Flights of Angels (cont)

+

I really didn't mind living in the dorms. Ever since Dad had died rather messily, Mom had become some sort of anti-war fanatic. She really didn't have time for me. It was kind of ironic, when I thought about it, but then irony tended to hurt my head nowadays. Weekends, I was pretty much on my own since most of my classmates took off for parts unknown. It was a beautiful day. The kind of day when the sky was so deep that you thought maybe Copernicus was wrong -- that the earth was the center of the universe. Laying in the middle of the quad in the sweet, soft grass, it was easy to pretend that there was no blackness behind the blue, that people weren't dying up there. I closed my eyes. The sun's rays turned my bones to butter. It was not sleeping I was heading for so much as melting. It took me a minute to recognize the fact when the sun was blocked out.

"Damn, hero. You look good enough to eat."

I considered opening my eyes, but thought better of it when it became apparent that through some miracle of alchemy my eyelids had been turned to lead.

"Duo Maxwell -- you awake? Shouldn't you be bursting into flames or something?"

I heard a low chuckle as the sun returned and I felt him lie next to me. Duo Maxwell slept through weekends. Literally. He was like a cat. It had taken something special for him to be out of bed on a Saturday afternoon, and I figured I knew that something's name.

"Trouble on the homefront?"

"I'm not even gonna dignify that question with a response."

He threw an arm across my chest and snuggled against me. I had learned two things about the long-haired beauty glued to my side since the arrival of one Heero Yuy at this fine institution of learning. The first was that Duo Maxwell had no defense or tricks that worked on or against the overly stoic boy who had though some fluke of administrative prowess been made his roommate. The second was that I had been dubbed the Official Duo Maxwell Security Blanket. On any given day, at any given moment, he was draped over me like there was no tomorrow. I didn't mind. He needed me. Or, rather, he needed someone and I was as close to good enough as he could find.

Duo Maxwell's hand was toying with the hem of my shirt, his fingers ever so slightly grazing the flesh beneath. It was driving me to distraction, but I made no move to stop him. I don't even think he was aware he was doing it.

Besides -- what would I say? Could you please cut that out, it feels too good?

"What say you and me go out tonight. Kick up some dust. Paint the town red."

"You asking me out, hero?"

I had truly not thought of it that way. I had just meant to distract him, maybe give him a reason not to go back to the pretty tin man for a while.

"Yeah, Duo Maxwell. I'm asking you out."

His grip tightened briefly -- my reward, it would seem, for making the correct response.

"Then you're on. It's a date."

+

Duo Maxwell had bounced out of my arms an hour earlier claiming that he had to put himself together. The results, when I finally saw them, were literally breathtaking. I think I might have mentioned the fact that Duo Maxwell was above averagely attractive. Imagine if you took that same boy and poured him into clinging, black leather jeans that seemed as if they were less painted on than an extension of his will. The effect was enough to glue my feet to the floor, along with my jaw. He pulled me into the room, closing the door after me, and pressed me up against the wall. Gazing into the depths of his astonishing eyes at such close range was on the verge of making me giddy, but his smile was full of such happiness that my heartbeat calmed of itself, returning the blood to my fingers and toes. He touched the tip of my nose with his tongue before pulling away.

"Don't you go anywhere, hero."

He put a hand to his neck and trailed it down his bare chest. How a 15 year old boy could be so sensual was quite beyond me.

"Can't go out half naked now, can I?"

With that, he whirled about, dashing off to the next room where I could hear him singing softly to himself as he rummaged through the impressive piles of clothing littering the floor which, I had been told more than once, represented Duo Maxwell's idea of the perfect dresser.

It wasn't until I had regained my senses enough to see straight that I remembered we weren't alone. Heero Yuy was an enigma to me, in the truest sense of the word. When I had named him the pretty tin man, I had hit the mark dead on. It wasn't so much that he was empty as the fact that among all the marvels and horrors that constituted the soul of a Heero Yuy, there didn't appear to be the slightest hint of humanity. Let's face it -- it's just not normal to never smile.

"I smile."

His voice was gentler than I could possibly have expected it could be. If I closed my eyes, I almost felt warmth in it. It didn't seem to matter when I finally realized he had responded to a thought I must have unknowingly spoken aloud. I had no reply but to cross the room to stand beside him.

"I smile," he repeated as he looked up at me through his unruly hair. "Duo makes me smile."

The feel of my hand on his shoulder must have startled him -- he tensed up like a bow string.

"Just disproving a commonly held theory."

His eyes bade me continue. If I had been in my right state of mind, I might have feared for my life.

"You aren't made of ice, after all."

If I had shocked him with my touch, I had surely confused him all to hell with my words. His deep blue eyes became unexpectedly much less cold and much more real. It was at that moment that Duo Maxwell came back into the room now fully clothed with the addition of a form fitting black T which read 'hentai' across the front in bold red letters.

"How do I look?"

"Gorgeous." My god, but it was true. "What does this mean?"

I traced the foreign word on his shirt with a slow finger. He nearly convulsed with giggles. Duo Maxwell -- the child.

"It's Japanese for 'happy'."

Heero's Yuy's soft answer caused his roommate to stop breathing for an almost alarming period of time. When he finally recovered himself, he broke out in a smile that made me realize that the joy I had seen in him before now was merely a pale shadow of all the beauty and wonder he hid inside. The smile was aimed at Heero Yuy, but it was still full force when it fell on me. It was like staring into the sun.

"What did you do to my Heero?" he asked,

"Hn?"

He seemed to find my wordless question extremely humourous.

"I never thought I'd live to see the day that my Heero would make a joke."

He held out a hand to me which I had no choice but to take.

"C'mon, baby. Lets blow this pop stand."

"Where are you going?"

The addition of these four words made it official -- this was the most anyone, with the possible exception of Duo Maxwell, had ever heard out of Heero Yuy at one sitting.

"Dancing."

"Dancing?"

"Yeah, Heero. This is a date. I'm a horny teenager. Where did you expect us to go? A tea room?"

Gauging by the amethyst eyed boy's reaction, you would have thought Heero Yuy's frown was priceless.

"What's the matter, little bear?" He laughed. "No need to worry your pretty head. I'm a big boy. I can take care of myself."

"Hn."

I felt my hand being gently squeezed and figured it was time to make our exit.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

He slipped his arm around my waist as we walked down the hall.

"What?"

"'Hn'."

"Well, that's the beauty of it, hero." He leaned closer to me as if imparting a very great and hitherto unknown secret. "It means whatever I want it to mean."

+

Duo Maxwell on a dance floor was a sight I will never forget. He danced with a passion that captivated not only me, but every other person in the club. I had no idea it was possible for anyone to move that way. His entire body pressed and ground against mine until I couldn't tell where I stopped and he started. The music was loud enough that you couldn't hear yourself think, but with Duo Maxwell's ear so close to my lips, I found I didn't have too hard a time making myself heard.

"You're beautiful."

His eyes literally glimmered. "You're not so bad yourself."

He had placed my hands on his hips a half hour ago and I had yet to move them. The feel of him moving under my fingers was wreaking havoc with my good intentions. By this point, I had decided that indulging in one or two none too innocent fantasies would be much, much better for all involved than throwing Duo Maxwell against the nearest wall and removing every stitch of his clothing with my teeth.

"Penny for your thoughts?"

I could not have stopped the predatory upturning of my smile if I'd tried. "I was thinking about you."

"Yeah? And?"

"And me..."

"And..."

"And...nothing...else..."

"Oh, hero -- you slay me. Sweet and sexy."

He spoke these words softly into my ear, leaning closer to take the lobe into his mouth and gently suck. I nearly swooned at the feel of his warm mouth on my flesh. When he pulled back, there was something different in his eyes that I couldn't put a name to.

"Let me stay with you tonight."

The playful tone of his voice was gone. If he had been joking, as he always had before, I would have laughed it off. A few strands of hair had escaped his ever present braid. Before I even realized I was doing it, I saw my hand reach out to sweep them behind his ear.

"Please."

I wanted to say no, god help me, I did. I could feel the word forming in my mouth. But when I finally answered him, what came out was, "Yes."

+

My room, at best, was a pretty boring place. Having lost my last roommate to yet another family move due to tragic circumstances, there was only me to fill it with life. Trouble was, I wasn't much for collecting. Standing in the doorway, I could hardly believe it was mine. It hadn't hit me until that exact moment how empty it all was.

"I never thought I'd end up here."

Duo Maxwell lay sprawled across my bed, his shirt in a rumpled ball on the floor where he had thrown it as soon as he had stepped into the room.

"My bed?"

He laughed. There was a sad kind of humour in the sound. "Your bed... No. I never thought I'd end up here." They were the same words, but somehow conveyed an entirely different meaning.

"What do you want, Duo Maxwell."

I had not moved other than to cross my arms and lean against the door frame.

"Peace." His shining eyes closed.

"I can't give you peace, Duo Maxwell." I rephrased my question. "What do you want from me?"

"I want you to make me forget. I want you to stop the pain. Just for a while..."

There was no seduction in his entreaty, only a great and aching sorrow. I wanted him, then, more than I had know it was possible to want someone.

"I'm not what you need, Duo Maxwell."

At this, his eyes opened and as I met them from across the room I knew that I would do whatever he asked of me, no matter the price.

"I know," he said. "But for now, just for now... can't we pretend that you are?"

+

When morning dawned, I could see it all clearly before I even opened my eyes. My god -- how could I possibly have missed it? I lay still for a while, stroking Duo Maxwell's long, soft hair until I realized he wasn't asleep. He snuggled closer to me, holding me so tightly it almost hurt. I already knew without a doubt that I was right, but I had to ask, for his sake if nothing else.

"It's Heero, isn't it."

He didn't raise his face to mine, so I couldn't see his eyes, but I felt him nod.

"How long?"

For several moments he was silent. I'm not even sure if I really expected an answer. When it came, it was nothing more than a whisper across my chest.

"Since the day I met him..."

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