Author: Merula
1x2x1. AU.

Californication + Part 3

The papers were suddenly gone from his hands, and Duo was leaning over him, claiming Heero's mouth with his own.

It wasn't a deep or passionate kiss. Just a brush of lips that lingered for a moment, enough to warm Heero's mouth and leave him wanting more. It was over too fast for him to respond...

"That is," said Duo, his lips still close to Heero's, "the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me."

Heero wondered if he could come up with something even nicer, but his brain refused to cooperate. It wanted him to get Duo's mouth back.

"Oh sorry," Duo scooted away. "Little too enthusiastic there. I apologize."

Heero tried to tell him that it was okay, he enjoyed the enthusiasm, no need to apologize, but the words wouldn't come.

Duo picked the script up off the floor and gave Heero a worried look. "Um, I really am sorry... I tend to get impulsive sometimes and do things I shouldn't...."

"It's okay," Heero managed. "I think that's the best thank you I've ever gotten."

Duo's worried look vanished, and he smiled as he settled back into the couch cushions next to Heero. "You really didn't mind me changing that thing with Mary's mother in the garage?" He flipped open the script.

"No, it really wasn't a huge plot thing, and you covered the stuff about the lake during their conversation later in the kitchen..." Heero tapped the page. "Just enough to start the tension."

"I had to get rid of that subplot about the kid next door... I..."

"I don't see how it would fit in," Heero shook his head. "The movie can't be 12 hours long after all." Duo gave him a bemused look.

"Some authors would love it if we could make it 12 hours long. They hate having to trim out the details! Not to mention the fans!" Duo explained. "The fans can go crazy if their favorite scene isn't there..."

"You kept all the major plot points," Heero shook his head. "I think you did great. I don't see why anyone would be disappointed with it..."

Duo laughed. "You are one of a kind." He looked at the clock. "It's getting late. Do you want to go to bed?"

The abrupt change of subject threw Heero for a moment. Then he realized that while he avoided sleep as much as he could, Duo probably liked to sleep. It was late and Duo had to be tired.

"That sounds fine." Duo slid off the sofa and then offered Heero a hand up.

"C'mon then." He stifled a yawn, which only proved Heero's theory, and led Heero down the hallway. He opened the door to a small bedroom. "Here we go, the guestroom of Casa de Maxwell. The bathroom is through that door and there's books and a TV if you can't sleep for a while."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome." Duo leaned against the doorframe and smiled. "And if your nightmares get too bad, feel free to come and join me. I'm right next door."

Heero studied Duo's expression for a moment. He wasn't mocking, his smile was the real one Heero had seen earlier in the car, and his eyes were half-lidded. Sleepy? Suggestive? It had been so long since Heero had even had to think about that kind of thing that he wasn't sure.

"Thanks. Get some sleep." Was all he managed to come up with. Duo smiled a bit wider.

"I'll try." He replied enigmatically and left the room. "Good night!" He called from the hallway.

"Good night." Heero called back. He got ready for bed, not that he anticipated sleeping much. His nightmares were already beginning to stir in the back of his head- between Barton's clip and Duo's script; he doubted he'd get more than an hour of sleep.

He placed his cell phone on the table beside the bed and sighed. Dorothy would call in the morning. What would he tell her?

He didn't think his books should be movies. They were horrifying. He felt guilty enough sending his books out, but they paid his bills and like he told Duo, he had to write them...

But... people did read them. And liked them, for some odd reason. He hadn't ever figured out why. Was it like Duo said? Or were his nightmares an escape from their own?

And then there was Duo's script. He had taken the essentials of Heero's story and converted it... it was very well done, it made that story into something new... which could be considered both a good and a bad thing...

Wouldn't it be a shame if it never got used? All of Duo's work for nothing?

Heero had to smile for a moment. He wondered too if that was the other reason Quatre sent Duo to handle the writers. To guilt them into realizing how much work was going into their movies. Only a writer could understand the work it took to write...

That thought let his mind move to the topic it wanted to think about.

Duo Maxwell.

Heero had rarely met anyone he'd hit it off with so well, and never on a first meeting. He had admired Duo's books, wanted to meet him, but there had been other writers he'd felt the same way about and had met in person... but he'd never clicked with any of them...

Duo who wrote wonderful visions and had used his talent to transmute Heero's work. Who laughed with every other breath it seemed like. Who was relaxed and at ease with himself. Who flirted and teased...

If only he was serious about it.

He couldn't be. Duo obviously was the type of man who liked to flirt. Someone who flirted with everyone he met. There was no way he was really interested in Heero that way. Not someone like that who could have anyone he wanted with a snap of his fingertips. He probably had dozens of lovers. What would he want with an awkward hermit who couldn't even manage a witty comment?

Heero sighed. His eyes felt heavy. Awake or asleep he was going to be tormented. Better his familiar nightmares...

He closed his eyes and hoped that they wouldn't be too bad. He'd dealt with them all day; maybe some of their power was spent...

He was wrong.

He was choking. The water was filling his mouth, the beast underneath was pulling him down, his limbs were paralyzed and he couldn't scream anymore- not that it mattered. No one would come and save him. No one ever did ...

"HEERO!"

Hands grasped his arms and he struggled against them. He didn't want to drown... "No... please!" He begged.

"Heero! Wake up!" Something touched his cheek.

He opened his eyes, surprised to find himself in a bed, the taste of salt in his mouth. He blinked. Duo was leaning over him, his braid swinging over his shoulder, brushing Heero's cheek.

"Heero? You awake?" His hands squeezed Heero's arms. "Heero?"

Heero realized he was panting, pulling in great gasping breaths of air. He made an effort to slow them down, tried to ease his racing heart. One of Duo's hands left his arm and moved to his face.

"You're sweating. Are you hot? Need me to turn on the air for you?"

Heero shook his head. He caught a glimpse of the clock on the nightstand. Only an hour since he'd gone to bed... less than that since he'd fallen asleep.

"I'm sorry..."

"It's okay. I heard you thrashing around, and I came to check on you." Duo tapped the wall by the bed. "Pretty thin walls. Sorry about that." He looked apologetic.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you..."

"I wasn't asleep." Duo frowned. "Don't worry about that. I'm sorry that my script caused you to think about stuff..."

"I always have nightmares," Heero stopped him. "It's not your fault. Nothing makes them go away."

"Nothing at all? You have them every night?"

"Every night," Heero managed a smile. "And yes, I went to therapy. Didn't work."

"Why not?"

"Dorothy picked my doctor, and honestly, I didn't like the woman. She wasn't someone I felt safe confiding in."

"You didn't try finding one on your own?" Duo asked, his fingers curling around Heero's wrist. Heero realized that Duo was checking his heart rate.

"No. I'm okay. Once I wake up, I'm okay." He took a few deep breaths, willed his heart to slow down.

"Yeah, you're great," Duo quirked a faint smile at him. "Not."

"It just takes a few minutes," Heero explained. "I'll be fine really." He looked at the clock. "I'm really sorry. It's late, you should try to get some sleep, I'll read or something..."

Duo frowned for a moment. "Are you sure you'll be okay?"

"Sure," Heero nodded. "Just need to distract myself for a bit."

"I can help with that," Duo's frown turned into a wicked smirk.

He bent forward, catching Heero's mouth with his own. Where his earlier kiss had been light and teasing, this one was demanding. He stretched out over Heero, pinning him to the bed, and then he opened Heero's mouth with his and all the nightmare images that lurked in the back of Heero's mind fled.

One hand slipped under Heero's T-shirt, sliding over his skin, making him gasp into Duo's mouth. Duo pulled back a little.

"Good... you're responding this time." Duo said, amused.

"You didn't give me time before..." Heero retorted.

"Too nervous," Duo laughed and then kissed him again.

Heero reached up and wrapped his arms around Duo's waist, pulling him closer; letting his hands wander over Duo's warm back.

"Oh yes," Duo murmured against his lips, arching into the touch.

Hands got more adventurous. Mouths explored. Bodies moved back and forth on the bed.

Heero finally regained a small measure of control. His T-shirt had been tossed to the floor, and Duo's hands were toying with the waistband of his sweats. Duo's clothes were already disposed of...

"Duo, are you sure? We just met today..." He managed.

Duo arched an eyebrow at him. "And you might leave tomorrow." He smiled. "Besides, now I can say I slept with a great author."

"You do that every night," Heero retorted. "Yourself."

Duo's hands paused for a moment. "There you go with those compliments again," he gave Heero a brief kiss. "I'm sure. Are you?"

"Oh yes..." That made Duo chuckle. He leaned forward, trapping Heero underneath him.

"Then we should get on with it."

Heero's sweats vanished. Their caresses became more daring, bodies pressed tight against each other. The drawer beside the bed was pulled out, dumped on the floor to find the things Duo swore were in there.

Supplies found, slippery fingers opened and caressed, mouths teased, and finally, bodies were joined. Gently at first, then more demanding. Pleasure exploded across Heero's nerves, pulling Duo along with him.

Afterwards, with Duo curled up tight against him, Heero struggled to keep his eyelids open. He didn't want to sleep, didn't want the visions to come back again, not after this...

His eyes closed and he fell asleep.

+

An insistent beeping noise jolted him awake. Next to him Duo rolled over and pulled the pillow over his head. Heero rubbed at his eyes. What the hell was making that racket?

His phone. Damn it, Dorothy was calling him already?

He grabbed the phone and flipped it open.

"I was sleeping."

"Sorry darling," Dorothy didn't sound apologetic. "I needed to call you. Winner called me this morning. He wanted to make sure you were coming to the meeting today."

Heero blinked at the clock. Seven am. Didn't studio execs sleep in on the weekend?

"Darling? Are you going to go? This is a big deal- they are agreeing to meet you on a Saturday. They want you to read the script, see the storyboards...."

Heero nearly snapped that he'd already read the script, but realized that would just give Dorothy ammunition.

Duo's braid was sticking out from underneath the pillow. It was messy and half-undone, and Heero was reminded of the things that braid had been used for the night before. Dorothy sighed in his ear.

"Heero. I'm sorry I woke you, but please, try and focus. This is a big deal. Are you going to go?"

Heero let his fingers wander over the tip of the braid.

"I'll go."

"You will? Oh! I knew you'd agree! You are the sweetest thing! I don't suppose you'll consider the contract now? I mean, they are going to so much trouble for you... think of all the work that went into it..."

"Are you trying to guilt me into this?"

"Of course, darling."

Heero twisted the strands of hair around his fingers. Duo's script...

"I'll think about it." He said, and then mentally slapped himself. How did that slip out?

"Perfect. They want you there at one. Call me afterwards!" And Dorothy hung up before he could change his mind.

Heero sighed, closed the phone and stuck it on the bedside table. He stared up at the ceiling. What was he doing?

A warm arm slid around his waist. Duo had emerged from underneath the pillow.

"Agent?" He muttered, eyes closed.

"Yes."

"She needs to learn about the time zones." Duo yawned and snuggled closer. "It's too early. Go back to sleep."

Heero put his cheek against the top of Duo's head and closed his eyes.

Then he opened them again in surprise.

He'd slept last night... Slept without nightmares...

[part 2] [part 4] [back to Merula's fic]