This isn't the best fic I've ever written. Actually I don't really like it. But since I went to all the trouble to write it and type it out I thought I might as well add it to my meager collection. Who knows... maybe somebody will like it. ^_^

Openings

The first time I saw him I thought he was some devilish imp sent from Hell to kill me. Gleaming violet eyes, half hidden under that ratty old black cap, smirked at me as he aimed his gun straight at my heart. That long chestnut braid of his snaked around his body like a pet serpent in some old Greek myth. He was garbed like a priest but held the countenance of a little demon.

He opened fire on me.

Of course I don't really blame him. I was about to kill that Peacecraft girl at the time. I'll never forget the look on his face when she jumped between him and me like some overprotective mother bird defending her young. I could see in his eyes that he thought the world had gone crazy when she bandaged my wounds - wounds of the man who had tried to kill her only moments before. Since that day he has often remarked to me that he should have let me kill the crazy bitch. It would have saved us both a load of grief in the long run. I, of course, thoroughly agree with him.

The next time we met, I was in that damned military hospital, strapped to a cold, hard table. The straps were no problem to escape from, but the building was another matter. Crawling with military personnel, I decided to bide my time until I could come up with a plan to escape. That's when I saw his face in the monitor.

He opened the door for me.

Or rather, blew out the side of the building. But that was always his style - walk softly and carry large amounts of explosives. While I had been figuring out how to pick the electronic lock, sneak past the doctors, guards, and security cameras without being seen, he had opted for the more dramatic and direct approach of making his own door. Not very subtle, but in its own way just as effective.

My leg broke when we landed. Of course, that was my own damn fault for opening the parachute only a few feet above the ground. Had to set my own leg after that little stunt. Fortunately (and I use that word bitterly), I've been trained to deal with pain.

I still don't understand why I went with him that day. All my life I'd been told to rely on no one but myself... to trust no one. But that day... there was something in those expressive violet eyes that made me want to follow him home like a little lost puppy.

Sickening thought that. But it's essentially what I did. I allowed him to lead me off the beach and into his life.

He even opened his home to me.

Well, if you could call that decrepit floating death trap a home. But he seemed right at home with Howard and his crew. And he went out of his way to make me feel welcome - smiling, chattering non-stop in an attempt to be friendly. Too bad I didn't know yet how to be friendly then. I could see the hurt flash across his face when I told him to shut up. Something inside me twinged at the sight of sadness in his eyes. But I quickly squashed it. There was no place in my life for any sort of emotion.

I left him in the night, having stolen parts from his Gundam to fix my own. It was the first time I ever regretted anything. I did not want to cause him any more grief, especially after all he'd done for me... but as always the mission came first.

Mission after mission after mission - after a while they all began to run together. I was becoming numb with killing. It was like a cold darkness was covering my heart. I would be paired up with the other pilots from time to time, hiding in barns, motel rooms and safe houses. But it was only around Duo that I ever felt warm, as if the icy block encasing my heart was beginning to thaw. The new feelings were strange and confusing, and I had no idea what to do with them.

The only thing I knew for sure was to not tell Duo about them. For all his flirtatious overtures, I couldn't tell if he was joking or being serious. Besides, I'd never been taught to share my feelings - or even to have any at all.

The one time I did was during an extreme moment of weakness I'm still ashamed to admit to. It was shortly after that disastrous fiasco at New Edwards - when I had inadvertently killed the leaders of the Alliance thanks to Oz's dirty tricks. The five of us separated for safety reasons. Duo and I ended up at yet another private school while waiting for our next set of orders. During the daylight hours I was all right. I could lose myself in repairing Wing in the nearby forest or working on my laptop. But as darkness fell, I found it hard to hide from my conscience. The horror of what I'd done invaded my dreams, the screams of the innocent lives I had taken rang in my ears. Each night left me shaky, weak and feeling utterly helpless.

The third night after the "incident" was the worst. I awoke from my restless sleep, drenched in a cold sweat and shaking like a leaf in a storm. I sat up in my bed, breathing heavily and clutching my heart. I must have woken Duo for a moment later I heard the rustling of sheets on his side of the room, followed by the padding of bare feet across the cold tile floor.

He sat on the edge of my bed, violet eyes wide with silent understanding. He didn't say a word. If he had, I probably would have pushed him away. Instead he did the one thing I never expected - the one thing I never thought I'd respond to.

He opened his arms to me.

I stiffened in his embrace at first, not at all used to human contact. But he tightened his arms around me and lightly stroked my back, gently calming me down. I gradually melted into his embrace, resting my head against his shoulder and clutching his silky braid in my hands like a security blanket. The steady beating of his heart under my ear relaxed me, lulling me back to sleep.

He held me all night long, never saying a word. For a long, long while after I had awoken the next morning I simply lay in his embrace, gazing at his angelic, sleeping face. He was the epitome of beauty. The early morning sunlight streaming through the window played over his chestnut hair, setting it afire with molten strands of gold. He looked more like a creature from a child's fairy story than the trained terrorist I knew him to be. He snuggled closer, murmuring in his sleep. In that moment he was Innocence personified. His rosebud lips parted slightly, breathing my name in his sleep. Staring down at him, the temptation proved too great. I leaned down and kissed him.

He opened his mouth for me.

It startled me so much I almost pulled away. Almost. But the sensation of his soft lips parting beneath mine was too great. I was a man dying of thirst and Duo was a wellspring of life. I drank deeper, slipping my tongue inside his mouth to taste him. Even in his sleep his tongue met mine. The exquisite feeling sent little shock waves along my spine straight to my groin.

I gasped as my hardening arousal brushed his thigh. I pulled away from my sleeping angel to stare incredulously down at his slumbering face.

What had he done to me, to make me act in a way that was totally against everything I'd been trained for? I started to hyperventilate. Panicking, I untangled myself from his long limbs and half fell out of the bed in an attempt to get away from him. Amazingly enough, he didn't wake up. He simply sighed at the loss of warmth and glomped onto the pillow I had been using, burying his face in it.

I didn't move for the longest time. All I could do was stare down at the beautiful enigma that was Duo Maxwell. Finally I pushed aside my confusing jumble of thoughts, shoving them into a dark corner of my mind. I wasn't ready to face them yet. Besides, a beep on my laptop told me I had mission to complete.

I hurriedly took a shower and packed my meager belongings as quietly as I could. I hacked into the school's database and deleted our records. Then, with one long glance toward the sleeping angel in my bed, I left.

I'm sure you've heard what happened after that - the attack on the Oz base, my subsequent fight with Zechs Merquise... my failed attempt at self-destruction. It was a month before I even woke up after that little stunt, and several weeks before I was well enough to move around without Trowa or Catherine watching my every move. And every day my thoughts were full of the violet eyes I had left behind.

It wasn't until later that I'd heard he, Wufei, and the blonde kid - Quatre I think - had made it back into space. I followed shortly after my rematch with Zechs in Antarctica. By that time the colonies had rejected us, but the mission hadn't changed. I enrolled in yet another school under his name, as if somehow I was trying to keep him with me.

I'd only been at the school two days when I saw the news. I stared at the video feed, not quite willing to believe what I saw. Duo's limp and battered body hung between two Oz soldiers. Around me, people were cheering at the capture of one of the dreaded Gundam pilots. But I barely heard them. My mind was warring with itself. The soldier in me kept saying that the mission was compromised. 02 had to be silenced before he was forced to give Oz any information. But the lonely boy in me ached to see Duo like that. His pain was my pain, and I wanted nothing more than to rush to his rescue.

Sadly the soldier in me appeared to be stronger. Duo had to be eliminated and his Gundam destroyed before Oz could torture any information out of him. The mission took precedence even over a comrade's life.

It wasn't hard to break into the holding facility, military intelligence being an oxymoron. I made my way through the winding corridors with a gun in my hand and one thought in my mind: that I was about to snuff the light from Duo's eyes. I hardened my heart. It had to be done. My escape plan was a plan for one, not two. Even if I couldn't get out, I would not let those Oz bastards take me alive. Both Duo and I would be dead and the mission would remain safe for the others.

My homicidal intentions, however, were thrown right out the window when I opened the door to his cell to see his beaten form leaning against the far wall.

He opened his eyes for me.

Those beautiful, expressive amethyst eyes... I was lost in them, willingly drowning myself. He smiled at me with those eyes. With all the pain he must have been in at that moment, he still smiled at me, said he was glad to see me - said he was destined to be killed by me. He closed his eyes and waited patiently for me to pull the trigger.

In that instant, I knew I couldn't do it. I wanted to see his eyes open for me again. I wanted him to live. I wanted us to live.

He opened his eyes again, surprised I hadn't killed him yet. He was even more surprised when I threw the gun at him, then quickly moved to help support his weight. I'd shocked him. But he couldn't have been more shocked than I. I still didn't quite understand what was happening to me. My life had always centered around the mission - but now, somehow, Duo had become the center. Screw the mission. Getting Duo to safety had become my number one priority.

I'm still amazed we made it out in one piece. The odds were heavily stacked against us. But maybe Duo's god was looking out for us. We got out and I got him back to the colony I had been hiding on. I got him medical attention, sighing in relief as the doctor found nothing wrong that wouldn't heal in time. For the first time since I had seen his limp body on the video feed, I felt a tension I hadn't known was there melt away. Duo was safe. Ninmu kanryou.

I stayed in his room all night in an uncomfortable chair next to his bed, watching him sleep. A mission had come in for me earlier that evening. I'd have to leave him in the morning. I was loathe to do so, but he was safe now. I could return to my duty. So I watched him all night long, knowing it would be the last time I would see him for a very long while.

The artificial moonlight filtered in through the large window, causing the fey boy to once again look like something out of a story or dream. My hand reached out of its own violation to run through his silky bangs. He turned unconsciously toward my touch, nuzzling my hand in his sleep. My eyes were drawn to his pouty, slightly open lips. Remembering how delicious he had been before, I was suddenly starving for another taste. Knowing I wouldn't be seeing him for a long time, and before I could talk myself out of it, I leaned down and placed my mouth on his.

Duo waking up was the last thing I expected. I jerked back as if burned, bracing myself for his revulsion at my actions... my weakness.

But it never came. He simply smiled and held his arms out to me. I hesitated only for the briefest of moments before throwing my training to the wind and joining him on his narrow bed. We wrapped our arms around each other. I, mindful of his bruised ribs, lay very still, unsure of what to do next. Nothing in my training had prepared me for this. I didn't know what to do.

Fortunately, Duo did. He pressed his body against mine and leaned his head forward to brush our noses together. I met him halfway, lips brushing softly together before deepening into a harder, more passionate kiss. As our tongues intertwined in his mouth, a single thought kept repeating itself in my mind. I'd almost lost him... I'd almost lost him...

I tightened my arms around him, crushing his injured body to me as if to reassure myself that he was here; this was real; I hadn't lost him. The kiss continued, becoming rougher and more demanding with each passing minute. My hands roamed his body, first over the hospital gown, then under. At any moment I expected him to push me away, disgusted at my actions. But he didn't. Instead, he clutched me closer, urging me on.

He opened his body to me.

He let my hands roam the smooth, hard planes of his body. He allowed me to undress him, to run a line of wet kisses down his neck and over his bare chest. His little gasps and moans urged me on. Small, delicate hands helped me shed my own clothes, until I too was as naked as the day I was born. He drew me on top of him, both of us heedless of his injuries.

He gasped and arched into me as flesh met flesh. I tried to be gentle, tried to go slow. But all my good intentions were tossed out the window when he wrapped his strong legs around my waist and looked at me with his half-lidded, sultry gaze. I raised his knees high, spreading him wide. I hastily prepared him using only two fingers made slick from my own saliva. I positioned myself at his tight entrance, and with one last brutal kiss, I slid myself into his warm, willing body.

Duo closed his eyes, kissing softly in pain. I tried to hold myself still while he adjusted, but the urge to move was overwhelming. My entire being was focused on the tight, hot sheath surrounding me, and on the warm, smooth body beneath me. I gritted my teeth, resisting the urge to pound into him. But then the violet eyes opened, staring straight into mine. I felt myself beginning to drown in his gaze until he smiled at me... and moved.

I lost whatever composure I had as I felt him move against me. I heard myself growl like some kind of wild animal as I attacked his mouth with my own. My hips moved like a giant piston, slamming into his body over and over and over. He groaned and threw his head back against the pillows, offering his smooth, white throat to me. I bit down at the juncture between his neck and shoulder, causing him to cry out, half in pain, half in pleasure. I quickly soothed the spot with my tongue as I continued to slam my hips against his.

I could feel my release approaching fast, but I didn't want to come without first seeing Duo's face as he experienced his own release. Gripping his hip tightly with one hand, I slid my other between our bodies to stroke his hardened shaft in time with my thrusts. He screamed when I touched him, muscles tensing as his climax started to build. He tossed his head back and forth several times before a complete stillness settled over him. His mouth opened in a silent scream as his cock twitched in my hand, spraying both our stomachs with his hot, milky seed.

The force of his climax squeezed my own shaft as I pounded harder. But it was the sight of his face skewed up in absolute pleasure combined with the moonlight glinting off the pearly drops on his chest that sent me over the edge. My world turned white as I spilled myself within him, burying myself in his body one final time before finally collapsing on top of his trembling form.

He wrapped his arms around me and nuzzled my neck. I breathed in the musky scent of sweat in his hair as I tried to catch my breath. I felt him run his hands down my back in an effort, I think, to calm me down. But it was having the opposite effect.

As my breathing returned to normal and my heart rate slowed, I realized I was still inside him. His velvety walls now slick with my seed were clenching my still semi-hard shaft. I raised myself off his body with one hand while I stroked the other down his torso, gathering his seed on my fingertips. His eyes followed my fingertips to my mouth. Making sure I had his complete and utter attention, I sucked my fingers into my mouth one by on, tasting his essence as if I was licking honey from them. His eyes flashed, his breath caught in his throat. I leaned down and kissed him, sliding my tongue inside his mouth so he could taste himself on me.

As I continued to feed him, I started making shallow thrusts with my hips. My rapidly hardening member slid easily along his silky passage now. He groaned into my mouth as he began to counter-thrust against me. My thrusts grew deeper as I felt the proof of his rapidly hardening arousal against my stomach. Hastily I pulled out and flipped him over onto his hands and knees. One hand gripped his slender hip while the other wrapped his long, silky braid around itself. I used the rope of hair to pull his head back so I could plunder his mouth. At the same time I plunged myself back into his body.

Our joining was fast and rough. No words were spoken at all - the only sounds being the slap of flesh against flesh and the occasional moan.

We found our release at almost the exact same moment, our cries lost in each others mouths. I collapsed on top of him, breathing as though I'd just run an obstacle course. I heard him wince in pain as I pulled out of him and moved to the side. Immediately I felt a wave of guilt. He was injured and I had taken him not once, but twice! And I had not been at all gentle. I could see bruises in the shape of handprints beginning to form on his hips. What kind of monster was I?

I stared down at him for a long moment. His eyes were closed but I could tell he was still awake. At any moment I expected him to open his eyes, look at me in disgust, and shove me away in revulsion. I wouldn't blame him. I deserved it.

His eyes opened. I watched his face closely, ready for his reaction to what I'd done. But instead of hitting me, instead of shoving me away, he smiled at me and murmured my name. My own eyes grew wider as he snuggled closer, wrapping himself around me. He nuzzled his head under my chin before closing his eyes once again. His breathing slowed as he drifted off to sleep. I lay with my arms around him, stunned. What had just happened? A myriad of thoughts and feelings swept through me. I was confused. Very confused.

I tried to look at it logically, like I'd been trained to do. What had we done? Well, that part was easy. We'd had sex. Specifically, I had fucked him. Twice. My blood burned with the memory of it. I felt myself starting to get hard again. I quickly squashed the thought, trying to keep my hormones under control. Right. Next question.

Why?

I blinked. I had no real answer for that. Or too many answers perhaps. One, I desired him. That was easy. I'd never thought about my sexual preferences before. I'd never had any reason to. But ever since I had first laid eyes on the bewitching chestnut haired creature beside me, I'd been captivated. Something about him drew me to him.

But what did that mean? Did I care about him? The logical soldier in me answered 'Of course.' Duo was a good soldier and a loyal comrade. His skills were essential to the team. But the other side of me, the human side, cared for him more deeply than that.

I let out a breath I didn't realize I'd been holding. I cared for him. But how much? Was it just simple friendship? Or was it... love? That question I could not answer.

I lay beside him until the artificial dawn began chasing away the gray shadows of night. My heart was heavy and I was just as confused as before. But I couldn't take any more time to figure out my feelings. I had a mission to accomplish on the Lunar Base. As much as I wanted to stay beside Duo's warm body forever, the mission had to come first.

As silently as I could, I slipped out of bed, careful not to disturb him. I dressed quickly and gathered my things. Duo would be all right here for a few days. I'd registered at the school under his name. He could take my place, attend some classes while his body healed.

I briefly hesitated at the door, staring at my Sleeping Beauty on the bed, blissfully unaware of the world in his slumber. I took one last long look before turning and walking away.

We saw each other again only a handful of times before the end of the war -in the Oz cell, on Peacemillion. But we never spoke of what had happened between us that night. It never seemed the right time. Then the final battle was upon us. I fully expected to die - it was my duty as a soldier to sacrifice everything. My only regret was Duo... that we'd never figured things out between us. I saw it in his eyes as well. We both wished we had more time.

Time was something we didn't have. The fate of billions of lives on Earth rested in our hands. The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. I was the only one who could stop the section from Libra from crashing into the planet below. I was ready to die.

Or so I thought. But before I plunged Wing Zero into the atmosphere after Libra, I saw Duo's face on the monitor. The sound was malfunctioning but I could read his lips. 'Come back safely' they said. His violet eyes said the same thing. And in that moment - I wanted to live! For the first time in my life, I didn't want to self-destruct. I wanted to live!

I soared after the falling ship with that phrase repeating itself in my head. I wanted to live. I wanted to live. I wanted to live!!! I pulled the trigger and blew Libra into a billion smaller, harmless pieces. The explosion rocked my Gundam as I fought for control of the suit. I wanted to live!

By some miracle of Duo's god, my prayer was answered. I lived. White Fang was defeated. The Earth surrendered. I didn't have to fight anymore. The healing process could finally begin.

I returned to Earth a conquering hero, no pun intended. People everywhere were cheering. The war was finally, finally over. I didn't have to be a soldier anymore.

I was greeted by my friends upon my landing. Wufei had disappeared after his fight with Treize, but Trowa was there, supporting a wounded Quatre. Sally and Noin rushed to greet me, followed immediately by the Peacecraft girl who latched herself onto my arm. But I barely noticed as I scanned the crowd for a long chestnut braid and a pair of violet eyes. Sally was speaking to me and before I knew what was happening, I had agreed to act as Relena's bodyguard while she worked to establish peace between the Earth and the colonies. I guessed my days as a soldier weren't over yet.

Relena wanted to leave immediately for the Sanq Kingdom. As she pulled me away from the crowd a flash of violet caught my eye. My breath caught in my throat as Duo stepped out of the crowd. I wanted to go to him but Relena was insistent. From across the tarmac, I silently pleaded with him to forgive me. He gave me a sad smile and his eyes said he understood.

I stared at him for as long as I could before Relena's pink limo turned a corner and I lost sight of him.

For the next year I acted as Relena's bodyguard and part time agent for Une's Preventers. I lost contact with the other pilots until Quatre contacted me about destroying Zero. By that time there were rumors flying about Mariemaia Barton. Une sent me to investigate while Relena went on some diplomatic mission to one of the colonies. I sent my Gundam to Quatre to be destroyed, wishing I could go myself. Duo was going to be there...

When word came in about Relena's kidnapping, I knew we had to act quickly. This was not going to be any ordinary uprising. If we didn't act swiftly, it could lead to another destructive and deadly war. I couldn't allow that to happen. But to stop it, I'd need some help.

I saved Duo for last. Wufei was still missing but Trowa and Quatre readily agreed and were already working on the problem. I took a shuttle to L2 where Duo had set up a salvage operation with that Hilde girl. For a moment I felt a surge of something - jealousy? But I knew I shouldn't jealous. I knew Duo only thought of Hilde as a little sister. But still... he was living with her.

I was loathe to disturb the peaceful life he'd built for himself after the war. I knew he hated fighting as much as I did. I didn't want to bring him back into the fight, but I needed him. I worried that he would refuse me since I'd left him for Relena at the end of the war. Now I was going to ask him to help me rescue her. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he rejected me. But I needn't have worried.

He opened his life to me once again.

He didn't even hesitate, simply asking me what I wanted him to do. Together we took a shuttle and boarded Mariemaia's colony. He fought beside me like old times. It felt nice to have him at my back once more.

It was with a heavy heart that I punched him in the stomach and left him behind. My heart ached at the thought of hurting him, but I didn't want him following me. He could get hurt... or worse. I couldn't have made it this far on my own. But I didn't want him involved any more than he had to be. I wanted him safe. I only hoped one day he would understand why I left him behind. This was my fight. I had to end this so that he and so many others could live in peace once more.

It was with that thought - that shining hope that after this I wouldn't have to kill anymore and that Duo wouldn't have to kill anymore. After this, if I succeeded, the world could reclaim that fragile peace that we had worked so hard and sacrificed so much for. With that in mind, I aimed my rifle at Mariemaia's shielded estate, knowing that the backlash of energy would destroy my already damaged Gundam.

I fired.

Three times I fired, each time pieces of my Gundam flew off, control panels sending showers of sparks, burning my arms. Each time I thought it would be my last. The third shot proved to be the final one as my overtaxed Gundam crashed to the ground. Amazingly enough I survived. Again. I made my way down into the ruined depths of the underground bunker. By the time I got there, things were pretty much over. Dekim was dead. Relena appeared to be safe. Mariemaia Khushrenada was no more. All that remained was a scared little girl who reminded me of another little girl I met long ago.

It was over. Another war prevented. Duo would have his peaceful world. And I... I could finally rest. My world went black as I succumbed to my injuries.

I awoke to Relena's anxious face staring down at me. Someone had brought me to the surface where rescue crews were tending to the wounded. Sally looked me over and wanted me to go to a hospital but I refused. I stood up carefully, using Relena as a support. She was speaking to me but I wasn't listening. A feeling of déja vu swept over me as I scanned the crowds for a pair of violet eyes as I had a year before.

Where could he be? He was all right - he had to be. Sally would have told me if anyone had... I swallowed hard at the thought of anything happening to that braided baka. But then... the crowds shifted and he was there... whole, unhurt and alive! We held each other's gaze for a long moment until Relena broke it by grabbing onto my arm. I shot her one of my patented 'Death Glares' before turning back to look at Duo. Again I felt dÈj‡ vu as he smiled at me sadly and turned away. My heart cried out as he turned to go. No! I couldn't lose him a second time!

I blinked as Relena said my name, asking if I was ready to leave. I stared down at her then turned to look back at Duo's retreating figure. In an instant I knew what I had to do.

I left Relena in her brother's care, ignoring her cries as she called out my name, ordering me to come back. She'd just have to find a new bodyguard. I had one last objective to complete.

It didn't take me long to catch up to Duo even injured as I was. His eyes widened in surprise as I caught his arm and turned him to face me. I could see the questions cross his puzzled face, followed quickly by complete joy. He threw his arms around me and simply whispered three little words. My entire being soared as he breathed them into my ear. I cupped his chin with one hand, sliding it along his cheek until my fingers buried themselves in his silky hair. As I drew his lips to meet mine, memories of him flooded my mind. How we'd met... how he'd changed me... how I knew I couldn't be whole without him. He'd opened himself to me mind, body, and soul. And in the end, I did the only thing I could do.

I opened my heart to him.

~Owari

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