Ships in the Night + Part 8 (cont)
"And that's when he lost
Quatre nodded. "I'm so
sorry. I had no idea --"
"Don't blame yourself,
Quatre. His body is still adjusting. It was more likely the physical shock
of what he's been through that did it." Heero paused, bringing his
hands to his head where he rubbed his temples in small circles. He felt
a steadying hand on his shoulder and brought his eyes up to meet Zechs
who smiled encouragingly. Taking a deep breath, Heero forced himself to
calm down. "How long has he been out this time?"
"A little over 12 hours.
Trowa watched him when I couldn't." Quatre leaned back into his husband's
arms, glad more than ever for his supportive presence.
"Perhaps we should awaken him," suggested Zechs. "As much
as I enjoy watching him sleep, I do believe I prefer him with his eyes
"I agree," said
Quatre quietly. "It's much too eerie to spend this much time around
him in silence. I miss his..."
supplied Heero with a fragile smile. "I do, too." With this,
he leaned over Duo and, placing his lips close to the sleeping boy's ear,
gently called his name. "Duo..." And again. "Duo...?"
Duo stretched his arms over
his head, his body writhing sensually as his lips raised in a devilishly
erotic interpretation of his trademark manic grin. Trowa's quick intake
of breath caused Quatre to smile in turn.
"Sorry I didn't warn
you, pet. Duo takes a bit of getting used to."
Trowa raised a brow over his
one visible eye, the green depths of which sparkled with mirth. "I
can imagine." 
Duo had by this time lowered
his arms to Heero's shoulders and had all but hauled him into the bed.
"I think I love you..."
He managed to get the words out, but only barely. Duo's lips had found
his jawline and the sensation of those soft feather-like kisses was rather
"I love you, too, Hee-chan,"
Duo murmured before darting his tongue out to savour flesh that tasted
so good it really ought to have been illegal.
"But I don't think I'm
ready for his level of exhibitionism."
Duo's eyes flashed open, talking
in their audience. He lasted all of two seconds before he began to chuckle.
"Yet," he said.
"You're not ready for this level of exhibitionism yet."
Zechs' low laugh filled the
ensuing silence but did little to relieve Heero's embarrassment. A small
part of Heero, the part he had always done his best to ignore, realized
he was actually enjoying the situation and it was that part that finally
broke through the barriers he'd placed around it enough to add his chuckles
"My god, Heero. Do that again and I'll tackle you right now."
Amethyst eyes watched him possessively as the very tip of a pink tongue
came out to sweep across lips that were far too perfect for the good of
any man in the room. "Right after we explain this 'you're human'
revelation." Duo paused and cocked his head slightly to the left.
"Or was that part of the dream, too? I've been having the most incredible
dreams, Heero, mostly involving you and me in a hot tub filled with warm
Jell-O. Trouble is, it's hard to enjoy a dream when you realize that not
only is it a dream, but that you don't have dreams, that you have
never had dreams, and that it is not in the realm of possibility
that you ever be able to have dreams."
"I'm rather interested
in that as well," said Zechs. "Just so I know what I'm getting
asked Duo hopefully.
"What's with all the
sexual innuendo?" wondered Trowa.
"I think it has something
to do with the fact that neither Heero nor Zechs has come to terms with
the reality of a committed relationship. On Duo's part, it's probably
more that, for all he comes on like a steam train, he's never actually
had sex and is just a little bit overawed by the concept," answered
Duo glared at him provocatively,
although it wasn't exactly clear what he was attempting to provoke until
a not so faint blush rose over Quatre's pale cheeks.
"Serves you right for
casting aspersions on my sexual prowess, Kat."
"*Someone* had to say
it. I'm sure you all would have gotten around to it, but I'm just not
up to any more of this continual tension."
"He's got a point,"
said Zechs. "I must admit I was hedging a bit."
"I was unconscious," sputtered Duo.
"Like that's ever stopped me before," murmured the tall blonde.
"What?" he continued. "I was kidding."
"Can we please get back to what's important here? Namely...
Duo paused a moment to consider how self-centered that had sounded and
then promptly decided that it was forgivable given the circumstances.
It's not every day, after all, that one becomes human. He collapsed back
onto the bed, only now truly realizing the magnitude of whatever it was
that had happened to him. He was human. Flesh and Blood. He was real.
After so long proclaiming his reality to any who might doubt it, he was
truly and undeniably real. "Just like Pinocchio." He
began to laugh uncontrollably until the laughter turned to tears, until
he felt strong arms wrap around him and pull him back from the brink into
which he so sincerely wanted to fall. 
And then that voice again
that had so often called him out of the darkness. It was calling him now
and out of a different darkness he did what he had always done -- he turned
to it and he came. He buried his face in Heero's shoulder, not wanting
to witness the reactions of his friends although if he'd had the courage
to look he would have seen that his friends had done what friends do --
they had left him alone with the only person he really needed right now.
"You never told me."
"Never told you what?"
"Being human sucks. My god, how do you deal
If they had not been so close,
he would not have heard Heero's soft answer, and even now he wasn't sure
he hadn't imagined it after all. He pulled back and allowed himself to
drown in Heero Yuy's eyes with all the turbulent emotion of his new humanity
cloaked around him.
"I don't deal with it. Or I didn't. Until..."
"Until you, Duo."
Violet eyes sparkled at him
in fear and confusion and... hope?
//God// thought Heero, //he's
He couldn't have resisted
kissing Duo if his life and perhaps the life of every man, woman and child
on Earth had depended on it. Even as his mind told him how wrong it would
be to take advantage of Duo's fragile state, he closed the gap between
them, almost whimpering as his lips met Duo's. An incredible wave of rightness
swept over him and it wasn't a moment later that the gentle contact became
something deeper, something more. He literally made love to Duo with his
mouth, his teeth, his tongue. He could have lived in that instant forever,
but at last and with regret he pulled away.
"Definitely in love,"
Heero couldn't help but grin.
Duo had yet to open his eyes and he looked entirely too blissful. "And
how do you arrive at that conclusion?"
"Simple. My toes are
tingling." He wriggled them for effect.
"Baka," smiled Heero
fondly. "You've been watching too many movies."
"No, Heero." Duo peered up at him in wild fascination. "No,"
he repeated."I've never felt anything like this before. I'm thrumming
for chrissakes. And, let me tell you, it's... let's see... how to phrase
this... it's scary as hell."
"Why do you think it
took me so long to admit my feelings for you?"
"I always thought you
were playing hard to get. It was really kind of cute. It wouldn't have
been nearly as much fun if you'd been easy. And all that time..."
"My toes were tingling,"
"So this is what it's
like to be human?" Duo was suitably daunted by the possibility.
"But I thought you knew
all of this already," chided Heero softly as he reached to brush
a stray lock of golden-flecked hair from Duo's face. "I mean, with
you being so real and all."
"Very funny, Yuy. It is to laugh. Who knew you had a sense of humour?
Let's just say that I was real in a very conditional way. These feelings
I'm having -- aside from the pain and the unconsciousness thing,
which I still think is very creepy -- I had them all before.
They're not new. It's just that now there's no buffer. It's like I've
been wearing clothes my entire life and this is the first time I'm naked."
He broke off as Heero leaned
forward to nuzzle his neck.
"I do love your metaphors."
"Oh, do you now,"
purred Duo. "Enough that you'll quit beating around the bush and...
explain." This last word he whispered in a low voice that was almost,
but not quite, a sigh.
Heero gave in to the inevitable
and let the shiver that was threatening to overwhelm him work its way
through his body before pulling back with a snap. "You... addle me."
Duo just grinned. "And
it's my pleasure to do so. Now -- please. I know what you did -- the 'Heero
magnet' theory, right? But how..."
"When I created the algorithm
to recombine you, I needed a template on which to base the matrices, and
the only one at hand was..."
Heero nodded. "It was
all I could come up with. I needed you to be put back together, and you
were. Just like me."
Duo was now officially stunned.
"I really should have been able to figure that out for myself."
//But how are you supposed to be able to figure out something that never
should have been able to happen?// "So what now? What does this mean?"
"It means anything you
want it to," spoke Heero quietly. "You're free."
"And I wasn't before?"
he asked incredulously. He raised his eyes to Heero's and found, underneath
the increasingly transparent façade of unending strength, a vibrant
blue mass of insecurity and fear. "Is that what you thought, Heero?
Is that why you wouldn't get close to me? Because you thought I had no
Heero tore his gaze away from
Duo's before the boy could see too deeply. Already he thought he had let
too much slip, and yet he knew it was not nearly enough. "You didn't
have a choice. I made you. You couldn't have left if you'd wanted to."
"True," said Duo,
who found that even as a human he still couldn't lie. "But, love,
I didn't want to leave. I never did. Doesn't that make a difference? Doesn't
it count for something that now I do have a choice..." He reached
across and gently cupped Heero's chin in his hand, forcing him tenderly
to look at him, to see the truth burning fiercely in those twin amethyst
pools. "And I still don't want to leave? I love you, Heero. I'm not
sure what that means, yet, but I know it's true. You're a part of me,
as you always have been." He chuckled. "You'd better say something
or I might break out into a power ballad, here."
"I -- I don't know what
Heero's voice was low and
vibrant and filled with so much emotion that it told Duo everything he
needed to know. But he still wanted to hear the words.
"Tell me that you love
me. Tell me that you won't get tired of me now that you can't shut me
off. Tell me something sweet and mushy that will make me all teary eyed."
Heero froze. It was all so
much, so soon and so quickly and it didn't stop! 'I love you'. He had
said the words before. Why on earth should it prove to be so difficult
now? It was as Heero took Duo's hands, as he held them to his chest and
placed them over his heart, that he realized it wasn't going to get any
easier. Not for some time. It was the second realization, however, that
made his lips curl up in the sweetest smile Duo had ever seen.
"I love you, Duo. I don't
really know what that means, either. I've never known love. But I know
that I couldn't live without you, now that you're here. And I think, maybe,
that we could figure it out. Together." 
It wasn't moonlight and roses
and there wasn't a hint of music in the air, yet Duo would have sworn
by all the angels in heaven that Heero's words were the single most romantic
thing he ever could have imagined. Too choked up to speak, he threw his
arms around Heero's neck and muffled a sob or two on his supportive shoulder.
"What was that?"
Duo pulled back, but only
enough to be heard. "I said you were to supposed to make me teary
eyed, not make me cry," he sniffled endearingly. "It's a good
thing I'm so naturally perfect or I'm sure I'd look a fright."
Heero felt his smile growing.
He couldn't seem to stop it. It almost hurt. "I love you, Duo."
A knock at the door did little
to startle the pair, but did bring them out of the clouds and back down
closer to earth.
A blonde head peeked around
the now open door. "Everybody decent?"
"Yes, Zechs," replied
As he entered the room, his
serious countenance contrasted starkly with his flippant remark and it
was not long before Duo questioned the obvious.
"Why the long face, little
Zechs' eyes met his as if
he had been gazing into a distance a million miles away rather that the
white hospital walls surrounding them. "I'm at a loss."
Duo drew his eyebrows up quizzically,
not at all understanding but wanting sincerely to do so.
"It strikes me,"
continued Zechs, "that I have been involved with some very bad people
for quite some time. One might go so far as to say that I'm the 'bad guy'.
And yet I find myself still walking around as if I were a free man."
"You are a free man."
Heero's concise reply took
him by surprise, although it was only a slight stiffening of his shoulders
that gave him away.
"You were never officially
under suspicion. I see no need to present you as anything other than a
"I do believe you've
stilled the honeyed tongue, Hee-chan," spoke Duo with an infectious
grin. "We should mark the day down on the calendar -- 'Zechs at a
loss for words'. We can celebrate it every year. It can be our anniversary."
Zechs' mind, as quick and
efficient as it undoubtedly was, at the moment was processing this new
deluge of information with the speed of dripping molasses. After one or
two stalled attempts at finding words to express the quagmire of confusion
he found himself so deeply embedded in, he could come up with only one
response -- "Why?"
"Because you are a good
man, Zechs Merquise. Because you gave aid to us at the risk of your own
life. I did not join the Preventers to put men like you behind bars, no
matter their previous transgressions."
Zechs seemed rather less assured
by Heero's straightforward answer than might have been supposed. He had
never thought himself, by any stretch of the imagination, a 'good man'.
"What my o-so-loquacious
dreamboy is trying to say is that it's because we like you," said
Duo. //What is it with me and blue-eyed, emotionally wounded, men, anyways?//
"Yes," said Zechs.
His smile was humourless and self-deprecating. "I rather got that
"No, Zechs," Duo said quietly, knowing at last full well what
was going on behind those ice blue eyes. "What you picked up on was
the lust. There's no denying that I'm hot for your bod, but what you don't
seem to have recognized is that I don't just throw myself at anyone.
I have been many things, but I am not now, and never have been, a slut.
I'm as attracted to the real you as I am to the gorgeous package you happen
to have come wrapped in. I... well, I was sort of hoping you felt the
The room fell silent in the
light of Duo's heartfelt revelation. Zechs' face was as calm and expressionless
as if he had been carved of marble and it was a few moments before life
returned to his gaze.
Duo had been expecting many
reactions from Zechs, some of which had been humiliating and one of which
had actually involved his death. This, however, had not been one of them.
"You said 'our' anniversary."
Duo laughed nervously. "So I did. Imagine that. Me and my big mouth,
ne? There you are, confused all to hell, and Heero here having just learned
to smile for chrissakes, and I have to go and get all complicated.
I spose I haven't gotten a handle on this whole 'being human' thing."
"Maybe there's some sort
of class I could take or something..."
The violet-eyed boy turned
to Zechs reluctantly, his hand holding Heero's in a vice-like grip. "Hai?"
The smile that broke out on
Duo's face was radiance itself and, for the first time, the sparks that
flew between the two long-haired youths held more than merely a physical
"Does this mean I can
have my hand back now?" questioned Heero. "I seem to have lost
the feeling in my fingers."
"Sorry, love," said
Duo who was by this time giddy with relief. "I forget how fragile
you are." He brought Heero's abused fingers to his lips and gently
kissed each one. "I guess I don't know my own strength." He
licked Heero's index finger with a slow, tentative tongue, the immensity
of his situation swinging 'round to batter him one more time although
now he found himself able to weather the storm without losing his head.
Heero watched though eyes
half lidded with pleasure from the electricity of Duo's touch which was
as jolting now that he was human as it had been before. Obviously there
was still much to learn about what Duo had become. He pondered this as
he opened eyes he hadn't realized he had closed and found himself gazing
directly at Zechs who watched him with an answering heat. Obviously there
was still much to be learned about a lot of things.
"So where do we go from here?" wondered Duo. He reached out
his free hand to bring Zechs closer. "I don't think I'm exactly housewife
material, but what does a once-upon-a-time hologram do?"
"What you've always done,"
replied Heero. Now here was a question he could answer without bubbling
with emotion. "You'll be my partner."
A knock at the door disrupted
their newly found link and Heero silently cursed the existence of people
in general if only for their habit of interrupting at the most inopportune
moments. His frustration was slightly mollified by the particular human's
voice which now called through the cracked door.
"Yes, Quatre," said
 I don't think I could
have given him any fewer lines if I'd tried. Poor Tro...
 Again with the togetherness... >_<
7] [back] [epilogue]
[back to Dacia's fic]