8-17-2001

Kracken
Disclaimer: I don’t own them, really I don’t!
Warnings: Hmm, let’s see, violence, angst, language, Duo on a motorcycle (Oooh, baby!) yaoi (Male, Male) relationship. Heero being Heero (*sigh*), but you wouldn’t like him if he was a big cuddly teddy bear, now would you? Okay, you’ve been properly warned. Don’t come crying to me... no, don’t! I won’t listen!

Heero’s Lover
(Sequel to Shinigami’s Lover, but it stands alone too)

 

“Baka! Baka! Baka!” Duo chanted as his feet pounded out of the installation, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind him. “Run! Run! Run! Damn body! Run!”

Duo’s breath wheezed. His lungs felt tight and they burned. He didn’t want to run any more, just lie down flat and try to breathe, but his pursuers were right behind him and Duo Maxwell didn’t give up easily. Looking back at the men running on his heels, Oz soldiers armed to the teeth and firing shot after shot at his head, he stuck out an impish tongue and gave them a flip of a finger as he picked up speed and rounded a corner of a warehouse.

The motorcycle was still there. Duo hopped aboard and cranked the engine. It stuttered and stopped. “Frickin’ piece of-” He cranked it again and the engine roared to life. “You beautiful, marvelous... Go! Go! Go!” Duo popped a wheelie as he gunned the engine, racing to reach the main road before the soldiers reacted to his surprise move with counter measures of their own.

A bullet ricocheted off the fender. Duo ducked down low as the wind whipped into his unprotected face. The heat of the engine, and the rumble of the motorcycle between his legs, was comforting as Duo raced away into the night, but he didn’t fool himself into thinking he had escaped yet. Oz had patrols every where. All they had to do was radio ahead and-

“Shit!” The motorcycle, taking a bend in the road at top speed, almost barreled straight into a roadblock of Oz vehicles. Duo had a mad , disjointed vision of Oz soldiers raising their guns to take aim, headlights shimmering over blacktop to pick him out for a target, before Duo turned the bike off of the road without slowing.

Suicide, Duo thought, and grinned as he gripped the bike with his knees as hard as he could and popped a wheelie. If the ground was soft, he was dead. If it was hard packed, he had a chance... a very small chance. The bike went flying off of the road and over the drainage ditch beside it. The back wheel hit the opposite embankment, spun on hard earth, and went flying forward into a forest as both wheels came down safely.

“Yeeehaaawww! Don’t try this at home, kids!” Duo laughed, adrenalin pumping as he used every ounce of skill he had not to bash the bike and himself into a tree trunk.

It was too dark, the trees too thick, and Duo’s speed too great. Luck ran out as he clipped a tree. The motorcycle spun and Duo went flying off sideways. He landed hard on the ground and kept sliding. He heard the motorcycle hit the ground behind him and he knew it was sliding towards him. Duo rolled into a ball as best he could and put his hands over his head. The bike barreled into him, wheels still spinning and engine still racing.

Oh, God! God, no! No! No! No! Pain exploded and a bone crunched in Duo’s shoulder. His leg jammed under the bike and the bike slid over it to thrust a hot crankcase into Duo’s gut. The bike and Duo finally came to rest tangled together, engine smoking.

Duo tasted blood, spat, and was glad none of his teeth came out with it. He fumbled, before checking anything else, for the small package zipped up in the inside of his black jacket. Good, it was still safe. He hadn’t failed the mission yet. The small disk, nestled against his heart, held the layout to several new Oz installations. That information was key to several future missions, missions that might turn the tide of the war in their favor. Failure wasn’t an option. Duo had known that when he had taken the assignment.

Heero hadn’t wanted to give the mission to him. Still recovering from the pneumonia that had almost killed him, Duo was still thin and prone to running out of breath. Still, common sense had never been one of his strong points. It had made him angry too, when Heero had sized him up with a very blue, intense look and flatly told him to go rest and leave the mission to someone else. Duo hated looking weak in front of Heero. He would have done anything to avoid it, even taking on a mission when he knew he wasn’t up to it.

Duo whimpered as he tried to get out from under the bike. That was okay, he thought, there wasn’t anyone around to see him cry like a girl as he forced his broken shoulder blade to move out from under a wheel and his fractured leg to come loose from the underside of the crankcase. His stomach felt as if an elephant had slammed into it, but, surprisingly, Duo didn’t feel anything worse than a huge bruise. One small blessing in an otherwise miserable situation. He wasn’t going to die right away.

The motorcycle was useless. The front wheel was smashed and it was spilling gas onto the ground. Duo slapped the engine off. It spluttered and died. Only then did he hear the sound of Oz soldiers in the distance, shouting at each other, breaking through the undergrowth as they tried to coordinate a search for him. Idiots! Where did they find these guys? Duo thought, all they had to do was follow the tire tracks to his mangled body. Yeah, it was that easy. Duo’s mind kicked itself as he tried to get up. He had to start running again, find a place to hide, try and slip through the net of soldiers and escape. Easier said than done.

How many ways could a body hurt? How much pain could it stand before the heart just gave out? Duo felt that he was close to finding out as he tried to put his weight on his fractured leg. He stumbled, went down on his good knee, and just tried to breathe as the world slipped in and out of focus. He was biting his hand to keep himself from screaming. He tasted blood as his teeth ground down through skin.

Okay. He wouldn’t be using two legs then. Duo did the only thing he could do, he hopped on his good leg, dragging the fractured one behind him. Another stupid trail for them to follow, but he couldn’t stop to erase his tracks. He opted for speed instead, hoping against hope that he would make it to the beacon before the Oz soldiers caught up with him. A slim hope. A mad hope. A desperate hope that didn’t have any chance of coming true. Duo felt the gun in his belt. He touched the knife in its sheathe up his sleeve. He was ready for the fight of his life at least in the weapon department.

Duo pulled the locator out of his pocket and turned it on for the briefest second. A flash indicated the direction of the beacon before Duo hurriedly turned it off. He wouldn’t want Oz soldiers picking up the signal too. Not that there would be anything for them to find. The beacon was just a sign post. Only Duo knew where the Gundams lay after that. The map was safely in his head.

“Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” Duo chanted it, shaking feverishly with the pain at every hop. His broken shoulder blade was a white hot agony and his leg felt like someone was ripping it open, slowly, from ankle to knee cap. Add to that the aftereffects of his pneumonia and Duo was surprised to be on his feet at all.

If he could just get a full breath into his tortured lungs... If he could just forget the pain and put his weight on his fractured leg.... If he could just out fox the Oz soldiers.... “Stop whining!" Duo shouted silently at himself. “Stop crying like a baby!” he was, crying like a baby. He sobbed, panted, and shed tears until it both his cheeks were damp. What if he ran into Heero? What would Heero think of him, seeing him like that? Duo hacked on a hysterical laugh, why, Heero Yuy would take the disk and shoot him between the eyes... useless, Baka! That’s all he was right now. Useless.

So sorry, Heero, Duo thought. I knew better than to do this. Stupid pride! I just couldn’t let you think I was weak.... why does it even matter so much to me, what you think? They told me that you helped me when I was out of my mind with fever, but I don’t remember that. Doesn’t seem like you. I wished someone had taken a picture to prove it. Heero Yuy, caring about me.

Did Heero care? The man had been even quieter, more withdrawn, more cold, more everything since Duo had regained most of his health. Only those blue eyes had been resting on Duo more than usual, thoughtful, for the most part, but sometimes so intense that Duo felt afraid. Afraid of what? Maybe afraid that Heero was writing him off for future missions. Who wanted a terrorists who let an illness flatten him out? So, when he’d seen the mission printing out on Heero’s laptop, Duo had insisted, no, demanded that he be allowed to take it. And, here he was, courtesy of pride and stupidity, ruining the mission he had counted on to put him back in Heero’s column of those he respected. If Heero had cared, if he had thought of Duo as more than a one dimensional piece in his war game, Duo had destroyed that. There wasn’t anything more important to Heero than a mission. He’d never forgive Duo for failing this one.

“Get up, damned terrorist!”

When had he fallen?

Duo opened his gummy eyes and found himself face down in mud. It was pouring down rain and morning light was beginning to lighten an over cast sky. Damn! He’d fainted. Useless! He was useless! He tried to get up, but then howled and collapsed into a shuddering heap of agony as his body sharply reminded him that it had terrible things wrong with it.

The Oz soldier prodded Duo roughly with the barrel of a rifle. Duo peeked at him from the tangle of his wet, matted hair. So young, Duo saw regretfully, so scared and trying not to be. How really awful for him. Duo ignored his body and twisted it upwards, slapped the barrel of the gun aside, and then jammed his knife up under the soldier’s rib cage. The man let out a surprised, “uhnn!” and then fell to his knees, eyes wide and really terrified now, as he realized that he was dead. He fell into the mud and rain water, struggled, whined like a hurt puppy, and then was still as his life’s blood oozed out of his torn heart.

Duo touched the gold cross hanging around his neck and muttered an absent prayer as he heaved himself to his one good foot, swaying and staggering as he tried to keep his balance and deal with the pain, physically and emotionally now. He could hear sounds in the distance over the rush and patter of the rain falling on the forest. Too close. Get going! Sorry boy, wish I could at least close you eyes, Duo thought as he gritted his teeth and made a mad hopping rush away from the scene of his crime. It had to be a crime, he thought, killing a child like that, even if he was an Oz soldier about to do the same to him.

Duo tested for the beacon again, found his bearings, and headed in that direction. It wasn’t far now. Damn rain. The earth was turning to mud. His hop was slithering now and again, boot slipping, threatening to send Duo headlong onto his face, maybe breaking his one good leg if he wasn’t careful.

What was Heero thinking now? The man was waiting for him with the Gundams. He had insisted on coming to be Duo’s backup, giving Duo that new, intense stare until Duo had stopped arguing. He had been so angry at Heero, Duo remembered. He wasn’t angry now. Heero’s mistrust in his abilities had been well founded, it seemed. The man was probably already suiting up, listening to radio chatter, news reports, anything that would give him a head’s up on Duo’s condition or position. Once he realized that Duo had failed, he’d be looking for him, either his body, dead somewhere in the forest with the precious disk, or alive and captured by Oz.

Duo was glad that he wasn’t in the latter category. He knew how Heero felt about any of them becoming prisoners. The man would have broken into the prison just to kill Duo and keep him from revealing any secrets. Cold and cruel, but that was Heero. Duo didn’t really blame him either. He’d rather be dead than squawking to Oz about where the rest of the pilots, his only friends in the world, were hiding. And he would have talked. A body could only take so much torture. Even if it could, there were drugs to loosen tongues too. No, better off dead than a traitor, Duo thought grimly. In that situation, Heero was more merciful than cruel. He should give the man his due.

He was mewling. Duo gnawed on his battered lips to stop himself. The world was fading in and out of a red haze. The pain was reaching the point of unbearable. Only sheer will power and adrenalin was keeping him going forward, slowly, awkwardly, foot by foot.

Life was so stupid, Duo thought. Why had he survived the pneumonia if he was only going to fail a mission and die anyway? If there was a larger plan, than he should have done something worth while, saved the day, completed his mission, made Heero happy. Yeah, made Heero happy, like Heero would have done more than grunt at him even if he had delivered the disk to him on a silver platter. Again, why did it matter so much? Duo knew deep down, yet he didn’t want to know. His life was dangerous. It looked like it was going to be short too. No one he ever become close to lived long. It was better to keep denying the truth, than to risk anyone else dying and breaking his heart. Aw, stupid! Duo swore at himself, why did he have to think that at a time like this? Life was coming to a painful enough end without complicating it with regrets... regrets about Heero and why it did matter so much what Heero thought of him.

“Son of a Bi-” Duo’s legs went out from under him and he slid downhill in mud and rain. He had been so wrapped up in his own thoughts and the intense pain, that he hadn’t noticed the sudden dip in the ground. His shoulder exploded in agony as it was jerked and pummeled by loose rocks and tree roots. When his fractured leg caught on something, and was wrenched nearly out of his hip socket, Duo went into merciful oblivion.

**********************************************************

Duo came to, confused. His head was pounding with blood and he could taste more of the blood in his mouth. He was still in agony, pulsing, white hot agony, but it was different now. A hundred needle sharp claws, ripping at his skin, had been added to it. Duo whimpered as he forced himself to complete consciousness and opened his eyes. The mission. He had to complete the mission. It pounded in his head along with his blood.

Something was very wrong, Duo decided, but his mind took some time figuring out what exactly was out of place. He tried to move and could only clutch at his aching head with his good hand. The other was wrapped up in something... those sharp claws and something else, steel mesh, steel rope... what was going on?

“Oh, no.... Shit!” Duo came to completely, as if he had been slapped, realizing at last that he was hanging upside down!

Duo looked down at the ground first. He was about five feet up, staring at a patch of mud splattered with blood.... his blood, he guessed. His braid was hanging down and dripping with it as well. The blood was steaming in the cold. It was still fresh. Well, he wouldn’t die if he fell, he thought, but then looked up at his hanging body, causing himself to spin a little and those tearing claws to dig deeper.

Barbed wire, Duo saw dully. He was wrapped with old, rusted barbed wire. A fence post was hanging half off of the embankment up above him. Jammed between two rocks, it and the wire had kept Duo from breaking his neck in the fall, but sparing him one death it had saved him for a worse one. Duo didn’t have the strength or the tools to get himself free. If the Oz soldiers didn’t find him soon, he would either die from blood loss, shock, exposure, blood pooling in his head, or the pneumonia still clogging his lungs. In that position, and waist wrapped in wire, Duo was finding it almost impossible to breathe.

“K!” Duo gasped. “You have now won the trophy for biggest Fuck up, Duo Maxwell! Time to give up and call the Calvary!"

It was the hardest thing Duo had ever done, reaching his good arm to his mouth so that he could use his tongue to hit the on button of his locator. He set it to wide pulse. Heero would be waiting for that signal. He’d pinpoint Duo’s location and come at a run. So, unfortunately, would the Oz soldiers. Either way, Duo knew he was a dead man. The Oz soldiers were either going to shoot him or take him back to the installation and interrogate him until he died. Heero was just going to take the disk and shoot him. He didn’t leave comrades behind for interrogation and he wasn’t going to have time to figure out how to get Duo down.

Duo tried to settle his soul while he waited to see who would win the race. His cross was dangling along side of his braid. Duo concentrated on it and said his prayers. He didn’t hope for forgiveness. He’d killed too many people like that boy soldier back in the woods. No, Heaven didn’t have a place for Shinigami. He was most certainly going to Hell. All that Duo hoped to accomplish with his prayers was acceptance of his fate and a little time to apologize to a God he had all but forsaken.

“Duo,” the familiar voice broke the silence and intruded on the pounding inside of Duo’s head. A figure emerged from the woods. It was Heero Yuy, walking quickly forward with his gun drawn, wearing his usual lime green tank top and spandex pants. He was sweating and panting, Duo saw, but his face.... it didn’t have the expression that Duo had expected to see.

What was it? Duo struggled to understand it in the short time that he had left to him. Anxiety, maybe? Intense concern? Heero’s eyes were almost glowing, cobalt blue fire that raked Duo’s body up and down feverishly. The man, the cold, emotionless soldier that Duo had always known, was upset!

“No time for chit chat,” Duo gasped as he reached into his coat and unzipped the pocket there. The disk was comforting in his hand as he took it out. Heero came to stand underneath him. The top of his head was even with Duo’s forehead. Duo dropped the disk into his hands. “K, Heero,” Duo said with a matter- of -factness he definitely wasn’t feeling, “Take it and get out of here. You know Oz is close by.”

Heero caught the disk deftly and automatically shoved it under his shirt and into a belt pouch. His face was going grim now. They both knew what came next. Still, Heero hesitated, eyes still looking up at Duo’s body as if he hoped to see some way of rescuing the pilot. That was completely out of character.

“Baka!” Heero growled. It said everything and Duo flinched from the condemnation.

“Yeah,” Duo sighed. “Born an idiot, lived an idiot, and now I’m going to die an idiot. Come on, Heero! You don’t have to make me more miserable than I already am. I know what you have to do. Just... do it and get out of here! Don’t make me wait for it. I know you’re a bastard, but that’s-”

“Shut up!” Heero snapped. Duo stared. Heero’s eyes were... the man blinked and wiped at his eyes with his free hand. It was quick. Duo had almost missed it. The man, Heero Yuy, unfeeling soldier, had tears in his eyes. “Stop talking for once, Duo! Just... Just...,” Heero was struggling with unfamiliar emotions. Duo could tell that he didn’t have any idea how to express them. It was almost frightening, watching such a dangerous, competent man, become so confused.

Heero began to lift his gun, whatever he had been about to say left unexpressed. It didn’t matter now, those blue eyes said to Duo. It was too late. Duo tensed, gritting his teeth, determined to be strong in front of Heero to the last. He’d die a man, even though he was still so much a boy.

There were sounds up above. Oz was coming. Heero froze like a wild animal sensing the hunt. The barrel of his gun wavered. The man hadn’t lived so long by thinking slowly. Heero made a sudden decision. If he fired the gun, Oz would hear it. He holstered his gun, grabbed Duo’s braid, and stood on his toes. Of course, Duo thought, the man was going to break his neck or something equally brutal.

Instead, Heero mashed his lips against Duo’s. Duo gasped as his teeth were driven into his lips with the force of it. One more pain added to the rest. Faces turned in opposite directions to each other, the kiss was strange yet electric. It rocked Duo’s world to its foundations.

“Shinigami’s Lovers,” Heero said gruffly as he broke the kiss. “Heero and Deathscythe.” In his emotional turmoil, it was all he could find to say.

Duo was shocked. Heero took a step back, gave Duo an intense, cobalt blue stare, and then turned to sprint into the forest. It was then that Duo felt the cold air on his wrist. Heero had taken his locator! The man was purposely drawing the hunt away from Duo, making Oz follow him instead. He was jeopardizing the mission to save Duo!

“No!” Duo shouted, hoping he would attract the Oz soldiers to himself again. “I won’t let you do this, Heero! Hey! Hey! Idiots! I’m down here! Come and get me! I’m tied up like a Christmas turkey just waiting for you! Hey, guys!”

Duo couldn’t keep it up. He was too short of breath. It wasn’t long before he fell into a coughing fit and then had to remain silent as his vision blurred from lack of oxygen. In the sudden silence, he didn’t hear any Oz soldiers. Heero had been successful.

Shinigami’s lovers.... Duo closed his eyes in pain. He had thought of his beloved Deathscythe and Heero Yuy that way, writing it in his journal, singing it to himself, thinking it every time he had been with Heero. A sick, demented fantasy, he had always considered it; something that would never become real. He must have said it when he had been so sick with pneumonia that he had been hallucinating. Heero obviously had heard it. Heero... Heero had kissed him. Heero had responded, had returned his affect-... Duo caught himself and put on mental brakes. He had to forget about all of that. He had to forget his own emotional turmoil and think about the fact that Heero, for whatever reason, had put the mission in danger. That was unforgivable. Duo was furious about it even as his heart was ready to burst out of his chest with the emotions he had suppressed about Heero for too long. He didn't know, at that moment, whether he wanted to punch the man or feel those hard lips against his again. Not that it mattered, cold reality said to him, he WAS going to die after all. It was just a matter of time now.

*************************************************************************

Time passed slowly as Duo slipped in and out of consciousness, hoping each time that he closed his eyes, that it would be the last time and that death would make the pain go away. When he felt hands on him, it was hard to respond. It wasn’t until those hands shook him, that he was able to open eyes and stare down into Heero’s face. The man had come back for him!

“Heero!” Duo choked out hoarsely. “Leave me! Shoot me! Get out of here! What do you think you’re doing?!”

“I left the locator in a river, going downstream, and then uploaded the disk to the remote site from Wing,” Heero replied calmly, his eyes very close to Duo’s and so intense that Duo felt that he was drowning in them. “Mission completed, Duo. You know that I wouldn’t jeopardize that.... for anything.”

“But you did!’ Duo argued and gripped at Heero with his good hand, pulling painfully at Heero’s dark hair. “You let them know where you were! You saved me and put the mission in danger!”

“Acceptable risk,” Heero replied, unruffled. “I need you to pilot Deathscythe to a safe area. You can’t do that if you’re dead. Deathscythe is neededif we’re to win the war. I can’t jeopardize that machine even for the information you stole. Information about installations is useless if we don’t have Gundams to destroy them.” Heero scowled now, his usual grim expression more comforting to Duo than the strange one of confusion and anxiety he had worn before. This was the Heero he knew, the one he loved, if he could admit it to himself. He needed Heero’s strength and no nonsense confidence in their bloody, chaotic life. He especially needed it now. He still didn’t know if he was going to live or die and he needed Heero to make the decision.

Heero put a pair of cutting pliers into Duo’s good hand. Duo stared at it and then looked at the impossible length of his body to the wires trapping his lower body and legs. “Can’t,’ he said simply.

“You will,” Heero ordered.

“Not going to happen, Heero. Sorry, too weak.” To have to say that hurt Duo more than the barbed wire.

“You will do it.” Heero insisted and grabbed Duo by the shoulders. Duo cried out, and then whimpered and choked on gasps, as Heero brought pressure to bear on his broken shoulder blade. Heero adjusted his grip. The pain lessened, but not by much, as the man slowly pushed Duo’s body upward. He couldn’t do much. Heero wasn’t tall, but it did allow Duo to reach a wire. He snipped it and a length unraveled. That freed his numb arm. It fell uselessly.

“No good,” Duo gasped. Heero shifted his grip to one hand. Duo looked down anxiously and found himself looking at the barrel of Heero’s gun and the flat, cold, blue eyes behind it as the man took aim.

“You will do it or you will die now.”

“Heero,” Duo breathed fearfully, at a loss until an idea suddenly came to him. It was dangerous, but, he knew Heero’s skill and trusted it. “Shoot the wires, Heero.”

“They might hear,” Heero replied thoughtfully, staring up at the thin barbed wire and making mental calculations. “If we’re pursued...”

“I know,” Duo said, “You’ll leave me behind. One Gundam pilot is better than no Gundam pilots. I understand that. I hope you still do.”

Heero nodded, once, and took up the challenge. He backed up a few paces and took aim, resting his gun on one hand to steady his grip. Duo closed his eyes and put his one good hand under his head, preparing to hit the ground hard if his plan worked.

Heero’s gun fired. There was an audible, twang! Duo twisted and fell almost a foot before another strand of the wire brought him up short. Heero frowned, sighted, and fired again. He missed.

“Come on, Perfect Soldier!” Duo snapped through pain and fear. “Don’t get twitchy now! We have to get out of here quick!”

Heero frowned and took careful aim again. He held his breath, moved in time to Duo’s swinging body, and then fired. There was another twang! Duo jerked and twirled as yet another strand came free of his body. Still, he wasn’t free!

They both heard it, the sounds of shouting in the distance. Heero stiffened in alarm. Duo expected to get the next bullet between the eyes. He was surprised when Heero holstered his gun and reached up to his swinging body. Another kiss before he died? Some heart felt confession? No, Heero gripped Duo hard and then pulled his body downward with all of his might.

Barbed wire ripped down skin as Duo shrieked. He fell into Heero’s arms and they both sprawled on the ground, Duo sobbing and shuddering as pain licked up and down his body from the more than dozen ragged wounds. They were deep enough to scar, deep enough for him to bleed to death if they weren’t tended soon.

Duo was only half conscious as Heero scrambled to his feet and lifted Duo’s limp body onto his shoulders in a fire man’s carry. Duo couldn’t even protest the madness of it. How could they escape like this? He hadn’t counted on Heero’s strength. The boy ran as if Duo was a feather and his lungs were iron. He didn’t stop until they left pursuit far behind.

*******************************************************

Lowering Duo to the ground at last, Heero stretched out full length on the earth and panted in complete exhaustion. Duo watched him in a daze. It was awhile before he could ask anything, before the pain subsided enough for him to even form coherent words.

“I’m going to need stitches, Heero. I’m bleeding pretty bad. Are you okay? Are the Gundams much farther?”

“Shhh!” Heero panted. “We’ll leave shortly, but now, just rest. The more you move, the more you bleed.”

“K,” Duo replied and lay flat on the ground next to Heero, staring at him.

It was awhile before Heero noticed, or, if he had, allowed himself the luxury of returning Duo’s stare. Almost nose to nose, mission completed, pursuit foiled, Gundams, hopefully, close, death out of reach for now, the inevitable surfaced. Duo saw, again, that look of turmoil shadow Heero’s face.

“I didn’t want you to know,” Duo said at last, the merest whisper.

“I know,” Heero replied simply.

“Stupid, isn’t it?” Duo asked. “Thinking... imagining I... You probably...,” he floundered in confusion, wanting safe ground, wanting to act as if the revelation had never been made, but unable to forget one thing that made that impossible. Heero had kissed him. Heero had worried about him. Heero had come back to save him. It was more than he had imagined in his wildest dreams. Hell, Duo thought, in most of his dreams Heero had beaten him to a pulp for revealing how he felt about the pilot.

“I don’t know what to say,” Heero replied stiffly, but his intense eyes never left Duo’s.

“Say I’m a baka,” Duo whispered. “Say I’m endangering some mission or other by distracting you. It’s always worked with me before. Why not now? Go on. Push me away. I’m used to it by now. We can go back to ignorance and just...”

“No,” Heero replied dangerously. It was all too new to him, love. He didn’t want to have to experience hurt too. Heero groped for something to say. He found it as he slowly took Duo’s good hand in his. He rubbed a calloused thumb over Duo’s soft palm. “Heero’s Lovers, Wing and Duo. I want that. Let me have it, Duo, okay?”

Duo smiled shakily. He leaned forward and ignored his pain wracked body to kiss Heero on the lips. He was nervous, an inexperienced boy, and as unsure as Heero about finally letting lose his pent up emotions. It felt right though, not denying them any longer. Here, on the cusp of life and death, Shinigami reached for love and life in the arms of a man who had been trained to take one and taught to deny that the other existed.

Somehow, the fevered words of a braided gundam pilot had broken through Heero’s training. There wasn’t any going back now and Duo, teasing Heero’s lips open for a deeper kiss, didn’t really want to. Deathscythe and Heero. Wing and Duo. Together forever, just as it should be, just as it would be, forever.

 

*******Owari*********