A Good Catholic Boy (cont)

Heero was waiting for him at the gate when he came out.

"Where are you friends?" Duo asked as Heero fell into step beside him.

"Let me carry your backpack."

"No."

Heero shrugged. "Wufei is mad because I told him to leave you alone."

"You told him I was yours, you mean," Duo snapped.

Heero looked at him for a second, surprised, then grinned. "Hai."

"Hi what?" Duo glared, trying to imitate Heero's glare from this morning.

Heero laughed. "Hai. It's Japanese. It means, 'yes'."

"Oh." Duo noted the word. It might come in handy one day. "Anyway, isn't that a little presumptuous?"

Heero shook his head, serious. "You are, you just don't know it yet."

The confidence in Heero's voice annoyed him, but part of him liked the idea of being someone else's someone. He decided that didn't merit any penance or confession. He didn't think he wanted that someone else to be Heero Yuy.

"Wufei's a nice guy," Heero said, moving back to the start of their digression. He looked at the sidewalk in front of him as they walked. "I thought we'd worked out that he was going to leave you alone. I hope he got it this time. I'd hate to have to kill him."

Duo looked at him, hearing something in Heero's voice that disturbed him. Dead face, cold eyes. He shivered. Heero meant it. For a few moments he'd forgotten he was dealing with a tough kid who seemed to enjoy the streets. "What about the other two," he asked, hoping to find something safe to talk about. "The blonde--"

"Quatre," Heero said. "And Trowa's the tall one. They're in the school orchestra. Practice."

"Oh," Duo glanced up an alley they were passing. "They left you all alone so you decided to come slumming with me."

Heero pulled him into the alley and dragged him behind a dumpster. Oh shit, Duo thought, and added two more "Hail Mary's" and an "Our Father" to his list. He's gon-- Heero pressed him against the wall. --na kill-- His lips pressed against Duo's. --huh?

It was horrible. He felt his heart quickening.

It wasn't so horrible. His lips began to tingle under Heero's and move of their own accord.

It was kind of nice, actually.

Heero leaned back but Duo followed him, not letting their lips break contact. Then he realized what he was doing and pulled away. He wasn't sure what the penance was for kissing another boy, but he knew it must be severe. Better plan on washing dishes for Mrs. Murray tonight. That should cover it.

"Does that answer your question, koi?" Heero asked.

Duo nodded, and cursed himself for it.

Heero stepped back and beckoned him around the dumpster and back to the street. It dawned on Duo that he was going to get out of this one unscathed except for his burning lips. He wasn't sure what scathed was in this case, but he knew that kissing was only the beginning of bigger things. Father Riordan had always warned them kissing was the first step on the road that led to "sins of the flesh".

Heero saw his face and grinned, shaking his head and said, "I'll wait until you ask for *that*." His grin faded and his eyes widened in surprise when he saw that Duo didn't know what "that" was. "You really are a good Catholic boy." He grinned again. "I'm going to enjoy showing you what you've been missing."

They resumed the walk back to Mrs. Murray's house. Duo spent the time trying to decide if thinking about the kiss was a sin. In the end he decided it was better to be safe and try to forget it.

"Tomorrow morning," Heero said at the corner, breaking their silence. Duo said nothing as he turned. Heero watched him walk the half-block to Mrs. Murray's house alone before moving on. No need to ruin his reputation yet.

+

Heero was waiting for him at the corner the next morning. So were two of the other boys. Trowa and holding his arm was-- he couldn't remember the blonde boy's name.

"Duo." Heero nodded a greeting. "Let me carry your backpack," he said as they started down the street.

"No," Duo said, trying to put a hint of force behind the word.

"He's got spirit, Heero," the blonde said, looking Duo up and down. He caught the searching look on Duo's face. "Quatre," he said, untangling himself from Trowa and holding out his hand.

Duo debated for a moment, but decided politeness wouldn't hurt anything. "Duo Maxwell," he said as he shook Quatre's hand.

"Nice hand," Quatre said, latching on to Trowa's arm again. Trowa chuckled softly. The gleam in the one eye not concealed by his bang told Duo it was some kind of lewd joke.

"Be nice to him, guys," Heero said. "He's a good Catholic boy."

"How would you know?" Trowa asked. He and Quatre snickered.

Duo had given up trying to understand their games. He figured that if he did he'd probably be adding more prayers to his list. Better to ignore them.

Heero fixed a glare on them. "Shut up, Trowa. I thought you two could act civilized for once."

"We can," Quatre said, smiling and sliding his arm around Trowa's waist. "Let's quit teasing Heero ... for now."

Trowa nodded.

Trowa and Quatre. Something about the way Quatre held onto Trowa bothered him. Actually, it made him downright uncomfortable. Duo had a sneaking feeling that Trowa and Quatre were more than just friends. That they kissed, and other things, whatever those other things were. He didn't want to think about those things. They reminded him of the kiss and made him wonder what else Heero wanted to do to him. He winced at the memory. Then again, they seemed to be happy with each other. Maybe it wasn't so bad. An image of Father Riordan appeared in his head and he decided he'd better find something else to think about before he had something to confess.

"Well, here we are," Heero said. Duo looked and realized they were approaching the gates of St. Brigid's. "See you after school, koi."

Duo heard himself say, "OK."

+

When Duo walked out that afternoon -- hand firmly gripping the strap of his backpack, eyes daring Heero to ask for it so he could say, "No" -- Wufei was with them. That undid his daring gaze. He looked at the Chinese boy, not quite making eye contact, as they walked along the sidewalk, keeping his distance.

Wufei shook his head. "I apologize, Maxwell. I behaved in an unjust manner."

Duo blinked, decided he meant it, and nodded. "Forgotten."

"Yeah," Quatre said, teasing again. "Wufei's found a girl he likes."

Listening to the way he said it, as if Wufei's choice was odd, Duo was certain that Quatre preferred boys in general. Looking at the way Quatre leaned against Trowa as he said it made him certain that Quatre preferred Trowa in particular. Father Riordan would not approve.

"Kisama! She's more than just a girl!" Wufei bristled.

"When are you gonna talk to her?" Quatre asked.

"So why do you guys all have wings on your sleeves?" Duo asked, looking for something to break up the fight he saw brewing but wouldn't get him in trouble.

"Oh, we're the Fallen Angels," Quatre said. Duo saw Trowa wink at him -- thanks for the diversion, he decided. "Heero's are white because he's the pure one -- in heart if not in mind or body." Heero turned on him with an icy glare. Quatre blanched and gave him a weak smile. "Trowa's are green because he's tall and cool like a tree in summer." He laughed softly. "And I wanted them to match his eyes." He stared up at those eyes -- or at least one of them -- for a moment and Duo knew he'd been right about those two. "Mine," Quatre pointed to his own sleeve, "are gold like the Arabian sands."

"Quatre's Arabian, you know," Trowa said, softly.

Duo looked doubtful. "I didn't know Arabs had blond hair and blue eyes, or fair skin."

"I think he must be a descendant of T.E. Lawrence," Heero said and chuckled.

"And Wu-chan's--"

"WuFEI."

Quatre ignored the interruption, "-- are grey. Why is that again?" He smiled innocently at Wufei. "Sometimes your mind is just too Chinese for me."

"Justice is grey."

"I thought justice would be white," Duo said.

Wufei shook his head. "Justice is about right and wrong -- black and white -- and finding the balance between them. Grey."

Heero nodded as if he understood. Duo decided it must be an Asian thing.

"What color do you want your wings to be, Duo?" Heero asked, spearing him with blue eyes, adding to his prayers for the night. Last night, his second night watching at Duo's window, he'd decided he liked trying to guess how many times Duo had thought about him.

Duo wondered how his own face looked whenever he met Heero's eyes. He hoped it wasn't like Quatre's had looked earlier. He forced himself to thing think about the question. "Uh, if I ever joined up with you guys I'd really be a fallen angel. Their wings are always black."

"Mmmm," Quatre said. "Good choice. They would go perfect with Heero's. Oops, here we are. See ya."

They were indeed at the corner. The other three boys walked on, leaving Heero and Duo with a moment of privacy. "Tomorrow morning, koi?"

"OK," Duo said. It wasn't until later that he realized Heero had been asking. He didn't need Heero's protection, any more. Wufei was apparently reconciled to him being Heero's. Duo didn't like that idea, but he had to admit, Heero didn't seem to be a bad guy. How many street thugs knew who T.E. Lawrence was?
 
+

The next morning, Friday, it was raining. Duo sat at the kitchen table eating his corn flakes and watching Mrs. Murray drink her coffee. He didn't look forward to the wet walk to school. The knock came at the door at 7:25.

"Who could that be at this hour on a morning like this?" Mrs. Murray asked as she went to the door.

A moment later Duo heard Heero saying, "I thought Duo might like to share my umbrella." He grabbed his backpack and ran to the door before Mrs. Murray could say, "No."

"Thanks, Heero." He saw Mrs. Murray's eyes narrow with doubt. "I wouldn't want to catch a cold." He said it to Heero, but it was for Mrs. Murray's benefit. He felt a little guilty for playing on her motherly instincts, but he did not want to get soaked, and there was a chance he'd get sick if he did. It didn't make his list of sins.

Duo saw her face relax a bit. He ploy had worked. She nodded and said, "Be careful boys," giving Heero a look that told him *she* would take care of *him* if anything happened to Duo. She watched them to the steps, then closed the door.

Heero slid his arm around Duo's waist and pulled him close as they walked down the steps. Duo jerked away from the contact and found himself standing in the rain.

"It's the only way we'll both fit under this umbrella," Heero said.

Duo tried to squeeze in without touching the other boy. His left side was still getting wet.

"Look," Heero said. "You put your arm around me. That way you won't feel like I'm trying something."

He really had no other choice if he wanted to stay dry. Sighing, he slipped his arm around Heero's waist. Still a few drops on his shoulder. He pulled them together so their hips brushed against each other. That solved it. He looked at Heero and nodded, "OK," and they headed down the front walk to the street.

"Where are Trowa and Quatre and Wufei?" Duo asked as they reached the corner -- Heero's usual boundary.

"They took the bus because it's raining."

"Why didn't you take the bus?"

Heero smiled at him. "Because I told you I'd walk you to school and I figured you could use the umbrella. I didn't see any in your umbrella stand Tuesday."

"Oh." Heero was right. He didn't have an umbrella. ... But maybe this is just an excuse to put his arm around me, Duo thought. He looked at Heero suspiciously. Or to get me to put my arm around him.

Heero glared at him. It wasn't a pleasant experience, Duo decided. He knew why the other boys always fell before it. "I told you, I won't do more than kiss until you ask for it."

Duo had been considering what that "more" might be ever since Heero had pressed him against the wall and planted warm, dry lips against his -- only two days ago? Four "Hail Mary's". He'd tried to find out in the school library, but the handful of books on dating and what boys and girls did together didn't tell him anything. Most of them didn't even talk about kissing. There were no books on what boys and boys might do together other than play sports. He didn't think Heero was talking about a friendly game of basketball.

No, Duo had a feeling that whatever Heero was talking about must be one of those "sins of the flesh" Father Riordan always talked about in chapel after he caught one of the boys kissing a girl. Duo he knew he wouldn't recognize a sin of the flesh if it walked up and bit him. Maybe if he knew what they were he could avoid them. Well, school wasn't going to be any help. He certainly couldn't ask Father Riordan. There was only one way to find out.

"What 'more' are you talking about?" If he hadn't had his arm around Heero's waist, he'd have walked out into the rain when Heero stopped. "Well?" He looked up and saw the faint smirk. Yep. He was in up to his armpits now.

"I'll show you after school," Heero said. He saw the suspicion leap back onto Duo's face. "Not that way," Heero snapped, annoyed that Duo thought he was going to take him the first chance he got.

Actually he did want to take him the first chance he got, but something about this boy was different. Something he couldn't quite lay a finger on. Well, he had all day to think about it, but they only had a few minutes to get to their respective schools. He took a step forward and they continued their walk. "I have a book that'll show you how it starts, but you don't want the nuns to catch you with it. They might decide you're not a good Catholic boy."

Duo knew that if that was the case, Heero's book would definitely tell him more than the books in the library had. It was dangerous ground, but he would be careful. Besides, he came back to his original reasoning, knowing what it was, he could make sure Heero didn't do it to him. "OK," he said as they paused at the gate. "I'll see you after school."

Heero watched him run the short distance to the covered sidewalk that led to the school building and smiled. It took him a minute to realize it wasn't just because Duo was beautiful.

+

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