by: Kracken
Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of them.
Warnings: Male/Male sex, graphic, language, violence

Tin Soldiers series + Part 2
Sunshine

Well, it wasn't everything that I had dreamed about, and it really wasn't what I had expected from Quatre Winner: a plain, one room bungalow with a ceiling fan, a kitchenette, a narrow bathroom with a tiny tub, and a queen sized bed. As I flung my bags on the bed though, making the rock hard mattress hardly bounce, and turned to swing open a sizable picture window with a view of the sun soaked beach, I shrugged mentally and smiled. Bubbling hot tubs and thong clad man servants waiting on my every pleasure had been a pretty big dream to fulfill any way. It was stupid of me, I thought, to feel disappointed.

A sea breeze smelling of salt and surf washed over me. I unzipped my jacket and flung it aside. I was still dressed for the cooler Northern climate. I had grown up on L2, used to faulty climate controls that had kept the temperature of the colony scorching hot and bone dry. I felt almost guilty for that feeling of 'familiar' that washed over me with the hot breeze. L2 was a place that I wanted to forget and a place I had determined never to visit again, even mentally.

I turned back to the room. I was having my few belongings shipped to me. I didn't like the atmosphere of 'just visiting' being in a place that was now my home. I opened my bags and dragged out my clothes and my toiletries. I filled the closets and the drawers of a plain dresser with my clothes, put shampoo, soap, and razor in the bathroom, and set out my hairbrush, hair ties, car keys, and pass cards. It helped, but the room still felt empty of 'Duo Maxwell'. It didn't take me long to figure out why.

A few minutes later, I was sitting in the one chair and carefully putting the vid clip of Heero on the dresser. I turned it on, smiled, and sat back in my chair, bare feet coming up to rest on top of the dresser while I tilted back the chair and made a lounger out of it. Heero's thoughtful face stared back at me. I imagined that he was frowning, critical of my improvised decor.

My underwear, jeans, and socks lay on the floor, draped over a lamp shade, and littered the top of the dresser. A few fast food boxes and a tower of empty soda cans would complete the decor, I thought, but I had to save that part for later. The room felt more comfortable, a little broken in, and not like it belonged to someone else now. I had 'marked' my territory. The thought made me snicker, but it did sum up how I felt just then.

Bare assed naked from the waist down, I lounged in front of my best friend, Heero Yuy, the vid clip, and congratulated myself on trashing my room. I really needed to get a life. A new home, a new job, and a chance to meet new people, I had high hopes that it would add up to a better life for Duo Maxwell. It might even save me a trip to a shrink, or a trip to the home for Gundam pilots who thought that three dimensional holograms were friends.

It was a lot easier to ignore not having a life when I had been trying to score one for the colonists during the war. It had even been easy while I had learned to be a Preventer, burying myself in procedure manuals and taking every mission that had come my way. As things had slowed down to routine though, it had become harder and harder to ignore that things, personally, weren't any better for me than they had been at the start of the war. I still battled the bad guys, I still had friends who put up with me, and I was still all alone when I closed my door at the end of the day.

Leave it to Quatre to see the warning signs that I had done everything in my power to avoid seeing. It probably sounds stupid, even strange, but he sometimes came off like my father, or what I imagined a father would be like, since I really didn't have any personal experience with one of my own. Quatre looked out for me, was happy and proud of my accomplishments, and wasn't shy of telling me when I was wrong. I should have wanted him to be my lover, but, aside from his being with Trowa, I can honestly say that Quatre wasn't even a blip on my sexual radar scope. For some reason, the caring, beautiful, rich man didn't appeal to me. In fact, even contemplating sex with the blonde heir of the Winner dynasty seemed as wrong to me as thinking about sleeping with a brother.

"No," I said aloud to the bare bones room, as if it cared, "I'd rather bend over for a stupid fuck of a partner who wouldn't give a rat's ass if a truck ran over me the next morning." Do you think I'm being hard on poor Gerald? Maybe I should tell you what it had said in the note that he had left me. Do you want to know? Are you sure? I guess I can tell you, now that it doesn't make me angry enough to want to hunt the guy down and give him a sex change with a rusty butter knife. The note had said, 'Thanks for the great fuck and the really top dollar blow job, buddy. Nobody ever sucked me off like that for less than a fifty.' Nice, right? I can sure pick 'em, can't I?

Thinking about the episode again made me feel suddenly hot with nausea and shame. I slapped the control on the vid clip and carefully placed it in a drawer. Heero didn't need to see how much I hated myself just then. Standing up, I snagged my bathing suit, ignored the fact that I was as white as a ghost from being out of the sun for a long time, and put it on. I needed to get out of there, clear my memory of dates gone horribly wrong, take in the nice scenery, and get my head straight again. The past was the past and kicking myself in the balls over it repeatedly wasn't going to undo it. Quatre had given me a second chance. I wasn't going to blow it with another Gerald Filmore. As far as those type of people were concerned, Duo Maxwell was closed for business, opening again only when Mr. Right, whoever he was, showed up.

Getting out into the sunshine, and exploring my surroundings, didn't last long, though. I was having major jet lag and it caught up with me just when I spotted a chikee hut with a bartender and a stool with a fine view of a men's volleyball game on the sand. Suddenly, the sight of bronzed young studs leaping and diving for a white ball didn't seem as appealing as it should have been. My eyes drooped, I felt dizzy, and my stomach informed me in no uncertain terms that a drink was the last thing it wanted. As I walked up to the bar, the smell of mixed, tropical drinks brought on a bought of nausea.

"Got any snacks?" I wondered.

The bartender, an older man in an outfit that seemed more suitable for a country club than a beach side bar, frowned and gave me a slow appraisal. He put out a bowl of salty peanuts and dried fruit reluctantly. I scooped up a large handful, winked at him, and said "Thanks," as I walked away. An annoyed sniff followed me and I kept grinning as I popped peanuts into my mouth. I almost felt like I was on the streets of L2 again and expertly filching food from street vendors.

Mouth full of peanuts, and a grin on my face, I must have looked like a cheerful lunatic as I ran straight into a very solid chest. Starting back, I spit up some of the peanuts and then, with the usual Maxwell luck, I tried to apologize around the remainder in my mouth and accidentally sucked one into my windpipe.

When you suddenly feel something jam into the place where you draw in air to live, you stop thinking in any coherent manner. All I could do was bend over and hack, trying to dislodge the peanut. The guy I had bumped into, came up with a better plan. I felt his strong arms grab me from behind and his fist thrust upwards into my diaphragm. The peanut, and everything else I had in my mouth, went flying and splattered on the sand. Shit! Could it get any more embarrassing?

Apparently it could. As I choked and tried to draw in air, I turned to thank my rescuer and found myself facing a bronzed, toned, Adonis in a thong bathing suit. He had sun bleached ringlets for hair that fell to his shoulders, light blue eyes, and a drop dead, gorgeous smile that didn't seem to notice that I was wide eyed and gaping at him like a complete dumb shit. I can honestly say that I've never seen a heterosexual man in a thong bathing suit. I didn't think to second guess the part of my brain that cheered.

"Are you all right?" Adonis asked in a voice that was as beautiful as the rest of him.

I scrambled for my brain, found it, swallowed hard, and then managed a lame reply. "Uh... yeah... uh... thanks."

Adonis reached out, fascinated, and lightly touched my braid. "Jeez, that's so long, dude!"

'Dude'. Okay, that word really turned off part of my brain. 'Dude'? Who the hell said 'dude' any more? Unfortunately, it wasn't my brain that was doing the thinking. The part of me that was, didn't give a damned what Adonis said as long as he kept standing there and looking like the ultimate wet dream.

I'm not a slut! Stop thinking that right now. I wasn't about to jump in the sack with 'Sunshine' there. Remember? Closed for business. I did intend to spent some quality, 'ogling eye candy' time with him though. Who knows, maybe he might even turn out to be someone special? The intelligent part of my brain rolled it's eyes. Me, and the part of me that was in the pilot seat, ignored it.

"I don't feel so good," I said, and really didn't, so most of it wasn't an act. "Do you mind walking me back to my place?"

"Sure," he replied good naturedly and granted me another blinding, sparkling smile.

I know, I know! Don't invite people to the homestead unless you're expecting him to help you plow the north forty. Like that? I had heard it from an old soldier during the war. I keep it for special occasions. That guy had been full of sayings like that, but that one in particularly had stuck in my mind. Well, I wasn't going to invite Adonis in, so stop worrying. I just needed time to try and recover from a incredibly bad first impression so that I could ask if we could hang out together at another time.

So, I wiped the peanuts off of my face and proceeded to dazzle the guy with the old Maxwell charm. He was reeled in; hook, line, and sinker. By the time we reached my bungalow, we were laughing together and well on our way to... well, I could say a meeting of the minds, but minds didn't have much to do with it.

I stopped at the door and turned with a definite body signal that things were not going any further. "Thanks again for saving my life," I told Adonis. "If you don't mind, I'd like to get together again soon and get to know you better."

Adonis grinned and looked me slowly up and down with obvious lust. "Aren't you forgetting something?" he almost purred it.

I blinked, faking ignorance. "What?"

"Well...," Adonis drawled, "You could thank me with a kiss."

I wasn't going to do it. I even opened my mouth to tell him so. Adonis took advantage of that and leaned forward to jam his tongue inside. We were suddenly lip locking, french kissing, my tonsils being treated like the main course at a meal. Hands cupped my ass and squeezed while a bulging crotch ground against my own.

"Maxwell! Maxwell!" The little voice in my head wanted my attention. It was very hard to give it. "Bad idea! Bad idea!" It just kept repeating itself in a mournful wail while the lower part of my body was shouting, almost drowning it out, "Oh, yeah! Let's do it!"

When Adonis leaned and began fumbling at the doorknob while continuing to suck at my mouth and grind against me, I had this sudden mental image of Gerald Filmore, his cheap cigarettes, cheaper whisky, and his used condoms on my floor. The voice in my head was playing dirty now, but it had the desired effect. I put my hands on Adonis's solid chest and pushed him back. Our lips parted with a wet sound and I looked at him apologetically.

"Sorry about that, but you're a little hard to resist," I said with a smile I hoped would excuse giving the man a case of blue balls. "I'm not really looking for anything intimate right now, okay? We'll hook up later, have a few drinks, talk, and get to know each other better."

Adonis turned ugly in oh-point-one second. His voice suddenly wasn't so beautiful as he snarled, "Look, you cock tease! You owe me! If you think I'm going to just walk away now..."

I glared. He didn't frighten me. I'm a trained killer, remember? Adonis was just an over stimulated beach bum. "That's exactly what you're going to do," I told him, "That is, if you know what's good for you."

He almost decked me. He was fast. Luckily, I was faster. I simply turned my body and his blow passed by me and he stumbled. Having my back to a door, was a bad situation, so I moved, intending to give myself some open sand so I could proceed to kick his butt. I never got the chance.

Adonis had been about to lunge after me, but a hand had suddenly closed on his throat while another had grabbed his hair. Adonis's eyes bulged and he struggled to knock away the hands. He didn't have any success. Those hands were stronger than the hands of most people. I knew from experience that they could bend steel. As I looked on, stunned by recognition, Heero Yuy pulled Adonis around and then shoved him towards the beach. Adonis went down in an ungainly sprawl on the sand, scrambled back up, and then stood like a stunned deer staring into Heero's intense, blue eyes.

"Go away," Heero said in a low, dangerous voice that made me shiver.

Adonis looked ready to pee himself. He didn't hesitate to turn tail and run, sand flying as he disappeared into the dunes. I stared after him, swallowed hard, and then looked at Heero. The man was glaring back at me and said, as if he were tasting something unpleasant, "Quatre shouldn't have given you the job."

I blinked. "Excuse me?" the retort was automatic, but my mind wasn't on it. Instead, I was staring at Heero and trying to adjust the mental picture of him, that I had carried with me since the war, to match this older, self assured man standing in front of me.

Heero was taller and broader. The lanky youth that had been all whip cord muscles, had filled out and his face had lost it's little boy, sullen poutiness. He was still handsome, though, and he still had that dark, intense gaze that I remembered, the one that spelled 'killer' as clear as mile high writing in the sky. He was wearing blue jeans, a button down shirt, and black, steel toed boots. He didn't look as if he had been casually strolling the beach.

"You were always breaking the rules," Heero continued in biting tones, "but you were capable of carrying out your missions. This 'incident' is proof that you are not the person that you were during the war and that your abilities have suffered and, perhaps, atrophied during your days of peace. I intend to inform Quatre that you were unable to subdue one untrained individual. He will agree with me-"

Okay, I'll admit that the Heero I had known during the war hadn't been the most personable guy, but I had it in my mind that we had been at least uneasy friends. Hell, he even let me see him laugh a few times! Having that vid clip had served to blur the memory of the real Heero even further. My vid clip Heero listened when I talked and never complained. He had certainly never called me unfit for duty!

I could have gotten mad and kicked Heero's ass, but I was still too stunned, too off balance by having run into him in the first place. My mind was scrambling, trying to switch gears and accept a real Heero when fantasy Heero had been my constant companion and comfort for years.

Heero made a noise and old times washed over me. "Hn," and then he was turning on his heel and walking away, the set of his shoulders managing to express his contempt. Whatever he had come to see me about, I thought, must have gotten stuck in a mental round file as soon as he had decided that Duo Maxwell couldn't cut it.

"Fuck!" I said it aloud. I don't know if Heero heard me. He was already far down the beach.

My hands turned into fists suddenly and my mind decided that it had been shocked long enough. Now it was deciding to get angry in a major way. I turned and stormed into my home. Jet lag was overwhelming me, but my emotions were pumping enough adrenalin to keep me charged despite it. I grabbed the phone and dialed Quatre's number. As I waited to pass through the many channels that stood between me and having a phone conversation with the heir of the Winner fortune, I turned Heero's vid clip on and placed it carefully on the dresser top. I stared at it morosely as I answered question after question put to me by Quatre's staff.

Heero looked so 'understanding', thoughtful', and 'knowing' in that picture. I turned it this way and that, looking at it from all angles, and then set it before me close enough where I could look into the vid clips eyes. They were dark, brooding, intense, but, in that picture, there wasn't the contempt, the dislike, and the anger that I had seen in the present time Heero Yuy's eyes. There was something going on beside me not taking that beach bum out, I thought, any idiot would have known that I had been positioning myself for an attack and Heero wasn't an idiot.

"How the hell did I piss him off in the few seconds we were together?" I wondered aloud to my empty home. "Or maybe he has some grudge against me from the war? What the hell, Heero..."

"Duo, is that you?" Quatre's voice said in my ear.

I started. I had the visual off and I kept it that way. I didn't want Quatre seeing how off balance I was.

"Did Heero find you all right? I sent him to brief you and to give you your schedule," Quatre continued.

"Yeah, he was here," I replied, "and I guess I make lousy first impressions because he's on his way back to you to tell you that I'm a loser and to cut me loose."

Quatre gave a long suffering sigh. "I think a meeting is in order sooner than I had planned. Don't worry, Duo, Heero isn't going to change my mind about having you on my staff. I know your record."

That was a relief. I rubbed between my eyes, feeling a headache coming on. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Qat. If you don't mind, I need at least a day of down time to adjust to the time and then I'll be ready to sit through any tedious meeting that you can cook up, all right?"

Quatre chuckled, but then said thoughtfully. "Heero is probably suffering from jet lag as well. It might account for any irritability he might have shown towards you."

I thought about that. I wanted to believe it. "Could be," I replied. "I guess we'll find out when we get together later."

"I'll have my staff call you when everything is arranged, "Quatre told me and then added reassuringly, "Don't let Heero rattle you. You were a good team during the war. I think you can be one again."

"I'd like that," I replied and then kicked myself mentally for not being able to stop the 'neediness' in my tone. Quatre asked about my new home and indulged in some small talk, but I could tell that he was anxious to get back to what ever he had been doing before I had interrupted him. We said our goodbyes and then I was left with the soulful eyes of my vid clip Heero and the bitter taste still in my mouth from meeting the real one. When exhaustion had dulled my emotions somewhat, I stood up and began to make my way to the bed.

A thought brought me up short and I asked myself, feeling a flush of embarrassment and trepidation, 'exactly how much of my little altercation with Adonis had Heero seen?' If he'd seen Adonis sticking his tongue in, and my dubious 'objection' , then it was possible that Heero now knew that I was gay, if he hadn't guessed before.

Can life get any better for me? Not only is the real Heero NOT like my dream Heero, but he hates me for being gay! Okay, so I was guessing here, but you can understand why I would come to that conclusion?

I turned and looked back at the vid clip of Heero. He was still there. I had left him on, ageless and always ready to listen. It hurt, it really did, and on so many different levels too. I wondered aloud, with a sick twisting in my gut, "What the hell am I going to say to you when I see you next?"

[part 1] [part 3] [back to kracken's fic]