Disclaimer:I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence
Paths + Part 13
Duo tried to stay alert. He leaned on one fist at the large, round table,
the aftermath of a meal stacked at the center. Wu Fei was leaning back
in his chair, sipping hot tea. Heero was next to him, talking in low tones
as if Duo wasn't meant to be a part of the conversation. Duo, sitting
across from them, was quickly losing his battle with his exhausted body.
The small state room they had chosen to eat and talk in, had been filled
with servants long enough to set out the meal, but, after that, they had
been left with coffee, tea, and simmering moods. Wu Fei had remained sour
and uncommunicative throughout the meal and Heero had tried to fill him
in on the details of Duo's condition with the air of someone waiting to
be rejected out of hand. Duo had remained absolutely quiet, bewildered
by Wu Fei's presence, confused by Heero's anxious attitude towards him,
and still angered that Wu Fei had interrupted them at a crucial moment,
a moment when their undefined relationship might have gained a sexual
Duo's eyes slid closed. He didn't know how long he was asleep before a
hand touched his shoulder very gently. Duo pried sticky eyes back open
with an effort and found Wu Fei staring at him very close. He was crouching
by Duo's chair, one hand on the arm.
"Hm?" Duo managed and sat up straighter. He felt muscles scream
at him, having stiffened up while he had been asleep. He winced and hissed,
rubbing at his shoulders. "Did I miss something?" Duo wondered.
"Only Yuy trying to convince me that you can learn a year's worth
of high level, deep meditation techniques in the span of a few days,"
Wu Fei replied, but his tone was soft and his irritation seemed to have
left him. His black eyes looked.... concerned. Remembering their of times
stormy partnerships during the war, Duo began to wonder if he was really
"Did you really come all the way from L4 on Heero's say so?"
Duo wondered, still trying to wake up fully. Heero poured him some coffee,
noticing his difficulty, and Duo took it and drank it gratefully, his
eyes never leaving Wu Fei's.
Wu Fei shot an angry look at Heero. "He didn't trust my honor enough
to explain. He simply told me that my skills were needed."
"What's honor got to do with it?" Duo wondered, puzzled.
Wu Fei seemed surprised by that question. "You saved my life on occasion.
We shared confinement and near death. We were comrades fighting for a
great and noble goal. I haven't forgotten those times. I haven't forgotten
my obligations. Honor dictates that I respond when I'm told that an old
comrade is in need." He frowned. "I'm not a complete bastard,
Duo didn't know what to say. He was grateful and yet he felt trepidation
too, not sure what the man could do for him except be yet another witness
to his messy, painful death. "It's not going to be pretty."
"And you're not going to be strong, mentally, for much longer,"
Wu Fei agreed incite fully. "We must begin at once, before you lose
the ability to be rational."
Duo felt angry, his weariness short circuiting his gratitude all at once.
"Well, you sound like Heero now, but I'm not backing down this time.
I'm going to bed. I'm a skinny weakling, Wu Fei, just what you hate the
most, and this skinny weakling has just had all of his reserves burned
up in Yuy torture before you showed up. I'm not topping it off by enduring
Chang Wu Fei's patented martial arts, mental mojo program, today too."
Wu Fei studied Duo intently and then he nodded gently, eyes going soft
and understanding, something Duo had definitely not expected. "You
will need to be rested and alert when we begin. What is the best time
of the day for you to be in that condition?"
"Late morning," Duo replied, stunned that Wu Fei wasn't sneering
at him, or tossing one of his usual, 'weaklings', diatribe at Duo's head.
"Then you will reserve that time, and most of the early afternoon,
to my lessons," Wu Fei instructed him.
Duo looked at Heero, who was looking pleased and relieved. "If you
make a decision like this again, without asking me...!" Duo snapped
at him, "First the plane trip to Quatre's, the pills, and now this!
I may be stunted, Heero, but I am an adult who can make decisions!"
Heero looked contrite suddenly, but he wasn't daunted. "You've told
me what you want," he said. "You've also told me, and shown
me, that you can't reach that goal by making the right decisions. Tell
me again, Duo... Tell me that you really do want to go through with this."
"Of course I don't!" Duo snarled, hands gripping his chair arms.
"I'm a lazy ass, druggie! I'd much rather be home playing video games
and waiting for the pizza to show up!"
Wu Fei said quietly, face pensive, "You say that, but it isn't true."
Duo stared at him, narrowed his eyes as if to argue that, but then deflated
in his chair. "Yeah, you're right, it isn't, but at least I felt
in control doing those things. I can't help wanting that again and Heero,
you are not helping me get over that feeling by leaving me out of the
loop in decisions concerning me!"
Wu Fei asked point blank. "My discipline won't work unless you are
committed to learning it. Once learned, it won't help you if you are not
focused, committed, determined in your goal. Your enemies have attacked
you, not by fighting bravely in open battle, but in the cowardly act of
poisoning you slowly. They want you to die like a dog. You have to decide
to be a dragon instead and not let them succeed."
"I feel like shit!" Duo exclaimed and hid behind his bangs by
ducking his head.
Heero came around the table in concern. "I'll take you back to your
room if you're feeling-"
Wu Fei stopped him with a gesture. "Why do you feel that way?"
he asked Duo.
"Everyone's helping me," Duo replied guiltily. "I didn't
think much about you guys or even wondered how you were getting along
after the war. I know some of you had trouble, well, if I can believe
the news vids, but... I didn't run to the rescue or anything. I could
have done something, at least made a phone call..."
"Do you wish to atone for that?" Wu Fei wondered.
Duo shrugged uncomfortably. "I guess, yeah."
"You can't do that if you're dead," Wu Fei told him brutally.
"Survive and pay your debt to us, for helping you and for not helping
us when we needed you. As for myself, I ask only for you to seek revenge
on the ones who did this to you. I ask that you bring them to Justice.
Men who do such cowardly things should not be allowed to triumph."
"Wu Fei," Heero growled, not liking Wu Fei's words at all.
Somehow, Wu Fei understood what motivated Duo, or, perhaps, it was understandable.
Wu Fei had fought during the war for revenge too, or 'justice' as he had
called it. Heero had touched on it, but had left it alone, not believing,
maybe, that it was a stronger motivation than the feelings they had for
one another and the need to survive and be together. That way of thinking
was a mistake, Duo knew suddenly. Heero's love would forgive Duo if he
backed down, refused treatment, and went back to enduring his captivity.
Revenge and justice weren't forgiving at all. Revenge, especially, demanded
it's due and it didn't accept anything less.
"I can't let those bastards win," Duo said quietly from the
shelter of his hair. "And I can't make things right with you guys
from a pine box six feet under." Duo thought about all the physical
and mental trauma he had endured for revenge during the war. There had
been torture. There had been terrible confinement and wounds suffered
that still ached in body and soul. He had survived it, suffered it, and
come out on the other side of it with Oz defeated, his ghosts satisfied,
and at least some justice served. Now that he was soon to be the ghost,
Duo thought, why couldn't his determination, to make the ones who had
done that to him pay, be stronger?
"I'll tell you what I told Heero," Duo replied at last. "As
long as I'm in my right mind, I'll cooperate. I want to survive this.
I don't want to be an addict. I don't want to die slowly and have those
bastards laughing over my grave without a care in the world. Problem is,
though, I won't BE in my right mind for long, Hell, sometimes I'm not
too stable right now, am I Heero?" Heero nodded, jaw tightening.
Wu Fei said firmly, "Heero spoke earlier of forcing you to be treated.
I will not force you, Maxwell. You wish to believe that the drugs that
are killing you control you and take away your ability to decide your
life. That, I will show you, is a lie. You will not be able to use it
as an excuse when we work together."
Duo didn't believe that for a minute. He smirked, but it was an angry,
dark, and bitter expression. "Yeah, you keep telling yourself that,
Wu- Man, but, when you see old Duo Maxwell not get his pills, you'll be
singing a different tune."
Wu Fei straightened and looked down at Duo sternly. "Lessons begin
at ten o' clock tomorrow morning. If you are not at my room by that time,
I will be on the next shuttle flight back to L4. You complained of not
being able to make decisions. That is a decision, Maxwell."
Wu Fei turned and left the room with the assured, quiet bearing of a man
used to getting his way. Heero sighed and looked at Duo as if he were
disappointed. Maybe he was. Duo shivered and could find only one word
to encompass everything he was feeling. "Crap!"
"We could try to have sex again. That might make you feel better,"
Heero said as he came to stand behind Duo, touching Duo's shoulders lightly.
"I didn't know that you had such a sense of humor, Yuy," Duo
shot back sarcastically. He tilted his chin back and looked up at Heero.
The man was frowning ever so slightly and Duo realized that it hadn't
been a joke. He should have known better. "You are such a weirdo!"
Duo sighed. "Here a huge decision was just made, I'm handing myself
over to Wu Fei. Let me repeat that, Wu Fei! and you're already past it
and thinking about..." Duo left his chair and stood dejectedly. "Sorry,
Heero, but I can't even work up enough libido to stare at your crotch
Heero thought about that, thinking of the weight machine, probably, and
how Duo had said how much he liked it. "Sex relieves stress,"
he replied at last. "It was the only reason I allowed for it during
the war. A soldier can't function without relieving stress periodically."
Duo flushed. "You were doing that during the war, screwing guys to
relax, and you didn't think to ask me?"
Duo turned and saw Heero's tight, annoyed expression. Heero was a romantic.
Duo saw it clearly just then. The perfect soldier had a poet somewhere
under that granite like exterior. Duo knew what he was going to say before
he said it. "I wanted more than sex from you. I wanted all of you,
mind, body,... heart," he added, stumbling at such an emotional revelation.
"Knowing that, I knew that I had to keep a distance between us. No
"No entanglements," Duo agreed. He fiddled with his braid and
then tossed it behind his shoulder as he confronted Heero, admitting,
with teeth gritted in a vicious smile," I on the other hand, given
the slightest encouragement, would have been doing it with you like rabbits
and to Hell with 'entanglements'."
Heero stared, wide eyed.
Duo reached out and touched Heero's tank top. He knotted it into his hands
as if he wanted to tear it off and said bitterly, "I was a virgin
because too many people wanted to fuck my head as well as my body, Heero.
Too many users, too little opportunity where I came from. The sweeper
ships weren't exactly full of gentle, accommodating lovers just wanting
a little stress relief. Most of them were like hounds after fresh meat
and I... well, I knew I didn't want to be the fresh meat that they tore
up between them. After that, well, I was on my own in my Gundam and, even
after we all hooked up, there wasn't much chance for whoopee during a
war, even with five horny teenagers locked up together in a safe house."
Duo watched Heero's nipples press against the fabric as his hands pulled
it even tighter. "What I'm trying to say, Heero, is that I'm willing,
I just haven't been able. I know where it goes and how to do it, I just
haven't had a chance to implement the knowledge with anyone but my right
hand, if you know what I mean."
"You are not shy," Heero concluded.
Duo smirked. "No. You probably spent as much time as I have crammed
into a cabin with a troop of other guys during training and the war. You
get rid of embarrassment and prudishness pretty quick when they're almost
doing it on top of you in a bunk only a foot away from your own."
Heero nodded, remembering. "So, I know I look like a kid still, but
you don't have to treat me like one, k?"
Heero nodded again and then looked contrite. "I'm sorry. You are
so small next to me, Duo. I don't want to offend you... or insult you,
but I feel protective and unsure when I am with you. You seem so young...
It feels wrong, almost, to-"
"Get more than G- rated?" Duo finished angrily. "Yeah,
well, I guess I can see why you would think that. Kind of brings me back
full circle to why the Hell you would want to have sex with me in the
first place. I know you said it was because love is blind, but you're
going to have to deal with what I got sooner or later. You may be a romantic,
but, I'm not. I know reality is going to stick it's big nose in sooner
"I thought that you didn't lie," Heero replied, and Duo was
given that warm, startling smile that Heero seemed to be saving just for
when he was the most off guard. "Duo, you don't have to be afraid
of being inexperienced. You don't have to be tough. You don't have to
forget about love and tenderness to try to please me. I did not mean that
it seems wrong to have sex with you. It seems wrong to rush and to treat
you as if you were just another fuck, I meant. "
Duo felt a blush, but he joked. "Uh-oh! Heero said a bad word!"
Heero snorted in amusement. "Don't try to fool yourself into believing
that 'just sex' is all right in order to please me," Heero continued
seriously. "You deserve more and so do I." His hand trailed
along Duo's body sensuously. "You are too thin. Your bones do stick
out alarmingly. You do look exhausted, pale, and unmatured-"
"You're going some where with this?" Duo cut in sourly, but
he was mesmerized by Heero's soft touch along his side as well.
Heero leaned close, his breath warm on Duo's face. "You're beauty
shines through, Duo, it can't be hidden. It glows through your skin and
through your eyes. You have a mature beauty and a mature mind, not a child's.
You are very... masculine, and I find that very attractive, indeed."
"It's all attitude then?" Duo grinned, only half believing him,
but amazed by Heero's loving words. It didn't seem possible that they
had come from a man who had mainly stuck to three words throughout the
war; 'hn', 'baka', and 'shut up'. "Well, I do have a lot of attitude,
I guess," Duo added self deprecatingly.
Heero kissed him, just a brush against his cheek as he said, "Yes,
Duo broke the mood by yawning hugely. Embarrassed, he muttered, "To
bad we can only talk about sex and romance. I need to sleep Heero. I don't
think I can even make it back to my room on my own two feet."
"Lean on me," Heero told him and hooked an arm around Duo's
thin waist to help him, "I will show you that love isn't synonymous
with sex, Duo."
Duo was nervous, but he smiled and felt a deep thrill in the vicinity
of his heart. He had never been given the chance to love. He didn't know
the first thing about it. "Finally!" Duo sighed as they limped
back to his room, "A lesson I want to learn!"
Heero sat Duo down on the bed and then knelt to take off his shoes. "Stink
alert!" Duo chuckled and Heero grimaced, agreeing.
"You need to shower," Heero said.
Duo started to lean back into the bed. It felt as if it were calling him
and reaching out for him. All he wanted to do was to close his eyes, sink
into the gel mattress, and forget about his rankness from exercising.
Now that he wasn't distracted, he wonder how the other two had been able
to sit through a meal with him without a protest.
Heero caught Duo by the elbow and kept him seated. "Shower,"
"Okay, okay!" Duo mumbled, yawned again, and stood up. He swayed
on his feet, regained his balance, and staggered for the bathroom. When
he felt Heero following him, he felt a flush hot under his skin. He wanted
to protest, but they both knew that passing out in the shower was a real
"Just, uh, just stand by the door, okay, Heero?" Duo asked.
"Don't look or anything."
Heero raised an eyebrow. "I wasn't intending to try and engage you
in sex, Duo, I was only concerned for your safety."
Duo blinked and tried to think of an excuse that didn't include, 'I hate
my body and I don't want anyone, especially the guy I love, seeing it.'
he ended up simply saying, "Okay." and felt like an idiot. He
had tried to establish that he wasn't shy, that he wasn't a prude, that
he was ready for sex, at least mentally, and that Heero was to treat him
accordingly. Now that Heero was treating him that way, intending to go
into the bathroom and help him shower, Duo was mentally back tracking
and feeling flustered and ashamed because of it.
Heero said thoughtfully, "There are dynamics to this that I was unaware
Duo blinked, coming out of his own thoughts abruptly. "Huh?"
Heero searched for words to explain, "With another man it would be
simple. I would either treat him as a sexual partner until we were both
relieved of our needs, or his sex wouldn't be of any consequence and I
would treat him accordingly. Being with you, feeling the things that I
do for you, I find myself unable to be objective and unmoved. I think
you are having the same difficulty?" he frowned, continuing even
when Duo didn't respond. "A shower cannot be simply a shower, even
if we don't engage in any activity other than bathing you." He struggled
and then finished uncomfortably, "With you, there is an intensity
to everything, a response from within me that I can't describe. Every
one of my senses, all of my emotions and thoughts, center on you when
ever we are together. I don't know how to proceed Duo. Emotionally and
physically, I am knowledgeable and experienced, but interacting in a relationship
is unknown territory for me. You will have to tell me what I should do
and what you wish to happen or not happen."
Duo raked his fingers through his hair in frustration. "This should
be easy!" he lamented. "We're both guys! We both want each other.
We should just be able to get each other off, grin, and start the torture
at ten tomorrow morning. It's so much more complicated than that, though,
and I'm just as confused about it, maybe even more so, than you are, Heero!
No, I don't want you to see me naked. No, I don't want you in the shower
with me. Why? I don't even want to tell you, but you can probably guess."
Heero nodded, jaw working, and then he replied, "You are dissatisfied
with your body. You think that I will be critical of it. You are also
afraid, that if something sexual were to happen, that you would be unable
to perform the act."
Duo ducked his head. He couldn't reply to that. Heero was blunt. He had
always dealt in bald facts. Duo couldn't be that way. His personality
was more fragile than Heero's. Instead, Duo said, "I have a lot on
my plate that has to be dealt with before I can get my head straight about
'us'. I don't really know what I want or what I want you to do or not
do. I want to rush it. I wanted you for so long... but... I don't even
know why this is so hard! Why I can't just let go and HAVE you! If I don't
know anything else, I at least know that I DO want that!"
Heero warmed to that, but he didn't take advantage of the revelation.
Instead, he took a verbal step back. "I feel it too," he replied.
"It isn't just sex. It's..." he met Duo's eyes and Duo saw a
flaring intensity that made Heero's next words the most important words
in Duo's life, "It's giving the other person half of yourself. "
He seemed relieved now that he had defined it, "You can't do that
lightly, no without complete faith in the other person."
"And we have so many blank spaces to fill in yet," Duo agreed,
nodding and feeling relieved himself. In the gym room, he had felt that
time was short, and that he might not survive to have a real relationship,
a real 'first time' with tenderness and passion. He had been willing to
just have sex with Heero because of that fear. Heero's words were making
him rethink that. Sex wasn't what he really wanted and it would have meant
nothing if they had gone through with it. Heero may have given half of
his soul to him, but Duo was still clutching his and uncertain about giving
it up, even though he knew that he loved Heero. The life he had led up
until then didn't make that kind of trust come easy.
Duo grimaced, wanting to retreat back to safe ground, uncomfortable with
the emotions flaring between them because he was still so unprepared to
deal with them and everything else in his life just then. "Rain check,"
Duo said and Heero looked puzzled. "Heero Yuy is entitled to try
and have a relationship with one, Duo Maxwell, after said Duo Maxwell
gets his shit together."
Heero smiled only slightly, sensing a deeper, painful, meaning to that
flippant announcement. Duo might die. They might not get the chance for
a life together. Duo was willing to risk it, to hope for something more
precious than a handful of minutes of sex, with perhaps an embarrassing
failure on his part, and maybe some resentment and bad feelings afterwards.
It was a declaration of how Duo felt for Heero and Heero didn't misunderstand
"We will make it through this," Heero told him, as if he could
make it true by sheer force of belief. "We will have our chance."
Duo nodded, wishing he could be as certain as Heero, as he went into the
bathroom to shower alone.
[part 12] [part 14]
[back to Kracken's fic]