Can you repeat? (cont)

-"Duo... "

His voice is strained by emotion.

-"Hmm?"

-"Duo, it isn't only platonic... The pull I feel toward you, it's not just morally... "

I blush a little and loosen my hug. It's probably my hip against his that embarrasses him. I move back.

Bloody hell, even his neck is scarlet.

-"Heero, I understand that you... would ... want me, it's not so bad," I say, but my voice is a little strained too.

-"It doesn't disgust you?" he asks, in the little voice of a very little boy. "I don't know how to stop that... "

-"Don't try then. You have the right to think of what you want, after all it's your head ... It's normal for a teenager, y'know."

-"Usually, boys don't like to know that other boys... I mean, I know you never would... You're heterosexual after all... "

I can't prevent it, I laugh in my hand.

-"Heero, Heero... What makes you think that?" I ask, kinda amused.

He looks at me, stunned. He's lovely with his blue eyes opened like that and his mouth half-opened. He seems to be twelve.

-"But... All these girls you dated?"

-"I'm bisexual, Heero. I like the two the same. If you see me more often with girls than boys, it's just because there are less boys willing to date me than girls; moreover, I can be affectionate in public with a girl, but not with a guy. My men, I hide them. It would make me stand out too much; and I would have problems in class; you know how can be some kind of people on this matter... "

-"Oh... "

-"And you, Heero?"

He shakes his head, then tries to redirect his thoughts toward this new subject, more embarrassing but less dangerous.

-"I don't know at all."

-"You don't know if you're gay or hetero?" I repeat, dumbly.

-"The only boys I mix with are you four; the only girl I mix with sometimes, is Relena," he adds with an aggravated scowl. "If I ... If I think of you physically, it's because I l -- "

He freezes on the word.

-"I know... " I encourage him. "And?"

He looks at me, glad that he doesn't have to push himself to say the word, then continues. The way he speaks, slowly, weighting carefully his words, I'm sure he never thought of this like that, that he formulates along his thinking.

-"... Then I don't know if I think of you like that and not of, let's say Relena because I'm really homosexual, or if it's just... Just you. I'm fairly certain that if Relena doesn't appeal me, it's before all because she's who she is, not because she's a girl," he adds, slightly pouting.

It's too much; I start to laugh. He glares at me, outraged.

-"I don't laugh at you," I assure him between two giggles. "It's just... And she chases you since she first saw you! Poor girl, she'll be so devastated if she hears that!"

He scowls even more than before and turns his head. I think he believes I'm making fun of him.

-"Heero, what you just said, it could be understood like : I'd rather turn fag than date Relena. Do you imagine how it's flattering for a girl?"

He has the littlest half-smirk and I give him a playful punch in the arm.

-"Sheesh, what a bruise to her ego!!"

He shakes his head, disapproving, but he still has this little smirk on the lips, almost a real smile. Shit, he seems so much more approachable like that. More human. He looks awfully good. I told him already, before, that he has a beautiful face, when this innocent asked me what the girls of our class saw in him that made them behave so strangely; but now I'm positive. If they ever saw him like that, they wouldn't satisfy themselves with smiles and giggles on his way, and tons of love letters and proposals. They would kidnap him to go rape him somewhere. I wouldn't mind myself.

What am I thinking? Yes, I'm bi, yes, I find Heero cute and really really well muscled, even more than that. Shit, this guy is a Greek god. But he's my best friend and I refuse to take advantage of his feelings for me just to jump his bones. If I date him, it will be serious. I can't spoil our friendship and his so new heart for a casual fling.

-"Duo... What will happen now?" he asks.

His tone is one of a child that expects a blow in a second.

I don't ask "How?" even if I really want to. It would just be buying some time, and you are always more sincere when you didn't have time to think. Heero doesn't deserve less than my absolute sincerity.

-"I don't know ... But in all cases, we stay friends like before. Shit, it will be even better than before. I don't expect you to be always like this evening, but don't even think that you'll be able to evade my questions now that I know you're perfectly able to speak more than ten words in a row... "

-"Duo, that isn't... what I'm asking", he answers, whispering.

I brush back my bangs with both hands.

-"I don't know if I can date you, Heero. What I feel for you, it's friendship, sincere friendship. One can love someone with friendship near as strong as with pure, 'True' love. You're someone extremely precious to me. Only, I don't know at all if it can become more. I never thought of you like that. Maybe yes, maybe no, I don't know at all."

I caress his cheek, slowly. His face is so near I feel his bangs brushing against my forehead.

-"I care too much for you to spoil our friendship just for a fling. So, as long as I won't be sure I love you like you love me, I think we'll stay at this level. I refuse to take advantage of you. It's true that you're beautiful, inside and out, and that I like you very much, but ... "

I don't know how to make him understand that no, I'm not trying to politely dismiss him.

-"You know, I feel like you've given me a treasure. You gave me your heart, and it's so frail I'm terrified by just thinking of damaging it... As long as I can't give you mine in exchange, it won't be fair for you. Do you understand? I'm sure you don't want less than that either."

He nods, but he doesn't seems to be really convinced. He looks so sad...

-"It's what I repeat to myself, sometimes," he answers, voice low. "That my love doesn't mean a thing if I don't have yours in exchange. Other times, I just think I'd be so happy just to be able to pretend. Because it would be better than nothing. Just to be able to dream ... "

-"Heero... "

I hug him, tight. There's such a great suffering in his voice... I'm feeling like a real bitch. He wants me, he wants me so much... No, it's more than just that. He needs me. Will I be such an egoist and refuse him what he needs just because I don't feel this need?

-"Oh, Heero, If you... "

He puts a finger on my lips.

-"You're right ... It's better like that. I don't want you to pretend just out of pity. I don't want your pity. I won't content myself with less than your whole heart."

And suddenly he bursts into tears. And pounces in my arms so strongly I fall flat on my back on the bed, and that I stay there, looking at the ceiling, stunned, listening to his sobs, feeling his body shiver against mine, his tears soaking my tee-shirt. He buries his face in my neck, his lips searching for my skin, stammering words I don't understand. The violence of his emotions makes him return to his first language, but anyway, the syllables he succeeds in pronouncing are so mixed up they become incoherent.

And here, I do something really stupid. I panic.

-"Heero?! Heero!! Stop it, pal, stop it!! Calm down, boy, it's all right!" I tell him, rubbing his back, a little too fast.

I don't know what to do. God, he's crying again, he's crying in my neck, like a child, defenseless, hurting. The tears have entirely soaked through my tee-shirt and it continues, but I don't give a damn. His arms close around me, as if he was drowning. And in a way he is.

-"Heero, please!! Heero, stop it!" I beg him, but he doesn't hear me.

It hurts me so much to hear his heart-wrenching sobs ... And I'm sure it's my fault. I didn't want to hurt him, but I should have known it was an illusion, I always hurt everybody who dare to touch me. I wasn't careful enough, it's my fault, I should have said another thing, another way...

-"Suki da, suki da," he repeats, and there I understand his words. "Ai shiteru, Duo ... I love you, I love you, I love you," he repeats again, a litany of love words, so full of emotion it hurts.

He begins to kiss me, a kiss after each desperate " I love you ", on the neck first, then on each square inch he can reach. My cheeks, my eyelids, my forehead, the end of my nose, all that's in his reach. And I'm still praying him to stop crying, with a voice that cracks, too.

-"Everything will be all right, Heero, everything will be all right... Calm down, Heero, everything will be all right... "

I'm crying, too, and I didn't even feel it, so sure that the dampness on my cheeks was from him. He didn't touch my lips, afraid maybe to take too much of what I didn't offer him, to pass the point where he can't return.

His face is inches from mine and he looks at me between his swollen eyelids, his sticky dark eyelashes.

-"... Duo... ?"

-"Everything will be alright," I repeat still rubbing his back in circular motions. "Everything's gotta be alright... Heero," I whisper, before freeing my arm to slowly un-stick his bangs from his forehead and to put them back.

My hand slips behind his skull and I kiss him gently on his closed lips, chastely. I pull his head in my neck's hollow a second time, and I close my arms around him. He tenses briefly, before letting go, too tired to resist anymore.

-"Shhh, I'm here... "

We stay immobile for a long time. So long a time that finally, we fall asleep, still in each other's arms.

+

The morning after, our positions hadn't change much. Besides he rolled on his side and we're as of now both on the side, we're still hugging tight, and his face is pressed against my throat. His legs are tangled with mine. My face is all tears-swollen. I suppose his is, too.

He begins to wake up, I can feel it. I hug him tighter; I don't want him to leave me. It's too comfy to move.

-"Heero... " I murmur in his hair, really softly.

It smells like my own shampoo. It stings my heart funny.

-"Heero," I try again, and this time I feel him react to my call, even if he's struggling not to move. Is he, too, afraid of breaking the moment?

It's my turn to let go of the mask, of the hurtful secrets.

-"You know, you're the first person ever that's said that to me... " I whisper. "Said it seriously, I mean. There has just been Sister Helen before you, nobody else ... She was the sister responsible for the orphanage, my only true mother... My biologic mother didn't love me, she abandoned me as soon as she thought the allocations didn't compensate for my presence anymore."

His hold on my sides tightens, and I thank him by caressing his hair. It's hard to talk of that, but it's the least I can do.

-"I've been a street rat for nearly as long as I remember, before being taken in by the orphanage. Sister Helen was submerged by work and I annoyed her with my pranks, Father Maxwell too... I knew they loved me but they never had the time to tell me so ... And I was always fighting. Then they had to punish me. And I was jealous of the other children, there were so many ... And after all I felt bad for being jealous. I was under the impression I was disappointing them, I didn't deserve them. Solo, he was the leader of my gang before the orphanage, he had other things to do... He was hardened by the street, he didn't believe in futility like that."

His hand moves in circles on my back, like mine yesterday.

-"I never ask anyone to tell me what they feels toward me because deep down I believe that nobody could tell me and believe it, and you give me those words ... It goes straight to my heart, you know, Heero, Really. I... Thank you."

He doesn't answer, he just moves back a little and stares at me right in the eye. My lower lip shivers under the memory.

-"Please... Tell me again... "

He stares at me for an eternity before leaning toward my ear.

-" I love you, Duo... " he says to me with a strength and a determination that I didn't hear yesterday.

Ended, the despair in his voice. I accepted his feelings and, even if I don't give them back, he knows I'm far from rejecting them.

-"Thank you," I whisper. "You know, Heero... I don't know if I'll be able to love you like you deserve, but... I swear to you I'll try. I'll try with all my strength."

He leans back and looks at me, stunned. I daresay he never ever thought he deserved to be loved. I feel my protective instincts wake up.

-"I love you, Duo," he repeats, but this time, very firmly. "I love you."

He's regained his self-trust, his pride. He isn't ashamed of his feelings any longer ...

When he cuddles me and hides his head in my neck with a little whisper, and then goes back to sleep, trusting, I wonder if it will really be such a great difficulty.

~owari~

Sap. Argh. I'm so ashamed. Sorry if I used words that don't have the good meaning or give the sentence a strange ring, there are lots of words who look like French ones but don't mean the same thing at all...

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