Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, wish I did, just enjoy writing about 'em
for free etc
Category: Duo POV, AU, drama, romance, angst, sap
Warnings: Yaoi, lemon
Notes: His steps often take him far away; but there should always be a
Feedback: If you liked it, PLEASE let me know!
The wind was gentle but it
still lifted the loose ends of my hair against my cheeks. The gulls screeched
somewhere in the distance; the waves nudged at the distant rocks and sprayed
gleefully over them on their tumbling journey towards the shore. There
was the fresh smell of salt and damp seaweed in my nostrils. This beach
still had the smooth, pale sand of other, prettier places, but this part
of the coast was more famous for its rock pools and the deep, damp caves
set in its cliff face. We'd worked in this area for over eighteen months
now - and I loved it here, especially at this time of year, when the holiday
season was still early. Enough tourists to keep the place going, but not
so many that every breath of air carried the shriek of a troublesome child
or the stench of frying onions on the hotdog stands.
But then I had many reasons for how I felt. Didn't mean I shared them.
"Did you see which way Heero went?" I asked.
Wufei was engrossed in a book, but he heard me and looked up. "No. He
came ahead of us, and had already gone for his walk before we settled
His walk, I thought. That's what they call it.
Trowa came up to me and put a hand to my shoulder. "It's been a hard month
for him, Duo. Well, it has for us all. We've all been working too hard,
living on too little sleep and too much junk food; nothing has been more
important to us than the pressure of the mission. We've had little time
for ourselves, let alone each other - and Heero's never been the most
communicative of souls. But now it's over..."
Quatre piped up from where he sat on the blanket on the sand. "Yes, now
the whole damned thing's over, HQ is peeing their pants with delight at
our success, and we can relax and have some fun. Yet, as always, it's
Heero's choice to take his time out here!"
"We need rest before the recreation," Wufei remonstrated. "It's always
"Exactly my point," grumbled Quatre. He glanced over at me. "Hey, Duo,
you like the party life as much as I do, don't you? Different matter when
it's our turn to choose location, I must say." I stared back, not
really absorbing his banter. His eyes met mine, and he sighed, not without
sympathy. "Ahh, chill out yourself, Duo. Leave Yuy to find his shells,
or whatever he goes looking for, and then later we can go for a good supper
"Whatever," I said. I wriggled a foot in the pale, damp sand, letting
it trickle in between my bare toes. We'd all kicked our shoes off when
we arrived. Heero's sat neatly placed against the basket of provisions.
A towel was missing, along with a bottle of water. He'd obviously taken
them with him.
Trowa still hovered beside me, a couple of the other towels half folded
over his arm. "He's upset again, Duo - you know Heero gets like this,
every now and then. Just has to come here and work it out for himself.
We don't mind coming down with him - it's time out for us, too, and we
work around his anti-social periods. I mean, he's not easygoing like you,
I looked round at the others, with their open faces and their concerned
smiles, and I nodded. "That's true," I said, because Trowa seemed to expect
Quatre laughed softly and clipped in his portable earphones, wedded as
always to his music. He fiddled with the volume, frowning at it, finally
getting himself settled on the beach. "He's a bit of a mystery to us all,
Duo, eh? Heero Yuy. All we can do is let him go where he chooses and help
him spend his leisure as he needs. He knows what he wants - just doesn't
tell us why."
"It's the sea that draws him," said Wufei, thoughtfully. I turned my head
towards him, a little toosharply. Heero's friends - though bemused by
him - knew him better than they realised.
"The sea means many things to many people," Trowa picked up on the innocent
comment. "The power of nature; her ferocity; her wildness."
"The awe of creation..." murmured Wufei. "A sense of enormous, immeasurable
"Drowning!" announced Quatre, cheerfully, just before he turned himself
up to high volume. "Sharks; stingrays! Salt in your hair; seaweed round
your knees. Death!"
Trowa threw a towel at him, the tension snapped like a twig in a gust
of wind, and things relaxed quickly and pleasantly.
We'd eaten and laughed and played cards and settled back to solitary thoughts.
A couple of hours had passed. "Maybe he needs someone with him," I said,
Quatre hummed happily under his breath to his music: Wufei lazily turned
another page. Trowa was the only one to hear me, it seemed. I sat on the
blanket and he lay on his back beside me, soaking up the early season
sun, sharply white against the pale blue sky. He knew who I was talking
about. "He's never asked. He likes his solitude, Duo."
"That's true," I said again. It was a useful phrase when you didn't want
to be drawn into anything else.
Trowa smiled, squinting up at the sky. He didn't see my face. "Hey, Duo,
you ought to have learned after all this time. I know you mean well, but
Heero won't thank you for interfering. We can all see how he's always
on your back, watching your every move, waiting to catch you out, it seems.
Demanding to know your plans in detail; challenging your strategies every
damned step of the way. He's tough on us all, of course - but he has the
least tolerance for you. I've tried to speak to him about it -
to get him to lighten up on you. But he seems determined to keep up the
"That's true, too," I murmured. Wondered if I was meant to thank him for
his kind intervention.
"Remember that time, few months back?" continued Trowa. "When we ambushed
that terroristbomber? Whole damn mission fell apart at the seams, with
the bombs still ticking away in the middle of that hotel block. Heero
tried to defuse the thing, then found the guy had made such a mess that
the best he could do was to reset it. He insisted on reprogramming every
charge, staggering the timing, and phasing the collapse of the building
so that we could get ourselves, our equipment and all the evidence
out before it blew up around our asses. When we told him what madness
that was, he didn't want to know. And when you offered to help him - madness
too, I reckon - he all but turned on you and told you to go to hell, he
didn't want you anywhere near him."
Trowa sighed and settled again into his warm sand cradle. "Don't humiliate
yourself further, Duo. He doesn't need help."
Remember that time...?
But of course I did.
That was the time that I went back into the target building, ignoring
Heero's orders. The time when Trowa was roaring at me to get clear; when
the foundations wailed softly with the shock of previous explosions; when
the slowly cracking stone walls threatened to catch me in their thick,
It was the first time that I challenged him outright. The whole mission
had been, like Trowa said, a catalogue of disaster. But I didn't want
injury to Heero added to that catalogue.
I found him half covered in broken bricks, wrenching in frustration at
a mess of wires and a mangled radio housing, trying to recreate the tortured
mind of a lunatic who'd wanted to cause the maximum damage and distress
to the capital city. Outside I could hear the screams of the police sirens;
around us, the crumbling of the walls and the groaning of beleaguered
joists. When Heero turned to me, his eyes were wide with shock and anger.
It had stunned me, at the time. I'd never seen Heero Yuy at a loss; afraid
of anything. His hair was whitened with the dust; the cords of his muscles
stood out along his arms as he strained to hold up a wall panel, the raw
ends of a broken connection waving dangerously loose from its moorings.
"I thought I told the lot of you to get the fuck out!" he shouted over
the background noise. "There's no time to argue. No point in more than
one of us getting hurt -"
I stepped forward and took a firm hold of the panel, forcing it back into
place and holding it there. "No point in any of us getting hurt
if we can finish this," I said. "I assume you've built in enough time
for your own exit at the end of the sequence?"
He nodded, frowning. His eyes flickered between me and the wires that
he needed to be fixing.
"Get on with it, Heero. Time's kind of limited."
"No, it's much worse than that," he said. "Time's kind of run out,
Duo." His voice was a strange mixture of a calm monotone and suppressed
hysteria. I saw the fright in his eyes and a sudden, rare vulnerability.
"It's taking too long - I won't finish in time."
"You will," I said, and I stared right back.
"No, no..." He was shaking his head vehemently, dust flying across us
both from the motion. "You don't understand! That's how it all went wrong
before! I never left enough time. I thought I was God Almighty,
I'd help the pilot defuse the bomb, I'd save the plane, I really was the
very best, like they all told me!"
I didn't know what he was talking about, but I knew it needed to be said.
I didn't move - just gazed at him. Listening to him - allowing him a much
earned respect, whilst our own Eve of Destruction creaked on its foundations
"It was too complex, you see, I should have known that, allowed for that
- but I was arrogant. I'd never heard of that kind of detonator circuit
before; yet I still thought I could defuse it - even remotely."
"A suicide bomber," I guessed, my voice soft. The wall panel creaked complainingly
under my steady hands.
"They'd overpowered him - but couldn't get rid of the bomb. He'd sewed>/i>
it into his skin, for God's sake. Fanaticism knows no half measures. They
asked me to talk the pilot through it - to defuse it in the air."
I knew Heero had been on many missions before he joined us. Before he
met us. Met me.
"I couldn't get my thoughts together," he muttered, eyes wild, his focus
drifting to someplace far beyond the building that crumbled around us.
"I couldn't explain clearly enough. The pilot was no expert, but he was
smart, he could have done it -"
"He was scared," I corrected. The swirling dust made me cough slightly.
"The materials weren't known to you - weren't in your sights. There may
never have been enough time..."
He wasn't listening to me. "He ran out of time. I was too slow - I needed
another three minutes, minimum. He ran out of time. I heard his cry as
they fell. The plane exploded as it passed over the tower - it overshot
the airfield and fell into the sea."
The sea... I thought. That explained a lot.
"They drowned, Duo - all of them. A crew of five. And it was my fault;
my fault alone. They'd relied on me - and I'd failed them." He looked
across at me, the dark blue irises bleeding into the black pupils. Night-black,
despair-black eyes. "Not you too, Duo! I won't fail you too!"
I knew nothing about the plane, nor any other horrors that might lurk
in Heero's past. Guess none of us knew anything like that - our files
were a private matter, and our lives a similar thing, even when we worked
together in such industrious intimacy. It made Heero's desperate agony
all the more poignant, and I wondered at his reaction to me. I was seeing
a different man today than I'd ever seen before. "That won't happen today,
Heero. You hear me? You have time - I'll make you the time."
He was still only half-listening. "Not you," he repeated. "Not you, Duo."
I stared at the wires, one of them dangling ominously close to my face.
I had no idea how critical it was; it wasn't my area of expertise. "I
won't let you fail, Heero. And certainly not alone. But can you get the
hell over here and do something with this sparky little thing before it
singes my nose hairs? We'll finish the discussion later over coffee or
something. Just now, we need to mop up this mess and get the fuck out
Well, obviously we did get out of there. Heero twisted the final connection,
I kicked aside the last hunk of fallen plaster, and we ran like hell for
the exit, the explosions coughing up their wares behind our trail like
We stopped running, just as we reached a safe distance, watching the clouds
of billowing smoke start to settle and waiting for the reverberations
in our ears to calm. We were both panting heavily, and for a moment Heero's
body leaned against me - he was exhausted.
"Yes," he replied, a little hoarsely. "Thanks."
I knew he wouldn't say anything more - that he was probably already regretting
what he had said to me inside. I hoped he knew he could trust me.
But then he smiled, a little ruefully, startling me. "Couldn't have done
it without you, Duo. Cool hands."
I grinned back. "Cool head, Heero. It was a good double act."
"Yes," he said, the last frown of worry melting away from his _expression.
He looked a little startled himself. "Yes, a good double act indeed. You're
a persistent bastard, Maxwell."
"Yep," I said, staring at the marvel in front of me; at Heero's suddenly
bright eyes. "I am."
We saw the rescue vehicle screeching round the edge of the block and we
started our weary way over to meet it. As Heero moved away, I looked down
at the dust that had been gently falling from our clothes and hair, his
in particular. It had created a dusting all round us where we stood, round
our feet and the width of our bodies, like the markings round a fallen
corpse - like the halo round an iconic saint.
I only had a moment to stare at it - at the dusty portrait of Heero's
steps - until I was called away by the medics.
On the beach, the afternoon was wearing on. Wufei had wandered back to
the town for a while, to make some calls; Trowa was asleep.
"It's been hours, now," I said. Only Quatre was listening to me; he'd
taken a break from the tuneless humming along to his music. "He'll be
hungry. I could take him an ice cream or something."
Quatre laughed, not unkindly. "You mean Heero? Stop worrying. He can survive
on far less than our sandwiches, Duo. And you know he doesn't have a sweet
I sighed, and leant back on the blanket beside him. "That's true."
"Sometimes I marvel at your tolerance, Duo. I know I can't match it -
I know there are times I want to swing for him! He can be cool to the
point of ice; he has that look, doesn't he? That one that makes
me feel like a schoolboy all over again, even though he insists he doesn't
do it on purpose. He's so precise in all he does - so strict with everything
he expects from the team. And you always seem to take the brunt of it."
Quatre nudged my shoulder, sympathetically. "He never seems to relax with
you around; leaps down your throat at every joke; finds all kind of duties
which need your input, even when you've got leisure time scheduled. Hell,
I don't think Heero Yuy does leisure time, right?"
I smiled, gently. "That's true, too."
"Remember that time, few weeks ago, when there was a travelling fair here,
on the pier? We all came down for the night - with Heero having to be
dragged physically round some of the fun. And when you turned round suddenly
and your cotton candy got tangled all over his ear, and in his hair -"
Quatre was starting to laugh. It wasn't that he liked to mock people,
for he cared enough about us all to know where the boundaries were - but
his sense of fun was highly developed, and he saw amusement in most of
life. It was his way of coping, I guess.
"Sorry, Duo," he grinned, looking anything but. "It was damned funny to
watch! But I expect you took a truckload of abuse and you didn't deserve
it. So don't go inviting any more, will you? Heero doesn't need entertaining
the same way we do."
Remember that time ...?
But of course I did.
That was the time I insisted Heero accompany us, despite Quatre's rolled
eyes and Wufei's frown. The time I tried to see the guy underneath the
agent; tried to reach the bubble of youth trapped inside a body aged unnaturally
by violence and conflict and the other cruel pressures that surrounded
When the cotton candy incident happened, Quatre and Trowa had melted suddenly
into the crowd, Quatre's hand clamped to his mouth to hold in his hysteria.
Wufei borrowed a damp cloth from a stallholder to try to untangle Heero's
hair, but then he also - miraculously - found somewhere else to be. We'd
been left alone with our - literally - sticky situation, Heero's face
an approaching storm, and my mouth a jumble of half-finished apologies.
I'd watched Heero pull away from me and walk back down to the beach. It
had been deserted by the tourists by then, the sky purple-dark with the
evening around us, the sea calm, the fringes of its waves lapping at the
shadows on the sand.
I followed. My boots scrunched on the shells of the beach and the sand
caught in the tread. I stopped, a few feet away from where he stood, staring
out to sea. His body was silhouetted against the dim light.
"Sorry - it was a genuine accident. I know you hate the stuff."
He had his back to me, his head shaking. "No, it's not your fault, I overreacted.
It'll wash out, for God's sake. It was just - I need to be back down here,
Duo. By the sea. By myself."
I'd thought a lot about Heero since the last time we'd talked about the
sea. "It's not good tobrood, Heero. Everyone needs to move on."
"Fuck you know about it -" he snapped.
"Sure," I said. I saw his shoulders tense up.
"OK, right. So you know about it, Duo. You understand I need to work that
"If that's what you're doing, fine," I said. "But not wallowing in memory.
There's plenty of life to live, Heero, to leave you no time for that."
"I can do what I damned well please with my life."
"Sure you can. Seems to me you offer up your life, many, many times, Heero.
Without conditions; without negotiation. Sometimes without enough care.
Usually fate welcomes your offer; but sometimes it turns against you."
Draining you dry in the process, I thought to myself. "We all have
failures. Successes, too."
"You're way out of line," he growled. "My past is my own, too, right?
Go play your games and leave me to -"
"To what?" I asked.
He bit off anything more he'd been about to say, and sighed instead. His
words seemed to be wrenched out of him, like tangled threads from a rich
carpet. "Sorry, Duo. That was uncalled for."
I shrugged, though he couldn't see me. "So apologise properly."
He turned then, to stare at me. I could see the emerging moon reflected
in his pupils. "What?"
"Relax a little," I said, softly. "Allow yourself that." I'd forgotten
I was still clinging to the remnants of the candy stick, some soft pink
spun sugar blowing in the gentle evening breeze. "Here - try it yourself."
"For God's sake -!" But he came a few steps forward, and reluctantly took
the stick from me. His tongue curled round the puffed cloud; licked it
into his mouth. There was a flicker in his eyes that I couldn't see properly.
The evening was warm; but I was warmer. "Are you happy now, Duo?"
"How is it?" I asked. "Sweet?"
"It's good. It's OK, what more do you want me to say -"
"Only OK? Sweetest thing you ever tasted?"
He was shaking his head again, an _expression of his frustration and growing
anger. "Yes, it's sweet, yes, it's fun I suppose, yes, I should
be a better companion, but no, it's not the sweetest thing I ever
tasted, though I never tasted that either -"
He was a foot from me now, gripping the stick like a weapon, his face
glinting with a thin sheen of sweat. His breath was heavy, with the slight
aroma of sugar; I wondered if some of the candy still clung to his lips.
"I don't think it's as sweet as tasting you would be, Duo." He looked
shocked, as if he couldn't believe he'd said it aloud.
"You wanna try?" I asked, softly. My body was leaning towards him, instinctively.
"More than anything," he said. "I just - don't know how to tell you."
"You just did," I replied.
We both took the last step together, hands reaching for each other's arms,
grasping where we should probably have caressed. He was clumsy but very,
very gentle at first - and so very much sweeter than my cotton
candy that, when I told him that very thing, he laughed with embarrassment
and protested that I'd stolen his comment. I slid a hand around
his waist to hold him to me, feeling every clench of muscle, every flex
of strong limbs. I think I assumed he'd run, if I didn't.
He didn't run at all. His hand gripped the nape of my neck and pressed
me even harder against him, tilting my head so that he could consume more
of me into his taste. His tongue plunged into me from the very start -
his lips moist with a depth of desire I'd not even suspected. I could
taste the salt on him from the sea spray and maybe other things; his teeth
knocked against mine as his mouth jostled to get closer than two bodies
had a right to be. We were both panting - it sounded like I moaned aloud,
or maybe that was the cry of a sea bird on its way to nest for the night.
He thrust into my mouth with an enthusiasm that was a close cousin to
desperation; and I welcomed every nip and suck like I'd never been kissed
like that before.
Which, of course, I hadn't.
After a while, I didn't know if the sounds of soft lapping were from Heero's
lips or from the sea itself; I didn't know if the sounds of drumming were
from the merry-go-round music or from our combined heartbeats. It wasn't
so much that we couldn't get enough - we didn't want to. We staggered
slowly back up the beach until we could rest our backs against the breakwater
wall, and then we leaned back into each other as if we wanted to fuse
into one single, many-limbed body.
My lips felt numb; our hands pawed gently at each other's body, seeking
the slightest touch of warm skin. I stroked at his neck, following the
threads of his throat, brushing the hollows of his collarbone. His hands
tugged my shirt impatiently from out of my jeans, his fingers crawling
across my waist like a lost man searching his map for direction.
The clouds drifted aimlessly across the moon, sending the silhouettes
across the sand of the town's chimneys and spires. We clung to each other
like drowning men, and still we kissed.
We clung together for as long as it took for the wind to drop and the
clouds to settle, and the night's darkness to seep across all of the town.
"This is living life, like you said, right?"
"Right," I murmured. We lay on our backs on the cooling sand, sheltered
by the breakwater, Heero cocooned against my side. I turned my head, almost
lazily, and licked along his lower lip. He still tasted of sweet sugar
and salty air - and now there was an additional savour; a passion freed,
a lust unleashed by the last, sweet minutes together. A wonder, bringing
delicious shock; causing us to marvel at it all. My tongue was rough along
his raw lips; wherever I touched him now, it caused white-hot emotion
to flare throughout my body. He shuddered in return - I could feel his
throat convulse, and the lashes of his hooded eyes brush against my cheek.
In the background, there were the sounds of shrieking, overtired children
on their way home. There was a sudden flare of jukebox music; the neon
lights from the fair flashed coloured stripes on the steps down to the
beach. "It's time to go back," he said. It was almost a whisper - I hadn't
often heard Heero speak in anything but a firm, clear tone. "To find the
"Yes," I said. "In a minute." My tongue was teasing at his lips; nudging
his teeth, asking to be let back in. His mouth opened around me and we
flickered hungry tongues against each other for a while. For much longer
than that minute I mentioned.
"Duo. I know they're our friends...but this..."
"I won't be telling them anything," I sighed into his mouth. "Except what
you want me to." I felt his body relax gently against mine; this time,
his hands touched almost tentatively at my neck.
I reached out and grasped his wrist - lifted his hand to my mouth. His
eyes flashed open, pools of fervour staring at me, inches away from my
own face, wild and wary all at the same time. Gently, I licked at his
fingertips, cleaning some stray sugar crystals from it. My tongue traced
the lines of his knuckles; slid along the whorls of his fingerprints.
Tasting the unique flavour of what Heero was...
Then the noise of the fair broke once again into our mood, announcing
its very last rides - and calling us back.
Back in the present, the sun was sinking into a deep red and yellow bowl,
and the glimmering on the waves stretched its fingers almost to the sand
where we stood. All the other daytime visitors had gone by now, packing
up their picnics and their ball games and their modest bids for escape.
Quatre and Trowa had slung their bags over their shoulders and gone to
find a good restaurant together. Wufei was back from town, and stayed
with me, the light too poor for his reading now.
"It's almost time to go," I said, "but no sign of him yet. He may be hurt
Wufei looked at me, but my eyes were searching beyond him, over at the
caves in the rock face. "Duo, that's unlikely, don't you think? He knows
this place better than any of us, the amount of times hevisits. And if
he doesn't choose to return just yet, he can find his own way back quite
happily. We all brought our own keys to the house."
"I should go find him."
Wufei didn't exactly sigh, but the shiver in his shoulders was the equivalent.
"You say this every time, right? But we have no idea which direction he
went - those caves are a maze. And the sands are full of footprints and
trails from all of today's visitors. Any one of them might be Heero's;
and then again, might not. And to be honest - do you think he'd welcome
you coming after him? Like he needs some kind of mission rescue?" His
voice dropped, looking for a softer tone. "Duo, the way he acts, you're
the last person he wants in his way. Sorry to be so blunt, but
it seems every time you two are in a room together, the irritability ratio
rises several notches. You work well enough together, but we can all see
how your personalities clash. You're so very different - he tenses at
your merest movement. When he's upset like this, it seems that your voice
jars on him; your liveliness exhausts him."
"That's true," I murmured. There was no particular inflection to my tone.
"Remember how he was, even at the end of this mission? When he
wouldn't let it go - wouldn't go back to base without staking out that
last night, for any of the smugglers left running free. And when you said
you'd take the other watch... well, I thought he'd spontaneously combust!"
Wufei's eyes glinted like the flames of a log fire with the reflected
sunset. I wondered what his thoughts really were, behind that gaze. Next
to Heero, he could be the most inscrutable of us all.
"His standards are high, that's all." My voice was very mild. "He applies
them to himself as well as everyone else."
Wufei gave that shiver of his muscles again. "I just think you're giving
him more ammunition in his personal vendetta against you, Duo. It can't
have been easy, spending that time alone with him; I could see he was
already very tense from the mission. He sees every misstep you take; every
word that disagrees with his; every inch of you that's not him."
"Because he watches," I said, softly.
Wufei's eyes narrowed. "I guess that's true, too. Don't push your luck,
"I never do," I said. His mouth twitched at its edge; I somehow had the
feeling that he didn't buy my passivity. "But I think I'll still go find
him this time."
I looked for a moment at the shadows on the sand at my feet - the criss-cross
maze of toes and heels and dragged bucket and spade. I breathed a few
times, deeply, carefully. Then I wheeled round to my left, and started
to walk towards the cliff face. Wufei was watching me - I could feel his
eyes on my back as I set off.
Like I said before, Heero's friends understood a lot more about him than
Only a week had passed since we completed that last mission. Based near
the coast, a lot of our work was the investigation of smuggling and drug
running. We were becoming a specialist unit, called in whenever that kind
of expertise and knowledge was needed. This time, an illegal ship had
run aground on the rocks, and for a wild, wet, frenetic evening, we'd
scoured the shore and guided the police forces to the men and their illicit,
It had been a success all round, though we'd all been in the thick of
the arrests. Quatre had taken a knife cut to his arm, and I'd narrowly
missed a stray bullet that skimmed my leg too close for comfort - a slice
of sudden fear, from a hot, greedy flame that passed me before I even
saw it arrive. A surface wound, that was all.
Someone had to stay in town to watch overnight - there were rumours that
a couple of the gang had evaded capture, and might come back for salvage.
We had a safe house nearby; the coastline could be watched from there.
Nothing special - barely furnished. It was chosen for its usefulness,
not its decoration.
Heero insisted he stayed. It was obvious he would - he'd been team leader
on the mission. He saw it as a personal affront that the loose ends still
And it meant he stayed the night by the sea.
No-one challenged him on it. They'd all played their part - they were
all exhausted. They appreciated his tenacity. When I volunteered to cover
him, there was nothing more than an eyebrow raised and a murmur of sympathy.
None of us had eaten properly for forty eight hours and the sleeping arrangements
at the house were nothing short of basic - no-one welcomed that kind of
end to their busy day.
"I can do this alone," he told me, as I set up the surveillance equipment.
"But you don't need to."
He stared at me, his _expression a mixture of frustration and a jumble
of other stuff. His look told me without words to back off - that I wasn't
to think I knew what he needed.
I didn't remind him that he was the one who'd called me the persistent
We identified a couple more smugglers - just kids, full of arrogance that
they'd escaped, but just as full of stupidity in that they came back for
the pickings. All it took was a radio call to the police to round them
up, and the beach was deserted again, the mission satisfactorily completed.
We didn't even have to leave the house, which was all for the good because
I'd found some tinned supplies and spent some time playing mother in the
kitchen, getting some food down us. It was too late to go back to our
own place; there were sleeping bags and a heater and enough there for
us to bunk down for the night.
The midnight moon was high; the roads were silent. The waves whispered
and groaned over the rocks and slapped relentlessly against the shore.
I could hear it all through the very walls of the building.
I sat silently on the edge of the bath in the tiny bathroom, dressed in
nothing but my tee shirt and boxers, waiting for the throbbing in my leg
to subside. I'd been clumsy with the bandaging, but I'd not wanted to
draw attention to it.
Then I let myself into the room where Heero slept, because the noises
were getting more urgent.
He woke suddenly, his reactions sharp even when saturated with his exhaustion.
"Duo? Is thatyou? Hell, don't go creeping about like that -"
"The nightmares are bad, aren't they?" I said, softly. I didn't move from
the doorway. Close enough to show him it was only me; far enough away
not to spook him further.
He looked at me, startled. His eyes were half lidded with sleepiness but
the habitual wariness was there, too. "What -?"
I shrugged gently. "I'm only in the next room."
He grimaced. "Shit." He didn't apologise, perhaps for waking me. He didn't
make excuses as to why he might be particularly restless tonight. I didn't
expect any of that from him. And it wasn't like this was the first time
I'd heard him at night. I was the only one of his housemates who hadn't
developed the art of sleeping through the soft, anguished cries from his
room. I didn't tell him that.
"It's worse, recently. I can't shake them off." He shook his head impatiently,
angry with himself. "I thought about what you said, Duo - about moving
on. I know that's right. I thought I'd been doing well enough - coming
here is a kind of therapy for me." He sat up, cocooned in his sleeping
bag, a sliver of moon creeping in through a broken window frame and zigzagging
across his bare chest. He ran a slow hand through his tousled hair.
"You still see it? Hear them?"
He nodded. "In with the waves; with the wind over the cliff face. Don't
ask me to explain it, Duo. It's in amongst the sound of the sea; in amongst
the sea spray." The plane crash; the dying men; his failure, I
thought. "I hear it, I smell it, I taste the salty water after the plunge.
It's part of me, too, now. I need to be here, to get to understand it;
I crave it. Duo, why don't you say something? Dammit, I don't need your
"You don't have it. You're doing what you have to. I'm thinking maybe
this is the worst they'll get - the nightmares. It's part of facing the
memories - then passing beyond them."
His thin smile looked as if he bit down at his lip. "Do you believe that?
Breaking through the trauma? Some kind of psychotherapeutic babble?"
"You wanna see the head doctors instead?" I grinned at him, knowing the
answer to that. "Yes, I believe it."
"Maybe it's true," he said, and the words knocked gently at my heart,
their familiarity echoing with a new poignancy. "I wish I had your confidence."
I was silent.
He shifted in the sleeping bag; stretched a little. The fabric bunched
at one side, exposing the pale skin of his hip at the other. The room
had a certain chill in the sea air; the heater had only masked it, and
the warm air had dissipated by now. "You know who they were working for?
Those smugglers? They were raising funds for the same terrorist group..."
Who targeted the plane. I took a new, deeper breath. "No, I didn't
know. It must be hard to see them still in business. We'll wipe 'em out
one day, Heero."
"We're just a local unit; just one branch. Their fanaticism stretches
"That's what counter-terrorism is, Heero. A series of steps; building
blocks. Undermining them in the same way that they try to attack us. And
hey - we're some of those local guys, aren't we? We're pretty fanatical
ourselves, in a different kind of way."
He sighed aloud; it was almost like he laughed, then swallowed the sound
back down his throat. He must have been cold, but he didn't seem to want
to pull the padded bag back up around him again. I stepped further into
the room and crouched down near him. His eyes watched every step I made,
but not with any hostility.
"I didn't want you here tonight, Duo. I wanted to be alone."
He did laugh then, though softly. "Dammit, for a guy who usually talks
a lot, how do you manage to wrong foot me all the time with these monosyllables?"
I don't mean to, I thought, and my head hung down for a moment.
"No that's hypocritical," he murmured. His hand could reach my shoulder
if he stretched it out. I think he wanted to; I could feel the smallest
flex of muscle in the still air. "You've always disturbed me, Duo. In
all sorts of ways. I never know how to react to you." There was the slightest
sound of frustration from him and then the cool palm of his hand settled
on me. I felt a wash of warmth that was generated entirely from within
my body; from the reawakening of nerves; from the rush of blood, wet and
dark in my imagination and pumping life round my limbs.
"That works well," I whispered.
"I've never said..." He sounded like he struggled, and I was proud of
him for that; that he tried. "I never said, but I'm glad you know,
Duo. I want to tell you more..."
"You don't need to."
"Oh, I need to!" He laughed again, but more bitterly this time;
his grip tightened on my shoulder. "But I don't want to, I guess."
I grinned again, and this time I looked up into his face, fully. It was
only inches away. Skin glowing pale in the night light; eyes meeting mine,
with no fear. Or at least, not of me. "Then don't. I know enough.
"Right," he murmured back. I slipped to my knees beside his sleeping bag
and put a hand to his waist to steady myself. He shivered.
"You're cold. I'll get my bag as well - sleep beside you."
"Makes mission sense, right? Conserve heat - protect team members?" He
was smiling, I could see; his teeth were white and sharp in the dim light.
"Yes. That's true, too."
There was some scuffling as I got my bag from the room next door and unrolled
it on to the floor beside him. I didn't leave much space between us, though
the room was big enough to have spread out. I examined the zip of my bag
- it was made to link to another if needs be, making a double.
Heero had laid back down again, arms behind his head, the muscles of his
torso shaded in the dark room like the sand dunes around the beach. His
own bedding still lay pooled around his waist. I stretched out beside
him, propped up on my arm. I could breathe in his smell from there; hear
the slightest whisper. The sliver of moonlight missed both of our faces;
it lit up small fractions of our bodies, making us look like sinister
shadows from a black and white film. I tugged aimlessly at the hem of
my tee shirt.
His voice echoed softly in the still air. "On the beach that time, Duo...
I smiled at how ridiculous that question was, and then I reached for him
It all just flowed from that moment - from the first time I kissed him
again. His lips had a familiar and yet a wonderfully new taste.
It was like a gate had swung open - a lock had snapped apart - a dam had
burst at the seams, slowly at first but with increasingly ferocity. It
was all about the here and now - all about us. I peeled my shirt
up and over my head because I couldn't bear not to feel his skin against
mine. We pushed the sleeping bag away from his legs, where he was sleeping
in his pants, but he shucked those off, too. Then we were rolling gently
together like tumbling dice, kissing, touching, long limbs nudging against
each other's, not feeling the chill of the air because of the heat cascading
through our veins.
His hands stroked over my chest like he was finding his way in the dark;
I couldn't help the gasp as he brushed across an erect nipple.
"God... Duo..." It was all I could hear - that, and his soft panting.
I fell to my back, the open sleeping bags jumbled and awkward against
my bare skin, and then he was sliding down my body with his lips and I
never gave things like physical discomfort another thought. When his mouth
reached my belly, I let him grip the waist of my boxers between his teeth
and tug them down to my knees. Dammit, I lifted my hips and helped them
on their way!
"Your leg -?" he asked, hoarsely.
"I'm good," I gasped. The blood and nerves of my body were otherwise engaged
- the pain in my leg was no longer a priority.
He whispered something I didn't catch - then his head dipped to my groin.
Heero going down on me was someplace between a dream coming true and the
attainment of Nirvana. Something as impossible as that - but as ecstatic.
His mouth was fierce, as if he'd held himself back for so long that it
hurt, and he needed relief - but like his kisses, his sucking was
that miraculous mixture of gentleness and raw passion. My cock was shamelessly
hard, weeping its need, rearing its shining head out of my groin to greet
him, every time he paused at the end of an upward lick, balancing the
crown of it on his rough tongue, and then plunging back down to consume
it inside the hot, wet sanctuary of his mouth.
I came, embarrassingly quickly.
I clutched at his thick hair, fingers pale in the dim light against the
black locks, and I nearly wept for the poignancy. My legs tensed underneath
his hands, and the soft liquid sounds of his mouth lapped at me like the
waves outside. His grip was as relentless as the gusts that growled at
the weakening bricks of the windward house. I bucked and thrust up into
him, and spewed out the best of anything I ever possessed inside me, in
between his impatient, greedy lips.
He didn't stop licking and kissing, even as I groaned and wiped the moisture
from my eyes, and bent my sore leg back down to a more comfortable position.
He moved, lithe as any sea creature, slipping over my body, his tongue
flickering at creases and spots that I didn't think had ever heard of
the letter G before this night. I was a thrumming, shuddering mess of
desire in his hands. As he moved, I took the chance to stroke back at
him - to touch the taut skin; smell the salty sweat of his body; feel
the delicious shock of different limbs tangled in against my own.
He was as magnificent as any speculation I'd ever made.
When he shifted his body round, his head at my groin and his legs astride
my shoulders, I was able to lick hungrily at his cock; to take my own
taste of pleasure and thick, swollen flesh; to know - agonisingly - just
how much I wanted more of it. His mouth was still working, licking between
my cheeks now, probing at my entrance. I couldn't believe the delight
of it - to feel the slick muscle of his tongue darting against me, teasing
at the puckers of skin as they flexed in shock and stimulation. I could
feel the welcome wetness - the promise of more to come. His words against
my flesh were no more than a whisper, no less than a plea. "Want you,
want you, Duo... I can't believe this, I don't understand this..."
I rolled away from him then, on to my belly, the softness of the sleeping
bag mattress damp underneath me from sweat and our own leaking fluids,
and I spread my legs. He moved too, and knelt at my side, one hand tracing
the knotty bones of my back and spine, the other still drifting against
my ass as if the skin was precious to his fingertips. I let him caress
me, running his hands inside my thighs, plucking at the soft, protected
skin of my inner thighs, brushing against the soft wrinkles of my sac.
A dribble of his warm saliva ran aimlessly down under the crease of my
buttock, and I wanted to scratch it away.
Then I couldn't bear it any longer. I leant my head down on my arms and
lifted my lower body up off the floor, bending my legs underneath me and
supporting myself on my elbows and knees. I faced away from Heero - my
ass was up in the air, the skin flushed and quivering so much that I could
feel it, my cheeks almost literally in his hands, in the roughened palms
of his strong, sensitive hands.
"Believe this," I groaned. "Take me."
"I can't do this," he gasped. "I shouldn't -"
I didn't bother stating the obvious, for I was beyond banter or bargain.
I just needed him. His hands on my ass were firm and determined, and I
never surrendered more happily to a hand's demands. He probed his fingers
gently, to try to prepare me - he peeled the muscled buttocks apart with
his thumbs and I heard the sharp intake of his breath. His wet cock pressed
very carefully against me, cautious of the lack of lubrication - but he'd
never been timid in anything he did, so I didn't expect it to continue
that way. He grunted and burst startlingly into me, then paused to allow
me to adjust to him. He gasped heavily - almost like a sob.
"More," I gasped. "More," I sighed. It was a physical shock to
me, but it was one that I'd welcomed, so my own nervousness had no place
here either. Dammit, I didn't have the time or the tolerance for adjusting;
my body sobbed for something more satisfying - more proactive. He started
to move, and I shuddered along with him. He pulled out gently, then thrust
back in - again, and again. I cried softly with long-distant feelings
and a fresh, keen passion. My head dropped and my knees began to tremble
with the tension.
Neither of us lasted very long - guess there were other forces at play
that night than lust alone, with its usual single-minded pragmatism. But
then, that was only the first time; the night was still young.
Whatever its age, I prayed that the damned night would be long and hot
and be allowed to develop exactly as our hunger dictated.
It was more incredible than any prayer of mine could ever have imagined.
Wherever my mind may have been, my body was back in the present time,
knelt at the top of one of the steeper rock faces, trying to catch its
breath and ease its aching muscles.
I'd climbed higher up than I had before, to an intermediate platform in
the cliff, almost to the top where I would have found the rough path to
another town along the coast. From the deep ledge, I could see far along
the coastline and back up through the rows of beachfront houses. I could
also see a solitary figure back on the beach - Wufei, packing up the last
of the belongings and setting off for home without me. Without us.
Heero sat on the ledge outside one of the deeper caves - no casual beachcomber
would have climbed there and found him. From his vantage point, he could
see Wufei, too. But he didn't seem to be watching him. His feet were still
bare, his pants rolled up and stained with salt water and green sea moss.
There were grains of sand and droplets of water glistening between his
I hauled myself over and sat down beside him, glad of the rest. "Is this
your usual place - or a new, more challenging climb this time? I need
to go into training."
"I'm just trying to think things through," he grunted. "Need to be left
the fuck alone."
"No you don't," I said, cheerfully enough.
There was silence for a while. The wind was dropping as the day wore on;
the gulls wheeled and dipped over the darkening sea.
"You know what time it is?"
He shrugged. "I just forgot. I'll get back my own way."
"You don't need to now."
He tutted, but with little vehemence.
"How much longer will you come here for <i<>this, Heero?"
He shook his head, trying to deflect my words. He knew, of course, what
I was talking about. "The sea is my fate, Duo. The reminder of my failure."
I was assaulted by the sensuality of my own memories - the loud, gaudy
music of the fair; soft sticky cotton candy; hot tongues; eager hands
- then the clinging of bodies; heads thrown back, cries echoing off the
bare walls of one of those beachfront houses, drowning out the hungry
gulls; Heero's burning eyes; the sweat slicked hair on his forehead. I
was conscious of the sand under my own feet; the sea breeze at my throat;
Heero's hunched body; his careful, careworn words. Lists of stuff, layers
of memory, traces in everything I saw around me; making up my life today.
"The reminder of other things too, Heero."
"So it is." I couldn't see his face - he dipped his head forward, as if
deliberately to avoid me.
But his hand reached out and cupped over mine. "I don't forget them
I let out the breath I'd been holding. My body had relaxed from its exertions.
"The other guys - they think they don't know me. But it's you,
Duo, that's the mystery, I think. You're always there, in my life - I'm
always conscious of you, more than anything else. Anyone else.
I've been needing you - trying to protect you, despairing of you,
ever since I knew you. I didn't even realise it myself."
I smiled gently, though my heart hammered. "Don't need protection. We
chose our job - we're well trained. We're all tough bastards, at the end
of the day."
"I know. But that doesn't stop the emotion nagging at me - and it confuses
me." He looked up now, and his pupils looked as darkly blue as the deeper
reaches of the evening sea. "When you were shot - it could have been so
much worse. I could have lost you! If you'd died..."
"It wasn't your fault, Heero," I said, a little grimly. "None of it."
"And that's what I've had to work out for myself," he replied, his eyes
gleaming eagerly. "I can know that it isn't my fault - yet I can feel
the pain. I have to learn to reconcile those two sides of life. And if
you'd died, it would have been my greatest failure - my greatest loss.
Whether I could have prevented it or not."
I wanted to hold him, but all I did was twist my hand and curl my fingers
"Shit, Duo..." His smile was a little sad. "We may all be tough bastards,
but you are certainly the most persistent one."
My hand shook gently with my body's hidden laugh.
"And the others, Duo... They don't know how things have been for you -
for us - do they?"
"I've never said anything." I wondered if he'd feel me tense up a little.
I remembered Wufei's dark, flickering pupils as he spoke to me on the
beach. "Though they're far from stupid."
"You're the only one I can bear to have standing beside me, Duo, do you
know that? Why couldn't I tell you that before? I've been pursuing the
feelings, tormenting myself, agonising over the meaning of it all... watching
you - all this time. Now it becomes so clear to me. You're my complement.
So different from me that I can see all the elements that I'm missing,
see them in you - you're the light to my darkness."
I moved across then, my thigh pressing against his, and for a moment he
leant his head on my shoulder. "Heero...the things that have happened
between us... last week...Do you regret it?"
I felt him snap to attention underneath me. "No! Not for a second. You?"
I grinned, and nuzzled my chin on the top of his dark head. "Never."
"So you want them to know?"
"Yes," I said. I hid the vibration of my excitement, my face against his
thick, tangled hair. "I do. But only when you're ready."
He wriggled against me, his lips pressing against the lobe of my ear.
I felt the goose pimples rise along every thread of nerve I possessed.
"I'm ready now. I've never been more ready. Take me back now, Duo. Maybe
this won't be the last time I have to come here to brood, but it feels
like it right now. Let's go back and see the others together, and you
can take bets on how long it is before the novelty of teasing us wears
off." He sighed with something that sounded like contentment, a warm rich
breath along my neck. "Then stay with me tonight."
We didn't speak again until we were back down on the beach, rescuing our
shoes which Wufei had thoughtfully hidden back up against the wall, out
of the sea's clutches. Heero caught at me as I stretched back up, arms
round my waist, lips against mine for a swift, hungry kiss. "How did you
do it, Duo? Find me up there?"
"Does it matter?" I murmured, just wanting to relax into the fresh taste
of his lips, dry from the wind, moist from the spray and the onset of
a damp evening. I was still savouring the thought of staying with him
that night. And many others in the future.
"It does to me," he said, simply.
"It's something I haven't told you before, either," I said, gently. "Let
me tell you now. The guys? They think you watch me all the time - to catch
me out, to scold me, to despise me, or so they assume. They're concerned
about your reaction to me - your apparently unfair treatment of me - my
poor victim status. You're 'always on my back' - always dismissive of
His eyes widened with protest and regret and embarrassment; a frown appeared
between his brows. I ignored it all.
"What they should be noticing is that I study you just as much."
"What the -? Is that true?" The dark eyes narrowed with bemusement.
"Oh yeah," I grinned. "That's very true. I have done for a very
long time - since I first knew you. Nothing sinister, y'know? Just to
see how you are; just to care for you as a friend." Waiting for a moment
when it might be more.
"So you think you know me..." A smile twitched at the corner of his mouth.
I wanted to kiss it into place.
"I know enough, Heero Yuy. I know the way you drink your juice - the way
you slice an apple. Your favourite shirt - your daily exercise routine.
Which colour pen you use for diagnostic diagrams - which music you listen
to when you can eject Quatre from his monopoly of the equipment. How you
cook rice; how you make your tea. Lots of stuff. Domestic, trivial stuff
maybe. I like watching you; learning about you."
"You've been close to me all along," he breathed. It wasn't a question.
I stroked gently at his neck - admired the way he arched up against me,
his breathing quickening. "I know which towel you prefer after a shower
- and I know the shape and size of your wet footprint on the floor of
the bathroom." I looked at the trail of shallow prints behind us on the
sand, recording our path back from the cave to the beach.
I looked back at him. His eyes sparkled with amusement, now. It was a
beautiful vision. "That's impressive. You're quite the detective, Duo
"That I am," I murmured. "There's nothing I don't know about your life
around me, Heero. And I'll always find you. That's the one truth
you can be sure of."
His lips were already seeking me out again; lips that curved in a broad,
vulnerable, joyful smile. A heartbreaking smile -- a heartmaking
That was all I'd ever wanted.
[back to Fancy Figures' fic]