by Makishef

Sanctuary

"We shouldn't be here," Heero muttered, his voice sounding much too loud in the ruins of the church. Duo, for once, failed to respond.

The other boy was making his tentative way up the middle aisle, stepping over the debris between the crumbling pews. There were glittering shards of glass everywhere, in every hue. The stars winked merrily, unaffected, framed as they were in broken spikes of reds and purples, blues and yellows. Most of the benches were crushed under slabs of cement. At the end of the aisle, the cross was broken, its top half still suspended by thick metal cords.

Heero stood back in the massive doorway, watching as Duo approached the altar with an uncharacteristic air of reverence. His braid swished as he dropped to his knees, head bowed.

Was he praying then? Heero had to wonder. He had seen Duo grab the crucifix about his neck, a scowl on his face, and clench it in his fist as though he could break it or mold it into something else. It seemed every time Duo was spitting curses he held his holy symbol.

He wasn't holding it now. In fact, he sat much too still, head simply hanging. Heero felt like an intruder, so he held back.

At least he did until Duo tore the rosary from his neck and chucked it at the split cross. The small, simple beads flew everywhere, but the crucifix itself hit its counterpart dead on. Heero was cautious as he picked his way up the aisle toward Duo, who now stood panting, hands clenched into tight balls at his sides.

It felt as though he were moving through water, the air was so thick about him. The tension radiating from the other boy was nearly palpable. Heero's shoes were startlingly loud on the wooden floor of the raised dais, but Duo didn't turn around.

Not until Heero put a gentle hand on his shoulder.

Duo made a primal, animal sound in his throat as he flung himself at Heero. Somewhere between the lunge and the landing, though, his motives changed from an attack to something else entirely. His hands were clutched in the bunching fabric of Heero's shirt, and his shoulders shook with heaving sobs. Cautiously, Heero wound his arms around the other boy's back, hands stroking as gently as he could manage; he cradled the ruined boy awkwardly to his chest.

After a moment of pressing silence, Duo finally spoke. His voice raw and grating; lovely, really. "Do you believe in God, Heero?" The question took him aback. It wasn't something he could respond to with fact, with programmed reflexes, and groping for the answer should have made him uncomfortable. Kneeling with his arms around another person, another soldier, should have made him uncomfortable, too.

Strangely enough, though his world was slanting, he found that he had an answer, one that came to him from the very depths of his own being. In perfect honesty, he told him, "I'm not sure." He smoothed a hand over the back of Duo's head, then he added, "But I think God believes in me."

Duo looked back up then, eyes dark and intent as they shone with unshed tears and unspoken emotion. His lips pulled back into a wry smile; it was more of a grimace. "You never say what I expect."

"Why? Do you believe in God?" Heero's voice was quiet, and it seemed to float between them, carrying questions that were somehow weightier than even this.

The reply was immediate. "Yes." There was something wearily relieved in the way it was spoken, as though Duo were ancient and had been waiting to say this for the entirety of his lifetime. "Yes," he said, softer this time. Angrier, too. "A world this cruel couldn't happen by accident."

They were silent for a long time after that, the eerie quiet of the ruined church weighing down upon their narrow shoulders. Duo had his hands wrenched into Heero's shirt, nails against his skin, one clutching at his chest with the other stuck claw-like at his waist. Their breaths passed between them, Duo's smelling of sugar and tears, Heero's of bitter tea and solitude.

There was something in the space between one breath and the next that changed the air about them. Suddenly, the stillness and the silence were too much, and it prompted both into moving at once. Though the idea never seemed to form in either mind, securely hidden emotions must have trickled out, for their lips met slowly, each hesitant of himself yet sure of the other.

It was little more than a simple touch, with both boys' eyes still open, blue on blue on blue on blue... Heero was the one who finally let his guard down, let his lids fall to half mast, and the irony of that was hardly lost on Duo. Heero was also the one who pressed forward, his mouth touching down more determinedly, gentle but firm.

Duo's lips gave easily under his. They were softer than he would have expected, had he ever let himself think on this at all, but they weren't smooth. The roughened surface was far from unpleasant, though, and the kiss itself made him tingle from head to toe. His tongue poked out gently, running curiously over both their chapped lips, before dipping slowly into Duo's mouth. The other boy's tongue met his, soft and pliant and slick as they slid together.

Constant training and warfare left one bereft of the sort of experiences many teenagers already knew; this was Heero's first kiss, and he wouldn't be surprised to find out it was Duo's. He had never wondered what it might be like to hold his lips and tongue against someone else's, never wondered what it might be like to feel his pulse quicken and flutter under his skin, to inch unerringly closer to another body until he was sealed tightly against it. If he had considered it, though, he wouldn't have thought it would be so nice. The only other thing that left his heart pounding and ears ringing like this was battle, and that was something savage and brutal and far too calculated. This was two people in communion without ever thinking on the how or the why, or anything else except the scent and the sight and the taste and the feel and the sounds of the other. It was so very, very human.

It was true sanctuary.

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