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 5
Ocean

You think we 'talked it out' after Mr. Secretary left? No, of course not. We're guys. Guys don't talk too much about their feelings even when they aren't trying to snuff everyone of them out like Heero Yuy. So, we were just damned uncomfortable, coming up with a new language that consisted of one word questions and replies. I was still trying to get another glimpse under Heero's gundanium surface, though, even as I tried not to get pissed when he asked, "Gun?"

'Yes, dumbshit! I thought, but replied, "Two."

"Registered?" In light of our past, that was actually a reasonable question for Heero to ask, but now that I was supposed to be upholding the law and keeping the peace, it was insulting.

"Yes," I bit back.

Heero adjusted his tie and picked up his car keys. "Ride?"

Hell no! I though viciously, but some devil took control of my tongue and I replied, "Yeah, thanks." There. Two, whole, pleasant words. Well, it surprised the hell out of me! By the look on Heero's face, I could tell that it had surprised him too. His dark eyebrows rose a little and he made a small grunt and walked past me. I guessed that I was supposed to follow him and did.

There was a big difference in the way that the people we passed treated me and the way that they treated Heero. I know what you're thinking. No, they didn't smile and fall all over me while avoiding him like a wolverine with a toothache. Instead, I was the stranger that they looked over curiously, ogling my long hair as usual and wondering who the hell I was, and Heero was the one they smiled at and called greetings to. They all knew him by his first name and everyone seemed eager enough to wave and call out to him. I looked sideways at Heero and saw him giving them a small, reserved smile and nodding in acknowledgement. Why did I get the feeling that, if I hadn't been there, he would have done a lot more than that?

It was a very uncomfortable, and yes, dammit, painful, feeling to realize that Heero wasn't a cold, hateful bastard to everyone... just me. The next question was, why? I remembered my earlier suspicion, that he had seen me being groped by a man and had realized the obvious; that I was gay. If that was the reason for his dislike, well, hell, there wasn't anything that I could or WOULD do about that except file a discrimination report with Quatre.

How really freakin' wrong this had all turned out! My new and better life was sucking as much as the old one and I didn't even have my comforting fantasy Heero to get me through it. The real Heero had ruined it for me. I couldn't look into those soft, vid image eyes without overlaying it with the scowling, angry eyes of the Heero striding the halls in front of me.

"I didn't know that you had been working here long," I said to that stiff back. "I thought that we were both fresh recruits."

The shoulders ahead of me twitched in a shrug. "I haven't," he replied without turning, "Quatre recruited personnel from several top notch organizations that I've dealt with in the past."

"Ah," I replied and found myself floundering. These people remembered him and were friendly towards him even though his relationship with them had been a working one. My suspicions had become a hard fact. Heero's attitude towards me was definitely personal.

I tried to imagine the man in front of me relaxed and chatting by the water cooler. It was hard thinking of him smiling and making friendly small talk. Heero Yuy going out after work for drinks or hanging with other people at the club or some favorite restaurant? I couldn't picture it at all. I was better at picturing him dismantling and reassembling a gun blindfolded as a party trick, or hanging at a gym with people as eager as he was to totally perfect their bodies and their fighting skills. I could see him saying. "Great karate chop, Bob, you could have snapped your opponents neck easily!" Insert Heero the Killer laugh here. I have heard him laugh by the way. It's kind of nice. Unfortunately, it had been the things that he had been laughing about at the time that had stopped it from being a pleasant memory.

Well, there was only one thing for it, really, and I was definitely the guy who could do it. I hadn't been given a Gundam because I was a chicken shit and the years since then hadn't mellowed my 'Do what it takes no matter what' approach to things. As soon as we climbed into Heero's expensive, bad ass car, and pulled away from prying eyes and ears, I was going to ask him what the hell his problem with me was. I had to do it. No two ways about it. I wanted that damned job. I wasn't going to let Heero Yuy bully me out of it, but I also wasn't going to work with a ticking time bomb who might decide one day that he couldn't stand me any longer and send 'Shinigami' to his just deserts in an efficient, yet violent, Heero like, manner. Trust me, when you're not sure where you're going to go after you die, you try to avoid finding out as long as possible.

Thinking it and actually saying it were two different things though. Sitting in Heero's car, smelling his cologne and leather seats, and watching his handsome profile as he glared at traffic, I found that I really didn't want him to verbally confirm that he hated my guts. I was hanging on to the last vestiges of the fantasy Heero, you see, and my mind was using tooth and nail, unfortunately. I didn't want to see the last of my dream evaporate, especially in the really ugly way that I was anticipating it would. Seeing how those people had reacted to Heero, remembering those brief glimpses of a part of him he didn't want to show to me, I felt... okay, after the way he'd treated me, you're going to think this is really stupid, but... I was thinking that, eventually, I might be able to get him to, well, like me. Ah, you're laughing now, aren't you? I'm not stupid, really I'm not, but anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't give up without one hell of a fight. Where Heero was concerned, I hadn't even started, so a part of my mind was arguing that time might be what we both needed. Yeah, while the other half laughs it's ass off and tells me to just get it over with and confront him.

I really needed to think about it some more though, I thought. I needed to think of sentences that didn't have at least five swear words in them. I knew that I would only be able to do that by not being angry and feeling hurt when I talked to Heero. 'Talk' was the key word here. Not shout. Not cuss. Not say things that would lead to fists flying and probably my blood spilling.

Having convinced myself that it was better to tackle the problem of Heero in the morning, and, another thought, in our office where we could have privacy, but be heard if one of us, okay, me, started screaming in Heero Yuy induced pain, I then turned to trying to keep myself occupied. Why, you ask? Because, even after having made up my mind to wait, I am still the kind of guy who likes to fill silences, especially when I'm stressed. It's like a safety valve for my nerves. Mindless chatter equals a distracted and calmer Duo Maxwell. Chatter though, might lead me to scew up and say what was stressing me in the first place. It's been known to happen.

Duo Maxwell: Nice weather. Heero:Hn Me: So, is that a eight cylinder, modified engine in your car? Heero:Hn. Me: We should work out our schedule and have an orientation for our staff and... WHAT THE HELL DO YOU HAVE AGAINST ME?!

I'm not exaggerating, unfortunately. Heero didn't try and kill me after I was captured by Oz during the war because he thought that I could maintain silence. He knew back then that I was a loose lip chatterbox. They didn't have to torture me, just let me get nervous and bored enough to start filling dead air with the sound of my own voice. Soon, I would have been reciting the vulnerability of every Gundam... Okay, now I'm exaggerating, but you get the picture.

I pulled out my clipboard from my satchel and a pen. I doodled. I'm not an artist or anything, but I am a great doodler and it often keeps me from doing other things, in this case, confronting Heero. At first, I sketched an engine and one of Quatre's 'yes men' caught in one of the belts. No, I don't know what it means, I'm not a damned psychologist... anyway, then I progressed to random chains of odd shapes and then put several seagulls flying in an out of them. Well, you could tell that they were seagulls, but they weren't the greatest. It seemed to take a long time to make that design, so, when I looked up, I expected Heero to be pulling onto the beach. No such luck. Traffic was heavy. I suppose that's what saved my life. We were going slow when I made an absolutely dumb ass move. I dropped my pen and then unbuckled my seat belt to lean forward and retrieve it on the floor of the car.

I confused Heero, I think. Maybe he thought that I had slipped off my seat, passed out, or was going to be sick? I'm not sure. All I know is that he took his eyes off the road and reached for me with one hand, grabbing onto my arm and hauling me back into my seat as he yelled, "Duo!" in a voice full of concern. That's when another car hit us... or we hit it. It's all fuzzy...

The foam bumpers deployed. That didn't help as the car was rolled over. Unbuckled and turning to look at Heero, the suspension foam inside the car slammed into the side of my head and jammed my clipboard, still in my hands, straight into my gut. Suspension foam doesn't work very well when you aren't where you're supposed to be. I wasn't in my seat all the way and I wasn't buckled in. It shoved me hard against the back of the seat and barely kept me from smashing my skull open on the roof of the car by holding me there. I still managed to hit pretty hard.

The world went away and then came back with a rush as my senses came back online to the smell of gasoline, a burning plastic/rubber smell, and Heero. There was the taste of blood in my mouth, my stomach felt as if someone had used it as a punching bag, and I couldn't think very clearly. I was still in an awkward position. The car was on its hood. I was still pinned by the deployed foam.

"Duo?" Heero's voice was anxious, almost frantic. "I don't want to release you from the foam. You might be badly injured. I'm going to wait until the medics arrive."

The smell told me, 'No fucking time!'

"Chance it!" I told Heero sharply and moaned as the sound of my own voice made my head explode with pain.

"Duo!" Heero protested.

I tried to focus and make sense out of the craziness all around me. I saw Heero below me and then realized that I was hanging upside down. Heero was crouched on his seat and it was full of broken glass. He looked up at me and his face... That look couldn't be for me, I thought. Heero could not possibly be THAT worked up about my predicament. I refused to believe my eyes.

Something splattered on Heero's cheek. He reached up and wiped at it and I realized, beginning to shake with reaction, that it was my blood dripping on him. I almost decided to ignore what I knew might be about to happen in favor of waiting for the medics to arrive. If I was messed up, then moving me might make me a cripple for life. I didn't want to take that chance. The burning plastic smell was unmistakable though, it told me what options I really had. There was only one and it didn't involve staying where I was.

"Heero..." My lips hurt. They must have been cut or bruised. "Gotta get out of here, with out without me, buddy. You know what that smell is. Engine fire, electrical short, or whatever... gas tank might blow. " I didn't sound coherent even to myself, but he already knew what I was trying to tell him.

"Duo..."

"You like saying my name?" I wondered with a lame chuckle. "What, Heero? Say something."

"I'm getting you out of here," Heero told me and there was such an intense passion and fear in his voice that I was stunned. I couldn't understand it, couldn't fit it to the Heero that I knew.

"No macho shit," I told him. "Catches on fire. Run like hell."

His eyes are deep blue, like... I dunno. I can't think. Fill in your own poetry. I'll concentrate on surviving. Anyway, he kept those comforting, intense, blue eyes on me as he released the foam, and his strong arms were there to ease me down. I was able to breathe better then, but I should have been able to do better. I suspected that it was because my stomach was a ball of pain and my diaphragm was having a hard time expanding and letting me get air in to my lungs.

"Go," I told him, thinking I was going to follow under my own steam. He knew better and his hands shifted on me. He was pulling and then pushing me towards one of the smashed doors. He was going to push me through the broken driver's side window, I realized.

"Fire," Heero said suddenly and he sounded frightened. I craned my neck around, poised at the window, and saw the bleary outline of orange flames towards the back of the car.

"Gas tank... any second, " I said and shook my head to try and clear it. The pain was incredible. It was all that I could do not to scream, restricting myself, instead, to gasps and small, hurt noises, as I huddled and shook where I was.

"Duo! " Heero snapped. "You have to go through the window and you must do it now! I can't follow you until you're through!"

I pulled myself together, throttled the pain and my reaction to it, and followed Heero's order. The cement was hard as I crawled through the window and out onto the pavement of the road. I scraped elbows and knees, leaving a trail of blood and skin. Heero was almost on top of me, coming through right after me and hooking an arm around my waist.

You should know that there were other people at the accident scene. We were on a busy road headed towards the beach. Why didn't they help? I don't blame them really. It didn't take an Einstein to figure out that smoke and fire make a kaboom sooner or later. They probably all had families, wives, kids, or even a lovers. Why stick their necks out for someone like me? It was my ass. I had to be the one to pull it out of the sling... only Heero was helping me. The man, who I thought hated me, was tempting the real God of Death, only I knew something that Heero didn't, or maybe had forgotten from the war. Shinigami had it in for Duo Maxwell.

"Let me go!" I shouted hoarsely and made a poor assed attempt at pushing Heero away.

Heero's grip tightened. He lifted me off of the pavement and began a stumbling run away from the car with me under his arm, half on my feet and half being dragged.

I don't know what I said. I only knew that I didn't want Heero to die and that I was willing to sacrifice myself to save him. What I wanted and what I was capable of were two different things though. I guess that I was half in and half out of consciousness, maybe slipping into shock. I couldn't see beyond Heero, but that didn't matter as he continued to carry me despite my cussing and faint struggles. I wanted my last sight to be of his face, his eyes turning on me with fear and something powerful and magnetic. It was almost as if he were trying to tell me something with that look, only I wasn't hearing it, wasn't understanding... maybe not trusting what I thought that I was seeing in their depths.

What happened next... It's confusing. Heero's body turned into a rock, his muscles gathering and bunching into hard knots while his legs became inhuman pistons. I was over his shoulder so suddenly that the world dimmed as Heero sprinted for the finish line, an invisible mark that was, hopefully, beyond the blast point. That's when the car exploded.

I felt the heat wash over me and I felt hard things pounding over my skin. It was bits of the car, I realized. When I continued to breathe, when I didn't feel any fire devouring me, I dared to hope that we had made it to safety.

The world went away again and, when it came back, I found myself stretched out on a semi soft surface and swaying and being jolted. Someone was holding me down and people were very close to me. I'm a soldier. I didn't know what was going on. Every instinct told me to attack the blurry shapes above me. Strong hands were locked in place on my arms though and I blinked and focused on Heero's face staring down into my own. The hands were his.

"You're with the medics, Duo," Heero reassured me. "We're on the way to the hospital." He saw my confusion, I suppose, and said the one word that pierced my fog. "Safe."

I managed a nod in reply, brain finally kicking into gear. Oh, yeah, the accident... I was hurt... I needed help... Heero had saved me and gotten me medics... The last part was the one I was having the most problem with. It seemed a departure from reality, some fantasy that I had cooked up to keep me from having to face the fact that Heero...

"Talk to me!" Heero's voice snapped sharply. "Give me a report!"

I opened my mouth, mind trying to think of something to say, trying to sum up... wait, we hadn't been on a mission. Heero had been driving me home... When one of the medics started talking, I realized then that Heero was asking him for a report, not me.

A light shown in my eyes. I felt a needle inserted into a vein. A monitor was inserted under the skin of my neck. Instruments came to life all around me. "Concussion," the medic was saying, "severe bruising in several areas. Minor cuts not requiring stitches. I'd have to say that he is a very lucky man. It's not every day that you have a car turn yours into a blasted heap and you walk away with what amounts to paper cuts. I suggest that you get a scan just to be sure, but I can assure you that these monitors are very accurate. Are you his domestic partner, sir? If you have filed permission to make his medical decisions, I can administer a few things that will help him recover more quickly."

"I...," Heero stammered and then found his voice again. "We only work together. I think Preventer H.Q. is allowed to make medical decisions for him since he doesn't have any family members. If you would call them..."

I heard the medic making the satellite call. He must have been given permission. Suddenly, I felt more needles piercing my skin at several points.

I blinked my eyes rapidly and tried my best to focus, to stay with the here and now. I was going to be okay. Having had pictures of hover chairs and living a lifetime with a machine taking care of my bodily functions, you can imagine that I was feeling, not just complete relief, but embarrassed as well. I had unbuckled my seat belt. I was pretty sure that my action had distracted Heero and caused the accident. Now that he knew that I wasn't dying, I figured he'd be, not just pissed, but ready to tear me a new one. If he had hated my guts before...

"The other guy... the other car..." I managed to say. "He okay too?"

Heero looked... guilty. I began to think, 'oh, shit, whoever it was met his maker.' but then he said, "We hit a car disabled on the side of the road. There wasn't a driver. My inattention caused us to swerve and hit it."

"My fault," we both said at the same time and then looked at each other.

The drugs were clearing my head, taking off the edge of my shock. Heero's handsome face came into better focus. His eyes, almost hidden by his tumbled, chocolate colored hair, were... concerned still, but beginning to frown again. Great, now that he knew that I wasn't going to kick off he was pulling out the 'I can't stand you ' from the box again.

"Well, at least you have a reason to hate me now," I said.

Heero looked... surprised, pained, hurt, well, a lot of things. He replied, "I-I don't hate you, Duo. I- It's just difficult.... I thought... After I heard..." I strained to stay awake, to hear what he had to say. I had a felling that he might not admit to me again, what he was admitting to me now. Having adrenalin surging through your system like lightning, having shared danger and almost death together, we were both... vulnerable, emotions breaking unchecked through our battered and weakened defenses.

"You don't hate me?" I prompted, fighting unconsciousness hard enough to make my stomach start clenching around threatening sickness. "So, all that abuse was just... what? An Act?"

"I..." Heero began and then stopped. His face suddenly closed up like a door slamming shut. I'd lost the moment, I knew then, and bit back a frustrated howl. "Your personal life is none of my business," Heero finally continued. "I shouldn't have let my opinions concerning it effect my working performance with you. If you like, I will sign any written complaint you choose to file against my behavior towards you."

What the f-?! "If you're saying..." I stifled an urge to throw up and pass out. My head reeled. I panted. I was a stubborn bastard. I wasn't letting my body have the upper hand. Not now. "If you can't stand that I'm gay," I replied hotly, "then shit, yeah, I'm writing a complaint whether you sign it or not, Yuy!"

Heero started as if someone had hit him unexpectedly on the back of the head. It was a look someone gave you when you completely fail to understand something that they think that you should have. "That's..." Heero stopped and then said strongly, "Duo, I'm gay as well. That has nothing to do with my reaction towards you. It is your personal life that I find fault with... I." Have you ever seen a kicked puppy? That confused, hurt, and that 'how could you do that to me?' look? Heero was wearing it in full force. "You need to rest," he added evasively, "I think that we should discuss this in more appropriate surroundings."

"Why?" One of the medics chuckled. "It's like watching a damned soap opera. You guys got it bad, don't you?"

Another medic snorted in agreement. "We don't usually get a floor show while we work," he added. "Will there be music later in the show?"

Heero just shut up then and his face went into stone mode. He wasn't going to say anything more, not in front of non combatants anyway. His words had me tied up in a knot of confusion. Heero was gay. Heero had a beef about my personal life. Heero didn't hate me. It was all too confusing, too much to digest all at once. I was starting to doubt the reality of it all. Drugs can do weird things and I could feel enough needles in my veins to know that they were administering a lot of them.

"When I get past this," I told the face above me as it blurred and began to fade, "I want some damned answers, Yuy!" Did he reply? I don't know. Unconsciousness rolled over me like a truck loaded with a star cruiser.

[part 4] [part 6] [back to kracken's fic]