Author: Merula
see part 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Reckless + Part 6

The next morning that I checked my computer to get the details for my Sunday trip. A church that might be a front for a black market weapons dealer. I frowned as I scanned it. It wasn't right using a church for that type of thing- not at all. I hoped the intel people were mistaken, but in my heart, I doubted it. Heero came to find me as I was scanning the details for the third time.

"You got up early," he murmured in my ear as he leaned over my shoulder. I flushed a bit and I felt him smile.

"Yeah. I wanted to go over this mission Une sent." His attention snapped to the screen.

"Is it a solo?" He asked, voice tight. It was, but I knew that there was no way in hell he would let me go alone. Not after last time.

"Not exactly. A black marketer might be using this church as a front." My fingers tapped the picture on the screen. "I'll need to wear a wire to collect evidence. If I put you and a recorder on the other end- I'll get the evidence and you can haul me out if it goes bad. You mind?"

"You know I don't." I felt him relax. "Do we need to go in and pick up anything?"

"Nope, got it all right here. It should be fairly simple. We go in tomorrow at 0500 during the morning mass."

"Simple," he muttered under his breath and I heard him sigh. "All right, Duo." Then he bent his head to my neck and slid his arms around me. "Can I persuade you to come back to bed for awhile? I'll make you breakfast afterwards."

"Hmmm," I grinned at him, pretending to ponder his offer. "If it's pancakes for breakfast, then I suppose I'll let you persuade me."

"Anything you want, Duo. Anything at all."

I didn't get breakfast until it was almost lunchtime.

Sunday morning I found myself standing in front of a church. I hadn't attended church services since- well, for a long time. I wished Heero could've gone in with me, but I knew that two men showing up for a Catholic service in this neighborhood would be very odd. Most of the people at the church were families- only a few singles here and there, stood out. I chose a seat in the last pew and knelt for a few moments, head bent as I scanned the people around me. None of them looked like black market weapon sellers, but then I hadn't looked like a Gundam pilot.

I sat up in my seat, smoothing my jacket carefully. I was all in black- black pants, shirt, jacket and tie. Heero had looked at me and muttered something about obsessive. I told him my cover was that of a grieving widower returning to the comfort of the church.

"You need a cover story?"

"People know the members of their church, Heero. If someone asks I have to have a reason to be there." I grinned at him. "Besides, I like black." He sighed and I glanced at myself once more in the mirror. "And I look pretty good in it too," I added teasingly.

His arms were suddenly around my waist, his mouth on mine. "You are beautiful," he murmured against my mouth, making me blush in surprise. "Promise me you'll be careful." I kissed him gently.

"I'll be careful, I promise. Besides you'll be right there to haul my ass out if I get in trouble right?"

"Absolutely."

Remembering the conversation, I found myself wondering how Heero really felt about me. I knew we were- well, friends with benefits, I guess- but sometimes... No. I shouldn't get my hopes up.

I pulled my mind back to the present with a jerk. The service was starting. I made the responses easily, standing and sitting when I was supposed to. I rose for communion, my eyes scanning the church as I walked up and back down the aisle. There were a few suspicious looking people, not the types I expected to see in a 5 am service. Young teenagers- trying to look tough- either singly or in pairs. Just a few, but they made me wonder what they were doing here.

After the service I lingered in my pew, on my knees, looking like I was praying. I watched the priests enter the confessionals, and watched the one that entered the third booth on the right. Youngish looking, with a hard expression in his eyes. Not a priestly-type in my opinion. Interesting too how all the younger parishioners I had noticed were entering his booth.

Fascinating. Even more interesting- the young people left the booth and then the church- none of them stayed to start their penance. Not even a single rosary. The older people who left the booth immediately went down on their knees. Huh.

I waited until the youngsters had gone and made my way into the booth. Intel had told me that it was a certain sin that would get me a deal- though I had to wonder what happened to the people who had actually committed it and gone into this booth.

I entered and knelt next to the window. The screen slid open and the traditional greeting was murmured.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been," I paused, "a long time since my last confession."

"What is troubling you, my son?" The voice sounded more bored than consoling.

"I have committed a terrible sin," I hid a faint smile, wondering what Heero was going to think of this. "I slept with my best friend."

"So, relations outside of wedlock?"

"Worse than that. My best friend is male, Father," I cut him off. He was silent for a moment and I wondered if I had the wrong booth. Having sex with someone of the same sex was supposed to be the password in this ring. My heart thumped painfully.

"So you had sex with another guy?"

"Didn't I say so?" I felt like grinning. That was NOT how a priest should react.

"Sheesh kid, what did you bother with all the crap for? You wanted a deal, you should've said so."

"I was having fun?" Our bargain with smoothly and I grinned, walking out of the booth with a nasty little piece of weaponry. Une would be very pleased.

By the time I reached the car, Heero was already on the phone with the Preventers, sending the evidence in as needed. A strike team was on the way. Once they got there, and I had handed over the evidence to Noin, we were finished for the day.

"Hungry?" I asked Heero as I drove us home. It was after noon.

"Hn," he responded and I looked at him.

"What is it?"

"Is it a sin, Duo? What we do?"

"Does it bother you if it is?" I asked, surprised. "I thought you didn't believe in God."

"No," he shook his head. "But, do you?" I smiled for him.

"For the longest time, the only god I believed in was Shinigami. As I told Sister Helen- I haven't seen any miracles, but I have seen a lot of dead people."

"And now?"

"Now? I'm not sure. But the god Father Maxwell and Sister Helen believed in loved everyone. No matter what. Would forgive anything. I don't see how what we do is a sin that he wouldn't forgive."

"Good," he sighed. "I was- worried, when I listened to you confess. I thought- you regretted it."

"No," I shook my head. "I don't regret it." I gave him a wicked smile. "In fact, I was hoping we could spend the rest of the day..." He smiled back at me.

"So was I."

We arrived at the office on Monday with a full report for Une, who was pleased with us. Heero handed over our paperwork and Une, with a small grin, scribbled her signature at the bottom.

"All covered gentlemen," she said briskly.

"Thank you Commander," Heero answered her in the same tone before turning the conversation to our next assignment.

A whirlwind burst into our office after lunch. "Maxwell, Yuy, what the hell's going on?" Heero and I both looked up from our computers where we were working on the files for our next case and blinked at Wufei. I looked at Heero questioningly and he shrugged back. No idea.

"What do you mean, 'Fei?" I asked. Sally, who had stepped in behind Wufei, closed our office door and laid a calming hand on his arm.

"We saw your paperwork," she said with a faint hint of amusement in her tone. "Why didn't you tell us?" I looked at my monitor for a moment in confusion. What paperwork? Oh, wait- that paperwork. While my brain was searching for an answer, Heero responded.

"We thought you knew," Heero stated simply and I watched Wufei choke. Sally looked more amused.

"Uh, sorry about that, 'Fei," I apologized before he got his breath back to rant.

"How long?" Wufei managed after a moment.

"Awhile," Heero replied easily and gave me a look that made me blush. Sally laughed.

"You didn't say anything!" Wufei protested.

"You didn't ask," Heero pointed out. Wufei gaped at him, which made Sally laugh harder. I covered my face with my hands- trust Heero to sound so matter-of-fact about everything.

"Maxwell, surely you could've said something!" Wufei turned to me and I shrugged.

"You were Heero's partner Wufei..." I prevaricated. He threw his hands up in the air and left.

"He'll get over it," Sally told us, and followed him out.

We drove home that evening, still chuckling over Wufei and Sally's reactions.

"I bet that Quatre will be calling tonight," I said to Heero as I got out of the car.

"I'm sure there's already a message waiting for us," Heero replied. I smiled at him and tossed my braid over my shoulder as we walked toward the steps.

"So, will you call back or will I?" Heero gave me one of those little satisfied smiles that had been crossing his lips all day whenever he looked at me.

"You'll be too tired," he told me matter-of-factly.

"Oh, will I?" I arched an eyebrow at him as we climbed the stairs. I put the key in the lock and found myself suddenly with my back to the door and Heero's arms around me.

"I've wanted to do this all day," his mouth found mine for a long moment, then moved down my neck. My fingers had turned the key in the lock and the door swung open as Heero kissed me again. We stumbled into the apartment, closing the door behind us, the keys falling to the floor. Heero pushed me up against the wall, still kissing me as I felt my senses start to overload. My fingers pulled at his shirt, unbuttoning it quickly as one of his hands freed my braid and plunged into my hair. "I need you," he murmured against my mouth. He tilted my head back and kissed my throat.

"Ah, yes..." I groaned, eyes closing as his mouth caressed me and his fingers tugged at my shirt.

An odd noise made me freeze and Heero reach for his gun. I turned my head towards our sofa. Relena was sitting there, a horrified look on her face. I would've pulled away from Heero, but he had me pinned against the wall.

"Relena," he said, not moving, gun aimed unwaveringly at her, "what the hell are you doing in our apartment?"

"I...I wanted to talk to you..." she stammered out.

"I'm a bit busy at the moment," he slid his free hand through my hair caressingly. "So, tell me how you got in here and then get out." I pushed against him a little, feeling uncomfortable. He slid away from me, but his hand continued down my arm and wrapped itself around mine. He pulled me to the recliner sat down on it. For a moment I thought he was going to pull me into his lap, so I headed towards the floor. He didn't let me go far though, and I ended up leaning against his legs. His hand toyed with the strands of my hair, gently, and I felt like a favored pet. I wondered if I should put my head on his knee and purr.

"I'm waiting, Relena," he said, his eyes fixed on her.

"I want to talk to you alone," she said, face darkening as she watched his hand touch me.

"Duo stays," he replied. "So talk before I arrest you for breaking and entering." She turned red.

"You wouldn't..."

"I would." His voice dropped a bit. "I had a very pleasant evening planned," his fingers twined themselves in my hair. "You were not in the plan. So talk or leave."

"Why are you doing this to me, Heero?" She burst out. "I love you! Why are you trying to push me away so hard?"

"This isn't about you. I'm not doing anything to you." He frowned. "I've told you before, Relena, I don't love you."

"And I am supposed to believe that you love him?" Her voice was shaking- not scornful- which surprised me.

"I think you do already," Heero's eyes were fixed on hers. "You just don't want to accept it."

"Why Heero?" She pleaded and I felt sorry for her. Psychopath or not, she did love Heero. "Why him?"

"I told you before," he answered plainly. "He's Duo."

"That's not a reason!" Her voice had risen, but then it softened as the tears glistened on her eyelashes. "I don't understand it. Why him and not me?"

"It wasn't a choice, Relena." She sat in silence for a long moment.

"Not ever?" She asked timidly.

"No. I never made that decision. I just came to a realization."

"When?"

"Ages ago- in an Oz prison." His hand tightened on my hair. I looked up at him then and was surprised to see that he had shifted his focus to me. His dark blue eyes caught mine. "I realized that I couldn't kill the other half of my soul." I swallowed hard- he couldn't mean it. His hand traced down the side of my face gently.

"Why didn't you say anything?" She choked out.

"What was there to say that I hadn't said to you before?" His gaze left mine and he looked back at her. "I told you that I couldn't love you." She got unsteadily to her feet.

"I'm going to go home. I need to think."

"One more thing, Relena. How did you get in?" She laughed without mirth and pulled something from her pocket to toss at us.

"Janitor's passkey. He's the brother of a member of the fan club." She walked out, closing the door behind her.

"That's it, we're changing the locks," I muttered, looking down at the key in my hand.

"In the meantime," Heero got to his feet and locked and dead bolted the door, putting a chair under the handle for good measure.

"Do you think she's going to come back with a battering ram?" I asked, amused.

"I wouldn't put it past her." He walked back over to me. "Now, where was I?" He reached down and pulled me easily to my feet. "I remember now."

The phone rang. Heero growled against my throat and I grinned.

"Do you want to answer or should I?" He let me go and stalked over to the phone. "What?" He snapped into the receiver. "Oh- Quatre..." I laughed outright and went to give the apartment a quick once-over, hoping Relena hadn't left any 'surprises' of any kind for us.

Heero was leaning against the kitchen counter, shirt still unbuttoned, hair in disarray. He looked up and raised an eyebrow at me. I shook my head at him. Nothing.

"Quatre- Duo's back..." He said into the phone. He handed it to me. "Trowa wants to talk to you."

"Hello?" I said cautiously into the receiver.

"Duo," my former partner's voice sounded amused. "Things change after I left?"

"Obviously," I replied.

"Good, I'm glad." Trowa's voice was warm and affectionate. "Are you?" I looked at Heero, still leaning against the counter, a predatory look in his eye.

"Oh, yes." Trowa laughed. "How's your end?"

"Better than I hoped for," his voice dropped for a moment. "I should've done this ages ago."

"Yes," I agreed.

"I won't keep you," he laughed. "Quatre said Heero sounded upset- for some reason- when he answered the phone." I wondered if Trowa could hear me blush. "We'll see you for dinner this weekend."

"Huh?"

"Heero and Quatre set it up. I'll want some- details- then."

"So will I," I said, recovering a bit. We said our goodbyes and hung up. Heero gave me a small grin.

"Can I pull the cord out of the wall?"

Later, as we lay entwined in bed, Heero raised his head from my shoulder and gave me an unreadable look.

"What?" I said in response.

"You surprised me, Duo."

"Huh?" My mental synapses were still recovering.

"I thought for sure you'd want to talk about what I said to Relena." I blinked at him.

"Why? I know you were just trying to get her off your case. Isn't that the whole point?" Oops, that was a bit bitter.

"No it isn't." Was that a flash of hurt in his eyes? "I wasn't lying to her." Wait- what??

"You weren't?"

"No." Heero put his head back down on my shoulder and I couldn't see his face anymore. "I meant every word." My heart pounded painfully in my chest and I felt light headed.

"You- love me?" I asked hesitantly.

"I love you," he confirmed quietly. "I have for a long time."

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"Why did you just write me a letter for me to read after you were dead?" I smiled faintly. He had me there.

"And afterwards?"

"I wanted to show you- before I told you." He sighed. "Otherwise you might think I was just saying it out of friendship- to make you happy." I opened my mouth to deny it- and found I couldn't. He had me there too. His arms tightened around me. "I've never felt so- awful- as when I read your letter."

"Heero..."

"I was already hurting because I had never taken the chance to tell you how I felt and you were gone. Then- I read it and realized what we..." His arms got tighter. I reached up a hand and stroked the top of his head.

"It's all right Heero. I didn't die. I'm here with you."

"It was too close," he murmured against my shoulder. "I almost lost you." I turned my head and he reached up to kiss me. Hungrily, fiercely he claimed my mouth. "I need you," he growled against my lips.

"I'm yours," I told him.

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