by Makishef


He's whimpering again.

From across the distance between our two beds, I can see him, silhouetted as he writhes in the throes of his nightmares. It's always like this after a battle. He dreams and thrashes in the clutches of the same demons that keep me awake all night.

When he wakes up, he won't admit it, but he'll remember the dream. He won't admit his fears to anyone, but they're plain on his face at the crack of dawn. Even the Perfect Soldier gets scared out of his wits sometimes.

Nobody would believe it, though. Gundam pilots are supposed to be fearless. We're just as much machines as the mobile suits are. We live, breathe, feel, but we go when told to go and we kill when told to kill.

It's only at night, alone like this, that we're allowed to be anything less than robots, and it's more terrible than the fight itself. At least in battle, you can lose yourself. You don't have to think; you just do as your instincts tell you, do as you've been trained. Push this button, pull that lever, check your stats, and don't get killed. When it's all over, though, you have time to really think.

The battle itself was just limbo, purgatory. This is hell. This is when the floodgates open, and you're filled with guilt, the faces of unknown soldiers floating in your mind's eye; anger, white hot and burning you from the inside out; and fear, like some slimy creature uncoiling in your brain, working its way down your spine and through your limbs.

So I lay awake, and I watch him suffer in his sleep, feeling strangely calm for knowing someone else experiences all these things right along with me.

As I watch, the guilt claws at my chest, and the anger and fear have laced themselves into my bones, but there's something like compassion sitting in the back of my throat, because I know it's not his fault. He's the same as me; he didn't choose this.

And that's the reason that I slip from my bed to climb into his. It's empathy, maybe compassion, but nothing more. We can't afford for it to be anything more complicated than that.

His body stills, calms, and he doesn't recoil as I slide in next to him. I lay on my side and put a gentle arm over his waist. I think any touch but mine would have him awake in a flash, up on his feet with the gun that stays under his pillow tucked firmly in hand. But it's me, and his body knows my touch; he wakes slowly.

When his eyes finally flutter open, they're nearly black in the moonshadowed room. His tanned skin is limned in silver-blue and darkness, and his lips are nothing but shadow. It's still easy to find them, and he doesn't stop me. He needs the comfort and the release of this as much as I do, and we both know it. Like most things with Heero, this goes unspoken between us.

He tastes like clean sweat and warm breezes when I kiss his jaw, when my tongue flickers over the pulse at the side of his neck. His scent is soap and machine oil, and something earthy like sweet-smelling topsoil. His flesh under my calloused fingers feels divine; the little mole here, the slick, shiny scar there; familiar terrain.

We shift, and then he's below me with my mouth in the dip beneath his Adam's apple. His skin is sweetly salty and warm on this cold November night.

My leg eases itself gently between his thighs, and we move together as if trying to rock one another to sleep. I can feel his flesh firming against my hip, and my own presses into his in turn. Like this, we can put aside the guilt for a time, let the anger lie dormant. The fear still wriggles at the edge of consciousness, because I'm too afraid to put myself inside him. I know that if I try tonight, I'll want to crawl into his body and never come out.

Even the safety of Heero Yuy's arms holds a danger. It does no good to get attached to someone whose entire life is battle. So this is mutual compassion, a need for comfort, nothing more; it could happen with anyone. It doesn't have to be he who helps me sleep at night, and it doesn't have to be me who chases away his nightmares.

I hold firm to this belief, no matter the niggling little demons in the back of my head that say otherwise, no matter the way we shiver together while his fingers dance up my spine. I lift my lips from his collar to instead work my way back to his mouth. Strands of my hair have escaped my braid, and they fall down to lick at his cheeks. One of his hands is twining his fingers into my braid, and it sits hot and heavy against the back of my neck.

We're kissing again, and it's warm and so, so sweet. His lips are chapped beneath mine, but wet and a titillating combination of rough and slick as I slip my tongue into his mouth. I know the taste of him by heart, as well as the smell and sight and texture. He knows me just as well: inside, outside, and everything in between. Still we explore each other as though it's the first time, because any time could be the last.

His skin beneath me is soft and slippery with my fluids as we lean into one another, rocking like slow, perfect waves on the ocean, just before the hurricane sets in. My fingers count his ribs as though the number will be different from the last time, before they slip lower. I have a thumb circling his navel with the fingers resting on the jut of a boyish hipbone, while the other hand traces one finger slowly down the crevice of his firm rear.

I lift my head to watch him, for this is when he is most entrancing. He's staring at the ceiling while I stare at him, his eyes glazed and shining in the half-light. His shadowed lips are parted and wet with our saliva, and he breathes hot, tickling breaths between our faces.

My fingers are delicately searching, and I'm watching him, feeling and reading him for reactions. I'm slow about it, but I don't aim to tease; not tonight. His gaze is still intent on the ceiling, but his eyelashes flutter a little. There's a sharp intake of breath, and then his back arches, and he lets his eyes go to tiny slits.

Now that I've found what I'm looking for, I go back to it again and again in long, slow strokes with my fingers. He writhes beneath me, and there's such sweet friction on my cock.

Something in our movements changes, because now we're working toward release. It's still unhurried, but each motion has a sweet intensity that drills itself into my bones. There's something eternal about this moment, as if it's a dance we've been caught in for centuries.

And then we shatter.

I'm silent as it happens, the rush catching me almost by surprise and snatching my breath from my throat. I feel his body react before I feel the spill of his release, before I hear the word on a thready note: "Duo."

It holds so much weight, the way he says my name. It says more than either of us ever wanted the other to know, and I have to close my eyes as I fall against him, else I'll fall into blue pools so deep that I may drown. My tongue steals the taste of his sweat from the hollow just below his ear. We don't say anything more as we lay there, curled around each other.

Our bodies are lean and compact, perfect for fitting comfortably into the cockpit of a mobile suit, and perfect for combat outside of it. No matter what we do or how we do it, we're even more perfect together. For instance, there's this place in the small of my back that fits the palm of his hand like it was made for it. And when we shift around before dozing off, the backs of his knees seem molded for the fronts of mine.

For a moment, I wonder what we must look like together. Perhaps we look like autumn, with our hair and bodies so many shades of brown, and both with eyes of ever changing blues to match the moody sky. If we, together, are autumn, then I am the false warmth that hides the lurking chill and death of winter, and he is the smoldering, lingering heat of Indian summer.

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