In the Dark
Whisperer In the Dark
The cold night swept into Duo Maxwell's tiny three room apartment as he shoved open the door. Flakes of white swirled around the worn `living room' armchair, around the stove in the adjoining kitchen and the mismatched furniture that made up his dining room. He shivered against Winter's icy breath, feeling her numbing fingers sliding up and down the flesh of his back despite the warm wool shirt he wore. The slender, chestnut haired, young man simply stood there for many moments, just feeling those chilled fingers as they crossed his skin. The apartment was dark, as it usually was and all he could feel was the cold and all he could see was shadow. It was the loneliest place he'd ever been in, ever lived in, but he wasn't leaving.
He slammed the door shut, satisfied with the loud, echoing bang it made. He flipped on the ancient space heater which he'd found months before at a yard sale, warming his fingers before it's determined little puffs of hot air. He smiled slightly. The little machine had never failed him. No machine had ever failed him. They kept him warm, kept him safe, kept him fed. Two years ago, one unforgettable machine had kept him alive throughout a war that few survived. This was a far cry from that time, though occasionally he missed the steady hum of a Mobile Suit or the adrenaline of battle. A Gundam Pilot then, but a poor guy with an antique space heater now. So much had changed.
"I guess you're my little Deathscythe then, eh?" he said to the space heater, or perhaps just to himself. The motor buzzed pleasantly in response and he slumped into his armchair, listening to it, ready to fall asleep right there. It had been a long day, doing work that held no interest for him, kissing up to arrogant assholes who he had no respect for, keeping a low profile only because he wanted to be left alone. Didn't they all deserve just to be left alone?
Newspapers and magazines were framed and tacked to his wall. Many of them were about Quatre or Quatre and Trowa together. The Earth Sphere's biggest scandal was discovering that two of their most eligible bachelors were already attached-to each other. Their privacy had only been maintained by the steady presence of the Maguanacs. Even with it, both boys had been smeared over every front page from here to L1 to Timbuktu. Quatre still did business and many of his fellow corporations gave Winner Co. their support. But there wasn't a talk-show that missed this romantic interest and there wasn't a day when reporters weren't camping out in front of Quatre's office. The slight blonde was losing patience; he mentioned it often any time they corresponded through email.
The other articles mentioned the sudden disappearance of one Gundam pilot, name being Heero Yuy. He'd last been seen at the St. Andrea's airport on a clear summer afternoon and was currently listed as a missing person. Duo smirked bitterly at the thought of the Preventers actually finding Heero. He wouldn't be seen, heard or even thought of until he wanted to be. And he never would want to be. The dark-haired boy's disappearance had shot a hole into Duo's heart. The fact that he did it willingly, despite friendship and a promise of something more, made the pain all the more unbearable. Heero didn't want Quatre and Trowa's fate, not for all the money in the Earth and Colonies. He'd shunned Relena for the same reason.
And they'd been left with nothing but memories.
The rest of the photos were simply clips of himself, shooing away the press. There were black and white shots of him shoving a hand to their camera and asking them politely to leave him in peace. They'd eventually become his shouting at them to "Get the fuck away from me!" and threatening to pull a gun. By the time they'd found a police officer who actually cared about their dignity, he'd disappeared to another no-account building in another no-account neighborhood. Tabloids speculated that he too had a deep, dark secret. Fan clubs decided that he was merely shy. They attempted to pry into his childhood, into his adolescence. But nothing could be found of Duo Maxwell anywhere on Earth. It was one of the few perks of being an orphan. No birth records. No doctor visits. No one would be able to trace his history to a crumbling orphanage on the poverty striken L2.
Duo sighed to himself, eyes still tracing the photographs of his only friends in the world. He did this every night, letting the memories carry him away to that brief time when they'd all been happy, with each other and with the world they'd helped to create. There had been laughter for a while. He swallowed the growing lump in his throat and shoved away images of Heero, Quatre, Trowa and Wufei. Wufei had been the first to vanish, quitting the Preventers suddenly, determined to find himself in a shrinking wilderness on Earth. But there were no newspapers. It was as if the Chinese boy had never been. Now they were all fighting alone again.
The braided boy sighed to himself, wondering if he had the energy to drag his limp body into the bedroom or if he might just spend the night in the chair, as he had so many other times. His sore flesh rebelled against the prospect of twisting and turning in the old chair that evening though. If he was going to have nightmares, he would be comfortable, by god. So Duo dragged himself to the darkening bedroom, not bothering with turning on any lights. Exhaustion made him so much less finicky about where he slept-it always had. And at that point he didn't care if there was an ax-murderer waiting for him in the shadows. He only thought he might thank the kind gentleman before he ended his misery.
Duo yanked off his sweatshirt slowly, wincing as his shoulders twinged in response. His t-shirt and jeans soon followed, making him long not only for an ax-murderer but also an ax-murderer who also happened to be a masseuse. He knew taking a shower would probably help his aching muscles but by that point the ex-pilot would probably fall asleep in the stall and drown in an inch of water. The mattress eased under his slight weight, not creaking though its springs were old. He nestled under the blankets like a fox burrowing into his den during the depths of winter. His eyes drifted closed, his mind ready to leave the physical world behind.
Then, a hand drifted across his bare chest.
Duo Maxwell yelled at the top of his lungs and jumped about fifty feet in the air, succeeding not only in banging his head on the low ceiling but also slamming his funny bone against the iron bedpost. Large violet eyes smarted and he could feel his pale skin flushing in the darkness. Whoever had touched him chuckled softly, though he couldn't make out the pitch of their voice, nor did he recognize the laugh. The hand swept its way across his bare skin once more, which was surprisingly soothing (despite the fact that he was alone and half naked with a stranger who had managed to sneak unnoticed into his bedroom).
"Who-?" he asked aloud, ignoring the way his voice trembled.
"Shh . . . "the same voice whispered, again indistinct.
The touches were becoming bolder now and the palm of hand slid to cup his face, sliding a thumb over his wind-cracked lips, where his breath hissed out more quickly. Duo shivered. He reached up, trying to draw the hand away from him, trying to do anything that would make sense. But he'd never heard of this before. Was this person some kind of serial killer or some kind of desperate? The hand wrapped itself around his and drew him closer. The intruder was surprisingly strong, stronger than most men and women. His mind echoed his question, Who?
Muscular arms (even more so than his, he noted with dismay) twined around his waist drawing him against the bare chest of another man. He jumped, trying to squirm away and finding he couldn't. The other made no sound besides soft exhaling, though even that was slight and he could barely hear it over his own pounding heart. He could feel his hands shaking in rhythm with the beat, a fact he might have found funny elsewhere.
Soft lips began to nuzzle his skin, starting at the shoulder and the moving downwards, gently warming him. They demanded nothing, only lulled the braided boy into a calmer state, as if his intruder could sense his terror at being captured in his defenseless state. He knew it was crazy (and sick, probably) but the sensations filling his psyche disarmed Duo and his world narrowed and deepened to only the feeling of lips teasing his skin. He unwittingly slid a hand into the other's hair, which was fine and soft. He didn't know why, but his subconscious was not afraid at all. It was if only his common sense fought that feeling, that gentle feeling.
Then, the lips moved up to press themselves against his and Duo gasped. The mouth that danced with his own tasted sweet. And its owner smelled of jasmine and clean sweat. The braided boy found himself giving into his unspoken persuasion and kissing back, feeling awkward but slowly learning the steps for himself. His hands buried themselves in silk. His body pressed against an unfamiliar (yet completely familiar) form. He realized he was murmuring against the lips joined with his, things he'd never said before and might never say again. His mind was screaming madness but his heart replied with sane.
The intruder's mouth left Duo's, sliding down his torso without question, leaving a trail of tingling nerves and fevered skin. Duo felt alive, more alive than he'd ever felt before and arced against the ministrations. He didn't realize that his boxers (whose skulls glowed faintly in the darkness like so many grinning voyeurs) were being slid from his lithe form and discarded onto the floor. But he most definitely realized the change when heat enveloped him like the hottest, most seductive fires and filled his eyes with fireworks.
He knew he must have screamed-surely must have- but there was no noise. He writhed uncontrollably under the stranger, not knowing who he was or where he came from. The whispering boy in the dark could have killed him in that moment and Duo would not have cared.
The real ecstasy consumed his soul moments later though and he couldn't even remember his own name. A million emotions soared through his body, some known, others not. It was heaven. And hell. It was freedom. He noticed that his hands clenched those powerful shoulders and loosened his grip. Duo pulled the other boy up close to him, kissing him fiercely. He wrapped himself around the sinewy body, searching, memorizing every inch.
The stranger's hands slid up his back, over his legs and shoulders, his face. He'd never felt so needed or wanted in all his life. They embraced again, tongues entwining and un-entwining. It was improvised, this dance, meant to be performed the same way only once. Hands laced togther in the darkness, lips marked and branded. They twisted for an eternity and a second. A hundred years and a day. But neither realized what would happen at the end, nor if they did, it didn't matter.
Finally, Duo felt the stranger hold him slightly away. He couldn't feel the heat of his body or the accelerating rise and fall of his chest. Callused hands guided him to an unmistakable place and Duo mumbled something intelligible. He couldn't take that from a person, could he? Would he? But his intruder seemed insistent. He griped Duo by the waist, fitting his hands along the slim contours of his ribs. Those hands fit there, perfectly.
Taking a deep breath, Duo moved forward, gasping at the feeling. He went slow, praying to every god he knew this wasn't hurting the other boy. His shoulders shuddered, his legs trembled. He heard his counterpart moaning softly, but not in pain. He felt flesh brush against his own, encouraging him. Whispering something in Japanese, Duo leaned forward and pressed his lips against one bare shoulder. A rhythm started and the dance had turned into something new and radiant. The room was consumed in darkness but there was fire, like the far away blazing of the sun and the close blazing of a hand passing through a candle.
They were both moaning by then, moaning words in Japanese and English alike. Some things Duo could understand. Others he could not. The sounds mattered, though, the whispers, the screams and everything in between. But at the key moment, there were no words and no sound, as there had been before. Duo held the other boy close, sobbing while he laughed in his heart. They lay together for many moments after that and listened to their breathing. Deathscythe's ex-pilot snuggled closer to his unnamed partner, sighing once again that evening, but this time in contentment.
"Who-?" he whispered into the soft curls of his lover.
The answer was long in coming and he wondered if the strange creature had fallen asleep.
The sun shone across Duo Maxwell's heart-shaped face and he dragged himself out of bed for the fourth time that week. He slammed off his obnoxious alarm clock which clanged noisily at the hour. One day, when he was rich enough to sleep in, the braided boy swore he would destroy it-preferably with a thermal weapon, though a hammer would do. He stretched and strode off to the shower, hoping to steal the scant amounts of hot water in the building. It was only as he toweled himself off, that he remembered last night's dream. It had felt so good then. Now his heart ached as it usually did.
Toothbrush in mouth, the braided boy wondered who his mystery lover represented. Heero? Someone from the past? Or the future? You never could tell with dreams.
He spat into the sink and began the daunting task of combing his hair and braiding it into a halfway decent looking state. Weapon in hand, he proceeded to the bedroom where this self-torture usually took place. Someday I'm just gonna hack it all off, like the good Sister said I should, he thought wryly. He didn't make it out of the doorway though, dropping his comb to the tiled floor and forgetting all about his hair.
There was someone in the bed.
Duo gaped at the scene. Arms and legs, their flesh the color of honey, splayed out under the mangled sheets and quilts. But the face was buried under blankets. The braided boy's heart leapt into his throat. In daylight, the situation was crazier than ever. He reached over to unmask the slumbering boy, hands trembling for the second time in the past six hours. He hesitated, wondering if he even wanted to know who this was.
Could it be....?
He pulled off the covers to reveal the peaceful, rested face of Chang Wufei.