I'd say you've nothing to complain about."

Quatre's cheeks darkened. "Ah... ha..."

"I hope I can be as happy as you two someday."

"With Heero?"

"If it works out. Right now I barely let him touch me so anything sexual is out of the question."

Quatre smiled again. "I'm sure you will soon."

"Gee... Just think before this all happened to me all I could thing about was having sex with Heero."

"Well," Quatre sighed, "as horrible as what happened to you was, maybe it was a good thing. I mean you're seeing Heero as more than just an object of lust, as a real person and you two are forming a real relationship."

"Yeah, Heero's been so supportive through all this. I've been able to see a softer, more understanding side of him." Now Duo blushed. "And well I really like this side of him."

"I think it's been good for him too. He's actually being sociable and well... acting human."

"He's always been human... he just needed to be pried out of his shell a little more. And I'm just the guy to do it!"

Quatre shook his head, laughing quietly. "Guess you're right. But other than that, everything's good?"

"Oh yeah, I have no complains about anything. I mean I love Heero. And I'm so glad this is all finally happening." Duo smiled broadly, sprawling out over the bed. "So, any clue where our handsome boyfriends ran off to?"

Quatre shook his head profusely, little blonde strands flying over his face. "No, Trowa was gone before I got up."

"Heero too." Duo got a devious grin on his face. "You don't think they decided to ditch us and ran off together, do ya?"

That comment earned him a pillow to the head, courtesy of Quatre. "Maybe Heero ditched you," Quatre retorted sarcastically, "but I know my Trowa. Heero's not his type."

Duo smirked and threw the pillow back at Quatre. "Yeah, I know. He likes short, girly, blondes."

Quatre picked up two pillows and smacked Duo with both of them, one to each side of the head. Duo reached up and yanked one out of Quatre's hand.

"At least I don't look like a girl." Quatre fired back.

"Nice Quatre. I may look like a girl but I'm all man underneath." Duo's smirked widened and he scratched himself to emphasize his point.

Quatre just rolled his eyes.

"Tro's not Heero's type either."

"Yeah I know. You're nothing like Trowa and Heero likes you so..." Quatre giggled.

Duo threw the pillow at Quatre, the reached over and patted his knee. "C'mon, let's get some breakfast."

"Sounds good." Quatre climbed off the bed, and looked at Duo who was still laying there. "Well come on. I'm not going to serve you."

Duo groaned and rolled off the bed. "Man, Kat, you're no fun."

"I thought you'd be use to people like that," Quatre smirked, “I mean you hang out with Heero and he can't be much fun."

"Hey!" Duo jumped up and draped an arm around Quatre's thin shoulders. "Don't talk about my Hee-chan that way! He can be... when he wants... maybe... someday... Oh hush!" Duo gave up trying to think of a time Heero had actually been fun. Although he was sweet and Duo had fun with him, he wasn't necessarily a very fun person.

Part 9:

Most of the day Duo spent talking with Quatre and feeling more like himself than he'd felt in awhile. So by the time Trowa and Heero returned, not only was Duo all out of ice cream but he was excited, happy and smiling again.

The moment Heero stepped in the door, Duo bounced up and over to him, ambushing him at the door and kissing him before he could even shut the door. Trowa softly chuckled as he past them and Quatre let out a wolf whistle as he got up to meet Trowa.

Heero carefully detangled himself from Duo, but only long enough to shut the door and then Duo's arms were tightly wrapped around him once more. Softly he smiled at his boyfriend, putting his arms around Duo.

"Glad you're home baby." Duo kissed Heero lightly on the lips.

"Hm."

Duo pouted at him. "You're not happy to be home? Not happy to see me?"

"Very happy to be home," The coldness dropped from his voice. "And very happy to have someone to come home to."

Duo's eyes lit up in a way Heero had never seen before. The violet orbs seemed to glow in the dim hallway. They shone so brightly, Heero didn't even need Solo to tell him that Duo loved him. The truth was right there, reflected in those beautiful eyes.

Duo took Heero by the hand and began dragging him into the living room. When Heero slipped his had out of Duo's, the braided boy turned to him puzzled and slightly hurt.

"Duo, I've got a report to write."

"Hee-chan..." Duo whined. "It can wait a little. It won't take you that long to write. Come on; hang out with the rest of us. I've missed you all day. Didn't you miss me?"

"Yes. But Duo..."

"Just do as he asks." came Solo's calm voice, once again double-teaming Heero."

//Why are you always on his side?//

"Cause he's my be... was my best friend. And I love him."

"All right." Heero let Duo lead him into the living room. Heero just hoped that Wufei wasn't there. The Chinese pilot was the only one that would say something about Duo getting him to do whatever he asked.

//But Wufei doesn't know that I'm always being unfairly double-teamed!// Heero angrily thought, hoping Solo heard him.

There was a soft laugh in his head. "I'm just looking out for Duo."

There wasn't another minute to waste arguing with Solo. Duo had already seated them both on the couch and was cuddling with him. He didn't argue because he'd truly missed holding Duo all day. So Heero sneaked a secure arm around him, bringing Duo closer to him and planting a kiss on top of his head. A sigh, a contented sigh escaped Duo as he snuggled deeper into Heero's shoulder.

Quatre smiled happily at the two of them. He knew better than anyone else that Duo had had a crush - if you will - on Heero for some time now. So he was very happy that Duo finally had what he wanted, even if it wasn't everything he'd wanted in a relationship with Heero just yet.

Duo glanced at Quatre, returning the smile on his face. "So," Duo asked, "You two lovebirds have any plans for tomorrow?"

Quatre glanced at Trowa and then back at Duo. "Not really. Why?"

"Well," Duo's eyes flicked to Heero. "We were kinda hoping to have the place to ourselves. You know... some alone time for the two of us." Duo smirked.

Trowa chuckled softly. "You didn't tell me you two were that far Heero." Quatre elbowed him in the gut.

"We're not."

"You gabbed about us to Trowa?"

"You told Quatre, didn't you?" Heero retorted.

"Well yes, but..." Duo faltered. "You never said anything about telling Trowa."

Trowa cut in. "The mission was pretty boring so we had some time to talk."

Quatre raised an eyebrow at him. "And what else did you talk about."

Duo stared at Heero.

"Whatever came up."

Heero snickered. "Mainly Trowa complained about how much he missed Quatre."

"I didn't..."

Trowa's sentence was cut short by Quatre hugging him tightly and kissing him deeply.

Duo laughed softly. "Get a room you two!"

Quatre pulled away from Trowa. "I think we can work something out so you two can have some time alone. You definitely deserve it."

Duo whispered into Heero's ear. "Trowa didn't say that, did he?"

"No. But it got him to shut up."

"Yeah. But you're not off the hook, mister."

Heero smirked and kissed Duo softly.

Duo enjoyed the small kiss, but pulled away, grinning as well. "Nice try Heero. But you're still not off the hook."

Heero sighed. "We just talked about our relationship. I just told him we'd started dating and that we're taking things slow. I didn't say anything about what happened to you..." Heero brushed his hand down Duo's cheek. "Seems everyone but me knew how much you wanted to be with me."

Duo laughed. "Maybe you should have paid more attention. I made plenty of advances on you."

"Well, you've got me attention now."

"I know." Duo bit his lip. As Heero looked at him with that soft, fondness in his eyes again, Duo knew he had to tell Heero he loved him now. Even if Heero didn't say it back, he had to tell him. Duo leaned closer to Heero again and breathed softly in his ear. "Heero... I love you..."

Heero smiled slightly and hugged Duo tightly to his chest.

"Aren't you going to say something to him?"

//Solo please, let me do it on my own time. I don't like you telling me how I feel when I haven't figured it out for myself.//

Duo smiled back at him. "So?"

"I know Duo." Heero replied softly. Duo nodded back, accepting that that was the only answer he'd get from Heero. But at least he felt better for telling him.

Duo yawned and released his grip on Heero. "You should go write your report." Heero nodded, lightly kissing Duo before standing up. "I'll be up soon. I'm getting kinda tired, so I'll be coming to bed soon."

Heero squeezed Duo's hand, then climbed up the stairs and headed to their room.

As Heero was about to start his report, a document open with Solo already ranting at him.

Why can't you just admit it!?

Listen! I told you, I'll tell him when I'm ready! I'm not sure how I feel, so stop pushing me. And besides, he's been through a lot lately and I don't want to push him and have him feel obligated to do something he's not ready for just because I say something like that.

You mean sex?

Yes.

Duo's loved you for a long time.

He's lusted over me for a long time you mean.

Solo ignored that comment.

All he's ever wanted was to be with you. He's not concerned about sex.

Really? And just what kind of thoughts did he have about me before he was gang raped?

Well ah.... you holding him and the two of you having sex...

Heero smirked.

That's what I thought.

But he doesn't think about that now. He just wants to be with you.

And he is. But he's not ready to hear that from me right now. He may seem fine but he's still emotionally unstable. And until I'm ready to say it and he's ready to hear it, I don't want you pushing me anymore.

Oh, alright!

Besides I made a promise to him too.

What?

That he's in control of our relationship. It'll only move forward when he's ready.

But he said he loved you! That's moving forward.

Slightly yes. But there's more to this than just words. All I had to do was look in his eyes to know that he loves me.

Well he doesn't have that luxury! You're a cold, heartless, emotionless bastard!

Yet you said I was right for him.

Solo didn't respond.

Having doubts about that now?

It's too late for me to have doubts. Besides, Duo picked you, not me, I'm just here to help the two of you and make sure Duo is happy.

And if I was really as emotionless as you say, I wouldn't care about him and I wouldn't have taken such good care of him. Or haven't I done a satisfactory job of that?

Yes, you've taken great care of him.

Thank you. Now I have work to do.

I'm sorry, Heero. It's just that I love him and I want him to be happy. I couldn't do it while I was alive so I'm doing everything I can for him now.

I understand.

Heero closed the document and went to work on his report to J. It was very mandarin and boring so it only took a few short minutes. But just long enough so that he finished just as Duo came into through the door.

"Done?"

"Yes."

"Heero." Duo crossed the room and rested his hands on Heero's shoulders.

"Hm?"

"About what I said downstairs, I want you to know that I really mean it."

"I know, Duo."

"And I don't expect you to say it back; I just really wanted to tell you."

Heero laid his hand over the top of Duo's. //Maybe someday Duo... Someday.//

"Ready for bed koi?"

"Yeah." Duo smiled.

"Aren't you upset that he doesn't tell you he loves you?" Solo's voice rang in Duo's ear as he changed for bed. Duo sometimes wondered if Solo's voice in his head was just his imagination, but times like this, when Solo seemed very passionate about what he was saying, he knew Solo was there in the room with him and he always expected to turn around and see his childhood friend standing beside him.

//Not really, He has to care about me a little bit though. Heero's not that type to use a word like koibito lightly. I have to mean something to him and he must feel something toward me to use an endearment at all. But if he ever tells me or even if he doesn't, I'm happy just being with him.//

Duo heard Solo sigh and laughed inwardly. //What's wrong Solo-chan?//

"Nothing Duo-chan, nothing as long as you're happy."

Duo smiled as he slipped into bed beside Heero. The Japanese's pilot’s arms drew him closer and Duo complied nicely snuggling close to Heero. Heero's lips brushed Duo's cheek as the braided teen nestled on his chest, and then he closed his eyes.

"I love you Heero."

Heero squeezed him tightly then loosened his grip. Duo happily sighed; closing his eyes as well and went to sleep.

Solo waited until both pilots were sound asleep, then he leapt into Heero. The Prussian eyes opened and looked fondly at Duo. Being in Heero's body though he could tell that Heero was a little confused about his feelings for Duo, but there were certainly very strong emotions tied to the other pilot. And what shocked Solo the most was that they were almost as deep as his own feelings for Duo.

//Someone, though, has to tell him they love him.//

He rolled the two over, laying Duo gently on the pillow. Using Heero's hand, he brushed Duo's cheek, pushing aside stray bangs. Then he leaned down and kissed Duo's lips, ever so light. It was something else he'd always wanted to do.

"I love you Duo-chan."

"Love ya too... Hee-chan..."

Solo bristle a bit. But he had to have expected that. After all Duo's main thoughts now were his boyfriend. And even if him talking through Heero made the Japanese boy's voice lighted and more emotional, it was still Heero's voice Duo heard.

Sighing, Solo left Heero's body, not bothering to lay him back down. Heero landed with a squeak from the bed. His eyes flew open and he glanced around the dark room.

Glaring, he thought. //Solo!//

But there was no answer.

Letting it be for now, Heero took Duo back into his arms, and after Duo had readjusted himself back against Heero, sound asleep the whole time, Heero allowed himself to go back to sleep.

~TBC