Flights of Angels (cont)

+

To say that Heero Yuy was good with computers was a masterpiece of understatement. He breezed through homework, which would undoubtedly wreak havoc with my sense of self-worth, with a speed that was sobering. He would sit ramrod straight in his chair for hours. Watching him from Duo Maxwell's bed, I could only think how much that must hurt.

"It doesn't hurt."

Damn. I really had to stop doing that.

"And you should be doing your calculus, not observing me."

"I'm taking a break." It never ceased to amaze me how often one needed to take a break from calculus if one wanted for any reason to preserve one's sanity. "You should take a break, too."

"A break?"

"Yes, Heero, a break. Relax a bit."

"Relax."

I sighed. This was me, getting nowhere.

Crossing to him, I laid my hands on his shoulders. I had done it so many times before that he hardly even flinched at my touch.

When I was young, I found a stray dog. He would growl at you if you even looked at him funny. In retrospect, I suppose it might have been a definitively dumb idea to keep an animal that bared his teeth every time anyone came near, but I had refused to let him be taken from me. My parents had watched, stunned, in abject terror as I stretched my hand out to that angry dog. I'm not sure if it was due to my young age or the fact that I wanted nothing in return, but my fingers safely made their way to his short fur. As for me, I had merely wanted to take away his pain. It might seem an odd thing to think of when speaking of a 15 year old boy, until you remember that the boy in question was Heero Yuy.

Having weathered through an untold number of thankfully unfulfilled death threats by glare, it hadn't been long before I realized that not only did Heero Yuy not mind if I touched him, but that I had been given cart blanche to do so. I had come to the conclusion that the rigid and unforgiving feel of his body actually had very little to do with my proximity. It was my understanding that it was his natural state. And no matter what he said, I knew that it must be an incredibly unpleasant way to live.

"You trust me, Heero?

"Hai."

He hadn't even needed to think before answering. I almost couldn't hear him for the blood roaring through my veins. He trusted me...

"Then come here." I led him to his own bed. "Lie down. On your stomach."

Once he did so, I straddled him.

"What are you doing?!"

"Don't get your knickers in a twist, Heero. Duo Maxwell has the great honour of being the only boy I desire to molest, at present. You're perfectly safe." I felt not even a twinge of guilt. After all, it was a very small lie.

"Hn."

I had taken Duo Maxwell's words to heart. I now chose to interpret Heero Yuy's 'Hn' as 'Whatever you say, Ryu. Thy will be done'.

His muscles were like steel cords under my fingers. I could hardly tell them from the bone. It was not so much me he was resisting as the very concept of letting go.

"Stop fighting me, Heero. I promise this won't hurt. It might even do you some good."

I paused a moment to work him free of his ever-present green tank top before continuing.

"The human body was not meant to be eternally coiled like a spring."

Grabbing some of Duo Maxwell's favourite lotion from the bedside table, I warmed it in my hands before rubbing it into his skin. A small smile lit my face as I realized that Heero Yuy now smelled of roses.

"Tell me, Heero -- if you place an iron bar under unrelenting pressure in a harsh environment, what will happen?"

"It will bend."

"Iie, chigaimasu. It will break, Heero. Eventually it will simply snap in two." [1]

My thumbs worked their way down the column of his spine before once more moving upwards.

"It is no longer capable of anything. It can no longer serve its function. It is rendered useless."

A minute tremor ran the length of his body at my words. Had I not been so near him, I could never have noticed.

"But if you occasionally release that pressure, if you build a support for the iron bar, it will remain strong."

It was surreal to be explaining this to a boy who could most likely write a remarkably exhaustive thesis on each and every aspect of tensile strength without even blinking an eye. It was a revelation to him only in that he had never thought to apply the theory to himself.

"Is that why this feels so good?"

His question startled me. My hands stilled in their task a split second before resuming. "In part."

The slow, circular patterns my hands traced over his back were as hypnotic to me as they were to him. The gentle cadence of alternating pressures were eventually allowed to pacify even Heero Yuy's vast reserve and it was not long before he languidly closed his cobalt eyes.

"It feels good to let go..." I agreed.

"Demo?"

I sighed. "But it's so much more than that, Heero."

"Wakarimasen." [2]

It was not always only the blind who could not see.

"Why do you trust me?"

"Because you have proven yourself to be trustworthy." He did not mention Duo Maxwell, but I know his regard for me played a large part in this. "And for all the things you've done for us, you have never..."

"I have never asked for anything in return."

"Hai." The word was soft and smooth -- almost a moan as it fell from his lips.

"That's because I care for you -- for both of you."

"And it is that which makes the difference?"

"Oh, Heero... It makes all the difference in the world."

I closed my own eyes now, letting my fingers search out the last remaining spots of tension and coaxing them into release. For several long moments, I continued. The warmth of his skin was intensified by that of my own as it sank into his now lax form. My work was, for all intensive purposes, complete yet as I began to move off him I heard him speak.

"Onegai shimasu," he said breathlessly. "Tomenai de kudasai." [3]

I couldn't help but wonder when he had last been touched like this, if indeed he had ever been. His cries of need had been much more subtle than those of Duo Maxwell. And, once again, I could not turn away.

Perhaps I had a little bit of hero in me, after all.

[1] "No, you're wrong."
[2] "I don't understand."
[3] "Please, don't stop."

+

It was not long after this that events abruptly took a new turn. The war between Oz and the colonies, after so long on such a low flame, flared into new life. There was not one amongst us, teacher or student, who did not feel the strain of the renewed and ever more bloody hostilities. In the furor that followed, it was only I who noticed that Heero Yuy and Duo Maxwell were both conspicuously absent more and more often for longer periods of time. When they would return, I could tell that something had changed between them. It was as if the feelings they held for each other, so long kept in check, had now been allowed tentatively to grow.

+

Duo Maxwell's head lay on my chest, his hand lazily drawing small, light circles on my stomach. "God how I've missed this."

My eyes were closed. I did not need to open them to see the sadness in his gaze. He snuggled closer to me still, his embrace at once seeking and possessing.

"You feel like home."

It was a whisper meant more for his own ears than for mine. I was surprised to feel wetness on my skin. Was Duo Maxwell ... crying?

"No," he said adamantly. "No... Boys don't cry..."

It was then that I knew he would soon leave me.

+

Duo Maxwell sat at the edge of my bed. He looked at me with eyes that were bottomless in the dim light and raised a hand to brush the bangs from my forehead.

"Duo..."

He smiled when he realized I was awake.

"I came to say good-bye."

His fingers traced the planes of my face as if he were memorizing its contours.

"And thank you."

"Thank you?"

"For making me feel again. For reminding me that I'm human. For...being so damn gorgeous."

His grin brightened up his whole face until I thought he must be shining. Duo Maxwell -- the angel.

"Duo." This soft voice came from the doorway where a dark figure stood watching. "We have to go."

There was something in the waiting boys silence that expressed more than words ever could, and I understood then that he was saying his own kind of good-bye.

Duo Maxwell grimaced melodramatically. "Coming, Heero." He lowered himself until our noses were almost touching and winked one violet eye. "Heero's, ne? They can be so bossy."

He kissed me lingeringly, unable to resist the temptation of my lips so close beneath his own. I closed my eyes as he drew out of reach and heard him speak to me one final time.

"Good night, sweet prince."

I knew by then that this was not a dream and yet still could not hear the sound of their feet on the floor as they walked away.

+

The day I found out that Heero Yuy and Duo Maxwell were gundam pilots, I laughed til I cried.

+

~5 years later~

"Hey, Ryu. Whaddya doing?"

"Geez. Can't a guy get a little peace and quiet around here?"

Laughter. "Peace, yes. Quiet...are you kidding??"

I felt the full weight of him leaning on my shoulders. What made me think I would ever win?

"If you must know, you ruffian, I am recounting for posterity the story of my first encounter with a certain Duo Maxwell -- "

"And an even certainer Heero Yuy..."

My glare at this interruption hardly made a difference, at that point, but I lanced one in his direction nonetheless. " -- in the year AC 195," I continued. "And my torrid affair with that same certain Duo Maxwell -- "

"Torrid? Torrid?!" He thought this over a bit. "Yeah, I guess that fits. Duo Maxwell was pretty hot to trot in those days. Ow!"

This startled exclamation was solicited by my hand yanking forcefully on the end of his braid.

"Duo..."

"Hey! Hands off the hair, wise guy, or I'll sic Heero on you."

I laughed at the thought. If anything, Heero and I were of the same mind when it came to the violet eyed ex-gundam pilot.

"What did you come up here for, anyways?"

"We've got to get ready for Relena's party."

"Grrr. Why in hell's name do I have to go. As far as I can recall, the invitation for this little soiree was addressed to the Maxwell-Yuys, with no mention of one Ryu Asoko."

Now it was his turn to laugh. "If we have to put up with her, so do you. She thinks of you as part of our family. Besides, you know how much she likes you. And we all know how much you like Zechs..."

If I were the blushing type, I would have turned bright red at that remark. Was I really that obvious?

"Yes." He leaned close to me, touching his nose to mine. "And you always have been."

I grinned like an idiot. Duo Maxwell has that effect on me.

"All right, all right. I'll get ready."

He tousled my hair affectionately. "That's my boy."

When Duo Maxwell leaves a room, somehow the light seems to dim slightly. After years of living with him and Heero, I could verify this as an undeniable fact.

I closed my notebook with care, smiling. It all seemed so long ago...

But now I had a party to get ready for. And, you know, I always did love a party.

end

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