Author: Caroline
see chap. 1 for warnings, notes

The Medallion: Part the NInth
Under the Sashimi Moon

The temperature continued to drop over the next couple of days. Duo was grateful to have his coat -- he'd had it for years and the smell of the old leather comforted him -- but he and Heero didn't venture far from the hotel after their near brush with Relena's man. They went out only for food, heading back to the hotel after they were done to watch television, play cards or to brave the swimming pool now that the group of college girls appeared to have gone.

On the third night after their aborted trip to Duo's apartment, Heero appeared after the sun went down animated and eager to go out. Duo tried to talk him out of it, but Heero insisted. So they bundled up -- fortunately for Zechs' credit card, some of Duo's cold weather sweaters fit Heero -- and headed out.

Heero had the urge to see the beach under the light of the full moon. "Are you sure this is a good idea? I mean, Relena knows we're still in town. She'll be looking for us..." Duo tried to protest, but Heero wouldn't hear of it.

"Forget her. I already have," Heero said, pulling him down the street. Duo huffed along, watching his breath hang in the air before them. He dreaded the onset of winter. Too many cold, lonely nights... he couldn't bear the thought of spending this winter alone, not after having met Heero.

Heero paused in front of a sushi bar, breathing hard. Duo looked a little closer. The man looked pale. Almost deathly pale. Come to think of it, Heero had been looking a little pallid for the past few days. Duo hadn't really thought anything of it, since Heero had insisted he couldn't get sick. But now he was worried. His skin had definitely lost the golden olive sheen he'd had when Heero had first appeared in his bedroom. His eyes were glassy and he was breathing hard after just a walk down the street, something he wouldn't have batted an eyelash at before.

Before Duo could ask him if he was feeling all right, Heero pulled him inside the restaurant. They quickly got a table, as the place wasn't exactly crowded due to the sudden change in the weather. Heero ordered enough sushi to feed an army, while Duo decided to play it safe and ordered a side salad.

"You don't like sushi?" Heero asked, his face falling.

"Not really. And don't you dare suggest going to another place!" Duo said, knowing that look in Heero's eyes. "I will be happy watching you enjoying your meal. Though... you ordered so much... are you sure you can eat it all?"

"I'm starving," Heero said, his face looking pinched. Duo peered closer. There were dark circles beginning to form under his eyes.

"Heero, are you feeling all right? You really don't look... well," Duo said, worried.

Heero shrugged. "I am fine. I told you, I can't get sick." He grimaced for a moment, as if something pained him. Duo scooted his chair around the table and placed his hand on Heero's forehead.

"You feel a little clammy, but you don't have a fever," he said, unable to resist sliding his hand down Heero's cheek.

Heero leaned into that hand for a moment, letting his eyes flutter shut before pulling away. "I said I'm fine. I'm not sick. I'm just... really hungry." He looked up and caught Duo's gaze. Duo sucked in a ragged breath as Heero looked at him with eyes that smoldered and seemed to want to devour him on the spot. He couldn't look away and wanted nothing more than to push the table out of the way and launch himself onto Heero's lap. But he didn't think the other sushi patrons would appreciate a floor show. Fortunately, they were saved from a public indecency charge by the waiter bringing their food.

Duo nibbled on his lettuce as he watched Heero eat his sushi with enthusiasm. He loved how the incubus relished his enjoyment of food, though to be honest, it did worry him a little the amount he ate. But Duo chalked it up to spending centuries without food. He clenched his fork tightly in his fist, stabbing viciously at his salad as he thought of those nameless, faceless women over the centuries, abusing Heero, starving him, thinking nothing of the man's feelings...

"Duo?"

"What?" Duo snapped, lacerating a tomato.

"I think it's dead."

"Huh?" He blinked and realized what he was doing. "Oh. Sorry. I was just... thinking."

"Thinking?" Heero raised an eyebrow. "I didn't realize thinking was such a violent activity. I'm glad you don't do it more often."

Duo blinked at him. "Did you just insult me?"

"I think I did," Heero replied, popping a piece of sashimi into his mouth.

Duo made a face. "Ugh. How can you eat that? It's not even cooked!"

"It's an acquired taste, and one I picked up about fifty years ago in the Orient," Heero said, picking up a piece of pink, floppy fish with his chopsticks and dangling it in front of Duo's face.

Duo drew back quickly. "Ew! No! Get that crap away from me until you cook it." He shuddered in revulsion and returned to stabbing his salad. Heero just laughed and stuck the fish in his own mouth.

Duo picked at his dinner, feeling decidedly queasy after having a piece of raw fish thrust into his face. But to his credit, Heero ate fast. Duo was amazed at how much he was able to pack down. He paid for their dinner and Heero drew him back out into the street.

Duo huddled in his coat, shivering slightly in the chilly night air. "Are you sure you want to go down to the beach? It's cold and Relena..."

Heero reached out and took Duo's hand in his own. "Don't worry about Relena," he said, pulling him in the direction of the ocean.

"Heero! I can't believe you just said that. If you're not worried about Relena getting her giant harpy claws on you, why in the hell have we been hiding out for the past two weeks? I mean, I can't say it hasn't been fun, but that woman seriously scares me sometimes and you should be more care... *mmph*!" Duo was cut off as Heero grabbed him and dipped him toward the ground, covering his mouth with his own. Duo clutched frantically at Heero's sweater, but the incubus wasn't going to let him fall. He sighed into Heero's mouth, letting the man slip his tongue inside.

After a long moment, Heero broke off the kiss and set Duo upright on his feet. Duo looked at him dazedly for a moment before screwing up his face and wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve. "Geh! You seriously need a mint!" he said, sticking out his tongue.

Heero laughed and pulled him toward the beach.

The light from the moon glistened off the tops of the waves which crashed onto the beach with a soothing repetitiveness. The beach and the walkway were deserted. Duo stood as close to Heero as he dared, drawing in the man's warmth. Heero leaned out over the beach wall, inhaling the salty air. "I've always loved the ocean at night," he murmured, taking Duo's hand again.

"It is pretty," Duo admitted. "Cold. But pretty." They watched the surf for a while, or rather, Heero watched the surf while Duo watched Heero. "So... mind telling me why you dragged me out of my nice, warm hotel room to freeze my ass off on a beach?"

Heero turned to him and smiled. Duo stopped breathing.

"Because I am happy," Heero replied.

"Happy? It's freezing and you have a madwoman after you." Duo rolled his eyes and grinned. "What do you have to be so happy about?"

"Because, at dawn tomorrow, Relena's month will be officially over. And that means I will be officially free of her," Heero replied.

Duo's eyes lit up. "Are you fucking serious?" When Heero nodded, Duo let out a cry of joy, launching himself into Heero's arms. Heero caught him, but they overbalanced and went crashing over the wall and onto the sand below.

Duo laughed as they landed on the sand, Heero half on top of him. The incubus was still for a moment before his body began to shake, a deep laughter from the pit of his stomach spilling out of his mouth. He wrapped his arms around Duo and the two held each other on the sand, laughing until they began gasping for air.

Duo wasn't sure who stopped laughing first. All of a sudden, he realized Heero was leaning over him, dark blue eyes glistening in the soft light of the moon. Of its own violation, his arm wound itself around Heero's neck, bringing the man's lips down to meet his own.

Forgotten was Relena, the curse, even the sushi. All that mattered was how good Heero's body felt against his and how deliciously sinful Heero's tongue was as it slid against his own. He moaned, low in the back of his throat, letting his legs fall open enough for Heero to slide one of his between them. He gasped sharply as Heero pressed the top of his thigh against his groin. He tore his mouth free from Heero's, tilting his head back, panting, as Heero trailed his mouth down his throat. He jumped a little when a cold hand slid under his shirt, but Heero's fingers against his stomach were too much of a temptation. He had to end this now. It was no longer a matter of taking advantage of Heero. The man had proven time and again how much he desired Duo. It was now a matter of Duo protecting his own heart. Once he let himself experience Heero, he wasn't sure he would be able to let him go when the time came.

"Hee... ah!" His back arched as Heero's hand found one hard nipple. "Oh god... you have to stop." It almost killed him to say it.

"Must I?" Heero murmured against his neck, his lips doing sinful things to the patch of sensitive skin just below Duo's ear.

"Y-yes. You do." Duo found a last reserve of strength and used it to push Heero away.

Heero looked even paler in the moonlight. He sat up, scooting away from Duo slightly to lean against the wall they had fallen over. He closed his eyes, breathing in deep as though in pain.

Then again, perhaps he was. Duo groaned as he sat up, the bulge in the front of his pants almost painful. Though not nearly as painful as the sand creeping into the back of his pants. He winced. That was going to chafe later.

"Heero? Are you all right?" Duo asked, concerned.

Heero nodded. "I will be. Just give me a minute."

Duo stood, brushing off the sand as best he could. He closed his eyes to inhale the salty air. For the first time in two weeks, his heart felt light. The burden of worrying about Relena had been lifted. Now he could sit back and enjoy his final two weeks with Heero...

A lump formed in his throat. He didn't want to lose Heero. With knots in his stomach, he realized he'd been falling in love with the incubus. He couldn't let that happen, not and lose him in a couple of weeks. There had to be a way! If only Heero would open up to him!

He heard Heero stand behind him. Without a word, Duo turned and drew the man into a tight embrace. Heero's arms enclosed him in return and Duo buried his face into Heero's chest, blinking furiously to rid himself of the tears in his eyes.

"Duo? What's wrong?"

Duo shook his head. "Just cold. Do you mind if we just went back to the hotel?" he asked, keeping his face hidden.

"I don't mind. Let's go."

Duo kept his arms wrapped around Heero's waist as they walked across the sand to the steps that led to the street.

If he'd been able, he'd never let go.

+

Even though Relena's hold over Heero was officially over, Duo decided to wait until Zechs returned from Paris before leaving the hotel. It pained him to think of leaving; the suite had been his and Heero's haven from the world for the past two weeks. It would be sad to leave.

Zechs returned two days later, and Duo agreed to drag himself out of bed to meet him for lunch. He picked up a pair of cheap sunglasses at a tourist stand on the way to the café, as his eyes were no longer used to the bright, noon sun.

He plopped wearily down into the seat opposite Zechs in the corner of a quiet little Italian café. "Bonjour," he said with a wide yawn, propping his head up with his hands.

Zechs peered at him. "You look like shit. No offense."

"None taken. Jackass." He looked at his watch and moaned. "I've only had four hours of sleep."

"Heero's been keeping you up late, has he?" Zechs asked with a knowing grin.

"Yes. And not like that. Pervert." Duo motioned for the waitress to bring him a cup of coffee.

"You mean he still hasn't gotten into your pants?"

"Technically, yes. He's been wearing a pair of my sweats." He took a long drag of his coffee, shivering in mocha ecstasy. "He's spent two thousand years being used by others. I'm giving him a month off."

"I don't know. From the way he looked at you, I'd say he'd rather be getting off on you," Zechs replied drolly, sipping his iced tea.

"God, what did I ever see in you?" Duo muttered, reaching for the sugar. Lots of sugar.

"Possibly my enormous di..."

"Zechs!" Duo looked around, making sure no one could hear them. "I can't believe how crass you are sometimes!"

Zechs shrugged. "You know you love me this way." He leaned forward. "Now, what did you want to see me about?"

Duo quickly told him about Relena's hold on Heero being over. "I figure it's safe for us to go back to my place, quit sponging off you. I mean, Relena must know her time's up, right? She won't still be looking?"

Zechs sat back, a frown on his face. "My sister is not the type to give up lightly. I think you ought to stay where you are, at least until your duration with Heero is up." He shrugged. "Besides, you still have nearly two weeks' vacation left. Why not enjoy them?"

"Because it's not right, staying in that fancy hotel that you're paying for..."

Zechs sighed and rolled his eyes. "Duo, please. Forget about the money. Let me give you this gift. If you like, I won't get you anything for Christmas. Or your next birthday."

Duo stuck out his bottom lip. "Next several birthdays," he muttered. He couldn't believe he was actually going to let Zechs do this for him. But... he wasn't quite ready to let go of the fantasy just yet.

Zechs grinned at him. "Done! Now. I have a proposition for you."

Duo blinked. Zechs hardly ever asked anything of him. "What?"

"You have just under two weeks left with Heero, yes?"

"Yeah. So?"

Zechs shifted almost uncomfortably in his seat. "When your time with Heero is up... I want you to give the medallion to me."

Duo shoved back from the table, nearly knocking over his chair in the process, causing his coffee to splash over the rim of the cup. "Like hell!"

"Duo, it's not what..."

"I know your reputation, Merquise. There's no way in hell I'm just going to hand Heero over to you and let you get your jollies on someone who is helpless to resist! Jeez, and what about Wufei? Did you dump him already or is he part of your twisted sex games..."

Zechs slammed his fist down on the table. "Leave Wufei out of this!"

Duo was startled into silence. He'd never seen Zechs react like that, not even when they were dating. He dropped back into his chair as the revelation began to sink in. "You really like him, don't you?"

To his amazement, Zechs blushed. "He is... different from anyone I've ever been with, except possibly you. I think that's what I like about him. He reminds me of you in a lot of way, only not as crazy."

Duo stuck his tongue out at him. He reached out and grabbed a fistful of napkins, mopping up his spilled coffee. "Wow. Never thought I'd see the day. The mighty Zechs Merquise has fallen. Gelded, you might say."

"Bite your tongue. And don't make me bring out the photographic evidence."

Duo blanched. "At least you're still twisted."

"You wouldn't want me any other way." He leaned forward. "Now, about my proposal -- just hear me out this time!" he said as Duo's face turned red. "You said that Heero, as an incubus, has to do whatever his mistress -- or in your case, master -- tells him to, yes?"

Duo nodded, not sure he liked where the conversation was going.

"Then, in two weeks' time, hand over the medallion to me. When Heero appears, I'll tell him that my desire is for him to spend time with you."

Duo was silent. He looked down at his hands, which were fiercely gripping the coffee cup. "I'm not sure if it would work that way. Heero's greatest desire is to please his... master."

"I think you might be wrong there," Zechs said softly. Duo didn't answer. "It can't hurt to try, right?"

Duo squirmed in his seat. This was a waking nightmare. He was trying to resign himself to losing Heero in a couple of weeks, and here he was being presented an opportunity to be with him for another month, only to lose him again when that month was over. He wasn't sure if he could go through this again. "I... don't know. I have to go back to my job soon. Heero can only be out at night. You live so far away from me... would you drive him over each night? Put him in a cab? It would be so late by the time he got to my place..."

"So move in with me. Or stay at the hotel."

Duo sighed. "Zechs..."

"I know, I know. Look, we'd work something out. At least talk to Heero? See what he thinks?"

"I guess..." He sat back, chewing on his fingernails. "I just... I don't know, Zechs. I really don't know where to go from here." To his horror, he could feel tears pooling in his eyes. He quickly grabbed a napkin and dabbed his eyes. "Shit. I am such a girl."

Zechs raised an eyebrow. "I know it's been a few years since I last saw you naked, but I'm pretty sure you're not a girl. Though if you have a desire to put on a Catholic school girl outfit, I won't try to stop you."

Duo laughed. "Thanks, Zechs. I really don't know what I'd do without you."

"Never get laid?"

Duo reached across the table and smacked Zechs upside the head. "You are impossible." He sat back and smiled at his friend. "So don't ever change. But, enough about me for a while. Tell me more about Wufei."

+

Clouds had moved in and it was raining when Duo left the café. He left with a heavy heart, though he had enjoyed spending time with Zechs. They hadn't been able to do that as of late. He drew up the collar of his coat as he rushed down the street toward the hotel. It was only a few blocks away, and he didn't want to waste money on a cab. He could deal with a little rain.

He was tempted -- so very tempted -- with Zechs' offer. But he knew he couldn't do anything without talking to Heero first. He was so unsure of where Heero's affections lay, whether what he'd been picking up from the other man were genuine feelings or a byproduct of the curse to please whoever owned the medallion. Hell, he was unsure of his own feelings and was deathly afraid of exploring them for fear of what he might find. He did know he was scared to death over losing Heero.

He was exhausted by the time he arrived back at the hotel. So exhausted, he barely had the energy to pull off his coat before passing out on the bed, wet and cold. He fell into a deep, dreamless sleep, and woke up, stiff and chilled, three hours later.

The sun was still barely cresting the horizon, so Duo decided to take a hot shower before Heero arrived. The hot water beating down on his shoulders helped relax him, so much so, he fell asleep standing against the tile wall. He awoke with a start a little while later and smacked his cheeks, trying to wake himself up. He needed to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Heero tonight, as he wanted to talk to him about what Zechs had offered.

He made quick work of his hair, then scrubbed himself clean. Turning off the water, he stepped out and grabbed a towel, noting the time on the clock near the mirror. It was almost sunset, so Duo dried himself quickly and pulled on the terry cloth robe before turning his attention to his hair.

He dried as much of it as he could, and was running a brush through it when he heard a noise outside his door.

"Heero? I'm in the bathroom! I'll be out in a minute!" he said, tugging furiously at a knot in his hair.

There was no answer.

"Heero?" Duo put his brush down. He strained his ears, not hearing anything from the other side of the door.

He turned away from the mirror and had just put his hand on the knob when he heard a loud *thump* from the sitting room. He threw open the door and gasped loudly as he saw Heero lying on the floor behind the couch, naked and pale and looking very thin. He rushed to the man's side, falling to his knees beside him.

"Heero! Oh god... what's wrong?" he cried, lifting Heero's head into his lap.

"Too long... thought... I could make it..." Heero panted, reaching out to him, his hand grabbing onto a free lock of Duo's hair.

"Too long for what? Tell me!" Duo was frantic. Heero looked sick, almost emaciated. It wasn't supposed to be possible.

"I... I'm sorry." He swallowed audibly. "My body... gains nourishment from sexual energy. It is why I do not get sick, nor need to eat." He groaned and shuddered deeply. "I thought... I could hold out for this month." He looked up, his eyes meeting Duo's. "I can't..." He broke off as another shudder wracked his body.

Duo's eyes opened wide. "Oh god... you feed off sex? And we haven't... Oh fuck, you're starving!"

"I... I'm sorry," Heero whispered against Duo's thigh.

"No, Heero. I'm sorry." He took a deep breath, closed his eyes briefly, then lifted Heero's chin to look him in the eye again. "Take me."

Heero's eyes grew wide as saucer. His body shivered and his hand came up to cup Duo's face. "No, you don't want..."

Duo covered Heero's hand with his own. "No. I do want. I've just been afraid to have." He drew Heero up into a sitting position. "You're hurting and... and I want you, too. Please Heero. Make love to me."

Heero hesitated for a long moment, searching his eyes as if trying to find any shred of hesitation on Duo's part. When he found none, he drew in a sharp breath before pulling Duo to him. "Thank you," he whispered against Duo's lips before he claimed Duo's mouth with his own.

[part 8] [part 10] [back to Caroline's fic]