by Kracken
Main: 5x2
side: 1xRelena, 1x2, 3x4, 6xNoinx12, Sallyx5xOC, HildexOC
Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warning:Male/male sex, graphic, language, violence, NCS, abuse.

Fatalistic + Part 3
Something New

I felt unsure of Duo's mental state. He seemed normal; cracking jokes, speaking crudely, and being the best at what he did, but something wouldn't allow me to believe in it. Could someone suffer such a trauma and not have it affect them? Heero dogged his steps, looking serious and worried, and I found myself wishing that I were the one at his heels. After my request to date him, he never mentioned it, acting as if I had never uttered it. I almost allowed that, almost crawled back into my self imposed isolation and let him do as he pleased. I had wanted to 'be there' for him, but, deep down I was reluctant to share in his horror and even more reluctant to force him to face it.

I found my opportunity, sitting together in an over heated car, as we spied on a warehouse supposedly trafficking in weapons. He was always cold, damn him, and turning the heat on high made him comfortable, while it caused me intense discomfort.

Duo sat, checking his handgun, eye peering down the muzzle and then checking the chambers before replacing the bullets.

"I know," I admitted, dropping that into the sound of click! click! as he readied the gun for firing again. He never paused, simply finished and slipped the weapon back into it's holster under his arm before replying.

"I thought so." He crossed his arms over his chest and peered sideways at me. "You got all weird. You wanted to take me out to talk about it, I figured, so I just forgot you asked. I don't really want to talk about it, okay? I don't remember what happened. Bang! on the head, and then I woke up in a hospital, with Heero trying to tell me what happened. Aside from some stitches, the guy didn't mess me up. So..." He grimaced and shrugged. "He's in jail and I watch my back better now."

I thought about that, telling myself that, yes, it was possible that it was the truth, but there was a tightness to his eyes that I didn't trust. I did honor his request not to discuss it further, though, I felt the need to say, "My request was an honest one, though... badly timed. I have felt... an interest... I would like to explore it further."

Duo grinned. "You make me sound like a disease you think you have. Why are you acting like it's not a good thing? I've noticed you watching me. When you went out with Sally for a bit, and that gal from records, I just figured I was pretty to look at and that you weren't interested in screwing."

I choked and went indignant in an instant. "Why do you have to make everything sexual and crude?"

"Because it usually is," Duo snorted and then stared out of the window, finger picking at the rubber along the window. "I mean, you think my ass is hot and you want it. That's gotta be it, because I sure annoy the hell out of you in every other way."

I really had to wonder what was going on in his head. I felt that emotions were being hidden, strong ones. I could tell by the tension that fairly oozed off of him. He needed me to say something, but I wasn't certain what that could be. It wasn't about sex, surely? He wouldn't want that now?

"After we get done here,"Duo suggested, "We can go back to my place, have a few drinks, and see what the attraction is... okay?"

"No," I replied promptly and he frowned and looked at me fiercely. "I don't operate in that fashion," I explained. "I have a number of people I could 'screw', but I want to... get to know you better... have dinner... conversation..."

Duo gave up on his temper and snickered as he held up a bag of fast food and a half empty cup of coffee. "We had our drinks and dinner... and we just had our conversation."

I grimaced and shook my head. I knew my nostrils were flaring, but I wasn't about to let him turn my intentions into something base. "A date," I insisted. "Dome Pierre's, I think. They have very good wine. Saturday next is open on my schedule."

He was confused now, but chuckling. "Okay, but let's worry about the bad guys first. We've been neglecting our duty."

I felt irritated that he would think that I hadn't been watching that entire time, but when he said softly, "Thanks, Fei," I found myself smiling and glad that I had decided to stop playing the coward with my feelings. Having dinner with Duo Maxwell makes one think of five year olds... bored ones. He fidgeted non stop, made the waiter raise eyebrows by ordering soda, instead of wine, and settled on spaghetti, instead of any of the fine cuisine. We could have gone to any third rate diner for that and I was angry that I was paying far too many credits for it at my five star restaurant. Watching Duo slurp noodles appreciatively, over salt everything, and then turn his nose up at desert, didn't improve the evening.

Irritation makes a bad sauce. I poked at my own dinner and couldn't finish. I chased the sour stomach, and growing headache, with a fine wine and glared as Duo happily sucked soda through a straw. He winked at me at one point and said under his breath, "Don't tell my doc, but I'm not supposed to have these. They eat my stomach. I figure, it's a special occasion, though."

That's when I had to excuse myself just to keep the things on my tongue from being said. I made my excuse in as neutral of a tone as I could manage, "I need to use the restroom. I'll return shortly."

I saw Duo tense, and his eyes... There was a shadow there, yet it was so brief, that I almost doubted it. He leaned back into his seat, in the next moment, smiling again, as he waved a hand dismissively. "Sure."

I wondered if restrooms were a horror to him now, a potential for visions... but then recalled that he had said that he didn't remember. Could a trauma affect you if you didn't recall it? Could it make your eyes reflect fear? Suddenly, my irritation was lost.

I took my time returning, thinking about the evening. I had proven that we were unsuited, our tastes and our personality apposing grits of sandpaper, rubbing together, yet never to be smooth. I could go on with my life, now, and take up the search for my 'Mr. Right' once again. That didn't bring me joy, though, and I only felt my headache grow, joined by a despair that I hardly understood.

When I left the restroom, I found Duo walking towards me, his expression losing some alarm and turning chagrined instead. He stopped and looked at a loss, other diners glancing at him or ignoring him as they ate their meals. He tugged at his black dress coat uncertainly, a thing that looked pulled from any store rack and not tailored to his lean body. It hung on him and made him seem too young, flapping around him as he turned and regained his seat at our table.

I joined him, but he kept his head down, eyes hidden by his bangs. Our bill had come. I pressed my thumb print to the tablet and it paid through my account automatically. I left a hefty tip for a waiter that had shown Duo patience... more patience than I had. "Let's go," I whispered.

He nodded and we left the restaurant. In the darkness by my car, I said over the hood, "You were worried about me?"

Duo nodded, rubbed a hand against the back of his neck, and then forced a chuckle. "Guess I'll always be thinking... but you took your time... It was..."

"It's all right," I assured him, feeling a warmth fill me.

"I had a good time, Fei," Duo told me, wanting the subject turned as much as I did. "Thanks. You're good company."

I thought it was a lie. How many glares had I exchanged for words? I couldn't remember a single conversation after, 'What shall we order?'I felt like an arrogant prick, just then. Duo had only been Duo. What had I expected? What had I wanted to force on him? He was never going to conform to my ideal. If anyone had the right to be irritated, it was Duo. I had wasted his evening.

"I'm sorry," I told him as I opened our doors and slid into the driver's seat.

Duo slid into his seat and said, as he buckled up, "What for?"

"Now you're being kind," I replied with a grimace.

Duo sighed and sank into his seat, slim legs hitched up to give him the room. He suddenly reached over and put a hand in my lap. It shocked me. "You know what you want. You know that's all it is. Your place or mine?"

I couldn't help glancing about the parking lot as I shoved his hand away, but it was dark, and there wasn't anyone walking near. I wasn't ready when he climbed into my lap, facing me. I'm not sure how he managed it. He was pressed tight to my body. The steering wheel had to be digging deeply into his back. His legs were tucked up on either side of me, probably losing their circulation. His crotch had ample room, though, to rub against mine.

"I'm willing, so what the hell's your problem?" Duo hissed in my ear. "You want it in deep. You want to fuck me. You want to have my lips wrap around your dick. You want me to suck for all I'm worth. Use me. Come on. Let's get off. Duo Maxwell fucks everybody, right? So, what's it matter?"

The words weren't his. I knew that without a doubt. I could imagine that someone saying those words to Duo, as he lay helpless and bleeding. I wanted to kill that man.

I gently wrapped my arms around Duo. I leaned my cheek against his heart, and let out a slow breath as I felt the frantic beating there. It told me the truth. It told me what I should do next. I would rot in hell before I would let that evil man make Duo ashamed of who he was. Perhaps he was crude, loudmouthed, and a man to enjoy his sexuality a bit more freely than most, but it didn't make him a whore, an object of contempt, or an object for other men to use as they pleased. It simply made him Duo.

"I think we need to date a few more times," I told Duo as I slid him off of my lap and back into his own seat. He looked flustered and flushed, and I wondered if anyone had ever turned that approach down before. I doubted they had.

"A few more times?" Duo finally echoed, as if he couldn't quite believe that I had said it.

"We must have some common pursuits," I tried, though I was doubting it myself. "I don't think this restaurant was a good idea. I think we should plan our next outing more carefully, with more input from each other."

"Okay," Duo replied, but then was quiet as I turned on the ignition and drove the car out of the parking lot. After a time of staring out at darkened streets, and having street lights flash across his face, he turned to me and laughed.

I blinked at him, wondering.

"It must suck to be you," he said, "I know what I want, but you don't." He snorted a moment later and corrected himself, "Wait, I think it sucks more to be me. I have to wait until you do find out what you want."

"Are you?" I wondered, grasping at that.

"What?" Duo replied, smirking at me.

"Going to wait?" I asked.

Duo put his hands behind his head and stared out of the window again, grinning. "Yeah, I think I will."

"This isn't what I had in mind!" I snarled as the wind tore at my words through the open hatch of the airplane.

Duo checked my buckles one more time, tightening the one around my crotch in a way that I knew was meant to make me uncomfortable. One of his damned jokes. "We both like it!" he shouted back.

That was true. Skydiving was a rush I never tired of. As a date, it had much to be desired, though. One couldn't be intimate so far from candles, tea, and soft lighting.

The blare of the jump siren, and the flashing green light, made me snarl again. There wasn't time to loosen my strap. It had all been calculated. Duo grinned at me, saluted a black gloved hand, and jumped backward out of the hatch into a stunning, clear blue sky.

I jumped after him, feeling that I was being strangled at the crotch. I looked down, wanting to calculate my revenge. He was still on his back, still grinning, his arms stretched out to catch the air. I saw his braid slip out of his jacket and whip upwards like the tail of a diving kite. He hadn't tucked it into his helmet as he'd promised. Damned, idiot! I forgot about revenge and began to fear what damage hair like that could do to delicate chute lines.

But... he wasn't an idiot. I glared. He was purposefully goading me to action, teasing me with his danger. Would he grab it before he pulled his chute, or would he let it dangle and whip? He wanted me to guess. He wanted me to sweat. We had our own chutes, specially designed and maintained by us alone. We knew our limits, knew our dangers, and knew how far a person could push things before death became the ultimate end to an action. Maybe he was reminding me of all of this? He wanted to be in control. He didn't want pity or help dealing with his actions. He would decide whether to pull that braid in, or not, and that was a clear announcement that he intended to do that with the rest of his life as well.

I dived after him, making myself a bullet, and he laughed as I caught his hand and pulled him into a tight spiral with me. I smiled at him, pulled him in closer as he started in amazement at my unusual expression, and then made us a tumbling knot as I wrapped legs around him. The ground was dizzying and coming up fast, but I ignored it as I leaned into his helmet, a hand on either side of his face, and kissed him.

Duo's lips were cold from the wind, and hard. It wasn't really pleasurable, not until he opened and let me chase his tongue with mine. Have you seen eagles mate? They are fierce daredevils of the air. We weren't any less. He smelled like windblown grasses from the remote landing strip, some peppermint gum that he had been chewing earlier, and leather from the collar of his jacket.

We broke away when our watches beeped the time, pushing away from each other and staring after, both of us heated and struggling with emotions as we made the required distance and pulled our chutes. Duo hauled in his braid and put it between his teeth as he used his gloved hands to guide his chute. He was choosing to live, for now.

We landed and I loosened my strap as I dumped my chute. He was struggling with his own, fighting a breeze that was making the brown grasses along the old runway, wave and whistle. I could see storm clouds building, dark on the horizon. We were lucky. Sudden winds could kill a man, who's life was depending on a length of silk and lines.

We folded our chutes and bagged them, taking our time and talking about little things. It was companionable, relaxing, the adrenaline rush from the jump itself, making us feel as if we had both had sex.

"This was a good idea," I told Duo finally.

"It was nice," he agreed as we stowed our chutes into his car trunk. He gave me a sideways look as he closed the trunk lid and a smile teased at his lips. "That kiss... that was hot."

I blushed and looked every where but at him, feeling awkward. He sat on his trunk, looking towards the coming storm, breeze stirring his bangs. The plane was landing. It was almost exhilarating, watching it pass over us, to bank, and land, the pilot as much of an expert as we were; a veteran of the war.

"He didn't want to land either," Duo finally said and I realized that the pilot had given us a great deal of time alone.

"I know I didn't," I breathed and he looked at me, serious eyes searching my face.

No foul language, no joking insults, no shouting, and no tension. This was the heart of Duo, I thought, the person under all of those defenses. Did we both have to face death together to bring him out of hiding?

Duo leaned forward and his lips sought mine, soft, tender, as tentative as his true personality. I held still, my eyes closing, letting him have his way, and then letting out a long breath when he withdrew.

"Can this really work?" Duo wanted to know.

"We won't know, unless we try," I replied as I opened my eyes and reached out to pull him off the trunk. Rain began splattering the landscape and we sought refuge in Duo's car.

"Where to next?" he asked and it held more meaning than just a simple question.

"Home, " I told him, keeping to my resolve with a great effort.

Duo grimaced with disappointment, shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and then revved up his engine.

"I want another date, though," I reassured him. "One that's a little quieter."

"To talk," he grunted and then rolled eyes at me. "Fei, there better be a date in the near future, where we'll do more than talk."

I smiled warmly. "I am a man."

Duo laughed. "I noticed." He quieted and then returned my warm smile. "I like when you smile like that."

I sank into my seat with some embarrassment and stared out at the rain as he pulled out of the small airstrip and onto a narrow highway. I didn't need to tell him that the smile was all his, and that no one else had ever seen it. I think he knew.

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