Author: Dacia

Duoman: Ships in the Night + Part 8

+

Duo groaned. He wanted to to open his eyes, and yet he didn't. It seemed only logical that if it hurt to breathe, which it did to an almost absurd extent, any other movement, no matter how small, would be nothing less that needlessly self-induced torture. And Duo did hurt. He had never felt anything quite like this before and could only assume that it must be pain. After all, pain was not something he had much familiarity with, in any real sense. But then neither was unconsciousness. At that thought, he did open his eyes and found himself looking up at the face of what seemed to be an avenging angel.

"I swear, Duo If I weren't so glad that you're ok, I'd be strangling you."

"Good to see you, too, Kat. Where are we?"

Quatre leaned over him, no longer quite 'avenging', yet not nearly as sweet as he usually appeared. His fingers felt cool on Duo's skin as he swept chestnut bangs from a decidedly warm forehead and he allowed them to linger as Duo unconsciously pressed up against them.

"God, Kat... You feel so good..."

Duo's moan dripped with pleasure causing Quatre to pull his hand quickly, yet apologetically, away.

"You know someday I'm going to give in and take you."

Duo laughed. "Don't worry -- I won't let you. Unless, of course, you get me drunk."

"Don't tempt me."

Quatre stood, crossing the room to pull heavy curtains open allowing the light of a burnt umber sky to filter in.

"We're back on Earth," he said finally. "You've been out for three days."

"'Out'? As in...?"

"As in dead to the world."

Duo paused as if waiting for someone else to ask the question for him and, although there was no one in the room other than Quatre and himself, nonetheless appearing almost amazed when no one did. "Isn't that impossible?"

"You'd think so, yes."

"Geez, Kat, don't be so forthcoming. You're gonna talk my ears off."

Silence.

"Kat?"

"When you left... on San Rommell... I thought I'd never see you again... It hurt, Duo. I never dreamed it would hurt so much. I've never felt for anyone what I feel for you. Not even Trowa. But I didn't realize it until you were gone..."

Duo sat up slowly and with great effort, getting to his feet and almost immediately regretting it although he did then decide that since he was up anyways he might as well finish what he'd started. By the time he reached the blonde Arabian framed so picturesquely by the setting sun, his legs felt as if they might give way at any moment. The hand he laid on Quatre's shoulder was shaking, but he tried his best not to notice. "But I'm not gone, Kat. I'm right here. And I have no plans to go anywhere in the near future. Except... maybe... the floor..."

Luckily, Quatre caught him before he toppled completely and after sweeping him up in his arms in the vein of any number of fairy tale princes, deposited him safely on his bed.

"What the hell is wrong with me, Kat? I feel like... Damn, I have no idea what I feel like."

"I'm not sure on that point myself. Heero does tend to make things sound rather complicated."

"That's my Heero -- always aiming to confound. Speaking of the love of my life, as it were, where is he? I rather thought he'd be here. With me. By my side. Hovering protectively. That sort of thing."

"Oh, he was. Right up until he collapsed. Zechs was here, too, although he didn't last much longer than Heero. Living for the past few months on anxiety and stimulants finally caught up with him."

"Poor little guys," sympathized Duo. "Poor little... gorgeous... sexy... blue-eyed guys..." He stopped that train of thought even as it started, knowing he would need a clear head and thinking that would be decidedly unlikely in light of his body's seemingly uncontrollable reaction to the images his brain had conjured.

//Wait a minute... Uncontrollable...//

Duo attempted to slow his heart rate. It was a simple process, really, like turning down the oscillations of any electrical device. At least it had been simple. For at the moment Duo's heart rate was not slowing down. If anything, it was gaining speed.

"Quatre?" He reached out for his friend, clutching desperately at the hand placed in his grasp. "What is it? I can't control my body! What's wrong with me? Am I broken?"

"No," replied Quatre quietly. "No, Duo... You're human."

+

Wufei didn't remember collapsing. [20] He remembered blood, so much blood, and pain and fear. Now that his eyes were open, he dared not close them again. The darkness that awaited him there was blinding in more ways than one, and he couldn't bear the thought of what had been done in his name.

"Do you always look so serious upon awakening?"

Wufei drifted out of his memories with only a small shudder.

"I rather recall you smiling more." Treize pulled himself up onto his elbows. "Mind you," he continued, "you're awfully cute when you're pouting."

That did it. But then he had known it would.

"I am not pouting!"

"No?" Treize stifled his chuckles, but not his grin. "Then what are you doing?"

Wufei did not have an answer to his question, or not one he could put words to.

"You're feeling guilty," said Treize. "You think it should have been you." He sat up fully, ignoring the aches that permeated every fiber of his being. "Wufei..."

Wufei couldn't stand the adoration in Treize's voice. How could he possibly still love him? "But it should have been me!" He cried. "It should have always been me!"

"I'm not following your logic."

"Meiran..."

"Darling..." Treize drew the smaller man close, reveling in the feel of skin on skin even now. "You are never going to persuade me to agree with your misplaced belief that you should have died in her stead. However wonderful she may have been and however much you might have loved her, I am at heart a selfish man. I can regret no circumstance that brought you into my arms."

"But --"

"No circumstance." His voice was quiet, yet quite forceful. "What's past is past. You did not cause any of this to happen. Dermail did. He was an evil man, Wufei you must not confuse his wicked deeds with your righteous ones, nor should you assume that you are to blame for what has been done to you."

"To me?" Wufei surrendered to Treize's embrace. He had been so strong for so long. Perhaps here, now... Perhaps he could finally let go.

"Yes, Wufei. To you. You suffered as well. You cannot let your guilt rule you. I fell in love with a man who did the right thing for the right reasons. It is part of who you are. Please do not regret it."

"I don't," admitted Wufei. "I can't. Not really. But it hurts, Treize."

He felt the chuckle rumble through Treize's chest.

"That's what you get for being a good guy." Treize gently lifted Wufei's chin until their lips met fleetingly.

"True," sighed Wufei. "Dermail always seemed so... delighted. It was really rather perverse."

"You never did tell me..."

"He's dead. Heero shot him."

Treize let this information sink in and carefully worded his reply. "Are you disappointed?"

"That he won't be punished or that I didn't kill him myself?"

"Either. Both. You must have felt something when he died."

Wufei lay quietly, breathing in the smooth scent of Treize's bare skin. He brought a hand to that chiseled chest, tracing the muscles there with gentle fingers. "I'd thought I'd killed him before," he said finally. "For a brief time after Meiran died, it was all I could think of. When I shot him, it was as if all my emotions had been swept away. The first time he died, I felt nothing. And I thought it was over. When I saw him alive again, I realized that all the pain and guilt caused by the death of my wife had not been swept away, but instead hidden so deep inside me that I had become unaware of their existence. Killing him that first time did not heal me, and I cannot help but think that killing him a second time would have done no better. I am not sorry that he is finally and truly dead, but I am also not sorry that I was not the one to end his life. It would have made no difference."

"But somehow something is different," said Treize softly. Wufei's light touch felt so right that he hardly dared breathe in fear that he might stop.

"Yes. It is different somehow this time. Being forced to deal with those emotions again after I had hid them so well for so long... I think that is what has begun to heal me. That, and you. I... It may be presumptuous of me, but I was hoping... well, I was wondering if you would stay with me."

Treize froze at Wufei's words, tensing so suddenly that Wufei froze in turn.

"Do you know what you're asking? Do you know who I am?"

"I know what I'm asking, Treize, and I know what I want. I know what I need. With you, I feel more alive than I have in a long time. As to who you are... I think I know that better than you do yourself."

Treize relaxed only slightly. "To start over..."

"To start over. Together."

"Yes," said Treize. He raised Wufei's eyes to his own, amazed as always at how easily he sank into their dark depths. "Together." [21]

+


[20] Everyone's collapsing right and left but I really can't seem to think of another way to word it... >_<
[21] What's that knocking? I do believe it's the sap police coming to take me away...

[cont]