8-17-2001

Kracken

Disclaimer: I don’t own the G-Boys, I just make them hot and sticky and leave ‘em for the real owners to clean up. No, don’t sue me, you won’t get anything, really, you won’t... I’m telling you, I have nothing.... okay, you can have one of the cats... the really mean, neurotic one who gets fur in my keyboard.
Warnings: Rape allusions, angst (Always angst), flashback violence, Yaoi.... and I really mean lemony, lemony Yaoi (Male and male doing the dirty tango), You have been warned, so either enjoy or get out now while you can (parachute optional at this point, but back buttons work too.)

Duo: I think you should lay off the caffeine, baby.
Kracken: Yeah, sure thing, pour me another cup of coffee, will ya?

Interruptus
(Sequel to Heero’s Lover, but it stands on its own)

 

“They’re ugly.”

“A few months, and they won’t be so red.”

“That means they’re not going away, right?”

Pause... “No.” Another pause... “You’re upset. Why does it matter so much?”

Duo looked down at his body. He was only wearing a pair of shorts, his legs crossed as he sat on the edge of the bed. His white skin, as smooth as a baby’s, still didn’t have much hair on it, just a freckle or two and an old scar here and there from other mishaps. It made the fresh scars that marked him that much more noticeable, that much more cruel, especially now, when Duo wanted to be perfect. He looked up at Trowa and unconsciously rubbed at the worst of them, the ones on his left arm and leg.

Trowa was frowning in concern, his eyes studying Duo from under his long bang. “Are you blaming Heero?” Trowa asked softly. “He did what he had to, Duo... you know him, I’m surprised he didn’t just...”

“Shoot me and leave me for the vultures? I know,” Duo growled and raised his knees up so that he could hug them to his chest, thinking about the mission that had gone so wrong, yet so right too. Fractured leg, healed. Broken shoulder, still healing, but reduced to stabbing twinges instead of outright, blinding pain. Ragged wounds from falling in barbed wire, hanging by it from a cliff, and then having Heero yank him out of it by force.... likely to be with him forever as long, raised, hideous scars. He had managed to complete the mission despite all of that and Heero, Heero had revealed to him his true feelings and that he had known about Duo’s as well, courtesy of some raving Duo had done while ill with pneumonia.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Trowa said as he closed up his medical kit. After removing the last of the stitches, he had rebound Duo’s shoulder. Another week and that would be gone too.

“No, I don’t blame him,” Duo replied tersely. “I just...,” Oh, but he couldn’t say it, even to Trowa who probably wouldn’t blink to know that Duo had a thing for Heero, so, instead, Duo pasted on his trade mark grin and winked. “I guess I shouldn’t mind. It’ll impress the ladies, right?”

Trowa frowned again, sensing Duo’s real mood. “They have ways of covering them up or taking them off completely, Duo, if you mind so much how your skin looks to your lovers.”

“Yeah, right! I’ll keep that in mind next time Doctor J is handing out thousand dollar credits to Gundam pilots.”

Trowa winced. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I forgot that-”

“That I’m not rich like Quatre?” Duo’s smile dropped and his violet eyes were clouded like a brewing storm. “That I’m not from some ancient, dynastic family like Wu Fei? That I don’t have an outside job working in a circus like you? That I don’t have my fingers on the terrorist payroll of Doctor J, like Heero does? Yeah, I don’t have any of that going for me. I’m just a street rat that Doctor J plucked out of the gutter and threw into a Gundam. I have to be happy with my skin the way it is, Trowa!”

Trowa was blinking at him in astonishment. Duo stopped his tirade and stared back, shocked at himself. Somewhere in the conversation it had stopped being about the scars... at least the scars on Duo’s skin.

“Duo,” Trowa chose his words carefully. “You stopped being a ‘street rat’ a long time ago. You won’t ever be that again. I didn’t mean to make you feel... inadequate because you don’t have resources like the rest of us. You go on the most missions. You’re infinitely more talented at sabotage and subterfuge than any of us. Duo, you don’t have the time or the energy left over to work or to pursue any outside interests. No one is judging you or blaming you for that. Instead, we respect you and rely on you.”

Duo jumped up from the bed and turned to Trowa with a grin. “So, I’m more than just a pretty baka? The scars don’t matter? You all still love me?”

Trowa was so easily disarmed. He nodded, smiling a little in response as he gathered up his medical kit and turned to leave. Duo closed the door firmly behind him and then collapsed onto his back on the bed, ignoring the sharp jab of his shoulder. He groaned and threw a hand over his eyes.

Trowa had missed the mark completely. It wasn’t about them or how they thought of him now. Duo only cared what one man thought, or would think when he was finally forced to tell him... and he would have to tell Heero. It couldn’t be avoided. No matter how much he cared... no, admit it now, loved Heero, there was an aspect of their relationship that was never going to see the light of day. That’s what Duo was ashamed of, the scars of the past. The new ones were just representative of them, a now visible signpost to where the darker, deeper ones lay in his soul. That’s where the insecure, frightened street rat Duo Maxwell lived. The one who wanted to crawl in a hole and die rather than even consider a physical relationship with Heero Yuy.

How was he going to tell him?

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

Duo needn’t have worried. Circumstances conspired to keep him apart from Heero and, he began to realize, a reluctance on the part of the pilot of Wing Zero to be alone with him. Maybe the emotions were too much for him? Maybe he was reconsidering? Maybe, maybe, maybe... It could be anything, Duo thought. He couldn’t blame the man. Duo was making up his own reasons for avoiding Heero. In safety now, and in the harsh light of reality, Duo was beginning to see how impossible their situation was.

Heero went on two missions before Duo was well enough to leave his room and get around without a crutch. He returned from the second late in the evening, shoving the front door of the safe house open and striding in with a feral grace and a dangerous expression on his face. He shifted the weight of the duffel bag, slung over one of his muscled shoulders, and pushed his dark hair out of his eyes as he surveyed the house with a soldier’s alertness for danger. Satisfied that all was as if should be, Heero then turned those intense, cobalt blue eyes on Duo.

Duo had been limping across the living room, making his way to the kitchen to get a snack. Trowa and Quatre were on the couch, watching a movie. Wu Fei was sprawled in a chair, reading a book. A quiet evening. Something their chaotic lives rarely gave them the luxury of enjoying. Duo heard the others greet Heero, but he was staring back at the man like a gazelle suddenly confronted with a hungry lion.

“Uh, Ohayo, Heero-”

“You just said ‘good morning’, Duo,” Wu Fei grumbled from his chair. “Stop trying to speak Japanese, you’re bad enough at English.”

“Uh, K, Wu Fei, you don’t have to insult me.”

“You’re walking,” were Heero’s first words, his eyes never leaving Duo to even acknowledge that the others existed.

Is that what he’d been waiting for, Duo wondered? Confirmation that Duo was well enough for... for things to get more serious? Duo swallowed hard and felt his face go pale. “Yeah, I’m walking pretty good now and my shoulder comes out of bandages next week.” No, he shouldn’t have said that. Duo groped for an excuse to the unasked question lurking in Heero’s gaze. “Trowa thinks my lungs are going to stay gummed up from the pneumonia for a while yet and I have some pretty ugly scars from that barbed wire.”

"Tetanus shot. Antibiotics. Forty eight stitches. Two casts,” Trowa recited with a touch of respect. “You’re lucky you’re young, Duo, and that you heal fast and well, but you must take it easy still. No missions yet, Heero, all right?”

Duo felt the sting of embarrassment. “Hey, nurse Trowa!” Duo complained with a pasted on smile. “You’re being over protective. I feel fine. Once this shoulder gets out of bandages, I’ll be ready to pilot my Gundam.”

Trowa gave Heero a very serious glare. “You heard what I said, Yuy.”

“Hn,” Heero didn’t look pleased. His gaze dropped from Duo at last, but Duo wasn’t sure whether he felt relieved or upset. He didn’t want Heero to think he was weak and he didn’t want to lose the man’s respect, but he didn’t want the man... approaching him either. He wasn’t ready to explain, didn’t know if he would ever be ready to explain.

Duo was relieved of further conversation as Quatre stood and went to take Heero’s duffel bag. Wu Fei put aside his book and sat forward in his chair. Trowa approached Heero to scrutinize the man and see if there were any wounds he wasn’t admitting to. While they broke into conversation, asking about the mission, Duo slipped away into the kitchen. He pulled out bread and peanut butter and jelly, intending to make a quick sandwich and bolt for his room. He wasn’t prepared for a hard hand to squeeze down on his wrist.

Sun browned skin against Duo’s pale skin, Heero’s hand looked strong and infinitely capable of doing harm if he chose. Duo didn’t try to pull away, even though that’s what he felt like doing. He didn’t want to know if that brown hand was stronger than his. “Uh, Heero...” Duo shot a quick glance at the man’s unreadable face and then concentrated on the sandwich in front of him on the counter.

“We need to talk,” Heero said calmly.

“Heero,” Duo swallowed hard and tried to find the right words to get him out of that situation. “Want a PB&J sandwich too? I make good ones. Yep, peanut butter good and thick and lots of jelly. Perfect. The bread’s good too, not that yechy wheat stuff Wuffie likes, but good ol’ white, plain, yummy bread. Can’t have a good sandwich without good bread. Want one, Heero? Come on, it isn’t any trouble-” Heero’s free hand closed over his mouth, lightly, and then fell as soon as Duo’s inane chatter ceased. Duo stared, swallowed again, and then looked down at their hands. “Let me go, please,” he asked, hopefully in a voice that didn’t betray his fear. Heero released his wrist as if Duo’s skin had burned him.

Laughter from the other room startled them. Heero’s hand automatically flexed for his butt holster, probably touching the gun there. When he determined that the others were just enjoying something on the television, he relaxed and turned an intense gaze on Duo. He suddenly took hold of Duo’s chin roughly and pulled Duo against his lips. It was painful, inexperienced, and Duo winced away from it. Heero surprised him by becoming frustrated.

“I don’t know what to do,” Heero admitted with a low growl. “Tell me how to do this, Duo.”

Duo’s grin was sickly. “Sorry, Heero, I’ve never done this either. Just, not so hard, K? I know that much.”

“Gomen, Duo,” Heero apologized, but the look of frustration didn’t leave his face. He motioned to the sandwich. “Bring that and come to my room.” He paused and then added with emphasis. “Just to talk, Duo. That’s all.”

Duo relaxed, hating how utterly relieved that made him. Heero must have seen it. He was trained to see things like that. He frowned and Duo saw him tighten up his muscles and clench his jaw. He was upset.

Duo followed Heero into the living room and up the stairs. He knew the others were glancing surreptitiously at them, wondering, guessing, probably guessing wrong. They probably thought Duo had done something wrong, yet again, and Heero was going to chew him out in private. It was obvious that Quatre thought that. He called up after them, "Remember, Heero, Duo is still recovering!”

“If Duo is leaving, can we please watch a different show?” Wu Fei pleaded.

“No,” Quatre replied. “I like this show. It’s funny. “

“But I don’t understand the show at all!” Wu Fei barked back. “Where is the honor in a man living with two women and deceiving his landlord into thinking that he is homosexual? There is no greater evil than a man who lies- ”

Duo stopped listening. He had heard that from someone else long ago, a good man who had told him that lying was a sin. He didn’t want to think about that memory. It held too much pain and condemnation. Duo Maxwell never lied because of that memory, but he could decide not to tell the truth.

Duo faltered half way up the steps. His face flushed as Heero took hold of his elbow and helped him the rest of the way up. Terrific! Damn leg was still bothering him. He hadn’t wanted Heero to see that. He didn’t want to be vulnerable when it was so important right now to be strong.

Duo disengaged his elbow at the top of the stairs. “I’m fine, just a little twingy in the kneecap, Heero.”

Heero only nodded and let Duo walk unassisted to the man’s room. It was hard for Duo to follow him through the door. Harder yet to stand still as Heero closed the door behind them and then stood staring with that very intense gaze. They stood like that as minutes ticked by, a contest of fear and reluctance.

Heero surprised Duo by speaking first. “You’re not smiling.”

Duo looked down at his feet. He was wearing his customary black, the gold cross glittering as it swung at his movement. The braid and the clothes were part of his armor, the things that gave him strength to face the bloody life he led. His smile, like the other things, went on every day without fail. He wore it so that he could pretend to everyone that he was all right and that he was happy. He even managed to fool himself, most days.

“You’ve changed your mind about us.” A statement of fact from Heero Yuy. He didn’t like lies either, or omissions.

“No, yes, I-,” Duo stammered and then rubbed at his eyes. “I never meant for you to find out... how I felt. I wish you hadn’t.”

“Why?”

Duo blinked. He would not cry, he swore to himself. He turned to go, fumbling for the doorknob. “I don’t want to talk about this, Heero. I can’t! Let’s just forget-”

“You aren’t a homosexual, is that it?” Heero brought Duo up short with those words. “I thought... I have misunderstood you, Duo, Gomen.” Heero whispered it, not trusting his voice maybe, but Duo could still hear his pain.

Duo stopped and leaned his forehead against the smoothness of the door. He closed his eyes for a moment and gathered courage. He was hurting Heero, hurting the man he loved. Could telling the man about his past be worse than that?

“I- I don’t know what I am, Heero,” Duo replied at last. “I’ve never had the chance to find out.”

Heero was quick to latch onto that. “Are you a virgin, Duo? Are you afraid I might hurt you?”

“I-I’m not a virgin, Heero,” Duo choked that out and then pounded his forehead against the door, punishing himself, once, twice, almost three times before a hand took hold of his long braid and held him back by it to stop him.

“Don’t,” Heero said. “Let me...” The Perfect Soldier struggled with unfamiliar emotions, trying to overcome his conditioning and say the right thing. He took a very deep breath and then said, “I’m not a virgin either, Duo... I understand.”

Duo turned, stumbling on his bad leg, eyes anxious. His braid was still tangled in Heero’s hand. It pulled painfully before Heero realized that and let go. Duo searched Heero’s blue eyes with his violet ones, wanting confirmation that he was hearing Heero correctly. Heero nodded, once, and then they both stood, locked in memory.

“It was part of my training, my conditioning,” Heero told him at last, his voice turned cold and flat, and his face wiped of expression as he remembered it. “It was also my punishment, until I grew used to it, until they found other things to hurt me.”

There should have been... horror, hate, something. It was terrible to see Heero so cold, so matter of fact. I was raped. I was tortured by being raped. So, what? I grew used to it. Had he, Duo thought, really expected anything else? How could a man like Heero Yuy ever understand what had happened to him, how it had traumatized him until he couldn’t bear the thought of anyone touching him like that again? Broke your leg and arm, Duo? Well, just tape them up and get on with the mission. Shot twice and tortured by Oz? Weakling baka! Get up and hack that computer system! Raped and forced into prostitution? At least you were fed and were able to lie down on the job. Get over it and let me fuck you now!

“Yeah, I got over it too,” Duo managed to say without breaking down and sobbing. Yeah, he said to himself, got over it by not doing it ever again! He stiffened his spine and lifted up his mask with its wide smile. Everything was fine, his smile said, no harm done, let’s get on with life. “I just.... well, some people don’t like leftovers.” Had he really said that? How cruel he was to himself! Heero’s cold expression cracked and Duo saw it change to surprise and concern. That was too much. Duo felt like a coward. A weakling. In a moment, Heero was going to know that he, Duo, wasn’t someone to be respected or even considered worthy of being the Perfect Soldier’s friend. In a moment, Duo was going to cry.

“We can’t do this now,” Heero decided. He half turned away and he was digging his fingernails into the palms of his hands. “All that I know about sex is having my face pushed against the floor, my pants pulled down, and someone taking me from behind. I-I won’t do that to anyone, Duo. I won’t do that to you. It doesn’t seem... right. I need to know what is right before we proceed.” He paused and looked sideways at Duo. “Do you wish to proceed with this?”

So precise, Duo thought. He wished he could be as calm as Heero about it. Just then, all he really wanted to do was run and hide under his bed. “Depends on what you mean,” he replied evasively, dragging out the time as much as possible before he was forced to break Heero’s heart, and his own.

It was easier for Heero to fall back on what he knew. He spoke now as if he were proposing a dangerous mission. Strangely, it made Duo less afraid to have it all layed out in a militaristic fashion. “We need to do research to fill in the gaps of our knowledge and to formulate a working timetable for developing a long term, compatible relationship.”

Relationship. That one word made Duo’s heart constrict. How could anyone have a relationship when all they could do was kiss? Duo at least wasn’t afraid of that. None of his attackers had ever kissed him. People didn’t kiss the trash they were fucking, he thought darkly. It came to Duo suddenly, that in that at least, he had been a virgin. Heero had been his first. It made Duo’s tense lips turn in a smile involuntarily. Heero took it the wrong way.

“Good. You agree,” Heero said in barely controlled relief. “Go and rest now. I’ll begin the research.”

Dismissed, Duo thought, but he couldn’t stop smiling. Heero’s confidence was infectious and the image of the man, surfing the Internet in search of homosexual sex practices and psychological cures for rape induced frigidity, was a shot of humor in an otherwise dismal situation. As Duo left Heero’s rooms, dutifully, he could almost feel a little hope.

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

“Duo?” Heero whispered the name in Duo’s ear.

Duo was curled up on the couch with Quatre, eating from a large bowl of popcorn in his lap and staring at the flickering flames of the fireplace close by as if it were a cherished movie. Quatre had been engrossed in a book. The blonde Arabian looked up as Heero leaned over the back of the couch, golden eyebrows raised in puzzlement.

“Uh, hey, Heero,” Duo replied and nervously began to get up. The rose draped over his shoulder stopped him. He took it slowly and turned his head to look at Heero in astonishment, but Heero was already gone, striding up the stairs with a satisfied air.

Quatre eyed the red rose as Duo admired it dazedly. “What’s that for?” Quatre wondered. “Some sort of veiled death threat for something you did?”

“Uh,” Duo found that he didn’t want to reveal that things between Heero and him had stepped over a line that men weren’t supposed to cross. Well, they hadn’t really, not yet... well, not ever. So, what was he blushing about and getting tongue tied over? “Just... hey, Quatre, want to watch a movie or something? Here, have some popcorn.”

Quatre’s eyebrows remained raised and it was obvious that he was thinking. It was also obvious that he couldn’t believe what he was thinking. In the end, he decided that he really DIDN’T want to think about it, so he took Duo up on the offer of the movie and stuffed his face with popcorn so that he had an excuse not to talk any longer.

The movie went long and Duo was exhausted by the time he slowly made his way towards his own room. He passed Heero’s door and saw that it was open. Heero was sitting in a chair, facing the door as if he had been waiting all of that time for Duo to happen by. Duo paused and hated how his hands trembled with anxiety.

“Uh, thanks for the rose, Heero.”

“Where is it?”

“I.... Ya know, it needed some water, so I left it downstairs in a glass.”

“You didn’t like it?”

Duo grimaced. He picked up the end of his braid and fiddled with it to hide his shaking hands. “I’m a guy, Heero, not some silly girl. You don’t have to do stuff like that. Besides, I was kind of embarrassed in front of Quatre, and all. Sorry. It was... It was a nice thing to do, giving it to me and all.” Heero turned a little to mark something off on a sheet of paper, a frown on his face. “What’s that?” Duo asked sharply and was suddenly hot and furious. “Is that your master plan for getting Maxwell to let you fuck him?”

Heero turned back, face unreadable. When it was like that, Duo knew he was feeling the most pain. It was part of his training. The mask he wore for his missions. Slowly though, Heero lifted the paper up facing Duo.

Duo squinted, but he couldn’t read the fine print. Slowly, he edged into the room as if Heero were a rattlesnake. When he was finally close enough, he was only three feet from Heero. The man was calm, relaxed, as non threatening as possible as Duo read the sheet of paper. Duo didn’t get past the first line. He didn’t need to. It read, ‘American dating rituals’.

“Makes Americans sound like zoo animals, or something,“ Duo found himself chuckling nervously. “I guess the rose business was number one on the list. Sorry, Heero.”

Heero was watching Duo steadily, reading him as easily as Duo had read the first line on the paper. He stated, clearly and succinctly, “I will never touch you, Duo, unless you ask me to.”

Duo returned that gaze. He had lost his innocence and trust in men a long time ago, but he wanted to believe Heero. He wanted so much for it to be true. “K,” he replied simply.

Heero wasn’t finished. “You, on the other hand, can touch me. Right now, I’m giving you a minute to do that... anything you want, Duo, or, nothing at all. It’s your choice.”

“My choice?” Duo couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Nobody had ever given him a choice before. Still, he was skeptical. “And , you won’t do anything if I do?”

“Nothing,” Heero promised emphatically.

“Nothing,” Duo repeated.

Heero had a timer in one hand. Duo hadn’t noticed it before, but he saw it now as Heero placed it on the table and let the timer begin to run. It ticked rhythmically, counting off the seconds. “One minute,” Heero warned.

It took Duo almost a minute of agonizing and wiping sweaty palms against his sides before he decided what to do. He leaned close and kissed Heero full on the lips. Duo surprised himself, but, as he deepened the kiss and Heero didn’t move a muscle, he understood the choice. It was the only act that he wasn’t terrified of doing, the only contact with Heero he had longed for every night since returning from his last mission, the mission where he and Heero had shared an earlier, passionate kiss, while escaping Oz soldiers.

The timer alarm went off and Duo backed up, startled, as he broke the kiss. Heero turned off the alarm and looked at Duo curiously. “Time’s up,” he said unnecessarily. His voice was faint and his lips were swollen from his own leashed passion. Duo backed up a few more steps as Heero shifted in his seat uncomfortably, letting Duo know that something else had swelled beside his lips.

Heero reached up and touched his own lips, as if committing to memory just how Duo had done it. “That felt... good,” he said and Duo knew it was an understatement. “It didn’t hurt. It hurt when I did it to you.”

“You pushed too hard,” Duo said breathlessly and found a smile. Heero looked almost childish at that moment, a boy enjoying his first taste of passion. He didn’t look like someone to be afraid of at all.

“Enough for this evening,” Heero said at last, breaking the mood and becoming the soldier Heero again. Training session done, the tone of that voice said. Duo smiled, touching his own lips now. Heero noticed the grin. “Your smile is back.”

“It should be,” Duo replied and then nervously wondered what came next.

“I will never touch you unless you ask me to,” Heero again stated and Duo stopped being nervous and began to believe it more strongly.

“K, Heero.”

“Now, return to your room and remember this moment, Duo.”

How could he forget it, Duo wondered, as he made his way back to his room, still touching his lips.

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

There was a very small gift box in the seat of his Gundam. Duo had been flipping through a checklist as he had climbed into Deathscythe and hadn’t noticed the box until his backside encountered it’s odd shape on the command seat’s cushion. Now he was staring at the thing uncertainly as he slowly put aside his clipboard.

“From Heero Yuy,” Duo read aloud, fingering the little tag attached to the little box. “Who else, Heero, and how many Heero’s are around that you need to add your last name?” He turned the thing around in his hands. “I’m a guy, Heero!” he swore and felt angry. “Why is he doing this stuff? I rather he gave me a socket wrench with a six pack of beer attached.”

Duo slowly opened the package. Inside, nestled in figures of angels and hearts cut out in white and red paper, was a single chocolate truffle. Duo’s all time favorite sweet.

“I’m going to gag, this is so-so sappy!” Duo groaned. He popped the chocolate into his mouth, went straight to heaven for the time it took to eat it, and then sat back in the command chair of his Gundam, staring up at the ceiling deep thought.

It would have been easy to dismiss the effort as little better than a machine following a program, but Heero had known, had remembered that Duo loved chocolate truffles. Something like that couldn’t come from any program. It touched a part of Duo that had been frozen and cold for too long. It hurt as it defrosted, but quickly warmed. Duo smiled, and it was genuine for once, as he tossed the empty box aside and began to work on his other love, Deathscythe.

When Duo walked past Heero’s open door that night, he stopped, without preamble, to stare at the pilot of Wing. Like the night before, he was seated in a chair, waiting patiently. “Thanks for the truffle, Heero.”

“You’re welcome,” Heero replied as he set the timer on the table. “I remember how you ate so many, that time we went to a mall, and that it made you ill.”

Duo rolled his eyes as he stepped into Heero’s room. He didn’t feel nervous this time as he stopped two feet from Heero and managed a chuckle. “I remember that now! Oh, man, I almost thought I was going to have to have Trowa pump my stomach!”

“Hn,” Heero grunted, mind on the task at hand. He hit the timer. “You have one minute, Duo, to do anything you want to me.”

Duo blinked at the abruptness of it. “Uh... can we start again, Heero. I don’t know. I kind of-”

“No, you’re wasting time.”

Another kiss? Heero was wearing a tank top. It was cut low and Duo could see the strong line of Heero’s neck where it met his shoulder. The skin was sun browned and sleek, muscles moving like silk there. Duo wondered, suddenly, what it tasted like. A kiss was a kiss, wasn’t it? Even there? Did he dare? Did he have the nerve?

“Time’s almost up,” Heero warned and sounded slightly... disappointed.

That was too much for Duo. He had disappointed Heero enough, revealed too much of the fear he kept at the center of his being. Heero had to know that he was strong too, that he could do something as simple as... Duo leaned in and kissed Heero’s neck where it met his shoulder. It tasted like salt and Heero and Duo found his tongue coming out to meet it, sucking it in, and worrying it as if he wanted to take that bit of Heero into himself, not to eat it, but keep it with him for what it was; essence of Heero.

The timer alarm sounded and Duo drew back reluctantly. It was such a new feeling that he hardly knew how to handle it. Wanting to touch another person... wanting to touch Heero... A few days ago, Duo would have laughed at the very idea that he would willingly do such a thing. Yet, he had.

“I will never touch you unless you ask me to,” Heero repeated the mantra, but it wasn’t a lifeless statement. He stressed each word, putting every ounce of his conviction behind them. Duo needed to hear it, needed the reassurance as Heero dismissed him yet again. This time, Duo wasn’t so eager to go.

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

So it went. Each day, Duo discovered a small gift in odd places. It was always something delicate, feminine, and romantic. A small pin of an angel. A lace covered card with a poem. A box filled with different colored rose petals. Each time, Duo felt angry, his manhood assaulted. He wanted to find Heero and fling the things at him, shout that he wasn’t some girl Heero was courting, but a Gundam pilot, dammit! Yet, each time that he passed Heero’s room at night, and saw the man waiting for him with the timer, Duo forgot all about being angry as anticipation replaced it and made his feet carry him over to the pilot of Wing, ready for that precious minute when he could have his way with the man.

When Duo’s bandages came off at last, it signaled to Heero a turning point. That night, when Duo appeared at his doorway, Heero was only dressed in a robe. Duo froze like a startled cat when he realized it. He couldn’t make his feet move. Cold fear settled into his gut.

“I won’t ever touch you unless you want me to,” Heero repeated, pounding the fact into Duo’s brain for the hundredth time. “You’ve touched everything on my body not covered by my clothes. Now you can touch me anywhere, Duo.”

“No!” The word exploded out of Duo and he hated himself as he turned to go.

“I love you, Duo.”

Duo stopped, shocked, and stared at Heero. The man was still expressionless, immobile, waiting for whatever Duo wanted. His eyes, it was always his eyes that betrayed him, Duo thought. Why hadn’t he ever noticed that before? Those cobalt, blue eyes of Heero’s were windows to the real Heero Yuy, the piece of him, however small, that his training hadn’t obliterated. It was that piece that had allowed a braided Gundam pilot to climb into his heart, to make him do things he would never have considered before, things that in the past, he would have considered a betrayal of everything that he was. To say, ‘I love you, Duo,’ was nothing less than a catharsis for Heero. For Duo to turn away now.... He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t leave Heero as so many had left him, broken and bleeding, mentally and physically, with a few credits thrown at him to show for it. No, he wouldn’t reduce Heero to the level of a prostitute beginning for recognition from a ‘customer’.

Duo entered the room, forcing his feet across the carpeted floor until he stood in front of Heero. Heero looked up at him expectantly and then turned on the timer with the barest smile of... what? Gratitude? Relief? No, it hurt too much to think that Heero was that needy. Love, yes, love was better. Love had forced that smile from Heero. Heero loved him. Heero would never hurt him, that smile said louder than words.

Duo opened Heero’s robe with shaking hands. He looked down at the smooth, muscled body. He had tasted every inch of it in the past week, even kissing Heero’s ankles tenderly. He blushed uncomfortably thinking about it, but it had been a thrill, a strange pleasure at the time to lick the skin there and see Heero respond with goose bumps. Now, Duo was faced with the parts of Heero he most feared, the parts that could hurt him, take him, demean him, even kill him if Heero was cruel enough. It was a moment when Duo had to decide whether he really trusted Heero or not.

“Almost time,” Heero whispered.

Duo bent forward, shaking all over now, and lightly kissed Heero’s belly button just as the timer went off. He recoiled almost at once and took a step back. Heero had responded to even that light touch, his cock stirring strongly. It had an impressive length and it looked both enticing and dangerous as it bobbed against Heero’s belly, wanting, needing, and firmly denied pleasure. Heero closed his robe over it as he met Duo’s eyes.

“I won’t let you fuck me!” Duo suddenly cried out, “Ever!” It sounded like the child from L2 screaming at the men in pathetic whimpers as they did whatever they wanted to a piece of street trash named Duo Maxwell. Hearing his own voice, Duo was ashamed, ashamed to be so weak.

“Tell me about it,” Heero begged suddenly. “You know my past. Let me know yours so that I’ll keep from hurting you, from doing the same as the ones who made you be this way.”

“How could they?” Duo replied, but he was talking to himself, rehashing the past as he did so often. “I was so small! What pleasure could it have been for them to do that to me? There were older whores on every street corner! Men and Women! Why me? Why?!” His eyes cleared and settled on Heero bitterly. “They did everything to me, Heero except one thing. They never kissed me. That’s the only pleasure I can have now, the only thing not made filthy and frightening by those monsters on L2!”

Duo turned away, hugging himself tightly and shaking his head so that his braid swung back and forth behind him. “There’s nothing you can do that won’t make me pee my pants in fear, Heero! Nothing except kiss.” He shuddered and walked for the door. “I guess you’re disgusted now that you know what a pathetic, weak, man I am, hm? You can’t love me. I can’t love myself!”

“Why are you afraid?”

The question caught Duo by surprise. He turned and glared at Heero, refusing to cry. “Don’t you get it?” he raged.

“No,” Heero replied calmly. “You aren’t a child any more, Duo. You’re a trained terrorist. You’re a Gundam pilot. You’re the man I count on constantly to do dangerous missions. You’re the man who went through Oz torture without breaking. Think! think about your life now, Duo, and tell me you’re the same helpless child you were on L2!”

“Inside I am!” Duo shouted and couldn’t stop a tear from rolling from one eye. He ran from the room before Heero could see it.

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

Duo swore he wouldn’t go back to Heero’s room. It was over, wasn’t it? Why bother. After the way he had acted, the vulnerability he had shown, Duo didn’t think that he could ever look Heero in the eyes again. But, when the small gift appeared in his tool box the next day, he opened it with a constricting heart and didn’t even get too angry when he saw the perfume bottle, in the shape of a heart, nestled inside gold tissue paper with a poem written on it. It was a short, sweet, sappy poem he was certain Heero hadn’t written himself.

When Duo walked past Heero’s door that night, he stopped and took a deep breath. Everything inside of him told him to keep walking, but he just couldn’t. He had to see Heero. Duo backed up a pace and looked into Heero’s room.

The man was sitting in a chair, waiting, as if there had never been any doubt that Duo would show up. Heero had his clothes on though, and Duo wasn’t sure what that meant. He took a few cautious steps into the room, fiddling nervously with the end of his braid.

“What now?” Duo asked at last in a small voice.

“Another step,” Heero replied and put the timer on the table. “It’s much harder though and you have to be braver than you’ve been before.”

Duo didn’t like the sound of that. He stepped closer, curious despite his trepidation. Heero held out his hand. Duo twitched in reaction, but held himself still.

“You have one minute to put my hand anywhere you like,” Heero explained. When Duo looked alarmed he was quick to add. “I won’t touch you, Duo. I won’t close my hand or try and hold you. My hand is going to remain flat and limp. You have to make it do what you want, all right?”

Heero reached over with his other hand and turned on the timer.

It was too much, Duo thought, he couldn’t do it.... yet, Heero’s hand, big, tanned by the sun, nicked here and there with small scars, seemed infinitely gentle and relaxed. He had felt that hand on him more than once when they had been just friends, comrades on a mission. It was large step, to make that touch something more.

The seconds ticked. Duo stayed still, staring at Heero’s hand. What would it be like, he thought, to have those fingers, calloused from holding a gun, controlling his Gundam, operating any number of machinery and equipment, touch his bare skin with something more than friendship? Duo shivered and felt a bone deep ache to know.

Duo gingerly took hold of Heero’s hand. It stayed limp, just as Heero promised. Foolish, his fear seemed now, Duo thought. There wasn’t anything frightening about taking that hand and placing it in his. He rubbed at the skin. It was soft. That surprised Duo. It looked worn and rough, as if it were the hand of an older man. When the timer alarm went off, and Heero retrieved his hand very slowly, Duo felt disappointment.

“All right?” Heero asked softly.

Duo nodded. He couldn’t trust himself to speak.

“Until tomorrow then,” Heero said and Duo left in a daze, astonished to realize that he was looking forward to that, to the time when he could have Heero touch him again.

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

Each day, Duo’s eagerness increased. He fidgeted, watched the clock, did his duties absently, waiting for the time when he could be with Heero again. At first, he kept the touches chaste, enjoying Heero’s hand on his cheek, on his shoulder, along his neck. After that, Duo’s boldness and trust grew. He ran Heero’s hand under his shirt and heard the man draw in a breath more than once when he rubbed Heero’s fingers over the hard nubs of his nipples. That response intrigued Duo and he found himself wanting to hear it again. Without warning one day, he slid Heero’s hand along the inside of his thigh.

Heero’s breath caught and he went rigid in his chair, watching that hand Duo had hold of gently caress the material of Duo’s pants. Duo was feeling something as well. He went stiff. It unnerved him, but excited him too. He had never felt that way about it before. He had always avoided it as something unpleasant and dirty, a reminder of the past he wanted so badly to forget. Perhaps it was because he was older, with all the raging hormones of any other fifteen year old, or maybe it was simpler, that it was Heero getting him excited; the man he loved. Whatever it was, Duo discovered that he wanted to feel more of that sensation, that hot excitement making the stranger part of him twitch and ‘need’. He took Heero’s hand and placed it on the bulge in his pants.

Heero stared hard at his hand, at Duo’s hand holding it, and at the bulge both of their hands covered. Very slowly, Heero pulled back his hand as the timer went off. Heero very gently, kissed the palm of his own hand as if he cherished the essence of Duo on it. It made Duo’s throat tighten with emotion. He suddenly couldn’t control the overwhelming sensations within him. He had to have more.

Duo shoved at the timer with a groan. It went skittering off the end of the desk into the small waste basket there. Duo threw himself into Heero’s lap, straddled the man’s hips, threw his arms around Heero’s neck, and kissed his mouth for all he was worth.

Heero was as young as Duo. He had been holding back his own needs with an iron will, but this was too much for him. Duo found himself lifted as Heero stood. Duo wrapped his legs around Heero’s hips and held on as the man went to the bed, still hungrily devouring the man’s lips with his. It was right. He could do it. Duo wanted so badly. The ‘need’ between his legs was aching, painful, hotter than a fire. He could feel Heero’s erection hard against his own. Duo ground his cock against it and heard Heero pant, groan, and say breathlessly. “Now, Duo? Now? Are you sure?”

Was he sure? It broke through Duo’s excitement and he realized at last, as his back touched the bed, what came next when men became as excited as Heero. Heero’s robe was open. The man was bending over him, that cock twitching and wanting between them, beginning to drool with a clear liquid as it prepared itself for-

“No! God, No!” Duo shrieked and suddenly everything changed. He wasn’t safe. Not here! Not on a bed! Not in a place he didn’t really know and with a man... a man who was about to shove that hot cock into his most sensitive of places and hurt him!

“Duo?” Heero was glazed with lust, but he was conditioned to react quickly and to shut off his emotions like a switch. He pulled back and stepped far away from Duo as Duo scrambled up from the bed, shouting, cursing, throwing whatever came to hand as he bolted for the door.

Duo made it to his own room. He slammed the door shut, locked it, and then slid down the slick surface until he was sitting and sobbing on the floor. He wasn’t surprised at the timid knock, but he was surprised when he heard Quatre’s soft voice on the other side.

“Duo? Can we talk?”

Duo sniffled, wiped at his red eyes, and slowly levered himself off of the floor. He didn’t want to open the door, but the blonde Arabian had always been his good friend. If he could talk to someone, it was Quatre.

When Duo opened the door, he saw Quatre standing outside looking embarrassed and uncertain.

“Uh, Duo,” Quatre said timidly. “I heard you shouting. Did something happen between you and Heero? He didn’t- didn't hurt you, did he?”

Duo grinned and leaned against the door with his best acted nonchelaunce. “What makes you think that, Quat- man? We always fight, you know that. Heero never does manage to get in a punch. I’m too fast.” he pretended to duck and weave, still grinning.

Quatre took a breath and then said something that made Duo cringe. “I know what Heero’s been trying to help you with. He’s been consulting with Trowa about it.” He looked up at Duo’s growing alarm. “Don’t worry, Duo, it’s all right, really it is. Trowa and I understand what you're going through.” He looked away and was suddenly sad. “Trowa had the same problem, you see. It seems bad childhoods are easier to come by than I imagined.”

Duo blinked, he felt both ashamed that his problem was common knowledge now, and dumbfounded at the revelation that Quatre and Trowa were a couple: a couple with the same problems as Heero and himself. He didn’t know what to say faced with that revelation. His smile had dropped, all pretense ripped away.

“We went too fast,” Duo replied at last, feeling emotionally naked now. “I wanted - I wanted to be with Heero,” he blushed furiously. It was hard to say that even to himself, to admit that he wanted another man even to someone who was with a man himself. “But, I didn’t feel safe. I panicked. I probably hurt Heero a lot. I had him all... fired up and ready to go, I guess.”

“Ah, you didn’t feel safe,” Quatre repeated, strangely understanding. “Trowa had that problem too, not feeling safe. We still can’t... well, there are other ways of doing it, Duo. You do realize that?”

Duo went bitter, his skin feeling cold. “I probably know more of what two men can do together than you or Trowa, Quatre. I just can’t do any of it. Like I said. I don’t feel safe.. or strong.”

“Strong?” Quatre raised golden eyebrows at him.

“I still feel six years old,” Duo explained, really embarrassed now.

“I understand.”

“Can you?”

Quatre nodded and smiled that gentle smile that always made Duo feel as if he had been wrapped in a warm, comforting blanket. “You need to go where you feel safe. Isn’t that what you did when you were so sick with pneumonia?"

That struck Duo hard. He blinked and felt as if he had been handed a life line. Deathscythe, his safe place? Of course, it’s where he was in complete control, had always been in control. In the seat of his Gundam he was a man, not an abused boy from the dumps of L2.

“Thanks, Quatre,” Duo said gratefully. “I think you’ve helped me with that space heart of yours.”

“It’s a burden sometimes, but helping my friends makes it worth while,” Quatre replied. “Will you be all right now, Duo?”

“Yeah, Quatre. I think I will.”

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

“Is for you,’ Wu Fei announced without taking his eyes off of his newspaper.

It was sitting on top of the television, a pretty silver box with a metallic pink ribbon tying it up. The card, with neat script, said, ‘to beloved Duo.’ Duo felt like a volcano ready to explode. The others were sitting about the room as well, Trowa picking through a bowl of something he was eating and Quatre putting a puzzle together on the coffee table. All of them were staring now, waiting to see what was in the package.

Duo untied the pink ribbon with angry, shaking hands. The box opened and he pulled out a small, stuffed, fuzzy pink rabbit with a delicate, porcelain heart tied to its neck with a red ribbon. He threw it across the room and rabbit and procelain hit the wall with a forlorn rubber squeak and a shattering sound that made Duo wince.

“Where’s Heero?!” Duo demanded to the room in general.

“Uh,” Trowa began

“Now, Duo, I’m sure he meant well-” Quatre began.

“In the back,” Wu Fei replied, still not looking up, but sounding satisfied nonetheless. “In the shed we cleaned out for exercising."

Duo took off. Trowa and Quatre both glared at Wu Fei. Wu Fei felt their eyes and shrugged, still without looking up. “He’s been bothering the boy in a dishonorable way. Time for a little justice for Heero Yuy.”

Quatre sighed and Trowa gave Wu Fei’s cluelessness a few choice words under his breath.

“Heero!” Duo bellowed as he rounded the corner of the house and plowed into the shed. Heero was naked to the waist, sweating as he lifted weights in both hands. He put them down and crouched slightly, obviously feeling threatened by Duo’s abrupt entrance.

“What’s wrong?”

“What do you think I am?” Duo demanded. “You keep giving me gifts that are sickening! I’m not a girl, I’m a man! Are you insulting me on purpose or are you really that stupid to think that I want pink bunnies and candy hearts and... Grrr! I’m going to show you just how much of a man I am Heero Yuy! I know you think I’m weak! Those gifts prove it. You haven’t sent me on any missions. You haven’t asked me to test pilot my Gundam. You haven’t even asked me to scout the area. That tells me that you don’t trust me any more. You think I can’t handle it, don’t you? Or do you just want to keep me in the safe house to feel you up every night like some perverted girlfriend?”

“How can I trust you to complete a mission?” Heero asked. He leaned over and picked up a towel, calmly wiping the sweat from his face. “You’ve been so sick. You’ve just recovered from serious injuries. We both know what happened last time I sent you out on a mission after you swore you were well enough to do it. You need to prove it to me this time.” He put aside his towel. “If you put me on my back, I’ll send you out again.”

“That’s just what I came here intending to do!” Duo shouted, furious, and didn’t wait for Heero to get ready. He swung a punch, spun when Heero ducked it, and then brought his foot around to land a solid kick in the man’s chin. Heero grunted and backed up to give himself some room for a counter attack.

The fight was fast and furious, Heero not pulling any punches. He meant what he said Duo realized, he wanted Duo to prove he was fit. Duo had another agenda entirely. It didn’t start that way. At first, Duo just wanted to show Heero that he wasn’t some girl to be pampered like a poodle, then it changed into an attempt to show Heero that he was fit for a mission, and lastly, it collapsed into madness: his inner demons, denied revenge for too long, using Heero as the representation of everyone who had ever hurt Duo.

Heero fell under Duo’s wild assault of punches and kicks, taken by surprise by the ferocity of Duo’s attack. When a hard punch cut his eyebrow, he was blinded with blood. Heero ducked his head protectively and rolled into a ball on the ground. Even then, Duo wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t until the other pilots arrived, curiosity getting the better of them, that the fight was forcefully ended. It took all of them to pull Duo off of Heero.

They all were panting now and the questions flew back and forth furiously. Duo and Heero ignored the other pilots as if they were still alone and locked in combat. Heero sat up, wiping blood out of his eyes, yet those eyes never left Duo’s. Duo, for his part, was coming back to himself and realizing what he had just done to Heero. As his heart stopped racing and his adrenalin kicked off, he began to feel very guilty.

“Heero,” Duo gasped in anguish. “What have I done to you?”

Heero touched his busted lip ruefully. “I think you just showed me that you aren’t six years old any more, Duo.”

That sunk into the cold, frightened part of Duo and took root. He stared at the damage he had done to Heero. He had always thought of Heero as undefeatable. He had always been afraid to train with him, preferring gentle Quatre or disinterested Trowa as a sparing partner.

“You planned this.” It was a statement of fact from Duo.

“Hai,” Heero admitted with a small, tight smile. “I thought that a great deal of your-,” he paused, not wanting to embarrass Duo in front of the others. “I thought you needed more confidence in your fighting ability. I gave you those gifts to make you angry enough to call me out.” He grimaced. “Pink, stuffed rabbits are not the kind of gifts I would ever give you seriously, Duo.”

“Oh?” Duo wondered, still a little angry. “What would you give me, Heero Yuy?”

“Maybe you’ll find out... later,” Heero replied and painfully stood up. “Right now, I need Trowa to check me out. I think you might have cracked a rib.”

Duo felt a wave of guilt again and he forgot all of his anger in an instant. “Heero, I’m really sorry-”

“Baka!” Heero grunted. “You beat me fairly. I don’t deserve anything less for letting anyone do that. If this were a mission, I would be dead. We’ll have to practice together again, so that I can learn to counter your moves.” He emphasized his next words carefully. “So we’ll be equals, Duo.”

Equals, Duo echoed to himself, not one above the other, not one dominating and hurting the other. Equals. “I think I’d like that,” Duo replied softly.

“Next they’ll be holding hands!” Wu Fei snorted in disgust as he tried to help Heero limp away, but Heero paused by Duo’s side and his gaze was very intense.

“It didn’t bother me,” Heero said, “for you to be stronger than me. Think about that, all right?”

Heero was saying something else, Duo knew, and he puzzled over it as Quatre chewed him out for fighting so roughly. Duo only half listened as he suddenly understood. It was a revelation, a radical idea that he wouldn’t have considered before the fight with Heero or even thought possible.

“K, Quatre, I was bad boy,” Duo said absently, cutting the blonde Arabian off. “I’ll run ten laps to punish myself. See ya.”

Quatre was incensed but Duo had already forgotten about him as he left the shed. Heero had made an offer and Duo found that he wasn’t afraid to accept it. Still, he needed to think, to prepare himself, and to find a place where he felt safe enough to go through with it.

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

“Duo?”

Duo swiveled in the command chair of Deathscythe and smiled shyly as Heero lowered himself into the cockpit. The pilot of Wing looked around nervously at the lit candles. Fire and Gundams didn’t mix. Still, he tried to relax. He knew that Duo was making some sort of effort and he couldn’t rebuff him now by reciting fire safety regulations.

Duo for his part felt ready to jump out of the Gundam and the plan all together. He was grateful when Heero gingerly sat on a clear space as far from Duo as he could manage. That gave Duo time to adjust to the man’s presence, to work up his nerve again.

“I received your note,” Heero prompted at last, stiff and formal. “It said you needed my help?”

“How are you feeling?” Duo wondered. The man had a stitch over his eye and his face was bruised, part of his lip swelled and purple. “Nothing broken?”

“No, nothing broken, Duo,” Heero assured him quietly. “I’m ready for what ever you want.”

“For whatever I want?” Duo repeated, wanting it made clear.

Heero nodded and he was suddenly the shy one, looking down at the hands in his lap. “We don’t need a timer for this. I’ll get undressed. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I’ll let you do what ever you want, Duo.”

“Do you know why I wanted you to come here?” Duo asked.

Heero nodded. “You told me when you were ill. You felt safe here, in control. You felt that you could do anything, even live when your body wanted to die.”

“I don’t remember,” Duo replied, groping for it, wanting to remember it. It had been such a turning point for Heero and himself. Well, this was another one, he thought, and this one he would remember. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said, wanting that clear.

Heero gave him a level look. “I won’t let you hurt me, Duo.”

“Good.”

“Fine.”

Duo felt a smile tug at his lips, nervous and unsure. “You’re afraid too, aren’t you Heero?”

“Yes.” It was almost impossible for Heero to admit to that.

“Then,” Duo licked dry lips. “Let’s do this together... as equals. We’ll both get undressed.”

They did undress, self consciously and awkwardly in the confines of the Gundam cockpit. Naked now, they faced each other barely a foot apart, Duo still keeping his position where he felt safest, in the command chair. Heero was already visibly excited. Duo was cold and curled in on himself.

“Do you have any idea...,” Heero paused. “Of course you do, but, so do I, I guess.”

“No, we don’t,” Duo replied bitterly. “We don’t know at all, Heero. We only know how someone can hurt us, how someone can have sex with us. Making love... we don’t know the first thing about that.”

“Let’s find out, Duo, please? Don’t be afraid. I’ll just...,” Heero lowered himself onto the edge of the command chair. “I’ll just hold still and you can... you can do it to me.”

Duo flinched. “No, don’t talk about it that way. That’s what they used to say to me. “Do it to you. Ten credits to let me do it to you, Trash. “ Heero winced. It made Duo reach out to him and he caressed Heero’s cheek. Heero’s skin was so soft for being so tanned and warm, so very warm. It flushed red like a flag under Duo’s fingers and Duo felt an almost imperceptible tremble. Heero was afraid. He had lied when he had said that he had gotten over his own rapes.

“Duo...,” Heero began, maybe losing his nerve now, but Duo brushed his lips with a thumb and Heero fell silent. He had always seen Heero as strong, emotionless, cold, and driven. It was disconcerting to see what lay at the heart of that protective wall. Heero was as much a frightened child as Duo. He needed reassurance too.

The fear left Duo. It shocked him, to suddenly be without it. It had been his constant companion as long as he could remember, but concern and love for Heero was banishing it now. Heero needed him to be strong and brave. Heero needed him, Duo Maxwell, the trained soldier, the Gundam pilot, the laughing joker, the man, not Duo Maxwell, the shivering, lost boy of L2. For Heero, Duo would be strong.

“I’ll make it all right,” Duo said softly. “I know how to be gentle.”

And Duo was gentle. He ran his hands over Heero’s body, caressing and massaging him. The pilot of Wing Zero let his head hang back, eyes closed, as he breathed softly, enjoying Duo’s touch. Safe, Duo thought, he was safe and in control. Deathscythe cradled them inside it, protecting them and giving them a special place far enough away from any reminder of past experiences that they could relax and be free of anxiety and flashbacks.

“Duo,” Heero breathed. “It hurts.”

Duo’s hands froze. “What?” he asked uncertainly and then understood without Heero having to explain. Duo gathered courage and slowly ran his hands down Heero’s chest to his waiting, throbbing, painful cock. Duo took hold of it and Heero moaned. It was such a thrilling sound, Duo thought, and felt his own cock slap against his belly in response. With every nerve tense, Duo took hold of Heero’s hand and carefully placed it on his own erection.

Heero took hold of Duo gingerly. He squeezed too hard suddenly and Duo winced and jerked. “Gomen, Duo, Gomen! Don’t be afraid!”

Duo took a breath as Heero relaxed his hand. “S’all right, Heero,” he managed to say. “You need... I think you need to relax and not be so... anxious.”

“Hai,” Heero agreed and swallowed audibly. “Could you... Duo, could you move your hand on me. Up and down, all right?”

“K,” Duo breathed and tried it. He was awkward at it, fumbling, until Heero guided him to the right motion. It didn’t seem enough until Heero began doing the same for him. Then Duo understood just how satisfying that little friction could be. “Gods!” Duo choked out.

Heero started and looked Duo in the face. “Did I hurt you?”

“No!” Duo replied. “Just... don’t stop, Heero. Keep... please, keep doing that!”

Heero was shocked. “Duo, haven’t you ever done it for yourself?”

Duo shook his head, feeling ashamed, on the outside of ‘normal’ boyhood behavior. “I never wanted a reminder of what happened. I didn’t want sex of any kind.”

Heero was perplexed. “Didn’t you... hurt... need... ache for-”

“Yeah, I guess,” Duo replied, looking down at Heero’s and his massaging hands. God, it felt so good! “I just didn’t know what it was or what to do about it.”

“You’ve, uh, come, haven’t you?” Heero was even redder now, embarrassed.

Duo ducked his head, even more embarrassed than Heero. “Yeah, in my sleep sometimes.”

“In your sleep? Then you’ve never really...” Heero was amazed and then suddenly excited. “Let me finish you, Duo. Just... Just close your eyes and let me do everything, all right?”

“I can’t. I’ll be afraid again. Let me... let me watch,” Duo pleaded.

“All right.” Heero didn’t do anything though, just sat for a long moment. Then he confessed, “I asked Trowa about this, but I’ve never done it and I never had anyone do it to me. I know you’re afraid of being... of being entered. I don’t want to do that to you, Duo, and, I have to admit, that I don’t want it done to me either. Too many memories for both of us. I wanted an alternative. I wanted to know how not to hurt you. Trowa had the answer. I think this will be okay if you trust me, Duo.”

“You’re going to blow me, aren’t you?’ Duo asked bluntly and his eyes went flat.

“What?”

“Put your mouth on my cock,” Duo clarified. “I’ve done that before. It was popular with people who didn’t want to risk getting an L2 whore’s diseases.” Duo looked away. “No one ever did it for me. I guess I always wondered what it felt like, why they liked it so much.”

Heero was silent for a long moment. Their hands had stopped moving. Heero began to withdraw his altogether, but Duo stopped him and gave him an intense gaze from his violet eyes.

“It’s okay, Heero,” Duo promised. “I won’t be afraid, not with you. With you, it doesn’t seem dirty or wrong.”

Heero nodded and gathered his own courage. He slowly leaned over and put Duo into his mouth. Duo stiffened in more ways than one and put his hands on Heero’s head, twisting fingers into the Japanese boy’s dark hair. They stayed like that, frozen, Heero maybe waiting for Duo to explode in fear. When Duo didn’t, he slowly began moving his mouth up and down, echoing the motion his hand had been performing earlier.

One sided love, wasn’t love at all, Duo decided, as every nerve in his body trembled and tightened with pleasure. He bucked up into Heero’s mouth and squirmed in his chair as he whimpered in sheer delight at the sensations shooting up and down his suckled cock. He had to return the favor. He couldn’t let Heero sink to the level of ‘servicing him’ and Duo couldn’t allow himself to take the opposite position of ‘customer’. To diffuse that kind of thinking, Duo had to give as much as Heero was giving. They had to be equal.

Duo reclined the command chair and pulled Heero into it. Stretching out along Heero’s body, Duo took Heero’s swollen cock into his own mouth. it was so hard it hurt the insides of his mouth, but Duo persisted, sucking with experience, swirling his tongue at the head while he took it in past his tonsils, to the tight ring of muscles there. He began a smooth in and out rhythm, stroking the slit with the tip of his tongue on every upstroke and lapping at the sensitive underside on the downstroke. It was a motion he had learned to make a man come as quickly as possible. A whore never wanted to linger. When Duo remembered that, he slowed down and curtailed some of his motions.

Duo was amazed at himself. He didn’t want it over quickly. He was actually enjoying the salty, silky feel and taste of Heero’s cock in his mouth. When Heero took Duo’s cock into his warm mouth again and began mimicking Duo’s actions, Duo went straight to heaven with a groan and a strangled cry. He heard Heero’s own cries in his ears and knew he was giving the man as much pleasure as he was getting. That meant more to Duo than anything else in the world. His heart and his soul almost burst with emotions, but his cock exploded first.

“Shit! Oh, my God! I’m dying, Heero! I’m dying!” A tremendous sensation lashed over Duo’s senses. He actually saw red before his eyes as every nerve over loaded with pleasure. He felt a hot liquid shoot out of him into Heero and Duo’s cock was engulfed in warm mouth and hot semen. He bucked and thrashed, screaming now, but Heero refused to release him, continuing his rhythm until Duo was clawing at him, afraid that he really was dying. He didn’t realize that Heero’s cock was out of his mouth and that he was gripping it in his fright and overwhelming pleasure. It spasmed in his grip and he felt hot semen shoot over his frightened face. That was too much. Duo began to fight in earnest now and Heero finally realized it. He released Duo and sat back, wiping at his mouth and looking at Duo anxiously.

“Are you all right, Duo, love?”

Duo, love? That cut through the fear and Duo felt astonished. He regained his senses all in a rush. He wasn’t dying, he realized as he hunched into a tight ball with his arms locked around his knees, in fact, he was singing in every nerve with pleasure. “Was that- Was that coming?”

Heero choked on a laugh and then thought better of it. He went serious with an effort. “Yes, Duo, you most certainly ‘came’. I forgot that it can be, a little overwhelming. Did you really think you were dying, love?”

Again that word. Duo blinked and nodded. “I’m sorry, Heero. I ruined it.”

Heero shook his head sharply. He reached out very gently and gathered Duo into his arms. “It was perfect, Duo.” He said, “It was our first time. That’s always special. It can’t be ruined.”

“First time?” Duo felt bitter again.

“Yes,” Heero insisted. “We’ve been fucked plenty, I suppose, but we’ve never, either of us, made love before. We came together as virgins.”

Duo scowled and his mouth quirked. “Did you write that poetry you put with my gifts?” Heero nodded and Duo rolled his eyes. “Who would have thought that Heero Yuy had such a sappy side to him under all of his conditioning?”

“Sappy?” Heero frowned.

“We just fucked, Heero. Come on, say it with me,” Duo chuckled and held Heero tight, wrapping his whole body around the man. “We fucked each other’s mouths and I came... I shot it right into your mouth. It was the best... It was the greatest sensation I have ever felt. I fucked! I fucked, Heero! Don’t take that away from me. I don’t want it wrapped up pretty with poetry attached, Heero. I’m a man! I wanna know that I fucked you and that you fucked me. Does that bother you?”

Heero scowled and then broke into a smile too. “What happened to frightened Duo who was afraid to even think about sex? Maybe I’ve created a monster.”

Duo went serious. “That Duo was never told that someone loved him. That kind of thing gives confidence wings, Heero Yuy. I’ve trampled my demons at last. With you, I’ll fuck and I’ll love, and I’ll love to fuck... you, and only you, okay? You have my heart Heero. I love you too, ya know?”

“Along with Deathscythe,” Heero chuckled, amazed at this blossoming man in his arms, the adult Duo rising up from the ashes of the abused boy of L2.

“Can’t do that with ol’ Deathscythe,” Duo laughed and gave the metal wall a rap with his knuckles. “Besides, he’s not the jealous kind. He understands.”

“I do too,” Heero said and those three words said so much more.

Duo heard what he was trying to say. “Yeah, we still have to go on missions, risks our lives, and pilot these cold machines. I won’t cry when you leave, Heero, I won’t try and keep you from a mission because I’m afraid you might not come back. I know how things stand. I know how they have to be. We’re not a couple. We’re a foursome and we know we aren’t number one to each other. This war machines are number one.”

Heero nodded, glad that he never had to say those words. He kissed Duo deeply and the young man rested against his breast, maybe listening to his heart. Duo wanted to be a man now. He had been stuck in the past of a boy too long. Heero understood, because he was feeling the same way. He had been stunted, emotionally castrated for too long. Duo had broken the flood gates and now Heero knew he had the chance to get over his past too. He knew he would never tell Duo that the lessons with the timer had been from his own childhood, only the timer had been set to tick off the seconds while Heero had been commanded to pick a punishment, not a pleasure. Time to forget about that tormented boy, Heero thought, just as Duo was learning to forget about his.

Heero slid a hand down Duo’s back and Duo stirred. Heero knew to be gentle, to be cautious. The old fear could too easily rise up again, if he wasn’t careful. It all couldn’t be cured in a day. Still, Heero took a chance, “Let’s fuck again, Duo.”

Duo laughed and then crowed, “Alllllrigghttt! Shinigami’s getting some again! Close your eyes ol’ Deathscythe!”

They laughed together and then they made love under the watchful, blinking lights of Shinigami’s other lover.

 

****Owari****